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Buddhism and the Environment: Living in Harmony with the Planet


June 6, 2014, the Estrel Convention Center, Berlin, Germany

Lively conversations in the Estrel Convention Hall subsided as the Karmapa entered and walked onto the stage, his red and golden robes blending perfectly with the rich hues of the immense images of the Buddha and Guru Rinpoche arrayed behind him.

The Karmapa began his talk on the environment, one of his major interests, by saying that it is the “biggest challenge,” the essential question for the 21st century.

In the past, he said, he has talked a lot about the environment, about protecting forests, animals, and plants, and about how our motivation shapes the way we relate to the natural world around us. He has taken a personal interest in the environment, studying it and expressing his ideas about what needs to be done at conferences. He has also engaged in various activities, such as planting trees, protecting wild animals, encouraging people to be vegetarian, and especially, supporting Khoryug (“Environment” in Tibetan). [Please insert here the web address: www.khoryug.info], an umbrella organization of fifty-five monasteries and nunneries, which belong not only to the Read the rest of this article

Escaping from the prison of self-centredness


Estrel Convention Centre,
6th June, 2014

For the second day’s teaching in Berlin, the venue had changed into a bigger auditorium which seats 1600 people.

His Holiness took time at the beginning to reiterate his great delight in finally achieving his wish to visit Europe, after three failed attempts. However, now that he was here in Berlin, it was “like a dream that fills me with great joy” and he thanked everyone from the bottom of his heart. In fact, he added, the stage set was so beautifully decorated by the Berlin Rigpa Center, that he would have preferred to sit facing it with the audience, “So that I could see it all.”

The stage set was indeed even more impressive than that in the smaller auditorium. Oblong tubs of marigolds edged the front of the stage, two large vases of flowers graced the back, and the pot of white orchids still stood on the table beside His Holiness’ chair. Two trees in tubs had been added to the front corners of the stage, lit to reflect the colours of the seasons: the bright, luscious green of spring and early summer, the red of late summer and autumn, and the soft yellows of leaf fall. The larger stage Read the rest of this article

The Karmapa Visits the Bodhicharya Center

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June 5, 2014 Berlin, Germany

On this sunny morning, the Karmapa and his entourage drove down Kintzigstrasse in the former East Berlin to pay a visit to the Bodhicarya center, founded by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche. The wood fence lining the street outside the center is decorated with colorful drawings of the eight auspicious symbols, which lead up to the main gate. Its doors are opened wide to reveal a vista of the countryside hidden in this corner of Berlin. Winding paths lined with grasses and flowers wend their way past red brick, single-story buildings to the tall meditation hall at the back of the property. On top are special rooms for the Karmapa including a balcony with a view of the gardens and the surrounding area.

The architect Inka Drohn tells the history of this place:

“The land is protected as an historical site because it testifies to the shift from rural to urban architecture. The surrounding buildings are tall with many stories, but these are very small buildings, collected like a loose settlement with a lot of Read the rest of this article

The 17th Karmapa’s heart advice for a meaningful life


Estrel Convention Centre, Berlin
7.30pm, 5th June, 2014

A crowded hall greeted the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, when he arrived shortly after 7.30pm this evening to deliver his first public address here in Berlin at the Estrel Convention Center. A few minutes earlier, Ringu Tulku, the 17th Karmapa’s Representative in Europe, had taken the stage in order to quieten the excited hubbub in the hall. For the majority of European disciples awaiting his arrival, this was their first opportunity to see him in the flesh. Only twenty-eight years old, Ogyen Trinley Dorje heads the 900 year old Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, and is already viewed as an authoritative spiritual leader for the 21st century.

The Karmapa’s first ever trip to Europe coincides with Sagadawa, the holiest month in the Tibetan calendar, when Buddhists commemorate and honour the life of Shakyamuni Buddha. As Buddha’s birthday fell on 5th June this year in some traditions, Ringu Tulku reminded everyone that the first day of the teaching in Berlin was particularly auspicious. Tibetans believe that the merit of any good deeds that you perform during this month is Read the rest of this article

The Gyalwang Karmapa Arrives in Berlin

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June 4, 2014,Dharma Mati, the Rigpa Center in Berlin, Germany

His Holiness’ black Mercedes drove slowly down the tree-lined Soor Street to a welcoming crowd waiting in front of the German Rigpa Center, Dharma Mati. Colorful katas added a brightness to the greenery and the traditional red brick, arched façade of the elegant building. His Holiness stopped to greet a few people on his way in to the place where he will stay during his visit to Berlin.

The center’s spacious shrine hall was brilliant with huge gold brocaded images of the Buddha’s life and also of Guru Rinpoche, the central figure for the Nyingma and also key to the Kagyu. Actually, the Karmapa is known as an emanation of Guru Rinpoche, a truth which was abundantly clear during the Kagyu Monlam this year in Bodhgaya which focused on Guru Rinpoche. The Karmapa embodied him during the lama dancing, a Guru Rinpoche practice was performed for four days, and the Karmapa gave two Guru Rinpoche empowerments. Today, after entering the shrine room, the Karmapa must Read the rest of this article