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.
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…
གཟའ་འཁོར་འདིའི་ནང་བོད་ཕྱི་ནང་གཉིས་ཀར་ལོ་ཆུང་བྱིས་པ་རེ་རང་སྲེག་བཏང་འདུག །སེམས་ལ་ན་ཟུག་ཆེས་ཆེར་སློང་བའི་གནས་ཚུལ་འདི་དག་རྣ་བར་ཐོས་དུས། བཟོད་ཐབས་བྲལ་ཏེ་སླར་ཡང་གཞིས་བྱེས་བོད་མི་སྤུན་ཟླ་ཡོངས་ལ་འབོད་སྐུལ་ཞིག་ཞུ་འདོད་བྱུང་། This week, two young Tibetan children, one in Tibet and one in India, have burned themselves to death. These events pain me deeply. I could not bear to think of it when I heard the news, and for that reason I want to make a request of my fellow Tibetans at home and abroad.
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…
TIBETAN DHARMA IS BASED ON Mahayana Buddhism and in Tibet there is a special Mahayana tradition. Centuries ago, Indian Mahasiddhas collected the essence of the Buddha's teachings which were subsequently brought to Tibet. Down to this present day, it is still possible to study these same teachings at an educational institution. In addition, you can actually come to experience the effect of what you have learned and enjoy the fruit of what you have practiced. I have confidence that you all are capable of experiencing this fruition of Buddhahood. The heart of Mahayana teaching is the practice of experiencing bodhicitta, or the enlightened mind. Bodhicitta can be seen from two aspects--the aspiration to benefit oneself and to benefit others--but when you are truly doing the practice then you generate bodhicitta that includes both yourself and all other beings. As you are working in the world or accomplishing some task, if you do it with the intention of benefiting…
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.