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Karmapa Arrives in Berlin on First European Tour

2014.06.04
4 June, 2014 – Berlin

Tibetan Buddhist leader, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, arrives today in Berlin on his first European visit. The Karmapa will meet this week with members of the Jewish community in Berlin, and visit the Holocaust Museum and the Berlin Wall. On a stop in Cologne, he was specially invited by the Archdiocese of Cologne to address faculty and students at the Katholische Fachhochshule NRW and was offered a private tour of the Cologne Cathedral.

Although this is only the Karmapa’s third trip outside his dramatic escape from Tibet to India, he enjoys a wide following in the West, where his message of social responsibility and environmental sustainability has been warmly embraced. At the age of 29, he is the head of the 900-year-old Karma Kagyu lineage, one of the largest schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

The five-day visit to Berlin marks the second stage of this Tibetan Buddhist leader’s European visit, centred on Germany. From 5-8 June, the Karmapa will be teaching daily to a sold-out hall at Read the rest of this article

Kamalashila Institute bids farewell to the 17th Karmapa

Kamalashila Institute,
2nd June, 2014

At 8.30am, the two resident lamas, Lama Kelzang Wangdi and Lama Sonam Rabgye, the Chöpon, and Kamalashila Institute staff gathered in the shrine room for a final audience with His Holiness, in order to say goodbye. Everyone had worked so hard to make this visit successful, and it was obvious from His Holiness’ encouraging smiles, that he too greatly appreciated their efforts.

The simple farewell ceremony opened with a short recitation of prayers from the daily liturgy, followed by a mandala offering. Speaking on behalf of everyone, Tobias Roeder described the previous twelve weeks as “the most bumpy and blissful ride we’ve ever had in our lives”, and yet everything had fallen into place in the end. He spoke of His Holiness’ presence in Kamalashila as “a great, great blessing”, and, supported by all those there, made the heartfelt request, “Please come again and again!”

Stefan Storm came forward to offer His Holiness a unique memento from Kamalashila Institute to commemorate the visit–a gold and silver handcrafted watchcase. Wrought by gold and silversmiths in Hamburg, this ‘watch’ had been designed as a mandala of the universe, and not for telling the time. Inside, what would have been the watch Read the rest of this article

A gift for the future: The 17th Karmapa plants a tree at Kamalashila

2014.06.01e
Kamalashila Institute
1st June, 2014

On several occasions during the first part of his teachings in Germany, the 17th Karmapa has emphasised the personal responsibility we all share for protecting and preserving the natural environment. In 2009 he founded Khoryug, an organisation of Buddhist monasteries, nunneries and centres dedicated to protecting the fragile environment of the Himalayan region. In addition, the Karmapa has sponsored five conferences with training workshops to ensure that his own monks and nuns are fully briefed on environmental matters. Faced with worldwide deforestation, his active concern has led him to urge all monasteries and Dharma centres in the Karma Kagyu tradition, to plant as many trees as possible, and he has made it his own practice to plant trees wherever he goes.

His environmental commitment marries well with German tradition, where planting a tree is a particularly significant gesture. Germans love to quote Martin Luther: “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I Read the rest of this article

Source of peace and blessings: His Holiness inaugurates the stupa at Kamalashila

2014.06.01s
1st June, 2014
Kamalashila Institute

More than five hundred people, invited guests, volunteers and staff, gathered in the grounds of Kamalashila in front of the stupa for its inauguration by His Holiness the 17th Karmapa. After several days of cloud and some rain, the weather had cleared and the brilliant -white stupa with its gold-plated copper pinnacle stood proud against a bright blue sky.

The stupa – chorten in Tibetan –is a unique religious architectural form, representing the physical presence of Lord Buddha, and of great significance in several Buddhist traditions, including Tibetan Buddhism. There are eight designs of stupa, each symbolising an important event during the Buddha’s lifetime. The stupa at Kamalashila celebrates the Buddha’s Enlightenment. A niche in the upper section of the central shrine contains an image of Lord Buddha with his right hand in the bhumisparsa mudra. Translated as ‘touching the earth’, it is the hand position which signifies the moment of the Buddha’s enlightenment. His Read the rest of this article

The Karmapa Meets the Villagers of Langenfeld

2014.06.01i

June 1, 2014, Kamalashila Institute, Langenfeld, Germany

Kamalashila Institute came to Langenfeld in 1999 when it purchased the monastery of the White Fathers, a Christian order of monks whose mission in Africa was to train their followers in various crafts. Their building had been empty for many years, and the village was concerned to have the right people purchase it. So before approving the sale to Kamalashila, the village council sent members to the Institute’s previous location to speak with its neighbors, who gave favorable feedback, and so the sale went through.

Kamalashila opened with a grand ceremony, presided over by Thrangu Rinpoche, Tenga Rinpoche, and many lamas; it was made festive by the performance of the Twenty-One Tara Dances and the rich pageantry of the Tibetan Buddhist rituals. On this day, the doors were opened wide to the villagers, who were all invited to come, and this inaugurated a positive relationship with the village that continues to this day.

The citizens of Langenfeld are Rhinelanders, Read the rest of this article