Chenresig Empowerment and Press Conference in Bodhgaya
In the morning of December 29, Rinpoches, lamas, monks and nuns gathered at the Mahabodhi Temple for the Kagyu Mönlam as usual, while the Gyalwa Karmapa started preparations for an empowerment of Chenresig (Avalokiteshvara), the Buddha aspect representing enlightened compassion.
About three thousand devotees, many of them new to Buddhism, gathered to receive the empowerment, which was given in the courtyard of Beru Khyentse Rinpoche’s monastery, since the shrine room was too small to accommodate such a large gathering. The whole courtyard was packed, with people standing on the roofs and the crowd spilling beyond the gate of the monastery out into the street.
Before starting the initiation proper, His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa addressed the audience to welcome them, both in English and in Tibetan. He said that he was pleased to see so many dharma friends from all over the world gathered there and that he rejoiced in their willingness to take upon themselves the hardships of such a long journey.
“It is an auspicious, wonderful occasion that we can all be here together. We are all human beings, and we have the precious opportunity to meet dharma teachers and gain experience of the dharma. There are two conditions which need to come together for this to be possible: first of all, one’s own merit, conditions and accumulations. Second, the wishes, blessings, aspirations and dharma teachings of the buddhas and bodhisattvas. The combination of these two is a wonderful circumstance. We should respect and acknowledge this and rejoice that we are here together for this precious wonderful time. It is a pleasure for myself, and I will do my best to guide you through this empowerment.”
He then welcomed the audience in Mandarin and Hindi, and addressing himself particularly to the Indian audience he said that
“it is a very great pleasure to be in your country, the country where the Buddha was born”.
He once again emphasised the immense benefit of making wishes a place like Bodhgaya and encouraged everyone present to engage in the practice of wishing prayers.
Concerning the empowerment itself, he explained that Chenresig is beneficial for all, since the meaning of Chenresig is genuine compassion and loving kindness.
“From beginningless time, it is in the innermost nature of all of us to express compassion and loving kindness.”
The Gyalwa Karmapa then proceeded with the empowerment, and by the time all the devotees had passed in front of him to receive the blessing with the ritual vase five hours had passed and it was already afternoon.
Karmapa then went to the Mahabodhi temple to join the sangha in the Monlam prayers. Meanwhile, Shamar Rinpoche was holding a press conference at Sujata Hotel. About thirty journalists from Delhi and Patna (the capital of the State of Bihar where Bodhgaya is located), representing the most important national media, had gathered for the occasion.
Shamar Rinpoche first addressed himself to the press in a short speech in which he briefly talked about the first Karmapa Düsum Khyenpa and explained the meaning of the lineage of the Karmapas, after which he invited the journalists to present their questions.
When asked about the process of recognising a Karmapa reincarnation he told the story of how the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje had been found and recognised, demonstrating that the whole process had been in accordance with the 900-year-old tradition of the Karma Kagyu lineage.
In the evening the Gyalwa Karmapa received some of the same journalists and answered their questions. When prompted for a message he would like to give to young people he emphasised the importance of respecting one’s elders and in particular one’s parents. He said that our parents are our first teachers and that we should be aware of the great kindness they have shown us and take good care of them.
At the end of the question-and-answer session the journalists asked for his blessing and were happy to receive protection cords.
Press conference with Gyalwa Karmapa
Press conference with Shamarpa