His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa visits dharma centres and attends a gala dinner
On May 4 His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa visited two dharma centres in Taipei City: Karma Phuntsok Ling, a small but flourishing centre, and Karma Kagyu Dharma Chakra Centre in the Shih Lin District of Taipei. The latter centre is under the spiritual guidance of Venerable Sang Sang Rinpoche, and is characterised by a particularly friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
In both centres the assembled sangha gave His Holiness and his entourage of Rinpoches, lamas and monks an enthusiastic welcome – the joy and devotion of the gathered devotees was palpable.
Mandala offerings and the traditional offerings of ku sung thuk (symbolic offering of enlightened body, speech and mind) were presented to His Holiness Karmapa, tea and rice shared by all, and aspiration prayers and tashi (prayers for auspiciousness) recited, while the devotes queued up in front of Gyalwa Karmapa’s throne to offer him katas (offering scarves) and other gifts and receive his blessing.
In the evening a sumptuous gala dinner was held in honour of His Holiness Karmapa, in celebration of his upcoming birthday. The event took place in the banquet hall of the Grand Hotel, a venue that lives up to its name. Gyalwa Karmapa himself presided over the head table, where he was joined by high-ranking dignitaries, as well as some of the main sponsors and organisers of the event, including Mr Terence Chiu, Chairman of the Karma Kagyu Buddhist Association ROC; Mr Jin-pyng Wang, Chairman of Congress; Mr Pen-Tsao Chang, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce; and Mr Wang-Hsiang Hwang, Deputy Minister of the Council for Economic Planning and Development.
Many other dignitaries, as well as all the Rinpoches and high lamas who had come to Taipei for Gyalwa Karmapa’s programme also graced the event with their presence.
The front area of the hall features a large stage, on which a colourful programme of performances by various well-known musicians, singers and dancers, provided varied entertainment during the ten-course vegetarian gala dinner.
In a short address to the gathered audience His Holiness Karmapa expressed his gratitude to everyone:
“All of you have offered so much just for one individual’s birthday, and that is a lot! It’s too much, but I know and I can see that you are doing all of this out of your heart, out of your love, out of your trust in me. So that is the real gift: your confidence, your trust, your love. You might have been asking yourselves what kind of presents to give, but the absolute one, the one that would really mean a lot to me would be – as we are all practitioners – to do what we can in order to first of all be a good practitioner, and secondly to be a good human being, and a good citizen.”
Report: Rabjam Rikki Catty, Photos: Thule G. Jug