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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.
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!
“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 … so there is undoubtedly great value in any visual connection made with him.”*
— His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa
During this difficult time of the global coronavirus pandemic, we can find solace and inspiration by seeing images, watching videos, and perhaps recalling one’s own experience of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa. His spontaneous and joyous actions benefited beings wherever and in whatever way conditions permitted, despite any obstacles.
We are pleased to present a way to visually connect with the 16th Karmapa by sharing photographs and videos about him. Contemplating his life and the lives of other lineage masters can benefit our mind stream and help us find the courage to open our hearts as we move through distressing times. When we benefit ourselves in this way, we are better equipped to support others both directly and indirectly.
We hope these offerings about His Holiness are indeed uplifting and an inspiration for yourself, your family, friends, colleagues and communities. We will soon include new ways to share acts of kindness so that those positive actions may ripple outward to be felt far and wide.
This week’s video features James Gimian, who first became involved with Buddhism in 1972, as a student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Two years later, he held a lead role during His Holiness the 16th Karmapa’s first visit to the United States for the ten day Dharma Festival in San Francisco, in 1974. In the video interview Mr. Gimian, who is the publisher of Mindful Magazine, describes how His Holiness was a vital catalyst for introducing Buddhism to the West by facilitating “the diaspora of the teachings coming to the west.”
Knowing that His Holiness was instrumental in the blossoming of Buddhism in Western culture, Mr. Gimian also recognizes how the Stupa in Wadsworth, in the Heartland of America, will serve as “ground zero for the dharma becoming deeply rooted in North American soil.”
The story of His Holiness’ positive influences on those who cared for him at the end of his life in Illinois, reminds us of the power we all have to make a difference in the lives of others and vice versa. It made us think with tremendous gratitude and prayers for the safety of the millions of brave and selfless pandemic healthcare workers around the world. We can also follow His Holiness’ example and express gratitude, kindness, joy, generosity, and compassion in our everyday interactions regardless of challenging circumstances. We can be the positive change we all long for.
We give great thanks to everyone who has generously donated to help bring this vision to fruition by supporting our campaign for the Stupa. While the campaign will continue through June, we understand that making a donation is not possible for many at this time. Should you be able to give or feel moved to support the campaign at any point, your gift will be gratefully received.
We wish you all good health and well being, and look forward to sharing more about His Holiness with you next week.
*Excerpted from Dharma King: The Life of the 16th Karmapa in Images
As we reach out today, we acknowledge that there are few places that have not been touched by the coronavirus. Many countries, states, and towns have instituted shut downs and continue to publish daily safety measures. The World Health Organization gives us international information, updates and perspective.
KC16 Lamas are in strict retreat doing extended prayers for coronavirus. We’ve posted some pictures on Facebook of a fire puja, may they be beneficial! While this is not an ideal time for a fundraising campaign, we thought that hearing stories about His Holiness the 16th Karmapa is helpful for this time, so we will do our best to continue sharing stories in the next few months.
This week, we’re delighted and honored to hear His Holiness Kyabgon Gongma Trichen Rinpoche,* talk about his relationship with His Holiness, the 16th Karmapa. In this video, HH Sakya Trichen explains that building a stupa is a very meritorious action because, “by building a stupa it will emanate many blessings and benefits to all sentient beings so that everybody will have good peace and harmony throughout the world.” This merit is doubled because it is for His Holiness the 16th Karmapa.
*His Holiness Kyabgon Gongma Trichen Rinpoche, was the 41st and longest reigning Sakya Trizin.
As of this third week of the campaign, we’ve reached $132,500 USD from over 200 donors. Likewise, we’ve had the support of nearly 780 social media shares and over 200 campaign followers! We’ve made significant strides toward our fundraising goal.
During this time of the global pandemic of coronavirus, when anxiety and fear are rampant, we are fortunate to be able to connect with the dharma, with our genuine heart of goodness and our wish to benefit beings—no matter what. We have the opportunity to be mindful and aware of our actions, how they affect ourselves and others, and to kindly help stop the spread of the virus (see the CDC page).
We are even more fortunate that we are able to connect with the presence of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, to then slow down and move through the world with aware kindness in a spacious, relaxed state.
Ani Pema Chödrön* was a close student of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa and in the attached, inspiring video interview (16 minutes), she recalls being in the presence of His Holiness: “It was like he dwelled in this timeless, present state, and you were just drawn right into that.” She shares the impact he had on her life and those of countless others. She also highlights why building the stupa at KC16 is so important to the world.
Many of you realize the importance of the stupa project — in just two weeks, since our official kick off on March 1st, we’ve raised 129,000 USD from 190 donors! We’ve had the support of over 750 social media shares, with nearly 200 followers watching the campaign and actively getting the word out. We are building more momentum by the moment.
With a joyous heart, we offer great thanks to everyone for your kindness, generosity and support of our cause. Please continue to widely share our campaign with others as that is a huge contribution in itself.
We hope this week’s KC16 Parinirvana Stupa crowdfunding campaign update, featuring Ani Pema Chödrön, will be of great benefit. See you next week with another update and very special video story celebrating the great life and teachings of His Holiness!
*Ani Pema Chödrön is an American Tibetan Buddhist. She is an ordained nun, former acharya of Shambhala Buddhism and disciple of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. She has written several dozen books and audiobooks, and is principal teacher at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, Canada.
On February 14, 2016, the seventh day of the first month of the Tibetan Year of the Fire Monkey, H.H. the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa presided over a commemoration ceremony honoring the life and enlightened activity of H.H. the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, at the 33rd Kagyu Monlam Chenmo.
The Chief Guest at the commemoration, occurring in what would have been the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa’s ninety-second year, was H.H. the Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang, Konchog Tenzin Kunsang Thrinle Lhundrup.
The morning program included the unveiling of a new printing of the Jang Kangyur, the Collected Works of Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, and a pictorial biography of the 16th Karmapa titled Dharma King: The Life of the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa in Images. The afternoon featured the Guru Yoga of the Sixteenth Karmapa and a ganachakra.