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Karmapa Commences Four-Day Environmental Visit to Yale

2015.04.06 Yale
(April 6, 2015 – New Haven, Connecticut) The 17th Karmapa arrived today at Yale University at 5 pm, and immediately embarked upon a full evening’s program. The Office of the President of Yale had arranged a special welcome reception for the Karmapa: the university counts among its thousands of employees a total of eight Tibetans. Those eight, along with their immediate family members, were invited by the Office of the President to give His Holiness a traditional Tibetan welcome on behalf of both the university and the Tibetan community. During the emotional reception, His Holiness granted each Tibetan an individual blessing, gave a name to the newborn child of one of those present and took a group photo with the Tibetans.

Next was a welcome dinner hosted by the steering committee of the Yale Himalaya Initiative, including George Joseph from Yale’s Office of International Affairs, Sir Peter Crane, Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Read the rest of this article

KTC-NJ Members Receive Pith Meditation Instructions

2015.04.05KTC NJ Med
(April 5, 2015 – Mount Laurel, New Jersey) His Holiness the Karmapa spent the morning with members of the Karma Thegsum Chöling-New Jersey (KTC-NJ) Dharma center that is currently hosting him in southern New Jersey. In a session devoted to meditation instructions and answering practice questions, followed by group photos, His Holiness offered pith instructions and guided a meditation session for some 375 center members.

As he had done the day before in the public teachings held in the same venue, the 17th Karmapa began with an apparently heartfelt disclaimer that he himself had very little personal experience in meditation, yet went on to deliver the sort of pith teaching on meditation that made his humility all the more striking to those present.

He noted that one of the most widely known forms of meditation involves focusing one’s attention on the breath. “One of the reasons for this,” he commented, “is Read the rest of this article

The Karmapa Bestows Manjushri Empowerment

2015.04.04 KTC nj emp
(April 4, 2015 – Mt. Laurel, New Jersey) As if to reflect the shift into spring taking place now in southern New Jersey, branches of plum blossoms formed lacy rows of pink and green on either side of His Holiness the Karmapa’s throne at the venue for today’s Manjushri empowerment. On the left, a table held a bright array of multicolored lotuses to be offered to sponsors, and on the right, a shrine had been set up for the Manjushri empowerment this afternoon, following the morning session of teachings. Beneath a painting of this deity, who embodies all wisdom, the traditional seven offering bowls were laid out along with candles and the two ritual vases. The one connected to Manjushri was tied with a golden scarf while against it leaned a small image (known as a wong tsak) framed in red and depicting the two emblems associated with him: his gleaming upright sword set above a traditional Tibetan text.

Wearing the formal yellow Dharma robe, the Karmapa Read the rest of this article

Karmapa at Princeton Focuses on Art, Environment, Gender and Activism

2015.04.02 Princeton
(April 1 & 2, 2015 – Princeton, New Jersey) After stopping in on the spiritual open mic night in the basement of Princeton’s Murray Dodge Hall last night, Holiness the Karmapa spent an additional two days eating with students in campus dining halls, sitting in on classes on climate change and sculpture and interacting with groups of students and faculty around several issues dear to his heart: the environment, gender, activism and art.

The classes and conversations allowed the 17th Karmapa to fulfill the long-cherished wish that he expressed during his afternoon lecture at Princeton University Chapel (full report here). His Holiness the Karmapa described his aim as follows: “For a long time, I have had a strong wish to gain at least a glimpse of the experience of American university students, and through that to be able to widen my own outlook. My intention really was to come here as a student, Read the rest of this article

In Princeton Lecture, Karmapa Calls for Genuine Gender Justice

2015.04.01 Princeton
(April 1, 2015 – Princeton, New Jersey) His Holiness the Karmapa today delivered a lecture to the Princeton University community on “A Buddhist Perspective: The Environment, Gender and Activism.” Addressing the assembly at the Princeton University Chapel, the 17th Karmapa called for a genuine gender equality that does not stop at mere external forms.

“It is important to remember that the restoration of women’s rights and the full empowerment of women must go far beyond mere external appearances and institutionalized mechanisms or structures,” the Karmapa said.

“Such necessary steps as restoring the full monastic ordination for women in my own tradition, famous historical steps such as women’s suffrage, and even the election of a woman as president—these steps are in themselves not enough to truly restore women’s rights, or to truly empower women.”

What we need, the Karmapa said, is genuine understanding, love and respect.

“We need mutual understanding and it has to be Read the rest of this article