His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa visits Renchen Ulm for the second time
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa paid his second visit to the Bodhi Path Centre of Renchen Ulm between July 20 and 22, 2012.
Located in the foothills of the Black Forest in a lovely countryside famed for its orchards and vineyards, a mere 40 minutes drive from Strasbourg, Renchen Ulm radiates peace and serenity.
His Holiness’ first visit here took place in 2008, and the number of devotees attending the programme had tripled since then… It was the biggest event by far that the team had ever had to organise, and they made a marvellous job of it – everything went smoothly and seemingly effortlessly.
On July 20 and 21 His Holiness started on a commentary of the famous Bodhicarya-Avatara (Engaging In Bodhisattva Conduct), one of the standard works of Mahayana Buddhism, composed by the great Indian Buddhist scholar Shantideva.
His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa taught in both Tibetan and English, followed by a consecutive translation into German and several other languages.
Before starting on his commentary of the root text, he gave a general introduction to this great work:
“The text talks about bodhisattvas – individuals who have generated the enlightened mind – and about their activity and conduct; and it explains how any one who wishes to engage in this path might go about it.”
He then went on to explain why bodhisattvas are referred to as the sons of the “Victorious Ones” (Buddhas):
“Buddhahood is a state of mind where karma, kleshas (afflictive emotions) and habitual patterns have all been completely defeated, and where all things are known as they are. No one can challenge that state of mind, so therefore this state of mind is knows as “victorious”. Bodhisattvas are born from the very mind that the Buddhas generated. Therefore, they are known as the Buddhas’ heart sons, because the Buddha’s heart is none other than the enlightened mind (bodhicitta).”
His Holiness then gave a clear and profound commentary on the opening stanzas of the first chapter. He will continue his commentary of the Bodhicarya-Avatara in some of the other centres he will visit during his European tour.
He also gave plenty of opportunity for questions and answers, and on the second day of the teaching he decided to give a spontaneous blessing to the more than 1500 assembled devotees.
On the last day, July 22, His Holiness transmitted the empowerment of Chenresig, the Buddha aspect embodying the compassion of all Buddhas.
The empowerment started at 10am, and His Holiness took plenty of time to introduce the audience into the meaning of this particular aspect, giving detailed teachings on the different phases of the ritual and making sure that the devotees knew what to focus on for each stage.