On November 2, 1977, the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje (1924 – 1981), carried out a week of Korlo Demchok practice, a profound Vajrayana practice, at the summit of the Cote de Jor.
Through this intensive practice, 16th Karmapa took possession of the place and, on this autumn day, sealed the blessing of the Karma Kagyü lineage on Perigordin soil. He named the place Dhagpo Kagyu Ling, “the place of the transmission of the teachings,” and designated it his principal seat, the heart of the European network of the lineage.
Several centuries prior, in 1189, the first Karmapa, Dusum Kyenpa (1110 – 1193), effectuated the same gestures and spoke the same words in Tibet during the founding of the Karmapas’ seat, the monastery of Tsurphu.
Several centuries and thousand of kilometers separate the two events and yet the signification is identical: to anchor the blessing of the Kagyü lineage in a place where it will be preserved and from which it can spread and be useful to all sentient beings.
Every year since a practice of smoke offering commemorates and revives this day. Today the practice had a particular flavor. As the various offering substances were thrown into the fire and spread with the smoke, how could one not remember the uninterrupted succession of masters and students who have set foot at Dhagpo? Among the practitioners seated in the temple this morning, some were not even born forty years ago, while others have passed through and since passed away. And still the blessing remains in this place where the Buddha’s teaching is transmitted and received to be transmitted again.
The ritual reaches its conclusion outside, in the autumn warmth, at the summit of the Cote de Jor. New prayer flags are hung and carry into the blue all of our wishes, the beneficial aspirations and immense gratitude of the assembled practitioners: what a formidable opportunity it is that such places exist and that they endure thanks to the commitment of all!
As Thaye Dorje, His Holiness, the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, said during his teaching to the community,
“Just as I think as it is important in life to remember where we came from in a way, to remind ourselves of our roots. Of course in this life we can simply begin from our parents – be it our biological parents or others, that is somehow the origin of this life. It starts from there.
Similarly in our spiritual life, it also begins from our teachers, and so therefore the teachers that you have met, that have lead you to come this far, are very precious – so therefore I think it is very important to remember them, to somehow know that link.”