Karmapa 900 Comes to Europe;
Kamalashila Hosts First Celebration

(Langenfeld/Eifel, Germany, July 10) His Holiness the Seventeenth Karmapa’s seat, Kamalashila Institute, hosted the very first Karmapa 900 ceremony to be held in Europe. His Eminence Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche presided over the July 10 event, which was held immediately following a three-day Kagyu Monlam gathering. Participants hailed from all across Europe, including many from Austria, Belgium, France, Poland and Switzerland.

A large crowd gathered at Kamalashila’s stupa on a brilliantly sunny Sunday morning. Numerous dignitaries, members of the press and local villagers joined the many disciples of the Karma Kagyu lineage to celebrate 900 years of the Karmapa lineage, the world’s oldest reincarnation lineage. With the crowd eagerly awaiting its arrival, the statue of the First Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, was carried forward in a dignified procession headed by Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche.

As the First Karmapa looked on from atop a specially constructed throne, His Holiness the Seventeenth Karmapa participated from afar, through a video message he had specially pre-recorded before leaving India to attend the Kalachakra initiation by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Washington, DC. Many in the assembly were visibly moved and overjoyed as they watched His Holiness’s video message.

In an address to the large gathering, Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche pointed out the importance of the First Karmapa not only for the Kagyu tradition, but also for Tibetan Buddhism in general and for human beings in the modern world of today. The Lord Mayor and the Mayor presented offerings and expressed their gratitude to Kamalashila. In addition, messages of congratulations from the District Governor and from His Eminence Loden Sherab Dagyab Rinpoche were read out. The morning ceremonies ended with a mandala offering and the offering of a birthday cake, which was cut by Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche and enjoyed by the 40 ordained sangha members as well as the lay community.

This function was followed by the performance of the Dusum Khyenpa Guru Yoga practice composed by His Holiness, in a practice session led by Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche. As the Karmapa 900 festivities concluded in the afternoon, participants expressed a sense of joy as they dispersed, carrying the blessings on the lineage in all directions as they went. In the days to come, German radio and print media further carried news of the joyful Karmapa 900 celebration even further afield.

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