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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

Open Mic Night Sets Tone for Student-Focused Princeton Visit

2015.03.31 open mic
(March 31, 2015 – Princeton, New Jersey) Shortly after arriving at Princeton University, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa departed the welcome reception held in his honor at the home of the master of Forbes College at Princeton and headed to an underground cafe to attend an open mic night. The student-run weekly open mic has an explicitly spiritual focus, and students read their poetry, performed musical compositions, and read short stories reflecting their Christian, Jewish and Muslims faiths. One non-Buddhist student read a short story depicting her wait to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama in India, and a Catholic magician made small objects multiply as a demonstration of how a sense of wonder can allow faith to increase and be shared. Bowls of chocolate chip cookies were passed around during this event, which provides an explicitly alcohol-free option for students seeking such an alternative.

The evening event, which marked His Holiness’ first evening at Princeton, reflects the student-centred orientation of his Read the rest of this article

Boston’s Tibetan Community Meets with the Karmapa

2015.04.02 Boston Tibetan
(March 27, 2015 – Cambridge, Massachusetts) The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa this afternoon signed the famous Harvard Guest Book, marking a successful conclusion to his two-day visit to the country’s oldest university. Yet his activities in the Boston area were not complete until he had met with the city’s Tibetan community.

Harvard Divinity School graciously offered a space for the Tibetan community to come to meet with the Gyalwang Karmapa. As His Holiness the Karmapa descended the stairs to the hall that had been prepared for the event, a group of Tibetans sang to greet him. The heart-wrenching sound of Tibetan singing echoed through the stairwell as if bouncing off towering mountainsides, and for one brief moment the distance from the culture’s native home seemed to disappear.

Since the meeting was scheduled for a weekday afternoon, some 300—or about half of the 600-plus members of this hardworking community were expected to attend. However, after the hall had filled to capacity, several Read the rest of this article

Caring for Life on Earth

2015.03.26 Harvard's Talk
(March 26, 2015 – Cambridge, Massachusetts)
The spacious interior of Harvard’s Memorial Chapel quietly filled with students, faculty and special guests. Light was streaming in through the tall, arched windows and played off the delicate filigree of the altar gates. In front them an elegant chair had been set up for His Holiness the Karmapa, who appeared right on time, moving easily across the small stage to the waiting chair. This lama with the 900-year-old lineage is now present at the 350-year-old university, the oldest institution of higher learning in the US.

Professor David Hempton, the Dean of the Faculty of Divinity, welcomed the Karmapa with warm words and the gift of a silver memorial bowl inscribed to him “with highest appreciation on the occasion of his historic visit to the Harvard Divinity School.” Professor Hempton recalled that the 16th Karmapa had come to the Harvard Divinity School in 1976, and that now the Divinity School hosted a thriving Buddhist Read the rest of this article