01.12.2003, India

Vidyadhara Ceremony of the 17th Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje

Karmapa International Buddhist Institute, Ceremony, Vidyadhara

On Monday, December 1, 2003, the Vidyadhara ceremony of the 17th Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje, took place in the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute in New Delhi. This ceremony was held in celebration of the formal completion of his monastic education in the sutras and tantras and all other aspects of the teachings of the profound lineage.

The ceremony also coincided with His Holiness the 17th Karmapa’s coming of age. From now on, according to Indian law, he is the legitimate leader of the Karma Kagyu tradition.This title of a Vidyadhara was bestowed on His Holiness the Karmapa by His Holiness the Kunzig Shamarpa, second to the Karmapa in the Karma Kagyu tradition. The ceremony was attended by high dignitaries of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, by Indian benefactors of the late 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, and by monks and devotees from East and West.

The Karma Kagyu lineage spans over nine hundred years of Tibet’s Buddhist history. The first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa (12th century), began the practice of reincarnating in a line of successive masters. The second Lama to do so was the first Shamarpa, Tragpa Senge (13th century). Since that time they have been acting as the supreme heads of the Karma Kagyu school. Thus, the Karmapas and the Shamarpas are central to Buddhism in Tibet.

The present Shamarpa, Palden Mipham Chokyi Lodreu, recognized the son of Mipham Rinpoche of Dzakhog, Derge, East Tibet and his wife Dechen Wangmo as the reincarnation of the XVIth Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. This son, Tenzin Khyentse, was enthroned as the XVIIth Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje.

His Holiness Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje’s education includes the Profound View Tradition of Nagarjuna and the Vast Conduct Tradition of Asanga. He holds empowerments of the Buddhist Tantras brought to Tibet by Marpa, the Mahamudra teachings from the Mahasiddha traditions of Saraha and Maitripa and other Indian Buddhist masters, as well as the Six Doctrines and other teachings of the Highest Buddhist Tantras emphasized by the Indian Buddhist master Naropa.

The Vidhyadhara-ceremony began at 10.00 a.m. Together with His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje, and His Holiness Kunzig Shamarpa, Mipham Chokyi Lodro, the monastic sangha conducted the ritual of the 16 Sthaviras.Thereafter, His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa first prostrated to the main Buddha statue in the shrine hall. Then His Holiness Kunzig Shamarpa bestowed the title of a Vidyadhara upon His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa and gave him the associated document.

This was followed by various offerings made to His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa. There was an extensive mandala offering as well as the offerings of a series of auspicious symbols. His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa was also offered the sacred body, speech and mind of the Buddha represented by a statue, a text, and a stupa. These offerings were given to His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa by His Holiness Kunzig Shamarpa.

Thereafter, a great number of His Holiness Karmapa’s followers offered him the symbols for the Buddha’s body, speech and mind as well. All the monks, nuns, and lay-followers offered ceremonial scarves and presents to His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa and His Holiness Kunzig Shamarpa.

Among the Rinpoches and Tulkus who attended the ceremony were:

Khenchen Tashi Paljor Rinpoche, representatives of H. E. Luding Khenpo Rinpoche and of H. E. Chobgye Tri Rinpoche, Sonam Tsemo Rinpoche, Sabchu Rinpoche, Dorje Lopeun Rinpoche, Shangpa Rinpoche, Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche, Sangsang Rinpoche, Yab Mipham Rinpoche and Mayum Dechen Wangmo, Nendo Rinpoche, Chagme Rinpoche, Tulku Lodreu Rabpel, Drupseng Rinpoche, Gasar Gomchen Tulku, Yumo Tenzin Norbu Rinpoche, Kalsang Tsenchog Tulku, Urgyen Tendzin Tulku, Sengrigar Tulku Urgyen Nyima, Yeunten Gyamtso Tulku, Trinle Tulku, Nyarong Öpung Tulku Yeunten Gyatso, Karma Chodar Tulku, and Karnag Jamyang Tulku.

Among the VIPs and Dignitaries were: The King of Ladakh, Jigmed Wangchuk Namgyal, Kazi Jigme T. Gyaltshen from Sikkim, Prof. Sempa Dorje, Mr. Loke Darshan, former Private Secretary to the late King of Nepal, Mr. and Mrs. Ashok Burman, Aum Tsoki, wife of the Ambassador of Bhutan, Mr. Sangay Nyedrup from Bhutan, Mr. Manohar Kampani, Ex Governor of the Indian Andaman and Nicobar-Islands, and Captain Yongdrag from Sikkim.

In the afternoon, a long Mahakala-ritual was conducted. Thereafter His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa and His Holiness Kunzig Shamarpa along with numerous Rinpoches and followers went for high tea at the residence of Mr. Ashok Burman, a benefactor of the late 16th Karmapa.

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The human heart, Bodhicitta, is the most precious of all. While Buddhas are helpful in life, the compassionate heart is even more precious than a Buddha. In the human heart, we see limitless hope.