Transcript of Group Interview on March 25, 2000
The following is a transcript of a group interview with His Holiness Karmapa at Gyuto Monastery, Siddhpuri, India, on March 25, 2000.
Q: How does a new Dharma student properly write an article about Karmapa?
Answer by Karmapa: Perfect motivation and sincerity are more important than Buddhism as a religion.
Q: Why did you come to India?
A: I came to India for the preservation of my culture, the practice of Buddhism, and to spread Bodhicitta for all sentient beings. Even though I had to leave my monastery, my possessions, and my parents, it is worthwhile for the spreading of the Dharma. I want to try to help all sentient beings and the mountains, the trees and the rivers.
Q: What do you see as the role of the Karmapa and what are your activities?
A: The role is not specific to myself, but to all Karmapas. For Buddhism in Tibet the contribution of the Karmapa is limitless. The lineage helps countless sentient beings. This is the duty of all Karmapas: to generate compassion and love for all, especially the Tibetan people, and to preserve the Tibetan culture and religion. Buddha Dharma is flourishing because of many great masters, especially the previous Karmapas.
The 16th Karmapa traveled to Arizona in 1974 to meet with the elders of the Hopi Native Americans. He was the fulfillment of their prophecy “When the wearer of the red hat comes to the West he will build a bridge of wisdom between the east and the west.”
Q: The 16th Karmapa had developed a relationship with the Hopi Native Americans. What do you see as the nature of this relationship and do you intend to further this relationship with the Hopi elders?
A: That relationship was a great blessing for the 16th Karmapa at that time. It is difficult to say what will happen in this time. I am concerned with the right moment and the right karma. The natural causes and conditions must be present. If it is useful and helpful now then it will happen. If not, it is exhausting and will not happen.
Q: There is a prediction by Lord Buddha that 2500 years after his teaching the Dharma would spread to the West. What is your part in this prediction? How do you intend to spread the Dharma?
A: Lord Buddha’s predictions will come true. Nobody can judge this. Of course the predictions will happen. For my part, I cannot say. The Karmapa alone cannot spread Dharma. It is not a simple name applying to one person. However, the meaning of Karmapa can help. It comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Karma Ka’ which means the movement of karma. It was translated into Tibetan as Karmapa. I am the manifestation of the activities of all the Buddhas. I spread the Buddha Dharma in the ten directions of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. I cannot say where the Dharma will go. Look around and see.
Q: As Westerners we are very interested in this prediction, what would be our specific contribution?
A: Lord Buddhas teaching is limitless. I cannot say what an individual should do. In general you should try to cultivate Bodhicitta, care and love for each other and for all sentient beings, have a sincere motivation, and do your practice. This is the essence of Lord Buddha’s teaching.
Q: I was very interested to hear that you included the mountains, trees and rivers in your commitment to all beings. Do you have any words you wish to share with youth who are also committed to the environment or with their educators?
A: Proper education is of fundamental importance. Proper education should be based in culture, preserve tradition and teach knowledge. All of these should have a basis in concentration. Proper education should teach good habits. It is also very important for students to have freedom. They need freedom to express themselves in their own way and find the best way to be beneficial to all sentient beings.
From the moment I first saw Karmapa I was amazed at the way he singles you out, looks you straight in the eye and smiles at you. This is not just an ordinary smile. This is a smile that emanates compassion and fills you up. It inspires you to never waste another moment of your life. Because of this, I simply wanted to know…
Q: What makes you smile?
A: It is not important what makes me, as an individual, smile. It is important what makes humanity smile. Humanity smiles the moment when our motivations and actions are the same.
Transcribed and edited by Tsurphu Foundation.