Returning to Europe for the first time in his present incarnation, the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, met together with representatives from all his European Karma Kagyu centers and organizations on the evening of May 28th. Each of them had sent one person to participate in this first ever gathering of his European Dharma family. And, indeed, this was the feeling that permeated the entire evening as the Karmapa spoke informally to his disciples with warmth and humor. Organizing his visit was the first project that they had undertaken as a group, and this evening they could bask in the result of their efforts: the radiant presence of the Karmapa in the shrine room of Kamalashila Institute, his main seat in Europe.
The personal tone of the evening began with a story told by Hans Harald the first person to welcome the 16th Karmapa to Europe. The Karmapa stayed with him for ten days and invited Hans to visit him in India. Every other day, the Karmapa asked him in for tea, and on one occasion, told Hans that he should found a center in Bonn. As it turned out, Kamalashila is very close to Bonn. Hans then spoke of his happiness in being able to welcome also the 17th Karmapa to Europe.
Afterward, the Karmapa entered the shrine room with a natural ease and little fanfare as he walked down the aisle to his throne. He said that the 16th Karmapa as well as many great Kagyu Lamas had come to Europe and given teachings from a lineage that goes back over 1000 years. In this way, a pure transmission of practice was brought to Europe, and a new system, or life of the Buddha was begun. The Karmapa could now see the result of that seed, and this made him very grateful and joyful.
Smiling at the group, the Karmapa recalled that even as a child, he had had the dream of going to different parts of the world to meet his cherished Dharma friends. He recognized a strong Dharma connection with everyone here and aspired that it would continue throughout this and future lives.
As he walked back down the red-carpeted aisle, the Karmapa stopped to greet and chat with people, who were delighted to offer katas and the gifts they had brought from their own countries.