‘Personal feeling of connection’ The Karmapa lama speaks to Woodstock Times(Hudson Valley Times)
Barrist SternHudson Valley Times
July 28, 2011 12:49 PM
long overdue summer rain washed out the public appearance by Ogyen Trinley
Dorje, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa lama, that had been scheduled at the Comeau
property on Monday afternoon as an opportunity for lama to meet the people of
Woodstock. But if the lama won’t come to the people, it seems the people will
come to the mountain. A small crowd, including several town councilpersons, took
a chance they might meet the Karmapa and drove to the Karma Triyana Dharmachakra
(KTD) monastery on Overlook Mountain, the monastery that was built for him and
is his North American seat.
There, the crowd swelled to some 80 to 100
people who waited in the main shrine room until the Karmapa learned of their
presence and came downstairs from his residence area to greet them. Sitting on
an elaborate throne decorated with Tibetan designs and with one of the largest
gilt Buddhas in North America as his backdrop, the Karmapa said he appreciated
the support of the local community for KTD, according to Tenzin Chonyi,
president of KTD. “Regardless of the physical appearance of a monk’s robes or
lay clothes, we all seek peace and happiness and want to avoid unpleasantness,”
Chonyi said, paraphrasing the Karmapa’s spontaneous 15-minute address. “We have
a sense of common desire and we should [all be able to live in peace]. We
usually feel we are independent of each other but we are all interdependent and
part of the same community.” Chonyi has served the Karmapa lineage in America
since the mid-1970s when the present Karmapa’s predecessor, the 16th Karmapa,
Rangiung Rigpe Dorje (1924-1981), originally considered building a monastery on
a donated site in Putnam County before deciding on Woodstock.
the public appearance at Comeau was cancelled, the Karmapa met with Woodstock
Times for a private interview as previously planned. It was the paper’s first
interview with the present Karmapa, although this writer interviewed the
previous Karmapa for Woodstock Times in 1980 shortly after the sect’s purchase
of KTD. The Karmapa is currently studying English and clearly understood the
questions posed to him but he spoke through a translator, Lama Yeshe Gyamtso,
choosing his words carefully.
WT: Why did the Karmapa lineage choose
Woodstock as its North American seat?
I think that what happened was when
my predecessor, the 16th Karmapa, visited this county he was first offered a
piece of land in Putnam County that was fairly large, around 300 acres. And, in
spite of the considerable size of that parcel, he must not have felt an intimate
connection with it. At the time this center was founded here, the only major
building on the property was the old Meads Mountain House, but evidently the
16th Karmapa felt that this site was more appropriate, in part because of its
relative isolation, also because of a certain holy energy that he felt in this
place and because of the personal feeling of connection.
WT: It seems
that Tibetan Buddhism is a good fit for the United States and there are a lot of
followers here. Why do you think that is?
One reason is the United States
of America is very international or we would say polyglot, both racially and
religiously. For one thing, this is a country where everyone has the freedom to
choose their form of spiritual involvement, if any, and because of the religious
freedom and the emphasis on religious choice. Even in a relatively small town
such as Woodstock you find a large variety of spiritual traditions represented.
Probably, the appreciation on the part of many Americans for Tibetan Buddhism
comes in part from the fact that for more than 1,000 years, Tibet, because of
its topography, was quite isolated from the rest of the world and therefore
concentrated or focused on spirituality and spiritual practice. This becomes all
the more appreciated now in the 21st century when, in general, we have come to
have a strong focus on material prosperity and technology. [The Tibetan focus on
spiritual practice] becomes a source of inspiration which enables us to
appreciate all the more the preciousness of spirituality and gives us the desire
to share it.
WT: With everything that is happening in Tibet, do you think
the United States is important to the survival, preservation and nurturing of
The events that have occurred in Tibet have placed not
only Tibetan spirituality but the Tibetan culture and Tibetan identity in danger
of destruction. Led by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a considerable exile
community has been created in India and the main goal of this community is the
preservation of Tibetan spirituality and culture. Although in Tibet freedom to
practice spirituality and to maintain the culture is very limited, in India we
have the freedom to maintain both the spirituality and the culture. Our goal in
this preservation, however, is not primarily political. It is the survival of
Tibetan culture, ethnic survival, and spiritual survival. It is also a search
for justice. As for the United States of America, there are many Tibetans who
have emigrated to this country; but there are also great differences between
mainstream American culture and Tibetan culture so it would be very difficult
for this country to have to bear the burden of the primary preservation of
Tibetan culture. But the essence of Buddhism, the Buddhist outlook, Buddhist
spiritual practice which is beyond culture, even beyond any tradition, that
essence not only can be preserved in this country, it is being preserved in this
country. That will, in turn, also ensure the future of Tibet.
would you like to tell the people of Woodstock?
WT: Your home here.
The 16th Karmapa passed away in the
United States of America. Before going, he told someone that in his next life,
he would return here. So, therefore, the town of Woodstock was a home for the
16th Karmapa and is a home for the 17th Karmapa as well. And both he did and I
do consider it to be our home. The great natural beauty of this place and the
tremendous warmth of the people here have created an environment that has
facilitated the preservation of our vision for this place so I want to thank all
of the people of Woodstock. I want to say thank you to all of them. I think of
you all as our neighbors and I care for all of you greatly.
New York City
The Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism has millions of
followers worldwide, according to Chonyi. KTD has 900 members but several
thousand individuals have “taken refuge,” the initial Buddhist vow, with Khenpo
Karthar Rinpoche, the abbot of KTD, who immigrated to the United States in 1976
at the request of the 16th Karmapa, to establish and guide the development of
the local Tibetan monastery. The lineage, which traces its roots to the Buddha,
has been headed by a succession of reincarnations of the Gyalwa Karmapa. The
line of the Karmapas is said to be self-announced, because each incarnation
leaves a letter predicting his next rebirth. The 16th Karmapa died in 1981 and
the current Karmapa was born in Eastern Tibet in 1985.
During his first
visit to KTD in 2008, the 17th Karmapa said he would visit the local center as
often as possible during the next decade, bringing advanced Tibetan teachers
here to carry on the teachings, according to Chonyi. At that time, he said he
might be in residence for a few months at a time.
Accompanied by a U.S.
State Department security detail, the Karmapa left KTD on Tuesday morning for
New York City, where he will appear at Hunter College on Friday evening, July 29
before returning on July 30 to northern India. He currently resides at a
temporary residence at Gyuto Monastery, not far from the Dalai Lama’s home in
Dharamsala. The Karmapa left Tibet for India in 1999 at the age of 14 in a
clandestine and heroic seven-day journey by car, foot, horseback, helicopter,
train and taxi that made newspaper headlines throughout the
Government agencies had for long suspected that the Karmapa was a “Chinese spy”, but a decision was recently taken to review the restrictions on his travel in an attempt to “engage” him.
Written by Rahul Tripathi | New Delhi | Published:May 24, 2017 2:26 am
The government is set to lift the travel restrictions imposed on Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa. The Home Ministry has proposed to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) that the Karmapa be allowed to travel to any part of the country, except Rumtek monastery in Sikkim, without seeking prior permission from New Delhi.
Ogyen Trinley Dorje, head of the Karma Kagyu (Black Hat) tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, was born in Tibet and escaped to India through Nepal at the age of 14. He reached McLeod Ganj, the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile, in 2000. He lives in Dharamshala and is recognised by the Dalai Lama.
Government agencies had for long suspected that the Karmapa was a “Chinese spy”, but a decision was re…
One of the most important Tibetan Buddhist leaders worries about the growing Chinese influence and diminishing numbers of the community in exile
Sanjay Kapoor Delhi
In the year 2000, a 14-year-old Ogyen Trinley Dorji or Karmapa Lama, head of the Karma Kagyu, the largest sub-school of Tibetan Buddhists, escaped from Tibet and walked across the mighty Himalayas to India. His daring escape was viewed with suspicion by some who thought that it was part of a Chinese conspiracy to disrupt Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Buddhist Exile community in India. Karmapa, who was selected through a complicated process that combined prophecy and rigorous interviews by Buddhist monks in Tibet, through the force of his charismatic personality has been seeking to assuage the misgivings and controversies that plague the exile community. Karmapa lives in Dharamshala, where Tibet’s capital in exile is located. He enjoys an excellent relationship with Dalai Lama and many see in him as the spiritual lea…
United Kingdom Tour - 2017 (London Time)
May 2011:00 - 12:30• Public teaching: 8 Verses of Training the Mind• Lunch Break15:00 - 16:30• Public teaching: 8 Verses of Training the Mind
May 2111:00 - 12:30• Public teaching: 8 Verses of Training the Mind• Lunch Break15:00 - 17:00• Chenrezik Empowerment
May 2714:00 - 18:00• Long Life Empowerment
United Kingdom Tour - 2017 (Indian Time)
May 2015:30 - 17:00• Public teaching: 8 Verses of Training the Mind• Lunch Break19:30 - 21:00• Public teaching: 8 Verses of Training the Mind
May 2115:30 - 17:00• Public teaching: 8 Verses of Training the Mind• Lunch Break19:30 - 21:30• Chenrezik Empowerment
May 2718:30 - 22:30• Long Life Empowerment
Gangtok, May 20 (PTI) A delegation of monks of various monasteries of Sikkim met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh urging early permission for Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to visit the state.
The monks called on Singh, who is on a two-day visit here, at the Raj Bhavan last evening, officials said.
They submitted the resolution taken after a peace rally here on May 18 which urged the Government of India to grant one of the "most important demand and aspiration" of the Buddhists of Sikkim seeking early permission for the Karmapa to visit Sikkim.
The delegation was led by the Sangha MLA Sonam Kelyon Lama, who is the elected political representative of the monks in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly, the officials added.
A central government order bans entry of all the three Karmapa claimants to the title of Karmapa at Rumtek monastery in East Sikkim since 1994.
The Sikkimese Buddhists who follow the Khagyu sect recognize the 31-year-old Ogyen Trinley Dorj…
DHARAMSHALA: Kalon Karma Gelek Yuthok, Department of Religion and Culture, Central Tibetan Administration, attended the convocation ceremony of the Institute of Buddhist Dialectic, Dharamsala and the college of higher Tibetan studies, Sarah, this morning. The event was held at Sarah college of Tibetan Higher Studies.
His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Thinlay Dorjee graced the inauguration of the convocation as the chief guest. The function began with recitation of prayers by the students followed by serving sweet rice and butter tea to the guests, staff and students.
Ven. Kalsang Damdul, the director of IBD and CHTS gave welcome speech and briefly introduced the college and courses provided by the institution. Mr. Passang Tsering, Principal of CHTS read out the report of the college. The function was attended by Mr. Topgyal Tsering, secretary of Kashag secretariat, CTA, Mrs. Nangsa Choedon and Mr. Karma Senge, Secretary and Acting Secretary of Department of Education, representives of…
Centre may allow him to visit any place, except Sikkim, without seeking its nod
Urgyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, may be allowed to visit any place in the country, except Sikkim, without seeking the government’s permission. The Home Ministry has moved the proposal before the Cabinet Committee on Security, a senior government official said here on Tuesday.
The move assumes significance in the wake of China’s repeated warnings over the recent Northeast visit of the Dalai Lama, who Beijing describes as a “separatist” for spearheading the Tibetan freedom movement.
Though the Dalai Lama has endorsed Urgyen Trinley Dorje as the 17th Karmapa, it does not necessarily mean that the latter succeeds him, said Amitabh Mathur, Adviser to the Home Ministry on Northeast subjects, including Tibetan affairs.
“But that doesn’t mean he is seen as his successor. That will depend on how Tibetans see him and whether they will look up to him for s…
The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, arrived in central London this afternoon on his first ever visit to the United Kingdom. A long line of devotees offering katas greeted him on his arrival at his hotel. He was then officially welcomed at a special reception in the form of a traditional English afternoon tea.
April 30, 2017 – Sarah College of Higher Tibetan Studies, Dharamshala, Kangra, HP, India
The Gyalwang Karmapa’s car passed by ordained and lay students who stood along the tree-lined road leading to Sarah College. After a brief visit to the college office, he was invited into the main hall where he was offered a mandala and the three representations of body, speech, and mind. As the Chief Guest, the Karmapa had come to confer, along with Kalon Karma Gelek Yuthok, certificates to the Lobpon graduating students, the Uma Rabjampa and the Parchin Rabjampa students from Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, which shared this convocation ceremony with Sarah College.
Welcoming everyone, the Karmapa noted that he’d had quite a bit of experience attending functions at universities, both in India and abroad, yet he felt a special connection with Sarah College that made him especially happy to participate in this ceremony. For special greetings, the Karmapa singled out the students who had studied the…
DHARAMSALA, May 19: Scores of people took to the streets in Gangtok for a march over a pending demand to allow the 17th Karmapa Orgyen Trinley Dorje to visit Sikkim.
A day ahead of the Union Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Sing’s visit to the state capital, hundreds of monks and followers rallied in Gangtok yesterday demanding that the Karmapa be allowed to visit the state, reports The Sikkim Express.
The Union Home Affairs Minister will be in Gangtok today to attend a meeting of Chief Ministers of five states neighbouring China. Following the procession, the third rally organized by the Denjong Lhadey this year, the state government had assured 15 members from the group to meet with the minister to apprise him of their demand, the report added.
The followers of the Karmapa, head of Tibetan Buddhism’s Kagyue lineage, are said to have rallied round Gangtok. The opposition leaders and members of various organizations took part in the mass rally.