KIBI Celebrated the 66th Republic Day of India
January 26, 2015
Karmapa International Buddhist Institute staff, students and guests celebrated the 66th Republic Day of India with a day’s event. The proceedings began with the raising of the national flag at 9am, and the singing of the Indian national anthem. In the afternoon, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa arrived to give a public talk.
In his welcoming speech, His Holiness reminded us that we, as members of the Buddhist community, have a very special connection with India; the birthplace of Buddhism and the birthplace of the timeless wisdom that we benefit from through our practices. According to the prophecies, India has not only been the host of Buddhism in the past and present eras but will also host Buddhism in many eras to come. So India is a very generous nation. His Holiness spoke of how remembrance can be a great offering and a way of expressing gratitude; noting that in remembering what is left behind by anyone, it lives on. He noted that Republic Day offers us an occasion to remember the generosity of India, and invited us to remember it with joy, appreciation, openness, and to show our gratitude through accumulating merit. He said merit can be accumulated through offering light to the world through lighting butter lamps but, most importantly, it can be accumulated through generating bodhicitta. He explained that essentially bodhicitta can be understood as thinking about all others before oneself, and remarked that engaging in the practice of Chenrezig (Avalokiteswara)- who is the very embodiment of bodhicitta – is a great means of accumulating merit and generating something that is in every way good.
Following his welcoming speech, His Holiness responded to questions from students and guests (you can read the review here >>). Topics were related to the importance of human qualities, such as trust and humility; the role that gods and prayer play in Buddhism; and the importance of respect for other spiritual traditions and practices. His Holiness also answered numerous questions related to meditation practice, such as what should be the focus of specific practices; how to manage obstacles, such as distraction, expectations, and feelings of indifference; and how to relate to yidams and how making wishes to them works.
After the question and answer session, His Holiness guided a Chenrezig practice. Butter lamps were then offered and Samantabhadra prayers were chanted with the wish that peace and prosperity prevail in India. His Holiness also wished that, through this practice, peace and prosperity will emanate out across the world to all nations.