Memories, Dreams and Reflections of the 16th Karmapa: A Bear Blessing



From H.H. Karmapa’s 16 visit to Karme Choling in Vermont
by Stefan Carmien
In 1980 (or 79 or 81 it’s a bit fuzzy) we were at the end of a North America tour of HHK 16 and being told that he was asking wherever he went “are there bears here?” and we, the staff, took it upon ourselves to arrange the rental of a bear costume. I got into it. He would often spend the early afternoon looking out over the land from the landing in the converted dormitory. On this day we arranged for me to amble towards the barn from a retreat cabin and then had the Kasung chase me out of the woods and capture me. I lumbered up the outside stairs to the top and pulled out a khata and offered it to him – he blessed my nose & I will always remember seeing his hand through the restricted eyehole of the bear head reaching out to gently bless his bear.

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