His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Drodul Trinley Dorje, today gave two public teachings on “Building a Strong Foundation for Spiritual Practice” to an audience of approximately 3,000 at Seattle’s famous Paramount Theater. The topic of the teachings was the preliminary practices of Tibetan Buddhism. His Holiness taught on the four preliminary practices of refuge and bodhichitta, Vajrasattva, mandala offerings, and guru yoga. In the evening, His Holiness granted an audience to a large group of representatives and members of the organizing sanghas whose volunteer efforts helped to make his first visit to the United States possible.
Today His Holiness engaged in site-seeing activities in Seattle and granted audiences at Nalanda West. In the morning, His Holiness and his party were treated to a guided tour of the Museum of Flight, home of the original manufacturing facility of the Boeing Company, where His Holiness saw displays related to past lunar missions and received the latest news about data coming in from missions to Mars. In the afternoon, His Holiness was taken on a boat tour of Lake Union and Lake Washington, the two main lakes adjacent to Seattle.
In the afternoon, His Holiness granted a blessing and teaching audience to members of Nalandabodhi, the students of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, principal organizer of Karmapa in America ’08. In the evening, His Holiness gave two well-attended audiences for members of the Tibetan community hosted by the local Tibetan Association.
Time magazine referred to him as "the world's next top lama. " Elle Magazine named him one of "25 People to Watch. " That's a lot of responsibility...
By Janet I. Tu
Seattle Times religion reporter
Elle Magazine named him one of "25 People to Watch."
That's a lot of responsibility and acclaim for a 22-year-old.
But, in a sense, this young man was born into the role. He is the Karmapa, one of the most prominent lamas — or teachers — in Tibetan Buddhism, and a person regarded as a likely successor to the Dalai Lama as the symbol of Tibetan Buddhism worldwide.
The Karmapa arrived Thursday in Seattle as part of a two-week U.S. tour — his first visit to the West. He plans to meet with local Buddhists and give public teachings.
The Karmapa is traditionally regarded as third in prominence among lamas, after the Dalai and Panchen Lamas, said Robert Thurman, professor of Indo-Tibetan Studies at Columbia University and author of the new book "Why the Dalai Lama Matters."
The Karmapa's U.S. tour is significant, Thurman said, because "it's good for the world to note that there are these younger lamas who can become major spokespersons for the Tibetan people."
His visit is "a very big deal for us," said Dzogchen Ponlop, the Seattle-based Buddhist monk who organized the tour. "His presence brings a lot of blessings, a lot of inspiration."
The 17th Karmapa, named Ogyen Drodul Trinley Dorje, was born to a nomadic family in eastern Tibet.
He is considered to be the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa, although there is controversy surrounding the matter.
Another boy was also identified as being the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa, and that young man also has a strong following, particularly in Asia and Europe. But most Tibetan Buddhists, especially in America, regard Ogyen Dorje as the Karmapa, and he was confirmed as such by the Dalai Lama, Thurman said.
The Karmapa — who is a leader of the Kagyu order, one of the four major schools within Tibetan Buddhism — made international news when he escaped Tibet eight years ago, fleeing across the Himalayas to India. There, he met with the Dalai Lama.
That was significant, Thurman said, because for centuries there was a strained relationship between the Kagyu school and the Gelug school, to which the Dalai Lama belongs.
That the Karmapa and Dalai Lama have a "wonderful mentor, senior-junior relationship bodes very well for unity between these important lamas and their orders," Thurman said. "This is very important for the unity of the Tibetan community."
Thurman also thinks the Karmapa's U.S. visit — he spoke to sold-out audiences in New York and Boulder, Colo., earlier this month — could help gain support for the Tibetan cause.
Thurman said China believes "when the Dalai Lama is gone, people will forget about Tibet. This helps people know this is not going to be the case."
Nonetheless, the Karmapa's visit is nonpolitical, emphasized Ponlop, the tour organizer and Seattle-based monk who founded Nalanda West, a center in Fremont dedicated to fostering American Buddhism.
Unlike the Dalai Lama, who is both spiritual and political leader of Tibetan Buddhists, the Karmapa's role has historically been spiritual, Ponlop said. "I don't see him getting involved in politics."
While the Karmapa will be teaching here, he will also be learning about the West.
"It's good to get him exposed to Western culture," said Ponlop, who has known the Karmapa since he was a boy.
Ponlop said the Karmapa is an inquisitive young man, open to ideas from the West. And "his participation in our goal to establish American Buddhism is indispensable."
America has an open, pioneering spirit, but at the same time, there is much anxiety, pain and rage, Ponlop said.
"There is this sense of need for spiritual insight," he said. The presence of the Karmapa "helps us connect with our own heart."
|Horn players Tenzin Namgyal, left, and Lama Rabten play a horn called the Gyaling during the Karmapa's visit.|
|The 17th Karmapa, named Ogyen Drodul Trinley Dorje, visits Nalanda West, a Seattle Buddhist Temple in the Greenwood neighborhood, Thursday. Rose petals were thrown to herald his entry and exit.|
Karmapa in Seattle
------------------------------------------------------------The Karmapa will give public teachings at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle. Tickets $45-$175 per day, available through Ticketmaster. Sunday tickets nearly sold out. Information: www.karmapavisit.org.
Janet I. Tu: 206-464-2272 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, talks about how we should view the notion of enlightenment in the context of our present lifetime (New York, 2008 excerpt from Wisdom of Enlightenment: Awakening the Heart DVD).
His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, tells us we can practice the dharma in whatever we do but we must always rely on mindfulness (New York, 2008 excerpt from Wisdom of Enlightenment: Awakening the Heart DVD).
His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, talks about how we suffer as much from our mental responses to our hardships as we do to the hardships themselves (Boulder, CO, 2008 excerpt from Wisdom of Enlightenment: Healing the World DVD).
His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, talks about transforming our relationship with technology so that it generates positive karma (Boulder, CO, 2008 excerpt from Wisdom of Enlightenment: Healing the World DVD).
His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, talks about expanding our compassion by applying our imagination to everyday situations (Seattle WA, 2008 excerpt from Wisdom of Enlightenment: The Journey Begins DVD).
His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, talks about his aspiration to dedicate himself to the benefit of others (Seattle WA, 2008 excerpt from Wisdom of Enlightenment: The Journey Begins DVD).
Today His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Drodul Trinley Dorje, made his first visit ever to Seattle, Washington, where he was greeted by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, the principal organizer of Karmapa in America ’08, at Rinpoche’s main center of activity in the United States, Nalanda West. At the tea and rice reception at Nalanda West, at which Ponlop Rinpoche and other representatives of dharma centers offered His Holiness a mandala and representations of body, speech, and mind, His Holiness and his party were also presented offerings of delicious coffee by Starbucks. Starbucks baristas presented His Holiness with a latte, which His Holiness said he enjoyed. Starbucks generously sponsored the offerings to His Holiness and his party.
His Holiness in Seattle, Washington
The peaceful struggle: His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa brings his message to Boulder - Boulder Weekly
May 29-June 4, 2008
The peaceful struggle His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa brings his message to Boulder
by Ben Corbett
by Ben Corbett
When a Tibetan lama touches down on American soil, it is no small affair. Especially if it’s a Karmapa (which means: he who performs the activity of the Buddha), and especially if it’s been 27 years since his previous visit, which happened to be in a previous incarnation. So when it was announced in March that the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, would be coming to Boulder to teach the dharma during his first journey to the western hemisphere, naturally people were ecstatic about this historic event. Over the weekend, old and young, from near and far, they came by the hundreds, and walked away forever changed. For many of the fold, it was the first dharma teaching led by the lama, while others had had the privilege of receiving the words and blessings of his previous incarnation, the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, during one of several visits to America and Boulder in the 1970s.
At the Sunday event held at Macky Auditorium, a short film preceding the teachings described to new initiates how the 17th Karmapa was discovered. After the 16th Karmapa’s 1981 death in Chicago, a group of four regents (assigned by the Karmapa himself) set out to find his reborn incarnation through visions and using a letter and clues that the previous Karmapa had left behind. In 1991, with the Karma Kagyu Buddhist community still unable to discover his whereabouts, Tai Situ Rinpoche remembered a protection amulet that the Karmapa had given him right before his death, not to be opened until 1992. He opened it early, and inside was a poem describing more vividly the area of Tibet where he could be found. Finally, in June 1992, 7-year-old Ogyen Rinley Dorje was recognized as the 17th Karmapa. Having fled Tibet to India just after the Dalai Lama in 1959, the 16th Karmapa took the black crown (woven from the hair of thedakinis, or female dieties: guardians of the historic teachings) with him to Sikkim, India. The reincarnation in Tibet thus moved the seat of the Karmapa back to the Tsurphu monastery, where the 17th Karmapa resided until fleeing in December 1999 over the Himalayas and arriving in India in January 2000, meeting immediately with the Dalai Lama. Having received refugee status from Indian 2001, the Indian government denied an exit visa for an American visit last year, and in a letter to the American Karma Kagyu community, the Karmapa wrote, “No obstacle will prevent me from coming to America.” Permission was finally granted this year for the Karmapa’s travels to America, including visits to New York, Boulder and Seattle. The day at Macky Auditorium consisted of three events — two public lessons, and one private for the sangha (dharma devotees).
Sequencing into the second session of the day, the translator began relaying the Karmapa’s message: “So this afternoon I will continue discussing the interdependent connection between the outer environment and the inner world…” The Karmapa, who speaks English quite well, stopped him and corrected him. “Sorry,” continued the translator, inspiring laughter from the audience. “His Holiness said, ‘This morning we talked about the connection of interdependence between the outer world environment and the inner world of the mind.’”
This trickster sense of humor has become a trademark method in the 17th Karmapa’s teachings, and throughout the day he would interject thoughtful jokes, sighing loudly during tough questions, evoking laughter and requesting that the curtains of the auditorium be opened to allow more light so that he could see everyone’s face.
“Now is the time for us to start thinking about what kind of imprint we are leaving in the world, in particular what we can do for the planet,” he continued in his day-long lesson called Healing the Environment Through the Mind of Enlightenment. “Because largely up until now, we’ve been on the receiving end of the world’s kindness. The world has given us so much. So many of the advantages and harmonious conditions we enjoy were given to us by the world. But what we need to do is think about what we can give in the other direction.”
The 17th Karmapa, who is computer savvy and helps maintain his website, tailored his message to the West in terms of the issues we deal with today and the neutrality of technology that can be used for good or bad ends. Using an analogy of the world’s citizens as artists painting portraits of their respective environments, the 22-year-old visionary went on to explain that it’s necessary to come together positively and create the painting as a “global village,” each person depicting the place he lives in the most virtuous way.
“If we take things too seriously and only think about the problems, sometimes that drains the sense of enthusiasm from our relationship... This era in which the world is so small is a great opportunity to realize that there really is no difference between us. We might live in different places, but aside from that, we all care for each other and love each other. Therefore I feel that to live in this present era is a very fortunate thing. But even though it’s very fortunate to live in the present era with these situations, you can still think about it in a negative respect. You might think that the time in which we live is a time of great fear, conflict and a lot of adversity. You might feel that it’s unfortunate to live in the present time... There are positive opportunities of this present era and there are negative opportunities, as well. Therefore we need to know what to adopt and what to reject. We have a choice about what opportunities we want to take.”
During the third session, a more private affair for the sangha, the Karmapa spent more time focusing on questions of meditation and practice, soon completing his message about how important his visit has been, and how important Boulder was to Naropa University and Shambala Center founder, the late Trungpa Rinpoche and vice versa.
“Trungpa Rinpoche was very important to the West. He placed great confidence and trust in his Western students. I trust you in the same way,” the Karmapa continued, again with humor. “I’m just a joker man and very young, and I have no secret instructions to give you. But I trust you.”
“I’m going to write in my diary about my visit to America and Boulder. When I get old I’m going to remember this time again and again,” he went on. “I persevered and was able to come, and my resolve to come was unwavering. My love is so strong for you. It is so strong, no obstacle could get in my way... As for you, don’t worry, I’m going to be back. When I come back to Boulder I’ll need things to do. I look forward to your suggestions as to what they may be.”
By DAVID VAN BIEMA Thursday, May. 29, 2008
The Lowdown on the new arrival had been that he was brilliant but austere. "He's not jolly like the Dalai Lama," warned an American devotee. "He's a bit stiff." But the baby-faced 22-year-old who may be Tibet's next great hope seemed perfectly relaxed in his room at New York City's Waldorf Towers hotel, none the worse for his first intercontinental flight. Encountering a laptop-bearing reporter, Ogyen Trinley Dorje inquired eagerly about the computer; like his mentor, he's apparently a Mac fan. Asked if he'd managed to sleep on the plane, he replied, "Sleep, but not well. Lot of ..." Then, his maroon robe dancing, the 17th reincarnated head of Tibetan Buddhism's Kagyu sect offered an enthusiastic mime of a bumpy transoceanic flight.
It bodes well for Dorje that he is able to make light of turbulence. As the Karmapa, Tibetan Buddhism's third-ranking personage, he has carried the immeasurable burden of his people's expectations, supernatural and worldly, since he was first recognized at age 7 by a religious search party. The delegation was following the directions in a "prediction letter" left in a locket by the previous Karmapa when he died in 1981; it included Dorje's birth year, parents' names (Dondrub and Loga) and a location. According to followers of the Kagyu branch of Buddhism, the child persuaded his nomad parents to break camp early in order to be in the right place when the searchers arrived. Within months, he was installed in the Karmapa's Tsurphu Monastery as a near divine bodhisattva--or enlightened being--and, by extension, a player in the perilous world of Sino-Tibetan politics.
Just how perilous was confirmed in 1995, when the Chinese government forcibly replaced the second-ranking personage, the Panchen Lama, with its own nominee. Most Tibetans rejected Beijing's choice, and many worried that the Karmapa might suffer a similar fate. But in 1999, the 14-year-old, in disguise, clambered out of a monastery window and was spirited on foot and by horseback and helicopter to India, becoming the Tibetan diaspora's teen hero in the process. A nervous Indian government refused to let him travel abroad for eight years.
In that time, the Dalai Lama has personally prepped the boy for a leadership role far beyond the Karmapa's Kagyu lineage. Although an active 72, the senior monk knows that after his death it may be years before his reincarnation is identified and then groomed to adulthood. Until then, the mantle of leadership could well rest with the Karmapa.
It's easy to see something of the Dalai Lama in his pupil. The Karmapa is a sturdy young man, spectacles clinging to his round shaved head, pebbled brown half boots peeking out from beneath the robe. He actually does smile, and even jokes, impishly describing the stop-start-stop process of New York traffic. He appears to be that rare combination: a born listener who speaks with almost utter assurance, even on controversial subjects. Before his visit, his American retinue stressed that the Kagyu lineage is historically apolitical, but in person he was less circumspect, telling Time, "As far as I'm concerned, the situation in Tibet, particularly the political situation, has reached a level of emergency." As the Dalai Lama's pupil, Dorje feels he must "continue to support [his mentor's political role] as best I can in the future."
The U.S. is his natural first destination; his predecessor, the 16th Karmapa, loved the country and died in a hospital outside Chicago. But Dorje also seems interested in a political connection. In a pretrip video, he described his religious goals but also expressed the hope that "by connecting with a powerful country such as the United States ... my own abilities to bring peace to the world ... will be enhanced." He says he'd like to spend two months a year in the U.S.
His religious plans are adventurous, too. He wants to be a "21st century religious leader," reaching beyond those of his faith. "My work is not going to be conducted only among other Buddhists," he said, "but to help everyone." He showcased that accessibility in a teaching to a packed house at Manhattan's Hammerstein Ballroom on May 17. The speech was filled with easy-to-grasp metaphors: If the world and its cares are a 200-lb. weight, he said, the mind can be a mirror reflecting the weight without carrying the poundage. His audience, Western and Tibetan, was charmed. Said Kunchok Dolma, 25, a student from a New York City Tibetan family: "I feel an elevated sort of happiness."
Some well-wishers have reservations. Robert Thurman, an expert in Tibetan Buddhism and a longtime friend of the Dalai Lama's, says Dorje could indeed become the next "face" of his people. But he warns against pressuring the young monk into too much travel and teaching too soon. "He needs a period of practice and study to manifest his full strength," says Thurman. "When I met the Dalai Lama when he was 28, he did not have the level of charismatic power that he does now." Some of his followers worry, too, that the lure of the road might distract Dorje from his people in China and India. But as he demonstrated on his first trip to the U.S., the young monk knows where he wants to go. And he's prepared for some turbulence along the way.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra. May 2008. Reception ceremony.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra. May 2008. Purification puja and KTD staff appreciation ceremony.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra. May 2008. Morning walk.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje at Karma Triyana Dharmchakra. May 2008. Guru Rinpoche empowerment.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra. May 2008. Rainbows in the sky.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje watching multiple rainbows appear above Woodstock and KTD monastery.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje's first visit to Karme Ling retreat center. May 2008.
The first visit of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to his North American seat, Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, in Woodstock, NY. May 2008. We are all extremely happy to have His Holiness come and bless us with his presence and wisdom.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje blesses the KTD shrine room with a purification ceremony. May 2008.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje touring the new building at KTD monastery during his first historic visit to the US. May 2008.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa visits Kunzang Palchen Ling, Bardor Tulku Rinpoche's monastery in Red Hook, NY. May 2008.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje's visit to the New Jersey Karma Thegsum Choling. May 2008.
From Monday, May 26, through Wednesday, May 28, His Holiness Karmapa visited two of the state of California’s most famous cities as part of a rest and recreation segment of his historic first visit to the United States. On Monday, His Holiness briefly swept through San Francisco, giving a short teaching and blessings at Kagyu Droden Kunchab, a Kalu Rinpoche center run by Lama Lodru Rinpoche. His Holiness also gave a brief address to and was ceremoniously greeted by a gathering of members of Palpung Lungtok Choling, a center of His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche, who received His Holiness at a San Francisco hotel. That night, His Holiness and his party made their way to Los Angeles.
In Los Angeles on Tuesday, His Holiness visited Universal Studios Hollywood. On Wednesday, His Holiness visited Disneyland and was hosted for dinner by Lama Wangchen Rinpoche and his students. At the dinner reception, a representative of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa read and presented His Holiness with an official statement from the Mayor welcoming His Holiness to Los Angeles.
His Holiness in California
His Holiness had a very full day today, conducting private interviews, giving two public talks at Boulder’s Macky Auditorium, granting a question-and-answer audience for the organizing sanghas of the Boulder visit, and granting an audience to an assembly of hundreds of members of the Boulder Tibetan community at the Boulder Shambhala Center. The topic for His Holiness’s public teachings was “Healing the Environment Through the Mind of Enlightenment,” and at the Tibetan community audience His Holiness gave advice to the assembly and conferred the reading transmission of Avalokiteshvara.
His Holiness will now be taking a few days of private rest. He will resume public teachings on Saturday, May 31 at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, Washington.
Translator: Tyler Dewar
Venue: Macky Auditorium, University of Colorado, Boulder, May 25, 2008
Photographers: Sarite Sanders and James Gritz.
- Notes from a Participant-
There is a strong connection between the outer world and the inner world. It is a connection of interdependence. Caring for the external world promotes a sense of inner purity. As an example of how the outer world affects our thoughts and actions, His Holiness noted that at his teachings in metropolitan New York, the bright lights around the stage obscured his vision of those who had come to hear him teach. However, at Macky Auditorium, he could see all of us clearly and this would affect what he said to us. Another example of how the outer and inner worlds interact is that when we practice meditation it is important to create proper conditions for practice. For shamata practice, the foundation of all practice, the first thing we must do is to create a peaceful environment. This demonstrates the connection between outer environment and our state of mind. This principle of the outer environment being important to peace in our mind is something we should think about.
So much in the modern environment poses a challenge to inner peace. For example, we see devastation wrought by natural calamities; when affected by natural calamity, many people lose their basic emotional stability. It is important to train our minds to connect with peace before calamities or other natural disasters occur.
When His Holiness was eight years old, the area of his monastery, not far from Lhasa, had earthquakes every day. In this part of Tibet, all the structures were wood and rattled noisily. But at that age, he said he did not know how to be scared, so he slept through many earthquakes. Even when people carried him from his three - story home to a single - story building that was considered safer, he woke briefly, but then went right back to sleep. Though His Holiness was relaxed through all this, people came to him, saying, “You are the Karmapa. You should stop these earthquakes.” His Holiness said he didn’t even know enough to fear earthquakes, so it seemed odd that he would be expected to stop them. At the time, there was a belief that earthquakes were caused by a giant tortoise stirring beneath the earth. People told him to talk to the tortoise and persuade it to stop causing earthquakes. But if this giant tortoise was under the earth, the very young Karmapa wondered, where would his ears be? He was not sure, so he simply started talking to the earth, saying, “If you stop moving, I will give you something good, perhaps some milk. But if you don’t stop moving, things will not be easy for you.” After that, the earth settled down. When His Holiness was fourteen, his escape to India was being planned. The afternoon that plans about their route and other particulars were finalized, there was a small earthquake. His Holiness, smiling, noted, “It was as if he knew I was leaving and he did not have to be still anymore.” He also said he thought that the earth tremor was a sign of good luck.
There is an intimate connection between the outer and inner world. The essential nature of both is the same, so they are like water being poured into water. We can come to realize this.
Our minds do not rest in the essential nature very often. We are, rather, in a conceptual state in which we label things “outer” and “inner.” Sometimes we can influence the environment through prayer and aspiration, but such matters as violent warfare in other parts of the world are very difficult to reverse. Humans are capable of creating situations in the world, such as intense warfare, that are very difficult to reverse.
We are talking about healing the environment through the mind of awakening. It is difficult to stop warfare because those involved are motivated by strong anger and hatred, potently negative mental states. It would be very difficult to influence these with our minds alone. We should nonetheless seek to make our environment peaceful and gentle. Aspirations for this are important, but not sufficient.
People always come to see His Holiness when they are troubled; he said they don’t come to tell him that things are going well. When people come to him with their problems, he tries to think about what changes can be introduced to improve their situation. Much of the time, a strong sense of burden in our minds determines our experience of difficult circumstances. The most skilful approach to improving our situation is to work with our minds rather than external circumstances. Our suffering has a lot to do with where we place our mind. When we face difficult circumstances, the degree of suffering depends on how we relate to the circumstance, where we place it in our hearts and minds. Be mindful of how we process difficult situations, where in our hearts and minds we place our circumstances. We can become skilful at this; we can be at peace with difficult external situations, and eventually the difficult external circumstances can be pacified.
There are many problems we cannot address directly and immediately in the world today. It is, however, possible to make things change indirectly. This is not merely a hope - His Holiness has had a vision that this is possible. As an illustration of his vision of how this works, in his early life, His Holiness lived a very restricted life in Tibet and later in India. Over time, people began to pay attention to his situation. It became their concern. As others became concerned, the situation became more vast and things became more workable. And now His Holiness has been able to come to America, to be here in Boulder, sharing his thoughts. This demonstrates how we can affect change - by making others’ concerns our own.
His Holiness expressed a deep sense of joy and familiarity in being with us. Even though he has not had the opportunity to converse with each of us, we seem familiar to him.
In the earlier teaching, His Holiness talked about the interconnectedness of the outer environment and our minds, and how to work with that interconnectedness to bring about change in the world. Everything we do leaves an imprint on the world. Now is the time to consider our imprint on the world, in particular how we can contribute. The world has given us much, an environment in which we live and practice. Now we should consider how to give back. Sometimes it seems we can approach this relationship with the world as if the world’s citizens are artists creating a vision of their environment, everyone in the world offering an ideal representation of the world in which we live, creating together a beautiful vision of the world. The world is getting smaller, a global village whose members are interconnected. There is great opportunity for the East to share its wisdom with the West and for the West to share its resources with the East.
His Holiness feels that because of a greater sense of interconnectedness due to technological advances, this is a wonderful time to be alive. However, this is also a time of widespread conflict. We must choose what to do and what not to do. We must select positive, virtuous opportunities, even if they seem difficult. We must think deeply about what we want and how to get there. This is a way to connect deeply with virtuous actions.
What we think we want depends on our disposition. When we think deeply rather than superficially about what we want, there are discoveries to be made. There is a nice story about His Holiness the Dalai Lama regarding the distinction between being attracted to things and taking only what we need. Gyalwa Rinpoche, i.e., His Holiness the Dalai Lama, loves watches. He repairs them and likes new watches. When he needed a new watch, he enjoyed looking at many watches and was attracted to many fine watches, but purchased only the simple, functional watch that he needed. Merchants try to sell us many things, but we should be selective and take only what we need. Unless controlled in this way, craving is endless.
His Holiness mentioned how Jetsün Milarepa attained enlightenment in one body, in one lifetime, and suggested what might happen if Milarepa lived today. If His Holiness offered Milarepa a laptop computer and showed him the features of a mobile phone and offered that to Milarepa as well, it might delay Milarepa’s enlightenment. Engaging too extensively with possessions and possible possessions can divert one from the path.
The advantage of living in a technically advanced society is convenience - the ability to be effective and get quick results. It is an advantage as long as we are producing positive results. One can, these days, also quickly and conveniently produce negative results. As one of many possible examples of the negative effects of modern technical efficiency, His Holiness told a story of the village in which he spent his early years. There were hunters who hunted animals near the village. Their tools were simple and because the tools were simple, there was no threat of extinction, no major disruption of the animal population. In modern times, hunters equipped with guns, binoculars and other tools have hunted animals to the brink of extinction. We have a notion that this world will be around for a long time. However, if we accumulate powerful negative karma through how we use technology, this becomes less likely.
Technology and material advancement are neutral. Humans create positive and negative karma through positive and negative actions. To give rise to a strong desire to positively affect the world, we need to think deeply. Rather than think of the world as inanimate, consider all that the world gives to us and to all sentient beings. This world is like a loving mother, giving us life. The world can be an object for compassion and loving kindness. Through practicing loving kindness and compassion, we can bring peace to our world.
In Tibet, there are many stories about highly accomplished masters who left handprints on stones and performed other feats that seem miraculous. They do this to teach us about the powerful connection between our mind and the world. A heart full of love can transform something as hard as rock into something malleable. This ends the main teaching, which was followed by a question - answer session.
Question : Some Karma Kagyu teachers say we are on the verge of a dark era of rampant desire, false teachers, etc. What can you say about this?
Answer : In technical terminology, this is the kali yuga, the “ age of pollution.” What is meant by “ pollution” here is what remains when what is good has been overpowered by negative forces. In the kali yuga, it is difficult to find a Lama free of faults. Even if we did find one, our mental state is such that we would project faults onto a teacher who is without flaw. Thus, we should simply rely on a Guru who has more positive than negative traits. Teachers in this age will have a combination of positive and negative qualities, but they can still benefit us. It might be difficult to rely on the teacher in the traditional way. We can approach our Buddhist training in the beginning as a kind of education. During this phase, we can gain understanding of the qualities of both a genuine teacher and a capable student.
(Question about how to be a good Dharma student.)
Answer : Dharma is about training our own mind, so first consider what keeps us from taming our minds. There are three phases to proper practice of Dharma: (1) preparation, (2) main practice, and (3) follow - up. Preparation is forming a strong resolve, a strong motivation that suffuses our being. Main practice: The capable student applies diligence, patience, exertion and long - term vision to taming the mind. Follow - up: After practice, go out and help others. Don’t wait to attain Buddhahood - consider how to benefit others right now. View others, their joys and sorrows, as extensions of your own being.
(Question about whether it is better to invest effort in environmentalism or to invest completely in Buddhist practice.)
Answer : How many people focus one-pointedly on practice now? We don’t know what will happen in the future. The situation we are in now is that resources are scarce and the population is growing, but to over - focus on the future can be detrimental to our efforts to have a positive effect on the world. We have a responsibility to leave a habitable world for today’s children.
Inter - sangha audience (evening)
(Question about shamata and vipashana.)
Answer : Generally, we say that we practice shamata to reverse the tendency of our mind to be distracted. In vipashana, we investigate. The mere accomplishment of shamata does not in itself engender vipashana. Vipashana is practiced in other religions, including Hindu religions. Teachings on selflessness, investigated in vipashana, are unique to Buddhism. This requires intention. It will not arise naturally.
(Question on importance of study on the Buddhist path.)
Answer : One traditional way of discussing this is hearing, contemplating and meditating. If we do not incorporate all three of these in our practice, then our practice is incomplete. It is possible to hear teachings, contemplate them and meditate simultaneously. However, for beginners, this is not possible; so it is possible for us to hear one-pointedly, contemplate one - pointedly and meditate. The cause for meditative accomplishment is vast hearing and extensive contemplation. Without these, there is no true meditative experience.
(Question about the origin of the Bardo teachings and whether the duration of the bardo state is necessarily 49 days.)
Answer : The Bardo teachings originated with the Buddha, in the Tantras, particularly in the Nyingma Tantras. There are examples of periods in the bardo that are greater than 49 days. Some classes of sentient beings have no bardo at all; they go directly to their next rebirth. When beings enter the bardo, there is suffering, e.g., fear and terror due to negative acts on the path. When one dies and enters the bardo, the most subtle form of mind, luminosity, becomes accessible and we can become enlightened. Bardo teachings are intended to help us make good use of this opportunity.
(Question asking His Holiness to comment on the condition of Dharma practice in the East and West.)
Answer : Westerners, who are trustworthy, are being entrusted with secret teachings. There are differences in the ways people think, their inclinations and approaches. The Dharma is taught consistent with the disposition of various students. The Kagyu Lineage originated in India, and Indians as well as Tibetans are held in high regard. All Gurus in the Lineage are to be revered. There is no particular reason for concern about cross - cultural issues in spreading the Dharma.
His Holiness said that he would write in his journal about his visit to Boulder and recollect his time here again and again. There were obstacles to His Holiness’ coming here, but his resolve was so strong that these obstacles were overcome. His love for us is so strong that nothing can get in the way of his coming here and spending time with us. His Holiness said he would return to Boulder.
Through this goodness, may omniscience be attained
And thereby may every enemy (mental defilement) be overcome.
May beings be liberated from the ocean of samsara
That is troubled by waves of birth, old age, sickness, and death.
By this virtue may I quickly attain the state of Guru Buddha and then
Lead every being without exception to that very state!
May precious and supreme Bodhicitta that has not been generated now be so,
And may precious Bodhicitta that has already been never decline, but continuously increase!
May the life of the Glorious Lama remain steadfast and firm.
May peace and happiness fully arise for beings as limitless in number as space is vast in its extent.
Having accumulated merit and purified negativities, may I and all living beings without exception swiftly establish the levels and grounds of Buddhahood.
Today, His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Drodul Trinley Dorje, made his first visit to Boulder, Colorado, the small but thriving city at the foot of the Rockie Mountains which His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, visited three times and at which Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, one of the greatest Buddhist masters of the twentieth century, established his first headquarters at the Shambhala Center, the location of His Holiness’s reception today. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Lady Diana Mukpo, Shambhala President Richard Reoch, and representatives and members of many dharma communities received His Holiness in the grand shrine room at the Boulder Shambhala Center.
After giving a brief address at the Shambhala Center, His Holiness retired to his residence, where he rested before visiting Naropa University, a contemplative educational institution founded by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in the 1970’s. His Holiness addressed members of the faculty, staff, and student body. His Holiness will give a full day of teachings at the Macky Auditorium here in Boulder tomorrow.
His Holiness in Boulder, Colorado
His Holiness the 17th Karmapa visited the Karma Thegsum Choling of New Jersey today, a dharma center of His Holiness operated by Lama Tsultrim and located on a large plot of land in the southern part of the state. His Holiness was received with extensive ceremony and bestowed a Medicine Buddha empowerment, along with wonderful teachings on global harmony and healing, upon the crowd of several hundred devotees. The teachings were translated into both English and Mandarin, the native language of a large portion of the audience.
Today, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa visited Karme Ling and Kunzang Palchen Ling, two Kagyu dharma centers in upstate New York. More details of His Holiness's activities at these centers will be posted shortly.
Today, in the morning, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Drodul Trinley Dorje, granted refuge vows and bestowed an empowerment of Guru Padmasambhava upon the assembly of the Karma Triyana Dharmachakra (KTD) community. In the afternoon, His Holiness gave a brief explanation of the general meaning of the Seven-Line Supplication to Padmakara based on White Lotus, a text by the great 19th century master, Jamgon Mipham. For the remainder of the day, His Holiness rested and granted assorted group and individual audiences and blessings to members and friends of KTD. Today was the final day featuring formal events at KTD; on Thursday, His Holiness will briefly visit two Kagyü centers in upstate New York, and, on Friday, His Holiness will visit and teach at Karma Thegsum Choling in southern New Jersey.
Today, His Holiness blessed the shrine room at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra (KTD) in the morning during a ceremony in which lamas from throughout North America served as ritual assistants. In the afternoon, His Holiness presided over a reception for the donors, staff members, and volunteers of KTD, personally presenting each honoree with a plaque of appreciation. Representatives of the City of Woodstock were in attendance and were among those to whom His Holiness the Karmapa extended his heartfelt gratitude. For the remainder of the day, His Holiness rested and granted audiences.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa departed New York City today to make his way to his North American seat, Karma Triyana Dharmachakra (KTD), in Woodstock, NY. KTD was founded by His Holiness the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. En route to his historic first landing at KTD, His Holiness visited Kagyu Thubten Choling (KTC), the retreat center led by Lama Norlha, a master in the lineage of the venerable Kalu Rinpoche. KTC is located in Wappingers Falls, NY. At KTC, His Holiness received mandala and body, speech, and mind offerings from Lama Norlha and his students, gave a welcome address to the KTC community, consecrated a recently constructed stupa, visited with the male and female dharma practitioners currently immersed in the traditional three-year retreat, and blessed the site of an additional monastery building to be constructed on KTC’s grounds.
When he arrived at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, His Holiness was greeted by a full and colorful welcoming procession complete with all of the traditional musical instruments of Tibetan ritual. After he ascended the throne in the beautifully appointed shrine room, His Holiness expressed his great delight in the excellent work of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, President Tenzin Chonyi, and the many others whose service to the Gyalwang Karmapa caused the continuity of the Karmapa’s teachings to thrive at his North American seat.
His Holiness will spend the next several days at KTD, giving teachings, granting empowerments, and meeting with members of the KTD community.
MONDAY, MAY 19, 2008
The past four days in New York City have been a whirlwind of joyous activity for the students of His Holiness Karmapa and the various sanghas organizing the visit. The students in New York are also a little saddened today that the Karmapa's first visit to New York City passed so quickly, and are sending prayers and aspirations that the Karmapa will return to New York City very soon.
Today, on the auspicious Tibetan holy day of Saka Dawa honoring the Buddha's enlightenment, His Holiness Karmapa arrives at his North American seat, Karma Triyana Dharmachakra monastery in upstate New York. The cities of Shamong, New Jersey, Boulder, Colorado and Seattle, Washington are also busily and joyfully preparing to host His Holiness in the next two weeks.
His Holiness Karmapa taught again in the Big Apple yesterday, to an audience of approximately 1,700 at the Grand Ballroom at the Waldorf-Astoria. Kagyu Office posted this beautiful summary of the teachings:
In discussing the topic “Cutting Through Confusion: Discovering the Wisdom of Our Own Minds,” His Holiness gave incredibly practical and useful advice about how to transcend the cultural trappings that may come to be associated with meditation practice and, rather, allow one’s mind to relax and be wakeful in a natural, uncontrived way. His Holiness discussed a broad range of other topics as well, occasionally delving into his impressive English vocabulary, to the great delight of the sold-out audience.The day concluded with a blessing audience for members of the Buddhist organizations that have worked together to plan and administer His Holiness’s visit. At this audience, His Holiness answered the pre-submitted questions of the audience and extended his heartfelt gratitude to those who have made his trip to the United States possible: the United States government, the Indian government, the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, and, most importantly, his students and dharma friends in the United States.
At the beginning of the teaching, a representative from Mayor Bloomberg's office presented His Holiness with a framed poster proclaiming this His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Week in New York City.
Other major events in New York in the past two days included a Dharma teaching for Tibetans at Hunter College, and a visit to Tibet House. His Holiness also met with an audience of children and families from the Ronald McDonald House. Blog reader Divya Jyoti posted this comment, which summarizes the feelings of everyone involved in His Holiness Karmapa's first New York City visit:
I was with a group of parents and children from the Ronald McDonald House to have an audience with His Holiness last evening. I wish to thank His Holiness for his compassionate response and blessing of the children and families. His love was felt by us all. Let the healing begin.
Divya Jyoti and the families at the Ronald McDonald House NYC
Additional photographs and highlights from His Holiness' Big Apple teachings and activities will be posted very soon, even as the blog begins to turn its attention to the coming events in upstate New York, New Jersey, Colorado and Washington. Over the coming days, the blog's regular Karmapa Foundation staff writer will be joined by special guest contributors including Tyler Dewar, Diane Gregorio, and others. Tyler works closely with Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche as his primary translator, and Diane is Rinpoche's Chief of Staff for the organization of Karmapa's visit to America. We are honored to have their participation and look forward to their contributions to the blog.