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The Importance of Retreat

Karma Tekchen Yi Ong Ling Retreat Centre Halscheid – 2nd September, 2015

On Wednesday afternoon, the 17th Karmapa made his first visit to Halscheid to bless Karma Tekchen Yi Ong Ling retreat centre. Situated just outside the small village of Halscheid in the Windeck region of Germany, the centre is run by the German Karma Kagyu Gemeinschaft under the spiritual guidance of the Karmapa’s senior tutor, the Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche. Although two traditional three-year retreats have been completed at Halscheid, the main focus of the centre’s work these days is to offer a variety of short and long-term retreats, so that laypeople with work and family responsibilities may benefit.

In readiness, the centre had been decorated with newly-hung prayer flags and the eight auspicious symbols had been painted on the gravel path. As His Holiness’ car approached, Lama Kunga Dorje, the Retreat Master, stepped forward to welcome him.

Sixty people, retreatants past and present, sponsors and friends of the centre, had gathered in the Read the rest of this article

The Role of Religion in the 21st Century: The 17th Karmapa Engages in Inter-Faith Dialogue and Prayer for World Peace

St. Quirinus, Langenfeld–1st September, 2015
On 30th August in the evening, the 17th Karmapa left Bonn and returned to the Kamalashila Institute in Langenfeld. The following evening he joined the villagers for a special event at the parish church of St. Quirinus. This was his second visit to Langenfeld parish church. He first visited the church in May 2014, and at that time promised the priest, Monsignore Schrupp, that he would return. As Monsignore Schrupp remarked in his welcome speech, “I did not expect him to come back so soon!” The event, organised jointly by Kamalashila Institute, the church of St. Quirinus and the people of Langenfeld, drew more than 500 people. There were no empty spaces in the pews.

This imposing church with its high vaulted ceiling, known as the ‘Dom’ or cathedral, was filled with the warmth exuded by the local people and their obvious delight that His Holiness had come to spend an evening with them.

The Karmapa and Monsignore Schrupp, walked into the church together like old friends, and when 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

The Akhshobhya Empowerment: Taming the Most Dangerous Species

Bonn, Germany – 30th August, 2015

The stage of the auditorium had been specially prepared for this morning’s empowerment. On the right-hand side of the stage stood a screened area containing a small altar with offerings placed in front of a thangka of Akshobhya Buddha. In this private space, the Karmapa would perform the preliminary and closing rituals of the empowerment. During the preliminaries, the chant masters led the audience in a deeply felt recitation of the mantra ‘Karmapa Khyenno’, and the steady cadence of the chanting was punctuated at intervals by the ringing of His Holiness’ ritual hand bell from behind the screen. Once the preparations were complete, His Holiness left the stage, to return a few minutes later in procession. Prostrating three times, the Karmapa then took his seat on the throne and the chant masters began the Kagyu Lineage prayer, followed by a mandala offering requesting the teachings. The body, speech and mind offering was led by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, followed by lamas from Kagyu centres in 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