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

Friday, June 9, 2017

A pile of sacred sand and a publishing house

The morning is devoted to the conclusion ritual; it is the ritual Gyalwa Gyamtso accomplished daily, but without the slow melodies and read at a human speed. In the ritual, there is a phase called "self-empowerment". The empowerment that one receives from a master is called the basic empowerment, the one implemented during practice is the empowerment of the path (self-empowerment, because one gives it to oneself through visualizations without the media of a master) and the empowerment of the fruit is what unfolds when one realizes what one has cultivated during the journey.

Self-empowerment with sacred ornaments

This morning the self-empowerment phase was accomplished with pomp as the main practitioners dressed in the dakas and dakinis while Karmapa took empowerments with the support of ritual objects such as the vase, mirror, the bell, etc. from the mandala (this phase were done without support the previous days). During the empowerment, the mandala was opened to reveal the face of the divinity (Vajrayana language to express the recognition of the enlightened qualities of the mind). Once this phase was completed at the conclusion of the ritual, Karmapa, assisted by Nendo Rinpoche, gathered the mandala sand into a pile that was put into an urn to be thrown into the river. It is always surprising to see two full days of a dozen people’s work put in an urn in 5 minutes. And so goes phenomena: doomed to be transformed and to disappear (with the exception of knowing clarity of the mind and its qualities which are timeless).

The mandala before the four days of ritual

Just before gathering the sand into a pile,
the dissolution phase of the mandala

Karmapa, helped by Nendo Rinpoche, gathers the sand

When the ritual is over, we learn that we will not go to the river today; social incidents in Darjeeling have caused the roads to be blocked in the region. To put it simply: it's holiday for everyone this afternoon and it does not bother anyone!

The urn with the sand surmounted 
by the crown of the Five Meditation Buddhas

Meanwhile, reading the kangyur continues

The holidays are short-lived: at 4 pm, the practice of the protectors is announced, followed by Shamar Rinpoche's famous and melancholic "calling the Lama from afar". When a hundred monks, including Karmapa intone with heart, it leaves traces in the mind. By now, it is 7 pm.

By being immersed in ritual practices all day, I forget that the place is first and foremost a study institute as well as a publishing house: the Shri Diwakar Publications.

The presentation of their approach starts with a very broad vision: "Books are said to be the best medium to gather written texts and graphic representations. For centuries and millennia, books have been the best companion of mankind. They are the source of knowledge. They play an essential role in reviving, preserving and transmitting ideas, knowledge and cultures from generation to generation. Some books such as the Gita, the Tripitaka (the collection of the Buddha's teachings), the Koran or the Bible are of enormous value to humankind and its civilizations. Nevertheless, the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs) has gradually reduced the value of books. Therefore it is essential to preserve and reproduce any book that contains knowledge, whatever its genre, author, language or origin. "

The library reading room

It is in this state of mind that Shamar Rinpoche (yet again) created the Shri Diwakar editions in 2003, its specific purpose being to preserve and publish Buddhist texts. Among other publications, there was the Shramana Karika, a text on the ethics of Nagarjuna with commentary by Professor Sempa Dorjé, a contemporary scholar and instructor of the Gyalwa Karmapa. There was also a collection of teachings on mahamudra distributed free of charge in monasteries and institutes. Even more recently, they published a commentary by Professor Sempa Dorjé of a Sutra, on the conditioned co-production, the Sutra of the rice grain. This is to quote only three, knowing that all their publications are evidently in Tibetan.

It is interesting to note that they are in contact with the Buddhist publishing house in France, Rabsel editions, known to all and actively supporting them (again a publishing house created through the impetus of Shamar Rinpoche). In addition to that, and with the same idea, Audrey, one of the heads of the library at the Dhagpo Institute, was here in Kalimpong a few months ago to, among other things, see how libraries in different places can collaborate. When will we have the database of works from the major Kagyu centers and institutes? It will take a while, but I do not think I'm mistaken in saying that this is a perspective that the leaders want.

Umze Ngedon, the singing master. At his side,
two of his students learning the arcanas
of the Gyalwa Gyamtso's drupcho, its melodies and variations.
Succession seems assured.

When Jigme Rinpoche speaks to the residents of Dhagpo but also to the monks of the shedra and to the lamas in Kundreul Ling, just as in his public teachings, he says: study is useless if meaning is not integrated into the current of being through the practice of meditation. It is by putting knowledge and understanding at the service of others that one accomplishes one's own benefit; this is what makes the best use of the conditions of this precious human existence. It is with this motivation that we must study and practice.

Whatever the latitude, the sense of Dharma is the same for all.

Distribution of the offering feast

Lama Puntso


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