2004 Activities of the Karmapa
His Holiness Karmapa has returned from an extended trip which took place through the end of 2004. The Gyalwang Karmapa arrived at Vajra Vidhya Institute in Varanasi on November 14, where he presided over the Karma Gön Chö, at which representatives of Kagyu monsteries from all over the world debated Kagyu philosophy and soteriology. In December, His Holiness proceeded to Bodhgaya for the annual Great Monlam Aspiration of the Glorious Unequaled Kagyu Sangha (Pal Nyammay Kagyupay Sangha Monlam Chenmo). Subsequently he returned to Vajra Vidhya institute, where he engaged in more prayers, including a service for the Tsunami victims. Some photos of His Holiness travels are available here.
The Karmapa Holds Special Prayer Service in Varanasi for Tsunami Victims
In Varanasi, India, one of the four most sacred sites of Buddhism marking where the Buddha first turned the Wheel of Dharma and gave his first teachings, His Holiness held a special prayer service for all the deceased, injured and distressed victims of the Tsunami, which affected so many people throughout the countries in Southeast Asia bordering on the Indian Ocean. In front of the special statue of Lord Buddha, His Holiness prayed for all who suffered from the Tsunami: that there would be an end to the suffering caused by the Tsunami and that such a terrible tragedy would never happen again.
Ven. Bokar Rinpoche with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness Karmapa in Dharamsala in 2003
On October 4, His Holiness presided over the concluding funerary ceremonies for the Very Venerable Bokar Rinpoche at Bokar Monastery in Mirik, Darjeeling, India. His Holiness left Gyuto for Delhi, where he flew to the Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri, arriving at 1:35 PM. He was welcomed at the airport by Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Kalu Rinpoche, Gyaton Tulku Rinpoche, Khenpo Donyo Lodro Rinpoche, Drikung Gyalse Tulku, the Speaker of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly, members of the Sikkim Ecclesiastical Department and numerous other government representatives, Tibetan organization leaders from Sikkim, Darjeeling and other community leaders, and devotees from places such as Bhutan, totalling nearly 6,000 welcomers. (A more complete list of dignitaries meeting with His Holiness during his visit is at the end of this report). His Holiness was also welcomed by Adzin Choktrul Rinpoche, who offered him a ceremonial scarf.
Very Ven. Bokar Rinpoche passed into parinirvana on 17.8.2004 outside Mirik, Darjeeling. He was born to a nomadic family in Western Tibet in the year 1940. He was recognized at the age of four by His Holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa as the reincarnation of the previous Bokar Rinpoche. Bokar Rinpoche left Tibet at age twenty and at that time met the great meditation master Kalu Rinpoche.
Very Ven. Bokar Rinpoche was one of the most senior tutors of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa in exile, and taught him so much of the precious oral traditions, sutras and tantras. His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa sent Ven. Drupon Ripoche and staff as his representative during the first part of the 49-day cycle, to pay final respects and to offer prayers to his monastery, Bokar Ngedon Chokhor Ling, in the Darjeeling District. During that initial part of the cycle of ceremonies, His Holiness led hundreds of monks at Gyuto in prayer.
Some 40,000 devotees filled the Bokar Monastery area in Mirik to overflowing during the visit of His Holiness
After receiving permission to travel to Mirik for the concluding ceremonies for Ven. Bokar Rinpoche, His Holiness immediately proceeded to Delhi and then Siliguri. The Karmapa departed from Bagdogra Airport in a traditional procession led by monks from many monasteries, including monks from the Karmapa's seat in Rumtek, and he then proceeded to Mirik. Upon arriving at Bokar Monastery at 3:30 PM, His Holiness was received by a formal procession that was headed by Gyaltsab Rinpoche and the monks from Bokar Monastery. His Holiness’s first action was to make aspirations prayers in front of the kudung (physical remains) of Bokar Rinpoche. His Holiness then withdrew to his quarters. At that time, he was offered a mandala along with tea and rice by Kalu Rinpoche and Khenpo Donyo Lodro. His Holiness then granted several private audiences to important local figures.
His Holiness Karmapa with HE Gyaltsap Rinpoche lead ceremonies in the presence ofthe kudung of Very Ven. Bokar Rinpoche
On October 5 at 5:00 AM, His Holiness led a liturgical practice in the presence of Bokar Rinpoche’s kudung. The liturgy consisted of chanting the Kagyu Gurtso, the collected songs of realization of the Kagyu masters known in English as the Rain of Wisdom. At 1:30 PM His Holiness address the monastics and laity who were gathered at the monastery, numbering nearly 40,000. He then bestowed an Avalokiteshvara empowerment and connected teaching upon the assembly. From 4:30 PM onwards, His Holiness continued to lead the ritual activities associated with the parinirvana cermonies for Bokar Rinpoche. This concluded the day’s activities.
On the morning of October 6, His Holiness spoke for approximately two hours to a group of Western Buddhist students who had attended the ceremonies. His Holiness then visited the three-year retreat center of Bokar Rinpoche, and gave profound advice on practice to the three-year retreatants who were assembled there.
At 12:00 PM, His Holiness departed for Siliguri, and in Siliguri boarded an airplane to Delhi. He then spent the night in Delhi and departed the next day for Gyuto Monastery in Dharamsala.
June - Karmapa's Birthday Celebrated
A mandala is offered to the Karmapa during his 2004 birthday celebration
On June 26, His Holiness became 19 years of age (20 years according to the Tibetan counting system). In the morning, His Holiness was feted at a private celebration with lamas and rinpoches and other invited representatives. In the afternoon, a public ceremony was held in the monastery's courtyard.
February - March Visits to Delhi and Rewalasar
The Guru Rinpoche statue in the cave at Tso Pema, a revered practice site for Guru Rinpoche and Mandarava, one of his principal students.
His Holiness Karmapa performed the empowerment for long life for a large public audience in New Delhi's Buddha Jayanti Park at the end of February. The previous night, the Karmapa delivered a lecture at the India International Centre, sponsored by the Tibetan study group.
On March 1st, His Holiness was at Tso Pema (Rewalasar), one of the most famous Buddhist Vajaryana holy places, where Guru Padmasambhava was said to have manifested miraculous activities with Princess Mandarava. The anniversary was particularly auspicious because it was the first during the current Monkey Year, which occurs only once every 12 years.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama presided over anniversary ceremonies in the area, in the presence of over 50,000 pilgrims.
Upon returning to Gyuto, His Holiness attended teachings in March in Dharamsala by HH Dalai Lama, who lectured on Patrul Rinpoche's Words of My Perfect Teacher and The 100,000 Songs of Milarepa. In the morning, His Holiness also studied the Hevajra Tantra with the Very Ven. Bokar Rinpoche, at the temporary headquarters of the Karmapa at the Gyuto Tantric University in Sidbhari.
His Holiness presided over the the Great Monlam Aspiration of the Glorious Unequaled Kagyu Sangha (Pal Nyammay Kagyupay Sangha Monlam Chenmo) from December 30 - January
His Holiness at the Monlam which concluded in January of 2004; to his right is the late Ven. Bokar rinpoche
8. A slideshow of the event is available here. In addition to presiding over the Monlam, His Holiness also visited with the Dilgo Khyents Rinpoche Yangtsi, toured the Maitreya Project in Bodhgaya, and visited temples and monasteries in the region.
HH Gyalwa Karmapa
Detailed biographical information about His Holiness the 17th Karmapa is available from the drop down menus above. The materials are divided into:
17th Karmapa (His Holiness's current activities and schedule)
Background (Kagyu history regarding predictions about the 17th Karmapa)
In Tibet (His Holiness's early years, enthronement in Tibet and activity at Tsurphu Monastery)
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Reference (Official releases from the Kagyu Office and historical background documents referenced in other sections)
When not traveling, His Holiness holds regular public audiences at his temporary camp at the Gyuto Ramoche Tantric University in Dharamsala, HP, India
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