28th Story Update —The 40th Anniversary of His Holiness Karmapa’s Parinirvana

On the 4oth anniversary of the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje’s parinirvana, the Karmapa Center 16 held a five-day commemoration joined by Tibetan Buddhist masters with a special connection to His Holiness, such as His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche, His Eminence Goshir Gyaltsap Rinpoche, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, Khandro Rinpoche, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Ayang Rinpoche and Dilyak Drupon Rinpoche.

These special events included two days of prayers to Medicine Buddha and three days of practice on the Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje Guru Yoga. Tai Situ Rinpoche and Goshir Gyaltsap Rinpoche each composed a Guru Yoga for Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. Both of these are practiced in alternation at the Karmapa Center 16, annually. This year’s 40th anniversary coincided with the turn of the Guru Yoga composed by Goshir Gyaltsap Rinpoche. The events were joined in person by 13 members of the sangha, several lay practitioners and many more followers over the internet.

Guru Yoga shrine

The teachings and addresses offered by the various Buddhist masters centered, in general, on their experience with His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, and in particular, the teachings they received from him.

Karmapa Center 16 celebrated the extraordinary, enlightened activities of the 16th Karmapa on the occasion of his 40th parinirvana anniversary.

Saka Dawa

On the great occasion of Saka Dawa, the lamas of the Karmapa Center 16 performed praises and aspirational prayers to the Buddha Shakyamuni, today. On this day, the extraordinary deeds the Buddha manifested 2,600 years ago are remembered by Buddhists all over the world. Dilyak Drupon Rinpoche said that for Tibetan Buddhists, a small difference lies in the way the 15th day of this lunar month day is observed. Some commemorate this full moon day for the Buddha’s deeds of having entered into the womb of his mother, having attained enlightenment and passing into mahaparanirvana. While other Tibetan Buddhists regard his birth, his enlightenment and his passing into mahaparanirvana today. The difference between these two is that the first observes the conception, while the second the birth of the Buddha as the first deed.

Drupon Rinpoche said this lunar month makes special emphasis of six extraordinary deeds of the Buddha. On the seventh day, Tibetan Buddhists remember the Buddha entering his mother’s womb or taking birth; on the eight day, developing renunciation and becoming ordained; and on the 15th day, entering his mother’s womb, or taking birth, overcoming the Mara’s hosts, becoming fully enlightened, and manifesting passing into mahaparanirvana. 

We have to apply these deeds of the Buddha to ourselves so that we can remember that we also can attain enlightenment, said Rinpoche. “We also have the capacity to attain these qualities,” Rinpoche added.

22nd Story Update: A world of gentleness, kindness

Greetings dear friends of KC 16,

As we learned in the previous email, His Holiness the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, taught extensively and intensively with physical gestures and by his mere presence. In the video below, Don Winchell describes how he also created the environment around him and the way it brought about unexpected transformations. 

A student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Winchell served on the support team for the 16th Karmapa’s 1976 visit to North America.

Don Winchell reflects on the environment around His Holiness the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa.

Through this delightful example of the enlightened activity of His Holiness, may we all aspire to create a world of gentleness and kindness!

We have received wonderful responses to the stories we’ve posted, and some included a personal experience with the 16th Karmapa. If you’d like to share your memories or photos of His Holiness with us, please send them to: media@karmapacenter16.org.

As always, we offer our heartfelt thanks for your continued interest and support of KC16. May the Center be of great benefit to all beings.

Twenty-first Story Update: Wherever the flag is flown, the Dharma Will Flourish

Greetings dear friends of KC 16,

Many of us have seen the yellow and blue Dream Flag or Namchen Banner of the 16th Karmapa, but not many of us may know the story behind it. We had the good fortune to speak to the person who, at the request of His Holiness, sewed the original flag — Deborah Luscomb. 

Deborah is a longtime student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and a professional seamstress. At the request of her teacher, she oversaw the national textile production — from wall coverings, bedspreads and chair upholstery to banners, shrines and thrones — for the 16th Karmapa’s third visit to North America. The first special request from His Holiness of Deborah was to make a new brocade cover for the Black Crown hatbox. The second special request was to make the Dream Flag, which was raised on Midsummer’s Day 1980, at Marpa House in Boulder, CO. In this video, Deborah recalls what happened:

Several inches of snow whiten the grounds at the Karmapa Center 16, while in front of the main house the yellow and blue Dream Flag flies despite the weather, and dharma indeed does flourish. 

With best wishes for a peaceful and joyous 2021, we send you our heartfelt thanks for your continued interest and support of KC16.

Fifteenth Story Update: Tara and her connection to the Kagyu Lineage

White Tara by His Holiness the 17th Karmapa. 

In a recent post, we learned that one of the main practices of the 16th Karmapa was Tara, but did you know that White Tara was His Holiness the 16th Karmapa’s’ yidam? We practice Tara for three main reasons: She is powerful, her blessings are fast, and she is immeasurably kind.

White Tara is practiced by all four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism and is the main deity of other Buddhist practitioners and scholars, including the great master Atisha. She played an important role helping Buddhism flourish once again in Tibet, following some great obstacles, when Atisha was invited to Tibet to reestablish the teachings. Wondering whether he should go or not, Atisha supplicated the White Tara statue in Bodhgaya. She appeared to him in a pure vision and said his journey would be a complete success, that it would benefit many sentient beings, but it would lessen the years of his life. 

Due to his great bodhicitta, Atisha went ahead to Tibet and, as prophesied by Tara, accomplished the enormous task of revitalizing and reforming the teachings, and founding Kadampa Buddhism. With good reason, Tara has since been one of the four main yidams of the Kadampa lineage. 

Tara is also an important deity in the Kagyu lineage that began when Milarepa’s student Gampopa integrated the Mahamudra teachings of Milarepa with the Kadampa teachings of Atisha, including the practice of Tara. Green Tara symbolizes the fearless and compassionate energy of our mind’s true nature and the resolve to dispel suffering and fear, while White Tara is associated with longevity and healing practice. 

KC16 will join Nalandabodhi International for its fifth annual Tara Drupchen to be held online from September 24 to 27, 2020, offering prayers and smoke pujas in Tibetan. 

As a precursor to the Tara Drupchen, please enjoy this special audio file of Tara practice in Tibetan recorded in the shrine room at KC16:

We hope you will join us for the Drupchen! The event is free and everyone is welcome to participate by joining practices online, making prayer requests, aspirations, and offerings, and choosing to #gokind in thought, word, and deed. For information and registration please email: communications@nalandabodhi.org.

Fourteenth Story Update: Guru Rinpoche blessing statues formed from KC16 earth

(From right to left) Soil, mold for the statues, statues made of blessed earth, and finally statues painted in gold

Last week, soil samples from deep within the land at KC16 were taken as the next step for our engineers and architects to move forward with foundation plans. The contractors gave us the surplus soil, which Drupon Rinpoche and the Lamas on site have been using to construct small Guru Rinpoche statues from the blessed land. They say the soil is so good that nothing extra was needed to hold it together or be strong enough to create the statues. Due to the blessings of the land as the Parinirvana site of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, and being blessed by the 17th Karmapa, this earth is saturated with blessings!

Reminder! KC16 is co-hosting Tara Drupchen with Nalandabodhi International/Nalandabodhi Seattle and Nalanda West from September 24-27. The Tara Drupchen will be especially dedicated to overcoming the current pandemic, to all beings suffering directly or indirectly from it, and to dispelling fear in our world. For registration information email: communications@nalandabodhi.org.

Tenth Story Update: Liberation Upon Seeing

This lunar month is the time when we celebrate Saga Dawa, the birth, enlightenment and parinirvana of the Shakyamuni Buddha.

It is also a somber time for many, as we grapple with the death of black American citizen George Floyd, which sparked protest in cities across the United States for two weeks. This, combined with COVID-19 ever present in our lives globally, has left many feeling afraid, angry and disillusioned.   

During his life, the Shakyamuni Buddha foretold a prophecy, found in the Samadhi Raja Sūtra, which can give us courage for our lives now:

Two thousand years after I have passed,
The teachings will arise in the land of the red-faced men.
They will become disciples of Avalokita.
In that degenerate time for dharma,
The bodhisattva, Lion’s Roar,
Will appear and be known as Karmapa.
He will attain the samādhi empowerment and tame beings,
Establishing them in well-being through sight, hearing, recollection, and touch.

And so it is, just as the Shakyamuni Buddha predicted. We have had the great good fortune to encounter His Holiness the 16th Karmapa’s teachings on love, kindness and compassion in this life — just when we and the world need them them the most.

Today we share with you Liberation Upon Seeing, produced by the Karmapa Picture Project. May all beings viewing these images of His Holiness be liberated instantly! Click on the photo below to view the video.

In the forward to the book Dharma King, a quote by His Holiness the 17th Karmapa speaks to the relevance of this video — with its collection of images of the 16th Karmapa’s  life — and its immeasurable benefit to us now:

 [The 16th Gyalwang Karmapa] seldom gave Dharma teachings through words, but taught intensively through physical gestures and tamed beings through his mere presence… one of his major activities was to liberate all those who saw him, as he did when donning the Black Crown, so there is undoubtedly great value in any visual connection made with him. 

Following the example of His Holiness —  by embodying loving-kindness and acting thoughtfully — we too can work to help others. It is said that any good deed performed during the month of Saga Dawa is multiplied as many as one hundred million times, so it is an especially auspicious time to perform positive actions!

One simple action to help create more widespread kindness and offer a chance for others to connect with His Holiness through images would be to:  
• Share our posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #GoKind
• Submit your acts of kindness to the KC16 bot via: m.me/KarmapaCenter16

With deepest appreciation to all who continue to support The Karmapa Center 16 in all its endeavors.

Click on the photo below to view the video Liberation upon Seeing. Karmapa Khyenno! 

His Holiness the 16th Karmapa in America.
Photo courtesy of Shambhala Archives. 

Ninth Story Update: Participate in “The Kindness Rocks Project”

Our world continues to suffer in a multitude of ways from the coronavirus. Reported cases surpassed three million and deaths are over three hundred thousand. People are struggling with anxiety, fear and isolation.

WHAT CAN WE DO?
As dharma practitioners, we have the tools to take inspiration from the vast loving-kindness of His Holiness The Sixteenth Karmapa, and be in touch with our own soft hearts. By doing that, we can radiate love and peace within ourselves, outwardly to specific beings we know are suffering and boundlessly throughout the globe to dissolve the energy of despair and unease.

In accordance with the One Million Positive Actions campaign, we invite you to touch in with your kind heart and participate in The Kindness Rocks Project which encourages painting an uplifting message on a rock and leaving it somewhere visible to others – such as under a tree, by a sidewalk or in a park, while taking note of Leave No Trace guidelines in consideration of our environment. The project is rooted in the belief that: “One message at just the right moment can change someone’s day, outlook, life!” 

HOW
Step one: Practice
Meditate on the presence of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa. Acknowledge any fear, anxiety or pain you have. Take some time for the blessings to flow throughout you and dissolve your own suffering. When you have an experience of His Holiness’s enlightened presence, connect with the suffering of someone you know personally. Inhale their suffering and exhale the loving-kindness inside of you to alleviate the suffering of that being. Practice for a while to gain an experience of that being filled with the radiance of genuine love and peace. Then, finally, open your awareness to include all beings’ suffering as far as you can imagine. Inhale all that tension and unease, connect with your blessing-full, loving heart. Exhale all your positivity to dissolve all beings fear and suffering. Relax. 

Step Two: Paint
In your state of connection to loving kindness and compassion, on a stone paint or draw your message of love, hope and kindness, such as the rock below:

Step Three: Connect with One Million Positive Actions 
Take a photo of your message rock and share it with the KC16 bot via m.me/karmapacenter16 or social media and use the hashtags #KindnessRocks and #GoKind.
 
Step Four: Share your practice imbued message rock
Place your message rock in any place of your choosing. 

Step Five: Dedicate the merit
Take a moment to dedicate the merit in your favorite way. Karmapa Khyenno! 

Furthermore, please help us create more widespread kindness by:

  • Sharing our posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 
  • Encouraging family, friends, neighbors and community leaders to participate.
  • Asking any artists you know to create and post their own message stones (don’t forget to ask them to use #KindnessRocks and #GoKind in their posts!).

A deeply heartfelt thank you to all who continue to support The Karmapa Center 16 with all your capacity. May you be healthy, safe, and at peace. 

Karmapa Khyenno! 

Challenge Grant Met!

Great thanks to all the generous benefactors of The Karmapa Center 16!

We are pleased to announce that kind donors have meet our $200,000 challenge grant, and more! This brings us $400,000 closer to our Phase I fundraising goal of $985,000 for property purchase and fees associated with planning studies and operational costs. We are now 86% of the way there!

We have received a further extension of the final purchase date and are diligently moving forward with all necessary studies and planning with the appropriate agencies. So, if you haven’t yet had the opportunity to contribute to the land purchase, don’t worry: there is still time to get in on the “ground floor” of this project!