Saturday, May 17, 2008
Today, American Buddhism saw yet another historic occasion revealed, as His Holiness the Seventeenth Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Drodul Trinley Dorje, gave his first ever public dharma teaching on American soil. Speaking from the stage of the Hammerstein Ballroom, at which he gave one morning and one afternoon talk, His Holiness provided a lively, humorous, and down-to-earth description of “Awakening the Heart of Enlightenment,” discussing topics such as developing a stable practice even while leading a busy lifestyle, realizing the inseparability of oneself and others, and working gently and playfully with our own minds.
His Holiness’s second talk was preceded by a musical tribute from the American rock ‘n’ roll legend Lou Reed, who began his brief set with an acoustic rendition of his hit, “Perfect Day.” For the thousands of members of the sold-out audience at the Hammerstein who received the historic nectar of His Holiness’s first U.S. teachings, the day was perfect, indeed.
In the evening, His Holiness was the guest of honor at a dinner offered by the local Tibetan Association, which was led in hosting His Holiness by Kalon Tashi Wangdi, Representative to the Americas of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Afterward, at Hunter College in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, His Holiness kindly bestowed the empowerment of the deity Hayagriva upon an assembly of the local Tibetan community.