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

Karmapa’s message regarding the Jokhang Monastery fire

February 19, 2018

Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, shares the following message regarding the Jokhang Monastery fire on 17 February 2018:

Dear dharma friends

Many of you will have seen the news and images of the fire at Jokhang Monastery in Lhasa over the weekend.

While the extent of the damage is unclear, it is understandable that for many people, seeing one of our most sacred monasteries alight may give rise to disturbing emotions.

When I was in Lhasa as a young boy, I used to visit the Jokhang with my family almost every day, to pay respects to the Jowo Rinpoche – the statue of the Buddha. Like so many others, I would regularly pray in front of the Jowo and make offerings there. I remember feeling such a deep sense of trust in the Jowo – I even occasionally sat on the Buddha’s lap, feeling very safe and comfortable.

The Jokhang is a special and spiritual place for all Tibetan Buddhists. As well as one of our most sacred sites, it is also an important meeting place for the Tibetan community.

I pray that the fire has not caused any lasting damage, and feel comforted that no casualties have been reported.

At the same time, it is also important for us to remember that we are not defined by our temples, our titles, or what people think or say about us. As Buddhists, we need the courage to understand and accept that there is no such thing as a real, solid or permanent home – and therefore nothing to be attached to. In absolute terms, what really matters is that we use our innate values of wisdom and compassion, our Inner Wealth, to benefit all living beings.

Therefore, we should not let our minds be disturbed by emotion. Instead, let us keep our minds calm, and tap into the pool of compassion and wisdom that lies within all of us, no matter who or where we are.

Thaye Dorje

His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa