Sunday, July 27, 2008

A dream, a lion, an inescapable blade....

Thomas Brooks from Seattle offers this beautiful account of his encounter with His Holiness Karmapa.

After many years of anticipation, I finally saw His Holiness Karmapa at Nalanda West (in Seattle) on May 30th, 2008....

He is like a dream, I thought at first, and later as well. He appears also to be like a lion, or some other huge cat with a cauldron of awakened energy flashing out through the eyes, which seem to be two beautiful hooded windows offering glimpses into some radiant fiery universe within. Most of all, however: he is like a blade, a sword or perhaps Dorje Bernagchen's knife, an inescapable blade that cuts through all triviality, all hokum, all that is mundane, dead, asleep, inauthentic. He is gracious, graceful (all his physical movements and gestures are naturally beautiful), but he is utterly uncompromising. Only the truth will do, for him. Only the truth beyond flimsy appearances. He is heartbreaking, breathtaking, a source of ferocious delight, the cutting wind that sweeps away all facades. One wants to stare at him, drink him in, be slashed by the sword of wisdom. And yet he is kind: his fearlessness demonstrates the real world, the awakened world beyond suffering, beyond falsity. He leads one immediately beyond one's own folly. He is the gleaming blade of rejoicing; his words and voice make the Dharma direct and actual. No theory or ideas here: just the roar of clarity that relieves all this preposterous illusion. This is the presence of Mind.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Karmapa on PBS "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly"

While the Karmapa was in Seattle, Kim Lawton from the PBS program "Religion and Ethics Newsweekly" sat down for an exclusive television interview with His Holiness. Episode 1145 which contains the profile of His Holiness Karmapa aired for the first time on PBS stations around the country this weekend, and can be viewed online at Or check your local PBS listings to find out when the show will be rebroadcast in your area.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Karmapa Visit on Tibet Connection Radio Program

For a limited time*, the link below to the Tibet Connection website includes an audio feature story on His Holiness Karmapa's visit to America. This program aired Sunday, June 29th at 9am PST on KPFK Pacifica 90.7FM in Los Angeles and 98.7FM in Santa Barbara. Producer Julie Adler went to Seattle to create this special report on the historic first visit to the West of His Holiness Karmapa, who is fast becoming the hope for generations new and old of Westerners and Tibetans alike.

* After the July program is posted later this month, the above URL may be refreshed with new content and features. At that point, readers can check the Past Programs page and search for the June program which features Julie Adler's report on His Holiness Karmapa's visit.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Compassion on the Wind

Christine Keyser has posted a long and beautiful blog entry on the Chronicles Project website summarizing the Karmapa's May 31st teachings in Seattle.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Not Separate for Even a Moment

Elizabeth G. from Halifax, Nova Scotia sends this poem:
HHK 17th visit

Driving over the bridge from Halifax to Dartmouth
I saw an astonishingly large, perfect half-rainbow,
a reminder of you, the Karmapa,
922 years old

Ongoing ripples,
reverberations and
tears at seeing you,
not separate from the 16th Karmapa
different yet familiar, like an old family recipe
fired in a modern oven

We are all in the same boat;
at times, the only ship is hardship.
You said that even the Karmapa experienced hardship,
what matters is how we meet it,
with hope and a strong heart

Not separate for even a moment,
beyond meeting and parting
always connected
This inseparability can be nothing
but good,
This inseparability can do nothing
but good.
Just what the Medicine Buddha ordered

June 21, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Personal Teaching Just for You

Blog reader Skye writes:
His Holiness' teachings during this visit were the first teachings I received from him. His talks on Delusions and Wisdom in New York and Ngondro in Seattle happened at the time when I needed and was seeking these teachings the most.

It is said that the Buddha can teach in a way as if it is a personalized instruction/teaching to each and every individual. And it felt like a personal teaching just for me. The powerful connection came when we practiced the Chenrezig meditation together. I was not thinking or expecting anything. And then, when we were about to start chanting the mantra together, I found my first recitation mixing with his and I felt such an overwhelming power of oneness that it brought strong tears. I was very surprised. It was so emotional. I had to think of something happy to calm myself from crying further so that I can continue chanting the mantra. Thank you, Your Holiness.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

From Mexico to Seattle

Adela from Cuernavaca, Mexico (near Mexico City) writes:
I had the amazing fortune to be able to travel to Seattle, along with my 11-year-old son Santiago, to receive Karmapa’s teachings, a blessing beyond words. It was as if the connection to my guru, the Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, had burst open and through him the connection to the 17th Karmapa was born. Being at the Paramount Theater with over 2,000 people, before the youth, wisdom and brilliance of His Holiness’s presence moved me to tears, while my son took notes of Karmapa’s words on his “Aspiration for the World."

Back in our house and our daily routine, we sing the song together as if has been part of us forever. Something deep inside has changed within us. I had read and seen pictures and videos of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa and joined my teacher in his aspiration for this trip to happen, so the connection had begun who knows when. Yet actually being with him had a dream-come-true-quality. It was like finally meeting that relative for whom you had longed so much, without even being aware of it. May the music in the sky of Karmapa’s teachings resound forever and may our actions manifest his enlightened activity!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lama Surya Das on the Karmapa's Visit

"Karmapa Seventeen talks often and heartfully about love and active compassion, in various relevant contexts, along with change, altruism and goodness of heart, yet rarely, so far, the traditional monastic teachings about renunciation, nonattachment and the defects of worldliness," writes Lama Surya Das in a blog entry about His Holiness the 17th Karmapa's U.S. visit. "He seems very interested in seeing what is going on the world around him, and with his six-foot-tall frame, powerful glance and what the newspapers have termed his 'stunning handsome looks' strides around in this foreign land like he has been here among us before and knows where he’s going and what to do. Perhaps he has, and perhaps he does."

Read the entire blog entry here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Natural, Happy and at Ease

Diane from Portland, Oregon writes:

The weekend teaching in Seattle was what I imagine a retreat in a pureland to be like. Everyone seemed natural, happy and at ease and the surroundings were beautiful. Best of all, everyday mental distractions were quieted as we all listened with great excitement and anticipation to the wisdom teachings of the Buddha.

The Paramount Theatre was packed with people of many different nationalities, age groups and walks of life and yet, everyone shared the same purpose. By the grace of our great lineage masters and good fortune, we were given the opportunity to come together as one heart to hear the teachings and receive the blessings of His Holiness the XVII Karmapa.

His Holiness left us with much to contemplate on both a global and personal level. On a global level, he emphasized the importance of paying attention to the opportunity that exists in the 21st century to either help or harm each other. He said it’s especially important at this point in time to allow the natural calamities of the world to produce a depth of compassion that penetrates our heart, and motivates us to help others in need.

He spoke with great eloquence about cultivating compassion and the importance of not isolating ourselves in this high tech age to avoid the dangers of creating a society of self-cherishing individuals. He reminded us again and again of how our own happiness and fulfillment depends on the happiness of others.

Throughout his teachings, he talked about how the world is getting smaller and smaller because of technological advances, and therefore humanity needs to actively seek out the common ground in all traditions. He said we no longer can afford to cling to our identities as Buddhists or cling to any of our views, but instead we need to focus on the harmonious aspects of all traditions so together we can be of benefit to the world at large and those in need.

He shared many personal stories about his family, childhood and daily life experiences. His openness and willingness to share of himself was deeply touching and his sense of humor kept everyone laughing. By the end of the teachings, all hearts were overflowing with joy.

May we take these blessed teachings to heart for the benefit of all beings and in service of His Holiness’ Aspiration for the World.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sheer Joy and Love

Laura W from New Mexico writes:
I have been fortunate to know, and have had teachings with many amazing Tibetan Lamas and Rinpoches. Many have inspired my practice, guided me with compassion, and given me heartfelt advice that was invaluable. None of those encounters compare to my encounter with His Holiness Karmapa.

On the Sunday morning that I was in Boulder, the auditorium was packed with loud, enthusiastic people, chatting and laughing. I felt annoyed as the crowd noise continued through the Tibetan Dancers and Nawang Khechog's performance. But, as soon as Ani Pema Chodron walked on stage to announce HH, the room became quiet to me. All I could sense was her emotion, her devotion to HH the 16th Karmapa, and how that devotion was transferred to the 17th Karmapa. My heart began to open at that precise moment.

HH stepped on stage. We could all see that in the beginning, he was searching for words. Then, he made the statement that being able to see everyone's face from the balcony to the back of the room, made him want to talk about other things. I felt and realized in that very moment his genuine love and acceptance for all of us, his North American students. That statement touched my heart at the core, and it set up an environment for me of continual spiritual bliss which continued throughout that day, and into the following weeks. I felt such warmth, love and deep devotion for him, that I had never expected to feel. For the first time in a very long time, I felt very connected to another person on a deep level. I wept several times throughout the talks from sheer joy and love for him, and in response to his love for us. I am perpetually blessed by the experience, and long for the next time I will be able to see His Holiness in person.

A Devoted Dharma Student in New Mexico