His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa Visits the Bodhi Path Center in Renchen-Ulm, Germany
On Friday, the 15th of August 2008, the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Trinlay Thaye Dorje, accompanied by his brother Sonam Tsemo Rinpoche, Trehor Lama Thubten and an entourage of senior monks, arrived at the Bodhi Path centre Renchen-Ulm, Germany, where he was warmly welcomed. It was for the first time that the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism paid a visit to the centre, which he immediately began with a short ceremony and a tour of the building, blessing all the rooms.
Due to the many visitors that were expected to attend the events on the following two days, the official program took place at the town hall of Erlach. More than 500 people from Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Austria, America, Nepal, Tibet and other countries had gathered there in the morning to attend the teachings. The Gyalwa Karmapa and all those who had come to see him where welcomed by Mr. Bernd Siefermann, the mayor of Renchen and Mr. Herbert Koenig, the municipal administrator of Erlach. In a short speech, mayor Siefermann explained how happy he was to be able to welcome the head of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. He also went on to explain, that the town Renchen considers the the newly established Bodhi Path centre as an enrichment and that he was very thankful for the harmonious relationship and the positive feedbacks he received from all sides.
Then, the Gyalwa Karmapa began the long-awaited teaching on the treatise “the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva” by Ngulchu Thogme Sangpo, a concise summary of the bodhisattva’s way of life. Since the time didn’t allow to go into the details of this beautiful text, the Gyalwa Karmapa explained its essence by stressing the importance of overcoming self-clinging and the development of loving kindness and compassion towards all beings. Coming straight from the heart, the precise and clear teaching was to satisfy the needs of all those present, newcomers and experienced practitioners alike. In the end, the Gyalwa Karmapa also allowed some space for individual questions and answers, which was happily accepted.
In the afternoon, an inspiring account of the life of the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje was given by Lama Tsultrim Namgyal, secretary of the Gyalwa Karmapa Trinle Thaye Dorje. Since he had also functioned as a secretary of the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, the explanations were very vivid and filled with interesting anecdotes that furthered the faith in this great master. The evening found a pleasant end with a common meditation in the hall.
On the next morning, even more people swarmed into the hall to attend the White Tara permission-empowerment by the Gyalwa Karmapa and soon the hall resounded with the sound of the Mantra “Om mani padme hung”, while the Gyalwa Karmapa conducted the preparation for the empowerment.
After everyone had received the blessing of the Gyalwa Karmapa and the ceremony was completed, the Tibetan master thanked the organisers for their efforts and said goodbye to the audience. Since the Gyalwa Karmapa will continue his program in Europe until the middle of September (see schedule below), many of those who were present weren’t so sad about the farewell, since they are already looking forward to see him again soon.
Report: Rolf Scheuermann
Photos: Thule G. Jug