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2006 Activities of the Karmapa (February - June 2006)

His Holiness Attains Legal Age of Majority on June 26, 2006
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His Holiness Karmapa performs the traditional lamp lighting ceremony to open the Global Conference for Peace on April 7, 2006 in New Delhi

His Holiness Karmapa offers a prayer during the ceremonies on June 26, 2006 at Gyuto Monastery Tantric College in Dharamsala, India

His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje celebrated His 21st birthday in Dharamsala, India on June 26th 2006. The auspicious occasion was celebrated on a grand scale and was attended by thousands people from the Himalayan areas and abroad

The birthday occasion began in the early hours of dawn in the main shrine room of Gyuto Tantric University. A Mandala offering, Tsok and Long Life prayers of Lama Chopa were presented to His Holiness by the resident Khenpo of Gyuto, Ven. Tokdhen Tulku, and lamas and monks of Gyuto monastery. After the morning prayers, His Holiness proceeded to Norbulinka Institute for a religious conference where He was met by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other representatives of the Geluk, Sakya, Nyingma and Kagyu schools in attendance for the meeting.

In the temple and courtyard of the Gyuto Monastic College, Tibetan, Indian and foreign guests assembled in the thousands waiting for His Holiness’s return and a chance to offer their best wishes for His Birthday. Surrounding the monastery, giant tents and chairs for the many guests that would arrive, were offered as well as tea and lunch for all.

After His Holiness’s arrival, He proceeded to the main shrine room to participate in the main puja and offerings of mandala from Samdong Rinpoche, Prime Minister of Tibetan government in exile, Ling Rinpoche, Venerable Tenga Rinpoche and General Sec. of Tsurphu Labrang; Drupon Rinpoche, and many Lamas and monks from around the world. Representatives from His Holiness’s monasteries and Dharma centers from South East Asia, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and The Americas all gathered in the temple with enthusiasm and great reverence for the occasion. After lunch and a brief cooling shower of rain, His Holiness and guests gathered outside for a cultural show where traditional dance and song offerings performed by local and foreign artists were presented. At the end of the day, a giant cake was offered to His Holiness, which His Holiness Himself cut first and offered to the gathered public. "Happy Birthday" was sung with great fervor as over a thousand guests from around the world expressed their best wishes for the 21st birthday of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa. An event celebrated with great devotion and appreciation by all in attendance.

Refuge and Bodhisattva Vows Given (June 27, 2006)

On June 27th representatives of the international community who had come to join the birthday celebrations for His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa, gathered in the main shrine room of Gyuto to receive refuge and Bodhisattva vows from His Holiness Karmapa. In his opening statements to the public His Holiness expressed that He was very grateful for the many gifts that had been given and wished to offer the gift of Bodhicitta back to the people who had come. A refuge ceremony and Bodhisattva vows were given and His Holiness generously offered a teaching about Bodhicitta saying:

Sentient beings are the root and source of all qualities to achieve for ourselves. We can learn how to see all sentient beings in this world equally as we would see our friends and those who are affectionate and kind to us. With this motivation, we can give rise to an attitude in our mind that we can really benefit others and this is of extreme fortune. Even if we are not able to carry out this wish to benefit all sentient beings right in this moment, the fact that we have had this intention here is of extreme benefit. Recognizing this we can have even a further aspiration that all sentient beings may equally be able to share this type of fortune with us. Through this understanding we will dedicate the merit to freely share this fortune with all the others on this world.

After the teaching, katags were offered to His Holiness and blessing cords and mani pills were received by all. At the conclusion of the session in the temple, the guests gathered in the temple grounds where they were offered lunch and tea, compliments of the Tsurphu Labrang.

His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa attends "The Revival of the Tibetan Bhikshuni Ordination Academic Conference" (May 2006)
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His Holiness at the Vinaya Holder's Conference on the revival of the lineage of Tibetan BhishunisHis Holiness at the Vinaya Holder's Conference on the revival of the lineage of Tibetan Bhishunis

During the three days from May 22-24, 2006, the Gyalwa Karmapa attended the Third Academic Conference on The Revival of Tibetan Bhikshuni Ordination." At the opening ceremony, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Gyalwa Karmapa, Sang-tung Rinpoche, Geshe Tupten of the Graduate Institute of Geshe Studies, and geshes, kenpos; and Vinaya scholars from all the lineages as well as the ga sha officials from the Tibetan government were present. This gathering indicated the importance given by the Tibetan community to the Revival of the Bhikshuni Ordination System. Full report and slideshow. - Ani Miao Rong

Saraswati Charitable Trust Begins Construction of Buddhist Retreat and Meditation Centre at Martam (April 2006)
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The Saraswati Trust consecrates the site for the establishment of a Buddhist Retreat and Meditation Center at Martam

The Saraswati Trust consecrates the site for the establishment of a Buddhist Retreat and Meditation Center at Martam

The Saraswati Charitable Trust was set up in the year 2003 as a Public Trust under the inspiration of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje. The registered office of the Trust is in Jangpura B, New Delhi, with a Branch Office in Gangtok, Sikkim to care for any ongoing projects in the State. The Saraswati Charitable Trust was established to support educational, research and religious institutions, along with many other subsidiary aims and objectives. His Holiness the Karmapa is the Chairman of the Trust.

The first Project to be undertaken by the Saraswati Trust is the establishment of a Buddhist Retreat and Meditation Centre at Martam, East Sikkim. The consecration of the site was completed on 18th of April, 2006 after an elaborate three day cermony of pujas and prayers led by His Eminence Goshir Gyaltsab  Rinpoche,  Venerable Drupon Dechen Rinpoche , and the monks of Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre and Ralong Palchen Choeling Monastery. Construction work has now commences in earnest. The retreat Centre upon its completion will serve to provide a secluded learning centre for all serious religious practitioners. More in Projects

His Holiness Guest of Honor at Global Conference for Peace (April 2006)

On April 8, 2006, His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa was the Chief Guest at the “Global Conference for Peace” organized by the Mahabodhi Society of India. The Conference was held in New Delhi and commemorated the 2550th Buddha Jayanti.

On his arrival at Mavalankar Auditorium, the venue of the function, Dr.B.K..Modi, President Mahabodhi Society of India, along with Ven. Chosphel Zotpa, Honorable Member of the National Commission of Minorities, Government of India, senior functionaries of the Society and others in attendance, accorded the Karmapa a rousing reception. Several religious leaders from different faiths were seated on the dais.

His Holiness Karmapa performs the traditional lamp lighting ceremony to open the Global Conference for Peace on April 7, 2006 in New Delhi

His Holiness Karmapa performs the traditional lamp lighting ceremony to open the Global Conference for Peace on April 7, 2006 in New Delhi

After chants by the monks His Holiness lit the traditional offering lamp and the organizers announced the publication of the book Whispers of Peace, compiled by Dr.B.K.Modi, containing teachings and texts from various religious traditions. Thereafter, His Holiness was invited to make the inaugural address. His Holiness in his remarks reminded the audience that Buddha’s message of peace and amity is beyond any religious or sectarian basis and is founded on a mission of generally benefitting the well-being of humanity as a whole. His Holiness noted that the world looks to India for wisdom and guidance. He expressed his appreciation and applauded the initiative of the Mahabodhi Society of India.

Among the dignitaries present were the Ambassadors of Sri Lanka and Mongolia. The local populace turned out in large numbers and were joined by a large delegation from Japan.

The second day of celebrations organized by the Mahabodhi Society of India to commemorate the 2550th Buddha Jayanti was held on the grounds of the Buddha Jayanti Park in New Delhi on April 9, 2006. In spite of the hot weather, devotees congregated in large numbers to hear Gyalwang Karmapa. Prof Samdhong Rinpoche, Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government- in-exile, and Union Minister Mr.Ram Vilas Paswan, were among the invited guests. The Japanese delegation comprising parliamentarians, the Mayor of Okinawa and eminent citizens as well as a large cultural troupe who were present in strength.

Welcoming the Karmapa, Dr.B.K.Modi, President of the Mahabodhi Society of India, lamented the fact that high spiritual Masters like the Dalai Lama and the Gyalwang Karmapa were still being treated as refugees, when, in essence, they are the lineage holders of the Buddha Dharma, which has its roots in India. Dr.Modi stated that such eminent leaders of the Buddhist faith should be conferred honorary Indian citizenship with all honour and privileges, in appreciation for their role in bringing the Buddha back to his country of birth. Echoing the sentiments expressed by Dr.Modi, Union Minister Mr.Ram Vilas Paswan promised to raise this issue before the Indian leadership. Mr.Paswan stated that he saw His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness the Karmapa as Indian Dharma Gurus and therefore, that they deserved honourable treatment as such.

In his own remarks, His Holiness exhorted the gathering to spread the message of the Buddha across the world to pre-empt strife. His Holiness stressed the value of spreading friendship and goodwill as a sustainable basis to bring peace in the world. His Holiness reminded the audience of the singular contribution of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedakar, architect of India’s Constitution, for giving impetus and ensuring that people of India remembered the greatness of the Buddha, as a social emancipator and kind teacher. His Holiness applauded the role of the Mahabodhi Society of India and, in particular, expressed appreciation for its President, Dr.B.K.Modi’s leadership. On behalf of the Mahabodhi Society and other co-organizers, His Holiness presented traditional Indian shawls to the delegates as a token of honour. His Holiness offered a khatak, the traditional Tibetan silk scarf, to Dr.Modi as a gesture of appreciation for his leadership. --Trinley Topgyal

HH Gyalwa Karmapa At Annual Teachings by HH Dalai Lama and Shoton Festival (March-April 2006)

His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa attended the Shoton Festival of Tibetan Opera in Dharamsala in April, an annual celbration of this important and vibrant Tibetan tradition. His Holiness the Dalai Lama was also in attendance.

His Holiness Karmapa also attended the Dalai Lama's annual public teachings in Dharamsala from March 15-29, 2006. The Dalai Lama taught on Shantideva's Compendium of Precepts, which is a compilation of the central Mahayana teachings on morality, vows and precepts. HH Dalai Lama also taught from A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life and Milarepa's Songs of Realization.

His Holiness Karmapa Concludes 2005-2006 Tour and Returns to Dharamsala (February 2006)
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After closing the 2550th Buddha Jayanti Celebration in Bodhgaya, His Holiness returned to Varanasi on the 20th of February, arriving at Vajra Vidhya Insitute in the afternoon. On his final day in Varanasi, the Karmapa fed the deer at Deer Park in Sarnath and meditated in front of the relics of Sakyamuni Buddha stored at the Relic Stupa. His Holiness then departed for New Delhi, on his way to back to Dharamsala.

Before departing New Delhi, His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa gave a teaching to the Tibet Study Group of India outdoors at the International Centre Auditorium in New Delhi. His Holiness arrived at his temporary camp in Gyuto Ramoche Tantric University on the 25th of February.

On the 28th of February, His Holiness was invited to participate in celebration of the Tibetan New Year (Losar according to the Phukluk Tibetan calendar -- see here for more about the different calendar traditions in Tibet).The early morning session began with a mandala offering of long life to His Holiness by Ven. Khenpo Rinpoche of Gyuto Monastery. Ceremonial tea and rice were served to the assembly, and at the conclusion members of the audience offered khatas and His Holiness conferred his blessings.

On the following day, March 1, 2006, His Holiness celebrated the New Year with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, offering him a good luck scarf (khata) as the Dalai Lama's residence. - Karma Woser Rabten

His Holiness Karmapa Leads Prayers for Peace as Chief Guest at the 2550th Buddha Jayanti Celebrations in Bodh Gaya (February 2006)
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HH Karmapa addressing the attendees of he Buddha Jayanati in Bodh Gaya o February 19, 2006, celebrating the 2550th anniversary of the Buddha

HH Karmapa addressing the attendees of the Buddha Jayanati in Bodhgaya on February 19, 2006, celebrating the 2550th anniversary of the Buddha

His Holiness arrived in Bodh Gaya from Varanasi on 17th February, to attend the 2550th Buddha Jayanti Celebration, at the invitation of the Maha Bodhi Society of India. Along with his entourage, His Holiness reached the Mahayana Guest House in the early afternoon, where he was received by Ven. P. Seewalee Thero, Bhikkhu-in-charge, MBSI, Bodhgaya center at the main gate of the Guest House, who offered a khata to the Karmapa.

The next morning, His Holiness visited the Maha Bodhi Temple and offered flowers and fruit to the main image of the Lord Buddha. He also offered a robe to the statue and recited a short supplication prayer. His Holiness than observed the activities aroung the the main stupa, including the ongoing month-long Tripitaka Chanting by venerable monks from different countries, which included Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar & India.

The concluding ceremony for the week-long celebrations of 2550th Buddha Jayanti celebration was on February 19th. HH Karmapa was the Chief Guest of the Celebration, at the International Inter-Religious Dialogue Conference, held at the Kalachakra ceremonial grounds. The theme of the concluding conference was “Inter-religious understanding and tolerance, with special reference to the teachings of the Lord Buddha - a need of mankind.” After the arrival of His Holiness in the morning, Ven. Dr. Rewatha Thero, General Secretary MBSI, welcomed the Karmapa with a khata offering. The distinguished guests joined in lighting the ceremonial lamps, an invocation was given and a welcoming introductory speech was made by Ven. P. Seewalee Theero. Then representatives of the world's religions, including Hindu, Jain, Islam, Sikh and Christian, gave their remarks regarding the views of their traditions. His Holiness concluded the talks with his own discourse on inter-religious dialogue.

The presidential address was given by Ven Dr. Rewatha Thero, Gen. Secy. MBSI and a vote of thanks to all participants was extended by Mr. A.H.Khan, Organizing Secretary of the Conference.

In the late afternoon, His Holiness was invited to the Meditation Park to ring the Peace Bell at the Maha Bodhi Temple. Afterwards, His Holiness lit the butter lamps and joined the assembly of monks and others under the bodhi tree to chant the Keraniya Metta Sutta (loving-kindness) by the venerable Maha Sangha. The ceremony concluded with His Holiness chanting a prayer for the World Peace.

Before departing Bodh Gaya on February 20th, His Holiness launched the newly created Website - ‘Buddha Dhamma’ by Ven Jnanananda Thero, Sri Lanka and briefly visited to the main temple to pay his last respects before proceeding to Varanasi. - Karma Woser Rabten

Revival Of Kagyu Tradition of Practice of Tantras of Marpa Continues at Vajra Vidhya Institute (February 2006)Click to go to slideshow

Vajra Vidhya Institute monks under Thrangu Rinpoche perform the Dakmema Tantra Puja in the presence of His Holiness Karmapa

At the request of Ven. Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, His Holiness joined in the last day of the practice of the Dakmema Puja at Vajra Vidhya Insitute on February 13, 2006. In January 2002 after the completion of the 2001 Kagyu Monlam, His Holiness presided over a conference at Vajra Vidhya of all Karma Kamtsang monasteries. At that conference, His Holiness called on all Kamtsang Monasteries to focus their attention on reviving the cycle of the Thirteen Tantras of the Great Marpa Lotsawa, which tantras are central to the Kagyu monastic practice. The conference members decided to apportion the revived study and practice of these tantras among different monasteries. Ven. Thrangu Rinpoche and Vajra Vidhya kindly agreed to take responsibility for the the Hevajra and Dakmema practices based on the Hevajra Tantra. The Hevajra was performed in 2005, and this year the Dakmema practice was performed for the first time since that commitment was made by Vajra Vidhya Monastery. During the morning ceremonies, Ven. Khenchen Thrangu offered a long-life mandala to His Holiness.

His Holiness Karmapa with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Sarnath (February 2006)
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The Karmapa and Dalai Lama are among the attendees at the International Conference on Buddhism in Asia on February 10, 2006

The Karmapa and Dalai Lama are among the attendees at the International Conference on Buddhism in Asia on February 10, 2006

On Wednesday, February 8, 2006, His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa attended a conference entitled “The Convergence of the Views of the Four Great Lineages of Tibetan Buddhism” at the request of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The conference was held at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Sarnath, Varanasi. His Holiness Karmapa had not originally planned to attend the conference, but after his stay in Sarnath was extended, he accepted H.H. the Dalai Lama’s request to attend the conference.

The conference was officiated by HH Dalai Lama and featured two scholars from each of the four main lineages of Tibetan Buddhism: the Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, and Geluk lineages, who were to present the views of their respective lineages. The morning session opened with a speech by HH Dalai Lama, which was followed by presentations by Geshe Lobsang Tenzin, a Geluk scholar from Sera monastery, Prof. Yeshi Thabkhe, and Khenpo Gyamtso, a Sakya scholar from the Sakya College.

His Holiness attended lunch with HH the Dalai Lama, along with Kyabje Thrangu Rinpoche, and His Holiness’s sister Ngodub Pelzom.

The afternoon session started around 1:30pm. A the request of His Holiness Dalai Lama, His Holiness Karmapa shared his views on the Great Lineages in opening remarks to the gathering. His remarks were followed by presentations by Nyingma Khenpo Yeshe Dorje from Namdroling Monastery and Khenpo Gawang and Khenpo Tsultrim Norbu, from Rumtek and Sherab Ling, respectively. His Holiness later returned to the Vajra Vidya Institute where he gave a teaching on refuge to Western students.

On 10th February 2006, His Holiness Karmapa attended the opening ceremonies of a three-day international conference entitled “Buddhism in Asia: Challenges and Prospects,” which conference was also held at the Central Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies. The event featured an inaugural address by H.H. Dalai Lama, as well as auspicious prayers, and welcome and keynote addresses. Following H.H. the Dalai Lama’s address, His Holiness enjoyed refreshments with H.H. Dalai Lama and the conference participants on the grounds of the Central Institute. Following this, the Karmapa returned to the Vajra Vidya Institute. - Karma Woser Rabten

Activities of His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa
in January 2006