Monlam Logo Designed By His Holiness The 17th Karmapa
His Holiness made the following remarks on December 26th 2007 at the annual Kagyu Monlam held at Bodhgaya in India.
“There is a new logo for the Monlam this year, and I would like to explain it. Throughout my life I have always felt that the outer natural elements and my own mind are close. I have a special connection with the four elements. I am not being superstitious and saying I can talk to the elements, but sometimes it feels that way.
Ever since the human race first appeared on this earth, we have used this earth heavily. It is said that ninety-nine percent of the resources and so on in this world come from the natural environment. We are using the earth until she is used up. The earth has given us immeasurable benefit, but what have we done for the earth in return? We always ask for something from the earth, but never give her anything back.
We never have loving or protective thoughts for the earth. Whenever trees or anything else emerge from the ground, we cut them down. If there is a bit of level earth, we fight over it. To this day we perpetuate a continuous cycle of war and conflict over it. In fact, we have not done much of anything for the earth.
Now the time has come when the earth is scowling at us; the time has come when the earth is giving up on us. The earth is about to treat us badly and give up on us. If she gives up on us, where can we live? There is talk of going to other planets that could support life, but only a few rich people could go. What would happen to all of us sentient beings who could not go?
What should we do now that the situation has become so critical? The sentient beings living on the earth and the elements of the natural world need to join their hands together – the earth must not give up on sentient beings, and sentient beings must not give up on the earth. Each needs to grasp the other’s hand. So doesn’t the Monlam logo look like two hands clasping each other?
Its shape is also similar to the design of the Sixteenth Gyalwang Karmapa’s Dream Flag of peace and serenity, which is used regularly among the Karma Kamtsang. If I were to make up everything myself, I doubt it would have any blessings, but using the previous Karmapa’s design as a model probably gives this blessing.
This is a symbol of the Kagyu Monlam. We hold the Kagyu Monlam for the benefit of the entire world. We will not give up on the earth! May there be peace on earth! May the earth be sustained for many thousands of years! These are the prayers we make at the Kagyu Monlam, which is why this symbol is the logo of the Kagyu Monlam. I also think this might become a symbol of people having affection for the earth and wanting to protect it.
Now I will boast a bit. As I mentioned before, I am the one who designed this logo. I have the strong feeling that I am connected to the natural elements. Technological devices do not agree with me. I feel most comfortable using natural things. When I use technological devices, my body feels rather uncomfortable, although I have no choice but to use them.
Both the body and mind are strongly connected to the unaltered, natural elements. Because I made this logo, I think it could probably provide some protection against dangers from the natural elements of the external world. But do not think that this logo alone will protect you: if you jump into fire or water while wearing it, you will still die. It is first and foremost a symbol that we are not giving up on the earth.”
Translated by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche & Karma Choephel.