According to the Tsurphu calendar, the 14th day of the first month was observed as the day of the parinirvana of Jetsün Milarepa and the 15th was the parinirvana of Marpa Lotsawa. On these two days, the Karmapa Center 16 performed Guru Yogas for both linage forefathers.
According to the Tsurphu calendar, January 31st marked the 29th day of the 12th month of the year. On this special occasion, the Karmapa Center 16 completed the Mahakala puja, performed to dissipate all obstacles before the start of a new year. The lamas also recited aspirations prayers for the long life of the Karmapa, all the teachers, and all sentient beings.
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.
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.
Gerry Wiener, who first began is Buddhist studies with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1971, recently joined the Karmapa Center 16 Board of Directors and will oversee the center’s information technology.
A software engineer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, Gerry is also a Tibetan translator. After the parinirvana of his teacher, Trungpa Rinpoche, in 1987, Gerry continued his studies under Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche and, with his guidance, has focused on the development of the Nitartha Digital Library.
Gerry first met His Holiness the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa in Boulder, in 1974, when Trungpa Rinpoche hosted His Holiness. Gerry received many teachings and witnessed several Black Crown ceremonies during His Holiness’s 1974 and 1980 visits to the United States. Recalling a memory from 1974, when as a member of Trungpa Rinpoche’s Vajra Guards he was asked to drive the Black Crown from Stapleton Airport in Denver to Boulder, Gerry said, “The crown was next to me, sitting on the lap of one of His Holiness’s monks. I remembered thinking, ‘I need to be so careful and not get into an accident!’”
Continuing to serve in his role as Vajra Guard, Gerry traveled to Los Angeles and stayed in the same house with the Karmapa, where he had a momentary but powerful experience. He was woken early one morning, around 5 a.m., to help His Holiness attend his birds in the backyard. “I helped His Holiness up the stairs,” Gerry said, “and he put his hand on my hands for support. I had the feeling of not being in this realm anymore, for the briefest amount of time. I felt he is in this realm, but he is not part of the samsaric realm that we abide in.”
Gerry attributes much of his good fortune in meeting the 16th Karmapa to “tashi tendrel” or karmic connection or coincidence. “We’ve been taught, and I feel this to be the case, that lineage is important,” he said. “Without teachers like the Buddha, and lineage masters like Tilopa, Marpa, etc., we really don’t have a lineage that actually goes through the 16th Karmapa and then to my first teacher, Trungpa Rinpoche, without whom I would not be (on this path) today. I want to express great gratitude to Trungpa Rinpoche, who opened the door and cared for me in a very distinct way and also, without His Holiness, there would be no Trungpa Rinpoche whom I would know, so there is some kind of tashi tendrel or karmic connection or karmic coincidence, some fortuitous karma going on that allowed me to become a Buddhist, to study with Trungpa Rinpoche, who was recognized by His Holiness and eventually to meet His Holiness.”
Along those same lines, Gerry said, he received a Praise to His Holiness the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa written by Trungpa Rinpoche and had the good fortune to translate it. Below is an excerpt from the translation. The full translation will eventually reside at Karmapa Center 16.
IN PRAISE OF HIS HOLINESS THE 16TH GYALWANG KARMAPA
By Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Translated from Tibetan into English
by Gerry Wiener
In the mandala of profound brilliant Vajradhatu, you are the Supreme Guru of the simplicity of samsara and nirvana. Vajra luminosity, the delight that transcends words, the great bliss Heruka, holder of wisdom, the single and changing nirmanakaya, Rigpe Dorje, seeing your activities — how wondrous. You do not abide in any specific place. You are not contrived by anyone. Your activities continue without interruption. Karma Ka, I always pay homage to you. Not observed having a beginning or end, you possess the profound and vast dharma. Eternal form of Dorje Chang, you are Vajradhara in person.
Listen to Gerry read the translation:
If you’d like to share your memories or photos of His Holiness with us, please send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
On this full moon day, the Karmapa Center 16 performed the Guru Yoga written by Dabzang Ngedon Tenpa Rabgye to honor the parinirvana of one of the forefathers of the Kagyu Lineage, Lord Gampopa, whose heart son was Düsum Khyenpa, the first Karmapa. In performing this Guru Yoga, the Karmapa Center 16 joined other monasteries, centers, and individuals all over the world that recalled the kindness of Gampopa, today.
Led by Dilyak Drupon Rinpoche, today lamas and friends, gathered at the center to make special offerings and prayers to the Buddha, recollecting his First Turning of Wheel of Dharma in Varanasi, India 2,600 years ago.
|Karmapa Center 16 is grateful to have longtime Buddhist practioner Lynne Conrad Marvet now serving on its Board of Directors as secretary. |
An artist, performer, teacher and professional fundraiser, Lynne grew up in Chattanooga, TN, and began meditating when she was 16 years old. But it wasn’t until she met His Holiness the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa, four years later, that she connected with Tibetan Buddhism and the Karma Kagyu lineage of His Holiness. In 1980, while living in New York City, Lynne’s friend suggested they attend the Black Crown ceremony held in the city during His Holiness’ third, and what would be his final, tour of the United States. So, they went, and the connection for Lynne was made.
“The strongest connection to my heart was the description given for the Refuge Ceremony,” Lynne said. “At the time, I was not well versed in what taking ‘refuge’ meant. But the way His Holiness described it, I remember having a very strong feeling of ‘Yes, Yes’ this is what I want to do. I still get chills. (It was a) powerful experience: It was the principle of compassion, the power of his speech, his presence, and the message that this is a path to help transcend confusion and help all sentient beings. Because of meeting His Holiness, I felt very connected to the Karma Kagyu lineage.”
Shortly after the ceremony, Lynne met her first Tibetan teacher, Khyabje Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche who served, from 1978 until his death in 2019, as abbot of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra in Woodstock, New York, the first Karma Kagyu monastery established in the United States and the North American Seat of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa. Her current and longtime teacher is Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, acknowledged as a heart son of the 16th Karmapa.
Lynne shared with us a special description of the life of the 16th Karmapa spontaneously spoken by Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, guru of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, during an interview in Seattle in 1999. She had supplicated Khenpo Rinpoche for his words about His Holiness, which were then translated from Tibetan into English by Ari Goldfield.
THE WONDERFUL, MIRACULOUS LIFE STORY OF HIS HOLINESS THE 16TH GYALWANG KARMAPA
By Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche
In the glorious valley of Gurum, there is a monastery called Tsurphu. It is the palace of glorious Chakrasamvara. The all-pervasive lord is Rangjung Rigpe Dorje himself. Simply meeting him causes faith to expand. Simply listening to his speech vanquishes the darkness of doubt. Receiving pith instructions from him causes dualistic appearances to be self-liberated. This is his wonderful, miraculous life story. He brings outer, inner and other together in Mahamudra and causes all of existence to shine as the infinite expanse of purity. His practice of the rituals of the four classes of tantra is uninterrupted. This, too, is his wonderful, miraculous life story…
Listen to Lynne read the rest of the story:
When asked about the stupa for Karmapa Center 16, Lynne said in many ways, it is incredible that the stupa doesn’t already exist.
“His Holiness had such a huge impact on people,” she said. “And, because he passed away (in Zion, IL), that place is blessed. To continue to share that with many generations to come, it is important to have a physical representation of his sacred body, which is what the stupa is: his enlightened body, speech, and mind. To have a stupa there will be a great blessing to not just those in close proximity but to the entire United States.”
“Recently, I’ve been thinking about the importance of blessings and what that does for one’s practice. I can’t say enough of adhisthāna or blessings that can be received as a result of the physical presence of the teacher or the representations of enlightened beings… It is something very real even though it is intangible. The Karmapa Center 16 is already that place, but it will increase, I have no doubt. It is important for us to invest in this dream.”
If you’d like to share your memories or photos of His Holiness with us, please send them to: email@example.com.
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!
Today the Karmapa Center 16 held a ceremonial ritual in celebration of His Holiness Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje’s 36th birthday, with aspiration prayers for his long life and the flourishing of his activity. It was followed by a traditional tea and rice offering to His Holiness and everyone gathered.
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.