His Holiness’ Heart Advice at Bodhicharya Berlin | Karmapa in Europe 2015
The Karmapa visits the Bodhicharya center in Berlin
Bodhicharya Centre, Berlin, Germany–6th September, 2015 | More than 350 people comprising representatives of Bodhicharya centres across Europe, members and supporters of the Berlin centre, and invited guests crowded into the main shrine room to greet the 17th Karmapa on this his final teaching engagement during his second visit to Europe. A distant sound of Tibetan gyalinannounced his arrival at the centre. His Holiness was greeted at the gates to the centre by its founder Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, who escorted him along the brick path through the buildings, preceded by a boy and a girl scattering flower petals. After planting a tree in the garden, His Holiness made his way to the shrine room.
Ringu Tulku Rinpoche welcomed the 17th Karmapa once more to Bodhicharya Berlin and confessed, “We didn’t make any progress with the building, but,” he continued, “we are determined to work for the people here and for the Dharma.” He highlighted in particular the programme of hospice training and the volunteers who cared for the dying–currently they are looking after thirty people–and presented His Holiness with a list of names of the dying and those who had died, requesting prayers for them.
As at previous centres during this visit, the Karmapa took the role of chant master and led everyone in the opening prayers. There was a simple mandala offering.
After greeting everyone and expressing his delight at returning to Bodhicharya Berlin once more, His Holiness commiserated with everyone over the lack of progress in constructing the centre. “It just shows that it is not an easy undertaking to establish a large Dharma centre in a huge city like Berlin,” he said, then thanked Ringu Tulku Rinpoche and the members and said how much he appreciated their efforts and the work they were doing.
As this would be his last teaching during his 2015 visit to Europe, the 17th Karmapa chose to return to the theme of how we must integrate the practice of the Dharma into everyday life. “I would like to talk again about what is really indispensable on the path, and what the heart essence of Dharma practice is,” he explained.
His first point was that we should strive to make our lives meaningful, based on an appreciation of their preciousness. “All Dharma practice should support this goal,” he said.
His second point was that, unfortunately, we often restrict our practice to a particular time when we say prayers or meditate, and then the rest of the time we are busy with our day-to-day life. If we compare the time spent practising with the time spent on other activities, it is obvious that this is not what might be called a successful Dharma practice. If our Dharma practice is to be successful, the Dharma has to permeate our lives, and not be restricted to a certain time of day spent in our shrine room. “We have to connect ourselves with the essence of the Dharma in all the other parts of our lives, right there where we live and work,” His Holiness emphasised.
Reflecting on the increased interest these days on meditation, His Holiness suggested that for many it had become “a break from the stress of their busy lives, what might be called a ‘spiritual vacation’” and that this type of practice “is linked to an experience of relaxation and well-being that we could call a ‘spiritual massage’.” People expected their practice to produce an experience of well-being, but it was questionable whether this could be called true Dharma practice, because true Dharma practice is not an analgesic, and viewing it as such might cause more pain in the long run. When we truly engage in Dharma practice, we work with our body, speech and mind. Particularly when we work with our mind and consciousness, we should foresee obstacles and times of difficulty and unhappiness. We may even reach a point where we think that we can’t go on. “We should expect these difficulties and obstacles,” His Holiness advised, ”and be prepared to joyfully accept them and taken them on to the path, but that is not easy.”
Some people mistakenly believe that the purpose of Dharma practice is to have a direct encounter with a yidam or meditation deity, or to gain some power or energy through this. However, such experiences are not the way to turn our lives into something meaningful and precious.
“The most important way in which we can turn our lives into something precious and meaningful is to learn how to really benefit others,” the Karmapa commented, “and to ensure that our ability to help and benefit other sentient beings grows, and that, with all our hearts, we aspire to become a good human being who works for the benefit of others.”
At all times we should guard against arrogance. It seems that some people believe practising Dharma sets them apart and makes them special in some way, superior to all those who don’t practice Dharma, the Karmapa warned, and to illustrate the point, he recounted the fable of Gold and Mud.
Once upon a time Gold and Mud had a conversation. Gold looked down at Mud and said, “Look at me! How I shine! How beautiful I am! What value do you have? You are so dirty and you stink. In fact, you are thoroughly disgusting. What do you have to say for yourself?”
“Well,” Mud replied, “Perhaps I’m not all bad. Lotus flowers grow from me. Can you grow lotuses? And vegetables, mushrooms, and lots of other plants all grow out of me. I give them strength and feed them. What can grow from you?”
Gold had no reply.
“What we learn from this example is that rather than turning ourselves into something special, it is much more important that through us something more useful and helpful is created in this world,” His Holiness commented. “We should contribute to the well-being of other sentient beings; we should become a catalyst for good in the world. This is what is needed.”
With these words, his Dharma talk ended, and after thanking everyone again and reiterating his hope that next time he would be able to visit other countries in Europe and meet Dharma friends there, he presented the centre with a signed thangka of Shakyamuni Buddha.
Following the teaching, many of the members from across Europe were able to have a private audience with His Holiness. They queued good-naturedly on the path outside the main house until their turn came to climb the narrow wooden staircase to the fourth floor, squeezing past those on their way down.
Then, all too soon, mid-afternoon, the 17th Karmapa left the centre to return to his hotel. He smiled and waved goodbye to the hundreds of people milling around the path and gate and along the road outside the centre, who had waited patiently for a final glimpse of him. The official programme of his second visit to Europe had reached a successful conclusion.
Bodhicharya Berlin is located in the former East Berlin. Originally an old farm which had fallen into disrepair, it is a protected site because of its historical importance. Much love and support has gone into the refurbishment of the buildings, stage by stage. The vision is to create not just a centre for Buddhists, but a welcoming space for inter-faith dialogue and activities which enhance physical, mental and spiritual well-being such as yoga and Tai chi. already, an important part of the work of the centre is hospice training and looking after people who are dying.
It is a non-sectarian Buddhist centre, inviting teachers from all four main traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and also from non-Tibetan Buddhist traditions.
December 28, 2016, in a historic letter sent to his Kagyu nunneries in India,
Nepal, and Bhutan, the Karmapa officially announced that the actual process of
establishing full ordination for nuns in the Karma Kamtsang tradition would
begin. He stated that at the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment in Bodh Gaya,
on the auspicious day of the full moon in the Month of Miracles, (the first
month in the Tibetan calendar, falling on March 12, 2107), the shramaneri (getsulma)
vows would be conferred on those nuns wishing to take full ordination. Following
much deliberation, a path to full ordination was established. It was decided
that the nuns would hold these shramaneri vows for a year, after which they
will take the shikshamana (gelopmaor training) vows from Dharmaguptaka
nuns and keep them for two winters or two summers. Finally, they will receive
the bhikshuni (gelongmaor full ordination) vows with the
participation of nuns from the Dharmaguptaka tra…
Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
many preparations are underway for the Getsulma (novice) ordination to be held
during this 4th Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering. The Karmapa plans to hold
the ordination on the auspicious full moon day of Chötrul Duchen, the historic
day that marks fifteen days after Losar and commemorates the time when the
Buddha performed a different miracle each day to instill devotion. As the
Karmapa mentioned during the first day of the Arya Kshema, this year initiates
the historic path to the process of full ordination, which will occur in stages
over several years. This is a well-thought process that grants nuns the
opportunity to practice the authentic vinaya path. They will take the Getsulma
vows in the tradition of a strictly observant tradition of Mahayana Vinaya
nuns, thus garnering respect for their sangha and demonstrating their life-long
commitment to their vows. Since there is no lineage for fully ordained nuns in
Dear Dharma Brothers and Sisters,
As all of you know by now, on the 21 of March, 2017, at 9am Indian time His
Holiness the Seventeenth Gyalwang Karmapa introduced Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche
Yangsi in the Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya. Rinpoche is a four years old boy but
from time to time I see him as an old man. It is hard to believe he is that
I am very sorry at the moment I am very busy. I will later let you know details
about the search and how we found Yangsi Rinpoche and provide you with photos
and video clips for you to enjoy.
Drubwang Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche instructed us to wait for His Holiness’ advice
to Yangsi Rinpoche how to further proceed from here.
Drubwang Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche could not come to this occasion of His
Holiness’ introducing Tenga Rinoche’s Yangsi since he has a schedule in Bhutan
that was arranged long time ago. As you all know Bhutan is a remote area and in
order to join teachings and initiations elderly people have to be ca…
SE Report GANGTOK,
March 16: A delegation of monks from various monasteries
of Sikkim staged a sit-in protest outside the BJP national headquarters in New
Delhi today demanding the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to be allowed to visit
and bless the people of Sikkim.
The delegation led by Denjong Lhadey chanted slogans
demanding and also submitted a memorandum with the demand to the Prime Minister’s
Office through senior officials.
The memorandum reiterates the Denjong Lhadey’s
demand to urgently send the Buddhist spiritual leader to Sikkim. The monks on
dharna outside the BJP office were also detained by Delhi police at Mandir Marg
police station and later released, informs a press release.
In November of 2015, during the 6th Khoryug Conference, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa set the aspiration that all Khoryug monasteries and nunneries should develop practical skills and knowledge for disaster preparedness and response. He later explained that “We were all affected greatly by the earthquake in Nepal and wanted to know how we could help so that in the future we are not just taken by fear but prepared to be useful and deal skillfully with the situation.…
Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
the second half of his teachings this morning, the Karmapa shared his research
into the history of nuns and their status. He began by explaining the
background of the name “Arya Kshema,” given to the Winter Dharma Gathering. He
noted that among the disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha, there were his eight
greatest male monastic disciples, known for their prajna (supreme wisdom) or
miracles and so forth. Likewise, there were female master disciples who were
greatest at miracles or known for their prajna and other outstanding qualities.
Arya Kshema is one of these and she is described in theSutra of the Wise and
greatest in wisdom and confidence, so the Winter Dharma Gathering is named
after her. “In
giving this name,” the Karmapa explained, “we are also following the saying,
‘Later disciples should practice the example of past masters.’ Previously,
during the time of the Buddha Shakyamuni, there were woman arhats, bhikshu…
the third year in succession, the Taiwan Health Corps has been working with
Kagyu nuns during the Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering. Twenty-one
nuns from eight nunneries—Ralang, Tilokpur and Palpung Yeshe Rabgye Ling in
India, Karma Leksheyling, Tara Abbey, Osel Karma Thekchöling and Samten
Ling in Nepal, and Drubde Palmo Chökyi Dingkhang in Bhutan– have
successfully completed a nine-day training in basic health care. Dr
Jeffrey Chen, CEO of the Taiwanese based NGO Taiwan Health Corps, first
responded to a request from the Gyalwang Karmapa to develop initiatives to
improve the health and healthcare of nuns more than three years ago. This year
he has returned for a third time with a team of six health professionals to
provide basic training for a new batch of nuns. The team comprises Professor
Kuo Su Chen, a specialist in Women’s Health, Dr Chin Min Yi, a doctor of
traditional Chinese medicine, Dr Wei Cheng Chou, urologist and surgeon, Hsin-Yu
afternoon of the 34th Kagyu Mönlam started slightly earlier than usual with a
Medicine Buddha tsok practice according to the Concise Ritual of
Offering to the Seven Tathagatas, compiled by the 6th Sharmapa. Tsok, in
the form of small bags of fruit, was distributed to each and every participant,
sangha and lay followers alike, and money offerings traditionally known in
Tibet as 'kunki' were also given to the sangha.
At the end of
the afternoon break, His Holiness Karmapa came onto the stage and the session
on the Appreciation of the Sponsors opened with the procession for the mandala
offering, led by the sponsors who then sat on the stage for the blessings that
would follow. Appreciation of the Sponsors is an opportunity to share and
dedicate virtue, and His Holiness spoke at some length on the importance of
generosity as a means for generating virtue, and on the equal indispensability
of the dedication of the virtue generated.
For the Gyalwang Karmapa, the Tibetan New Year began in the
first hours of the day, as he met in the Tergar Monastery shrine hall with
tulkus, khenpos, and masters from various monasteries and received their
khatas. In return he gave them his blessing and a traditional bright red cord.
The monks recited prayers for peace in the world and the flourishing of the
teachings as well as the very long life of the Karmapa. Afterward the entire
monastic and lay Sangha gathered at 4:30 am in the Monlam Pavilion for a
special long-life practice based on theThree
Roots Combined, calledA
Life-Force Indestructible like a Vajra. The practice was led by the
Karmapa’s heart son, Gyaltsap Rinpoche, who had bestowed this empowerment the
previous day. In February of 2016 the Karmapa had also given this empowerment,
and at the time commented on its importance for his Kamtsang Kagyu lineage. The
short lineage is traced back to a text based on the pure visions of th…