It is my own heartfelt wish to be able to travel to Sikkim: Karmapa - Sikkim Express

26 June, 2015

GANGTOK: As the seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje turned 30 today, he expressed his fervent wish to visit Sikkim, where his previous incarnation – Rangyung Rigpae Dorje – had built his monastic seat outside Tsurphu, Tibet. 

“Many people in Sikkim have a solemn and sacred bond with the sixteenth Karmapa and now are deeply devoted to me. Many of them have repeatedly requested me to come to visit them and it is my own heartfelt wish to be able to travel to Sikkim in order to meet with them to honor these sacred bonds and to make a pilgrimage to holy places in Sikkim,” said the head of the 900 years old Kagyu lineage in his birthday message. 

The message further read: “I have yet to visit but have heard from my many friends there that Sikkim is a peaceful and environmentally friendly State. The main seat of the Karmapa reincarnation lineage is Tsurphu Monastery in Tibet, and I have had the wonderful opportunity to experience life there. When the 16th Karmapa left Tibet, he built a monastic seat at Rumtek in Sikkim, which is now a part of India.” 

Sikkim, it may be recalled has an old association with the Karmapa ever since the ninth Karmapa established Ralang monastery in West Sikkim, the oldest Karma Kagyu monastery in Sikkim. 

Like every year, hundreds of devotees including monks from as far as Phodong, Ralang, Mirik, Lava and Sonada thronged to Dharma Chakra Centre, Rumtek to offer their prayers to the Karmapa. 

However, the Karmapa, as per his message released today, chose not to celebrate his birthday citing several reasons, which he thinks are more important: absence of his parents, unnecessary inconvenience at Gyuto monastery in Dharamsala, his temporal residence; sense of urgency for the protection of the fragile ecosystems of the Tibetan plateau as well as the It is my own heartfelt... Himalayas; inability to visit Sikkim, where the 16th Karmapa has a sacred bond; and destruction and loss of life due to the recent Nepal earthquakes. 

“For all these various reasons, I personally will not be celebrating my birthday. I understand that others may still want to mark this day, and I do not wish to prevent anyone else from holding celebrations if they wish to do so,” reads the message. He has, however, taken the opportunity to thank the people for their support and love. 

Earlier this morning , incense was offered and prayer flags planted at the DCC premises, followed by prayers for the long life of the Karmapa and mandala offering. The afternoon was marked with cultural performance and birthday cake cutting ceremony. Meantime, Tsurphu Labrang, the office of the Karmapa, has carried out a number of activities – religious and charitable – as a part of the Karmapa’s thirtieth birthday.

Tibet vulnerable to climate change: Karmapa - Zee News

Last Updated: Friday, June 26, 2015 - 18:44

Dharamsala: Tibet is highly vulnerable to climate change and its preservation is urgently needed, the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the third most important Tibetan religious head, said on his 30th birthday on Friday.
He also warned that a lesson should be learnt from Nepal, which was devastated in the April 25 earthquake, and appealed to help rebuilding the Himalayan nation.
"Each year on my birthday, I recall not only my parents, but also the sparkling beauty of the pristine natural environment in which I was born and raised," said the Buddhist monk, who fled Tibet in January 2000 and now resides in a monastery on the outskirts of Dharamsala.
"This intensifies my sense of urgency for the protection of the fragile ecosystems of the Tibetan plateau as well as the Himalayas. As I have said, the area's glaciers make it the source of most of Asia's major rivers, and the Third Pole of the globe itself. For this reason, the Tibetan plateau plays an important role," he said in a message.
The Karmapa, who has decided not to celebrate his birthday, remembered the natural disaster thathit Nepal and stressed the need to preserve ecology.
"Nepal is still recovering from the terrible destruction and loss of life due to the recent earthquakes. I have asked my monasteries and nunneries to offer not only their prayers but also active and practical aid, and I request again now that they continue unflaggingly, as much rebuilding and healing still lies ahead," he said.
An important institution in the Tibetan religious set-up, the Karmapa, whose literal meaning is the one who carries out Buddha-activity, is the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu sect, one of the four sects of Tibetan Buddhism.
Both the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government have recognised Dorje as the 17th Karmapa.


First Published: Friday, June 26, 2015 - 18:44

MY FEMINIST LAMA - Tibetan Feminist Collective

JUNE 26, 2015
By Kaysang

A couple months ago, I started seeing a lot of articles on Gyalwang Karmapa that talked about how his teachings were becoming increasingly popular with the youth in America because his ideas were modern but rooted in Buddhism. The thing that struck me most in many of these articles was that they all referred to him as a “feminist.” I had my doubts – I wondered, did he really say all these things or were his words misinterpreted in translation?

The perfect opportunity presented itself when I got an email from Gyalwang Karmapa’s Kunkyong Charitable Trust inviting me to apply for nearly three weeks of “Interactions with His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa.” After submitting my application, I was selected to join 12 other students as participants in the program. We spent five days discussing and preparing presentations on a range of social issues to address with Gyalwang Karmapa: Identity; discrimination; gender equality, women’s empowerment; global leadership; education; consumerism; poverty; unemployment; and suicide. After each presentation, we asked Gyalwang Karmapa 12-15 questions on the topic of the day. My understanding of the answers to the questions on the topic of gender equality and women’s empowerment that were discussed in this program — as well as his book, “The Heart is Noble” — are the basis for my understanding of the Karmapa’s views on the subject. I truly felt that no one else could have understood feminism and equality of sexes the way he has.

The Masculine and the Feminine

Buddhist stories tend to highlight how humans were not distinguished as either “male” or “female” through human evolution.

The Karmapa tells us that the dominance of men in society was due to their natural advantage of physical strength. Karmapa also, however, points out that in this age of conflict and global inter-connectivity, “What we need now is not the ability to make assertions, but the ability to listen… it seems clear that we need to sit down to dialogue, and not stand up to fight.”

So, if indeed we are going to divide the world into the “masculine” and “feminine” binary, it is in fact the feminine qualities that our present day society now needs to embrace. Gender ideals are not fixed in such absolutist terms as we’d like to believe, and the changes of this age tell us that women’s leadership is a great contribution to our society.

Violence Against Women

Throughout history, women have always been subject to violence and abuse, outside and even inside their own home. The reality — despite the general notion that Tibetan society is more “peaceful” and “compassionate” than other societies around the world– of the rising public cases of domestic violence, sexual abuse of minors in schools, and rape in our community demands immediate action.

As Buddhists, we need to think about how even a single case of molestation affects our entire society. For the abuser, the act of abuse lasts a matter of minutes; but, for the abused, it is a wound — both physical and spiritual — they carry throughout their lives and that colors all their experiences thereafter. As such, we need to find solutions to such societal problems through our existing religious and spiritual institutions, keeping in mind our unique circumstances and cultural context.

For survivors of sexual violence, it is of course crucial to speak up about any kind of abuse that is experienced; difficulties, however, arise when the victims don’t want to come out publicly for fear of social stigma and victim blaming. We must, therefore, encourage the victims to step forward to prevent countless others from falling prey to the same abuse. In such cases, we cannot change the mentality of everyone, so, unfortunately, there is bound to be some shaming and strained relations as a result; but, the key to triumphing over this is compassion.

There are two types of compassion, as taught by Karmapa: The inward-facing and the outward-facing. The outward-facing compassion is the compassion that one should feel toward others; the inward-facing compassion is the compassion that one has for oneself. Inward-facing compassion is necessary to first free oneself from suffering before one can help others. When one has courage, one inspires courage in others as well. When one is free of suffering, one is able to help free others of suffering.

What our society needs at present is to create an environment and opportunities to bring these difficult issues into the public sphere and find concrete solutions to our shared problems, in accordance with our unique Tibetan culture. It is not enough to simply establish systems to punish offenders because, as Karmapa says, “…As long as the harmful attitudes remain, women’s well-being will continue to be in danger… When a problem is rooted in a society’s habitual outlook and habitual thinking, then legislation will have limited effect.”

Women’s Rights and the Roles of Men and Women

Gyalwang Karmapa states in his book that he was not very moved when he first heard about feminism and women’s rights because the Tibetan word for “rights” (ཐོབས་ཐང་) immediately conjured up images of a struggle for one to be better than others, or for one to win and for others to lose.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that women’s rights are, in fact, human rights. Karmapa illuminates this key point when he says, ‘Those who work for women’s rights are seeking to secure for women what all human beings need and deserve.” Gender equality is not a zero-sum issue; women’s rights is an issue of “respecting human life and freedom” and of “acknowledging our shared humanity and the basic human bonds that bind us.” Simply put, it has nothing to do with taking away anything from men.

Tibetan men in our society are typically religious and, thus, believe in Buddhist principles; but, often, when it comes to the women in their lives, they fail to put such principles into practice. As Karmapa teaches us, what men in our society need to always bear in mind is that women are equally desirous of happiness and are indeed more sensitive and feel emotions more acutely (citing “sherab ki rangshin”), and, as such, they need to be respectful and considerate of that.

Men need to be better educated about the importance of working towards gender equality and put these convictions into action. If men truly do not believe in this basic tenet of Buddhism, they will only create further obstacles for the empowerment of women.

Women, on the other hand, need to truly believe in their own worth as women. Engaging in abusive acts towards their fellow women is also a major barrier for the women’s rights movement. Tibetan women need to themselves recognize and believe in their own worth as women and develop their innate compassionate qualities. From this recognition must come the elimination of jealousy towards each other. Rather, they should be supportive of each other and be united in their efforts to empower all women. To bring about a transformative change in the current social conditions for women, we, as a society, must take collective responsibility and action to make this initiative our own rather than simply waiting for conditions to be created for us through external means.

Most importantly, men and women need to unite to make equality of the sexes a reality. Men need to educate themselves about women’s rights and take personal responsibility to create meaningful opportunities for women to contribute to the community at large.

Tibetan Feminism

At present, Tibetan men and women do not have the same kinds of freedoms and opportunities in our patriarchal exile society. This inequality exists due to a deeply-ingrained belief that men are superior to women (ཕོ་ཆོགས་མོ་དམན་). Even though working to rebalance this inequality — as feminists are actively engaged in — is the morally right thing to do, it is somehow considered wrong by many men and as an effort by women to dominate men.

Tibetan feminism needs to be something that can cater to and is suitable for the unique reality of Tibetan culture and society. We need to study the complex history of feminism, and incorporate our own sacred ancestral knowledge and core Buddhist values to create a feminism based on the principles of compassion and the interdependence of men and women, recognizing that one is no more or less important than the other.

Author’s Note: The quoted portions of this essay are direct statements from His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa’s book, The Heart Is Noble: Changing the World from the Inside OutAll other sentiments attributed to the Karmapa in the essay are English translations of the discussions that took place throughout the duration of the Karmapa’s Tibetan youth dialogue.


HH Gyalwang Karmapa's praise for HH Dalai Lama's 80th birthday

A Melodious Praise for Your Eighty Years
Born from an ocean of milk, your noble intention,
This heart of a white lotus unfolds in thousands of petals.
Guardian of Tibet embodying compassion, wisdom, and power,
You are the deity destined for this land of snow mountains.
Oh Chenrezik, you have lived among us now for eighty years;
This deep wish of mine is for your long and stable life.

Divine bird of peace and joy, moving your golden wings
You are carried on the strong winds of loving-kindness to benefit others.
Master who takes others on the path of bringing joy and peace to the world,
Protector of Tibet, you lead all living beings into great peace and joy.
Oh Chenrezik, you have lived among us now for eighty years;
This deep wish of mine is for your long and stable life.

East, west, and center, these three form the pure realm of Tibet,
Oppressed now in constant misery, a darkness where autonomy cannot be found.
Revealing the path of truth, you are their lamp of true salvation,
The life force of the teaching and protector of this snowy land.
Oh Chenrezik, you have lived among us now for eighty years;
This deep wish of mine is for your long and stable life.


HH the Gyalwang Karmapa's Tribute to HH the Dalai Lama on his 80th Birthday

June 22, 2015

"On the occasion of celebrating his eightieth birthday, I offer my greetings to HH the Dalai Lama, the great protector, who is to all of us Tibetans, the refuge for this life and those to come, and the one who brings peace and well-being to the world. I also give my greetings to the leaders of the spiritual lineages and their representatives as well as to the Sikyong, head of the Central Tibetan Administration, to the representatives in the parliament, all the staff offering their services, and to all the ordained and lay people who have gathered here today.

"Usually, in the presence of HH Dalai Lama, I feel a bit shy and words do not come easily, but today he must have blessed me since I've found the courage to speak. Just now, the great lamas and their representatives have given extensive advice so if I talk a lot, people will be quite bored. However I would like to say that from a young age, His Holiness has continually born the responsibility for the teachings and living beings. In particular, at the age of sixteen he took on complete responsibility for the affairs of state and religion. Since then, continually throughout the day and night he has worked very hard― something all of us know well.

"The one who carries the responsibility for the country and the Dharma is an impressive title; however, it came at a grave and critical time for Tibet, so that as a young man, His Holiness had to take on this tremendous responsibility under extremely difficult circumstances. An ordinary person would have a hard time imagining the worries and concerns he would have had then in that situation that had never before occurred in the history of Tibet. The country underwent a huge transformation so that the Tibetan people were divided into those who remained in Tibet and those in exile. The situation turned so difficult that His Holiness could not stay in Tibet but had to flee.

"In brief, under extremely difficult circumstances from his early years until now, His Holiness has continually taken on difficulties without hesitation. For all his trials and tribulations, it is impossible to express enough appreciation and gratitude, but to be in harmony with today's celebration, I will say that disregarding hardships, you worked with your body, speech, and mind to benefit the teachings and all the people of the world, in particular those of Tibet, and so I offer this gratitude from the depths of my heart.

"Since they are very clear to everyone, there's no need to speak about His Holiness' activities or his great qualities. The main point is that I feel extremely joyful that he has arrived at his eightieth birthday. I also want to give special thanks and offer my gratitude to the Domed Organizing Committee for preparing this wonderful celebration.

"The very best offering we can make to His Holiness is to please him and make him happy. We can show our gratitude by fulfilling his wishes to the very best of our abilities. This would be the best way to bring him happiness. As for myself, I continually make efforts to do all I can to please him, trying my best to act so that not even one second of displeasure arises in his mind.

"Since he has spent the majority of his adult life outside Tibet, the Tibetans within the land of snow, just as someone who is thirsty yearns for water, continually hope and aspire to meet him in person and hear him his words directly.

"People have given their body, life force, and wealth so that His Holiness might come to Tibet. I make the constant aspiration that His Holiness will celebrate his birthday of turning ninety in the great land of Tibet.

"Now it's especially important that His Holiness take some rest and relax after making the great efforts that we all have witnessed for the benefit of the teachings and living beings. This is my hope for him, because even if he does not do anything, his mere presence among us brings immense benefit to the Dharma and to all who live.

"I offer my great gratitude for the enormous activity you have sustained until now, and for the future, I hope that your schedule can be more relaxed and that you will enjoy more leisure time."

Source: https://www.facebook.com/michele.martin.54943/posts/10153029551613811


The Gyalwang Karmapa Attends the Celebration of HH the Dalai Lama’s Eightieth Birthday

June 21, 2015 – Dharamsala, India
In the early hours of this Sunday morning, the lay and ordained Sangha were forming long lines to enter the grounds surrounding HH the Dalai Lama’s main temple. To celebrate his eightieth birthday, four thousand members of the ordained Sangha and some three thousand lay people would come to fill the temple verandas and the park area below.
The main lamas arrived at six am to begin their long life ceremonies for the Dalai Lama. Leading the pujas was HH Sakya Trizin Rinpoche and in addition to HH the Karmapa, among the great lamas present were Ganden Tri Rinpoche, Drikung Kyabgön Rinpoche, and Menri Trizin Rinpoche. As their chanting evoked the long life deities to bless the Dalai Lama, those outside the hall participated through watching the screens set out around the temple.
After the long-life pujas, a colorful procession, accompanied the Dalai Lama to the temple while he tempered its formality with his personal warmth, stopping to greet people along the way. Once he was on his throne in shrine hall, the chanting began with extensive praises to the Buddha. Soon Tseringma and the Nechung oracles made their appearances and gave messages to him.
Sakya Trizin recited a beautiful prayer for long life of the Dalai Lama and the teachings and also offered a mandala of saffron rice followed by the traditional auspicious gifts. The Dalai Lama spoke briefly, explaining that when the Tibetans came to India, they had changed to a western calendar. This year, however, they decided to celebrate his birthday with the western calendar for the year (2015) and the Tibetan calendar to for the month (the fifth) and the day (the fifth). Speaking of the Nalanda tradition of Buddhist panditas, the Dalai Lama explained that it was the oldest in India and that these scholars had an inconceivably deep insight. Studying and practicing their texts would be the best birthday present one could give him.
The morning’s festivities came to a close with the organizing committee’s chairperson giving thanks to everyone. As people relaxed, the same lunch was offered to everyone, high lamas and ordinary guests as well. It was the perfect end to a special morning.

2015.6.21 法王噶瑪巴出席達賴喇嘛尊者八秩大壽慶典 The Gyalwang Karmapa Attends the Celebration of HH the Dalai Lama’s Eightieth Birthday



Message Regarding 30th Birthday

This year marks my 30th birthday. Time has passed very quickly. This year is also the 15th year since I left Tibet and came to India. This 30th birthday is considered to mark a special milestone, and many people have been requesting me to celebrate this birthday extensively. However, I have decided not to celebrate my birthday for several reasons that I would like to share with you here.
In all these years since leaving Tibet, I have never seen my parents again, and now they have grown old. This body was created and nurtured by my parents, and therefore my birthday is a day in which I feel their absence keenly.
In these 15 years since I arrived in India, I have been living in a temporary residence at Gyuto Monastery in Dharamsala. Even though Gyuto Monastery has been an exceptionally kind and hospitable host, it is unseemly for a guest to cause such unnecessary inconvenience over their birthday year after year.
Furthermore, each year on my birthday, I recall not only my parents, but also the sparkling beauty of the pristine natural environment in which I was born and raised. This intensifies my sense of urgency for the protection of the fragile ecosystems of the Tibetan plateau as well as the Himalayas. As I have said, the area’s glaciers make it the source of most of Asia’s major rivers, and the Third Pole of the globe itself. For this reason, the Tibetan plateau plays an important role in the well-being and sustenance not only of the people who live within it, but of all of Asia and indeed the entire planet. Because the Tibetan culture and way of life has existed in harmony with that environment for thousands of years, I feel its preservation is urgently needed in order to preserve that crucial environment.
This is true not only of the Tibetan plateau, but also of the entire Himalayan region, including the countries of Bhutan and Nepal, and the states of India located within the Himalayas, such as the State of Sikkim. The country of Bhutan presents an excellent example of the value of retaining the way of life that is uniquely suited to the local Himalayan environment, and its commitment to doing so is truly praiseworthy.
I have yet to visit but have heard from my many friends there that Sikkim is a peaceful and environmentally friendly state. The main seat of the Karmapa reincarnation lineage is Tsurphu Monastery in Tibet, and I have had the wonderful opportunity to experience life there. When the 16th Karmapa left Tibet, he built a monastic seat at Rumtek in Sikkim, which is now a part of India.
Meanwhile, many people in Sikkim have a solemn and sacred bond with the 16th Karmapa and now are deeply devoted to me. Many of them have repeatedly requested me to come to visit them and it is my own heartfelt wish to be able to travel to Sikkim in order to meet with them to honor these sacred bonds and to make a pilgrimage to holy places in Sikkim.
Nepal is still recovering from the terrible destruction and loss of life due to the recent earthquakes. I have asked my monasteries and nunneries to offer not only their prayers but also active and practical aid, and I request again now that they continue unflaggingly, as much rebuilding and healing still lies ahead. This tragic earthquake also shows very clearly the value and importance of the natural environment. We must take that as a lesson, and intensify our efforts to preserve and protect our planet, which has been like a kind, life-giving mother who has nurtured us all.
For all these various reasons, I personally will not be celebrating my birthday. I understand that others may still want to mark this day, and I do not wish to prevent anyone else from holding celebrations if they wish to do so.
From my side, I feel that I have accomplished nothing that I consider worthy of so many years of life; and have done nothing but receive a great deal of support and love from many people. I want to take this occasion to thank all of them from the very bottom of my heart.

17th Karmapa Reaches out to Youth In Historic 2015 Seattle Visit - Northwest Dharma News

Written by: Diane Brooks

Children from the Tibetan Association of Washington sang for the Karmapa and then lined up to offer katas during an event at Lynnwood Convention Center.
Photos by: Nirzhar Pradhan, Kurt Smith, & Scott Pownall

The greatest legacy of the recent cross-country tour by the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, could be his connection with American youth and young adults.
The young Karmapa, considered Tibetan Buddhism’s third-highest lama, began his unprecedented two-month U.S. visit with a whirlwind of college campus engagements, including sell-out talks at Stanford, Harvard, Princeton and Yale universities.
The charismatic spiritual leader, whom many feel is being groomed to succeed the aging Dalai Lama as the public face of Free Tibet, resonated strongly with students with his focus on modern issues such as compassionate race relations, the sacredness of our natural environment, the empowerment of women, and equal respect for gay, lesbian and transgender relationships.
When the 29-year-old Karmapa arrived in Seattle – his final stop before flying home to India – the centerpiece of his May 9 public talks at Seattle Center was a dialogue with a panel of young adults who are devoting their lives to compassion projects. More than 1,500 people attended the afternoon and evening sessions.
Silas Follendorf, a young woman who does outreach work with Seattle’s homeless youth, asked the Karmapa for help dealing with the emotional pain triggered by witnessing such trauma.
“How does one go about making this kind of work sustainable? In the face of so much suffering and crisis and drama … sometime I feel like my heart begins to shut down, and I want to take a step back and leave everyone at arm’s length,” said Follendorf, who works with YouthCare. “Sometimes running away feels like it’s the only viable option for survival.”
The Karmapa, who escaped from Chinese-occupied Tibet at age 14 without his family, understands how painful life can be for young people.
“The work you are doing is very meaningful work, that’s bringing direct benefit and really directly sparking an experience of happiness for these people,” he told her. “When we see this we naturally all feel joy in our hearts, and it’s really important to take a moment and appreciate that, and allow that to become a sustenance for us.
The Karmpa greeting young members of the youth panel
The Karmpa greeting young members of the youth panel.
“Because after all, if our hand isn’t warm, we won’t be able to warm someone else’s hand by grabbing them. So if we want to warm someone else up, we have to become warm ourselves,” he said. “Therefore we should try to appreciate and rejoice in the work that we do, along with bearing witness to the sufferings of others.”
The next day, the Karmapa held a private audience at Nalanda West with a small group of adult leaders from Seeds of Compassion, who sponsored some members of the youth panel.
Dan Kranzler, a Seeds of Compassion leader, told the Karmapa that Seattle people are strongly committed making the world a better place, especially for youth who feel overwhelmed by modern problems. Seeds of Compassion, which hosted the Dalai Lama’s 2008 visit to Seattle, wants to empower youth to step up as a new generation of leaders, he said.
Would the Karmapa consider returning next year, Kranzler asked, to participate in a youth summit? Perhaps with the Dalai Lama as well?
The Karmapa first cautioned the group that he can’t make promises about future visits, because the Indian government restricts his travel.
“I am very interested in this idea of a summit, and I would like to participate in such a gathering,” he then said. “So we should keep in touch.”
Visualizing during a tantric practice
Visualizing during a tantric practice.
This was the Karmapa’s third visit to the United States, and by far his most ambitious. In 2008 he undertook his first overseas trip – an 18-day tour of Seattle, New York, and Boulder, Colorado. Indian authorities suddenly cancelled a 2010 European teaching trip, apparently due to political concerns about China. Then in 2011 both the Karmapa and the Dalai Lama flew to Washington, D.C., for the Kalachakra for World Peace.
With his solidly-built, 6-foot physique, hip attitudes, humor and technological savvy – he’s known for his Nintendo Wii, Playstation and iPod, and sometimes teaches via live web-casts – the Karmapa has dazzled audiences and the media. The New Yorker recently dubbed him “the Bieber of Buddhism,” and in 2008 the Seattle Times wrote of his “magnetic personality” and “hunky good looks of a rock star.”
Although the Karmapa offered all his Seattle-area teachings in Tibetan, translated by Nalanda West’s Tyler Dewar, his command of English seems impressive. He rarely requested Tibetan translations before responding to questions posed in English, and often sprinkled his Tibetan comments with words such as “interdependent,” “mindfulness” and ”gratitude.”
But not all Buddhists revere him as the 17th Karmapa, the head of the 900-year-old Kagyu lineage. While the Dalai Lama (head of the Gelug lineage,) the Chinese government and most Tibetans have accepted him in that role, a rival claimant – Trinley Thaye Dorje – has backers including one highly-placed Kagyu lama. Until the controversy is settled, neither of them live at India’s Rumtek Monastery, which was the seat of the 16th Karmapa in exile
During his recent Seattle visit, the Karmapa repeatedly apologized for his poor health. He originally was scheduled to arrive May 5, but when he fell ill in late April he spent five days resting in New York, and the latter part of his schedule was reconfigured. Lingering symptoms included an occasional cough, low energy and vocal limitations.
Children were a central theme in the Karmapa’s visit
Children were a central theme in the Karmapa’s visit.
“I usually have quite a loud voice, and today it doesn’t seem to be so strong. So I am still in the process of recovering,” he told his audience at a May 8 event sponsored by the Tibetan Association of Washington.
While his Seattle public talks had a strong Western vibe, with the Karmapa seated onstage on a golden, upholstered banquette, his appearance at the Lynnwood Convention Center was highly traditional. He ascended a Tibetan throne, positioned next to a shrine and beneath a 20-foot banner adorned with a depiction of the Buddha flanked by Green Tara and White Tara. During the ceremonial program elements, he donned a tall red ritual hat and shook a pellet drum and bell.
That long-life empowerment and teaching drew an audience of about 1,300 people – mostly native Tibetan, Chinese, and Taiwanese – many of whom had traveled from Portland and Vancouver, B.C., for the opportunity.
Young people played a prominent role at that event too: Teenaged dancers garbed in traditional Tibetan ceremonial masks and clothing greeted the Karmapa when he arrived outside the venue, and a children’s choir – also in traditional clothing – sang in Tibetan with great heart at the start of the program. Both groups are part of the Seattle-based association’s Tibetan Language and Culture Class.
It was a multigenerational crowd. Babies and toddlers cried and fussed; some elderly people dozed; a few adults swirled small prayer wheels; many listened with their hands together at their hearts in anjali, or with their fingers interlaced into more complex Buddhist hand mudras.   Nuns with shaved heads and maroon robes listened with eyes closed.
The Karmapa visited Seattle's Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism on the morning before his May 9 public talks
The Karmapa visited Seattle’s Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism on the morning before his May 9 public talks.
Howard Huang, 22, made the trip from Portland with his mother, who emigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan. After the ceremony ended, they were among hundreds of audience members who respectfully inspected the Karmapa’s shrine and throne, taking selfies and draping lovely katas (scarves) across his brocade-covered seat.
“I felt the power, I felt the connection. I bet everybody brought their suffering and problems and prayed, and His Holiness uplifted from the heart,” Huang said. “His presence here means so much. He gets to come here to the Western states and provide his teachings, when usually we would have to go to India, with a lot of time and expense. For a lot of people this might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Before bestowing the 15-minute long-life empowerment, which had been requested by the Tibetan Association, the Karmapa gave a teaching to clarify its history and purpose. This empowerment was one of two he learned as a child in Tibet, he said.
The empowerment can seem confusing in light of the Buddha’s fundamental teachings about accepting the inevitability of sickness and death, the Karmapa said.
“[Death] is not something that we should try to avoid, deny or run away from,” he said. “Rather the goal of the lama’s empowerment is to help make our lives meaningful. If we are leading a meaningful life that is devoted to accomplishing genuine benefit for ourselves and others, then it would be helpful to have as a long of a lifetime as possible.”
Nearly everyone from the Tibetan community gathered for teachings with the Karmapa, in Lynnwood
Nearly everyone from the Tibetan community gathered for teachings with the Karmapa, in Lynnwood.
That’s especially important for meat-eaters, he said, because so many sentient creatures must suffer and die, every day, just to feed us and keep us alive. Therefore, he said, “Surely you will want to make the life that we do live meaningful, and one that we can use to benefit others.”
When the empowerment and formal program ended, he delivered 18 minutes of personal comments to the crowd, speaking in Tibetan that was not translated into English.
During this visit, the Karmapa and his entourage stayed in an apartment built especially for him at Nalanda West in 2008, for his first Seattle visit. Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, founder of Nalanda West, has strong ties with the Karmapa. Rinpoche’s father was general secretary for the 16th Karmapa, who prophesized the Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche’s birth, and who provided much of his early training.
Ponlop Rinpoche kept a very low profile during this visit, but usually could be spotted sitting front-and-center in the audiences.
“I am so happy His Holiness connected with all the different walks of life in America – from all different communities, and different ethnic groups, and different challenges,” he said, in an interview toward the end of the Karmapa’s U.S. tour.
“Especially the young people who have struggled a lot, and gone through a lot of pain, but then came out of it with a great amount of courage and love and compassion. They’re trying create a better world,” Ponlop Rinpoche said. “I am so happy we have had the opportunity to connect with that type of environment, with the basic value of America here.”


His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa Attends a Gathering of Tibetan Religious Leaders

June 18, 2015 -Dharamsala, India

On this radiant summer day, crowds of tourists were moving up and down the narrow roads of McLeod Ganj, while slightly off the beaten path, the elegant Surya Hotel was hosting the Twelfth Religious Conference of the Four Major Schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon Tradition. The three-day gathering was organized by the Central Tibetan Administration’s Department of Religion and Culture. Today its director, Kalön Pema Chinjor, waited with a long white scarf at the steps of the hotel to receive HH the Karmapa. The minister escorted the Karmapa inside the grand hall where the leaders of the four main Buddhist lineages and the Bon tradition had gathered along with representatives from all the Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries, including tulkus, khenpos, and lamas. In addition to the Karmapa, the important spiritual leaders who addressed the conference included Sakya Tridzin Rinpoche, Ganden Tri Rinpoche, Taklung Shabdrung Rinpoche, and representatives of Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche and Drukchen Rinpoche.
At the beginning of his talk, the Karmapa mentioned that previously in Tibet there was no tradition of the different lineages assembling for a large conference like this. But after the Tibetans came to India, HH the Dalai Lama through his great kindness began these meetings and now it is the twelfth one. The Karmapa noted that the conferences have taken place in a spirit of equality: participants are not thinking, “I’m important and they’re not.” Everyone sees each other as equals, which fosters harmonious relationships.
The need to work together in harmony is also true for the Tibetan people and culture in general. Now that we are living in a digital world where it is easy to make connections, they should be joining together. In particular, the important lamas of the different lineages and the Sangha have a strong and influential position in Tibetan society. Having this direct contact with the Tibetan people, it is important that they think and act in a beneficial way. The Karmapa emphasized that it is important to follow the precise meaning of HH the Dalai Lama’s advice.
In the past, these meetings have gone well and have been held regularly. Usually, the Karmapa noted, he has had a close connection with the Department of Religion and Culture and has seen exertions they have made and the difficulties they have gone through. Sometimes when speaking with the minister, the Karmapa thought, “I have the name of a great lama, but the efforts this minister benefit the teachings more than mine.” It is not easy for people doing this work, for few see all the work the minister actually does.
The Karmapa then turned to the state of Buddhism in the contemporary world, stating that there is both hope and danger. The hope comes from the fact that CEOs of famous companies like Google and Facebook are interested in finding peace and well-being through meditation, and the essence of these practices to develop tranquility and an understanding of interdependence comes from Buddhism. During his recent visit to the United States, the Karmapa visited the headquarters of Google and Facebook and discovered that they had a special place in their buildings for meditation.
The Karmapa then turned to the danger that faces Buddhism―the conflicts with other religions and within in Buddhism itself. When he was in the United States, many people were talking about the situation in Myanmar (Burma) between the Buddhists and Rohingya, and some Burmese monks had even asked him as a Buddhist leader to help with the situation. The Karmapa said that it would be good for Tibetan lamas to speak about this conflict.
As for the internal dissention, the Karmapa related that within Tibetan Buddhism one can find many accounts of conflicts between the various Buddhist traditions. Sometimes he felt that it might be better not to read history as what it relates about this hostility is rather depressing. Nevertheless, from studying the lessons of history, we can learn how to act more wisely in the future. Actually the Buddha has predicted that Buddhism would be destroyed not from the outside but through internal conflicts. Therefore, the Karmapa said, “Harmonious relationships between the Tibetan traditions are extremely important, not only for the holders of the teachings, but also for those who know the Dharma.” The Karmapa added that leaders of the traditions should not limit their connections to public or official meetings, but also cultivate deep personal relationships.
The Karmapa closed his message with wishes for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama as he turns eighty years old and for the stable life and flourishing activity of the religious leaders of all traditions.

2015.6.18 法王噶瑪巴出席第12屆藏傳四大教派和苯教宗教會議 His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa Attends a Gathering of Tibetan Religious Leaders



Karmapa to college students: Actively seek ways to keep Tibetan identity - TPI

Wednesday, 10 June 2015 13:36 Yangchen Dolma, Tibet Post International

His Holiness Karmapa Rinpoche interacting with Tibetan students in New Delhi, India on May 17, 2015. Photo: TPI

Dharmasala, India – In his interaction with Tibetan students from across India's Capital Delhi, the 17th Karmapa urged them to "actively seek ways to keep their Tibetan identity relevant, by giving new meaning to old customs and traditions."

Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is engaging in a two week dialogue with Tibetan doctoral and masters students from universities across India.

"The sustained interaction is focused on a wide variety of topics ranging from identity to poverty to women's empowerment during the first two weeks of June (May 29 – June 16 – 17, 2015)," organisers said in a press release.

The programme is organized by Kun Kyong Charitable Trust at the request of the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa. It follows on his meeting on youth leadership in November of last year with over 100 Tibetan university students in Delhi, where the Gyalwang Karmapa committed to engage in continued interactions with Tibetan university students.

The organisers said, "this is the first programme of its sort, linking Tibetan university students with a Buddhist spiritual leader for such a sustained dialogue regarding topics of broad social concern."

"The interactions continue the Karmapa's emphasis on working with youth to address major issues facing 21st-century society, and to inspire them to take greater responsibility for resolving those issues," they said, adding "The programme also reflects his interest in exploring ways that Buddhist teachings might offer new perspectives on matters of shared concern in today's world."

"As part of their daily meetings, the Karmapa and a dozen Tibetan university students are devoting one day each to the following topics: identity, discrimination, gender equality and women's empowerment, leadership, education, the environment, consumerism, poverty, unemployment, suicide and anger management. These topics were proposed by the students themselves and confirmed by the Karmapa," according to a press statement.

During their first session, the Karmapa urged the students to actively seek ways to keep their Tibetan identity relevant, by giving new meaning to old customs and traditions. "Before asking how to preserve Tibetan culture, language and religion," he told them, "the first step is to clarify for yourself why they are important to preserve. Once you see clearly why they must be preserved, the second step will be easy."

At the opening of each session, the students themselves first deliver a presentation of the day's topic, sharing their own experiences and highlighting aspects of each issue of direct concern to them personally, as well as to Tibetan society the larger society in which they live. The remainder of each two-hour session is devoted to question-and-answer sessions.

The students hail from universities across India, including Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi University, Central University of Gujarat and the Central University of Tibetan Studies. Each is pursuing Masters or PhD studies in a wide range of fields, including: Sociology, Economics, International Relations, Political Science, Literature, Philosophy, Modern History, Library Sciences and Nursing. The group includes Tibetans born in India as well as students born in Tibet.

"In the past, the Gyalwang Karmapa has also held interactions with Indian students at Ambedkar University (Delhi) and Delhi University. Since 2011, he has also been holding dialogues from two to three weeks with youth from North America and Europe," according to Kunzang Chungyalpa, Director, Tsurphu Labrang, saying "A similar, longer-format dialogue is planned for 2016 with Indian university students."

Before commencing the two week dialogue, the Karmapa Rinpoche returned from a two-month tour of the United States, where he delivered lectures and held dialogues with youth at six universities, including Harvard, Yale and Princeton University.



Message from the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje on the occasion of World Environment Day 2015

Since this has been designated the World Environment Day, many people today are acting and thinking of ways to conserve and protect our shared planet. This is a positive step in addressing the environmental crisis, which in my view is the greatest challenge facing 21st-century society. It gives hope for the future when special efforts are made to turn our attention to the state of our world’s natural environment.
As a Tibetan, I have a particular connection to the natural environment of the Tibetan plateau and the Himalayas. However, The Himalayas and Tibetan plateau constitute a part of our shared planet that has an importance that extends far beyond their own part of the world. The glaciers and ice of the Himalayas and Tibetan plateau serve as the source of such a large portion of Asia’s rivers that it is known as Asia’s water tower. More widely, the Tibetan plateau has come to be known as the world’s Third Pole, reflecting its global importance. The issue of the Tibetan environment is therefore not a matter of concern solely to any single country. The issue of the Tibetan natural environment is an issue for all of Asia. Indeed, looking more broadly, it is an issue that concerns the entire world. From this wider angle, we can see that the Tibetan people had lived in harmony for thousands of years with the natural environment of the Tibetan plateau. Therefore, in order to protect that Tibetan environment, there is a need to protect the Tibetan way of life, with its culture, spiritual traditions and customs that are compatible with and suited to that fragile environment.
We all bear responsibilities to care for the shared natural environment that has sustained us throughout every moment of our lives. There is a great deal we can do when we join our forces and seek ways to work together to conserve our existing natural resources and reduce the consumption patterns that drive our over-exploitation of the environment. Nor is this a crisis that can be solved by a single person, or even a single country. Each one of us carries our own share of that responsibility. When we all lend our hands to the work, this burden can surely be carried. And carry it we must. Given the critical state we have now reached, and the rapid rate of change, this is not a burden we can leave for future generations to resolve.
5 June, 2015
The17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje