11.09.2008 – 15.09.2008, Austria

The Gyalwa Karmapa Participates in the Symposium “Inner Peace – Outer Peace” in Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Ceremony, Conference, Teaching

On September 11th, the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje, received a warm welcome by the members of Karma Kagy u Sangha. He was accompanied by his younger brother, Sonam Tsemo Rinpoche, and an entourage of senior monks.

During the following days, the Gyalwa Karmapa took part in the symposium “Inner Peace – Outer Peace” which had been organised by Karma Kagyu Sangha on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the official recognition of the Austrian Buddhist Society. The aim of this symposium was to “discover sources of peace and happiness” through teachings and discussions with authentic Buddhist masters from different traditions who would share the treasure of their knowledge and experience with the participants. Along with other Buddhist Masters, the Gyalwa Karmapa had been invited to speak at this symposium. He also attended lectures by the other Buddhist masters.

The symposium, which took place in the prestigious ceremony halls of the university of Vienna, was attended by approximately 400 participants. It started on September 12th with the opening speeches by Alexander Draszczyk, chairman of Karma Kagyu Sangha, and Gerhard Weissgrab, president of the Austrian Buddhist Society. The most senior among the Buddhist masters, the Ven. Mahathero Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, held his talk about “Serene Cheerfulness”. Among the guests of honour was Prof. Dr. Ernst Steinkellner, the Director of the Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and Professor for Tibetology and Buddhology at the Vienna university.

In the morning of September 13th, the Zen master Fumon Nakagawa Roshi, abbot of the Zen-monastery Daihizan Fumonji in Germany, gave a teaching about “The Path of Zen”. The talk was followed by the Gyalwa Karmapa’s teaching about “The Courage to find one’s own Potential”.

The afternoon was dedicated to workshops held by the masters: The Ven. Mahathero Bhante H. Gunaratana’s topic was “Steps of Mindfulness” while the Ven. Khenpo Choedrag Rinpoche, the director of the teaching and meditation program of Karma Kagyu Sangha, spoke about “Wisdom, but how?”. The Ven. Fumon Nakagawa Roshi shared his knowledge about “The Path to yourself and the Path to the World” while the Ven. Mahathero Bhante Seelawansa, the spiritual head of the Theravada school in Austria, spoke about “Buddhism and Social Commitment”. In the evening of the symposium’s second day, the Gyalwa Karmapa spoke about “Compassion and Wisdom of the Path towards Peace”.

On Sunday, September 14th, a question-and-answer-session with all five Buddhist masters clearly showed how, despite different methods, all Buddhist traditions follow the same aim.

In their final statements, the masters emphasised the importance of such a symposium, in which practitioners of different Buddhist traditions could share their knowledge and learn from each other.

In the afternoon of September 14th, the Gyalwa Karmapa gave a Green-Tara-empowerment at Vienna university.

(For further details on the program of the Symposium and the participating masters, click here )

Report: Rolf Scheuermann

Photos: Thule G. Jug

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