Karma Dolma Chuzom
"I am doing things that are worthwhile for other people."
On a New Moon Sunday just before 7.p.m. on the 3rd August, 1997, Rosemary Vosse passed away peacefully at her home ‘Watersedge" Malton Road, Wynberg, Cape Town.
The third daughter of the Marchese Antinori, an old Umbrian noble family, with its original seat in Perugia, Italy, Rosemary is survived by her two elder sisters, Erica and Peggy, and her nephews, nieces and extended family in Turin, Milan, Pisa, Britain, Canada and elsewhere..
Rosemary was born on 17th September, 1913 at Riccione, Italy on the Adriatic. After the death of her mother in 1922, Rosemary and her sisters went to live with her paternal Aunt Nora Antinori in Perugia, who had a great influence on Rosemary's life, and inspired her altruistic work at an early age.
She studied Art in Perugia and Turin, German in Vienna in 1938.
In 1939 she moved to South Africa which became her adopted country for the rest of her life. In 1944 she married Bertus Vosse, (Picchio, as he was known to the Italian family). Their only child, Wilfred, died at an early age.
Rosemary was known to her many Tibetan friends as Karma Dolma Chuzom, a name which was given to her by H.H. the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. To many of us, she was simply known as Dolma, ‘Mother.’
Over the years, Rosemary was a great inspiration to many through her selfless service to Humankind. She was deeply involved in Theosophy, with her late husband - and was a President of the Cape Town Lodge.
Rosemary wrote: From another dear "sister" away in the Eastern Transvaal, we received this prayer originally spoken by one of the North American Indians in Canada. For me it embodies much of what is ultimately important to our spiritual lives,"
Inspired by an article which appeared in The Middle Way, the Journal of The Buddhist Society in London, Rosemary founded The Tibetan Friendship Group in the late 1950’s and edited its Newsletter - The Tibetan Friendship Group Newsletter, for many years, which then changed into The Bodhisattva Path, and eventually transformed into eighteen issues of MAITRI under the Editorship of Karma Samten (Andre de Wet), AND Sheila Fugard. Later, Rosemary produced and edited ‘Koeksister’ and eventually ‘Co-Exister’ for many years.
Deep friendships with the Tibetan Community in exile, were cemented through her various journeys to India, where she and her husband were received in audience by many of the great Rinpoches. In 1974/5, Rosemary and Karma Samten joined the Entourage of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, Ranjung Rigpe Dorje, and in 1976 she once again toured the world, to join Sister Palmo in California, with Sheila Fugard, and Karma Samten, for extended Teachings and diplomatic work on behalf of the Tibetan Refugees.
Rosemary was certainly avante garde in spreading awareness in Cape Town of more a ecological lifestyle, "voluntary simplicity" as she used to call it, and a vegetarian diet.Through her extensive sprouting operations, money was generated exclusively for Tibetan Refugees in exile, countless people were introduced to the precious Teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, and many life long friendships were formed. Rosemary invited the Ven. Gelongma Karma Khechog Palmo (Mrs Freda Bedi) to Cape Town in 1972 - and through this visit - The Karma Rigdol Centres of Tibetan Buddhism were formed under the Direction of H.H. the 16th Karmapa - and the first South African President, the late Dr. Ernst Landsberg.
Rosemary was also an active member of many social organisations, and maintained wide international links with enlightened groups. She was a tireless campaigner for a more noble way of life - and manifested a simplicity of living. She personally ‘adopted’ the Venerable Ato Rinpoche, and assisted in his education through his early years in the West. During the last years of her life, she was deeply grateful to have received Akong Rinpoche, and Ato Ripoche in her home, and to have attended the talk by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Cape Town in 1996. She was also a Member of the Mountain Club of South Africa, and the National Council of Women.
She will be sadly missed by her huge international family. But her example remains a living memory for us all.
Rosemary was deeply inspired by the Life and Works of Peace Pilgrim - and she constantly quoted and used the writings of Peace Pilgrim in her publications. At that stage we may not have taken much notice, as the copies of 'Co-Exister' eventually, got buried beneath the piles of newspapers in the kitchen. But now that Rosemary has left us for Other Shores, we feel that this brief Summary of the Teachings of Peace Pilgrim, seems to encapsulate perfectly the many concerns and moral obligations that Rosemary demonstrated in her practical life.
-FOUR PREPARATIONS -
1. Assume right attitudes towards life.
Stop being an escapist or a surface-liver as these attitudes can only cause disharmony in your life. Face life squarely and get down below the froth on its surface to discover its verities and realities. Solve the problems that life sets before you, and you will find that solving them contributes to your inner growth. Helping to solve collective problems contributes also to your growth, and these problems should never be avoided.
2. Live good beliefs.
The laws governing human contact apply as rigidly as the laws of gravity. Obedience to these laws pushes us towards harmony; disobedience pushes us towards disharmony. Since many of these laws are already common belief, you can begin by putting into practice all the good things you believe. No life can be in harmony unless belief and practice are in harmony.
3. Find your place in the Life Pattern.
You have a part in the scheme of things. What that part is you can only know from within yourself. You can seek it in receptive silence. You can begin to live in accordance with it by doing all the good things you are motivated toward and giving these things priority in your life over all the superficial things that customarily occupy human lives.
4. Simplify life to bring inner and outer well-being into harmony.
Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. Many lives are cluttered not only with unnecessary possessions but also with meaningless activities. Cluttered lives are out-of-harmony lives and require simplification. Wants and needs can become the same in a human life and, when this is accomplished, there will be a sense of harmony between inner and outer well-being. Such harmony is needful not only in the individual life but in the collective life too.
1. Purification of the body temple.
Are you free from all bad habits? In your diet do you stress the vital foods - the fruits, whole grains, vegetables and nuts? Do you get to bed early and get enough sleep? Do you get plenty of fresh air, sunshine, exercise, and contact with nature? If you can answer "Yes" to all of these questions, you have gone a long way toward purification of the bodily temple.
2. Purification of the thoughts.
It is not enough to do right things and say right things. You must also think right things. Positive thoughts can be powerful influences for good. Negative thoughts can make you physically ill. Be sure there is no unpeaceful situation between yourself and any other human being, for only when you have ceased to harbour unkind thoughts can you attain inner harmony.
3. Purification of the desires.
Since you are here to get yourself into harmony with the laws that govern human conduct and with your part in the scheme of things, your desires should be focused in this direction.
4. Purification of motives.
Obviously your motive should never be greed or self-seeking, or the wish for self-glorification. You shouldn't even have the selfish motive of attaining inner peace for yourself. To be of service to your fellow humans must be your motive before your life can come into harmony.
1. Relinquishment of self-will
You have, or it's as though you have, two selves; the lower self that usually governs you selfishly, and the higher self which stands ready to use you gloriously. You must subordinate the lower self by refraining from doing the not-good things you are motivated toward, not suppressing them but transforming them so that the higher self can take over your life.
2. Relinquishment of the feeling of separateness.
All of us, all over the world, are cells in the body of humanity. You are not separate from your fellow humans, and you cannot find harmony for yourself alone. You can only find harmony when you realise the oneness of all and work for the good of all.
3. Relinquishment of attachments.
Only when you have relinquished all attachments can you be really free. Material things are here for use, and anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness possesses you. You can only live in harmony with your fellow human beings if you have no feeling that you possess them, and therefore do not try to run their lives.
4. Relinquishment of all negative feelings.
Work on Relinquishing negative feelings. If you live in the present moment, which is really the only moment you have to live, you will be less apt to worry. If you realise that those who do mean things are psychologically ill, your feelings of anger will turn to feelings of pity. If you recognise that all of your inner hurts are caused by your own wrong actions or your own wrong reactions or your own wrong inaction, then you will stop hurting yourself.