The Badge of Tsurphu Monastery

The badge of Tsurphu monastery,
the original seat of the Karmapas
in Tibet, founded in 1189 by the
Fist Karmapa Dusum Chenpa.

At The top of this post is a badge of Tolung Tsuphu Monastery, there is an interesting little story to the creation of this badge of an international collaboration. 

Once upon a time... In June 1996 Tashi visited Tsurphu monastery along with Akong Rinpoche and his brother Lama Yeshe Losal, to meet the young 17th Karmapa. This was a particularly special occasion,  as for Lama Yeshe and Tashi, it was the first time they had seen the Karmapa since his previous incarnation.

Akong Rinpoche, Karmapa and Tsering Tashi.

One particular day Akong Rinpoche together with Tashi organized an audience with the Karmapa. The main purpose of this meeting was to take measurements so that Tashi could make robes for the Karmapa at a later date. 

Much of the day was spent in the Karmapa's private quarters where games where played with much enjoyment and laughter.

It was decided to offer Karmapa an embroidered badge, which He liked as something to give to every one of the monks in the monastery representing Tsurphu.

Drawing by Karmapa and Tashi.

As in the Photo, all three huddled around Karmapa's seat table to plot out how the badge should look. Above is a rough sketch that was made by Tashi at the time under the instructions from both Karmapa and Akong, additional marks were added by Karmapa, such as the curls at the top as he explained the decorated surround of the Dharma wheel and swirls to the scroll. Below He added the moon and the sun and even wrote moon and sun next to them. The design session ended with how to draw a star.

Fresh in mind and sketch in hand, Tashi returned to Scotland where he requested Sherab Palden Beru a master of Tibetan art, to create a design based on Karmapa's instruction. The design at the top of this post was created by one of Sherabs students under his direction.

Tashi then contacted some Buddhist friends, Tony and Rose, he had met earlier in that year, who happened to run a badge making business in Australia called 'Badger Makes Badges'. The artwork was sent to them around the globe and being devoted to Karmapa, hundreds of beautifully embroider badges where returned to Scotland and offered to Karmapa by Akong Rinpoche on his next returning visit to Tibet.


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