His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa visits Zurich, Switzerland
Amidst 1’007’972 people in the largest city of Switzerland lies an oasis of tranquility in a world of consumer chaos. Zurich is Switzerland’s commercial mecca but on the 7th of June, 2007 it was the capital of Dharma activity of the Karma Kamtsang variety.
Although the visit would last only one day, His Holiness Trinley Thaye Dorje the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa would make the most of his time in Zurich Switzerland.
This center boasts two apartment buildings 5 stories high with a lovely garden and stupa in the back patio section of the two adjoined buildings. From the outside, the only thing that separates it from the rest of the city is a small stupa at the entrance of this Diamond Way Buddhist Center. Outside is the normal everyday hustle and bustle of city life, but inside is filled with the calm abiding activities of mediation and contemplation.
His Holiness began his day by blessing all the rooms of the center. Once he made his way for the final blessing of the Lhakang (altar room), he went outside by the stupa for a short speech and then a blessing for all the children.
Later in the day His Holiness met with representatives from many of the Diamond Way and Bodhi Path Buddhist Centers of Switzerland. He reminded them of how fortunate they are to have the leisure and conditions to practice the Dharma. He gave them his gratitude and encouraged them to continue their efforts.
After the Sangha meetings, Karmapa gave an Interview for the Zurich Times. His Holiness answered questions ranging from whether Buddhism is a religion or a philosophy to why he is a monk. His Holiness maintained that, in fact, Buddhism “is a way of life,” and not a religion. “It is a method to improve our body, speech and mind.”
When asked what the West can learn from Buddhism and vise versa, His Holiness Answered, “Buddhism is not a culture. It is not a product of any culture. It is not about East and West, West and East. It is for all.” His Holiness was featured in several news publications during that visit, including a television news broadcast.
On the evening of the 7th, His Holiness gave the Dorje Sempa (Vajrasattva) Blessing Empowerment to a packed hall. His Holiness reminded everyone about the importance of purification and added that, “To really purify our minds one must commit one’s intention, actions and motivation towards the liberation of all Sentient Beings.”
Report: Derek Hanger
Photos: Thule G. Jug