Never Forget Tibet: Karmapa Tells Tibetans | Karmapa in Europe 2015
Audience for Tibetans and Himalayan people living in Europe
Bonn, Germany – 29th August, 2015 | 7pm | After a full day of teachings, His Holiness the Karmapa set aside time to meet with Tibetans living in Europe. During a special audience organized by the Association of Tibetans in Germany, the Karmapa reflected on their shared condition as refugees and offered individual blessings to all those who had traveled from across Europe to meet him. As the Karmapa explained to them, he seeks out opportunities to connect with Tibetan as well as Himalayan communities wherever he goes. “I consider this important,” he told them, “and when we are able to meet, I feel I have accomplished an important responsibility and this inspires and encourages me.”
The evening began with a brief introduction to the history and activities of the association by its chairperson, Lobsang Phuntsok. He explained that among the 150 Tibetans and Himalayans in attendance, while many live in Germany, others had come from France, Switzerland, Belgium and other surrounding countries.
When requested to address the Tibetan community, the Karmapa began by acknowledging the experiences faced by refugees today in Europe, a theme he had touched on in several of his talks in recent days. “As we have been seeing,” he said, “the condition of refugees migrating into Europe is at a critical state and this is an added challenge you face living here as refugees at this particular moment in time.”
His Holiness the Karmapa observed that Tibetans are often filled with excitement and optimism when they initially receive their permission to migrate to European countries, but upon arrival find that conditions are far more challenging than they had anticipated. As they seek to make their way forward in exile, the Karmapa called on Tibetans “never to forget” why they left Tibet seeking refuge in the first place.
“The situation that originally sent us into exile continues within Tibet,” he said. “Even though the pace has slowed somewhat in recent years, the flow of people leaving Tibet has continued unabated since 1959.”
The Karmapa reminded them that “had we stayed in Tibet, we would face great difficulties in preserving our culture and religion, and would lack full freedom to fulfill the responsibilities that come along with our identity as Tibetans”.
“Wherever we find ourselves as refugees,” the Karmapa said, “it is very important that we not forget the main reason for going into exile: to have more freedom to preserve and protect the Tibetan culture and religion, and to perform our duties towards the Tibetan people.”
The Karmapa then directed his remarks toward future prospects for the preservation of Tibetan identity and culture in exile, and pointed out two important factors: the quality of their leadership and the commitment of the Tibetan people themselves.
“Among the conditions we need in order to avoid become discouraged is leadership,” he said, “ and especially the exceptional leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama who has led us and unified us, and the major spiritual leaders and good-hearted Tibetans cooperating under His Holiness’s guidance.”
As a second important condition, the Karmapa pointed out the key role of the Tibetan people’s own steadfast resolve, singling out the example of Tibetans within Tibet who keep alive their Tibetan identity in the face of great challenges. “They display even greater determination and courage in doing so than those of us living in free countries,” he commented, adding that Tibetans in exile can draw inspiration and learn valuable lessons from their example.
“We must never forget the kindness of our leaders and the commitment of the Tibetan people, especially those inside Tibet,” he told those assembled.
The Karmapa then turned his attention to the local concerns of Tibetan refugees living in Europe. He noted that although the total worldwide population of Tibetans is listed as 6 million, it seems likely that it falls somewhat short of that figure. As such, Tibetans throughout the world generally form a sort of ethnic minority, particularly within Europe where they often live scattered across various countries and regions.
“Even if you are the only family of Tibetans in the area,” he told them, “you should recognize that every family counts.” He urged them to cultivate strong family ties, take efforts to ensure their children receive a good education and seek sound means to earn a living. Joking that he had little ability to aid them in that regard, he said he could and did offer them all his prayers, leaving the rest to them.
Reflecting on the challenges facing the Tibetan community in preserving its identity, the Karmapa observed that some ethnic minorities opt to stick together and isolate themselves from the rest of society. “I am not convinced that this is the optimal way for us,” he said. Rather, the Karmapa urged Tibetans to strike a balance between standing apart and fitting in. He advised seeking out means to preserve their culture in a way that is compatible with the social context and modern times they are living in.
“Be a participant in the wider society you live in,” he told them, “while also being a participant in the Tibetan community.”
Outlining a strategy that avoids those extremes, on the one hand, he called on his audience to know who they are and stand their ground, so as to not lose their balance and become prey to the pull of external factors. On the other hand, he counseled them to reach out to others and communicate. “Stay open to the society you live in,” he said. “Be willing to make connections and to interact.”
As he concluded his remarks and the staff began preparing the space for individual blessings, the Karmapa joked that during his first visit to Germany, he had planned to give individual blessings, but the Tibetans all pressed forward in a huddle and surrounded him, completely filling the mid-sized hall. “That sort of crowding seems natural to us Tibetans and Himalayans, and it feels comfortable,” he said with a smile. “We might feel awkward if we stayed straight in an orderly line, but it made it impractical that time to give individual blessings. This time, the hall is so large that even if you all rush the stage, we still have space!”
On that warm note, His Holiness directed his attention to the long line of Tibetans and Himalayans who had gathered – from the very young to the very old – connecting with each one-by-one and offering all his individual blessing.
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…
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…
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…
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.