Kamalashila Institute, Langenfeld–4th September, 2015
In a short farewell ceremony for staff and volunteers in the shrine room at the Kamalashila Institute, the 17th Karmapa thanked everybody on behalf of himself and his entourage. Christof, the German translator, was ready and waiting, but His Holiness light-heartedly grabbed both microphones in his hands and began speaking directly in English.
“On the last day here at Kamalashila, I want to say to the lamas, the staff and the volunteers, I deeply appreciate your hard work, and your sincere motivation. We all feel very happy and have enjoyed being in Kamalashila, and we look forward to seeing you again.”
The resident lama, Lama Kelsang, and Horst Rauprich, President of the German Karma Kagyu Gemeinschaft, also gave short speeches of thanks to His Holiness and his staff.
“Please come again and again. Please come every year if possible,” was their heartfelt request.
Afterwards, there was a small party on the patio outside the centre’s cafeteria: a buffet of Tibetan food brought in specially from a Tibetan restaurant in Bonn. The Karmapa moved from table to table, speaking with staff, volunteers and guests, joking and smiling, evidently at ease.
The following morning at 7.00am, he left for Berlin. Holding out their katas and flowers, staff and volunteers lined the drive to wish him well. As his car passed through the entrance gates, the sun rose, bathing the small cavalcade in soft golden light as it made its way down the hill, past Langenfeld church, and out of sight.