On January 6 and 7, His Holiness Karmapa Ogyen
Trinley Dorje presided over the final two days of the twentieth annual
Pal Nyammay Kagyupay Sangha Monlam Chenmo (the Great Monlam Aspiration
of the Glorious Unequaled Kagyu Sangha) in Bodhgaya, India. On January
6, His Holiness offered teachings and the Green Tara empowerment to the
5,000 monks, nuns, and lay sangha gathered for the Monlam which began
on December 31, 2002. On the final day of the Monlam, His Holiness the
Dalai Lama joined the Karmapa for the concluding session. (A news
report describes the prayer festival's opening day.)
Later that month in Bodhgaya, His Holiness received
the Kalachakra initiation from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The Karmapa
joined over 150,000 Buddhists from throughout India, the Himalayas, and
around the world to receive the profound Kalachakra tantra, which concluded
with a long-life empowerment from the Dalai Lama on January 20.
article about His Holiness Karmapa was published in The Sunday
Times on January 5. The extensive piece by journalist Katharine Saunders
features quotes from her interview with His Holiness.
His Holiness travelled to Thrangu Rinpoche's Vajravidya
Institute in Sarnath, India for a monthlong visit, where he presided over
the annual ritual practices leading up to and celebrating Losar on February
2. While at Vajravidya, His Holiness continued his regular studies and participated
in debates with institute students in the evenings.
Press story reported on the Karmapa's arrival in Sarnath for a brief
visit in early January, while another news report described preparations that were under way
a month before that visit.
Just before Losar, His Holiness offered the Bodhisattva
Vow to a large gathering of Chinese disciples and lay students from the
Himalayas and around the world. His Holiness also offered the same long-life
Amitayus empowerment that Rechungpa received from Tipupa during a pilgrimage
Rechungpa made to India nearly one thousand years ago.
On February 16, the auspicious full-moon day of
Chotrul Duchen (the Buddha's month of miracles which follows Losar), His
Holiness Karmapa presided over the chanting of monlam prayers in front
of the Dhameka Stupa at Sarnath, the place of the Buddha's first turning
of the wheel of dharma. His Holiness was accompanied by Khenchen Thrangu
Rinpoche and a large sangha assembly.
from His Holiness's activities in January, at the Kagyu Monlam in
Bodhgaya, India; and in Sarnath in February, where he spent a month at
Thrangu Rinpoche's Vajravidya Institute, are showcased in a gallery.
His Holiness Karmapa gave a public teaching and
bestowed a long-life empowerment on February 23 at Buddha Jayanti Park
in Delhi, India on his way back to his temporary quarters near Dharamsala.
On April 11, His Holiness Karmapa was the guest-of-honor
at the closing ceremony of the annual Shoton (Great Yogurt Festival) at
the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts in Dharamsala. The ten-day festival
is marked by performances of lhamo (traditional Tibetan opera) by Tibetan
troupes from throughout India and Nepal. His Holiness also attended the
opening day's festivities on April 2, along with other distinguished guests
including His Holiness the Dalai Lama and numerous officials of the Tibetan
His Holiness Karmapa
gave a meaninful speech on the importance of
Tibetan culture, and his aspirations for the Tibetan people, at the closing
day of the Shoton.
Visit the gallery
for a glimpse of His Holiness Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje at the Shoton
In mid-May, His Holiness Karmapa attended ceremonies
marking the end of a year-long celebration of the 360th anniversary of
the Gaden Phodrang Government. His Holiness the Dalai Lama officiated
at his main temple in Dharamsala over a program that was attended by religious
leaders, government officials, ordained sangha, and the public. The Gaden
Phodrang was formed in 1642 when the Fifth Dalai Lama Lobsang Gytaso assumed
political authority over Tibet.
On June 1, His Holiness Karmapa served as the chief
guest on the first day of the Gyalyum Chenmo Memorial Gold Cup football
(soccer) tournament on the football grounds of the Tibetan Children's
Village School in Dharamsala. His Holiness spoke at the opening ceremony
on the importance of pursuing one's education in whatever field one chooses,
and also said that in the spirit of sportsmanship we must be prepared
to accept victory or defeat. He then watched the first two games.
The eight-day football tournament, sponsored by
the Dharamsala-based Tibetan National Football Association, included matches
between teams from Bylakuppe, Delhi, Dharamsala, Doon Valley, Gangtok,
Kathmandu, Mungod, and Pokhara (who went on to win the tournament). Players
from these teams will be selected to form a Tibetan national team with
the hope of touring Europe. The Gold Cup tournament is named in honor
of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's late mother, Gyalyum Chenmo Sonam Tsomo.
On June 26, the eighteenth birthday of His Holiness
Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje was met with unseasonably fine weather at
his temporary residence in Sidhbari, near Dharamsala. (In the Tibetan
tradition this was counted as his nineteenth birthday.) The day began
with representatives of His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche, Sherab Ling Monastery,
and the Tsurphu Labrang presenting a mandala offering, followed by long-life
prayers to His Holiness Karmapa.
Though a large, public birthday celebration was
not scheduled at the request of His Holiness, over 1,000 ordained and
lay devotees arrived, hoping to make offerings to the Karmapa and receive
his blessing. This gathering of disciples filled the large Main Shrine
Hall of Gyuto Ramoche Tantric University, and spilled onto the veranda
and pujas presided over by His Eminence Gyaltsab Rinpoche were held
at Dharma Chakra Centre, Rumtek, Sikkim. His Holiness Karmapa videotaped
a message especially for those gathered to celebrate his birthday
at Rumtek, and the videotape was screened during the morning activities
at Rumtek to the assembled crowd of 3,000.]
His Holiness greeted his visitors at 2:30 in the
afternoon and gave a spontaneous talk, where he expressed that birth itself
is nothing to celebrate, as it leads to suffering, sickness, old age,
and death. At the same time, a precious human birth, where one has the
opportunity to meet authentic teachers of the Buddha's teachings and put
those teachings into practice for the benefit of oneself and all other
beings, is truly something to cherish. He made the aspiration that all
those gathered be honest, maintain a good heart, and reject hypocrisy.
The Karmapa expressed his deep gratitude to all who had come in person,
and to all those from around the world who had offered their best wishes
on the occasion of his birthday.
Finally, he affirmed his personal commitment to
the mahayana path by quoting Shantideva:
As long as space endures,
As long as there are beings to be found,
May I continue likewise to remain,
To drive away the sorrows of the world.
The afternoon at Gyuto concluded with
tea, sweet rice, kapse, and birthday cake. An auspicious light rain fell
for 30 minutes at the end of the day.
In early July, His Holiness Karmapa made a five-day
trip to Shimla, the capital of the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
He was invited by the Indo-Tibetan Friendship Society to participate in
Shimla's celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's birthday, which took
place at the Central School for Tibetans on July 6. During his visit, the
Karmapa spent time with His Eminence Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche, a renowned
Nyingma master and abbot of Dorje Drak Gompa, one of the main monasteries
of the Nyingmapa lineage.
Read an account
of the trip, and visit the gallery
to see His Holiness Karmapa in Shimla.
His Holiness studied for an extended time in late
summer with Bokar Rinpoche at Gyuto. On August 12, His Holiness Karmapa
and Bokar Rinpoche were guests of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for a special
lunch at his residence before attending a public empowerment offered by
the Dalai Lama. View pictures
of the Karmapa with the Dalai Lama and Bokar Rinpoche.
the fall, Tenga Rinpoche travelled from his monastery in Nepal to offer
teachings to His Holiness Karmapa at Gyuto.
In September, the Karmapa visited the newest of
the seven Tibetan Children's Village Schools at Gopalpur in Himachal Pradesh,
which houses and educates close to 1,000 students, many of them recent
arrivals from Tibet.
On October 27, His Holiness Karmapa joined His
Holiness the Dalai Lama in marking the 43rd anniversary of the Tibetan
Children's Village School in Dharamsala. The school was one of the first
to be established in exile for the education and welfare of Tibetan refugee
In early November, His Holiness Karmapa consecrated
the newly constructed Thosamling, a unique nunnery and institute for ordained
Western women located behind the Norbulingka Institute, not far from the
Karmapa's temporary residence in Sidbhari.
Over 80 students from The Tibetan Homes Foundation
School in Mussoorie, Uttaranchal visited His Holiness on December 16.
The teen-age students made a special pilgrimage to see His Holiness at
Gyuto as an auspicious beginning to their final year of school.
Earlier in December, His Holiness studied with
Khenpo Rinchen Thundup at Gyuto.
His Holiness Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje presided
over the 2003 Pal Nyammay Kagyupay Sangha Monlam Chenmo (the Great Monlam
Aspiration of the Glorious Unequaled Kagyu Sangha) in Bodhgaya, the place
of Buddha Shakyamuni's enlightenment. This annual international gathering
of eminent teachers and ordained and lay sangha of the Karma Kagyu lineage
took place from December 30, 2003 through January 7, 2004.
route to Bodhgaya, His Holiness stopped in Delhi, where he offered teachings
to a delegation of dharma students from Taiwan on December 26, leaving
for Bodhgaya on December 27.