Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The Karmapa, one of the most important leaders in Tibetan Buddhism, is visiting the United States and is in the middle of his first U.S. tour; a whirlwind 18-day journey that started May 15 with a stop in Woodstock, N.Y. Some think the young lama will succeed the Dalai Lama as the next spokesman for Tibetan Buddhism and Tibet.
The Karmapa is a title given to a lineage of reincarnate Buddhist masters who head the Karma Kagyu subsect of the Kagyupa school, one of four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The current Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is seventeenth in a line extending back to the twelfth century. The young Tibetan leader of the Kagyu sect is considered a master Buddhist teacher. He drew international attention in 1992 when the Dalai Lama recognized him as the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa, and gained more renown in 1999 when, at 14, he crossed the Himalayas in the middle of winter to leave China and enter India.
In his recent stop on May 25th in Colorado, he spoke with translation to a crowd of over 2,000 at the Colorado University campus. The Karmapa underlined the potential for positive impact on the world despite the distractions and challenges of our age. While the Karmapa hesitated to recommend preparation for a future that is still unknown to us, His Holiness emphasized acting to improve the world better from our current situation, using the metaphor of the world's citizens being like a group of painters, each painting where they live in the most beautiful way possible.