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(Photo by Dion Ogust)

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

Hey, he’s only 29, right? It’s got to be tough being the spiritual head of the 900-year-old Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. He’s been that since he was he was recognized as the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa at the age of seven. He delivered his first public religious discourse to an audience of over 20,000 people at the age of eight.

Then he had to escape from his home in Tibet when he was 14. This is his third trip to the U.S.

He’s a passionate environmentalist, as befits any spiritual leader. The goal of his eco-monastic movement is to “safeguard the Earth so that all sentient beings can benefit and live in harmony with one another.”


At the tree planting ceremony Wednesday, he sat with Woodstock officials and religious leaders. Even Father John, of the Church on the Mount, the fragile tiny chapel that is dwarfed by the Monastery’s (relatively) new building, was there. We like seeing the communities in harmony.

The literature tells us that “’Karmapa’ literally means ‘He Who Performs the Activities of the Buddha…’” That’s got to be an incredible responsibility.

Dion, our photographer, saw him up close, said he looked tired. He said as much in his Rec Field talk. He’s been on a whirlwind tour, bestowing thousands of Refuge Vows, conducting teachings, surrounded by his security people, being whisked from one location to the next.

And I wonder…lots of us have kids his age…wouldn’t you just like to take him out for a beer? Or get him over to the rec field and shoot some hoops? Come on down to the Bluegrass Clubhouse at Harmony, or something? Just let him have some down time and hang out, see how we live? I mean, he’s 29, right?

Make no mistake, our admiration for His Holiness is boundless. He’s a man in the position to accomplish goals that make this life better for all of us and from all appearances, he works at it all the time. It’s clearly his mission.

In his Andy Lee Field talk, he spoke of Woodstock (and its ‘hippies’) as being advanced in its environmental awareness and that he feels at home here.

We welcome him, and wouldn’t mind if he stays around a while.

There are 4 comments

  1. Yokelin Wong

    i think we should practice our dharma well in this way to express our sincere thanks for his teaching and fulfilling his purpose of being the person who carry on Budhha activity…. Karmapa Chenno

  2. caroze van de poll

    Thanks Yokelin, I agree with you ! Let’s do our very Best to follow in His Footsteps!! Karmapakhyennoo !!

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