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Message Regarding 30th Birthday

This year marks my 30th birthday. Time has passed very quickly. This year is also the 15th year since I left Tibet and came to India. This 30th birthday is considered to mark a special milestone, and many people have been requesting me to celebrate this birthday extensively. However, I have decided not to celebrate my birthday for several reasons that I would like to share with you here.

In all these years since leaving Tibet, I have never seen my parents again, and now they have grown old. This body was created and nurtured by my parents, and therefore my birthday is a day in which I feel their absence keenly.

In these 15 years since I arrived in India, I have been living in a temporary residence at Gyuto Monastery in Dharamsala. Even though Gyuto Monastery has been an exceptionally kind and hospitable host, it is unseemly for a guest to cause such unnecessary inconvenience over their birthday year after year.

Furthermore, each year on my birthday, I recall not only my parents, but also the sparkling beauty of the pristine natural environment in which I was born and raised. This intensifies my sense of urgency for the protection of the fragile ecosystems of the Tibetan plateau as well as the Himalayas. As I have said, the area’s glaciers make it the source of most of Read the rest of this article

Karmapa Holds Two-Week Dialogue with Tibetan Youth

(29 May – 16 June, 2015 – Dharmasala, India) For the first two weeks of June, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is engaging in dialogue with Tibetan doctoral and masters students from universities across India. The sustained interaction is focused on a wide variety of topics ranging from identity to poverty to women’s empowerment.

The programme is organized by Kun Kyong Charitable Trust at the request of the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa. It follows on his meeting on youth leadership in November of last year with over 100 Tibetan university students in Delhi, where the Gyalwang Karmapa committed to engage in continued interactions with Tibetan university students. This is the first programme of its sort, linking Tibetan university students with a Buddhist spiritual leader for such a sustained dialogue regarding topics of broad social concern.

The interactions continue the Karmapa’s emphasis on working with youth to address major issues facing 21st-century society, and to inspire them to take greater responsibility for Read the rest of this article

Karmapa in Manhattan: Teaching on Joining Heart and Mind

2015.04.14 KF teaching(April 14, 2015 – New York, New York) In his last event in New York City for this trip, His Holiness the Karmapa taught on the key issue of how we make true connections between the emotions of our hearts and the abstractions of our mind. The evening event was organized by the Karmapa Foundation, and took place at the New York Society for an Ethical Culture, whose mission closely parallels the Karmapa’s in a commitment to ethical relationships with others, social justice and stewardship of the environment. With its soaring arches and warm wood interior, the Society’s hall has a spacious yet intimate feeling.

The Karmapa was introduced by Daniel Goleman, the science writer famous for developing the term “emotional intelligence” and all that it implies. He noted how important it is that the Karmapa has been meeting with university students, “because these are the people of the 21st century who will shape the future, and hopefully it will be the compassionate world we are going to hear about tonight.” Read the rest of this article

Proclamation Commends His Holiness’s Transformative Leadership

2015.03.24 Degree
(March 24, 2015 – Redlands, California) As part of its ceremony to confer an honorary doctorate degree on His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, the University of Redlands issued a formal proclamation. Professor Karen Derris, who had first brought students from the university to India to study with the 17th Karmapa, read the proclamation at the podium immediately prior to the formal granting of the degree. The text in full follows here:

The University of Redlands, with great respect and deep appreciation, commends and honors His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, this 24th day of March, 2015.

We commend His Holiness for his leadership in working with his generational peers to transform our world through education dedicated to broadening awareness of suffering in the world and to informing compassionate action to alleviate it.

We celebrate the Gyalwang Karmapa’s deep commitment to illuminating and building upon the interconnections that unite the world across differences of language, culture, Read the rest of this article

His Holiness Spends his First Day on Redlands Campus


(March 23, 2015 – Redlands, California) As many a new student had done before him, His Holiness the Karmapa set out today for his first day of college classes, armed with a notebook and pen emblazoned with the name of the university on it. Like any other student at a private liberal arts college, His Holiness was signed up to take classes in various disciplines across the humanities—theatre arts and religious studies on his first day, music on his second.

Most students, however, are not greeted by the president of the university as they take their first step on campus. Most freshmen in their very first class at college do not hear their classmates discuss a play they themselves have written. Nor does the university fly on its campus flagpole a flag associated with their lineage. Very certainly, most incoming students are not about to be granted an honorary doctorate on their second day of class.

Such was the not-so-typical first day of school for the 17th Karmapa today, as he enjoyed his very first university classroom experience. Read the rest of this article