When teaching on compassion, the Gyalwang Karmapa has continuously emphasised that feeling compassion towards other sentient beings was not enough. Our compassion has to be turned into action. As temperatures dipped to freezing point and below across North India, the Gyalwang Karmapa bought and distributed over a thousand warm blankets to Bodhgaya's poorest.
Several thousand people from Bodhgaya and nearby villagers, mostly women with small children, queued for hours at the gates to the Monlam Pavilion before the scheduled time of 3:00 pm. The Gyalwang Karmapa then spent nearly an hour inside the Monlam Pavilion personally handing out the thick woollen blankets to each delighted recipient. Their stressed and worn faces lit up as they received the Gyalwang Karmapa's gift, together with his compassionate blessing.
Later, as they dispersed across the surrounding fields clutching their new blankets, their delight could be clearly seen on their smiling faces. Later that evening, the brand new grey blankets could be seen wrapped around the shoulders of many of the beggars lining Bodhgaya's streets.
This active expression of the Gyalwang Karmapa's compassion has helped protect over one thousand people from the deadly cold. Every winter thousands of people, many of them homeless, die from cold across North India. Each of the thousand new blankets gifted by the Gyalwang Karmapa is made from thick wool, perfectly suited to the freezing winter conditions.