Bodhicharya Summer Camp
14-20 July 2014
Casa da Torre, Braga, Portugal
The Camp was hosted for the third year running by Bodhicharya Portugal at Casa da Torre, near Braga, from 14 to 21 July. With around 110 participants from 20 different countries, mainly European, the atmosphere was lively, the discussion animated, a chance to renew old friendships and make new ones.
Ringu Tulku’s teachings continued and concluded the study of Dakpo Tashi Namgyal’s magisterial text, Mahᾱmudrᾱ, The Moonlight: Quintessence of Mind and Meditation, which he had started four years previously in Lusse, France. He made it clear from the outset, however, that study of a text is only the beginning: we must use this study to work on ourselves, which is the main meditation. Ultimately it is our practice and we must integrate the teaching at the level on which we find ourselves. Throughout the week’s teachings, he stressed the Dharma as a living reality, and this somewhat forbidding text was made accessible to us by our knowledge that our teacher had been there himself and was reporting back from the land of realisation for samsaric beings at an earlier stage on the Path. And yet he managed, consistently, but without any diminution of the text’s austere wisdom, to open it up to our understanding.
Audience for the Karma Kagyu organisation heads at Kamalashila.
Photo: Francois Henrard
For many years Ringu Tulku Rinpoche has worked increasingly closely with His Holiness the 17th Karmapa and the Indian Government to make way for a visit of His Holiness to Europe to give teachings. Four separate applications were made in the past 10 years, but only the last was successful, and only after all hope for success had been given up. No-one could have envisaged either the scale at which it finally took place, or the magnitude of the impact that the visit would have, from start to finish.
It was clear however when Ringu Tulku Rinpoche gave his ecstatic thanks after the Karma Pakshi empowerment on the final day, that he was indebted to not only the tireless teams of the German Karma Kagyu Trust, Bodhicharya Berlin, Rigpa and all the international volunteers who worked on the ground; but also the German and Indian Governments who cleared the way for His Holiness to travel to Europe. It was a massive undertaking, an achievement that will doubtless benefit countless beings way beyond our imaginings.
The 17th Karmapa arrived in Frankfurt on Sunday 25th May, and was brought to a private location for several days to acclimatise, before he was swiftly moved into an almost too busy schedule for the ten days that followed. When His Holiness arrived at Langenfeld he got out of his car and slowly walked the incline to the Kamalashila Centre nodding and waving to those en route. The road was lined with members of Buddhist communities from all over the world as well as local residents who joined us on the road to cheer and wave, they also had the privilege of homes that bordered the street, and upstairs windows giving great views.
Lama Shenga hanging flags at Kamalashila Stupa