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September-December 2002

 

 
His Holiness Karmapa visits the Kolkata Museum in the company of museum administrators and the ever-present security force

In November, His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa traveled to Rajasthan to preside over private ceremonies on behalf of students. Afterwards, he was in New Delhi meeting with students, members of the community and well-wishers. While in New Delhi, he was afforded a private tour of the National Museum of India under typically heavy security. The Karmapa returned to his camp at Gyuto Tantric University in mid-November, where he continued his studies with his main tutor, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche through the end of December.

From September 30-October 4, His Holiness Karmapa was a guest of HH the Dalai Lama at a conference hosted by the Life and Mind Institute in Dharamsala. The conference studies the issues of mind and ethics, exploring the relationship between modern physical and biological sciences Buddhist views. The discussion this year focused on the criteria of life and matter. Participants include the Head of the Genome Research Centre at MIT, and the winner of the 1997 Nobel prize in Physics, Dr Steven Chu.

His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa, other Buddhist teachers, scientists and committed persons from other walks of life, such as actors Richard Gere and Goldie Hawn, were present as observers.

His Holiness Karmapa made a brief trip through Kolkata (aka Calcutta) as part of a short trip from September 15 – 21.

Upon his arrival in Kolkata on September 16th for an event with the Maha Bodhi Society of India, His Holiness held a press conference. The Karmapa informed the assembled representatives of the press about his understanding of the government of India’s position with respect to the return of His Holiness to the seat of the Karmapas at Dharma Chakra Centre, Rumtek Monastery, in Sikkim, India.

Sikkim is one of India’s 25 states, and shares a border with China. Although the government has indicated that it has no objection to His Holiness going to Rumtek, first certain matters must be resolved. The return of His Holiness Karmapa to the traditional seat of the Karmapas is a very important occasion, historically and spiritually. Security must be adequate and extensive preparations must be made before His Holiness is able to safely go to Rumtek.

Although the timing of His Holiness’ arrival has to be fixed after all the proper arrangements are made, His Holiness has stated that he believes that he will be in Rumtek within two years.

His Holiness was guest of honor at a Maha Bodhi Society celebration of the 138th Anniversary of the birth of Anagarika Dharmapala on September 17, 2002. Founded by Anagarika Dharmapala in 1891, the Maha Bodhi Society in Calcutta was established in 1915. The complex in Calcutta has its own publishing house, meditation halls, schools, and a social service unit with an ambulance service and free dispensaries.

Anagarika Dharmapala, born in Sri Lanka in 1864, devoted his life to supporting Buddhism in India and around the world. Through the Maha Bodhi Society, he won government sanction for the recognition of the Maha Bodhi Temple as the site where the Buddha attained enlightenment. He restored a number of historical structures at the site and established new buildings honoring the Bodhgaya location as well as other sacred sites of the Buddha throughout India.

Anagarika Dharmapala was also internationally renowned for representing Buddhist causes, traveling to countries such as in Japan, America, England, Honolulu, France and Italy.

His Holiness also had the opportunity while in Kolkata to confer the long life empowerment of Amitayus. He returned to Delhi on the 19th and to Gyuto Tantric University on the 21st.

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