Gyalwa Karmapa’s Visit to Sweden 24-30 July 2017
In July 2017 Thaye Dorje, His Holiness, the 17th Karmapa visited Sweden for the first time. The Swedish Kagyu Sangha (Karme Tenpe Gyaltsen) celebrated its 40th anniversary and was very happy to receive His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje at the Karma Kagyu Centre in Stockholm (Karma Shedrup Dargye Ling) and the Solbo Retreat Centre (Karma Dechen Osel Ling) in the countryside near Fellingsbro about two hours drive from Stockholm.
The Karmapa arrived on 24th of July and was welcomed by Lama Tsultim Rinpoche and the local Sangha and hosted in the Karma Kagyu Center in Hokarvagen 2A, Hagersten in the South of Stockholm. The Karma Tenpe Gyaltsen community was founded in 1976 by His Holiness the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, and was led since inception by the venerable meditation master Lama Ngawang (please click here for a resume of this lama’s experiences in Sweden). Since his passing in 2011, the centre has been led by Lama Tsultrim Gyaltso Rinpoche.
In the morning on 25th of July members of the Sangha met the Gyalwa Karmapa for questions and answers. It was mostly younger members of the audience who took the opportunity to ask questions of His Holiness on a wide variety of topics.
That same afternoon, he gave a Green Tara Initiation in the Karma Kagyu Center.
On the 26th of July the visit continued on to Fellingsbro.
There was a reception in the temple on arrival at the Solbo Retreat centre.
The Dechen Ozel Ling Centre of Studies and Retreats is part of the Karma Tenpe Gyaltsen Buddhist community. The centres in Stockholm, Orebro and Fellingsbroare specifically dedicated to giving space for people to learn about Buddhist meditation, do retreats and listen to lectures and teachings from the vast Karma Kagyu tradition – the oral tradition.
The program started in the evening with teachings about the Buddhist Refuge. His Holiness said that the Buddhist Refuge is the basis for Buddhist Practice. The Refuge consists of “The Three Jewels”: Buddha-the awakened guide, Dharma – the path and Sangha – the Buddhist community that supports us on the path. He stated that it is important to find one’s rhythm through continuous practice, so that it becomes as natural as breathing. (Here you can read more about the Buddhist Refuge)
The retreat centre has a white Stupa which was the first Stupa to be built in Northern Europe. The Stupa was
consecrated by the late Jamgon Khongtrul and by the Dalai Lama nearly 30 years ago in 1988 (for more information on Stupa, please click here).
On the 27th of July, the Gyalwa Karmapa, Lama Tsultim Rinpoche and the monks accompanying His Holiness sat down next to the Stupa in the sunshine and performed Pujas and a ground breaking ceremony for a new Nyungne Temple.
Thereafter the Karmapa blessed the whole centre and each of the buildings.
27.07.2017 Puja with Gyalwa Karmapa for blessing the ground for the construction of a Nyungne Temple, Blessing all the center.
In the afternoon the Karmapa gave a Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara) Empowerment. This empowerment represents the compassion and wisdom of the fully awakened mind. The purpose of this empowerment is to awaken this compassion and wisdom within ourselves (read more about the meaning of empowerment in tibetan buddhism here).
During the initiation it is customary to present a symbolic gift to the Lama who bestows the initiation, in this case HH the 17th Karmapa. In order to take part in the empowerment, one has to have taken refuge on the Buddhist path.
More than 800 people attended the program at the Solbo Retreat Centre. There were practitioners from many countries including Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Switzerland, Austria, France, as well as some guests from Tibet, Brazil, Australia, Japan and Israel.
The atmosphere was just perfect: peaceful, friendly and relaxed. Solbo is delightfully quiet as it is surrounded by the fields and forest of the Swedish countryside.
On Friday the 28th of July the Karmapa taught the Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva. He encouraged his audience to accept all circumstances in life and take them as an opportunity to develop Bodhicitta. These profound instructions by Gyalse Thogme (1297-1371) explain how Mahayana practitioners should deal with different situations encountered in daily life. In a practical way, Gyalse Thogme explains what kind of motivation, thoughts and actions a person who follows the Mahayana path should embrace. The Karmapa gave many animated examples enabling a better understanding of this classical text which goes back to the great master Asanga.
Participants took the Bodhisattva Vows on the morning of the 29th of July. The Bodhisattva vow is the foundation of Mahayana Buddhism. The main purpose of the vow is to develop an altruistic mind and to strive for awakening for the sake of all sentient beings. The very moment His Holiness gave the Bodhisattva Vows a gentle rain began.
In the afternoon there was a Milarepa Tsog Puja, which was the last piece of a wonderful four day program. Milarepa was one of Tibet’s foremost yogis, and one of the lineage holders of the Kagyu lineage. Through the practice of the Guru Yoga and the Tsog offering – a ritual feast – we strengthen our bond with the Great Yogi Milarepa, the Lamas of the Kagyu tradition and the Sangha community.
Karmapa left Sweden on Sunday 30th July for his next teachings in Spain.
See the galleries:
24.07.2017 Gyalwa Karmapa’s First Visit to Sweden: Arrival and Welcome Ceremony
25.07.2017 A Green Tara Empowerment at the Stockholm Buddhist Center
25.07.2017 Thaye Dorje, His Holiness Karmapa Meets Young Buddhists of Stockholm
26.07.2017 The Buddhist Refuge: The Gyalwa Karmapa Teaches and Gives Refuge
27.07.2017 Ground Breaking Ceremony for a New Temple and a Blessing Ceremony for the Solbo Retreat Center
27.07.2017 Chenrezig Empowerment by His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa in Solbo, Sweden
29.07.2017 Milarepa Tsog and Conclusion Ceremony at Solbo Retreat Center in Sweden