2008/10/28

48TH ANNIVERSARY OF TCV SCHOOL - OCT 28, 2008


Tibetan Children's Village (TCV) school of Dharamsala celebrates its 48th founding anniversary celebration on 25th of October. His Holiness Dalai Lama and Gyalwang Karmapa were invited by the school to attend the celebrations as chief guests.

TCV’s founding anniversary day was huge celebration event. The day-long celebration showcased children presenting colorful cultural programs, fascinating callisthenic display formations and an impressive performance by the school band. There were also traditional Tibetan song and dance performances by individual and group artists.
The actual event usually lasts for three days.

On the second day TCV School observed its 24th Inter- House Athletic meet which is an annual inter-house games and sports competition.
The Gyalwang Karmapa was the chief guest for this program.

The Gyalwang Karmapa arrived at 8:50 am, he was heartily welcomed by all the students and heads of the school including Jetsun Pema La (His Holiness Dalai Lama's sister)
The athletic competition lasted until after lunch. The Songtsen House was the winner for this year's competition.
Gyalwang Karmapa addressed the event mentioning not to be dismayed by any competition but to strive more to excel.
Later he visited the school's museum where they were displaying Tibetan Religion and Cultural after that he left for his residence.
Headquartered here in the Northern Indian town of Dharamsala, TCV is the largest residential school of the exiled Tibetan community and also one of the largest of its kind in India.
TCV was founded in 1960 as a nursery school with over 51 Tibetan refugee children. The foundation has now become a thriving, integrated educational community for destitute Tibetan children in exile, as well as for hundreds of those escaping from Tibet in each passing year.
It has established branches in India extending from Ladakh in the North to Bylakuppe in the South. The educational foundation claims it has over 15,000 children under its care each year and has given education to over 50,000 students till date.

2008.10.26 西藏兒童村四十八週年慶典 48th founding anniversary  of Tibetan Children's Village School
His Holiness attending the 48th anniversary celebration of TCV School

2008/10/20

HH KARMAPA GREETS HH DALAI LAMA, OCTOBER 20, 2008


Hundreds of Tibetans and well-wishers holding traditional ceremonial scarves and burning incense greeted His Holiness the Dalai Lama as he returned to his hometown.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama was received at the Gaggal Airport, which is an hour drive from McLeod Ganj, by The Gyalwang Karmapa and officials of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, and heads of major Tibetan non-governmental organizations.
Dalai Lama arrived from the Indian capital, where he successfully underwent a surgery to remove gall stones at a private hospital.

His Holiness Dalai Lama returns home after successful surgery.

2008/10/18

HH KARMAPA OBSERVES DEBATE - OCTOBER 18, 2008


His Holiness was invited to observe the 14th annual winter debate of the Nuns which is held at Jamyang Chöeling Nunnery located in Garoh, 17 kilometers away from Gyuto Monastery.
The debate commenced after the arrival of His Holiness at 3 pm, which went on for two and half hours, later at 5:30 pm the debate was completed and His Holiness left for Gyuto Monastery.

2008.10.18 蔣揚確林尼寺冬季尼眾辯經法會His Holiness Observes Debate
His Holiness observes 14th annual winter debate, October 18, 2008

NUN’S EDUCATION AND CONDUCT IN MODERN TIMES




On October 18th, 2008, His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa was invited to preside over the second all-night debate session of the fourteenth Jamyang Guncho for nuns, which was held at Jamyang Choling Institute in Dharamsala. Over two hundred nuns from seven different nunneries were present. The following presents the main points of the remarks which His Holiness gave on that occasion.
These days many friends from abroad with a modern viewpoint are giving help and direction to Tibetan nuns and laywomen and I would like to thank them for their help. But I think we need to begin from within our own Tibetan society to find a particular Tibetan way of being modern. The reason for this is that other viewpoints and Tibetan culture are sometimes incompatible, and as Tibetan culture is already endangered, insisting too strongly on imposing other ways of doing things could very well weaken what we are working hard to preserve.
There are quotations in the scriptures and treatises which say that ordaining women as nuns will make the Buddhist teachings disappear five hundred years earlier than otherwise. Some people cite these passages to scare you. Others try to explain them away, saying they should not be taken literally. In any case, I don’t think it is necessary to do either. The reason is that the Buddha himself not only decided to ordain women, he also granted women all the vows in the vinaya. If people cannot accept this, they should go and complain directly to the Buddha. Our responsibility is to keep the vows we have taken purely and to practice listening, contemplation, and meditation to the best of our ability. If we do so, there is no need to worry that being a nun will bring any harm to the Buddhist teachings. For men who take ordination as well, there is no better way to serve the teachings than to maintain their vows and to study and practice.
Indeed it was the Buddha’s wish that the members of the sangha coexist in harmony and joy without any discord. To explain the Buddha’s teachings with one-pointed concentration and speaking together with one voice like milk and water mixed together is to pay true respect and devotion to the Buddha. This is what the Buddha’s own aunt Mahaprajapati said.
These days many people say that Tibetan Buddhism does not give Tibetan nuns all the rights they are due, that there is no equality between the sexes in Tibetan society, and other such things. When they say this, they are looking outside themselves. When we look outward, we blame society for our own failures and are at each other’s throats the moment a conversation begins. Actually, because we lack courage and self-confidence, we hold ourselves back, and that is what brings us harm. It is not a question of a lack of external conditions and opportunities.
Once after the Lord Buddha had attained enlightenment, he returned to his homeland and taught the dharma to his father King Shuddhodana and the other Shakyans. The Shakyan Mahanama who was so delighted after hearing the teachings that when he returned home, his wife asked him, “What happened?”
“Today the Buddha taught the Dharma to many hundreds of people,” he said. “From hearing these teachings, thousands of beings will develop amazing, excellent realization!”
His wife replied, “It’s true that the appearance of the Buddha is meaningful, but it helps you, not us. The Buddha came into the world for men’s sake, not women’s.”
Mahanama responded, “That’s not how it is. The Buddha loves and wants to benefit all sentient beings. You should go and listen to the teachings.” Because he encouraged them, his wife and all the Shakyan women gained the opportunity to receive dharma teachings. As this story shows, if women lack courage and are too shy, it will be difficult for them even to receive teachings from the Buddha unless others help them, so we must increase our courage and self-confidence if we are to do great things.
This is why now is not a time to argue and protest; it is a time to improve ourselves. When I say that we should improve ourselves, you might think I’m putting pressure on you and you might sigh in despair. But if you look at the whole picture, the situation is different.
When you go on a journey, the goal may seem to be a long way off even when you have traveled a long time. Only when you look back can you see how far you’ve come. Twenty years ago there was only one nunnery in Dharamsala and most of the nuns were older women. Now there are several nunneries, and many enthusiastic young nuns have joined them. They are studying hard and making great progress in their education. You are the first generation of nuns to study the great texts; for this reason you must be totally committed—you are paving the way for future generations.
You should not let your study and good conduct diverge from each other. The way any monastic, whether male or female, carries themselves and speaks has a great influence on the teachings for good or ill. Nowadays many people are taking especial interest in nuns, so many people are watching you study. Therefore you nuns should have high expectations for yourselves and take care to value yourselves highly. You are not simply students, but must be dignified and give a good example to show what a nun really is.
The word geshe is a contraction of the Tibetan word for spiritual friend. If you have all the qualities of a spiritual friend, you automatically become one. The tradition of giving the title geshe developed in Tibet. When you have completed your education, it is up to His Holiness the Dalai Lama whether to grant the geshe degree, so you should not lose sleep worrying about whether you will be a geshe.
In the Vinaya, the bhikshunis’ teacher is considered important, so we need to take interest in the quality of instructors. It is not appropriate to regard instructing nuns as a lower status or pointless job. If the instructors are dedicated, their students will achieve good results. The Jamyang Guncho is a sign of this. I don’t think that nuns would have even dreamt of such an event in the past.
The Vinaya tells that when the bhikshuni Mahaprajapati passed into nirvana, Nanda, Aniruddha, Ananda, and Rahula carried her body to the cremation ground, the Lord Buddha himself supporting it with his right hand. I think that the Buddha’s compassionate hand always supports you nuns, never letting you down, so all of you should go joyfully and at ease down the path to liberation and bring great benefit to wandering beings.

2008/10/04

HHK RECEIVES AVALOKITSHVARA INITIATION - OCTOBER 4, 2008


The Gyalwang Karmapa attended the Saturday morning Avalokiteshvara initiation (Thug-je-Chenpoe-Wang) given by His Holiness Dalai Lama at Tsuklag Khang.


http://www.kagyuoffice.org/PastActivities-08-SepttoOct.html

2008/10/01

Gyalwang Karmapa's Foreword for " Environmental Guidelines for Karma Kagyu Buddhist Monasteries, Centers and Community"



A PDF of His Holiness' Environmental Guidelines Booklet can be downloaded here.





In the past, people in most parts of the world had a very straightforward relationship with the environment. They used the resources provided by nature as needed and due to the simplicity of their lives, rarely did great damage to the Earth. However, this has changed considerably in more recent times. Not only are our lives no longer so simple, our relationship with the environment is much more complicated and we now have tremendous power to do it harm.

Our lifestyle in the 21st century makes huge demands on the environment. We use more and more resources like fossil fuels, timber and water without any understanding of what the outcomes will be. We think we need all kinds of gadges, toys and machines without stopping to think if these are really important and useful to us. Sometimes there seems to be no natural limit to human desires. But there is a limit to how much Mother Earth can sustain us and we cannot afford to indulge in our desires unthinkingly.

During the time of the Buddha, the monastic community lived carefully and frugally and nothing was wasted. I have read that when new robes were offered to the monk, the old robes were used to cover their cushions and mattresses. When those covers wore out, the cloth used as dusters and finally when even that wore out it was mixed with clay and used to plaster the walls.

The Buddha followed a way of life that did not fall into either of two extremes-utter poverty and suffering of the one hand or accumulation and hoarding on the other. Monks lived from day to day with no need to store food and resources and such a lifestyle accorded with the middle way. The Buddha didn’t want a monk’s life to be very difficult, but neither did he encourage the hoarding of offerings from the faithful. Similarly, today our lifestyle should be neither too hard nor overly indulgent.

When writing about the Bodhisattva vow, Chandragomen said:

    For others and also for yourself,
    Do what is useful even if painful,
    And what is both useful and pleasurable,
    Not what gives pleasure but is of no use.

So, if something we want brings benefit but does not harm us or the environment, then we can think of it as necessary. But, if that is not the case, we should certainly think twice about why we want it and if we need it at all.

Still, this is something that individuals must weight up and choose for themselves. Making this kind of active decision means that you are making a choice with some confidence and not just blindly. In this way you can match your actions to your aspirations.

I was born in 1985, in a very remote area without modern amenities. As a result, I grew up experiencing the old way of life as it had been led for centuries in Tibet. People were very careful about how they used water, wood, and other resources. I don’t remember there being any garbage because people found a use for everything. They were careful to not spoil the springs from which they took their drinking water. In fact, I remember that as a child I planted a tree to protect our local spring and asked my father to look after it once I left for Tsurphu.

People in my homeland may not have much formal education but we have inherited a deep traditional concern for the environment. Even the children regard many of the mountains and rivers in their landscape and some of the wild animals as sacred and treat them with respect accordingly. This is part of their family heritage and our cultural tradition.

These days, however, I hear there is a move for nomads to settle down and become farmers. The traditional way of life is rapidly fading away. The communities that are settling down use more resources; they cut a lot more trees and they generate a lot more garbage, which needs to be disposed of. Framing means that the grassland themselves will disappear and maybe the soil itself will not be able to sustain this lifestyle without more and more fertilizers and chemicals.

Many of these aspects of life are similar throughout the Himalayan region. The Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayan region are especially important because they are the watershed for much of Asia; therefore I hope that the people who live here can set an example of how to take care of the environment. Many of the people in this region are Buddhist, and have a respect for the Buddha dharma. I hope that their faith and devotion will be a source of practical benefit for all beings and bring peace and harmony in the world. Otherwise our prayers for the welfare of all sentient beings will not be much than words of consolation.

We have already done such immense damage to the environment that it is almost beyond our power to heal it. As a small step, I requested during the 25th Kagyu Monlam in 2007 that environmental protection and community service be incorporated into the program. Climate change is having a direct effect on our lives here in this region, more that most places. Therefore, I advised all the monasteries and the wider public with whom I have a connection to engage actively wherever they could to protect the environment.

Building on this, and combining the Buddhist tradition and our respectful attitude to the environment with contemporary science and practices, I have directed the following guidelines. They are but a small drop in a huge ocean. The challenge is far more complex and extensive than anything we alone can tackle. However, if we can all contribute a single drop of clean water, those drops will accumulate into a fresh pond, then a clear stream and eventually a vast pure ocean. This is my aspiration.



Written by the Seventeenth Karmapa, Ogyen Drodul Trinley Dorje, at Gyuto Monastery in Dharamsala on October 1st 2008