(26 October, 2012, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh) In an unprecedented three-day event, His Holiness the 17thKarmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is granting initiation and teachings on Chöd. A spiritual practice developed by Machig Labdron, a Tibetan yogini in the 11th century, Chöd is practiced by nearly all sects of Tibetan Buddhism to this day. Approximately 1,000 people from across the Himalayan region and around the world are here to attend this historic Dharma transmission, which is being conferred for the first time by His Holiness in response to a supplication made by a western Buddhist woman, Lama Tsultrim Allione, on behalf of all women practitioners. Lama Tsultrim was ordained in 1970 as a Buddhist nun by His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, and later pursued the path as a lay practitioner.
The teachings and empowerment are taking place through 28 October and hosted at Dorzong Monastic Institute (Jangchub Jong) in Kangra Valley, Himachal Pradesh, by His Eminence the 8th Dorzong Rinpoche, a highly respected senior lineage holder within the Drugpa Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. The Dharma transmission is reserved for serious practitioners, while a long-life initiation to be offered to the general public on 29 October at Dorzong Institute. Apart from several hundred Buddhist nuns from around the Himalayas, the event has attracted disciples from dozens of different countries.
Expressing his delight regarding the occasion, His Holiness the Karmapa said: “Since the time of the 3rd Karmapa who wrote the first commentary on Chöd, the Karmapas have maintained a close connection to this practice. I myself feel a deep bond with these teachings coming from Machig Labdrön. She is the perfect embodiment of wisdom and compassion and has inspired Buddhist practitioners for many centuries. I am especially pleased that I can offer this encouragement and support to female practitioners from around the Himalayan region and the world, and pray that the good merit from this event generates peace.”
The Gyalwang Karmapas are the historical holders of the direct lineage of Chöd, which is based on the Indian Buddhist deity Prajnaparamita, the Mother of all the Buddhas, embodiment of wisdom. Of the eight practice lineages of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Chöd is the only lineage established by a woman. In that spirit, Tara Mandala, a Vajrayana Buddhist organization that focuses on the Chöd lineage, based in Colorado, U.S.A. and founded by Lama Tsultrim Allione, sponsored numerous delegations of nuns from across the Himalayas to attend this event.
Lama Tsultrim Allione, said: “Prajnaparamita, the mother of all the Buddhas, is the personification of transcendent wisdom. She represents the feminine principle in Buddhist tradition, and is the basis of Machig Labdrön’s teachings. The Chöd practice, which seeks to feed rather than fight what appears to be the 'enemy', offers a much needed new paradigm for today's world that promotes compassion and integration instead of polarization.”
Lama Tsultrim went on to say: “His Holiness the Karmapa is uniquely suited to give this Dharma teaching and empowerment. Like previous incarnations of the Karmapa who also held the Chöd lineage, His Holiness has demonstrated an unconditional commitment to working for the well being of women, and agreed to our request to dedicate this event to women practitioners all around the world.”
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