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Karmapa’s birth 900 year anniversary: 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje presides

December 13, 2010

The Times of India
December 11th, 2010

In a most auspicious and upbeat focus of respect and honor, the “Karmapa 900” organization recently (Dec. 9 – 10, 2010) initiated a yearlong celebration presided over by H.H. the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje.  This massive gathering and teaching is to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the birth of the First Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa.

Dusum Khyenpa was born in 1110, and this year’s celebration marks the founding of the first lineage of reincarnated lamas in Buddhist history, fundamentally shaping Tibetan Buddhism as it is today.  Many other such reincarnated lineages have since been created.  The most well known of these lineages is that of H.H. the Dalai Lama, which began with the first Dalai Lama who was born in 1391.  The current Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatsom is the 14th in that reincarnation lineage.

The “Karmapa 900” organization continues to facilitate this auspicious occasion as H.H. the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje led a gala opening ceremony Dec. 8 at Buddhism’s most sacred site in Bodhgaya, India.  This is the site where the Buddha attained enlightenment while sitting under the Bodhi Tree.

The initial two-day celebration was held on a specially constructed outdoor stage and included performances of sacred songs in Sanskrit and Tibetan, traditional Tibetan drama as well as rituals and prayers. The prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, Samdhong Rinpoche addressed the 5,000 plus people who attended the opening event.

H.H. the Dalai Lama has expressed his support for the year’s commemorative events in a special message sent to Karmapa 900.  He said,

“I am delighted to know that this is happening, and extend my prayers and best wishes to all.”

The system of reincarnate lamas instituted by Dusum Khyenpa is founded on high levels of spiritual attainment and has been subsequently adopted by all other branches of Buddhism, providing strong continuity to Buddhism in Tibet.  Dusum Khyenpa also established the 900-year old Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism that is headed today by the seventeenth reincarnation in the Karmapa line, His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje.

Regarding this occasion, H.H. the 17th Karmapa said,

“What we are remembering and reflecting on with Karmapa 900 is the great kindness of Dusum Khyenpa. Not only did he show measureless kindness to beings: through his deeds in founding the Karmapa lineage and the great lineage of the Karma Kagyu, Dusum Khyenpa was the source of 900 years of kindness to beings.

Countless great masters have come and engaged in enlightened activities over the past nine centuries through this lineage. That was all possible only because Dusum Khyenpa came into the world. He was the actual seed for the vast tree of the Karma Kagyu, with its wide shade-giving branches and its blossoms and rich fruits.

“It is my personal duty and the duty of all followers of the Karma Kagyu to honour his deeds and his great compassion, courage and wisdom, by cultivating those same qualities ourselves. Karmapa 900 is designed to serve as a reminder, and as an opportunity to do so.”

May all sentient beings benefit from the celebration of this most auspicious occasion.
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