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 speaking of the five certainties: the time is special as it is Saga Dawa which contains three major events in the Buddha’s life; the teacher is special as the seventeenth Gyalwang Karmapa is present; the place is special as Switzerland is a country dedicated to peace; the teaching is special as the Karmapa will be bestowing the empowerments of the Medicine Buddha and Avalokiteshvara; and the Sangha is special as it is the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages combined.
His Holiness then began his talk by warmly welcoming everyone and adding in a “bonjour” as well. He then gave the oral transmission for the Seven-Line Prayer to Guru Rinpoche, making an auspicious connection with this Nyingma center and underlining the commonality of the two lineages. For this opportunity to come to Switzerland, the Karmapa thanked Namkha Rinpoche for his dedication and perseverance in arranging this visit and also expressed his appreciation to the Central Tibetan Administration.
The Karmapa noted, “The Nyingma and Kamtsang Kagyu lineages have an old and deep connection. When the Sixteenth Karmapa came to India, he knew good relationships with Nyingma masters and khenpos, who were his profound Dharma friends.” The Karmapa made the aspiration to continue this close connection, so that the two traditions can work together to spread the Dharma and to benefit others.
Turing to our contemporary world, the Karmapa said that we have witnessed a great material development, but this has also brought excessive distractions so that people are too busy to develop their practice fully and bring it into fruition. He complemented the Nyingma tradition for its emphasis on practice and for the numerous realized masters it has fostered and continues to yield even today. “This is a special quality of the Nyingma lineage,” he noted, “distinguishing it from others. We should take these masters as our role models to sustain the practice and develop the qualities of the tradition so that all living beings may be benefited. This is the goal. My wish is that you practice this lineage with a strong motivation.”
The Karmapa concluded his talk in addressing the many Tibetans who had gathered for the occasion. “The main reason I came to Switzerland,” he stated, “is because there are so many Tibetans to meet here.” Indeed, outside of India, Switzerland is home to the second largest Tibetan population. “I am happy to have met you,” the Karmapa said, “and whatever the situation might be, I will help you as much as I can.” He closed by saying the he was looking forward to sharing his plans and ideas with them.