9th November – New Delhi.
The Gyalwang Karmapa left Dharamsala for Delhi on Tuesday 6th November, at the beginning of his winter programme.
While in Delhi, he visited the American Embassy School, his third such visit, and spent the afternoon answering questions from students, parents and teachers. His Holiness visited school as part of Peace and Global Citizens initiatives. His Holiness arrived with little pomp and sat in the theatre, answering questions from students. Although the students came from younger age groups the questions they posed showed forethought and insight. His Holiness responded simply and frankly, describing his own life experiences, making practical suggestions, and exploring with his young audience the common values which we, as human beings, should hold- compassion, loving kindness and an appreciation of the interdependence of all sentient beings on planet earth.
One student asked, “What is the most important value of the Tibetan culture?” The Karmapa responded in a low voice, interspersed with English words, and shared with the audience by a translator. “The life that we live is a pretty simple life, We put at the center of our life altruism, the wish to benefit others. We’re pretty direct and straightforward. I think if you look at Tibetan culture, the most important values at the center of our culture are loving kindness and compassion, and we develop these feelings not just for other human beings but for all forms of life. Whatever we do, whatever activities we engage in, whatever studies we do, we always try to put the value of other beings in the center.”
He was open about neither choosing nor necessarily having fun in his role as Karmapa. In response to the question, “How did you decide to be a Karmapa?” he shook his head and laughed. “Decide?”
“So actually, I did not decide to be a Karmapa. In the west, people have a lot of choice and generally you decide what you want to study and when you finish your studies, you decide what job or career you want to have, but that was not the case with me. When I was 8 years old, I was just a normal boy. I played with other kids. I had a normal boy’s life. Then some people came and they told me, ‘You’re the Karmapa.’ At that time, I didn’t even understand what the Karmapa was … I thought, if I’m the Karmapa, I’ll probably get a lot of toys. I found out later being a Karmapa is not all that fun. It’s a lot of work and a lot of responsibility and a lot of studying. So becoming the Karmapa was not something I decided. It was more like something that just fell from the sky.”
“What can we do to maintain peace?” asked a student.
“We have so many different things that we’re constantly doing, and there are all these changes going on all the time, so it’s really not that easy, is it? I would say, to put it simply, just relax. Just relax and stay quiet. Generally speaking, this is a difficult question. For you, as kids, to be able to make peace, maybe don’t make it too complicated. Make it simple. Just relax.”
After the event, the Gyalwang Karmapa attended a dinner in his honour hosted by the Middle School Principal.
On Saturday 10th November, he flew from Delhi to Bodh Gaya, where he will be based at Tergar Monastery until mid-January 2013. During that time he will preside over the Kagyu Gunchö from 21st November – 13th December 2012. This is the winter debate session attended by monks from the various Kagyu monasteries and colleges. He will attend the 30th Kagyu Monlam Chenmo from 21st- – 28th December, the annual prayer festival whose purpose is to generate peace and happiness for all sentient beings. In addition the Gyalwang Karmapa will give teachings to the monks at the Gunchö, teachings and empowerments during the Kagyu Monlam, and more teachings after the Monlam.