(April 8, 2015 – New Haven, Connecticut) As he has been doing all across the country, His Holiness the Karmapa met today with the Tibetan community from Connecticut, which turned out in great numbers to see him and to listen to his warm words of encouragement. Some 375 Tibetans filled the Victorian Gothic chapel at Yale, and were welcomed there by the university’s chaplain, Sharon Kugler. After a brief speech by Namlha, the president of the Tibetan Association of Connecticut, His Holiness the Karmapa spoke from the heart to his fellow Tibetans.
“As Tibetans,” he said, “we are all joined in sorrows and joys. Our situation is difficult, in some ways even desperate, and so it is important for us to come together, encourage one another and express the affection and love that we feel for one another.”
Echoing a theme he had touched on in earlier meetings with Tibetans living in America, the Gyalwang Karmapa noted how often Tibetans had come to take for granted the unifying leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He observed that in his own case, it is only upon profound reflection that he had begun to recognize how inexpressibly fortunate Tibetans are to have him as their leader in such times.
He urged those present to make special efforts to preserve Tibetan language, culture and religion. Although this is a responsibility we all share together, he said, those who live in exile had far better conditions to do so. Those who enjoy better conditions should be doing more, the Karmapa said.
After concluding his talk, His Holiness the Karmapa was requested to bless and sign a large cloth image of the Potala Palace in Lhasa. He did so, bid those present a fond farewell and departed for the next activity on his full agenda at Yale.
To host the special event for local Tibetans, Yale University offered the use of its Battell Chapel, a 19th-century memorial chapel built to commemorate those killed in the Civil War. The audience for Tibetans was held with support from the Yale Chaplain’s Office, the Yale Himalaya Initiative and the Department of Religious Studies. The university community in general had undertaken special efforts to welcome and include Tibetans in the events surrounding His Holiness’s visit. When the Karmapa initially arrived at Yale earlier this week, the president’s office had arranged a special reception by Tibetans employed by the university. Today, the university chaplain, Sharon Kugler gave His Holiness a warm welcome upon his arrival at the chapel, and in his address to open the Chubb Lecture on Tuesday, Jeffrey Brenzel, Master of Yale’s Timothy Dwight College, had particularly welcomed the Tibetan community to the event.