2016/06/26

Long Life Prayer for His Holiness the 17th Karmapa




To once again in cool groves spread.
清涼淨地正法統,
The ways of True Dharma, you donned strong armor
再弘鎧甲穿戴者,
And for that sake intentionally took birth
利眾自在而降生,
May Ogyen Trinle Dorje live long!
鄔金欽列多傑祈長壽。

While remember all the resolve and activity of the protector, the Thrangu Tulku made this one-pointed.
憶念怙主的悲願事業,名為創古祖古者,專一祈請,願如是成就。


2016/06/24

The Gyalwang Karmapa Reflects on the Cycles of Life





June 22, 2016 – New Delhi, India
In celebration of HH the Gyalwang Karmapa’s 31st birthday, the Karmapa Khyenno Foundation has requested him to give four days of teachings and an empowerment in New Delhi, India, from June 22 to 25. Karmapa Khyenno Foundation was founded in 2008 under the auspices of His Holiness and his Office of Administration, the Tsurphu Labrang. As a non-profit, charitable organization in Hong Kong, the Foundation seeks to support the aspirations of His Holiness for the wellbeing and happiness of this world through making Dharma teachings available and compassionate engagement in social and environmental activities.
With this motivation in mind, Lama Dawa—the chairperson of the Foundation, which coordinated the efforts of 13 Dharma centers in Hong Kong—worked with the Karmapa to set up a series of teachings in harmony with their goals. They decided on the overarching title of the seminar as Compassion in Action, and the four talks would create a path from compassion into activity. The first talk covers perhaps the most basic reflection, not only in Buddhism but other meditative traditions as well—impermanence and death. This brings into high relief what truly matters and urges us to take action before it is too late. The second talk is about love and compassion, the motivation that opens us to others and moves us to act. Thirdly, our decisions should be founded on wisdom and informed by intelligence. How to we do Dharma activity in a smarter way? And for the fourth, how do we develop inwardly while seeking to create social and environmental changes outwardly? In the context of Buddhism, how to we balance our inner and outer work so that they complement and nourish each other?
This program has drawn over 500 people to Delhi, mainly from Hong Kong and also from Southeast Asia. This afternoon, they all gathered in the Regency Ballroom of the Hyatt Hotel, its floor covered in row upon row of deep brown meditation cushions. They faced a stage with a wide sofa, covered in brocade down the middle, indicating the more informal nature of the talks. The backdrop was an evening image of Hong Kong’s brightly lit skyline as viewed from the waters of Victoria Harbor.
Carrying a long red and yellow incense holder, Lama Dawa led the procession accompanying the Karmapa into the hall. Once the Karmapa had taken his seat, he was offered an elegant mandala and the representations of body, speech, mind, qualities, and activities along with a heartfelt request to live a long life for the benefit of the teachings and living beings. The final two offerings were a lustrous, immense conch shell and a brilliant Dharma wheel, recalling the offerings of the gods Indra and Brahma, who supplicated the Buddha to rise from his deep samadhi after enlightenment and teach the Dharma for the first time. During the teaching, the two offerings adorned either side of a table set in front of the Karmapa.
He began by welcoming everyone and thanking the members of different centers in Hong Kong for creating this opportunity for Dharma teachings in India. He noted that some countries have many Dharma centers but they do not necessarily work together. It was wonderful that for these teachings different centers in Hong Kong cooperated, deepening and improving their relationships as well.
The Karmapa said that he would not be giving teachings based on a text; rather he would speak to the topic of how to bring practice into daily life and how it can help us deal with the problems we face. He lightly remarked that it was easier to teach from a text since he just has to explain what is there, and more difficult to speak based on his own thinking.
The topic for this afternoon was how to face life and death. These are events we all know, he remarked, we see them repeatedly in the news or in our own lives. “We see these instances of death,” he remarked, “but usually we do not think that one day, it will come to us as well. We are not aware of this. And using reasoning will not bring a true understanding. We must look into our own feelings and experience, which will allow us to understand what others are going through as well.”
“It is in the nature of things,” he continued, “that once we are born, we will die. We need to be very clear about this, for once we are familiar with this fact, our fear of death will diminish.” The Karmapa explained, “Especially these days, few people have patience for suffering or problematic situations. Comfort is promoted everywhere so we loose the mental strength and courage to deal with problems.”
Some people say that Buddhism is a religion of suffering because it is discussed so often in the texts, such as the explanations of samsara as suffering and the different types of suffering in the six realms. “Last winter in Bodh Gaya,” the Karmapa commented, “it took several days to explain the section on suffering the Ornament of Precious Liberation, but if I had gone into detail, it would have taken months. Some people might have thought, “We’re practicing the Dharma to find happiness, but there’s only talk about suffering.’”
“These days when someone gets sick,” the Karmapa observed, “they seek out every kind of treatment and also hope to avoid aging, convinced that some method will work. Some in the medical establishment make it seem that there is a solution and on the other side, the patients want to believe it. People are even trying to avoid death.” In the older generations, when someone tried different medical procedures and they did not work, then the person made up their mind that enough had been done and turned to accumulating merit and Dharma practice. So there is quite a difference, he noted, between the two approaches: one keeps trying and spending a lot of money, while the other sees that it would be pointless to pursue more treatment and engages practice for however much time they have left.
The Karmapa suggested a way to develop our patience for suffering. Physically, he said, we could not endure the agony of the hell realms, but we can practice mentally opening up to that suffering so that our ability and courage to endure suffering will grow.
“In brief, when speaking of birth and death,’ he explained, “we can see that birth actually has the nature of death, so we could say that birth equals death. Once we are born, we do not need another cause or condition for dying. Having been born, we will die for sure.” All things are impermanent, he reminded us. Their nature is to change instant by instant.
When we say that all things arise and perish, impermanence is a problem for us if we cling to things. On the other hand, this fact of coming in and going out of existence is part of the very beauty of life, giving it more forms than it had before. The Karmapa illustrated this with the shifts of landscape in the changing seasons, which make our lives interesting and beautiful.
Therefore, he remarked, the fact that all things have the nature of impermanence can be reframed in a positive way: each moment of impermanence also brings with it a new opportunity, a new life, a new feeling, another chance. “Explanations of death and impermanence, “the Karmapa stated, “are not meant to instill fear, but rather to point to a continual opportunity for change.”
“We tend to think of death as a final ending, a single event,” the Karmapa explained, “just like a movie that comes to an end and that’s it. There is no second chance. But this is not the case here. The progression is not linear, beginning at one point and stopping at another. Birth and death go around in a circle.” With each moment come birth and death, or we could see one day as a whole lifetime. In the morning a new life begins, in the evening it passes away, and the next day another life begins. Thinking in this way, we become very familiar with death; it resembles an old friend.
In general, we fear death for many reasons he continued. While we are living, we cannot really know when or how death will come so we fear the unknown. Further, we also fear the suffering that death could bring. The Karmapa recalled that when he was recently at a university in Switzerland, he spoke with medical students about death, and a topic was the best way to die. One student said that to die during sleep would be the best. You would simply not wake up the next morning and there would be no suffering or fear.
However, he explained to them, “In Buddhism, especially Tibetan Buddhism, when dying, we hope to have a clear consciousness that is at ease. This is different from your wish to die unaware. For us the occasion of death is important, because it is a time when the signs of our life of practice are revealed.” Our state of mind at the time of death is crucial, he continued, especially if we have not practiced a lot in this life. How we think while passing away is key, so to die unaware and without mindfulness is considered a negative thing.
We may think that we will die one day, but we do not think it could happen now, the Karmapa said. But actually, we do not know when we will die nor the cause or circumstance of our death. As a result, we do not prepare ourselves, especially these days when people think “everything is possible” including warding off death, which makes it difficult to face the fact of dying.
“Meditating on death and impermanence, however, is not to create fear of death. We all have this fear even animals,” the Karmapa noted. “We meditate on death and impermanence so that we do not waste our time, so that we treasure the life and friends we have, and so that we live a life we will not regret.”
Reprising his main point, the Karmapa stated that at all times, in each moment, a new opportunity presents itself; it is up to us, however, to take advantage of it. The choice is ours. For example, Milarepa killed many people, accumulating tremendous negative karma, but Buddhism does not say, “You did something evil, so you cannot practice the Dharma.” Once you make the commitment to practice, you are a practitioner. Some people might think that because they have done something very negative, they have become an awful person, and since that will not change, they might as well continue their negative ways. But this is not the case: we have a choice, and it is up to us not to lose the opportunity that offers itself.
Meditating on death and impermanence can also lead us to appreciate the beauty of change. When summer comes, we enjoy the fullness of its landscape; when winter comes, we can admire its special beauty.
Some people find it difficult to deal with the death of a loved one. However, if they had clearly faced their own death beforehand, they would experience the passing of someone close to them in a different way. In another example, we often pray, “May I not be separated from the perfect guru,” and in spiritual terms the glorious or root lama is like our father, so his passing away would bring great suffering. But as we have seen, death is not an ending. So if we can take to mind a good understanding of death, when it does occur to others, we will experience their passing in a different way.
The Karmapa closed the teachings with repeated praise for the Hong Kong Dharma centers and their work together. He said that the centers belong to the Sangha, and this word means “to be in harmony” or “to have harmonious aspirations,” such that these relationships are indestructible like a diamond, impossible to break or shatter. This is important. It is also critical that the holders of the teachings are in harmony with each other. The Karmapa told the story of how Mara, a negative spirit, said he would take the guise of a Dharma teacher and sow discord so that the Buddha’s teachings would disappear.
To counteract this, the Karmapa counseled, “We should genuinely praise each other. This does not mean flattering someone by saying they have realization or qualities they do not possess, but giving authentic praise, based on what is real. We should see our faults and others’ qualities. Through praising and respecting each other, the teachings will last a long time.”
On this positive note, the Karmapa concluded his first teaching, which was webcast live to over 3,500 devices, each of which could also be connected to a mobile phone, iPad or TV screen in a Dharma Center. In another form of outreach, near the Regency Ballroom entrance, the Tsurphu Bookstore from Sidhbari, HP, made available books, DVDs, and images, either by or related to the Karmapa.

2016.6.22 Compassion in Action - Day 1

http://kagyuoffice.org/the-gyalwang-karmapa-reflects-on-the-cycles-of-life/

Karmapa Begins Teachings in Delhi at Request of Hong Kong Chinese Buddhists - Voice of America




Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje began a 4-day teaching to around 500 Hong Kong based Chinese Buddhists at Hotel Hyatt Regency, New Delhi on June 22, 2016. The first day teaching was on "Life & Death" followed by other teachings on "Love & Compassion", "Making Choices With Wisdom", and "108 Green Solutions in Our Daily Life". Karmapa will also confer "Thousand-Armed Avalokiteshvara" initiation on the last day of the teaching on June 25, 2016. The teaching program was organized jointly by 13 Karma Kagyu Dharma Centers from Hong Kong led by the Karmapa Khyenno Foundation (KKF) in Hong Kong.

http://www.voatibetanenglish.com/a/3389271.html

2016/06/22

Live Webcast Announcement: Compassion in Action - Delhi 2016




Webcast Link:



Compassion in ActionIndian Time
Delhi, India   -   June 22
  15:00 - 17:00• Teaching - Life and Death / La vida y la muerte
Delhi, India   -   June 23
  10:00 - 12:00• Teaching - Love and Compassion /  El amor y la compasión
Lunch Break
  15:00 - 17:00• Teaching - Intelligent Choices / tomar decisiones inteligentemente
Delhi, India   -   June 24
  10:00 - 12:00• Teaching - 108 Green Solutions in Our Life / 108 soluciones ecológicas para nuestra vida cotidiana
Delhi, India   -   June 25
  10:00 - 12:00•  Empowerment of 1000 Armed Avalokitehshvara / Empoderamiento de Avalokiteshvara de mil brazos


2016/06/17

Exclusive interview by TRT World with His Holiness Karmapa in Paris




Transcript by ANI SHERAB

Edited transcript. Source https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szHkCdy_PFQ&feature=youtu.be


TRT World

Hello and welcome to One on One. I’m Sourav Roy, and I’m in Paris to meet the Karmapa, the man who may well become the supreme leader of Tibetan Buddhism. Currently that position is held by the Dalai Lama. In 2014 the present Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso announced that he may be the last Dalai Lama ever, and there would be no more successors. The reason? − Well he feared that the centuries old tradition on the Dalai Lama might come to an end, if his successor or incarnate was born in Chinese controlled Tibet. That would give China a free hand in bringing up the Dalai Lama as its own mouth piece, and this is what precisely happened in the case of another high lama, the Panchen Lama.

So where does the Karmapa come in? He is the head of the influential Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. His name is Ogyen Trinley Dorje, and he is the 17th Karmapa. Born in 1985 and at the age of seven he was identified as the next reincarnate. When he was 14 years old he fled from Chinese controlled Tibet into India. That annoyed China as it had already recognized him as the only living Tibetan Buddha. Now, when the current Dalai Lama passes away, many believe millions of Tibetans will have only one person to turn to: the Karmapa.

Sourav Roy: Your Holiness, welcome to One on One.

HH Karmapa: Thank you.

SR: You have been Karmapa for more than two decades and you’ve got millions of followers now. But in the last two decades the world has changed. What you think, are your main challenges now?

HHK: The first time I heard that I have become the Karmapa, that time I had very simple idea about Karmapa. Maybe, when I become the Karmapa, I will get more toys or more people will play with me. But later I found out that it is not the case. You are being restricted in a very traditional environment and you cannot live a normal boy’s life. And then I came to India leaving my parents, my friends and everything in Tibet, coming to this unfamiliar country with lots of political things as well, suspicions involved. I think sometimes I really lost the way, lost the direction. Why did I need to come here, you know? Of course traditionally the Karmapa has just spiritual responsibilities, but now in the world, because lots of things have evolved and lots of things are happening in this century, people need different guidance. Not just simply religious guidance, but people need different instructions, maybe different sort of way of thinking. And then I think my responsibilities have become more difficult or more complicated. I feel like that.

SR: Right now we live in turbulent times; there is war and terrorism everywhere. Whether you look at Syria, whether you look at Iraq, Yemen, there is unrest in Europe as well. Do you really think that the formula of compassion will work?

HHK: I believe that the sympathy or maybe we can say empathy or compassion is hard-wired. It’s kind of inborn quality. We human beings all have this kind of noble qualities. But I think due to circumstances and situations, maybe you can turn it off or maybe we can become less compassionate. Then become very aggressive. None of them is born into terrorism. Maybe due to their environment and circumstances they have become very aggressive. That’s why we should go back to the very basic issues: what we can do to improve and build the environment, so that they can nurture their sympathy or compassion. Because they need that kind of environment and space. Like we do with language skills. We all have language skills, but we do need this kind of environment or space where we can use that. Otherwise, if a child spends years in a remote place and nobody is there, then I think he will forget all human languages. Something like that. I think we should go back to this very basic issue.

SR: One of the very direct results of war in terrorism is millions of refugees around the world, and we noticed that countries are closing their doors. How do you expect people to open their hearts then?

HHK: I think... of course the refuge crisis has also become a big issue in European countries. But I think to accept the refugees is not the only solution, if you don’t solve the problem on the very basic level like in the Middle East. Something happened in the Middle East. Maybe that is responsible for a lot... You know, different countries, maybe some western countries also have some responsibility. If they don’t take care of that issue, then I think this kind of refuge [problem] and the suffering will continue. That’s why we should go back to the basic issue to see what is happening in their countries, in those war zones and Middle Eastern countries, and see what we can do there, could we make some change so that those countries become more peaceful and more harmonious with each other. Maybe that is I think the very basic solution.

SR: We are also seeing another extreme of lots of Buddhist monks going on rampage in Myanmar killing rohingya refugees and also that a lot of Buddhist followers are carrying out self-immolations in Tibet or outside Tibet. Do you basically agree with these expressions of anger?

HHK: I think Burma or Myanmar issue is very sad. I saw some stories and news. I think that any monks or Buddhist practitioners involved in this kind of conflict − you can say it’s violent activity − it’s not acceptable, because we know that Buddha is the symbol of peace and compassion and we are the followers of Buddha. In any kind of circumstance we can’t give up this kind of principle, teaching of Buddha: the compassion. We should believe in compassion and peacefulness. And also especially for monks to lead this kind of conflict... I don’t know what to say. This not just affects his own reputation but it affects the reputation of all Buddhists. That is very bad idea and bad action. And also the self-immolation related issues, I am continually − from the beginning until now − I continually appeal that people should cherish their lives. For one thing we Tibetans as a minority should continue to live for the Tibetan cause. And even though they are not harming other people, but they are harming their own precious human life. Some of them are mothers of four or five children. It’s very sad. It’s not like people saying: “Oh those great heroes and heroines.” That kind of praise is not enough to my opinion. We need to understand their sufferings and that of their families and friends. And also, even though they are dedicating their lives, we cannot see the results. That is the saddest thing. That’s why I think we should stop the self-immolation.

SR: You are an inspiration for many people around the world, and in times when there is hatred against one religion versus the other, especially when there is Islamophobia spreading its tentacles around the world, how do you bring compassion for people who bear Islamophobia? How do you tell them that all the religions more or less have the same teachings?

HHK: One way it’s very difficult. When I saw those stories or news, I also sometimes had a hard time generating compassion for them. But I think one way maybe it’s quite easy, because their mind is brainwashed or maybe they are given what we call wrong views. Maybe they are controlled by those kinds of very disturbing emotions: anger and hatred. Too much hatred, too much ignorance, that’s why I think we should be more compassionate for them, because they are in this way very ignorant and hatred filled circumstances. Like we also sometimes become very angry and at that time we lost our way. We just become another person. And then we do big mistakes. I think they are in the same situation. Maybe they are brainwashed or manipulated or something. So I think, one way maybe it’s easy.

SR: You are one of the very few global religious leaders who support women’s rights and women’s equality. Very few religious leaders in today’s world do that. Why do you do this, and do you think the day would come when we would see a female high lama, maybe the next Karmapa or the Dalai Lama as a woman?

HHK: Why did I need to do this? I think... maybe because of my mother. I have not been able to see my mother for almost 16 years. I can’t do anything for her, because she is too far away. But I think maybe to do some service for females at large. I think it kind of symbolizes my gratitude for my mother. It’s the kind of motivation I have. And of course in the future... at the moment Tibetan people are not ready to accept a female Dalai Lama or female Karmapa, maybe they are not ready, but maybe in the future. I think it’s possible, because in the reincarnation system we don’t deny any form of reincarnation, whether it’s male, female or animal or any kind of reincarnation. It’s possible. That’s why I think it’s not a problem.

SR: His Holiness the Dalai Lama has already announced that there might not be another Dalai Lama after him. And given the fact that the Panchen Lama is under house arrest, millions of Tibetans around the world are looking towards you to be their supreme leader. Do you think that’s a lot of pressure and a lot of responsibility?

HHK: I don’t see extra pressure, because I can’t be the sort of what people are talking about... as the next Dalai Lama or something like that. The next Dalai Lama? Only the 15th Dalai Lama could be the next Dalai Lama.

SR: What about Your Holiness as a supreme leader?  

HHK: Yeah, I think it’s... of course we are among the young leaders. We may have responsibilities for the Tibetan people, future and the Tibetan cause. But I think I am already the Karmapa. Karmapa it’s already in the Tibetan history, it has become very important. And also historically it has the longest history. That’s why I think if already being the Karmapa I can play that role properly, then that is good enough. I can’t be in another sort of position, it would be very difficult because I already feel very heavy and I can’t take extra sort of responsibility.

SR: But when the time comes, people don’t have any option, they will turn towards you.  

HHK: Yes, people have their freedom and it’s up to them. But I’m speaking for myself, because I am... you know... still a human being.

SR: No-one is clear, especially in the western world about the whole system of reincarnation. You became the Karmapa when you were seven years old. Your own story of being the next reincarnate of Karmapa − what does that tell to cultures and societies that do not know the importance of reincarnation, and what’s the meaning, message out of it?

HHK: When I was the age of seven, the search party came. They first interviewed my parents. That time they didn’t say anything. But the second time they came, then that time they told my parents: “Your son is the reincarnation of the Karmapa,” because they had the letter left by the 16th Karmapa. The letter mentioned which place, which sort of direction, then the parents names. Everything is mentioned in the letter. That’s why your names, everything, is according to that letter. That’s why we think you are the Karmapa. Of course within the Tibetan tradition there are different ways of recognizing a reincarnation, but this is our sort of own tradition, or way of recognizing a reincarnation. Whether you believe in reincarnation or not, I think it’s kind of [way] to choose somebody to give a sort of responsibility, or to build a big opportunity to serve the sentient beings. I think this is the message, because even though you are an ordinary person, but if you have this extraordinary heart or motivation, then you can serve the entire humanity.

SR: We get to see news around the world and we see that the Tibetans are now flushed with wealth and there is so much material comfort over there. Do you think that Tibetans are now forgetting the cause?

HHK: Maybe not. Of course they have lots of material progress, material development there. One way the people are not satisfied that there is only material development. What they need is more access, internal freedom. Their need is very basic freedom, religious freedom, freedom of speech. I think those are the very important matters and things that are needed. I think material development can bring just some temporal comfort and temporary satisfaction, but people need long-term happiness and satisfaction more than material development.  

SR: You are announced to be a leader, who is from an ancient tradition, but you have a very modern outlook, and you are concerned about the planet, you are concerned about planet change. Right now we are in Paris and there has been heavy downpour, there has been flooding and we see extreme weather conditions around the world, including Tibet. What concerns you for the planet?  

HHK: I think lots of the climate change, environmental disasters or issues are man-made. We human beings have the responsibility and I think we should understand that, because otherwise it’s very difficult to have a positive change. And also I think everything like media, this information are increasing our human greed and human desire. That’s why we should control our desire. We should understand what we want and what we need, differentiate between them. Because we want everything, actually, but what we need maybe little, not that much. Natural resources have their limitations, but we don’t have a limitation... human greed... we don’t have limitation. That’s why we should control it; otherwise it will become big disaster.  

SR: This will be a fun question. I’ve noticed clips of you playing on your laptop and I know you are a big supporter of tech as well. Do you WhatsApp the Dalai Lama?  

HHK: Not really, not really, because I don’t think His Holiness has WhatsApp. I don’t think His Holiness has smart phone. I am not really contacting them on a daily basis. If I need something maybe I go through the official lines. But I do see, it’s a very important matter, because now things changed, we can’t be very traditional I think we should have this kind of new access, so that we can have more direct connection or contact. Yeah, it’s very important.  

SR: So you think it’s time to switch from telepathy to telephone, for you, is it?  

HHK: Yes, yes.  

SR: So the world comes to the Karmapa to learn from the Karmapa. Would you learn from your followers? 

HHK: I think until now I can continue to take this responsibility or maybe you can say play the role of the Karmapa. Until now I have survived. But the biggest reason I can survive is because of the support and love given by the followers and friends. That is the main source of energy.  

SR: Your Holiness, thank you so much for joining us today.  

HHK: Thank you so much. 

Source: https://www.facebook.com/notes/ani-sherab/exclusive-interview-with-the-17th-gyalwang-karmapa-ogyen-trinley-dorje/10204683225759076



TRT World's Sourav Roy talks about his interview with Karmapa Exclusive: Interview with the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje Exclusive: Interview with the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje on refugee crisis Exclusive: Interview with the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje on islamophobia Exclusive: Interview with Ogyen Trinley Dorje about becoming the next leader of Tibetan Buddhism Exclusive: Interview with the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje on ethnic conflict in Burma Exclusive: Interview with the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje on women's rights

2016/06/16

H.H. the 17th Karmapa: A 21st-Century Plea for Empathy - Reflections magazine | Yale Divinity School




Author: 
His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje



The 17th Karmapa, born in 1985, is head of the 900-year-old Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. He has emerged as a global spiritual voice especially around issues of ecological compassion. Karmapa means “the one who carries out buddha activity” or “the embodiment of all the activities of the buddhas.” (See kagyuoffice.org.) Last year, Yale awarded him a Chubb Fellowship, which is devoted to encouraging an interest in public service.
Central to my beliefs as a Buddhist is the view that all of us are deeply interconnected. Whether we acknowledge it or not, from the moment we are born we depend on others in order to live. The source of our food and clothing and even the air that we breathe is external to us. From this perspective, there is no difference between rich and poor, high and low, or between religious and cultural traditions. Our well-being is dependent on others.
Even when one takes into account the various differences in practices and philosophy, the main message of all world religions seems to be the same: The source of our happiness lies in helping and giving to others. Though religions may diverge in metaphysics – for example, whether there is a God or not, or whether the law of karma, cause and effect, is accurate or not – their ethics converge. World religions have codes of conduct intended to stop actions that will harm others. They encourage people to act compassionately, to give to those in need, to forgive. Furthermore, they all seem to agree that ultimately happiness cannot be derived from material possessions alone.
Religions exist side by side in most parts of the world. Many people think of old Tibet as exclusively Buddhist, but in Lhasa there was a thriving Tibetan Muslim community, which has successfully re-established itself in Ladakh, and Tibetan Christians lived in the borderlands with China. And India, the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, has been a multicultural society for more than 2,000 years – also home to Zoroastrian refugees from Persia, different Islamic traditions, as well as one of the oldest branches of the Christian church. We have always lived in a world of diversity.
Religions have evolved within specific cultural histories and unique environments. With seven billion people in the world, it would be impossible for everyone to follow the same religion. However, we need to recognize that each religion has a treasury of good qualities to offer that are of great practical help. For instance, in Buddhism, we emphasize the quality of lovingkindness. Christianity emphasizes forgiveness. Islam encourages almsgiving. When we are confident in our own religious path, we have no need to feel threatened by others.
I often draw on a simple analogy to describe how we should relate to differences of religion. When we eat in a restaurant, we don’t expect everyone to eat the same food. If other people prefer different food, we are happy for them to choose the food they enjoy. We don’t get upset because they don’t like the food we like. Religions, likewise, are not in competition with each other but meet different needs and conditions.
When I visited universities in the US, including Yale University, I had many heart-to-heart discussions with members of other faiths. These experiences confirmed my view that connections between people of diverse religious traditions need to develop not on a public level but at an interpersonal level, so that people’s experience of other faiths develop into feelings of empathy and mutual respect. Nowadays, unfortunately, there are many negative actions taking place in the name of religion. In the same way that we may have attachments to our own ethnic group, we may have attachment to our religion; these attachments are based on irrational and unreflective habitual ways of thinking.
It is vital that we present the qualities of the religious path in a proper way. We must raise our voices to echo positive and peaceful messages of the various world religions.
Our 21st-century world is facing many dangers and difficulties: the environmental crisis, war and conflict, large migrations of refugees, and deep social divisions, to name a few. One of the most important things religious traditions can do is to shift people’s attitudes towards empathy and simple living. Scientists are very clear about the damage being done to our environment because of our unsustainable lifestyles, but most people seem indifferent to the implications. If people’s attitudes and motivations are to be positively transformed, religious leaders must show the way.
This means that all of us in the religious traditions have a great responsibility. As spiritual leaders, we need to remind people of the essence of the teachings of our respective traditions, not as mere philosophical concepts but as a practical guide to modern-day living. We have to transcend the borders of our affiliations and harness the potential of all religious traditions. It seems to me to be of the utmost importance that all religious traditions work together to ease the suffering of the world.
Issue Title: 
All Together Now: Pluralism and Faith




Issue Year: 2016

http://reflections.yale.edu/article/all-together-now-pluralism-and-faith/21st-century-plea-empathy


2016/06/14

Tibet's 17th Karmapa on Climate Change, the Dalai Lama, and China - The Diplomat





The Tibetan Buddhist leader on climate change, his future leadership role, and Tibetan issues.


The 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee during a teaching in Paris to Buddhist followers in Europe. Photo by Saransh Sehgal (June 5, 2016).