His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa consecrates Tibetan Peace Garden - Tibet Foundation
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa consecrates the Samten Khyil Tibetan Peace Garden opposite the Imperial War Museum in the heart of London on 22nd May, during his first historic visit to the UK.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa consecrates Tibetan Peace Garden
By Tsering D Gonkatsang, Chairman of Trustees of Tibet Foundation.
We at Tibet Foundation feel immensely blessed that His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje most graciously accepted our request to visit and consecrate the Samten Khyil Tibetan Peace Garden opposite the Imperial War Museum in the heart of London on 22nd May, during his first historic visit to the UK.
As most of our members know, the Tibetan Peace Garden along with the Tibetan-style stone pillar with the message of world peace, was inspired, encouraged and inaugurated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on May 13th, 1999. Ever since, we have invited high lamas and priests from Tibet, Mongolia, Japan, India, Sri Lanka and so on to visit and consecrate the Peace Garden to actualize His Holiness’s message of world peace through inter-faith understanding and universal responsibility. Tibet Foundation is proud to have commissioned this project, a beacon of peace in the shadow of the museum reminding us of the tragedies of war and violence as a means to resolve conflicts.
As the Peace Garden is an open space like a Mandala within the Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park, for security reasons, we could invite only a small number of our members in addition to the representatives from all Tibet related organizations in the UK.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, who was born in Tibet, has the distinction of being recognized as the authentic incarnation of the 16th Gyalwang Karmpa by both His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Chinese Government. He arrived into exile in the year 2000. In 2008, His Holiness undertook the first foreign travel to the US and since 2014 visited several countries in Europe.
His Holiness is the head of the Karma Kagyu Lineage and guide to millions of Buddhists around the world that can be traced back to the first Karmapa: Choekyi Dagpa popularly revered as Du-sum-Khyenpa (1110-1193 AD) a principal disciple of Gampopa who was himself a direct disciple of Jetsun Mila Repa the greatest yogi in Tibetan history, and thus a direct doctrinal lineage holder of the Kagyu sect founded by the Great Marpa Lotsawa.
In London, the teachings on the Eight Verses of Training the Mind by Geshe Langri Thangpa and Chenrezig empowerment on Sat 20th and Sun 21st at the Battersea Park was also webcast live for those who couldn’t attend in person.
The 22nd of May also coincided with the funeral of Samphal Wangyal, one of our former members of staff. Many of our colleagues attended the funeral in the morning and came back for the visit of His Holiness at the Peace Garden in the afternoon. Our Manager, Jamyang Dhondup had liaised with the concerned officers of Tsurphu Labrang and the UK Visit Coordinating Committee to get everything organized to welcome His Holiness to the Peace Garden. After a brief welcome speech, His Holiness performed the rites for consecrating the Kalachakra Mandala in the centre of the Peace Garden.
Ngawang Lodup, our star musician and a group of little Tibetan nursery school children from Woolwich area in London presented songs of praise to His Holiness and remembrance of Tibet. Given the limited time, I presented a briefest of reports on the history and background of Tibet Foundation, its mission statement and the major charitable activities that we had undertaken for Tibetans in the areas of health, education and development including disaster relief. Along with the brief highlight of our Buddhism in Mongolia project, we offered His Holiness a copy of the two-volume ‘Mongolian Buddhist Artefacts: Masterpieces from the Museums of Mongolia’ one of the major projects we have successfully completed.
I also reported that despite our charitable activities such as sponsorship of Tibetan children’s education, health, care of the elderly, help for hospitals, monasteries, arts etc. both in India and Tibet, we have some critics who disapprove of our co-operation with the Chinese Government in undertaking our projects in Tibetan areas. I quoted His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who in response to my question on the subject in 2012, said, “ So long as the aid-programs benefit Tibetans, such aid-programs are to be recommended.”
His Holiness the Karmapa thanked Tibet Foundation and all its members of staff, sponsors and supporters for the good work being done in the various fields for needy Tibetans, not only in India but also inside Tibet. He encouraged everyone to keep up the good work and remarked, “It is, indeed, very rare to be able to engage in charitable works, both inside Tibet and in India.”
Everyone who came to the Peace Garden consecration ceremony felt blessed and energized by the presence and inspiring talk of His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa. The ceremony concluded with acknowledgment of the cooperation and support of individuals and organizations such as Southwark Council, Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park, the Imperial War Museum, and all the Tibet related organizations and groups. Afterwards we held a Reception to our members and guests at the Foundation premises nearby, a short walk of about ten minutes.
The link for the photos: