August 3, 2023
Karmapa’s official address on Vesak 2015
Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, shares an official address regarding the Nepal earthquake, on the occasion of Vesak 2015, the day that marks the birth, enlightenment, and passing of Buddha:
To all those affected by the earthquake that struck Nepal and neighbouring countries, I offer my deepest condolences and most heartfelt prayers on this day of Vesak, the day that marks the birth, enlightenment and passing of Buddha. I cannot even imagine just how hard it must be for all of you, losing your loved ones and seeing others lose theirs.
May the timeless teachings of Lord Buddha help you to soothe and calm the emotions that you are experiencing. May the teachings of Lord Buddha help you to overcome these emotions and find the courage to understand the nature of impermanence. As Buddha said: “All compounded phenomena are impermanent,” and that is the heart of Buddha’s teachings. As long as we live in this cyclic existence, birth, death – and all change – are a part of life.
May the teachings of Lord Buddha help you to understand that although you have lost your loved ones, their love, their compassion and their wisdom will never fade, for they are timeless and beginningless.
For me, it is heart-warming to see the courage that you have shown in the face of such tragedy, in the midst of such crisis.
And for those of you who have dedicated your time, energy and other resources to support those directly affected by the earthquake, know that this kind of courage has great benefit. Those who feel deeply lost will discover hope and humanity in your loving kindness.
In my present lifetime, I have lost precious ones as well. It is in these moments that others’ kindness, courage and spirituality, as well as my own courage, have helped me to understand and overcome my own emotions. Without the kindness of others, we would surely be lost.
Let us use this special day of Vesak – a day that is so precious to you in Nepal, where our Lord Buddha was born, and indeed for all of us around the world – to pray for those who have lost their lives; been injured; lost their homes and livelihoods; and for all those who are suffering as a result of this earthquake.
For those who have lost their lives, let us pray for their good rebirth.
For those who are affected, let us pray that they find the courage to overcome their emotions.
Let us use this special day of Vesak to pray together and make aspirations to overcome the cycle of birth and death and to finally reach the state of enlightenment.
And for all of you, please know that you are not alone. I will be praying with all of you, and so will all of the students and practitioners from our lineage. Today, and on all days, we are one.