His Holiness Karmapa's Visit to Tilokpur Nuns' Monastery to benefit the Monastery (February 19-26, 2007)

His Holiness performs prayers
 at the cave the great Kagyu lineage holder Tilopa
From February 19-26, His Holiness Karmapa visited Drubten Pemo Jalpay Gatsal, the newly constructed Tilokpur Nuns' Monastery near Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh. During his visit, His Holiness taught on the life of Tilopa and the37 Actions of a Boddhisattva, as well as bestowed a number of empowerments. His Holiness consecrated a new temple at Tilokpur, as well as made a pilgrimage to the historic cave of Tilopa near the nunnery.
His Holiness made a short pilgrimage to Tilopa's cave in the morning of February 20, 2007, accompanied by Gyaton Tulku from Sherabling. Later in the day were International Cultural performances, including Tibetan and Indian performers presented there traditional dance and songs.
His Holiness started the 21st with an insightful teaching on the life of Great Yogi Tilopa. Afterwards he conferred a long life empowerment and bodhisattva vows. An abundant gathering of international devotees, as well as numerous monks and nuns were in attendance. His Holiness performed a small Gya-lha puja on roof top at sunset. Afterwards, fire crackers lit the night sky. On February 22, His Holiness began teaching on theThirty Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva, from the famous text written by Thogme Zangpo. The teaching on the 37 Practices continued until the 24th.
His Holiness changed the program and performed Karma Pakshi Tsog offering during the morning puja. According to Tibetan calendar, this date marked His Eminence XII Tai Situ Rinpoche's birthday. Headed by His Holiness, the celebration commenced at the main shrine hall of new Karma Drubgyu Thargay Ling. Cakes were distributed with joyous songs of Birthday to His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche, His Holiness adverted to the magnitude of the importance of His Eminence to the Kagyu lineage, as well as to His Holiness personally, and concluded the celebration with greetings to His Eminence. Earlier in the day His Holiness gave the Tara empowerment as requested by the nuns. - Tashi Paljor
Programme Outline
February 19, 2007
9:30 amArrival of His Holiness Karmapa at Drubten Pemo Jalpay Gatsal
 (new Tilokpur Nuns' Monastery)
10:30 am- Welcoming Ceremony in the main Temple of the New Monastery
- Mandala offering
- Offering of tea and ceremonial rice
- Public blessing by His Holiness
February 20, 2007
1.00 p.m.- SACRED LAMA DANCE performed by Tilokpur nuns
Traditional Tibetan and Indian performers will offer song,
dance and drama to His Holiness
(Groups or individuals who would like to offer a performance
are very welcome to do so.)
February 21, 2007
February 22-24, 2007
9.00 - 11.00 a.m.

2.00 - 4.00 p.m.
His Holiness will give teachings on this famous text written by
Thogme Zangpo.
February 25, 2007
February 26, 2007
12.00 p.m.After lunch His Holiness will return to His temporary residence
 at Gyuto.

His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa at Tilokpur Monastery


From February 19-26, 2007 His Holiness Karmapa visited Drubten Pemo Jalpay Gatsal, the newly constructed Tilokpur Nuns' Monastery near Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh, India. During his visit, His Holiness taught on the life of Tilopa and The 37 Actions of a Bodhisattva as well as bestowed a number of empowerments. His Holiness consecrated a new temple at Tilokpur. He made a short pilgrimage to Tilopa's cave in the morning of February 20.


Notes from a Participant

On the afternoon of the 20th, Sacred Lama Dances were performed by the Tilokpur nuns and many other cultural performances were offered by Tibetans, Indians and foreigners. It was moving and inspiring to watch people pour their hearts into their particular art, out of their love and devotion for the Karmapa.
On the morning of the 21st, His Holiness began the week’s teachings by speaking a bit about the life of Tilopa. I will quote him (his translator) here: “Many of us try to get a purpose or a meaning for our life in this world. The time that we have on this earth is quite short and our life is impermanent, very easily destroyed. Because our time in this life is very short and so uncertain and easy to lose, taking this into account, whether we are able to get the essence of or the essential purpose of this life does not depend on whether we can do lots of things. What is the essential purpose of our life? I think if we can give everything that we have for society, everything we have for the purpose of bringing benefit to others, I think that is the essential purpose of our life.

“When I say ‘whatever we have,’ I mean our life, our intelligence, our talents and whatever. When I say ‘etc.,’ it means whatever capacities or things that we have that we can use. 

When we say ‘to give our life,’ of course, our life is very valuable and very important, but it does not mean that if we give our life that it’s the most beautiful thing. I have seen and many of you have seen, for instance, in Tibet the cattle, yaks and deer leave their lives for human beings, and of course their lives are very important, very valuable, but even then, if they give their lives for us, then the purpose of that becomes only to feed us, to make us not hungry for a while or to give us some strength of our body. It kind of remains limited to that and does not help bring us from unhappiness to true happiness, which brings a great benefit to other beings. It’s very difficult to have this kind of thing, even by giving their lives. Instead, we can offer or give all our intelligence and talents and through that dispel the difficulties in this world, making this an offering. I think it becomes much more beneficial, much more limitless in its benefits and much less negative.

“In this world, there have been many beings, chiefly human beings, but other beings as well, who have produced great benefit by offering their intelligence, their mind, their talents, the same as the subject today. Tilopa was like that. He was able to benefit a great number of beings through his realization, through his understanding and greatness. If medicine that can cure a serious illness, for example, is kept secret and not given to those who need it, then it would not benefit anyone. But if that medicine were spread throughout the world and made available to everyone, then it would be of great benefit and save many lives. So therefore, in order to understand Tilopa’s contribution, it is very important to understand what realization means, the wisdom that Tilopa represents. To understand this, we have to look into the story of Tilopa, how he went through difficulties, how much effort he made, how he attained understanding, wisdom and qualities of loving kindness and compassion. We understand all those things by looking at life stories.”

His Holiness recounted a brief story of Tilopa’s life, childhood, education and his journey to the land of Uddiyana, where he received teachings from Vajrayogini. His Holiness said that it doesn’t really matter whether Tilopa had actually been to the cave that we visited or even the area of the monastery. He told us that what makes a place blessed is our devotion. Quoting the translator, His Holiness said: “The most important thing is that we are establishing a place where we can practice the teachings, the lineage that comes from Tilopa. If we are holding the lineage and establishing a place to practice the teachings of Tilopa, that is where Tilopa would really be. If he hasn’t been there, he will come now. So, it’s not the most important thing to find out whether Tilopa came here or not, rather it is important to hold his lineage and to practice his teachings. Then it is possible that he would actually appear here as well.”

His Holiness then told us that Tilopa gave his clothes to a beggar who was riddled with lice and in exchange took the beggar’s cape and wore it so that the lice in it had the chance to feed on his body and not die. Seeing that Tilopa was getting weaker until he got sick, his students beseeched him to rid his body of the lice. Tilopa responded to his disciples that he had wasted so many lives and told them, “This is the time that I am using this life and this body to help others. My life has become meaningful. Even if I die, I will think that I have used my life in the most beneficial way, so I will not change. I will not give up.”

From the 22nd until the 25th, His Holiness presented teachings on The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva. It would take pages for me to even try to convey his wonderful instructions. He emphasized the development and practice of bodhicitta in our daily lives. His Holiness composed a melody for the verses of this most precious text, which we also sang in Tibetan together. During the teachings, we celebrated the birthday of H.E. Tai Situ Rinpoche. Cake and sweets were served to everyone, and we were able to offer kathaks to his photo on the shrine. His Holiness spoke about His Eminence with deep respect and devotion, referring to him as his “all-knowing Lama.”

I will simply quote His Holiness’ closing words during his visit to Tilokpur Monastery, as there is nothing I could write that would be worthy. Many people wept openly when they heard him tell us, “My body is male but my mind has many female qualities, so I find myself a little bit both like male and female. Therefore I have great aspirations to benefit all sentient beings, but especially I have the commitment to work for the welfare of women, especially nuns, as long as I live. As long as I have this life, I would like to work one-pointedly and diligently in their cause. I have this responsibility as the head of this school of Buddhism. From that point of view, I promise that I will try to do my best so that the community of nuns receive all necessary practice instructions in order to progress and have the right kind of advancement in their field. I will do my very best.”

His Holiness continued, “I don’t know how much help I have been to you, but I feel that you have been a great help to me. I feel extremely grateful to all of you, for all of you. Sometimes I feel that my life is useless because I feel that what I do does not really help. But by being here, because of all of you, I feel that I have been of some help and been of some use, and that gives me great satisfaction and a great sense of purpose. I would like to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart.

“Although tomorrow we leave for different places, I will always keep you in my prayers. All my good and best wishes are always there. And if there is anything I can do to help any of you, I will be there waiting for you.”

Allow me to close with a few words that a friend spoke to describe the incredible experience that the people in this area of India recount with awe when recalling the visit of His Holiness the Karmapa. Paul said something to the effect that His Holiness seemed to wrap the entire area in a warm, loving, comforting blanket. It did indeed feel like I imagine a loving mother’s womb to be. Please forgive any discrepancies and know that they come from my ignorance, and anything that has been helpful comes from the blessings of His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa. – April 2007.

May virtue increase!

(Photo of His Holiness courtesy of Rosi and Rüdiger Findeisen, Hamburg.)


His Holiness Welcomes the New Year (February 18, 2007)

His Holiness Karmapa welcomed in the New Year on February 18, 2007, pursuant to the Tibetan lunar calendar. This is the Year of the Fire Pig, according to the Tsurluk calendar system. (Click here for background information on the Tsurluk system.)

His Holiness supervised the practice of Mahakala (the protector of Kagyu Lineage), for all sentient beings

In the traditional manner, His Holiness presided over the Mahakala puja on the 29th (Guthor) of the Tibetan lunar calendar (February 16, 2007), at his temporary camp at Gyutoe Monastery in Himachal Pradesh. This practice is done prior to Losar (Tibetan New Year) to clarify and remove obstacles and bad omens for the coming year. - Tashi Paljor

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