2016/06/05

Live Webcast Announcement - 2016 Visit to Europe by His Holiness Karmapa



Webcast Link:





   Centural European Time   
   Indian Time   
   Taiwa / Hong Kong  / Beijing Time

Karmapa in Switzerland - Geneva
Lake Geneva Theatre, Quai du Mont-Blanc 19, 1201 Geneva, Switzerland
09:30 - 11:30
21st May 
13:00 - 15:00
21st May 
15:30 - 17:30
21st May 
14:00 - 16:00
21st May 
17:30 - 19:30
21st May 
20:00 - 22:00
21st May 
09:30 - 11:30
22nd May 
13:00 - 15:00
22nd May 
15:30- 17:30
22nd May 
14:00 - 16:00
22nd May 
17:30 - 19:30
22nd May 
20:00 - 22:00
22nd May 
Karmapa in Switzerland - Bülach, Zurich
Stadthalle Bülach, Allmendstrasse 8, 8180 Bülach
Teaching: Converting Everyday Sufferings (Part 1)
09:30 - 11:30
28th May 
13:00 - 15:00
28th May 
15:30 - 17:30
28th May 
Teaching: Converting Everyday Sufferings (Part 2)
14:00 - 16:00
28th May 
17:30 - 19:30
28th May 
20:00 - 22:00
28th May 
Empowerment: Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezig)
09:30 - 11:30
29th May 
13:00 - 15:00
29th May 
15:30 - 17:30
29th May 
Conference: Buddhism and respect for the environment
14:00 - 16:00
29th May 
17:30 - 19:30
29th May 
20:00 - 22:00
29th May 
Karmapa in France - Paris
Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel & Conference Center, Boulevard Saint-Jacques, Paris, France.
Teaching: The Four Noble Truths
09:30 - 11:30
4th June 
13:00 - 15:00
4th June 
15:30 - 17:30
4th June 
Guided Meditation
14:00 - 16:00
4th June 
17:30 - 19:30
4th June 
20:00 - 22:00
4th June 
Conference: Happiness & Peace
09:30 - 11:30
5th June 
13:00 - 15:00
5th June 
15:30 - 17:30
5th June
Empowerment: Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezig)
14:00 - 16:00
5th June 
17:30 - 19:30
5th June 2
20:00 - 22:00
5th June 


2016/05/26

Fostering Interreligious Dialogue: The Gyalwang Karmapa Visits the Rigpe Dorje Center in the House of Religion


Bern, Switzerland – May 24, 2016


On his way from Lausanne to Bern, the Karmapa stopped today at Thupten Jamtse Ling Dharma Center to give a blessing to this lovely place of practice. It was founded by Patrick Stillhart, whose generosity has helped centers of different Tibetan Buddhist traditions to find a home in Switzerland.
Afterward the Karmapa traveled north to Bern for lunch with the Mayor of Bern, Alexander Tschäppät. They especially talked about the unique House of Religion in Bern, completed just a year and a half ago, which was financially supported by the city as well as many different religions. The House of Religion is home to a Hindu temple, a Christian church, a Muslim mosque, an intercultural Buddhist shrine hall (for many different Buddhist traditions), and a place of worship for an unusual tradition from Tamil Nadu known as the Delagh of the Alevits. Three other traditions⎯Jewish, Sikh, and Bahai⎯ participate in meetings and some sit on the Board of Directors.
Also attending the lunch was the managing director, David Leutwyler, who mentioned the importance of having authentic places of worship and the positive effect of the different traditions being together in the center. The simple daily connecting over work builds natural connections and allows for an understanding deeper than mere tolerance. The House is a powerful symbol, he said, showing that different religions can live and prosper together. The President of the House of Religion, Dr. Gerda Gauck has been with the organization since its beginning in 1998. She mentioned how impressed she was by the Karmapa’s openness to what they had to say about the House of Religion and his understanding of how important diversity is.
After this lunch, the Karmapa paid a visit to the House of Religion itself, which is home to the Rigpe Dorje Center. Begun in 1993, this practice group was inspired by the Third Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and named after his teacher, the previous Sixteenth Karmapa, Rigpe Dorje. In addition to sponsoring meditation and study, the organization is devoted to Jamgon Kongtrul’s welfare projects, including a school for poor and orphaned children in India, an old people’s home nearby, eye and medical clinics, and two monasteries with facilities for advanced study and long retreats.
To welcome the Seventeenth Karmapa, the entrance hall to the House of Religion and all the paths inside the Karmapa would take were lined with deep red and golden yellow rose petals as well as clusters of bright flowers. A large group of well wishers, including over 300 Tibetans, lined the way inside with their long scarves of welcome.
For this special occasion, the Buddhist space in the House of Religion had been transformed into a Tibetan shrine hall with a new throne built just for the occasion and thangkas of Vajradhara, Guru Rinpoche, and Amitabha. On one side was a formal image of the Third Jamgon Kongtrul and across from it, a photograph of the next generation⎯the Seventeenth Karmapa and the Fourth Jamgon Kongtrul together. Georg Streit, the president of Rigpe Dorje, welcomed the Karmapa and introduced him to the variety of Buddhist groups of different traditions that had gathered today.
After warmly greeting everyone, the Karmapa began his talk by saying that it was his first visit to Bern and that he was happy to learn about the House of Religion where different traditions coexist in harmony and dialogue with each other. It is important to practice well in one’s own tradition, the Karmapa counseled, and also to respect and study other traditions.
He then spoke of the First Jamgon Kongtrul, Lodro Thaye, a famous master and scholar of the nonsectarian movement in nineteenth century Tibet. The Karmapa was delighted that the openness and tolerance the House of Religion embodies was in true harmony with the vision and activity of this great Tibetan spiritual leader. In the past, the Karmapa commented, religions have been a source of great conflicts, and Jamgon Kongtrul tried to overcome this tendency through his work. The House of Religion is pursuing a similar goal by bringing religions together in dialogue and fostering mutual understanding of the beauty in each one.
The Karmapa closed his talk by saying that he was very happy to have made this initial connection with the people in Bern and that he hoped to return again and again.

2016.5.24 His Holiness the Karmapa stopped at Thupten Jamtse Ling in Sorens, on his way to Zürich. 2016.5.24 Karmapa visits the House of Religions in Bern

http://karmapafoundation.eu/visit-thupten-jamtse-ling-dharma-centre/

How Do Ethics Apply to the Practice of Medicine? The Karmapa Dialogues with Students



May 23, 2016 -Lausanne, Switzerland


As on his previous tours, the Karmapa is reaching out to the younger generation, this time with a visit to the University of Lausanne. In a large amphitheater, a lively dialogue took place between the Karmapa and over 200 first year medical students. The event was part of their course on ethics and medicine and included giving the students a question, which they discussed with their neighbors. After they were invited to give an answer over a mike, and finally the Karmapa was asked for his thoughts.
The first question queried, what does it mean to be in good health? One student responded that it means to be well in physical, socio-cultural, and mental terms. Another student added in spirituality and another said it meant to be well in terms of one’s perception of oneself.
Impressed by their answers, the Karmapa noted that the students were young but their answers were profound and wide-ranging. For his position on the subject, the Karmapa began by mentioning the importance of a good balance between the exterior physical world and the interior, spiritual world.
Further, he remarked that we might not be sick physically, but we could be suffering from the disease of what are known as the three poisons⎯anger, attachment, and ignorance. When anger arises in our mind, for example, we will not feel well, so this is considered a sickness that brings suffering. The Karmapa also mentioned the importance of finding another type of balance between a shared common sense and an individual’s perception.
The second question had two aspects: What is suffering? What is happiness?
Most of the students replied that suffering is mainly physical pain, but it can also be psychological. They made a distinction between short-term pain and longer-term suffering. Some questioned if suffering could be a positive thing and others thought not.
The Karmapa commented that suffering is a broader term since we all suffer in getting what we do not want, and in not getting what we do want. We also suffer when we lose our independence by coming under the influence of our emotional afflictions. Turning to the relationship of happiness and suffering, the Karmapa said that we could also ask ourselves if the happiness we experience is real. By investigating, we can see that our sense of happiness comes about in relation to suffering: the two are established in dependence one on the other and, therefore, ultimately not real. What we usually consider happiness is a diminishing of suffering. We should look, he counseled, at the moment between the subsiding of suffering and the arising of happiness. What is there?
Usually Buddhism speaks of three types of suffering, he explained. (1) The usual feeling of suffering as we know it; (2) the suffering of change, the fact that since the happiness we know is not ultimate, it does not last, but turns into suffering again; (3) and finally, all-pervasive suffering that comes from coming under the power of something or someone else.
The next question asked what does it mean to take care of someone? The students responded that it means to bring them back into health, to understand how they see things, to do this from a place of happiness within ourselves, and bring them to what they desire or help them to accept what cannot be changed.
The Karmapa responded that people come to him with many different kinds of problems, which are not always spiritual, and he seeks to give them hope and as much help as he can. The most important aspect of caring, he explained, is not a medical intervention, but our motivation, the compassionate wish to understand another’s suffering and then doing what we can to free them of it. When our empathy or compassion is powerful, he commented, we have a greater ability to help others.
Sometimes when they cannot be cured, he commented, our simple presence is important so that they do not feel alone in the world. We stay involved with them so they do not lose their confidence. The more we help others, the more able we become to benefit them. The Karmapa also mentioned that it is important to take care of oneself as well as others; the two are mutually dependent.
The next question was about assisted suicide. If you are a doctor, what do? A lively discussion followed in which students gave a variety of opinions. Some felt if someone is mentally stable and suffering a great deal, we should let them decide. Others felt that because of suffering, they might not be clear minded, and so we should not leave the decision to the patient; the wish to die could be a phase, so one should listen to them and help them make the best of the life they have left.
The Karmapa explained the in general, suicide is not positive, so we have to consider the entire situation and help the person find an inner balance. We should support and care for them as much as we can and not let go of them even if the prognosis is dire. It is also true that people’s tolerance for pain is different and some can continue to live with a great deal of pain. The main point is to support them as much as we can.
After a short break, professors from the university joined in the discussion, and the first question was how do we perceive death? Almost all the answers agreed that what is frightening is not knowing what comes after this life. We fear the unknown. The Karmapa responded that death is part of a natural process, which we accept. If we are born, certainly we will die. When we are young, however, we do not think about death, so we are not accustomed to this thought, he explained. In Buddhism, we reflect on death, which helps us to know what is important and to make our life meaningful. Suppose we only have three months to live. What would we do? We can also imagine that one day is a whole life: we are born in the morning and at night we will die. The next day, we are born again and the process continues.
One person who works with the dying asked for advice on the moment of death. The Karmapa remarked that this is one aspect of Buddhist practice that is difficult to research scientifically because we do not know when a lama will die, and once they have passed away, their consciousness is not present to be examined. However, there is a similarity between the process of dying, he explained, and what is known as deep sleep, so we can train ourselves through the practices related to this particular state of sleep, which will help us at the time of dying.
The Karmapa was asked if he often thought of his own death. He replied that he thinks about it in the evening, when the sun has gone down. He does not fear death, he said but is concerned to make this life meaningful, to accomplish what he wants to do. In general, if one has lived well, dying is not heavy but “light.”
Is there a good way to die? was the next question. The answers included to die in one’s sleep and to die free of mental suffering. The Karmapa replied that in Buddhism, dying suddenly in an accident for example, or dying in one’s sleep were not the best ways to pass away because at this time, a clear mental state is the most important thing. It is a time when we bring our practice to mind, so if we die while sleeping or suddenly, there is no time to prepare for this crucial event. If we step back and look at the situation from a long-term perspective, death is a transition, and we should use this opportunity as best we can.
The following question asked the Karmapa directly how to deal with doubt. He answered that people often come to him with questions about their health and what to do. Have an operation? Take this medicine? Go to that doctor? Since he is not a doctor, he sometimes has doubts so he relies on a divination. Further, he remarked that if we think too much, our doubts will just grow, so it is best to let the mind rest in its natural state and respond from there.
The next question was about the link between spirituality and ethics. The Karmapa answered that in the beginning, all religions were spiritual, and then over time they devolved into a system of customs, forgetting the key spiritual questions of how we exist and what our true nature is. Usually, we think of ourselves as independent entities, he noted, but we actually exist in interdependence on others, whether it is the food we eat, the clothes we wear, or the air we breathe. If we look into it, actually, there is not a big difference between ourselves and others; in fact, we are a part of each other, and so we are moved to take responsibility and care for others. We begin, the Karmapa counseled, by coming to know ourselves and through this, we know others. First we take responsibility for our lives and then we can help another.
And finally the Karmapa was a requested to give his advice on how to live a better life.
He commented that in the twenty-first century, people have become preoccupied with material things and this restricts our freedom. We should investigate to discover the limits of the material world and how we have lost our freedom. Further, our desires are limitless but the material resources to fulfill them are limited, so for this reason as well, we need to control our greed.
In the final count, he commented, our happiness does not come from material things; happiness is something rather simple that we find within. If we can practice meditation on our breath, paying attention to it as it comes and goes, we can learn to relax and find a deeper joy and contentment.
On this positive note, the afternoon’s discussion came to an end. The Vice-Rector of Lausanne University, Philippe Mareillon, thanked the Karmapa for coming and offered him a musical box turned by hand, a famous craft of Switzerland and lovely souvenir of his visit.

2016.5.23 Visit of his Holiness the 17th Karmapa in UNIL, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

http://kagyuoffice.org/how-do-ethics-apply-to-the-practice-of-medicine-the-karmapa-dialogues-with-students/

The Gyalwang Karmapa on the Relationship Between Buddhism and Science




May 22, 2106 -Geneva, Switzerland


The Gyalwang Karmapa began this afternoon by referring to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s division of Buddhism into three categories: Buddhism as a science, as a philosophy, and as a religion. When we speak of Buddhism as a science, the Karmapa said, we are considering how it examines exterior phenomena through a process of deduction. The philosophical side refers to the various schools and their views, while the religious aspect includes the meditative and ritual practices, the inner focusing that is special to Buddhism.
If we look at the life of Shakyamuni Buddha, the Karmapa continued, we can see these aspects in play. The Buddha was a prince who lived a long time ago, and following the traditions of that era, he received the best possible education in both religion and the science of the day so that he could guide the kingdom.
The king was worried about the prince, however. In accord with the royal traditions of India, when the prince was born, the king had called in a Brahmin seer who prophesied that the child would either become a powerful ruler in the world or a renunciate with high realization. The father had no desire for his son to become an ascetic and did all he could to turn his mind toward the things of this world. The king filled the palace with pleasant entertainments and found a queen for the future king so that he would only think about what was within the palace.
Finally, the prince was able to pass beyond the walls, and so he witnessed suffering, sickness, old age, and death. These are things we see often, but for the prince it was new, perhaps shocking, and made a deep impression; he was motivated to leave the palace and follow a spiritual path. The prince asked himself the basic questions that religion attends to: What is the essence of this life? What should I do with this time on earth? He was inquiring and analyzing, searching for reasons and for certainty. He followed this process to its end and became Buddha.
There are many different religions, the Karmapa noted, and they started out with a strong spiritual focus. “Over time, however, they turned into a tradition based on customs,” he remarked, “and people just entered into these systems and believed with thinking much about it.” Such a religion is not so beneficial, he stated, and does not transform our minds in the way it could.
“Today it is important that we find a harmonious relationship between science and religion,” the Karmapa stated, “one in which there is mutual understanding and support, so that the two can balance each other.” One way to understand this relationship is to consider the focus of these two approaches, he said: the scientific way turns outward to look at the exterior world, whereas the spiritual path turns inward to look at the interior world of the mind. Science can give us information about the outer world but with this alone, it is difficult to find one’s true nature and to discover the meaning of this life.
Religion, however, can bring meaning and profundity into our lives, and show us the right direction to take.
It seems, the Karmapa noted, that the more technology develops, the more our minds become distracted and unstable. Religion, however, is like our eyes: through it we can see into the deeper, more essential meaning of this life and into what we should be doing. This is the main point. In sum, religion gives meaning and depth to our life and science allows us to understand the concrete world and to accomplish activity there, so they complement each other.
    The Karmapa then answered a series of questions.
The first question asked, “What is impermanence?” The Karmapa replied that most people think of impermanence as something negative and would rather not think about it. However, if we reflect for a moment, he said, we can see that it gives us new opportunities. Everything that is born must die, and this process of each instant arising and disappearing, continually affords us new opportunities. The situation of the morning is not the situation of the evening, and this gives us another chance. Thinking about change in a positive way like this can inspire us.
If we accept birth, the Karmapa remarked, then we must also accept death as a natural process. He suggested working with impermanence by imagining that one day is a whole life; we are born in the morning and die in the evening, he commented. This way we can gradually become familiar with the fact of death and come to accept it as part of life.
The second question queried the relationship between compassion and science.
The Karmapa responded that compassion is something innate; affection is natural to us, but its development depends on our surroundings. For example, we all have the ability to speak a language, but if a child grows up in the forest with no human beings around, this capacity will not manifest. Similarly, if parents speak often of compassion and it forms a part of a child’s surroundings, the child will become familiar with it and compassion will develop. Compassion, therefore, is both innate and a quality that can change and increase.
What blocks the development of compassion, he remarked, is ego fixation, which is like a wall that imprisons us. We need to break down this wall and let our compassion become boundless, so we lose a sense of difference between us as the subject and the object of our compassion. Understanding compassion in this way, if we can combine science and Buddhism, developing a compassionate motivation while involved in scientific pursuits, this will create a better future for everyone.
The third questioner asked, What are the benefits of the practice of sending and receiving (tonglen)? The Karmapa replied that this practice comes from the Kadampa tradition and that it provides two ways to develop bodhicitta (the wish to attain enlightenment for the sake of all living beings): the first way sees the self and other as equal and the second exchanges self for other. In order to practice the second type, we need a very powerful love for others.
Some are afraid to do this practice, he commented, because they do not understand that it is a conceptual training; we are not actually taking on the suffering of others and giving them our happiness, but training ourselves mentally so that when the occasion arises, we will be ready to help naturally and spontaneously. This training, therefore, is a preparation, a way of developing our love and affection. This in itself, of course, is not enough. The Karmapa counseled that we must then actually apply the training to the situations we meet in this life.
The next question asked about how to encourage people to become vegetarian. The Karmapa replied that we have to think about the reasons for doing so. For him the main reason was considering the suffering of animals. They to not have the language to tell us what they go through, but in thinking of our own bodies, we can sense what their suffering might be and this is reason enough to give up eating meat. We can begin by gradually reducing the meat we eat and finally giving it up all together.
What about donating our organs after we die? asked the next questioner. The Karmapa responded that in Tibet, there is the practice of Cho, or Cutting Through, in which one visualizes one’s body as an offering to others. When people die, their corpse, no longer needed, is offered to vultures and thereby benefits others. It is true that there is the tradition of not moving a body for a certain time after someone dies, but if beforehand we have the motivation to benefit others by giving our organs, and if our mind is spacious as well, then we can make this offering.
The Karmapa then combined several questions dealing with the relationship between different religious traditions within a single family. He counseled that it is not helpful for one person to try and force their beliefs on another. This creates conflict, and harmonious relationships are very important. If we seek commonalities and a shared happiness, then change can happen. Sometimes we are too attached to our own religion. Of course, these traditions are important, but their goal of happiness and harmony is the most important.
The Karmapa closed the weekend of teachings by saying that when he was young, he had a dream of coming to Switzerland and that it how has been realized. He also expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the Swiss people for receiving the Tibetans into their country and taking care of them.

2016.5.22 The Gyalwang Karmapa on the Relationship Between Buddhism and Science  http://kagyuoffice.org/the-gyalwang-karmapa-on-the-relationship-between-buddhism-and-science/