Karma Tashi Ling
The Karma Tashi Ling Buddhist Meditation Society was founded in Edmonton in 1986 under the spiritual guidance of The Very Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche.
The main purpose of the Karma Tashi Ling society is to help make the tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, as taught by Thrangu Rinpoche, available to the Edmonton community.
Visitors are welcome and encouraged to come to our centre and participate in meditation, chant, study and discussion.
The Very Venerable Khenchen
Originally from Tibet, is an accomplished meditation master and an esteemed holder of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Rinpoche is well known for making complex teachings accessible to students; Karma Tashi Ling is one of several practice centres which have been established around the world under his guidance.
Because of his vast knowledge and skill as a teacher, Thrangu Rinpoche was appointed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to be the personal tutor for His Holiness the Seventeenth Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu Lineage.
Ani Kunsang was trained at Thrangu Tara Abbey in Nepal from the age of fifteen. While there she served many roles including chant master, manager and discipline master for nuns starting from the age of fourteen, assuming the responsibility for guiding them in daily functions.
She also went into a three year retreat during which she completed all of the practices of the Kagyu lineage. In January 2005, Ani Kunsang came to Edmonton to teach and guide activities at the centre.
She will be in here for an extended period of time giving us spiritual guidance and meditation instruction.
Karma Kagyu Lineage
The Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism is best known as the lineage through which the wisdom teachings of Mahamudra meditation are transmitted. These teachings were first developed through the realization of the Indian mahasiddha Tilopa in the eleventh century AD. This realization was passed down from guru to disciple through Naropa, Marpa, Milarepa and Gampopa and successively through the 17 Gyalwa Karmapas up to the present time. The current spiritual leader of the Kagyu lineage is the 17th Karmapa, His Holiness Ogyen Trinley Dorje. The 17th Karmapa is often considered a manifestation of the bodhisattva of compassion, Chenresig, and also a manifestation of Padmasambhava, who, along with the great pandita Shantarakshita established Buddhism in Tibet.
Karmapa means “the one who carries out buddha-activity” or “the embodiment of all the activities of the buddhas.” The Karmapas have incarnated in this form of nirmanakaya, or manifestation body, for seventeen lifetimes, as of the present, and all have played the most important role in preserving and propagating the Buddhist teachings of Tibet. The arrival of a master who would be known as the Karmapa was been prophesied by the historic Buddha Shakyamuni and the great tantric master of India, Guru Padmasambhava. Throughout the centuries, Karmapas have been the central figure in the continuation of the vajrayana lineage in general and Kagyu lineage in particular, and have played a very important role in the preservation of the study and practice lineages of Buddhism.
The Seventh Karmapa founded the Thrangu Monastery in Tibet some 500 years ago and appointed one of his most gifted disciples to be its abbot. This was the first Thrangu Rinpoche. The ninth Thrangu Rinpoche, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, was born in 1933 in Kham, Tibet. Rinpoche is the highest scholar of the Kagyu school and has been responsible for the education of the most accomplished of the Kagyu order. He is a full holder and teacher of the Kagyu Vajrayana lineages and holds a direct transmission of the teachings of the special Shentong philosophical tradition.
The 17th Karmapa visits Edmonton
In the summer of 2017, the Karmapa came to Canada and one of his stops was Karma Tashi Ling. The centre was blessed by the Karmapa’s presence, and by the lamas who accompanied him. We feel especially happy because of the close connection between His Holiness and Thrangu Rinpoche, who was the Karmapa’s main tutor.
Buddhadharma or Buddhism began to come to Tibet sometime in the seventh century during the time of King Songtsen Gampo. In the eighth century, Buddhism began to take root in Tibet, during the time of King Trisong Detsen. Acharya Padmasambhava and Abbot Shantarakshita helped the King to bring dharma to Tibet and translate the teachings into the Tibetan language.
The lineages of Buddhism were transmitted to Tibet through many centuries and gradually developed into eight streams or lines of transmission, from teachers to students, eight major practice lineages known as the “Eight Great Chariots” or the “Eight Practice Lineages.”
Over the centuries, the Buddhism of Tibet developed into four main streams or lineages known as the “Four Major Schools of Tibetan Buddhism”: Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug.
All Tibetan Buddhist schools and practice traditions trace their origin directly back to Buddha Sakyamuni. In addition, each school traces its founding in Tibet to a particular person, who in turn is connected to a particular tradition in India.
In addition to practicing:
- the foundational vehicle, taught in the sutras that the Buddha himself spoke,
- the Mahayana sutras, and extended commentaries and teachings on the Bodhisattva path,
Tibetan Buddhism also includes the material of the Vajrayana, which is closely associated with the teachings of Padmasambhava. For further information on this approach to meditation and practices, please see our Practice Overview page.
The historical Buddha was born as a prince named Siddhartha Gautama. In his late twenties, Siddhartha encountered the “four signs” during excursions into the city. They made an extremely strong impression on him. These signs were: an old man, a sick person, a corpse, and a monk or a yogin. Through them he realized his life in the palace was only concerned with surface things, and he had the insight that the life passes in a fragile and indefinite equilibrium; furthermore, he realized that the only way out of this suffering world of samsara was through finding and following the right spiritual path.
At twenty-nine, Siddhartha left his home and family behind and engaged in an ascetic path. He became a wandering yogi, seeking the truth for the sake of all sentient beings. At the age of thirty-five, meditating under the bodhi tree, Siddhartha attained complete enlightenment, or buddhahood, overcoming all the obscurations and temptations that our ego distracts us with. At this point, Siddhartha was a buddha, a fully awakened or enlightened one, and he knew that for him, there would be no further rebirth in samsaric realms.
The Buddha traveled to Sarnath, in northern India, where he began to offer teachings based on his own experience to a small assembly at a place called Deer Park. These teachings, known as the “dharma”, meaning the “truth”, were a discourse between the Buddha and his disciples on philosophy and view, as well as practical instructions on how to relate to everyday life and how to work with one’s own mind. These teachings, known as the “buddha-dharma”, meaning “teachings of the awakened one”, encompass what is known today as Buddhism.
The teachings of the Buddha show the path and practices that lead to the state of complete enlightenment, the freedom from cyclic existence known as samsara. Buddha proclaims in his teachings that all sentient beings have the potential of wakefulness within, which can be fully realized through the methods on the path. The process of awakening mainly consists of two elements of accumulation of merit and wisdom through developing the right philosophical view and then going through the process of meditation practice. The methods of the path are passed down from generation to generation, which is known in Vajrayana as the “lineage.”
Thrangu Rinpoche has provided an explanation of the renowned Twelve Deeds of the Buddha which may be found here.