Letter From His Holiness The 17th Karmapa

The Peaceful & Calming Victory Flag: Melodious Song of the Battle Victorious over Maras

By His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje

A garland of dawn's glowing moonlight this wisdom,
profound and clear, sheds luminous joy.

Virtuous signs of radiant clarity,
a cluster of lively moons turns in the gracious dance of emptiness,
 free of fabrication, and luminosity, cool and fresh;

A broad and calming shade of benefit 
and happiness permeates the whole universe.

The sweet melody of auspicious virtue and excellence 
for all beings resonates as the glorious ornament of the three realms.

The two rising curves of pure gold are great joy's loving, radiant smile;

The vibrant blue reflects the ultimate,
dharmakaya lit by a vigorous and youthful sun; 
sphere of light, this hand draws

And plays, gathering into the glide of an image the unity of the profound and vast, 
the peaceful and soothing.

Throughout existence, 
may the victory banner of the Buddha's teachings resound its famous and melodious song.

In order to liberate [beings] from the four maras, this aspiration prayer was made by the seventeenth one to hold the Karmapa's lineage, [Ogyen Trinley Dorje]. With advice from Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, translated by Michele Martin copyright © 2000.


The Pleasant Melody of a Right-Turning Conch: A Visionary Aspiration

By His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje

Om Swasti.

From the state of peace, in nature an expanse of profundity and clarity,
The vast space of dharmakaya, all-pervading absolute truth,
Resounds graceful music, connate magic,
The pleasant melody of myriads of excellent virtues.

At the sunset of Shakyamuni's doctrine,
The approach of the waning of the youthful rays,
Appears a torch smiling like the moon's face,
Three secrets that gracefully ornament the sky of the victor's doctrine.(1)

In the vast park of endless existence,
Bloom poisonous leaves, the appearances of bewilderment.
The suffering of these appearances, their taste and potency,
Is this really worthy of praise as a true medicine? (2)

On the vast face of the luminous sky
Clouds of merit play, delighting all.
Through the cooling, honeyed rain of camphor, bodhicitta,
May all enjoy the nutriment of the definitively secret result. (3)

On the calyx, a thousand varieties of discernment,
Rests sweet dew, the full potency of virtues long established.
Upon its being drunk by the bee, the clear intellect,
Songs are sung, accompanied by the dance of great bliss. (4)

In evil times of the full five-fold degeneration, the obscuration of youth,
The behavior of beings is the dance of madness,
Uncertain and without trust.
May it be bound by the light of altruistic morality. (5)

Dedicate the sun of virtues, that goddess resplendent 
With the ornaments of complete joy,
Arising from the slopes of the eastern mountain, genuine altruism,
To all beings including myself. (6)

The youth of mundane joy and well-being is impermanent.
One cannot know when it will be destroyed.
I aspire, through unending, peaceful conduct without aggression,
To the achievement of splendid happiness for all beings. (7)

Finally, in the garden of dharmadhatu, akanishta,
In unity beyond elaboration, the nature of liberation,
May you and I enjoy the taste of dharma, profound and lucid,
In the state of vast purity and equality. (8)

While I was escaping to India, this was said to me in Mustang by the great Tsongkhapa, the victor of the east.

This was dictated by His Holiness the Seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa to Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche. Translated by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe Gyamtso. Translation copyright © 2000 by the translators.


A Joyful Aspiration: Sweet Melody for Fortunate Ones

By His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje

Om Swasti. The right-turning conch of pure compassion in body, speech, and mind
Pours forth a stream of good intentions that never change.
Thereby, may a sweet, resonant melody beyond compare, such music for the ears,
Open the lotus petals of virtue, excellence, and goodness.

It has the supreme name of the Wish Fulfilling Tree, the ambrosial one.
Musical tones of this stainless tree, granting every wish, are dulcet and pleasing.
Throughout its branches the gems of lasting happiness nestle among their leaves.
Sovereign in our realm, may the world be resplendent with the beauty of this tree.

Aspiration for Tibet

A chain of fragrant flowers, these snow mountains are tranquil and fresh.
In a healing land where white incense rises sweet,
May the gracious beauty of luminous moonbeams, light of the spiritual and temporal world,
Conquer all strife, the darkness of the shadow side.

Aspiration for the Dalai Lama

Inspiring festivals of merit in the Land of Snow,
You are the Supreme One holding a pure white lotus.
With the beauty of all good qualities, a treasure for eyes to behold,
May your life be long, steadfast as a diamond vajra.

Aspiration for Culture and Knowledge

The most excellent virtue is the brilliant and calm flow of culture:
Those with fine minds play in a clear lotus lake;
Through this excellent path, a song line sweet like the pollen's honey,
May they sip the fragrant dew of glorious knowledge.

Aspiration for the World

Over the expanse of the treasured earth in this wide world,
May benefit for beings appear like infinite moons' reflections,
Whose refreshing presence brings lasting welfare and happiness
To open a lovely array of night-blooming lilies, signs of peace and joy.


Descending from a canopy of white clouds, the gathering of two accumulations,
May these true words, like pearled drops of light or pouring rain,
Falling in a lovely park where fortunate disciples are free of bias,
Open the flowers of friendship so that well-being and joy blossom forth.

These words of aspiration, sprung from a sincere intention, were written down by Urgyen Trinley, the one who bears the noble name of the Karmapa, while he was escaping from Tibet. One night in the illusory appearance of a dream, on a lake bathed in clear moonlight and rippled with blooming lotus flowers serving as a seat for three Brahmins who appeared wearing pure white silk and playing a drum, guitar, flute and other instruments. Created in pleasing and lyric tones, their melodious song came to my ears, and so I composed this aspiration prayer with a one-pointed mind, filled with an intense and sincere intention to benefit all the people of Tibet. Within a beautiful and auspicious chain of mountains, this land of Tibet, may the sun rays of the supreme aspiration for awakening swiftly appear.

This song and the yig chung that follow it were written by the Seventeenth Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje. Translated under the guidance of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche by Michele Martin, copyright © 2000; headings inserted based on the commentary of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche.

A Prayer for the Longevity of the Victorious Fathers & Songs of the Glorious Karma Kagyu

By His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje

OM SVASTI Majestic holder of the ocean of activity
Of the wisdom and bodies of innumerable victors,
Gyalwang Karmapa, omniscient throughout the three times,
May your lotus feet remain firm and your activity flourish.

Amitabha, lord of Sukhavati,
Lord of the dance, skilled in upholding the victory banner of the teachings
Through the intentional, wondrous dance of emanation--
I bow to the peerless predecessors.

Although you have possessed from the beginning the vajra body
Unconquered by existence or peace, you appear as one on the pure levels.
Situpa, display of the great victor Maitreya,
May your lotus feet remain firm and your activity flourish.

Conqueror of ignorance's gloom, giver of the supreme treasure of wisdom,
Actual appearance of Manjushri, great life-tree of the teachings,
Jamgon Lama, protector in these degenerate times,
May your lotus feet remain firm and your activity flourish.

Display of the great, primordial, indestructible drop,
Lord of Secrets, vajra dancer of bliss-emptiness,
Goshri Gyaltsap, appearing in various forms to tame various beings,
May your lotus feet remain firm and your activity flourish.

Subduer of all that appears and exists, master of the four elements,
Chakravartin of activity who possesses the vajra body,
Actual appearance of Padmasambhava, great, glorious Pawo,
May your lotus feet remain firm and your activity flourish.

Magical display of Amitayus's wisdom,
Spontaneously perfect, glorious, profound, and vast skillful activity,
Root of benefit and happiness, nirmanakaya Treho,
May your lotus feet remain firm and your activity flourish.

Through the power of praying with such unreserved devotion,
May the lamas' blessing enter my mind.
May I be able to fully emulate 
The ocean of qualities of their three secrets and their lives.

May the gate of all excellent benefit and happiness, the victors' teachings,
Long remain, and may all the communities 
That uphold, study and practice them 
Flourish in observance of the ten Dharma practices.

May all those connected to those communities--myself and others--
From now until the youth of great bliss's essence is mature,
Be unsullied by the stain of impediments and harm.
May all Dharmic wishes of the fortunate be spontaneously accomplished.

The pleasure and wealth of existence is like last night's dream.
Realizing it to be unimportant and meaningless,
May we practice sacred Dharma without vacillation,
With great and sincere exertion.

Resolving that one's own mind is the Buddha,
Realizing that mind itself is emptiness-lucidity, spontaneously perfect and self-liberated,
May we be free from all hope and fear regarding samsara and nirvana
And gain the assurance of genuine, free awakening.


This brief prayer for the longevity and flourishing activity of these holy objects of worship by gods and humans was written, in order to remind myself of their kindness and in response to the fervent encouragement of many, by Ogyen Trinley Palden Wangi Dorje, the seventeenth to be blessed by the name of the Buddha Karmapa, at Vajrasana, the site of the full and manifest awakening of the Sugata, on the special occasion of the nineteenth Sangha Prayer Festival of the peerless protectors of beings, the Kagyu. May this cause the lamas' blessing to enter the minds of us all.

Translation copyright 2002 Lama Yeshe Gyamtso.



In the last few years I have taken some interest in Akshobhya and we have offered the fire puja of Akshobhya at the Kagyu Monlams. I have also created some Akshobhya retreats here with Lamas from different countries and tried to explain what I knew about this practice. One reason I did this is because technical and material progress in the 21stcentury means that the activity of human beings is very powerful and has a great effect, unlike in ancient times. We harm other beings and the environment very much. Thus it is an age when we are creating very strong negative karma. Therefore if we practice Akshobhya, I think it will help a lot because Akshobhya is a Buddha especially meant to purify negative karma.

~ His Holiness the 17th Karmapa / The 29th Kagyu Monlam: Day One

The practice of Dharma is like exercising or carefully following a course of training, which is powerful and deeply significant. For example, if you are in the military, you train every day, and in the same way, with the Dharma, you have to train your mind daily, not just to relax but to be able to relate to whatever is happening around you. You integrate your practice with whatever conditions you meet so that you are not carried away by them and do not lose your patience.

~ His Holiness the 17th Karmapa / The 29th Kagyu Monlam: Day Four

The word dharma in Sanskrit has ten different meanings. It was translated into Tibetan as chos, which means to change, to transform, or to make better. We have to alter our mind, transform it. When we talk of Dharma, it is not an alteration that tools can perform: only mind can transform mind. You have to use your mind to change your mind. 

~ His Holiness the 17th Karmapa / The 29th Kagyu Monlam: Day Four


by 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje

Namo Guru

Mighty Vajradhara, wisdom of all conquerors in a single form,
Splendid guru, your kindness towards me has been beyond compare.
This way in which you left for dharmadhatu, even though for a just while,
Aches and hurts unbearably as if a thorn has pierced my heart.

Even though the clarity of your eyesight did decline,
And even though your legs and fingers were removed,
You never tired of working for the happiness of beings.
Single father, noble guru, how I miss your kindness!

I think of you and meet your joyful, smiling face.
I think of you and hear your gentle tone of voice.
I think of you, your loving kindness leaves an imprint in my heart.
Again, again, I think of you, oh guru how I miss you!

May your triple trainings’ golden orb remanifest
Among the eastern peaks, your tireless resolve,
So your beneficial and joyous waves of light shine far and wide;
Please let your emanation soon arise like a youthful sun.

Without you, there’s no chance to clear the gloom of ignorance.
Without you, there’s no chance to cross this ocean of samsara.
Having trusted you forever to be my refuge and my hope,
In every single life at your lotus feet I bow.

Even though the eminent Tenga Rinpoche, our lord of refuge whose kindness is incomparable, has for but a while passed beyond to dharmadhatu, I, Urgyen Trinley, one in the line of bearers of the Karmapa name, wrote this prayer on the 5th of April, 2012, in the form of an earnest supplication, so that he may reappear to benefit all fortunate disciples, as he promised.

English by Erik Pema Kunsang.


H.H. the 17th Karmapa’s Portrait of Guan-Yin



Lion's Roar Great Compassion

Title: Lion's Roar Great Compassion
Artist: 17th Gyalwang Karmapa
Language: Tibetan

Avalokiteshvara - Namka Gyalpo (Gaganaraja) Painted by H.H. the 10th Karmapa Choying Dorje

A Statue of Sakyamuni Buddha by H.H. the 10th Karmapa Choying Dorje

The Buddha said that two things are essential: study and practice. Gampopa advised people to study first. The Kagyu is known as the practice lineage, and meditation plays a central role; it is the lineage of experience and realization. Like Milarepa, we have to receive the instructions, and then put them into practice. This involves hardship and effort.

 - HH 17th Karmapa

"A Nyingma lama once said that when we are really suffering and our minds are deeply disturbed, the only things which help are Shantideva’s Way of the Bodhisattva, and The Songs of Milarepa." 

- HHK Orgyen Trinley Dorje

True peace cannot be achieved by force or by merely invoking the word "peace." It can only be attained by training the mind and learning to cultivate inner peace. Peace is a calm and gentle state of mind.

~ His Holiness the 17th Karmapa 

...if we keep a grateful attitude in mind,... we will be able to uphold, preserve, and spread the teachings of the practice lineage. Otherwise, we will turn the Dharma into an empty façade.

~ His Holiness the 17th Karmapa 

The ideal which underpins Mahayana Buddhism is the aspiration to help and benefit as many sentient beings as possible, and for anyone who believes in that ideal, environmental protection is immediately relevant because the environment is the basis for the survival and well-being of all the sentient beings for whose welfare we are working. By protecting the environment we are indirectly serving the needs and welfare of all these other sentient beings who depend upon the health of the environment in which they live.

~ His Holiness the 17th Karmapa 

From the Buddhist perspective the root cause of the environmental degradation the world faces now is ignorance and self-centredness. Naively, we think of "I", "me" and "mine" , conceiving it as autonomous and independent, but if we carefully consider all the things we need in order to live, such as clothing and food, even the oxygen we breathe, we realise that our very survival depends on factors outside ourselves.

~ His Holiness the 17th Karmapa


Karmapa on the Pursuit of Happiness

17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinely Dorje discusses the universal aspiration for happiness and how to achieve it, irregardless of religious association. Footage from the 2003 Kagyu Monlam prayer festival includes HH the Dalai Lama, 4th Jamgon Kontrul, Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche and Bokar Rinpoche.

Gampopa’s Jewel Ornament of Liberation – Bodhgaya, December 2003







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17th Gyalwang Karmapa's Teachings -- “Living The Dharma” (Tibetan/English)part2









17th Gyalwang Karmapa's Teachings -- “Living The Dharma” (Tibetan/English)part1










Karmapa Teaching: Tilopa (Tibetan/English/Chinese)

– Tilokpur, 2007/2/21

The Four Foundations: Special Preliminaries (Tibetan/English/Chinese) part3








The Four Foundations: Special Preliminaries (Tibetan/English/Chinese) part2










The Four Foundations: Special Preliminaries (Tibetan/English/Chinese) part1