After several hours touring the sprawling campus of Google in Mountain View, California, a state-of-the-artdriverless car delivered His Holinessthe Karmapa to a building where Google staff had assembled for a talk on “Inner Connection and Meditation: Changing the World from the Inside Out.” The talk was structured as a dialogue—or self-styled Fireside Chat—with Chade-Meng Tan, who leads Google’s personal growth and wellness services.
The 17th Karmapa’s talk at Google was prefaced with opening comments by Google’s only Tibetan employee, Sonam, who brought many members of the audience to tears with her personal reflections. After speaking movingly in Tibetan to His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, she translated her comments into English for the audience. “Your presence here is like a dream for me,” she said. “As a young child I remember my parents taking me to your monastery in Rumtek, Sikkim, in India. The event was the famous Kagyu Black Hat dance performed by the monks. For a young child the performance was mesmerizing, with monks wearing all sorts of masks and performing Buddhist ritual dances.
“But what was more memorable for me,” she said, “was when I met your previous incarnation, the 16th Karmapa. I still vividly remember the day. My parents had recently escaped Tibet, as you yourself did when you were fourteen. Amidst all the pain and suffering my parents and their fellow Tibetans had experienced leaving their homeland behind and living as refugees, there was nothing but pure joy and happiness that day. Here I am today, in your presence again.”
The Karmapa himself was then introduced by Lama Surya Das, who spoke passionately about His Holiness the Karmapa as someone who “holds the whole world in his heart.”
When the talk itself commenced, Chade-Meng Tan (more commonly called Meng) set the tone with his own questions, and then opened the floor for questions from audience members, who lined up at a standing microphone in the aisle. The talk was streamed live to Google’s offices around the world, and questions sent in from other offices alternated with questions from the employees attending the talk in person at Googleplex.
Meng opened by asking what it was like to be the Karmapa – what was the best part and the worst part? After describing the experience of being taken from his family at the age of seven as the worst part, he explained what was best as follows: “One really good thing about being Karmapa is the opportunity it has afforded me to recognize the responsibilities I have. I believe everyone has great responsibility toward everyone else and to the planet, but many people do not have the opportunity to be made aware of just how much responsibility they have. We each bear many responsibilities to benefit others as well as the entire environment—the world and all its inhabitants—as best we can. Being in the position of Karmapa has helped me to recognize that responsibility, and that is a very good thing.”
Among the other questions posed was one regarding meditation. His Holiness the Karmapa said, “The 21st century is a time of great material development and improvement on many fronts and we sometimes become overwhelmed by the rapid change taking place all around us. Within this context of such frenetic external change, meditation can help a great deal in finding inner peace within our minds. Meditation can help us stabilize our minds, it can bring peace and it can give us more control over our own minds so that we are not overwhelmed by this continuous change taking place externally.
“Many forms of our happiness these days actually depend on outer things and external objects. One of most important things that meditation does for us is to help us connect with a sense of happiness and satisfaction that is not at all dependent on outer conditions, but is something naturally present within ourselves. For example a lot of meditation techniques focus on phenomena that are immediately present within ourselves. Of course, working with the breath is a very common technique in meditation, and our breath is something that is always with us, for as long as we are alive. Sometimes we do not recognize these precious natural resources that we have with us all the time. Meditation helps us give attention and care to the natural resources that we have, which in turn helps us to relax. From another perspective it helps us engender a natural sense of wonderment, awe or joyfulness about what is precious within us already.
“Meditation is not just about relaxing or helping us de-stress,” he said. “It is something that can help increase our awareness, help us develop more mindfulness and a deeper sense of joy and appreciation.”
Meng followed up by asking whether compassion arises naturally from mindfulness practice or whether it needs additional work.
The 17th Karmapa replied, “Firstly I think that meditation is something that naturally connects us with who we are in an uncontrived way. So much of what we do in life is a contrived attempt to become something else. But meditation brings us back to the natural state of who we are and what we are made of. I think that can become a stepping stone for developing further qualities.
“I mentioned awareness earlier. The awareness we develop through meditation is an awareness of the reality that we all depend upon one another. For example, as we become aware of our breath in meditation, we naturally become aware that it is not an autonomously existing thing. We might develop an appreciation that the air we breathe comes to us from plants and trees and, finally, from our whole green planet. In this way, meditation deepens our appreciation for the interdependent reality of things. We make a much stronger connection with that appreciation, and that becomes the springboard for compassion.”
One employee at the talk described the corporate culture at Google, which values innovation highly and at the same time encourages inner cultivation. He asked whether there was a trade-off between the two.
“Innovation and inner cultivation can be connected,” His Holiness said. “There can be a lot of overlap between innovation and the pure intentions of the path of spirituality. If you look at innovation, you can see that most of the great brilliant ideas occur to people when their minds are relaxed and open. In the same way, the altruistic state of heart occurs when our minds are open and spacious. When we appreciate our interconnectedness, we can further develop our natural altruism, which we might call by the name responsibility.”
Other questions posed to the Karmapa included whether there could ever be an American Milarepa and whether the Karmapa would come back next life as a woman, as well as questions about environmental protection, the practice of inner heat or thum-mo and what we can do to ease the pain of loved ones who face death or are suffering from incurable diseases.
Google will post the talk in its entirety on its youTube page in upcoming weeks. We will add a link here once it has done so.
One of the most important Tibetan Buddhist leaders worries about the growing Chinese influence and diminishing numbers of the community in exile
Sanjay Kapoor Delhi
In the year 2000, a 14-year-old Ogyen Trinley Dorji or Karmapa Lama, head of the Karma Kagyu, the largest sub-school of Tibetan Buddhists, escaped from Tibet and walked across the mighty Himalayas to India. His daring escape was viewed with suspicion by some who thought that it was part of a Chinese conspiracy to disrupt Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Buddhist Exile community in India. Karmapa, who was selected through a complicated process that combined prophecy and rigorous interviews by Buddhist monks in Tibet, through the force of his charismatic personality has been seeking to assuage the misgivings and controversies that plague the exile community. Karmapa lives in Dharamshala, where Tibet’s capital in exile is located. He enjoys an excellent relationship with Dalai Lama and many see in him as the spiritual lea…
United Kingdom Tour - 2017 (London Time)
May 2011:00 - 12:30• Public teaching: 8 Verses of Training the Mind• Lunch Break15:00 - 16:30• Public teaching: 8 Verses of Training the Mind
May 2111:00 - 12:30• Public teaching: 8 Verses of Training the Mind• Lunch Break15:00 - 17:00• Chenrezik Empowerment
May 2714:00 - 18:00• Long Life Empowerment
United Kingdom Tour - 2017 (Indian Time)
May 2015:30 - 17:00• Public teaching: 8 Verses of Training the Mind• Lunch Break19:30 - 21:00• Public teaching: 8 Verses of Training the Mind
May 2115:30 - 17:00• Public teaching: 8 Verses of Training the Mind• Lunch Break19:30 - 21:30• Chenrezik Empowerment
May 2718:30 - 22:30• Long Life Empowerment
Gangtok, May 20 (PTI) A delegation of monks of various monasteries of Sikkim met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh urging early permission for Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to visit the state.
The monks called on Singh, who is on a two-day visit here, at the Raj Bhavan last evening, officials said.
They submitted the resolution taken after a peace rally here on May 18 which urged the Government of India to grant one of the "most important demand and aspiration" of the Buddhists of Sikkim seeking early permission for the Karmapa to visit Sikkim.
The delegation was led by the Sangha MLA Sonam Kelyon Lama, who is the elected political representative of the monks in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly, the officials added.
A central government order bans entry of all the three Karmapa claimants to the title of Karmapa at Rumtek monastery in East Sikkim since 1994.
The Sikkimese Buddhists who follow the Khagyu sect recognize the 31-year-old Ogyen Trinley Dorj…
DHARAMSHALA: Kalon Karma Gelek Yuthok, Department of Religion and Culture, Central Tibetan Administration, attended the convocation ceremony of the Institute of Buddhist Dialectic, Dharamsala and the college of higher Tibetan studies, Sarah, this morning. The event was held at Sarah college of Tibetan Higher Studies.
His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Thinlay Dorjee graced the inauguration of the convocation as the chief guest. The function began with recitation of prayers by the students followed by serving sweet rice and butter tea to the guests, staff and students.
Ven. Kalsang Damdul, the director of IBD and CHTS gave welcome speech and briefly introduced the college and courses provided by the institution. Mr. Passang Tsering, Principal of CHTS read out the report of the college. The function was attended by Mr. Topgyal Tsering, secretary of Kashag secretariat, CTA, Mrs. Nangsa Choedon and Mr. Karma Senge, Secretary and Acting Secretary of Department of Education, representives of…
The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, arrived in central London this afternoon on his first ever visit to the United Kingdom. A long line of devotees offering katas greeted him on his arrival at his hotel. He was then officially welcomed at a special reception in the form of a traditional English afternoon tea.
April 30, 2017 – Sarah College of Higher Tibetan Studies, Dharamshala, Kangra, HP, India
The Gyalwang Karmapa’s car passed by ordained and lay students who stood along the tree-lined road leading to Sarah College. After a brief visit to the college office, he was invited into the main hall where he was offered a mandala and the three representations of body, speech, and mind. As the Chief Guest, the Karmapa had come to confer, along with Kalon Karma Gelek Yuthok, certificates to the Lobpon graduating students, the Uma Rabjampa and the Parchin Rabjampa students from Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, which shared this convocation ceremony with Sarah College.
Welcoming everyone, the Karmapa noted that he’d had quite a bit of experience attending functions at universities, both in India and abroad, yet he felt a special connection with Sarah College that made him especially happy to participate in this ceremony. For special greetings, the Karmapa singled out the students who had studied the…
GANGTOK, May 18: pending demand for allowing 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to visit Sikkim saw scores of monks and followers taking out a robust rally in Gangtok on Thursday, a day before Union Home Affairs minister Rajnath Singh comes visiting the Sikkim capital.
Their well-timed persistence extracted an assurance from the State government that a 15-member delegation from their side would be allowed to visit Rajnath Singh on Friday to place the Karmapa visit demand.
Another strategic objective of the rally was to attract the attention of intelligence agencies based in Gangtok for sending a message to the visiting Union Minister that the Karmapa followers in Sikkim have reached exasperation level.
A meeting of Chief Ministers of five States who share borders with China is taking place at Gangtok on Saturday for which Rajnath Singh is arriving.
“We want the IB and RAW officials listening and taking note of our rally to take the…
The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, will begin his first Canadian tour at the end of May 2017. This visit, to last nearly a month, will begin in Toronto, proceeding to Calgary and reach Vancouver as its final Canadian destination in mid-June. Activities planned during His Holiness’ visit in Vancouver include: a Chenrezig empowerment, Akshobhya teachings and empowerment, and a panel discussion on our environment and social inequality.
The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa is the spiritual leader of the Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. The Karmapa lineage dates back 900 years; it is the oldest and foremost lineage to commence a tradition of reincarnate teachers in Tibetan Buddhism. The current Karmapa has taken birth in 1985, unto a nomadic family in eastern Tibet. He was recognized as the 17th lineage holder at an age of seven, and journeyed from Tibet to India at the age of 14. Ever since, the Gyalwang Karmapa has assumed the role of a spiritual leader. He has traveled the wor…
What we need to do now to improve our lifestyles and create a sustainable world, is to simply connect, says the Karmapa, OGYEN TRINLEY DORJE, to NARAYANI GANESH...
The ancients have always spoken of the web of life. In your book, ‘Interconnected’, are you presenting a different perspective?
■ In terms of the actual meaning there is no difference but this is a way of expressing an experiential perspective for today, to feel it experientially. So in actuality, there is no difference. We have been and will always be interconnected and so are interdependent.
You are saying, ‘See the connection, feel the connection and live the connection’. Sounds easy. What are the challenges in adopting this path?
■ We are not separate but we have the concept of the self or mind as ‘I’or ‘me’. Because of the idea of being an independent self, we feel a sense of separation and this is the biggest impediment — of there being an independent self.