His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje in Taipei City
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa has recently started the first of two grand tours scheduled for this year.
The first stop of his four-month itinerary, which will incorporate more than ten countries in South East Asia and Europe is Taipei City, the capital of the Republic of China, commonly known as Taiwan.
This is His Holiness’ third visit to Taiwan – the first one took place in 1999, the second at the end of 2005. Now, after almost seven years, and following the ardent and persistent requests by his many devotees, he is finally back, and the enthusiastic welcome he was given upon his arrival reflects the devotion and joy of his Taiwanese students.
This year’s visit was organised by Karma Kagyu Buddhist Association, ROC, an association of Karma Kagyu centres in Taiwan, and they did a wonderful job preparing for this great event.
His Holiness arrived in Taipei City in the early afternoon of April 30. After an enthusiastic welcome at the airport he was escorted to the exclusive Grand Hotel. When his car arrived at the hotel a rainbow was clearly visible in the sky above.
Once inside the hotel, he was given a lavish reception: two rows of monks holding colourful banners of victory lined the splendidly decorated lobby, and His Holiness was escorted through their middle by more monks holding incense and playing ritual instruments.
Although the official programme is not due to start until the evening of May 4, His Holiness has had a busy schedule on his first two days in Taipei City. Most of this time has been devoted to the media, with two extensive lunch and dinner meetings with the chief editors of numerous print media and TV stations on May 1 and a well-attended press conference on the afternoon of May 2.
The main topics addressed during the press conference were His Holiness’ upcoming programme in Taiwan, his intentions and aspiration for this visit, as well as ways and means to prevent and remedy the chaotic, obstacle-ridden times which the world at large – with Taiwan no exception – is facing at the moment. Concerning the last question, His Holiness replied that methods and tools for preventing those did indeed exist, “because the most important ingredient is ourselves. It’s nothing else, just ourselves. So all we need to do is evaluate how we have spent our lives for the last few years, and particularly in the context of whether we have led a life with the application of patience, of generosity, of compassion, or whether we have somehow let ourselves get carried away by afflictive emotions. So by running through our own history of years, we will be able to find out what is the cause for these temporary difficulties and challenges. (…) What the Buddha teaches is that any challenge, any problem can be solved by just looking into one’s own mind, watching one’s mind, one’s consciousness, watching how it behaves and how it functions. So therefore I believe that the answer, the solution is to first of all look into our minds and see how the mind is, and then from there I’m quite sure that we will find that logically if we train our mind more and more to develop that much more compassion and generosity and patience, all of these virtuous forms of thoughts, then whatever kinds of problems may arise, they can all be solved.”
Report: Rabjam Rikki Catty, Photos: Thule G. Jug