Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, Woodstock, New York
February 16, 2018
On the eve of the Tibetan New Year, the shrine hall at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra was a hive of activity. Days before, the traditional khapse (deep-fried bread) in many shapes—flowers, intricate leaves, and braided strips—had been prepared in the kitchen. These now were carried to the shrine room and placed on a brocaded table in front of the Karmapa’s throne with a golden Buddha rising behind it. The khapse were carefully arranged in numerous layers and decorated with the bright colors of candies, fruit and nuts, small cakes and cookies. From the front of the hall to the back, long rows of colorful carpets were laid out, and the tables next to them held miniature versions of the main offering, which were given to each person who came.
In his New Year’s message, His Holiness had proclaimed: “On this first day of the Tibetan Year of the Earth Dog, Losar Tashi Delek to everyone, especially my brothers and sisters in Tibet and members of the Tibetan and Himalayan communities outside Tibet.” On New Year’s Day, many of those from the New York area drove the two and a half hours north with their family and friends to celebrate with the Karmapa. It would be the first time that he had observed the New Year in the United States.
A little after ten in the morning, the Karmapa entered the festive shrine hall and climbed the stairs to take his place on the throne. With everyone joining in, he led the practice of Green Tara, the powerful female Buddha who swiftly dispels obstacles and opens hearts with her compassion. His Holiness closed the practice by singing an enchanting melody he had composed for a classic prayer in his lineage—an aspiration for Dharma teachers to live long, for the ordained sangha to be successful in their study and practice, for society to be permeated with altruism, and for all those who have a connection with us, whether good or bad, to enter the gate of Dharma and come into the realm of realization. A perfect prayer for the New Year.