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His Holiness Attains Legal Age of Majority on June 26, 2006

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His Holiness Karmapa offers a prayer during the ceremonies on June 26, 2006 at Gyuto Monastery Tantric College in Dharamsala, India

His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje celebrated His 21st birthday in Dharamsala, India on June 26th 2006. The auspicious occasion was celebrated on a grand scale and was attended by thousands people from the Himalayan areas and abroad

The birthday occasion began in the early hours of dawn in the main shrine room of Gyuto Tantric University. A Mandala offering, Tsok and Long Life prayers of Lama Chopa were presented to His Holiness by the resident Khenpo of Gyuto, Ven. Tokdhen Tulku, and lamas and monks of Gyuto monastery. After the morning prayers, His Holiness proceeded to Norbulinka Institute for a religious conference where He was met by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other representatives of the Geluk, Sakya, Nyingma and Kagyu schools in attendance for the meeting.

In the temple and courtyard of the Gyuto Monastic College, Tibetan, Indian and foreign guests assembled in the thousands waiting for His Holiness’s return and a chance to offer their best wishes for His Birthday. Surrounding the monastery, giant tents and chairs for the many guests that would arrive, were offered as well as tea and lunch for all.

After His Holiness’s arrival, He proceeded to the main shrine room to participate in the main puja and offerings of mandala from Samdong Rinpoche, Prime Minister of Tibetan government in exile, Ling Rinpoche, Venerable Tenga Rinpoche and General Sec. of Tsurphu Labrang; Drupon Rinpoche, and many Lamas and monks from around the world. Representatives from His Holiness’s monasteries and Dharma centers from South East Asia, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and The Americas all gathered in the temple with enthusiasm and great reverence for the occasion. After lunch and a brief cooling shower of rain, His Holiness and guests gathered outside for a cultural show where traditional dance and song offerings performed by local and foreign artists were presented. At the end of the day, a giant cake was offered to His Holiness, which His Holiness Himself cut first and offered to the gathered public. “Happy Birthday” was sung with great fervor as over a thousand guests from around the world expressed their best wishes for the 21st birthday of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa. An event celebrated with great devotion and appreciation by all in attendance.

Refuge and Bodhisattva Vows Given (June 27, 2006)

On June 27th representatives of the international community who had come to join the birthday celebrations for His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa, gathered in the main shrine room of Gyuto to receive refuge and Bodhisattva vows from His Holiness Karmapa. In his opening statements to the public His Holiness expressed that He was very grateful for the many gifts that had been given and wished to offer the gift of Bodhicitta back to the people who had come. A refuge ceremony and Bodhisattva vows were given and His Holiness generously offered a teaching about Bodhicitta saying:

Sentient beings are the root and source of all qualities to achieve for ourselves. We can learn how to see all sentient beings in this world equally as we would see our friends and those who are affectionate and kind to us. With this motivation, we can give rise to an attitude in our mind that we can really benefit others and this is of extreme fortune. Even if we are not able to carry out this wish to benefit all sentient beings right in this moment, the fact that we have had this intention here is of extreme benefit. Recognizing this we can have even a further aspiration that all sentient beings may equally be able to share this type of fortune with us. Through this understanding we will dedicate the merit to freely share this fortune with all the others on this world.

After the teaching, katags were offered to His Holiness and blessing cords and mani pills were received by all. At the conclusion of the session in the temple, the guests gathered in the temple grounds where they were offered lunch and tea, compliments of the Tsurphu Labrang.

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