Logo of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Thaye DorjeThaye Dorje
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa

Japan typhoon: Karmapa’s condolence message and teaching

October 18, 2019

Following the devastating Typhoon Hagibis, which struck Japan on Saturday, Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, shares the following message and teaching:

Dear dharma friends

I was moved by the news that at least 77 people have lost their lives, and more than 200 people were injured, following the devastating typhoon that hit central and northern Japan on Saturday.

We offer the people of Japan our compassion. And we also offer them hope. 

For death is not the end –  it never has been. Death is just another aspect and part of life that is presented through the nature of impermanence. By allowing the appearance and experience of mortality to come and go, the concepts of ‘limit’ and ‘beyond limit’ diminish. 

In Buddhism, the practice of letting concepts come and go is called the practice of compassion and wisdom. Wisdom and compassion are an inherent treasure or wealth that often seems hidden within us. All we need to do is to not fear revealing this Inner Wealth. 

For example: when our loved ones pass away, if we can find some courage to let them be, we do not need to be afraid to let them go. Because, they have not really ‘gone’ – they were never confined to their momentary appearance in the first place. That momentary appearance was just a part of them.

Our loved ones may not have realised that their momentary appearance was only a chapter in their story, but by us showing the courage to let them be, it actually helps them in their journey to realise their Inner Wealth. They will realise that their appearance was just a temporary experience, and let it be.

In the midst of tragedy, when we show this courage, we may see a spark of clarity that helps us overcome words, numbers and other concepts, which by their nature are limiting and limited. In fact, we may see that if it wasn’t for tragedies, we may never have been able to overcome concepts, which is the practice of wisdom and compassion.

If we see this spark of clarity, we do not need to fear it. Although tragedies have the appearance of being overwhelming and permanent, they never are. Step by step, with incremental courage, we can let the experience of tragedies come and go, and the world of words, numbers and concepts will no longer overpower us.

With compassion for the people of Japan and for all sentient beings

Thaye Dorje 

His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa