Nangchen Nyer-nga Society offered Ten-Shug (Long Life) to His Holiness Dalai Lama on morning of 28th September. Gyalwang Karmapa was invited as Chief guest for the event. Later at afternoon as requested by the Nangchen Nyer-Nga Society Karmapa gave the long live empowerment at Gyuto Temple which was attended by almost a thousand devotees including all the members of the society.

2008.9.28 法王噶瑪巴給予長壽佛灌頂HHK Gives Long Life Empowerment
His Holiness gives Long Life Empowerment, September 28, 2008



Today His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa arrived safely back to his residence at Gyuto University.
His Holiness could not complete the later branch of his Dharma tour to the regions of Jispa, Lahaul Spiti and Kinnaur - part of Himachal Pradesh - due to heavy snowfall and blockage of the high mountain passes.
His Holiness will resume his daily activities.



His Holiness Karmapa and his aides which includes his sister and the General Secretary Drupon Rinpoche were airlifted by an army helicopter from Bara-lacha Pass to Leh in Ladakh after he was stranded on the Bara-lacha pass for the last two days due to heavy snowfall. (Ladakh Gonpa Association, Ladhak Buddhist Association and Mr.Tsering Dorji organised the airlift).
His Holiness was on his way to complete his next leg of Dharma tour in Lahual spiti and Kinnaur region of Himachal Pradesh.
"His Holiness and his followers are fine and in good health, and will spend two more days in Leh in Ladakh" said Drupon Rinpoche General Secretary to His Holiness.

2008.9.17-24 法王噶瑪巴拉達克弘法HHK in Ladakh

His Holiness in Ladakh, September 17-24, 2008 (Photographer: Karma Norbu)




His Holiness Karmapa visited Changthang, eastern Ladakh and Nubra valley in northern Ladakh. He has delivered a one-day religious discourse at Choglmasar in Leh, Disket in Nubra and Mahey Gonpa in Changthang areas. His Holiness visited Skimthang Village, Kesar Village and had lunch at Rani-bagh, he was greeted by all the villagers and had short receptions at each village he passes.
His Holiness visited Jivetsal Phodrang at Leh and delivered teaching and empowerment. Dinner was hosted in honor of His Holiness at Chokwang Temple by Ladakh Buddhist Association and Ladakh Gonpa Association.
His Holiness will visit Khardong La, Leh Phumdo, Tsodling and Diskit Phodrang at Nubra, His Holiness will deliver religious discourse at Diskit Phodrang.


On September 13, 2008, at 7am, His Holiness entered the great shrine hall of Mahey Gompa, where he performed ritual offering ceremonies together with the monks of Mahey. His Holiness engaged in special practices and prayers for the repelling of natural calamities in Asia. At 9am, His Holiness granted a blessing line to over 2,000 people who were not able to receive a blessing the previous day. Beginning at 10am, in the large field adjacent to the monastery, His Holiness bestowed the long life empowerment of Machik Drubpay Gyalmo and gave a talk connected to this empowerment. In his remarks, he gave advice on how to deal with day-to-day difficulties and gave other highly beneficial instructions. He also discussed the principle of samaya. Representatives of Mahey Gompa made 108 symbolic offerings of gratitude to His Holiness at this time. Approximately 8,000 people attended this event.
At 3pm, His Holiness gave an audience to around 70 people. At 5:30pm, since Drupon Dechen Rinpoche, the head of Mahey Gompa, was about to depart for Sherab Ling (in Bir, India) to receive teachings and transmissions, His Holiness's entourage, led by Lama Phuntsok, were granted an audience by him.
At 6pm, His Holiness said prayers, and even composed a few lines of verse, for peace in India and Tibet.
Report by Khenpo Chokdup. Translated by Tyler Dewar.

2008.9.13 法王噶瑪巴拉達克弘法HHK in Ladakh
His Holiness in Ladakh, September 13, 2008 (Photographer: Karma Norbu)



On September 12, 2008, from 10am to 12:40pm, His Holiness gave a speech in which he offered spiritual advice to a gathering of over 6,000 monastics and laypersons in front of Mahey Gompa. In his remarks, His Holiness praised the area of Ladakh as a place where the Buddhist teachings had long ago taken root and had not diminished to this day. He discussed the essence of Buddhadharma as relinquishing negative actions, performing positive actions, and taming one's mind and encouraged all monastics and laypersons to practice the dharma, which is endowed with tremendous potential for benefit. After giving blessings and gifts to the members of the assembled audience, His Holiness departed to his quarters for rest.
Mahey Gompa was founded in 1970 by the previous Drupon Dechen Rinpoche as directed by the previous Gyalwang Karmapa.
As there are very few residential areas close to the monastery, many laypeople traveled distances ranging from twenty kilometres to 100 kilometres in order to receive His Holiness's teachings and empowerments. To facilitate transportation, the government of Ladakh provided ten buses.
At 2pm, the locals offered His Holiness a show of song and dance. At 4:30pm, His Holiness granted an audience and photo session to the eight primary local benefactors of Mahey Gompa. At 5:15pm, His Holiness visited the home of a local dignitary named Pentok and said prayers at his house. Afteward, he retired to his quarters at the monastery.
Report by Khenpo Chokdup. Translated by Tyler Dewar.

2008.9.12 法王噶瑪巴拉達克弘法HH Karmapa in Ladakh
His Holiness in Ladakh, September 12, 2008 (Photographer: Karma Norbu)



Leh, Ladakh, September 11 - His Holiness Karmapa inaugurated a school in Leh yesterday. The school has been built with support from His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Charitable Trust and managed by Nalanda Dharma Centre.
The school will give education of both Tibetan Buddhism and modern sciences to children of Ladakh region, especially from remote areas. The initial batch of students enrolled are from Drokpa tribe of remote Da-Hanu areas of Ladakh.
From Ladakh, He will visit Mahey Gonpa, one of affiliated branch monastery of Rumtek Monastery, His Holiness is scheduled to give Empowerment and teachings at Mahey Gonpa.

2008.9.12 法王噶瑪巴拉達克弘法HH Karmapa in Ladakh
His Holiness in Ladakh, September 11, 2008 (Photographer: Karma Norbu)



To read the news release in PDF format click here. Report by Khenpo Chokdup.

2008.9.9 法王噶瑪巴拉達克弘法HHK in Ladakh

His Holiness in Ladakh, September 9, 2008 (Photographer: Karma Norbu)



His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa left Gyuto for the Dharma tour launching from Ladhak and continuing on to nearby region.

His Holiness is scheduled to give teachings at Chokwang Temple in the Leh area of Ladakh on September 9th.



His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa arrived in Leh, Ladakh, early in the morning to begin a “Dharma Tour” of the predominantly Buddhist region of India.
Hundreds of Buddhists, including Ladakhis and Tibetans, and visiting tourists were seen lining up since early morning along His Holiness' entourage route leading up to Chokwang Monastery - keen to catch a glimpse of him. During the brief religious function at the Chokwang Monastery, he was offered Mandrel-Tensum and long life prayers.
His Holiness, upon accepting the offering, said that he was very happy to be in Ladakh for the second time.
Describing the Ladakhis as “devout Buddhist,” His Holiness said he has experienced a feeling of receiving great reverence and love from the people of the region during his first visit. “It is my prayer and hope to visit Ladakh and meet the people of this land many times in future,” he said.
HHK is scheduled to give a short teaching for a Tibetan SOS Village School Choglamsar on the 10th of September.

HHK at Chokwang temple in Ladhak being offered Mendrel ten sum.



His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa will be on a Dharma tour from Sept 8th to Oct 3rd, 2008. His Holiness will visit the region of Ladakh, Lahaul Spiti and Kinnaur. The visit was requested by the people and numerous Buddhist associations of those regions, (Ladakh Buddhist Association, Ladakh Gonpa Association, Mahey Gonpa Monastery, Lahual Spiti Buddhist Association, Hargrang Rinchen Buddhist Cultural Heritage Foundation, Kinnaur Bodh Mahasabha)

His Holiness visited the Ladakh region in August 2001.

His Holiness will be visiting most of the Buddhist pilgrimage areas and will carry out teachings and empowerments to those areas.



“Kindness Is the Most Important Thing”: The 17th Karmapa concludes his first visit to America (Shambhala Sun)


The 17th Karmapa, reincarnate leader of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, made international headlines when he was fourteen years old with his dramatic and dangerous escape from Tibet. This May, now twenty-two, he made his first-ever trip to the United States, teaching dharma in New York, Seattle, and Boulder, Colorado, and expressing a deep sense of connection with Americans that was reciprocated by the thousands who came to hear him. At a news conference at the conclusion of his two-week tour, he spoke of how it had transformed and inspired him. I had the honor of asking the opening questions.
—Melvin McLeod

You’ve spoken several times here in Seattle about the freedom of Americans and how much that has impressed you. What were you referring to specifically?

The 17th Karmapa: My sense of the spirit of American freedom comes from my experience relating to Westerners. It seems to me that in general Westerners are very spacious and open-minded. I have seen this in my meetings with Westerners who come to see me in India. I really admire their directness, their forthrightness, their freedom. They say things to you directly and frankly, instead of holding back. There’s a feeling of openness that I like very much, and I feel even more kinship with that spirit now that I have come here to America.

When I interviewed you last year in New Delhi for the Shambhala Sun’s sister publication, Buddhadharma, you talked about the evolution taking place in your life from your previous secular identity to becoming the Karmapa. How has this visit to the West changed your understanding of what it means to be the Karmapa?

The 17th Karmapa: I think my appreciation for what it means to be the Karmapa has deepened since I have come to the United States. Previously, I had met Westerners in India and Tibet, but it’s different to come here and see with my own eyes that there are thousands of people who are looking to me with hope. I have the sense that I have to stretch my arms out even further than I have stretched them before, that I have to widen my perspective even more than it had been before, keeping in mind all of the people throughout the world who have faith and hope toward the Karmapa. I’m encouraged to think in an even vaster way about all the people who live in different places and have different habits, and try to benefit them in accordance with their specific situations.

Many people have been inspired by your song, “Aspiration for the World.” Is the Buddhist approach to the environment different from the conventional way of thinking about it?

The 17th Karmapa: The teachings of the Buddha are a source of benefit and happiness for all sentient beings. For people who follow the tradition of buddhadharma, this is a truth that we have great confidence in.

In that context, there are some ways that Buddhists would endeavor to protect the world that are similar to environmental organizations’ approaches, but there are other Buddhist approaches that would be different. In terms of similar aspects, the strongest tradition of ethics in Buddhism is found in the monastic traditions, and there are very specific rules that ordained monks and nuns follow in order to protect and respect the environment. For example, monks and nuns are prohibited from cutting down trees. That’s just one example of how respect for the environment is embedded in the ethical codes of Buddhism.

However, the main endeavor of Buddhists is to tame the mind in order to bring peace and well-being into the hearts of oneself and all sentient beings. This is a very important way to protect the environment. If we focus only on changing the external circumstances, we will never be able to fully succeed in saving and protecting the world. Because no matter how many changes we make on the outside, if our minds are not at peace, if they are disturbed and governed by self-centeredness, then that is always going to produce external disturbance in the world.

So the primary focus of people who follow the dharma is to bring peace and well-being into their own hearts and into the hearts of all sentient beings, transcending self-centeredness. This is the most important point for Buddhists and for all spiritual practitioners.

There is a lot of speculation that you are being groomed to succeed the Dalai Lama as the leading face of Tibetan Buddhism in the world. What are your thoughts about that?

The 17th Karmapa: The activity of His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been tremendously beneficial not only for the people of Tibet but for the entire world. His Holiness has been a source of inspiration and guidance in terms of how we may accomplish genuine peace and happiness. Therefore, it is important for us to continue the vision he has set forth.

This means we should all pray for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, but we must also prepare for the time after His Holiness passes away to ensure that his death does not mean the cessation of the vision that he has set into motion for the world. Therefore, everyone who is a student and a friend of the Dalai Lama has the responsibility to sustain his vision into the future. Since I have been recognized as an important spiritual teacher within Tibetan Buddhism, I’m kind of an obvious suspect for people to look to and say, “Well, we think he’s going to be the successor,” and so forth. But I can tell you that His Holiness is not looking only to me with hope for the future; he’s looking to everyone with hope.

I am a student of His Holiness, and from that perspective, of course I’m going to do everything I can to preserve his spiritual legacy and continue his vision of peace and well-being in the world. But that’s something that everyone has the responsibility to do; it’s not something His Holiness is giving me alone.

This morning you taught on the ngondro, the traditional preliminary practices of Vajrayana Buddhism. Yet even then you said you wanted to make the teachings accessible. Where is the balance for you between Buddhist tradition and the need to communicate with contemporary Western audiences?

The 17th Karmapa: There is no single, definitive tradition in the buddhadharma, because there are all kinds of sentient beings who have their own interests and dispositions. For that reason, there has to be a wide variety in methods for traversing the path. Mind is not a definite, concrete thing. For that reason, the methods for relating to the mind also cannot be concrete and universal.

The main objective of the dharma is to tame our minds—to bring peace and happiness to our minds—but there needs to be a wide variety of methods available for different sentient beings. For example, some beings might give rise to bodhichitta, the wish to attain enlightenment, through meditating on emptiness. The meditation on emptiness might be an avenue for them to connect with the altruistic heart of bodhichitta. On the other hand, other beings might not be able to connect with bodhichitta through contemplating emptiness. So there’s no universal rule, no definitive set of methods. Again, it leads back to the state of mind: since there’s no definitive, universal state of mind, there can never be any definitive, universal set of methods.

At the same time, there are traditions within Buddhism that are very beneficial and carry great blessings, because they are the traditions of highly accomplished spiritual beings. These blessings are special and should be seen as sacred and beneficial. That’s why we respect the teaching styles and methods of the great spiritual masters of the past. They don’t have to be regarded as concrete rules, but at the same time they do carry supreme blessings.

You said as you began your tour that you came here to learn from Americans. Now, at the end of the two weeks, what have you learned?
The 17th Karmapa: Since I’ve come to America I’ve had a lot of new experiences. It’s difficult for me to say right away what message I’ve received from Americans, but I would say it’s been wonderful to come directly into contact with the technological and other advancements in the West. Living in the East, we always see images of the advanced things happening in the West, but it’s a different feeling to come here and personally witness them. Some of this experience has been almost illusory for me. So it’s been a good introduction to what living an illusion is like!

One of the places you visited here was Disneyland. Was that something you particularly wanted to do?

The 17th Karmapa: The people hosting my visit of the U.S. were interested in showing me the neatest places to go in terms of recreation and leisure. I was really happy to have the opportunity to go to Disneyland. I’ve been familiar with Mickey Mouse since I was young, so it was a great experience to go to Mickey Mouse’s hometown. I was really delighted with my experience at Disneyland—I saw so much in just a couple of hours. The density of the experience was wonderful.

In your talk earlier today, you mentioned that you used to read X-Men and other comics. Is that something you still do?

The 17th Karmapa: I would continue reading comic books, but not many people give them to me anymore! When I was young, all kinds of people would give me comic books, but now they don’t. As you know, they made a movie of the X-Men, and I enjoyed that very much. When I went to Universal Studios, I thought about buying some X-Men comics while I was there. But it was very crowded and I thought, “Well, maybe it wouldn’t be so appropriate for an adult to purchase such things.”

These are things that many 22-year-olds would be interested in. It makes me wonder whether there are times when you think about what you missed not growing up in a secular environment.

The 17th Karmapa: As you know, I was recognized as the Karmapa when I was eight years old. So I had the life of a normal child up until that point, and even after I was recognized, I was still a kid and still thought like a kid. Actually, when I was first recognized as the Karmapa, I kind of viewed it as another game to play. I thought that being the Karmapa would be a fun thing to do, like a game. But as time went on I discovered all the things expected of me as the Karmapa, and that I had all these rules I had to follow. I do remember having thoughts like, “Oh, those children are playing games and I’d like to do that too, but I’m not allowed.” But at the same time, I don’t really feel that I lost anything. I don’t have a sense that I missed out on any aspect of childhood.

You have talked about practices that are appropriate to particular cultures, such as the Tibetan meditation on the mother as the symbol of compassion. What do you think are the appropriate practices for American culture?
The 17th Karmapa: Well, I’m still learning about American culture, but the best guess I can make at the present time is that recalling kindness is the most important thing. In order for us to have compassion toward all sentient beings, we need to remember their kindness. We need to reflect on how they have been kind to us.

We can do this by using the example of a mother, a father, a spouse, or anyone who has been kind to us. The main thing is to recall the immediate sources of kindness in our lives so that we come to the appreciation that, in the end, all sentient beings have been kind to us. Especially in this twenty-first century, we can see clearly how all beings depend on one another. Whether we’re eating food or putting on clothing or building a home to live in, it’s evident that many different beings participate in sustaining us. Through interdependence, everyone is kind to us. There is a vast network of interdependence through which we receive the kindness of all sentient beings.

Now, you could flip this and think only about suffering. You could think about the difficulties you go through in life and the interdependence of that. You could think to yourself, “Well, all sentient beings are involved in the causes of my suffering.” Logically you might have a point, but we have to focus on where there is benefit. There’s no benefit, personally, spiritually, or mentally, in obsessing about how others have caused you suffering. There is a benefit in reflecting on how other sentient beings have been kind to you. If you have that appreciation, your happiness will increase and your altruistic heart will become stronger. You will have a stronger desire to protect others, and you’ll think more often about helping them. The way to do that is to think about the immediate sources of kindness to you, and then spread that appreciation out to all sentient beings.

His Holiness’ translator for this news conference was Tyler Dewar.
"Kindness Is the Most Important Thing," Melvin McLeod, Shambhala Sun, September 2008.