17th Gyalwa Karmapa"Buddhism is a way of life through which we develop the qualities of our mind.
This way of life is very unusual, as it is a means to attain happiness without harming others.


Travel Log—Commemorating Shamarpa's Parinirvana with Karmapa in Kalimpong

See the original in French

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Karmapa Thaye Dorje is supposed to arrive today at 5 pm. This morning at breakfast, they announce that his arrival is delayed until tomorrow. However, benefactors, visitors, and still more monks arrive all throughout the day. Preparations intensify: tents go up (bamboo structure and fabric walls), tormas accumulate, every corner gets cleaned. Peïo tells me he has never seen the shedra so clean or well decorated. We see the foodstuffs come in: tens of kilos of potatoes and full pallets of water bottles. Of course the traditional welcome arch (bamboo structure, fabric walls) is in place: kalyan samiti, a hearty welcome to HH the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje. There's a curious mix of somewhat intense activity and of calm. We can see monks discussing in small groups and others fussing, but no rush (for the moment).

They announce the program of ceremonies for the commemoration of Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche's parinirvana. It's serious!

There will be four practices:
- The drupcho (intensive practice) of Gyalwa Gyamtso (Red Chenrezig)
- The drupcho of Mahakala (the extended version that lasts all day)
- The reading of the Kangyur (the 103 volume tome of the Buddha's words)
- An accumulation of mani, the mantra of White Chenrezig 

Seven successive days of these different practices with a good thousand people, both monastic and lay. Merit and wisdom will come together, the dedication will seal them, and we will “invest” in a vast way toward the dual benefit with wishes that I imagine already to be extensive and dense.

Red Chenrezig, Gyalwa Gyamtso

A drupcho is the ritual practice of a yidam (meditation divinity) accomplished by a group over the course of several days in a decided location. There are multiple benefits of drupcho practice.

- It is said that practicing in group does not simple cumulate benefit, but increases it exponentially.
- The rituals associated with meditation divinities (yidams) are a source of blessing, particularly when masters take part in them.
- A secondary, but non-negligible aspect: it allows practitioners not to forget these rituals, which are often complex both in terms of preparation and accomplishment. It is a way of preserving the tradition.

In his day, Gendun Rinpoche told us to prepare ourselves to carry out these group practice at Kundreul Ling monastery. Several years ago, Jigme Rinpoche encouraged the monastic sangha to study them more in-depth and to carry them out regularly. And so it came to be that each year at the monastery, they carry out the drupchos of great yidams that we practice in three-year retreat like Gyalwa Gyamtso, Dorje Pamo, and Mahakala for several days. Sometimes these rituals bring together a hundred lamas and druplas in the grand temple of Le Bost. Inspiring.

 The altar is simple with the Buddha and statues of the 16 Karmapas.

At the end of the day, I went to the daily Mahakala practice. There are about a hundred of us monks in the shedra's temple on the top floor of the building. My first impression is that it's family: the same ritual, the same rhythms and recitations, the same music. Only at the end, they heartily recite some wishes that everyone knows by heart. I enjoy listening and reciting here and there a passage that I know as well.

I can't help thinking again about this mirror effect between East and West—the voyage of the Buddha's teaching from India to Tibet and now from Tibet to Europe—and how the Dharma is transmitted in its different dimensions: philosophy, meditation, vows, rituals, oral instructions, etc. But here, one thing is obvious: they have a thousand years on us. We can easily feel the ten centuries of preservation that, despite the exodus from Tibet, have stood up to the years. Gratitude—it's encouraging.

In the morning, a quick visit to Kalimpong market. Kalimpong Valley


Lama Puntso


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