17th Karmapa Reveals New Khoryug Logo
March 22, 2017
During his opening address of the 8th Khoryug Conference, the 17th Karmapa revealed his design for a new Khoryug logo. The new design depicts Mount Kailash at the center with rivers flowing down to Lake Mansarovar, all of which is embraced by two hands.
His Holiness explained that he chose to portray Mount Kailash in the new logo due to its great significance in Hindu and Buddhist cosmologies. Referred to as Mount Meru in ancient Hindu and Buddhist texts, Mount Kailash features in both Hinduism and Buddhism as the physical and metaphysical center of the universe. It continues to have considerable importance in both Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism today. Ancient Indian texts depict four great rivers, including the sacred Ganges, originating at Mount Kailash and flowing down the four faces of this King of Mountains. Ancient Tibetan scriptures also describe the rivers similarly, referring to them flowing down the four sides of the Precious Snow Mountain. His Holiness further explained that the outer dark green border of the logo contains two hands at the bottom, signifying the way in which we all must work to care for and support the environment.
THIS LOGO ILLUSTRATES THE TIES BETWEEN INDIA AND TIBET AND ALSO BRINGS ATTENTION TO HOW TIBET AND THE HIMALAYAS PLAY A BENEFICIAL ROLE FOR ALL OF THE SURROUNDING LANDS AND PEOPLE.
The second reason His Holiness gave for selecting Mount Kailash and the sacred turquoise lake of Mansarovar was because they so perfectly represent the geographical significance of Tibet and the Himalayas. He noted that this logo illustrates the ties between India and Tibet and hopefully also brings attention to how Tibet and the Himalayas play a beneficial role for all of the surrounding lands and people.
“With their abundance of snow mountains and glaciers, Tibet and the Himalayas are often described as the third pole of the world and are the source of many of the great rivers in mainland Asia.” He noted, “Due to that, this region is also known as the “water owers of Asia.” We can see that much of the region’s water originates from Tibet and the Himalayas. Therefore, its life-giving significance cannot be minimized.”
Lastly, His Holiness said that Mount Kailash has particular importance for the Kagyu lineage primarily because Jetsun Milarepa, one of the great Kagyu masters of Tibetan Buddhism, meditated there and in turn, so did many other Kagyu forefathers.
His Holiness then discussed how, after eight years, the Khoryug association should develop and move forward in the future. Summarizing the achievements of the past eight years, the Karmapa commented that Khoryug monasteries and nunneries have been very effective in India, Nepal and Bhutan and Khoryug efforts have even reached Tibet and had some impact there. However, its influence and effectiveness have been limited by working within a defined geographic area. He suggested that Khoryug expand its influence by occasionally organizing international conferences in order to draw on the knowledge and experience of international experts and international organizations.
WE NEED TO DEMONSTRATE HOW TO TAKE THE DATA FROM OUR BRAIN AND BRING IT DOWN INTO OUR HEARTS SO THAT PEOPLE ARE INSPIRED TO ACT AND PUT INTO PRACTICE WHAT THEY ALREADY KNOW.
Depending on the location, communities face a variety of environmental difficulties which require cooperation at a larger scale. The Karmapa emphasized that while Khoryug has great potential, it also has a serious responsibility to bring about change in the larger society. He said that religious organizations play a particularly important role because of their influence on the hearts and minds of people and due to their ability to shape people’s motivations and behaviors. Though scientists are able to provide plenty of information, people often do not internalize this knowledge or put it into practice.
Tapping his head and then his chest for emphasis, His Holiness impressed upon the point that “We store this information in our brains and never think that we need to bring it down into our hearts. This is an important responsibility of religious leaders. We need to demonstrate how to take the data from our brain and bring it down into our hearts so that people are inspired to act and put into practice what they already know.”
THE VERY NATURE OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION IS VIRTUOUS.
In conclusion, His Holiness thanked everyone for their hard work and the benefit they have created for the environment. He emphasized that although monks and nuns may have begun this work due to his suggestion, he sees that they have realized for themselves the importance of environmental protection. Although it is difficult to predict what happens in the future, as Buddhist practitioners it is important to continue working for the environment in order to benefit all sentient beings. He said “We must prepare now for the difficulties and challenges that climate change and environmental degradation will bring in the future to our region and people.”
In his final remarks, the Karmapa returned once more to the root motivation of bodhicitta:
“By working for the environment we bring benefit to the entire world. That should be our attitude and that should be our resolve. Whether you call it bodhicitta or altruism, it is an attitude rooted in the Buddhadharma. In this way, what we are doing in worldly affairs is also in harmony with the Dharma. Because the activities we are doing are inherently virtuous, even if there is no visible result, the very nature of environmental protection is virtuous. Consequently, we should feel some satisfaction and contentment. What we are doing helps the world in general and is also of benefit for ourselves. So, please continue to do this work.”