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Final Teaching in Bonn: Finding Satisfaction in Simplicity

2015.08.30 final teaching
Bonn, Germany – 30 August, 2015

For his final public talk during his trip to Europe, His Holiness the Karmapa opened by expressing his hope that the audience felt satisfied with the time that they had shared together. His comment came at the end of four consecutive days of Dharma teachings, public talks, audiences and empowerments, and he pointed out that this was a longer period of time than they had enjoyed together on his previous visit.

He spent a moment contemplating the title of the talk, and chose the phrase ‘without limit’ to begin his exploration of the nature of satisfaction and happiness, and the mistaken methods we often employ in pursuing them. (Without Limit serves also as the title for his tour.)

“Due to technological developments and rapid material development and ongoing progress, it’s as if there are limitless choices presenting themselves to us, “he began. In spite of this it seems that most people appear not to experience a sense of satisfaction in life. Read the rest of this article

The Akhshobhya Empowerment: Taming the Most Dangerous Species

Bonn, Germany – 30th August, 2015

The stage of the auditorium had been specially prepared for this morning’s empowerment. On the right-hand side of the stage stood a screened area containing a small altar with offerings placed in front of a thangka of Akshobhya Buddha. In this private space, the Karmapa would perform the preliminary and closing rituals of the empowerment. During the preliminaries, the chant masters led the audience in a deeply felt recitation of the mantra ‘Karmapa Khyenno’, and the steady cadence of the chanting was punctuated at intervals by the ringing of His Holiness’ ritual hand bell from behind the screen. Once the preparations were complete, His Holiness left the stage, to return a few minutes later in procession. Prostrating three times, the Karmapa then took his seat on the throne and the chant masters began the Kagyu Lineage prayer, followed by a mandala offering requesting the teachings. The body, speech and mind offering was led by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, followed by lamas from Kagyu centres in Read the rest of this article

Never Forget Tibet: Karmapa Tells Tibetans

2015.08.29 tibetan audience
Bonn, Germany – 29th August, 2015
After a full day of teachings, His Holiness the Karmapa set aside time to meet with Tibetans living in Europe. During a special audience organized by the Association of Tibetans in Germany, the Karmapa reflected on their shared condition as refugees and offered individual blessings to all those who had traveled from across Europe to meet him. As the Karmapa explained to them, he seeks out opportunities to connect with Tibetan as well as Himalayan communities wherever he goes. “I consider this important,” he told them, “and when we are able to meet, I feel I have accomplished an important responsibility and this inspires and encourages me.”

The evening began with a brief introduction to the history and activities of the association by its chairperson, Lobsang Phuntsok. He explained that among the 150 Tibetans and Himalayans in attendance, while many live in Germany, others had come from France, Switzerland, Belgium and other surrounding Read the rest of this article

Akshobhya the Undisturbed: Paradigm of Patience

Day 3 of the teachings in Bonn | Teachings on Akshobhya
Bonn, Germany – 29th August, 2015 |
Before bestowing the empowerment, the 17th Karmapa gave a two-part introduction to the Buddha Akshobhya, detailing the story, his importance in Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and the connection between Akshobhya and the Karmapa lineage.

His Holiness began by clarifying the meaning of the name Akshobhya, explaining that in Tibetan Akshobhya is known as Mitrugpa. It means someone who is undisturbed by aggression and anger, he said, someone who remains unperturbed. The translation into English as ‘immoveable’ did not accurately convey this. Later in the teaching, he explained that within the tantric tradition, a second name Migyurpa was used, and this carried the meaning ‘unmoving’ or ‘undisturbed’.

According to the tradition, Akshobhya was originally a devout practitioner, a fully-ordained monk who asked the Buddha Big-Eyes which practice or quality was indispensable for the path to enlightenment. The Buddha replied Read the rest of this article

Compassion in Action: Environmentalism for the 21st Century

2015.08.29iBonn, Germany – 28th August, 2015
Evening Session

In the first public talk of his second visit to Europe, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa began by reiterating his hope that next time he might be able to visit more countries in Europe.
He admitted to growing very fond of Germany, and joked with his audience about the sound of the German language and the German breakfast which is like lunch. On a more serious note, he commented on the lusciousness of the German countryside and rejoiced in the effort Germans put into protecting the environment at all levels. However, he felt that there was a lot more that could still be done, and this would be the main topic for his discourse.

His own passion for helping the environment, he explained, stems from his early childhood experiences in Tibet. In that vast and ancient landscape, with a small population, the Tibetan people were able to fully enjoy the natural environment around them, and they regarded the elements of that environment– the lakes, mountains, rivers, meadows and so forth– Read the rest of this article