Karmapa's Gift

Tibetan Buddhism
for Western Students


Dharma Haven

The revered Tibetan Buddhist meditation master, His Holiness, the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa, The Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapawas known as a living embodiment of boundless compassion. After he left Tibet, he gave several meditation practices to his Western students. Simple yet powerful, these visualizations allow us to explore our own innate connection to the brilliant sanity and compassion of all the Buddhas -- and to begin manifesting that sanity and compassion in our everyday lives.

Instructions for beginning the practices are available on the Internet in most of the major European languages, and we provide links to them on this page. On a separate page you can find a brief introduction to Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, the Sixteenth Karmapa, who joined together his deep insight into our Western minds and his profound understanding of the Dharma, and gave us these practices -- inviting us to join our minds with his. 

The 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje

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Simple Meditations for Western Students
"The following meditations can be used without any preparation. No specific preconditions have to be met. They come from a direct transmission lineage and are a gift to us Westerners. You can practice them alone, although it is better to do them in a group." 
-- Lama Ole Nydahl

The main introductory practice given by H. H. Karmapa to his Western students is the Guru Yoga Meditation of the 16th Karmapa. One can begin this practice immediately, or one can begin with one of the simpler practices, the Rainbow Light Meditation or the Meditation on Light and Breath. Meditations for children are available as well.

Guru Yoga Meditation of the 16th Karmapa
Basic Meditation of the Karma Kagyu Lineage

The 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Thaye Dorje
larger image
"Now out of space in front of us, condenses the golden, transparent form of the 16th Karmapa - a radiant field of energy and light. He wears the Black Crown, the shape of which can awaken mind's deepest awareness and his face is golden and mild. His eyes see us clearly, he knows us and wishes us everything good. Expressing the state of compassion and wisdom inseparable, of bliss and space, his crossed hands hold a dorje and bell at his heart. Seated in the Dorje position, he is surrounded by masses of light."
-- Guru Yoga Meditation of the 16th Karmapa

Guru Yoga is known as the axle of the vehicle that takes us to enlightenment. Most Tibetan Buddhists do Guru Yoga practice every day at the beginning of their meditation. The practice fosters perception of one's own mind as indivisible from the nature of the Guru's mind. In this simplified form of the practice, the guru (lama) is His Holiness, the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. 

It is said that the benefits of doing this practice are immeasurable. Lama Ole Nydahl, who was entrusted by Karmapa with bringing this practice to Western people, sums it up like this: "I know of no more effective meditation." 

Diamond Way Buddhist Centers
for instruction,
practice texts and group practice

Simple Light Meditations

"At the heart-level in the center of our chest, now appears a tiny rainbow light. Gradually it expands through our body,  totally filling it and dissolving all diseases and obstacles on its way. When we can stay with this awareness, our body  shines like a lamp and light streams in all directions, filling space. It dissolves the suffering of beings everywhere and the  world now shines with great meaning and joy. All are in a pure land, full of limitless possibilities. Everything is  self-liberating. We emanate this light as long as it feels natural. "
-- Rainbow Light Meditation

The Rainbow Light Meditation, the Meditation on Light and Breath, and the meditations for children are not normally done as group practices at Diamond Way centers, but instructions and practice texts are available at centers around the world.

Diamond Way Buddhist Centers
for instruction and
practice texts

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books, videosweb sites

Web Resources
The 16th Gyalwa Karmapa -- Images

The 17th Galwa Karmapa -- Images

Diamond Way Buddhism

Diamond Way Centers

Related Pages from Dharma Haven

The 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje

The 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Thinley Thaye Dorje

Answers to Questions about the New Karmapa

Tibetan Healing Meditation

Index of Dharma Haven's Tibetan Pages

Books and Videos
The Guru Yoga Meditation on the 16th Karmapa in a small booklet. Available from Diamond Way Buddhism centers.

Diamond Way Centers

The Lion's Roar (Video)

Documents the extraordinary life, teachings and death of His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, supreme head of the Kagyu tradition.

The Way Things Are: A Living Approach to Buddhism for Today's World
Lama Ole Nydahl

Following Karmapa's instructions, Ole Nydahl has started nearly 300 lay Buddhist centers in the West. Here he passes on essential teachings he received during his years in the Himalayas.

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Revised on June 17, 2005

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