2013 Taiwan Kargyu Monlam and Birthday Celebration for His Holiness the 17th Karmapa

Date: June 21-23, 2013

Day 1

Dokhampa Khamtrul Rinpoche arrived in Taiwan Kargyu Monlam at 7:30 am and conducted Mahayana Sojong.

Dokhampa Khamtrul Rinpoche conducted Dharma talk.

Day 3

Dokhampa Khamtrul Rinpoche gave “Guru Rinpoche Longevity Empowerment”, “H.H. Karmapa Longevity Praying Ritual” at 7:30 am of 23 June, 2013 Taiwan Kagyu Monlam.


Gyalwang Karmapa Initiates Revamp of Nuns’ Education, Announces First “Arya Kshema Winter Debates” for Nuns

21-22 June 2013, Delhi.
Gyalwang Karmapa convened a meeting to initiate an overhaul of education for Tibetan Buddhist nuns, and particularly for nuns of the Karma Kagyu tradition. Over the course of two days, the Gyalwang Karmapa met with senior members of eight nunneries to discuss plans to offer nuns the opportunity to engage in rigorous philosophical study up to the highest standards.
As an initial step towards this aim, the Gyalwang Karmapa will inaugurate the Arya Kshema Winter Debates this coming winter. A bhikshuni who was a direct disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni, Arya Kshema (known as Ayya Khema in Pali) was pronounced by the Buddha to be foremost among his female disciples in wisdom and confident eloquence.
Since the nuns’ study and debate curriculum is still under development, the inaugural session of the first winter debates will center not on dialectical debate, but on laying the groundwork for the future. The Gyalwang Karmapa stated that the First Arya Kshema Winter Debates will emphasize “the importance and value of establishing full training for nuns, in terms of the three higher trainings, which include holding the full set of ethical vows as well as formal study and practice of concentration and wisdom.”
At the same time, a conference will be held to explore ways to improve nuns’ health and overall education. In addition, the Gyalwang Karmapa will offer teachings especially for nuns, mainly on Lord Gampopa’s Precious Ornament of Liberation. Karmapa Office of Administration is providing its full support for this project.
“Women and men are equally responsible for upholding the Buddhadharma,” the Gyalwang Karmapa said, explaining his reason for undertaking this initiative. “It is very clear within the Dharma taught by Lord Buddha that women and men were given equal opportunities and equal responsibilities for practicing and transmitting his teachings.”
Along with nuns from four nunneries in Nepal, three nunneries in India and one in Bhutan, a senior khenpo and nunnery representative, as well as a representative from the Karmapa Office of Administration were also in attendance at the meeting, held during the Gyalwang Karmapa’s recent stay in Delhi.



Phayul -- Gyalwang Karmapa’s latest offering, The Heart is Noble, released in New Delhi

Phayul[Wednesday, June 19, 2013 09:30]

DHARAMSHALA, June 19: The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje’s latest book, The Heart is Noble: Changing the World from the Inside Out, was released in the Indian capital New Delhi on Wednesday.

The book was released in the presence of Gyalwang Karmapa by Aruna Roy, renowned social activist, with Rajiv Mehrotra of the Foundation for Universal Responsibility, Pavan K Varma, distinguished author and diplomat, and Vandana Shiva, a noted philosopher and environmental activist, as discussants.

Published by Shambala Publications, the book, which is a result of a monthlong dialogue between the Karmapa and a group of American university students who traveled to Dharamshala in May of 2011 to learn from him, has a foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

In the book, Gyalwang Karmapa reveals his vision for a compassionate global society and tackles the major issues facing the world in the 21st century, ranging from food justice to gender issues to conflict resolution.

In The Heart Is Noble, Gyalwang Karmapa explores a social vision based on the universal principle of interdependence and argues that everyone bears an ethical responsiblity to care for the society and planet.

“I may have certain responsibilities because I received the name and position of ‘Karmapa,’ but we all have responsibilities based on what we receive from the world. An awareness of our interdependence on others and on the planet should be a cause for our love and compassion for them to increase,” the 27-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader writes. “It can keep us aware of the impact our actions have on others and on the planet. If we connect to others and to the planet with love and affection, our responsibility to bring about change does not have to weigh heavily on us at all. We will carry it gladly.”

Made up of 12 chapters, Karmapa Rinpoche in the book explains that awareness of equality should be a guiding principle in building a compassionate society and notes that economic success should not be confised with personal happiness.

“Just because we have a market economy does not mean we need to have a market society,” the young leader writes.

“Inside each of us there is a noble heart ... Our nobility may be obscured at times, covered over with small thoughts or blocked by confused and confusing emotions. But a noble heart lies intact within each of us nonetheless, ready to open and be offered to the world. Our task—the task of this book—is to recognise this noble heart within us and learn to connect with it, to make it the basis of all that we do and feel. When we clear away all that blocks it, this heart can change the world,” Gyalwang Karmapa notes.

In his foreword, the Dalai Lama illustrates that the book is “not so much a presentation of a Buddhist point of view, but an example of the contribution Buddhist ideas can make to contemporary conversation.”

“Rinpoche repeatedly explains how we can tap into our basic good human qualities, the noble heart of the title, as a source of good motivation and positive action. The important thing is to go beyond mere good wishes to actually taking action, whether it concerns dealing with emotions and transforming the mind or steps to protect the natural environment,” the Dalai Lama writes.

“I am sure that readers who pay attention to what is discussed here and try it out in their own lives will not only feel happier within themselves, but will also contribute to making a happier, more peaceful world for the twenty-first century.”


The Heart is Noble

18th June 2013 – Habitat Center, New Delhi.
His Holiness the Karmapa’s new book was the talk of the town in Delhi, India this week, where it was officially released by the eminent social activist Aruna Roy. Entitled The Heart Is Noble: Changing the World from the Inside, the book explores the most pressing issues of our day, including the environmental crisis, food justice and gender issues, arguing that each and every citizen of the world has a role to play in creating a better future for us all. The book launch was standing-room-only at the India Habitat Centre, where such highly distinguished figures as Rajiv MehrotraPavan K. Varma and Vandana Shiva also spoke in support of His Holiness the Karmapa’s approach to society as outlined in his new book.
Speaking as chief guest at the book-launch event, Aruna Roy said, “As a social activist I was very excited to find that a person who is religious and who heads a religious institution should echo the words and feelings of people like me.” Aruna Roy has dedicated her life to working to eradicate poverty, and is one of India most respected voices speaking on behalf of the underprivileged.
Aruna-Ji went on to quote a passage on hunger and food justice from The Heart Is Noble, and commented, “If this message could percolate through to the people who govern this country, then India would certainly be a different place for the poor very soon.”
“I take away many things from this book,” she said. “I take away a feeling of confidence. I take away a feeling of wellbeing, and I take away a feeling of blessing. If somebody who’s on the spiritual path thinks this way, then we couldn’t be very wrong. So I want to thank His Holiness for this extremely valuable book.”
While Aruna Roy officially released the book as chief guest, Wajahat Habibullah (Chairperson of the National Commission on Minorities) was also present for the event, and was invited to the dais to assist in unveiling the book itself.
Next to speak was the Gyalwang Karmapa, who described his aims in the book: “In my new book, I take a look at various issues relating to our society. I hope that I can offer some insight and inspiration as to how we can relate to these social issues, and to issues that are relevant in our world at large. I also hope that I might offer some support and suggestions as to how we can all extend and expand our ability to bring benefit to as many living beings as possible.”
His Holiness the Karmapa then discussed the major themes of his book. He pointed to the ethical implications of interdependence, which he says include a shared responsibility to work for social justice and environmental protection, based on all that we receive from society and the planet.
“This principle of interdependence has direct relevance to our lives as consumers,” he said. “We make choices that would appear to be individual ones, yet carry implications that extend throughout society at much broader levels.”
The optimistic—though challenging message of the book—is that every single individual is responsible of changing the world for the better, and that even our small actions count and come together to make vast changes. At the same time, His Holiness reminds us that we already have within us sustainable inner resources for engaging in this work joyfully: our own noble aspirations and our capacity for compassion.
During his address, the Gyalwang Karmapa said:
“A wholesome sense of responsibility is one that is sincerely motivated by a voluntary sense of enthusiasm and joy to do what is good and meaningful—to develop our capacity to live in a way that is genuinely meaningful and beneficial to others around us.”
Rajiv Mehrotra, the respected Trustee and Secretary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’sFoundation for Universal Responsibility and documentary film-maker widely known as host of the longest-running talk show on Indian public television, said, “The Heart Is Noble is a wonderful articulation of His Holiness the Karmapa’s ideas. While he is twenty-seven years old in this incarnation, he represents the accumulated wisdom of 900 years. There are so many elements in the book that are diverse and although they draw upon Buddhist philosophy, they are tailored to respond to contemporary issues, ideas and predicaments that make them enormously accessible.”
Vandana Shiva, a scientist and eco-feminist whose Navdanya organization is studied internationally as a model for environmental activism, read and commented on several excerpts from the book, including the Gyalwang Karmapa’s description of his own feelings for the earth – as not a dead rock but as something alive, breathing and constantly giving, whose beauty elicits a sense of wonder and appreciation. Vandana Shiva commented, “My life has been inspired by exactly those feelings of beauty which then translate into the search for truth, into science, into research.”
She also spoke movingly of His Holiness’s stance on women’s issues, on the environment and on consumerism and greed. Turning to the Gyalwang Karmapa, she said, “As you’ve said, gender seems to define our place in the world, but it’s just a construct. It’s just an idea. And you have deconstructed it so well and so beautifully. Gandhi too, every day in his prayers said, ‘Make me more womanly.’” Moving beyond the issues of gender identity to address His Holiness’s treatment of the damage of seizing onto fabricated identities as real in his chapter on relationships, she added, “Just as there is interdependence in the world, these fluid identities are part of what we need so much because it’s not just fixed but fragmented identities that are behind so much of the violence within our own societies.”
After reading a passage from the book’s chapter on consumerism, Vandana Shiva added, “It would really be useful for the Indian youth who are so charmed by consumerism, and so high on it just now, to be able to benefit from your teachings.” She ended her impassioned speech by saying, “Thank you, Your Holiness, for this beautiful gift. We needed something that connected the deepest values and stirrings within each of us to the challenges we face in India, and around the world.”
Next in the illustrious panel of discussants was Pavan K. Varma, a distinguished diplomat and widely published author, renowned for his penetrating analysis of Indian identity and culture. He is currently cultural adviser to the Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar. Varma-Ji’s comments were focused on the book’s success in leading readers from vague spirituality to feelings of compassion and from there to awareness and actual action.
“Spiritually must nurture compassion and compassion must awaken awareness, the ability to see around you with that compassionate eye,” he said. “Then it must lead to action. An action naturally needs direction. So it’s a linear progression – spirituality, compassion, awareness, action. And action must be in the right direction, for the right priorities, for the areas that affect people and that matter the most… so that direction needs to come, and, again, your book is a pointer.”
Concluding his address, he added, “Your Holiness, I’m sure your book will inspire people… and I hope they take away from it this message: that all of us have a role to play in the creation of a better world.”
Also on hand was Caroline Newbury, vice president at Random House India, representingShambhala Publications, the publisher of the book. “The Heart Is Noble which sets out a vision for a global community based on compassion,” she said. “It’s remarkably enlightening, it’s thought-provoking, but also an incredibly practical book that draws on the idea of interdependence to present a vision of how we all can bring social action into our lives and through very practical, very simple ways that can be incorporated into our everyday choices, change the world around us… Shambhala is incredibly honored to be publishing His Holiness’s book.”
Rajiv Mehrotra himself had the final word, closing the event by saying, “The Karmapa concludes the book with the following passage, and that’s probably the most appropriate way to conclude the evening:
I mentioned before that we can make others the keepers of what is precious for us, when I spoke of wanting to let the moon keep my love. Since the moon is holding the love I have for you, seeing the moon can remind you of that, and inspire you. If anything I have said here makes sense to you, you can ask the moon to keep it for you. You can ask the stars to keep it for you. When you look at the moon and the stars, I hope you will be reminded of the thoughts and the love that I have shared with you here.
“Your Holiness, I can assure you that these thoughts and feelings and the power of who you are and the compassion that you manifest has been a transforming time and experience for us, and we’re deeply grateful.”


The Karmapa is NO Rock Star!

The 17th Karmapa is not a rock star.
Sometimes I wonder if westerners, converting to Buddhism, can tell the difference between their fascination with Michael Jackson (or The Beatles) and the 17th Karmapa.
Do we devote ourselves to him because he has a pretty face? Because he is funny? Because we watched him grow up before our eyes?
What if the Karmapa looked like the Hunchback of Notre Dame? What if he was deformed with funny teeth and could barely speak? Mute? Would we devote ourselves to him?
Appearances, according to the higher teachings of the lineage, are ultimately delusions. If we attach ourselves to appearances too much, we may miss the message, be deluded, or simply cajoled or tricked.
Yet, how much of our devotion of the Karmapa is based on a fantasy rather than grounded reality?
We need to ask these questions.
During the Karmapa’s visit to KTD in 2011, he speaks specifically about looking at refuge first and foremost as taking refuge in self. That motivation is important to remember. Ultimately, the Karmapa is a representation of our best self nature. The Buddha Karmapa can point the way, but as human beings, striving on the path, we must develop our minds and follow the directional paths the great masters provide us.
If we are simple enough to follow without skeptical inquiry, then we may actually follow the Karmapa for mere appearances. What good is that? The Karmapa would not be happy for our lack of developing our thoughts? And, we will remain in samsara for aeons.

Origin of mantra Karmapa Chenno

The most important practice in Tibetan Buddhism is Guru Yoga, meditation and mantra on the spiritual head and teacher of the tradition, which is seen as living Buddha, embodiment of three kayas and 10 bhumi (extraordinary powers). In Kagyu tradition the head Lama is Gyalwa Karmapa and his mantra is Karmapa Chenno. It is believed sounds of this mantra are directly connected with the enlightened mind of HH Karmapa and carry its enlightened qualities and brings help when it is most necessary for the benefit of student.
Here I would like to share with you a story about the origins of Karmapa Chenno mantra. The Karmapa mantra has originated at the times of 8thKarmapa Mikyo Dorje (1507-1554) in context of teaching about "Calling the Lama from afar."
“Karmapa Chenno” can be roughly translated as "Embodiment of the compassion of all Buddhas, turn attention to me." In Central Tibet, Sikkim and Bhutan, it is pronounced Karmapa Kyen-no or Karmapa khen-no. In East Tibet, it is pronounced "Karmapa chenno."In western countries the most widespread pronunciation is Karmapa Chenno and it is considered correct.
One day, in 16th century, the head of a nomadic household in desolate, windswept northern Tibet passed away. In such a sparsely inhabited region it was rare to find monasteries and lamas to perform Buddhist funeral rites, so the family wondered what to do. Then they noticed a ragged individual travelling on foot who appeared as if he could be either an itinerant yogi or a beggar, so they went to inquire. The mendicant turned out to be, in fact, a lama. The grieving family requested his ministrations for the deceased, and he complied.
When he reached the man's deathbed and began his incantations, the family respectfully requested the lama to perform phowa (consciousness transference to higher realms). The lama, however, said: "I am just a poor, uneducated practitioner of the Buddha's teachings; I have not mastered that esoteric practice. But I do have one positive quality, infinite faith in the living Buddha, named Lama Karmapa; he is like the great gate to Dewachen (a transcendent Pure Land from which evolution on the path of enlightenment is said to be more easily assured). His name is the magic password to that fabulous spiritual domain."
Then he began reciting again and again the powerful name-mantra, "Karmapa Khyenno!" "Karmapa Khyenno, Karmapa Khyenno," he intoned loudly, again and again.
After each and every rosary of one hundred and eight fervent recitations, he would then hit the corpse with his mala, or prayer beads, commanding that, in the name of the Buddha Karmapa, the spirit of the deceased be reborn in Dewachen.
After some time, everyone noticed that the signs of successful consciousness transference began to appear. Hair fell from the top of the corpse's head; there was a pleasant fragrance in the air, and a large bump appeared at the crown aperture where the subtle consciousness of the deceased departed for the other world.
Everyone present rejoiced, and gratefully thanked the mendicant lama. All began to faithfully practice the mantra of the Karmapa, praying to realize the great freedom and bliss of Dewachen in this very lifetime.
The travelling lama soon continued on his journey. One day he heard that the omniscient Karmapa was visiting south Tibet, so he determined to go and meet him and pay his respects.
Upon finally reaching his destination, the first thing the clairvoyant Karmapa said to him was: "That was a difficult phowa we performed up there in the north, wasn't it?" The Karmapa laughed, hitting the other lama with his mala.
Then the mendicant knew with unshakable certainty that the Karmapa is an omniscient living Buddha, who always keeps his disciples, wherever they are, in his heart and mind.
Since those days Karmapa Chenno is the most important mantra to invoke the enlightened qualities and powers of Karmapa in Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. With the name of Karmapa is understood not just some particular individual, but the enlightened qualities of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Karmapa is the one who embodies all three jewels of refuge, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha for his students.
This is the story on origin of Karmapa mantra I have heard.


Gyalwang Karmapa’s Birthday: 26th June, 2013 – Announcement

Gyalwang Karmapa’s Birthday: 26th June, 2013
The Karmapa Office of Administration wishes to announce that there will be no official celebration of the Gyalwang Karmapa’s birthday at Gyuto Monastery this year.The Gyalwang Karmapa requests those who wish to celebrate this day to do so privately.
In addition, because of increased demands on the Gyalwang Karmapa’s time due to on-going projects, there will be no private audiences from the end of June until the beginning of August. The twice-weekly public audiences, on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons, will be held as usual.


The Cry of the Earth

It requires us to put down every-day concerns that preoccupy our minds and listen with our hearts to the testaments of how desperately the earth needs us. At every moment, our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being are nurtured by the earth and yet, we are indifferent to this fact as we go about our way pursuing material success.