June 18, 2015 -Dharamsala, India
On this radiant summer day, crowds of tourists were moving up and down the narrow roads of McLeod Ganj, while slightly off the beaten path, the elegant Surya Hotel was hosting the Twelfth Religious Conference of the Four Major Schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon Tradition. The three-day gathering was organized by the Central Tibetan Administration’s Department of Religion and Culture. Today its director, Kalön Pema Chinjor, waited with a long white scarf at the steps of the hotel to receive HH the Karmapa. The minister escorted the Karmapa inside the grand hall where the leaders of the four main Buddhist lineages and the Bon tradition had gathered along with representatives from all the Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries, including tulkus, khenpos, and lamas. In addition to the Karmapa, the important spiritual leaders who addressed the conference included Sakya Tridzin Rinpoche, Ganden Tri Rinpoche, Taklung Shabdrung Rinpoche, and representatives of Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche and Drukchen Rinpoche. Read the rest of this article
This year marks my 30th birthday. Time has passed very quickly. This year is also the 15th year since I left Tibet and came to India. This 30th birthday is considered to mark a special milestone, and many people have been requesting me to celebrate this birthday extensively. However, I have decided not to celebrate my birthday for several reasons that I would like to share with you here.
In all these years since leaving Tibet, I have never seen my parents again, and now they have grown old. This body was created and nurtured by my parents, and therefore my birthday is a day in which I feel their absence keenly.
In these 15 years since I arrived in India, I have been living in a temporary residence at Gyuto Monastery in Dharamsala. Even though Gyuto Monastery has been an exceptionally kind and hospitable host, it is unseemly for a guest to cause such unnecessary inconvenience over their birthday year after year.
Furthermore, each year on my birthday, I recall not only my parents, but also the sparkling beauty of the pristine natural environment in which I was born and raised. This intensifies my sense of urgency for the protection of the fragile ecosystems of the Tibetan plateau as well as the Himalayas. As I have said, the area’s glaciers make it the source of most of Read the rest of this article
(April 19, 2015 – Kingston, New York) In the Ulster Performing Arts Center, an appliqué thangka of the Buddha, flanked by his two main disciples, descended from the ceiling of the stage to its floor, filling the space with a vibrant cascade of rich color. This special image was last displayed publicly decades ago, when it was unfurled by Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche on the exterior of the old building of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra (KTD), which was sponsoring this evening’s event. Immediately below the resplendent Buddha was the Karmapa’s throne and on his right, the two tiers of an altar held the traditional offerings and crystal for the ritual purification. As the Karmapa sat on the throne, his golden and maroon robes blended seamlessly with the hues of the thangka so that he became a part of it, bringing the image to life.
After a mandala offering, the Karmapa spoke to the audience about the lineage of the Karmapas. He noted that usually Read the rest of this article
(April 18, 2015 – Kingston, New York) Many of the 1,500 attending the afternoon teachings today had been waiting a long time to gather all the causes and conditions to be able to receive the precious refuge vow from His Holiness the Karmapa on their home soil. After a morning session in which His Holiness had given just the sort of teaching needed to prepare their minds to receive the vows, they returned enthusiastically to the auditorium, their much-longed-for opportunity finally at hand.
Before he conferred the refuge vow itself, His Holiness first continued the explanation begun in the morning, drawing a distinction between simply going for refuge, and actually taking the refuge vow. He explained that when we are in a situation of immediate danger we may call upon the Three Jewels to regard us with their compassion as a child might spontaneously call upon its mother. This instance of Read the rest of this article
(April 18, 2015 – Kingston, New York) Well before His Holiness’s lecture started, a long line stretched down the block and around the corner with people waiting to enter the Ulster Performing Arts Center. This elegant space filled to its capacity of 1,500. Among those attending the talk were students from an older generation who had seen the Karmapa in his previous incarnation. Beginning in 1974, the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, had come to the United States three times and founded his main seat, Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, just a few miles away in Woodstock, New York.
The Mayor of Kingston, Shayne Gallo, welcomed the Karmapa to the city announcing that it was an auspicious day for all and a blessing to the city he serves. Mayor Gallo thanked the Karmapa for bringing the message of love, compassion and peace, which comes through individuals changing. Echoing the Karmapa, he said that we have the responsibility to serve others and facilitate Read the rest of this article