Posted at: Sep 29 2015 12:37AMMONEY LAUNDERING CASE
New Delhi, September 28
The Supreme Court today granted four-week time to the Himachal Government for responding to 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee’s plea for quashing the criminal proceedings against him in a case of money laundering and illegal land deal.
A Bench comprising Justices MB Lokur and SA Bobde passed an order on the state counsel’s plea for time to consult and take instructions from the state government.
On August 25, the SC effectively stalled the criminal proceedings against the Karmapa by staying the HP High Court order, allowing his prosecution. A trial court in Una had dropped the charges against the Karmapa on May 21, 2012, but the HC quashed it on July 8 this year and directed holding of trial.
The SC also issued notice to the state government on August 25, seeking its response to the Karmapa’s plea for setting aside the HC ruling.
The Karmapa along with others was charged under various sections of the IPC following the recovery of unaccounted foreign currency amounting to Rs 1.2 crore from Gyuto Tantric University and Monastery in Sidhbari, near Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile, on January 28, 2011.
The searches were conducted after the seizure of Rs 1 crore from a vehicle in Una on January 26, 2011.
Another charge was the evasion of tax in the purchase of 52 canals of land for Rs 5 crore by declaring that the transaction was for Rs 2.5 crore. Also, no permission was taken from the state government for the deal as required under law.
A final farewell from His Holiness before flying back to India, on the evening of 12th September, 2015 at the conclusion of his second visit to Europe.
The main message of the Karmapa’s European visit in August and September 2015 was how to integrate spirituality into everyday life.
Since we are living in a world that is becoming smaller while our lives become more and more interconnected, we have to find ways to take more responsibility for our surroundings and to create better conditions in general for a peaceful and harmonious co-existence.
This universal task, the basis of which is the cultivation of a clear vision and a good heart, was the focus of all of His Holiness’ teachings and talks, especially with reference to the current dramatic refugee situation in Europe. Again and again the Karmapa emphasized, that the aim of practising the Dharma – the Buddha’s teachings – is not to become better or more special then others, but to become a better human being, a person who actively helps increase the happiness and well-being of all sentient beings. Love, Compassion, Rejoicing and Equanimity – in Buddhist terminlogogy “The Four Imeasurables” – are the distinct qualities we need to cultivate in order to realise this.
We thank His Holiness the Karmapa for visiting Europe once more and for his clear and direct words. He has shown us the path we need to follow in these times of disorientation, violence and destruction. Now it is up to us to actually walk and practise this path.
We hope to be able to welcome His Holiness to Europe again next year, especially to other European countries, in order that his message and blessings may spread everywhere, and his inspiration might strengthen all of our efforts to live spirituality in our daily lives.
President of the Karma Kagyü Gemeinschaft Deutschland e.V.
His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje has now completed his three week visit to Germany and returned to India by Indian Airlines on the evening of 12th September 2015. He was seen off at Frankfurt airport by Mr. Ngodup Dorji, Tibetan Representative for Central and Eastern Europe, Mr. Horst Rauprich, President, Karma Kagyu Community in Germany and Ven. Ringu Tulku, President, Karmapa Foundation Europe.
During this visit the Karmapa taught for four days in Bonn at the Maritim Hotel to about 2000 devotees coming from all over Europe and also from America, Asia and Australia. The teachings were also webcast and seen by many more thousands of people all over the world. The daily reports, photos and recorded teachings reached over 100,000 people online worldwide.
His Holiness visited various Dharma Centres such as Kamalashila, Halschied, Karma Tengye Ling and Bodhicharya Berlin and gave teachings and guidance on how to practice Dharma in every day life and how to be a better human being who is helpful and beneficial to society. He had a meeting with the Tibetan community from Germany and nearby countries. He met the people of Langenfield in their Church where he was received by the Bishop. He also visited a refugee camp and gave his encouragement and support.
For last 5 days the Karmapa had some free time when he could visit the countryside and enjoy the natural beauty of Germany. His Holiness hoped to visit other parts of Europe in next years and expressed his gratitude for the most warm welcome that the people and government of Germany extended to him.
You can catch up on all the daily reports of the 2015 teachings here.
In this series of teachings given during his first-ever visit to Europe, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, provided a stunning demonstration of what it means to live and teach with an open heart. The Karmapa shared his own life experiences and the feelings they awakened in him, reflecting on his own process of finding meaning in life. Even though he was addressing massive audiences in convention centres, the youthful Buddhist leader spoke as if conversing with close friends. The result is heart-based and comes direct with the freshness of experience.
The teachings contained in this book issue a clarion call, urging us each to find the meaning of our own life as we take up the responsibility for the world we all live in. To do so, the Karmapa assures us, we need only nurture the seeds of compassion that we all have within us.
“Actually, you are the Buddha. Not such an effective buddha, perhaps, but… a buddha, a small Buddha…. We need to nurture our inner Buddha, our child Buddha. – The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje”
Author and copyright holder of the e-book “Nurturing Compassion” is His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje. The copyright issues are managed by the Karmapa Foundation Europe, in the name and on behalf of His Holiness.
The purpose of all KFE publications and e-publications is to enable the message of wisdom, love and compassion of the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje to be known as widely as possible and accessible to readers in Europe and outside Europe.
‘KFE e-books’ in English and other European languages shall be available for downloading – free of charge – from the KFE Website: www.karmapafoundation.eu
The ‘KFE e-books’ may be printed as normal books and distributed freely in case of personal use, free distribution or sale of the book at a price not exceeding the printing costs.
Where, however, the sale generates a net surplus, the following rules shall apply – in regard to the use of the net surplus- to the organisation or individual having taken the responsibility of printing and distributing the book, hereinafter simply referred to as “the Distributor”:
1. Use of the surplus for a Dharma-related purpose
2. Transfer of the surplus to the KFE Office
In the event of copyright infringement, the Karmapa Foundation Europe hereby asserts the right to take such legal action as it may deem necessary through the appropriate tribunals, in Europe or outside Europe.
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.
His Holiness the 17th Karmapa: "Mud & Gold", a Heart Advice given at Bodhicharya, Berlin, Germany, 6th September 2015:
"This seems to be a good occasion to insert an example, to illustrate what I want to say, and I want to take it from an old story. The old story says: 'Once upon a time', you know…
It is about a dialogue between Gold and Mud. The Gold speaks to Mud and says: “look at me, how shiny and nice I’m looking, sparkling and immaculate. And you, what’s your value, after all? You look so dirty, so muddy, you’re stinky, filthy, and, at all times, discusting. What do you have to say?”
The Mud says: “Well, maybe it's not so bad after all. You know, out of myself, lotus flowers are growing. And you, have you ever born a lotus flower? And also a lot of vegetables are growing nicely, right out of myself. A lot of mushrooms and life is nurtured, and I gain strength just out of myself. What do you have to say?”
And as the story reports, Gold didn’t know how to anser to that.
Now, what I learnt from this example is that, and what I want to show with that example is that, rather than turning ourselves into something very special or extraordinary, it is much more important, that, by ourselves, or through ourselves, or initiated by ourselves, something more useful or helpful is created in this world, that we contribute to the wellness of other sentient beings, we contribute to their... to benefit for others, initiated by ourselves and through our service, or if you want to say, by just being more useful for others. So this is what is really much more needed. That is the most important thing. Thank you so much."
~ His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje.
Menz, Germany–5th September, 2015 | Prior to his first journey to Europe in May 2014, the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje expressed his aspiration that he could continue the work begun by his predecessor, the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. On Friday, during his second journey to Europe, the Karmapa was finally able to visit a Karma Kagyu Buddhist centre 70 km northwest of Berlin, Karma Tengyal Ling, which was given its name by the 16th Karmapa in 1977. The Karmapa, who first heard of the centre while he was still a young boy in Tibet, spent several hours there.
He first visited members and supporters in the shrine room and then had a tour of the site before enjoying a specially prepared lunch. There was a humorous moment when he mounted the throne and, because of the lower ceiling, his head touched the frieze parasol. The Karmapa laughed, sat down and began to lead the prayers. Horst Brumm, the director and founder of Karma Tengyal Ling, welcomed him and formally offered him the centre. “This is yours and we will do what you wish us to do,” Horst declared. “We have been waiting for you to come to take this place.” In turn, His Holiness presented Karma Tengyal Ling with a signed thangka of Shakyamuni Buddha
During the tea and sweet rice ceremony which followed, the Karmapa talked and joked with those around him. He enquired about the local wildlife and was told that there were deer, wild boar, rabbits, hawks, cranes and lots of mice. He also asked about the drone that had been flying above the centre when he arrived. Later, he amazed everyone by flying the drone himself and skilfully manoeuvring it over the trees and buildings before expertly bringing it in to land.
In a short address to members and supporters of the centre, His Holiness spoke unreservedly of his confidence that because, “the 16th Karmapa gave the name for this centre with his utmost best intentions … this will be a place where the Dharma will flourish.” He also commended Horst Brumm and Brigitte Koenig for their commitment to the centre for over more than thirty years.
“The place reminds me so much of Tibet,” he said, “and I wish to give my heartfelt thanks to the two people who have been taking care of the place in spite of so many difficulties, with others, for so many years. It is my aspiration that we will be able to greatly improve and develop this centre into something great…so that we can do a lot of good things here.”
The Karmapa went on a selective tour of the central part of the site where the proposed new centre will be built: round the buildings, through a wooded area and across a huge freshly harvested field, through another wooded area, into the garden and finally into the house, which is slowly being refurbished. [In fact, Karma Tengyal Ling has acquired additional land and will occupy nearly 200 hectares eventually.]
After a special lunch, prepared by Tibetan caterers and volunteers, His Holiness returned to the shrine hall to meet the local people who had made it possible for Horst to buy the land and had supported the establishment of a Buddhist centre.
The Karmapa began, “The vision of the 16th Karmapa was for this entire region to experience peace and well-being. He wished for people here to live in harmony with each other.”
“While we are of different religious upbringing, and somewhat different cultural background, we still came together here in an atmosphere of agreement, friendship and harmony,” he observed, “and considering our many differences, this mutual affection carries even greater weight.” Because the 21st century is the ‘age of information’, there had been extensive sharing of knowledge about other people’s cultures and religious views. “I believe that now is the time and age where we all have the chance to get to know each other and learn to respect each other on a personal level,” the Karmapa continued. The crux of the matter, however, lies not in our differences but in our shared humanity.
“We are all different in many ways and aspects,” he acknowledged, “However, fundamentally, we are all the same: we all long for happiness and well-being, and we all want to avoid pain and suffering. On a basic level we are all simply human beings on this planet, and in this regard we are equal. We are all simply standing on the same common ground.” His Holiness continued, “I believe it is very important to remember this. In particular nowadays, when the world is beset with problems, with all sorts of conflicts, when many suffer and go through hard times, it seems even more urgent that we learn to co-operate. We need to work together on this very common ground, and engage in caring for and helping other living beings on this planet.”
His Holiness concluded by thanking the local people for their many years of support, help and encouragement for Karma Tengyal Ling, and then apologised, “I can’t talk much more right now. I must have eaten too much at lunch.” Everybody laughed and applauded. He then returned to the main house to discuss future plans with members of the board.
The history of the centre demonstrates an extraordinary coming together of causes and conditions as well as the perseverance and determination of those who had the vision of a Buddhist centre in Berlin.
The story began in 1976, when the 16th Karmapa wrote down the name ‘Karma Tengyal Ling’ for a future Buddhist centre in Berlin. One story tells how at that time he predicted that there would be a flourishing Dharma centre ‘in the German capital, Berlin’ only to be corrected because Bonn was the capital at that time. The following year,1977, while on a short visit to Berlin with the 3rd Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, he handed the paper over to a small group of practitioners and left his dorje and bell as the seed for the centre to thrive.
At that time members met in each other’s homes. However, in 1983 the group was able to move into rented rooms shared with a group of musicians on the fourth floor of a factory, and became the very first Tibetan Buddhist centre in Berlin. Brigitte Koenig, the second oldest member of the community, recalls, “It was very difficult to meditate to the sound of rock music!” In 1984, they were able to move into their own space, but it was only much later, after the reunification of Germany in 1989 when former East German government property went on the market at affordable prices, that they were able to buy land. The property where the centre now stands had once been a farm, but in 1945 it was converted into a holiday home for the children of factory workers. Consequently, there were already buildings on the land which could be used for accommodation and a shrine room. The land is part of a nature reserve and building permission would not normally be given, but the fact that buildings already existed made it easier. There were several prospective buyers for the land so the local villagers also had to be convinced that Buddhists would be appropriate owners. In 1992, the World Buddhist Congress was held in the former East Berlin. Suddenly, Buddhism became something accepted and respected across Germany, and the doubts of the local population were assuaged; the villagers welcomed the Buddhists onto the land. Since then, thanks to the dedication of Horst Brumm and Brigitte Koenig, the centre has been slowly taking shape.
When the time came for the 17th Karmapa to leave, people lined the path to wave goodbye, and His Holiness’ car made its way to the dirt track leading two kilometres to the village of Menz. After the car had disappeared, everyone stood for a moment as if bereft, and then, as suddenly, they began to hug each other, laugh and many unashamedly wiped away tears of joy. The Karmapa had returned to his centre with great auspiciousness.
For our debut episode, Daniel travels to Dharamsala, India, to interview His Holiness the Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje.
His Holiness talks about the efficacy of listening to Dharma classes, receiving empowerments, and taking ordination vows online, touching on the differences between Tibetan and traditional Western education and how each benefits from dialogue with the other. He further shares some thoughts on how Western Dharma centers could be improved; he talks about vegetarianism, including anecdotes from his own and his previous emanations’ experiences with vegetarianism; and he discusses his recent involvement planning to re-establish the tradition of full ordination for Tibetan Buddhist nuns.
Kamalashila Institute, Langenfeld–3th September, 2015 | In a short farewell ceremony for staff and volunteers in the shrine room at the Kamalashila Institute, the 17th Karmapa thanked everybody on behalf of himself and his entourage. Christof, the German translator, was ready and waiting, but His Holiness light-heartedly grabbed both microphones in his hands and began speaking directly in English.
“On the last day here at Kamalashila, I want to say to the lamas, the staff and the volunteers, I deeply appreciate your hard work, and your sincere motivation. We all feel very happy and have enjoyed being in Kamalashila, and we look forward to seeing you again.”
The resident lama, Lama Kelsang, and Horst Rauprich, President of the German Karma Kagyu Gemeinschaft, also gave short speeches of thanks to His Holiness and his staff.
“Please come again and again. Please come every year if possible,” was their heartfelt request.
Afterwards, there was a small party on the patio outside the centre’s cafeteria: a buffet of Tibetan food brought in specially from a Tibetan restaurant in Bonn. The Karmapa moved from table to table, speaking with staff, volunteers and guests, joking and smiling, evidently at ease.
The following morning at 7.00am, he left for Berlin. Holding out their katas and flowers, staff and volunteers lined the drive to wish him well. As his car passed through the entrance gates, the sun rose, bathing the small cavalcade in soft golden light as it made its way down the hill, past Langenfeld church, and out of sight.
Karma Tekchen Yi Ong Ling Retreat Centre Halscheid – 2nd September, 2015 |On Wednesday afternoon, the 17th Karmapa made his first visit to Halscheid to bless Karma Tekchen Yi Ong Ling retreat centre. Situated just outside the small village of Halscheid in the Windeck region of Germany, the centre is run by the German Karma Kagyu Gemeinschaft under the spiritual guidance of the Karmapa’s senior tutor, the Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche. Although two traditional three-year retreats have been completed at Halscheid, the main focus of the centre’s work these days is to offer a variety of short and long-term retreats, so that laypeople with work and family responsibilities may benefit.
In readiness, the centre had been decorated with newly-hung prayer flags and the eight auspicious symbols had been painted on the gravel path. As His Holiness’ car approached, Lama Kunga Dorje, the Retreat Master, stepped forward to welcome him.
Sixty people, retreatants past and present, sponsors and friends of the centre, had gathered in the shrine room. Sitting on a throne directly below a photograph of his predecessor, the Karmapa himself led the prayers and blessings. After the short ceremony, he presented the centre with a signed thangka of White Tara. Lama Kunga gave a short account of the centre’s work, and then His Holiness responded with a short talk in English.
“Retreat centres are very important for the Kagyu lineage,” he said, “because the Karma Kamtsang especially emphasises practice and meditation…it’s called the practice lineage. We have a long history of solitary retreatants such as Milarepa.” The Karmapa expressed his delight that there was a new retreat centre in Germany, while apologising for his own lack of retreat experience.
“I had a month’s retreat, and I did a White Tara retreat for 6 or 7 months when I was in Tibet, but this can’t be compared with a three year retreat,” he admitted. However, although he lacked formal retreat experience, he considered that being confined to the fourth floor of Tsurphu Monastery when he was in Tibet constituted a different kind of retreat experience. Moving on to the work of Karma Tekchen Yi Ong Ling, His Holiness commended its approach as very suitable for people in the 21st century who live such busy lives and have to balance the responsibilities of work and family.
“Sometimes, it’s not necessary for everybody to complete a 3 year retreat,” he explained. Often, even should the opportunity arise, we may be too busy, or our minds might not be prepared sufficiently. “To do a one week or two week retreat is very good, in order to enjoy our meditation practice,” he suggested, “so that we get a real taste of spiritual practice.” During a short retreat, we can take a break from the dominance of the five senses, and, through meditation practice, we can experience through a sixth sense instead and realise the joy of samadhi. “Also,” he continued, “the experience of retreat builds up our strength and self-confidence in order to face life’s challenges, difficulties and of course death.” In Tibet he had always enjoyed visiting the Tsurphu retreat centre, high up on the mountainside. “As soon as I enter a retreat centre,” he explained, “I feel some peace or blessing.” This special feeling associated with retreat centres gave him confidence that the Kagyu lineage is not about to die out.
Everyone present now had chance to offer a kata to His Holiness and receive his blessing directly.
Afterwards, the Karmapa held a private meeting with those who had completed the traditional three year retreat, before visiting and blessing the wooden hut where the sole, current three year retreatant lives. A final photograph with everyone gathered in front of the centre, and then the visit was over. Everybody lined the road once more and waved their katas enthusiastically as His Holiness drove away, back to Kamalashila. The members smiled at each other. Their centre had been blessed and their work approved by the head of the lineage.