Friday, May 16, 2008

Karmapa Khyenno! (Hail Karmapa!)

There is a very nice story in the Times today about the arrival of the Seventeenth Gyalwang Karmapa in New York. I had the good fortune to attend the early-morning, traditional tea and rice welcoming ceremony for him at the NY Shambhala Center, because I have been working on the finances for his visit.

After the chants and the offerings of the tea and rice, the Karmapa spoke briefly. His words were tinged with humor and he was clearly delighted to be in America. He said something like, “Last night I had the thought that I was in India. This morning I think I am in New York. Looking at you, I believe it! I am in shock!”

Later in the day, my good luck held, and I was able to attend a meeting and a reception with the Karmapa. It was lovely to have time to observe him up-close. He is twenty-two years old, but honestly, they don’t make twenty-two-year-olds like that. It is his gaze that distinguishes him, and gives him away. It is so steady. It is not the gaze of an ordinary person, certainly not someone in their early twenties. This is someone to watch. Karmapa Khyenno!

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