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History in the Making: The First Step Toward Full Ordination for Tibetan Buddhist Nuns


11 March, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

On December 28, 2016, in a historic letter sent to his Kagyu nunneries in India, Nepal, and Bhutan, the Karmapa officially announced that the actual process of establishing full ordination for nuns in the Karma Kamtsang tradition would begin. He stated that at the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, on the auspicious day of the full moon in the Month of Miracles, (the first month in the Tibetan calendar, falling on March 12, 2107), the shramaneri (getsulma) vows would be conferred on those nuns wishing to take full ordination.

Following much deliberation, a path to full ordination was established. It was decided that the nuns would hold these shramaneri vows for a year, after which they will take the shikshamana (gelopma or training) vows from Dharmaguptaka nuns and keep Read the rest of this article

Ordained Nuns and Their History: The Karmapa Reports


7 March, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

In the second half of his teachings this morning, the Karmapa shared his research into the history of nuns and their status. He began by explaining the background of the name “Arya Kshema,” given to the Winter Dharma Gathering. He noted that among the disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha, there were his eight greatest male monastic disciples, known for their prajna (supreme wisdom) or miracles and so forth. Likewise, there were female master disciples who were greatest at miracles or known for their prajna and other outstanding qualities. Arya Kshema is one of these and she is described in the Sutra of the Wise and Foolish as the greatest in wisdom and confidence, so the Winter Dharma Gathering is named after her.

“In giving this name,” the Karmapa explained, “we are also Read the rest of this article

Two Precious Items from the Past


26 February, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya
Bangladesh is connected to two important figures in the history of Tibetan Dharma. Its town of Chittagong (formerly, Chativaho) was home to the mahasiddha Tilopa (10th to 11th century). He is the source of the Kagyu lineage and is considered the embodiment of Chakrasamvara, the main Kagyu yidam deity, whose empowerment the Gyalwang Karmapa bestowed on February 6, 2017 in the Monlam Pavilion. Bangladesh is also the birthplace of Atisha Dipankara (982-1054), the great Kadampa master who, in the latter part of his life, taught in Tibet and had a wide influence on the development of Buddhism there.

Although these days Bangladesh is mostly a Muslim country, Buddhism was the predominant faith in the area up to the 11th century, and today 3 million of its 170 citizens are Buddhist, making it the third largest Read the rest of this article

Memorial Service for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the late King of Thailand


18 February, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

“This is probably a very rare opportunity for us from the Tibetan tradition to invite so many Bikkhus and I think that it is historically significant”

With those words the Gyalwang Karmapa marked the day of the memorial service for His Majesty the late King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Prior to this unique event, meant to embody the unity of the sanghas, His Holiness had, as a true protector of beings would, with great diligence and kindness, personally tended to every detail. In efforts to accommodate the proper customs of Thailand, he collaborated with the Thai sangha and created the elegant setting: on the stage, at the far end of the corridor between the monks’ benches and below the pyramidal tiers of the stage, gold and silver ritual implements Read the rest of this article

Torch of True Meaning: Session Three

10 February 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya
The Gyalwang Karmapa began teaching where he had left off in Session Two, by reading the section on the words from the Mukhagama of Manjushri, found in The Torch of True Meaning, and then reflected on the idea of the root guru based on this profound text.

The Mukhagama states

Any sentient being who belittles
A Vajra bearer of the future, 
Belittles me, so therefore I 
Abandon them all for a time.

It continues:

I dwell in his body and receive 
The offerings of other practitioners.
Those who please him will purify
The karmic obscurations in their own being.

In The Torch of True Meaning, Jamgon Kongtrul elaborates further that, even Read the rest of this article