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The Heart Essence of Dharma: Become a Catalyst for Good in the World

Bodhicharya Centre,
Berlin, Germany–September, 2015

More than 350 people comprising representatives of Bodhicharya centres across Europe, members and supporters of the Berlin centre, and invited guests crowded into the main shrine room to greet the 17th Karmapa on this his final teaching engagement during his second visit to Europe. A distant sound of Tibetan gyalin announced his arrival at the centre. His Holiness was greeted at the gates to the centre by its founder Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, who escorted him along the brick path through the buildings, preceded by a boy and a girl scattering flower petals. After planting a tree in the garden, His Holiness made his way to the shrine room.

Ringu Tulku Rinpoche welcomed the 17th Karmapa once more to Bodhicharya Berlin and confessed, “We didn’t make any progress with the building, but,” he continued, “we are determined to work for the people here and for the Dharma.” He highlighted in particular the programme of hospice training and the volunteers who cared for the Read the rest of this article

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

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

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

Increasing our Compassion: A Meditation Instruction and Transmission of All Pervading Benefit of Beings

Bonn, Germany – 28th August, 2015
Morning Session

A major theme during His Holiness’ second visit to Europe is how spirituality can be integrated into our everyday lives. Yesterday, when speaking of the need to develop empathy and compassion, he used the refugee crisis in Europe as a real-life example. He developed this further this morning when he referred to two recent events: the discovery of the bodies of 71 migrants abandoned in a truck in Austria, and the hundreds of migrants feared drowned when two boats capsized off the coast of Libya. “It is not sufficient to just say, ‘Oh those poor people’, and have sympathy,” he commented. “We should give rise to genuine compassion… genuine involvement, and more action.”

His Holiness acknowledged that, given our relatively comfortable existence, we often find it difficult to fully empathise with the suffering of others, but if we wish to practice genuine compassion there should be no sense of separation between ourselves and the object of compassion. If we can use Read the rest of this article