Karl Brunnhoelzl: The Doha Tradition of the Indian Mahasiddas

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Songs of Boundless Freedom: The Doha Tradition of the Indian Mahasiddhas

 During this weekend, we will explore the life stories of some well-known mahāsiddhas (such as Saraha, Śavaripa, Tilopa, und Maitrīpa) and sing a selection of their songs.


Every Tibetan Buddhist knows the life story and the songs of realization of the great Tibetan yogī Milarepa. The many songs of awakening by his Indian predecessors, most famously the eighty-four mahāsiddhas, are much less known but equally profound, beautiful, and inspiring.

Most of these songs were uttered spontaneously on the spot. And many are quite unconventional and outrageous in thinking and conduct. They often use rich symbolism and profound metaphors. Their style is more like modern poetry or song lyrics than traditional Buddhist texts, creating an evocative rather than systematic atmosphere.

The songs are a rhetoric of paradox, attempting to beat the dualistic mind with its own weapons and directing the mind beyond usual black-and-white thinking. It is a scent of boundless freedom, openness, and bliss, paired with a deep caring for suffering beings, that wafts through these songs as expressions of supreme awakening.

Friday, November 30th:  7:00pm – 9:00pm

Saturday, December 1st:  10:00am -12:00pm & 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Sunday, December 2nd: 11:00am – 12:30pm

$65 for the weekend, $50 webcast(more info to come), $20/talk

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Karl was originally trained, and worked, as a physician in Germany. Since 1988, he received his Buddhist and Tibetan language training mainly at Marpa Institute For Translators in Kathmandu, Nepal (director: Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche) and also studied Tibetology, Buddhology, and Sanskrit at Hamburg University, Germany. Since 1989, Karl served as a translator, interpreter, and Buddhist teacher mainly in Europe, India, and Nepal. Since 1999, he is one of the senior translators and teachers at Nalandabodhi and Nitartha Institute (director: Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche) in North America, Asia, and Europe. In addition, he regularly taught at Gampo Abbey’s Vidyadhara Institute from 2000–2007. He is the author and translator of about twenty books on Buddhism, some translated into several languages, such as The Center of the Sunlit Sky, Straight from the Heart, When the Clouds Part, The Heart Attack Sutra (all Snow Lion Publications), and A Lullaby to Awaken the Heart (Wisdom Publications). Karl lives and teaches in Seattle and currently works on translating the Seventh Karmapa’s collection of Indian Mahāmudrā texts.


Nalandabodhi Boulder - Odantapuri

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