‘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
Aldershot, Hampshire, England – Morning, May 27, 2017
Early on this day of the Karmapa’s visit to the Nepali community in Aldershot, the double arch of a luminous rainbow filled the sky. It recalled his first visit to the US when rainbows followed him everywhere on the East Coast. The Karmapa was invited by the Buddhist Community Centre UK to this beautiful area of England, famous for its military garrisons and home to a sizeable population of Gurkha soldiers who have served in the British army. In 2006 they were allowed to live in England and in 2007, the Buddhist Community Centre UK was founded by Mr. Kaji Sherpa. He had the vision of establishing a Buddhist monastery to serve the growing Buddhist Community in this southeast region of the UK.
His daughter explained that about half of the Gurkha population in Nepal is Buddhist, and that her father felt a need for Buddhist guidance in this community, so a committee of Nepalis purchased a social club and completely transformed it into a …
During his first visit to the UK from May 17 to 28, 2017, the Karmapa, a prominent Tibetan Buddhist leader, joined former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Rowan Williams together with scientists, scholars and cultural figures for a dialogue on the environment hosted by the International Campaign for Tibet and Inspire Dialogue Foundation.
The round table discussion, held on May 24, 2017, was intended to bring together perspectives “between disciplines and generations” as the beginning of an ongoing exchange, according to Lord Williams, Master of Magdalen College and a noted poet and theologian. It involved figures from the arts and sciences, including Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre in London; James Thornton, the founding CEO of ClientEarth; Dame Fiona Reynolds, former Director-General of the National Trust; Dr Bhaskar Vira, Director, University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute; Tracey Seaward, film producer …
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, made his first visit to the United Kingdom this month.
At 31 years old, Ogyen Trinley Dorje is head of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, a reincarnation lineage that dates back more than 900 years. His Holiness was born in eastern Tibet but fled to India in 2000, where he now resides at the Gyuto Monastery near Dharamshala. He is the only reincarnate Lama to have been recognised by both His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Chinese communist government.
The Karmapa’s 11-day visit began on May 17 and the first public event was held on May 20 in London’s Battersea Park.
“I would like to express my great delight at this opportunity that has come to pass for me to visit London, the capital of the United Kingdom, for the first time. Especially, I would like to extend my warmest greetings to all you friends who are gathered here. I have been waiting for a long time to visit the United King…
May 29, 2017 - The 17th Karmapa, one of Tibet’s leading Buddhist figures arrived in Toronto yesterday on his first visit to Canada. Known for his concerns about current global issues as well as for his spiritual leadership, the 31-year-old Karmapa will engage in a wide range of religious activities and will speak on environmental and social responsibility at various universities.
During his month long trip to Canada, the Karmapa will travel to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. In doing so, he is following in the footsteps of his predecessor the 16th Karmapa, who travelled extensively throughout the country and was instrumental in introducing Canadians to Buddhism in the 1970s.
Head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, the Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is the 17th holder of a 900-year old lineage. Born in a nomadic family in eastern Tibet, he made headline news in 2000 with his dramatic escape to India, where he now lives near the Dalai Lama. The 17th …
Worshipped as a living god, will the 17th Karmapa Lama also inherit the Dalai Lama’s imagery of divinity and celebrity? By MARTIN REGG COHNOntario Politics Columnist Tues., May 30, 2017
It is not his destiny to be the next Dalai Lama. For he is already reincarnated as the 17th Karmapa Lama.
Yet he may one day succeed his 81-year-old teacher and protector.
Revered since age 7 as spiritual leader of a 1,000-year-old branch of Tibetan Buddhism, Ogyen Trinley Dorje is making his first trip to Canada this week at the age of 31.
Meeting Ontario politicians Tuesday before sitting down for an interview, the Karmapa padded around Queen’s Park in a pair of brown hiking shoes peeking out from under his simple maroon robes. A picture of youthful wisdom with his direct gaze, towering above other monks at six feet tall, he may yet emerge as the public face of Tibetan Buddhism
Worshipped as a living god and the Buddha of Compassion, will he also inherit the Dalai Lama’s imagery of divinity and celebrity?
This morning the Karmapa traveled to a northwest suburb of London to visit the impressive BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, the largest Hindu temple in Europe. Marble and limestone have been brought alive by Indian artists, who carved every inch with intricate design. The founder of this Hindu bhakti tradition was guru Swaminarayan (1781-1830), famous for his support of the poor and encouraging women’s education. He was also known for his vegetarianism and opposition to animal sacrifice, positions that the Karmapa also supports.
At the temple, the Karmapa was met by Pujya Yogvivekdas Swami and offered the traditional greeting of a garland of flowers, a tika (the red mark of blessing) and a blessed cord. The Karmapa was then guided through the temple to see an exhibition on understanding Hinduism. Always curious, he asked many question of the guide. He then participated in prayers with the swami and other priests in two of the shrine rooms, both of white m…
May 27, 2017 – Lakeside International Hotel, Frimley Green, England
In the concluding public event of the 17th Karmapa’s first visit to the United Kingdom, nearly 2,000 people gathered at Lakeside International Hotel near Frimley Green in Surrey to receive an Amitayus Long Life empowerment. The Nepalese and Gurkha community turned out in force to welcome the 17th Karmapa and were joined by devotees from the UK, Europe, America, and other countries worldwide. This was the second part of a one-day program organised by the Buddhist Community Centre UK.
Monks from various Kagyu European centres and the Karmapa’s ritual master and attendants had worked hard to prepare the stage for the empowerment. The golden pagoda used during the Chenresik empowerment earlier in the visit now enshrined an image of Amitayus and a smaller image of Guru Rinpoche. To the left of the images, a large bowl contained long-life pills made from roasted barley and butter and to the right four bowls contained long-lif…
May 31, 2017– In the morning after his arrival, at 9:00AM, Wednesday, May 31, 2017, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje arrived at Karma Sonam Dargye Ling– a Tibetan Buddhist centre under the direction of Lama Tenzin Dakpa. This was a visit of great significance, as the centre was first established in 1976 by the venerable Lama Namsel Rinpoche under the request of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje.
Upon arrival, His Holiness was ushered into the main shrine hall and seated on the highest throne, on which he proceeded to receive a body-speech-mind offering from the sangha. The yellow rice and tea ceremony followed in sequence for the welcome ceremony. Shortly after tea was served, the current resident teacher of Karma Sonam Dargye Ling, Lama Tenzin Dakpa, rose to speak.
Lama Tenzin referenced the founder of this centre, Lama Namsel Rinpoche, as one of the first Canadian resident lamas to request for His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa to visit Canada. …
Transforming Disturbing Emotions: Dialogue of the Three Major Traditions of Buddhism Date: Thursday, June 1st, 9:30AM – 12:00PM Place: University of Toronto, Convocation Hall (MAP) Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gp9TaET_SNw
How to Apply Ancient Wisdom in Modern Times In these two sessions, His Holiness will discuss the basic nature of mind and the methods of obtaining happiness through listening to and contemplating the teachings of the Buddha, and then meditating according to the teachings. Date: Friday, June 2nd, 9:30-11:30AM, 2:00-4:30PM Place:The Enercare Centre, Hall D (MAP) Video: How to Apply Ancient Wisdom in Modern Times 1…