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.
Aldershot, Hampshire, England – Morning, May 27, 2017
Early on this day of the Karmapa’s visit to the Nepali community in Aldershot, the double arch of a luminous rainbow filled the sky. It recalled his first visit to the US when rainbows followed him everywhere on the East Coast. The Karmapa was invited by the Buddhist Community Centre UK to this beautiful area of England, famous for its military garrisons and home to a sizeable population of Gurkha soldiers who have served in the British army. In 2006 they were allowed to live in England and in 2007, the Buddhist Community Centre UK was founded by Mr. Kaji Sherpa. He had the vision of establishing a Buddhist monastery to serve the growing Buddhist Community in this southeast region of the UK.
His daughter explained that about half of the Gurkha population in Nepal is Buddhist, and that her father felt a need for Buddhist guidance in this community, so a committee of Nepalis purchased a social club and completely transformed it into a …
During his first visit to the UK from May 17 to 28, 2017, the Karmapa, a prominent Tibetan Buddhist leader, joined former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Rowan Williams together with scientists, scholars and cultural figures for a dialogue on the environment hosted by the International Campaign for Tibet and Inspire Dialogue Foundation.
The round table discussion, held on May 24, 2017, was intended to bring together perspectives “between disciplines and generations” as the beginning of an ongoing exchange, according to Lord Williams, Master of Magdalen College and a noted poet and theologian. It involved figures from the arts and sciences, including Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre in London; James Thornton, the founding CEO of ClientEarth; Dame Fiona Reynolds, former Director-General of the National Trust; Dr Bhaskar Vira, Director, University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute; Tracey Seaward, film producer …
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, made his first visit to the United Kingdom this month.
At 31 years old, Ogyen Trinley Dorje is head of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, a reincarnation lineage that dates back more than 900 years. His Holiness was born in eastern Tibet but fled to India in 2000, where he now resides at the Gyuto Monastery near Dharamshala. He is the only reincarnate Lama to have been recognised by both His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Chinese communist government.
The Karmapa’s 11-day visit began on May 17 and the first public event was held on May 20 in London’s Battersea Park.
“I would like to express my great delight at this opportunity that has come to pass for me to visit London, the capital of the United Kingdom, for the first time. Especially, I would like to extend my warmest greetings to all you friends who are gathered here. I have been waiting for a long time to visit the United King…
May 29, 2017 - The 17th Karmapa, one of Tibet’s leading Buddhist figures arrived in Toronto yesterday on his first visit to Canada. Known for his concerns about current global issues as well as for his spiritual leadership, the 31-year-old Karmapa will engage in a wide range of religious activities and will speak on environmental and social responsibility at various universities.
During his month long trip to Canada, the Karmapa will travel to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. In doing so, he is following in the footsteps of his predecessor the 16th Karmapa, who travelled extensively throughout the country and was instrumental in introducing Canadians to Buddhism in the 1970s.
Head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, the Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is the 17th holder of a 900-year old lineage. Born in a nomadic family in eastern Tibet, he made headline news in 2000 with his dramatic escape to India, where he now lives near the Dalai Lama. The 17th …
This morning the Karmapa traveled to a northwest suburb of London to visit the impressive BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, the largest Hindu temple in Europe. Marble and limestone have been brought alive by Indian artists, who carved every inch with intricate design. The founder of this Hindu bhakti tradition was guru Swaminarayan (1781-1830), famous for his support of the poor and encouraging women’s education. He was also known for his vegetarianism and opposition to animal sacrifice, positions that the Karmapa also supports.
At the temple, the Karmapa was met by Pujya Yogvivekdas Swami and offered the traditional greeting of a garland of flowers, a tika (the red mark of blessing) and a blessed cord. The Karmapa was then guided through the temple to see an exhibition on understanding Hinduism. Always curious, he asked many question of the guide. He then participated in prayers with the swami and other priests in two of the shrine rooms, both of white m…
Worshipped as a living god, will the 17th Karmapa Lama also inherit the Dalai Lama’s imagery of divinity and celebrity? By MARTIN REGG COHNOntario Politics Columnist Tues., May 30, 2017
It is not his destiny to be the next Dalai Lama. For he is already reincarnated as the 17th Karmapa Lama.
Yet he may one day succeed his 81-year-old teacher and protector.
Revered since age 7 as spiritual leader of a 1,000-year-old branch of Tibetan Buddhism, Ogyen Trinley Dorje is making his first trip to Canada this week at the age of 31.
Meeting Ontario politicians Tuesday before sitting down for an interview, the Karmapa padded around Queen’s Park in a pair of brown hiking shoes peeking out from under his simple maroon robes. A picture of youthful wisdom with his direct gaze, towering above other monks at six feet tall, he may yet emerge as the public face of Tibetan Buddhism
Worshipped as a living god and the Buddha of Compassion, will he also inherit the Dalai Lama’s imagery of divinity and celebrity?
May 27, 2017 – Lakeside International Hotel, Frimley Green, England
In the concluding public event of the 17th Karmapa’s first visit to the United Kingdom, nearly 2,000 people gathered at Lakeside International Hotel near Frimley Green in Surrey to receive an Amitayus Long Life empowerment. The Nepalese and Gurkha community turned out in force to welcome the 17th Karmapa and were joined by devotees from the UK, Europe, America, and other countries worldwide. This was the second part of a one-day program organised by the Buddhist Community Centre UK.
Monks from various Kagyu European centres and the Karmapa’s ritual master and attendants had worked hard to prepare the stage for the empowerment. The golden pagoda used during the Chenresik empowerment earlier in the visit now enshrined an image of Amitayus and a smaller image of Guru Rinpoche. To the left of the images, a large bowl contained long-life pills made from roasted barley and butter and to the right four bowls contained long-lif…
May 31, 2017– In the morning after his arrival, at 9:00AM, Wednesday, May 31, 2017, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje arrived at Karma Sonam Dargye Ling– a Tibetan Buddhist centre under the direction of Lama Tenzin Dakpa. This was a visit of great significance, as the centre was first established in 1976 by the venerable Lama Namsel Rinpoche under the request of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje.
Upon arrival, His Holiness was ushered into the main shrine hall and seated on the highest throne, on which he proceeded to receive a body-speech-mind offering from the sangha. The yellow rice and tea ceremony followed in sequence for the welcome ceremony. Shortly after tea was served, the current resident teacher of Karma Sonam Dargye Ling, Lama Tenzin Dakpa, rose to speak.
Lama Tenzin referenced the founder of this centre, Lama Namsel Rinpoche, as one of the first Canadian resident lamas to request for His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa to visit Canada. …
Transforming Disturbing Emotions: Dialogue of the Three Major Traditions of Buddhism Date: Thursday, June 1st, 9:30AM – 12:00PM Place: University of Toronto, Convocation Hall (MAP) Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gp9TaET_SNw
How to Apply Ancient Wisdom in Modern Times In these two sessions, His Holiness will discuss the basic nature of mind and the methods of obtaining happiness through listening to and contemplating the teachings of the Buddha, and then meditating according to the teachings. Date: Friday, June 2nd, 9:30-11:30AM, 2:00-4:30PM Place:The Enercare Centre, Hall D (MAP) Video: How to Apply Ancient Wisdom in Modern Times 1…