Never Forget Tibet: Karmapa Tells Tibetans | Karmapa in Europe 2015
Audience for Tibetans and Himalayan people living in Europe
Bonn, Germany – 29th August, 2015 | 7pm | After a full day of teachings, His Holiness the Karmapa set aside time to meet with Tibetans living in Europe. During a special audience organized by the Association of Tibetans in Germany, the Karmapa reflected on their shared condition as refugees and offered individual blessings to all those who had traveled from across Europe to meet him. As the Karmapa explained to them, he seeks out opportunities to connect with Tibetan as well as Himalayan communities wherever he goes. “I consider this important,” he told them, “and when we are able to meet, I feel I have accomplished an important responsibility and this inspires and encourages me.”
The evening began with a brief introduction to the history and activities of the association by its chairperson, Lobsang Phuntsok. He explained that among the 150 Tibetans and Himalayans in attendance, while many live in Germany, others had come from France, Switzerland, Belgium and other surrounding countries.
When requested to address the Tibetan community, the Karmapa began by acknowledging the experiences faced by refugees today in Europe, a theme he had touched on in several of his talks in recent days. “As we have been seeing,” he said, “the condition of refugees migrating into Europe is at a critical state and this is an added challenge you face living here as refugees at this particular moment in time.”
His Holiness the Karmapa observed that Tibetans are often filled with excitement and optimism when they initially receive their permission to migrate to European countries, but upon arrival find that conditions are far more challenging than they had anticipated. As they seek to make their way forward in exile, the Karmapa called on Tibetans “never to forget” why they left Tibet seeking refuge in the first place.
“The situation that originally sent us into exile continues within Tibet,” he said. “Even though the pace has slowed somewhat in recent years, the flow of people leaving Tibet has continued unabated since 1959.”
The Karmapa reminded them that “had we stayed in Tibet, we would face great difficulties in preserving our culture and religion, and would lack full freedom to fulfill the responsibilities that come along with our identity as Tibetans”.
“Wherever we find ourselves as refugees,” the Karmapa said, “it is very important that we not forget the main reason for going into exile: to have more freedom to preserve and protect the Tibetan culture and religion, and to perform our duties towards the Tibetan people.”
The Karmapa then directed his remarks toward future prospects for the preservation of Tibetan identity and culture in exile, and pointed out two important factors: the quality of their leadership and the commitment of the Tibetan people themselves.
“Among the conditions we need in order to avoid become discouraged is leadership,” he said, “ and especially the exceptional leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama who has led us and unified us, and the major spiritual leaders and good-hearted Tibetans cooperating under His Holiness’s guidance.”
As a second important condition, the Karmapa pointed out the key role of the Tibetan people’s own steadfast resolve, singling out the example of Tibetans within Tibet who keep alive their Tibetan identity in the face of great challenges. “They display even greater determination and courage in doing so than those of us living in free countries,” he commented, adding that Tibetans in exile can draw inspiration and learn valuable lessons from their example.
“We must never forget the kindness of our leaders and the commitment of the Tibetan people, especially those inside Tibet,” he told those assembled.
The Karmapa then turned his attention to the local concerns of Tibetan refugees living in Europe. He noted that although the total worldwide population of Tibetans is listed as 6 million, it seems likely that it falls somewhat short of that figure. As such, Tibetans throughout the world generally form a sort of ethnic minority, particularly within Europe where they often live scattered across various countries and regions.
“Even if you are the only family of Tibetans in the area,” he told them, “you should recognize that every family counts.” He urged them to cultivate strong family ties, take efforts to ensure their children receive a good education and seek sound means to earn a living. Joking that he had little ability to aid them in that regard, he said he could and did offer them all his prayers, leaving the rest to them.
Reflecting on the challenges facing the Tibetan community in preserving its identity, the Karmapa observed that some ethnic minorities opt to stick together and isolate themselves from the rest of society. “I am not convinced that this is the optimal way for us,” he said. Rather, the Karmapa urged Tibetans to strike a balance between standing apart and fitting in. He advised seeking out means to preserve their culture in a way that is compatible with the social context and modern times they are living in.
“Be a participant in the wider society you live in,” he told them, “while also being a participant in the Tibetan community.”
Outlining a strategy that avoids those extremes, on the one hand, he called on his audience to know who they are and stand their ground, so as to not lose their balance and become prey to the pull of external factors. On the other hand, he counseled them to reach out to others and communicate. “Stay open to the society you live in,” he said. “Be willing to make connections and to interact.”
As he concluded his remarks and the staff began preparing the space for individual blessings, the Karmapa joked that during his first visit to Germany, he had planned to give individual blessings, but the Tibetans all pressed forward in a huddle and surrounded him, completely filling the mid-sized hall. “That sort of crowding seems natural to us Tibetans and Himalayans, and it feels comfortable,” he said with a smile. “We might feel awkward if we stayed straight in an orderly line, but it made it impractical that time to give individual blessings. This time, the hall is so large that even if you all rush the stage, we still have space!”
On that warm note, His Holiness directed his attention to the long line of Tibetans and Himalayans who had gathered – from the very young to the very old – connecting with each one-by-one and offering all his individual blessing.
Aldershot, Hampshire, England – Morning, May 27, 2017
Early on this day of the Karmapa’s visit to the Nepali community in Aldershot, the double arch of a luminous rainbow filled the sky. It recalled his first visit to the US when rainbows followed him everywhere on the East Coast. The Karmapa was invited by the Buddhist Community Centre UK to this beautiful area of England, famous for its military garrisons and home to a sizeable population of Gurkha soldiers who have served in the British army. In 2006 they were allowed to live in England and in 2007, the Buddhist Community Centre UK was founded by Mr. Kaji Sherpa. He had the vision of establishing a Buddhist monastery to serve the growing Buddhist Community in this southeast region of the UK.
His daughter explained that about half of the Gurkha population in Nepal is Buddhist, and that her father felt a need for Buddhist guidance in this community, so a committee of Nepalis purchased a social club and completely transformed it into a …
Government agencies had for long suspected that the Karmapa was a “Chinese spy”, but a decision was recently taken to review the restrictions on his travel in an attempt to “engage” him.
Written by Rahul Tripathi | New Delhi | Published:May 24, 2017 2:26 am
The government is set to lift the travel restrictions imposed on Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa. The Home Ministry has proposed to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) that the Karmapa be allowed to travel to any part of the country, except Rumtek monastery in Sikkim, without seeking prior permission from New Delhi.
Ogyen Trinley Dorje, head of the Karma Kagyu (Black Hat) tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, was born in Tibet and escaped to India through Nepal at the age of 14. He reached McLeod Ganj, the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile, in 2000. He lives in Dharamshala and is recognised by the Dalai Lama.
Government agencies had for long suspected that the Karmapa was a “Chinese spy”, but a decision was re…
May 24, 2017 – St Catharine’s and King’s College, Cambridge, England
Today His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa left London and travelled north to Cambridge, a city whose name has become almost synonymous with its world-famous university. The Karmapa’s visit to Cambridge was hosted by the International Buddhist Confederation’s Secretary for Environment and Conservation, Dr Barbara Maas.
His Holiness’s day in Cambridge began with an academic seminar on animal sentience and animal welfare science, and their significance for our relationship with and treatment of animals. Veterinarians turned animal welfare scientists, Dr Murray Corke and Peter Fordyce from the University’s Department of Veterinary Medicine, provided His Holiness with background about the complexities of assessing the wellbeing of animals and introduced him to some of the latest research developments that have transformed our understanding of animal awareness and suffering. These include a wide range of behavioural and physio…
During his first visit to the UK from May 17 to 28, 2017, the Karmapa, a prominent Tibetan Buddhist leader, joined former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Rowan Williams together with scientists, scholars and cultural figures for a dialogue on the environment hosted by the International Campaign for Tibet and Inspire Dialogue Foundation.
The round table discussion, held on May 24, 2017, was intended to bring together perspectives “between disciplines and generations” as the beginning of an ongoing exchange, according to Lord Williams, Master of Magdalen College and a noted poet and theologian. It involved figures from the arts and sciences, including Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre in London; James Thornton, the founding CEO of ClientEarth; Dame Fiona Reynolds, former Director-General of the National Trust; Dr Bhaskar Vira, Director, University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute; Tracey Seaward, film producer …
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, made his first visit to the United Kingdom this month.
At 31 years old, Ogyen Trinley Dorje is head of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, a reincarnation lineage that dates back more than 900 years. His Holiness was born in eastern Tibet but fled to India in 2000, where he now resides at the Gyuto Monastery near Dharamshala. He is the only reincarnate Lama to have been recognised by both His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Chinese communist government.
The Karmapa’s 11-day visit began on May 17 and the first public event was held on May 20 in London’s Battersea Park.
“I would like to express my great delight at this opportunity that has come to pass for me to visit London, the capital of the United Kingdom, for the first time. Especially, I would like to extend my warmest greetings to all you friends who are gathered here. I have been waiting for a long time to visit the United King…
DHARAMSHALA, MAY 24: In a positive development for the Tibetan religious figure 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee, the Indian government is reportedly set to lift the travel restrictions currently in place.
The Home Ministry has proposed to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) that the Karmapa be allowed to travel to any part of the country, except Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, without seeking prior permission from New Delhi. The CCS chaired by PM Modi is a core committee on National Security with the MoD and the MEA among other significant panels, which offer directives on the Karmapa’s security and movement among other things.
The move in question has received a shot in the arm earlier this week when a delegation of monks from various monasteries in Sikkim met with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh urging permission for the Seventeenth Karmapa to visit Sikkim.
The delegation led by the Sangha MLA Sonam Kelyon Lama, who is the elected poli…
May 29, 2017 - The 17th Karmapa, one of Tibet’s leading Buddhist figures arrived in Toronto yesterday on his first visit to Canada. Known for his concerns about current global issues as well as for his spiritual leadership, the 31-year-old Karmapa will engage in a wide range of religious activities and will speak on environmental and social responsibility at various universities.
During his month long trip to Canada, the Karmapa will travel to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. In doing so, he is following in the footsteps of his predecessor the 16th Karmapa, who travelled extensively throughout the country and was instrumental in introducing Canadians to Buddhism in the 1970s.
Head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, the Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is the 17th holder of a 900-year old lineage. Born in a nomadic family in eastern Tibet, he made headline news in 2000 with his dramatic escape to India, where he now lives near the Dalai Lama. The 17th …
Karma Kagyu Association of Canada (KKAC) May 25, 2017 11:25 ET
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 25, 2017) - The Karma Kagyu Association of Canada (KKAC) is privileged to officially host the first Canadian tour of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje. The month long visit will begin with a large welcoming group upon his arrival at Toronto's, Pearson International Airport on May 29, http://www.karmapacanada.org. His Holiness's visit will proceed to Calgary and end in Vancouver while experiencing many of Canada's natural beauties in his travels across the country.
Born in June 1985, Karmapa was born into a nomad family in Lhatok, in the remote highlands of the region of Eastern Tibet. He was given the name, Apo Gaga, meaning "Happy Brother". In the months prior to his birth, his mother had wonderful, spiritual dreams. On the day of his birth, a cuckoo landed on the tent in which he was born, and many people in the area heard a mysterious trum…
This morning the Karmapa traveled to a northwest suburb of London to visit the impressive BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, the largest Hindu temple in Europe. Marble and limestone have been brought alive by Indian artists, who carved every inch with intricate design. The founder of this Hindu bhakti tradition was guru Swaminarayan (1781-1830), famous for his support of the poor and encouraging women’s education. He was also known for his vegetarianism and opposition to animal sacrifice, positions that the Karmapa also supports.
At the temple, the Karmapa was met by Pujya Yogvivekdas Swami and offered the traditional greeting of a garland of flowers, a tika (the red mark of blessing) and a blessed cord. The Karmapa was then guided through the temple to see an exhibition on understanding Hinduism. Always curious, he asked many question of the guide. He then participated in prayers with the swami and other priests in two of the shrine rooms, both of white m…