December 23, 2020
Karmapa Public Course 2016
Hundreds of students were sitting on mats placed against the cool stone floor of the main hall of the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute in Delhi. Against a backdrop of beautiful Indian Spring weather, the Karmapa Public Course 2016 was beginning.
On the throne at the front of hall, Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, had completed the preparatory rituals for the empowerment of the Buddha of Limitless Life, Amitayus. Beside Karmapa, sitting on a throne was a photograph of his late teacher, His Holiness Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche. Karmapa addressed those taking the empowerment, explaining the motivation for taking a long-life empowerment:
There is a more profound reason why we want live long. It is not just to survive, it is not just to outlast time, but it is done with the intention to benefit sentient beings.
In the days following this empowerment, the four hundred students would learn about the rich Buddhist philosophy and history of the Karma Kagyu lineage.
They had come from India, the Himalayan area, South East Asia, Europe, and even from as far as South America, to gather in New Delhi for this annual opportunity to learn from Karmapa and other teachers.
Karmapa continued from where he left off during last year’s course. He gave a commentary on the soaring 8th century text the Bodhisattvacharyāvatāra (‘The Way of the Bodhisattva’) by Shantideva. Karmapa taught for four days on the third chapter, beautifully describing how to apply the teachings to our daily practice.
During the course, which ran from 14-19 March, Professor Sempa Dorje answered questions from students; Khenpo Chodrak Tenphel Rinpoche taught on historical aspects of the Karma Kagyu lineage; Khenpo Lobsang explained Buddhist philosophy; and Khenpo Tsering taught about Motivation in Buddhism.
On the last day, Karmapa gave the empowerment of Manjusri, the Buddha of Wisdom. He also encouraged the participants to come and study at the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute (KIBI), if they wished.
With that, the 2016 public teachings were complete, and the four hundred students departed filled with inspiration and the riches of the Buddha Dharma.
For more information about studying at KIBI, see the KIBI website.