His Holiness’ Heart Advice at Bodhicharya Berlin | Karmapa in Europe 2015
The Karmapa visits the Bodhicharya center in Berlin
Bodhicharya Centre, Berlin, Germany–6th September, 2015 | More than 350 people comprising representatives of Bodhicharya centres across Europe, members and supporters of the Berlin centre, and invited guests crowded into the main shrine room to greet the 17th Karmapa on this his final teaching engagement during his second visit to Europe. A distant sound of Tibetan gyalinannounced his arrival at the centre. His Holiness was greeted at the gates to the centre by its founder Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, who escorted him along the brick path through the buildings, preceded by a boy and a girl scattering flower petals. After planting a tree in the garden, His Holiness made his way to the shrine room.
Ringu Tulku Rinpoche welcomed the 17th Karmapa once more to Bodhicharya Berlin and confessed, “We didn’t make any progress with the building, but,” he continued, “we are determined to work for the people here and for the Dharma.” He highlighted in particular the programme of hospice training and the volunteers who cared for the dying–currently they are looking after thirty people–and presented His Holiness with a list of names of the dying and those who had died, requesting prayers for them.
As at previous centres during this visit, the Karmapa took the role of chant master and led everyone in the opening prayers. There was a simple mandala offering.
After greeting everyone and expressing his delight at returning to Bodhicharya Berlin once more, His Holiness commiserated with everyone over the lack of progress in constructing the centre. “It just shows that it is not an easy undertaking to establish a large Dharma centre in a huge city like Berlin,” he said, then thanked Ringu Tulku Rinpoche and the members and said how much he appreciated their efforts and the work they were doing.
As this would be his last teaching during his 2015 visit to Europe, the 17th Karmapa chose to return to the theme of how we must integrate the practice of the Dharma into everyday life. “I would like to talk again about what is really indispensable on the path, and what the heart essence of Dharma practice is,” he explained.
His first point was that we should strive to make our lives meaningful, based on an appreciation of their preciousness. “All Dharma practice should support this goal,” he said.
His second point was that, unfortunately, we often restrict our practice to a particular time when we say prayers or meditate, and then the rest of the time we are busy with our day-to-day life. If we compare the time spent practising with the time spent on other activities, it is obvious that this is not what might be called a successful Dharma practice. If our Dharma practice is to be successful, the Dharma has to permeate our lives, and not be restricted to a certain time of day spent in our shrine room. “We have to connect ourselves with the essence of the Dharma in all the other parts of our lives, right there where we live and work,” His Holiness emphasised.
Reflecting on the increased interest these days on meditation, His Holiness suggested that for many it had become “a break from the stress of their busy lives, what might be called a ‘spiritual vacation’” and that this type of practice “is linked to an experience of relaxation and well-being that we could call a ‘spiritual massage’.” People expected their practice to produce an experience of well-being, but it was questionable whether this could be called true Dharma practice, because true Dharma practice is not an analgesic, and viewing it as such might cause more pain in the long run. When we truly engage in Dharma practice, we work with our body, speech and mind. Particularly when we work with our mind and consciousness, we should foresee obstacles and times of difficulty and unhappiness. We may even reach a point where we think that we can’t go on. “We should expect these difficulties and obstacles,” His Holiness advised, ”and be prepared to joyfully accept them and taken them on to the path, but that is not easy.”
Some people mistakenly believe that the purpose of Dharma practice is to have a direct encounter with a yidam or meditation deity, or to gain some power or energy through this. However, such experiences are not the way to turn our lives into something meaningful and precious.
“The most important way in which we can turn our lives into something precious and meaningful is to learn how to really benefit others,” the Karmapa commented, “and to ensure that our ability to help and benefit other sentient beings grows, and that, with all our hearts, we aspire to become a good human being who works for the benefit of others.”
At all times we should guard against arrogance. It seems that some people believe practising Dharma sets them apart and makes them special in some way, superior to all those who don’t practice Dharma, the Karmapa warned, and to illustrate the point, he recounted the fable of Gold and Mud.
Once upon a time Gold and Mud had a conversation. Gold looked down at Mud and said, “Look at me! How I shine! How beautiful I am! What value do you have? You are so dirty and you stink. In fact, you are thoroughly disgusting. What do you have to say for yourself?”
“Well,” Mud replied, “Perhaps I’m not all bad. Lotus flowers grow from me. Can you grow lotuses? And vegetables, mushrooms, and lots of other plants all grow out of me. I give them strength and feed them. What can grow from you?”
Gold had no reply.
“What we learn from this example is that rather than turning ourselves into something special, it is much more important that through us something more useful and helpful is created in this world,” His Holiness commented. “We should contribute to the well-being of other sentient beings; we should become a catalyst for good in the world. This is what is needed.”
With these words, his Dharma talk ended, and after thanking everyone again and reiterating his hope that next time he would be able to visit other countries in Europe and meet Dharma friends there, he presented the centre with a signed thangka of Shakyamuni Buddha.
Following the teaching, many of the members from across Europe were able to have a private audience with His Holiness. They queued good-naturedly on the path outside the main house until their turn came to climb the narrow wooden staircase to the fourth floor, squeezing past those on their way down.
Then, all too soon, mid-afternoon, the 17th Karmapa left the centre to return to his hotel. He smiled and waved goodbye to the hundreds of people milling around the path and gate and along the road outside the centre, who had waited patiently for a final glimpse of him. The official programme of his second visit to Europe had reached a successful conclusion.
Bodhicharya Berlin is located in the former East Berlin. Originally an old farm which had fallen into disrepair, it is a protected site because of its historical importance. Much love and support has gone into the refurbishment of the buildings, stage by stage. The vision is to create not just a centre for Buddhists, but a welcoming space for inter-faith dialogue and activities which enhance physical, mental and spiritual well-being such as yoga and Tai chi. already, an important part of the work of the centre is hospice training and looking after people who are dying.
It is a non-sectarian Buddhist centre, inviting teachers from all four main traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and also from non-Tibetan Buddhist traditions.
Recently the Gyalwang Karmapa went through a medical examination in Germany, his doctor strongly advise him to stop all Dharma propagation activities so that he has more time and space to treat some of the medical conditions that he has. After much consideration, the Gyalwang Karmapa decided to cancel this year’s Asia Dharma Teaching, i.e. the Diamond Sutra Teaching.
When we heard about the Gyalwang Karmapa’s decision to cancel the teaching, our emotions evolved from unspeakable shock to calm contemplation. Eventually, we understand the difficulty and necessity to make such a decision. We will continue to pray that the Diamond Sutra Teaching to be held in future, yet we are unsure when and where the teaching will be held. Therefore, we will begin the refund process for those who had registered for the teaching after we had negotiated with the hotel for refund.
Even though we feel a sense of regret that the Diamond Sutra Teaching cannot be held, yet we understand and …
In 2016, the Centre had lifted restrictions on 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, movement within India after five years. Following this, he visited Arunachal Pradesh, an area claimed by China.
Sujit Nath | News18.com Updated:July 26, 2017, 11:31 PM IST
Kolkata: Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to grant permission to 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, to visit the state.
Any such visit to the by the Tibetan leader living in exile in India is likely to anger China. This comes at a time when the two countries are engaged in a standoff in Doklam plateau in the Sikkim sector.
In 2016, the Centre had lifted restrictions on Dorje’s movement within India after five years. Following this, he visited Arunachal Pradesh, an area claimed by China.
“I also invited the Prime Minister to visit Sikkim after the rainy season came to an end this year, which he agreed and promised to make a trip soon,” Chamling told the media after his mee…
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༢༠༠༩ ལོ་ནས་ད་བར་བོད་ཕྱི་ནང་དུ་བོད་མི་བརྒྱ་ཕྲག་དང་ཕྱེད་ལ་ཉེ་བས་གཅེས་པའི་རང་ལུས་ཞུགས་སུ་ཕུལ་ཏེ་ཚད་མཐོའི་ལས་འགུལ་ཤུགས་ཆེར་སྤེལ་མོད། འོན་ཀྱང་མིག་སྔར་དེ་ལ་ཐོབ་འོས་པའི་སེམས་ཁུར་དང་། ཚེ་སྲོག་ལ་རིན་ཐང་དང་བརྩི་འཇོག །དེ་བཞིན་ཁོང་ཚོས་རང་སྲེག་གཏོང་བའི་རྒྱུ་རྐྱེན་དང་མངོན་འདོད་གང་ཡིན་ལ་དོ་ཁུར་བྱེད་མཁན་རྒྱལ་སྤྱི་དང་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་གང་ཡང་ཕལ་ཆེར་བྱུང་མེད་པའི་ཚོད་ཙམ་རེད། From 2009 to the present, nearly 150 Tibetans within Tibet and abroad have immolated their own precious bodies, maki…
The land of Sikkim, at the border of India and Tibet, was consecrated as a hidden sanctuary for the Buddha's teachings during the present epoch by the second Buddha, the great master Padmasambhava, who blessed it with the vajra wisdom of his body, speech, and mind. Through the infallible power of his aspiration and through our great effort, the monastery Shaydrup Kunkhyap Otong Khyilway Tsuklakhang (the Temple of Pervasive Teaching and Practice Blazing with a Thousand Lights), has been established for the preservation of the precious doctrine of the Buddha, which is the source of all benefit and happiness in existence and tranquility, and for the sake of all beings in the world.
Before the building's foundation was begun, I performed the customary removal of impediments and, using a sand mandala, the ritual of Chakrasamvara, blessing the location so that it is his wisdom mandala. In that and similar ways, the site has been consecrated m…
A group from Palpung Wales, which actually consisted of people from all over UK, traveled to join the His Holiness 17th Karmapa’s first teaching weekend in London, Battersea. It was an absolute privilege to be part of that weekend, in many ways. We received touching and inspiring teachings from His Holiness Karmapa on Geshe Langri Tangpa’s famous “Eight verses of Mind Training,” a key instruction on how to bring the Dharma into daily life. At the same time it was like a gesture of welcoming His Holiness Karmapa’s 17th incarnation to this country for the first time. Meeting with the many Dharma friends and coming together in His Holiness’s mandala was a very heart-warming experience. We were also very fortunate to have a group audience with His Holiness on Saturday afternoon. From original Palpung Wales group it slowly formed into a Palpung United group of about 60 people from Wales, Ireland and Slovenia, and some from Italy as well. It was a great chance, although only…
THE PRACTICE OF DHARMA involves certain possibilities. How these potentials evolve into actual situations for the practitioner, and how much is possible within these situations depends on the capacity of individual beings. It depends upon the level of teachings that one is able to relate to, such as Mahayana or Hinayana. At this particular time in our lives, the practice of the Mahayana teaching is possible. It is absolutely precious and absolutely rare. Our concern for development and our sense of responsibility has placed us in a position to integrate the preciousness and rarity of the Mahayana teaching with our lives. Through it there is the possibility of the experience of no-returning back into Samsara and the experience of ultimate bliss that is self knowing and in which there are no doubts. In the midst of the wanderings of our minds we might sometimes fall into thinking that whether one practices or not, the Dharma will always be available. If you have tha…
ONE EARLY MORNING [in 1980] His Holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa generously granted an interview to the readers of Densal. What follows is the text of that interview, word for word, as translated by Ngodup Tsering Burkhar. In it, His Holiness touches on many important aspects of spiritual practice, the Kagyu lineage, and life in the world today for the Dharma practitioner. It is a timely and most valuable teaching for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.
Densal: This is your third tour to America. Do you have any observations you would like to share about it, and about the growth of the Dharma in the United States? H.H.: The responsibility of the teacher is to always give the teachings. It doesn't matter that only a short time has passed, or a long time has passed; what matters is that the teachings are continuously given. Sometimes it may seem to be more appropriate to teach because most people are at leisure and have a lot of time, and it appears to be a good time to give teach…
The Gyalwang Karmapa graced KTD, his monastery in North America, with a short private visit toward the close of his international tour in July of 2017. Please enjoy the video celebrating this joyful occasion, along with the photos of his arrival, the traditional Tea and Rice Welcome Ceremony, and consecration of the new Stupa Project site.
The Gyalwang Karmapa Consecrates the Eight Auspicious Stupa Project at KTD (July 2017)
Today’s episode comes from the Gyalwang Karmapa’s maiden tour of Canada where he gave teachings all over the country. Many Canadian students had been waiting for years to hear him speak, and so it was a particularly special occasion.
This teaching is on the subject of meditation and how we can use this Buddhist practice to find inner freedom and bring about a more happy and beneficial life. The Karmapa approached the topic from the point of view of his own personal experience, and a wonderful, practical and sometimes humorous occasion unfolded over the course of the hour.
The talk is in Tibetan with an English translation and has been slightly edited for length and audio clarity.
On May 31, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje opened his first visit to Canada on our campus. Convocation Hall filled with 1500 people who wanted to hear the head of one of the largest schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the incarnation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Born in 1985 to a traditional nomadic family in the high mountains of western Kham in the southeastern part of historical Tibet, Ogyen Trinley Dorje was recognized at the age of seven as the next Karmapa. He was enthroned in the Karmapa’s traditional seat, where he resided until he escaped to India in 2000. In the last ten years, His Holiness has established groundbreaking initiatives in the Tibetan Buddhist world, promoting environmental sustainability, vegetarianism, and full monastic ordination for women.
His Holiness gave a teaching sponsored by the Ho Centre, titled “Mindfulness and Environmental Responsibility.” His Holiness opened by reflecting on the site of Toronto as a gather…