His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa visits Vienna
Gyalwa Karmapa visits Vienna
On Friday, August the 28th, 2009, a large crowd of people gathered in front of the Karma Kagyu Sangha, Vienna, to welcome the Gyalwa Karmapa with flowers and to receive his blessing.
The official program in the capital of Austria started on the next day with public explanations at the great hall of the University of Vienna. With more than 500 people in attendance, not everyone was finally able to get a seat and many had to take place on the floor in front of the stage.
An opening speech was held by Prof. DDr. Johann Figl, the head of the department of comparative religions, who shortly spoke about the development of Buddhism in the West and introduced the Gyalwa Karmapa. Afterwards, the head of the Karma Kagyu tradition started his extensive sermon on the Ngondro, the preliminary practices for Mahamudra, which went on for hours in a very joyful atmosphere. In the end, he then conferred the reading transmission for this practice.
In the evening of the same day, he also imparted the refuge vows, bodhisattva vows and the rarely given empowerment in Buddha Shakyamuni according to the lineage of the great Indian master Atisha to the international audience.
On the following morning, Sunday, August the 30th, the Gyalwa Karmapa presided over a Green Tara ritual at the main temple of the Karma Kagyu Sangha after which he held an encouraging speech to the members, stressing the importance of a Sangha.
In the afternoon of the same day, the program closed with an informal garden party that was celebrated on the grounds of the Viennese rowing club next to the Old Danube.
Report: Rolf Scheuermann
Photos: Thule G. Jug