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
28 November, 2014, Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya.
The Gyalwang Karmapa entered the shrine room of Tergar Monastery, preceded by incense bearers and monks playing gyalins. Hundreds of monks from Karma Kagyu shedras were waiting with great anticipation for the first session of his teachings during this the 18th Gunchö. Joining them were many international lay students who sat to the back and sides of the hall.
Once the Karmapa was seated, the Venerable Choje Lama Phuntsok, founder of the Gunchö in 1997, made the mandala offering to request the teachings. This year’s winter debate session has been organised by his shedra, Karma Lekshey Ling, in Nepal. A few minutes later, the Gyalwang Karmapa, in his opening remarks, thanked Lama Phuntsok warmly for his hard work and commended his devotion to the teachings.
The Karmapa also mentioned the inter-shedra debate competition judges, who represent four different traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. Inviting them was a symbol of the respect and importance he and the Karma Kagyu hold for all Read the rest of this article
26 November, 2014, Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya
Each winter, monks from Kagyu shedras [monastic universities] across India and Nepal gather together under the guidance of the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa to engage in a month of intensive study and vigorous debate. This annual event is called the Gunchö, a Tibetan word which means ‘winter dharma’. This is its eighteenth year. The 2014 Gunchö was inaugurated by the Karmapa on the 20th November, before he left for his teaching programme in Delhi, and will continue until 17th December. The eight shedras participating in the debate competition this year are: Karma Shri Nalanda Institute from the Karmapa’s seat in Rumtek; Lungrik Jampal Ling from Situ Rinpoche’s Sherab Ling Monastery; Rigpe Dorje Institute from Jamgön Kongtrul Rinpoche’s monastery in Lava; Vajra Vidya Institute, from Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche’s monastery in Sarnath; Lekshey Ling, Chöje Lama Phuntsok’s Shedra in Nepal; Thösam Norling Gatsal, Bokar Rinpoche’s shedra; Tergar Ösel Ling from Mingyur Rinpoche’s monastery; and Read the rest of this article
On this sunny morning, the Karmapa and his entourage drove down Kintzigstrasse in the former East Berlin to pay a visit to the Bodhicarya center, founded by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche. The wood fence lining the street outside the center is decorated with colorful drawings of the eight auspicious symbols, which lead up to the main gate. Its doors are opened wide to reveal a vista of the countryside hidden in this corner of Berlin. Winding paths lined with grasses and flowers wend their way past red brick, single-story buildings to the tall meditation hall at the back of the property. On top are special rooms for the Karmapa including a balcony with a view of the gardens and the surrounding area.
The architect Inka Drohn tells the history of this place:
“The land is protected as an historical site because it testifies to the shift from rural to urban architecture. The surrounding buildings are tall with many stories, but these are very small buildings, collected like a loose settlement with a lot of Read the rest of this article
Tibetan Buddhist leader, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, arrives today in Berlin on his first European visit. The Karmapa will meet this week with members of the Jewish community in Berlin, and visit the Holocaust Museum and the Berlin Wall. On a stop in Cologne, he was specially invited by the Archdiocese of Cologne to address faculty and students at the Katholische Fachhochshule NRW and was offered a private tour of the Cologne Cathedral.
Although this is only the Karmapa’s third trip outside his dramatic escape from Tibet to India, he enjoys a wide following in the West, where his message of social responsibility and environmental sustainability has been warmly embraced. At the age of 29, he is the head of the 900-year-old Karma Kagyu lineage, one of the largest schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
The five-day visit to Berlin marks the second stage of this Tibetan Buddhist leader’s European visit, centred on Germany. From 5-8 June, the Karmapa will be teaching daily to a sold-out hall at Read the rest of this article