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A Medicine Buddha Empowerment

22nd May 2016 -Geneva, Switzerland
The Medicine Buddha tradition was brought to Tibet from India in the 8th century by the great Indian Buddhist master, the abbot Shantarakshita of Nalanda (725–788), who gave the teachings to the Tibetan king Trisong Deutsen. The abbot’s aim was to increase the welfare of Tibet: to improve health, prevent disease, give protection against black magic, and protect the ecological system from natural disasters.

Today, the Geneva Theatre next to its famous lake was filled with people eager to receive the empowerment. To the right and above His Holiness’ throne, a huge thangka depicted the Medicine Buddha, who embodies the healing energy of all enlightened beings. He is a dark blue, the colour of lapis lazuli, and wears monastic robes while sitting on a lion throne. In his left hand he holds a begging bowl Read the rest of this article

The Gyalwang Karmapa Visits Nyingma Dharma Center

May 20, 2016 -Lausanne, Switzerland
Today the Gyalwang Karmapa traveled northeast to Lausanne along the Lake of Geneva with its vistas of snowy peaks. His destination was the Nyingma Dharma center of Namkha Rinpoche, Thegchok Ling, a part of his Rigdzin Community that organized the Karmapa’s visit to Switzerland. Tucked in a quiet corner of the town, not far from a rushing river, the center was founded in 2002. Though rain was predicted, the sun shone clearly on the Dharma flags strung along the way, on the brocade banners and the long red carpet with its eight auspicious symbols leading into the shrine hall.

Once on the throne, the Karmapa was presented with long life offerings by Namkha Rinpoche and then by the center members. To mark an auspicious occasion, a teaching can be offered and Namkha Rinpoche followed this tradition in Read the rest of this article

Nuns Learn to Preserve and Protect Monastery Treasures

Hotel Anand International, Bodhgaya, Bihar
24-26 February, 2016

    “It is of great concern to me that over the last sixty years so much of the priceless heritage of Tibetan Buddhism has vanished, not just through theft and deterioration, but because of lack of knowledge and skill in preservation. Over the last twenty years alone far too many irreplaceable works of art such as thangkas, statues, dance costumes, texts, and other sacred artifacts have been lost to future generations.” – His Holiness 17th Gyalwang Karmapa

At the request of the Gyalwang Karmapa, a group of 17 nuns representing all eight Karma Kagyu nunneries completed an intensive three-day training to learn techniques for documenting and preserving the treasures owned by their nunneries, such as statues, thangkas, and texts. In addition, the Read the rest of this article

The Akshobhya Fire Purification Ritual

21 February, 2016 -Tergar Monastery
On the evening of day six of the Monlam, the entrance to Tergar Monastery was transformed by a spectacular ritual of prayer and fire performed by the Gyalwang Karmapa and the Akshobhya retreat participants. The ritual was the concluding activity of an intensive two-month Akshobhya retreat, which began on December 24, 2015. A significant part of the ritual included the burning of names of the deceased and the living, as a means of prayer and purification. Over the past week, thousands of people made offerings and wrote names down on behalf of their friends and relatives.

In anticipation of the ritual, prayers to Akshobhya Buddha took place both at Tergar and in the Pavilion during the afternoon. In the Akshobhya Shrine Room, located on the top floor of Tergar, the retreatants gathered for a final time Read the rest of this article

Offerings to the Sangha: the Alms Procession and the 16 Arhats

21 February, 2016 -Monlam Pavillion, Bodhgaya
The tradition of almsgiving dates back to the beginnings of Buddhism, 2500 years ago. At that time monks and nuns were not allowed to keep or prepare food and were therefore completely dependent on whatever they were offered to eat by the local community. Each morning they would go from door to door and collect food. By offering food to the Sangha, laypeople not only showed their respect to the spiritual values that the Sangha symbolized, but were able to accumulate merit both by the action of generosity towards the Sangha and also by sharing in the merit which the monks and nuns generated through their spiritual practice.

In some Buddhist countries, the custom of the alms round has survived to this day, but in Tibet, because monasteries were supported by the local communities, it was no longer Read the rest of this article