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.
“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
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.
It has been a long time since we’ve had news to share about the progress of The Karmapa Center 16’s vision to build a Parinirvana Stupa and retreat center for His Holiness the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa.
We are delighted to inform you that we have at long last received preliminary approvals from the Village Board for the building plans! Therefore, we are able to announce the launch of a $1 million crowdfunding campaign to begin the stupa temple, a house for His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, and retreat housing. The whole site will be a peaceful place to practice, conduct pilgrimage and learn about Buddhism and the Karma Kagyu lineage.
His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, in a video statement recorded at the Karmapa Center 16, said “I would request everyone who has a connection of faith toward the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa to support these projects as much as possible.” View the video on the campaign’s GoFundMe page.
We have an incredible opportunity to purchase the Wadsworth, IL land located 5 miles west of the 16th Karmapa’s parinirvana at the cancer center and blessed by the 17th Karmapa. We invite you to join us in this auspicious undertaking to establish this pilgrimage site in North America!
As we complete ecological and traffic studies to prepare for the county and village meetings and permit approval process, we are simultaneously fundraising to purchase the land. To date, approximately $300,000 has been raised…
in order to close on this property, we require an additional $650,000 by October 31, 2015.
How can I help, you ask?
We’re so very glad you did! There are several ways to make a connection to the project and contribute meaningfully: