His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, head of the 900-year-old Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, has offered words of consolation to all suffering through the current coronavirus pandemic. His address was live-streamed on his official Facebook page on Tuesday and shared via YouTube and the Kagyu Office website.
The Karmapa has been in retreat for some time and, as part of his address, stated that he would initiate an hour-long daily online prayer session starting from Saturday to express solidarity with the world and to pray for world peace. Details of the times and how to take part in the prayers will be announced soon. In addition, his office has donated 2,800,000 Indian rupees (US$36,474) to government agencies and funds in India to help fight the coronavirus.
“His Holiness [the Karmapa] is very concerned about the outbreak of this deadly COVID-19 in India and around the globe, and appreciates the timely and untiring efforts made by the government of India led by Honourable Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] and the State Governments in containing this deadly disease,” the Tsurphu Labrang, the office of administration for the Karmapa, stated in a press release. (Tibet Sun)
The full transcript of the Karmapa’s message follows:
I would like to wish everyone Tashi Delek.
At this time when, as you all know, the coronavirus pandemic has spread throughout the world, creating an inconceivable crisis, I have been staying in retreat, keeping some distance from society. But I am unable to bear the feeling, and would like to say a few words today.
From the time this epidemic began to spread, it has severely impacted the daily lives and health of everyone on the entire Earth. We worry anxiously about what will happen in the future.
The Bhagavan Buddha said that everything composite is impermanent. No matter what situation we face in our lives, it always changes, not staying still for even an instant. We are able to deal with a great deal of change, but merely knowing that is no substitute. When sometimes there are changes in a direction that we want or when positive changes exceed our expectations, we have the hope that there will be even more or greater changes. But when it is the opposite and there are incomprehensible changes for the bad, we get afraid and do not know what we should do.
So when we are confronted by such great impermanence as now, we must do what we can not to panic and instead look inside ourselves. For example, many things we ordinarily take for granted are actually incredibly precious. We should relax and think about our normal good health and what a great happiness it is to have people who are dear to us. Then we can use this crisis to improve ourselves and learn something new. I think that trying to do this will be very beneficial.
This present pandemic does not discriminate between male and female, between races and nationalities, between those with wealth and power and those without. Even developed countries such as America, Spain, Italy, and the UK face great difficulties. Many developing and poor countries will face even greater hardships. Even if a country has only one coronavirus patient, the danger to the entire world is such that it is crucially important that all of us on the earth must work together to face and overcome this crisis.
Every day, the number of the sick increases. When we see the number of deaths increasing past the hundreds and thousands, we can be left numb. In actuality, each one of them is a living, breathing person. In particular, doctors and medical professionals are caring for the sick and making great sacrifices to fight this battle. It is very important that we all express our appreciation, support, and praise for them.
Thus to show how we Buddhists support everyone during this current epidemic, starting from next Saturday, we have an hour-long prayer session on the internet every day for a week. We can all pray together for world peace and for the epidemic to be quelled. The time will be announced later. So I would like to ask everyone to pray together for everyone in the world to be happy and for this pandemic to quickly pass. (Kagyu Office)
Born in the traditional region of Kham in eastern Tibet in 1985, Ogyen Trinley Dorje received his initial education at the traditional seat of the Karmapa lineage, Tsurphu Monastery. He fled to Dharamsala, India, in December 1999, arriving on 5 January 2000, where he was received by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Due to a dispute within the recognition process, Ogyen Trinley Dorje was recognized by some within the lineage while Trinley Thaye Dorje was recognized by others. The two have worked together recently to heal rifts within the community.