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An audience with His Holiness Karmapa

Posted on 14 Sep 2013

An audience with His Holiness Karmapa

An audience with His Holiness Karmapa

A brief account of our audience with His Holiness Karmapa during the last Kagyu Monlam.

We were ushered into the audience room on the roof of Tergar monastery and after presenting kattas and offerings we all sat down right in front of His Holiness. Lama Zangmo introduced the group and conveyed greetings from both Akong Tulku Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe Rinpoche. She then gave a brief history of KSDL from its beginnings up to finding its own premises in Spa Road, and how we had hoped to have HH Karmapa there for the opening - and we could glimpse the great devotion that Lama feels for HH in the emotion that almost overwhelmed her. She presented HH with the KSDL leaflet, and HH's first reaction on seeing the picture of the Spa Road building was, "Wow! It looks like a castle!" Lama Zangmo renewed the invitation for HH to come, and he answered with great weight: "I will try."

We were fortunate to be given the opportunity as a group to ask His Holiness three questions, and to our delight HH spoke in fluent english, without a translator:

Question: How can we support the activities of His Holiness, the Karma Kagyu Lineage, and the other traditions, and how would he like to see Tibetan Buddhism developing in the West.

HH: That's a big question! I can't answer immediately, but generally it's important to get the essence of Buddha-dharma. Without this understanding it is meaningless, pointless. The essence of Buddha-dharma is to transform people's minds, so they become more open, with a good heart, helping others. A change in their reality, rather than in what they believe, their ideas, their philosophy. Just a philosophy or an idea isn't good enough. We need to change our motivation, our behaviour, our livelihood. We can see lots of problems these days because of human behaviour and motivation. What is negative in people must change.

Question: We would like to ask on behalf of all the people associated with Samye Dzong London how we can all collectively support Akong Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe Rinpoche in their activities and how we can promote their long lives?

HH: I think both Akong Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe have worked very hard in the last twenty, thirty years. It is very important to fulfill their wishes and aspirations. Their students have their instructions, their guidance and it's important to recognise what they really want to fulfill, to complete. Also, Akong Rinpoche's Rokpa projects are very wonderful, he is helping lots of education projects in Tibet. To support this project is very important.

Question: At Samye Dzong London there are monks, nuns and laypeople living together as a community. What advice would Your Holiness give to help us keep pure motivation and conduct so that we can be a good example of a Buddhist community in a big city like London?

HH: Western society is different from that of the East - India, Nepal, Tibet. Sometimes in some contexts changes are needed, the conduct must be according to the society, culture. But basically it's a problem of monastic education, how to be a monk or nun ... I think a sort of education programme about not only philosophy but conduct and motivation, day-to-day life education is needed. London is a very important place in Europe. It's very important to have a community there and to have an education programme.

HHK then kindly offered a zen to each of the Sangha, a print of Guru Rinpoche and of the First Karmapa Dusum Chenpa to Lama Zangmo for the Centre, and as we left he offered to each of us, from his own hand, a lovely engraved pebble with the Chenrezig mantra in gold letters! Emaho!