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Buddhadharma : Fall 2008
MAhAsAnGhA news 85 fall 2 00 8 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly PHoToSBYJAMESGRITZ,©2008KARMAPAFoUNDATIoN His Holiness the 17th Karmapa at Macky Auditorium in Boulder, May 25, 2008. The KArMAPA in AMericA by Melvin McLeod The first North American tour of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, ogyen Trinley Dorje, was an expe- rience of mutual delight. The young Karmapa, only 22 years old, took obvious delight in his first exposure to the culture, technology, and direct, open style of Americans. In turn, American practitioners were swept away by his insight, humor, and presence. As reported in the last issue of Buddhadharma, this visit was the Karmapa’s first travel outside of India since his dramatic escape from Tibet at the age of 14. The Karmapas are the reincarnate leaders of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism and are generally ranked third in the Tibetan hierarchy. There is open speculation that the young 17th Karmapa is being groomed to replace the Dalai lama, upon his retirement, as the public face of Tibetan Buddhism in the world. The Karmapa said he chose the United States for his first travel outside of Asia because of a letter from his predecessor, the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, which described the particular impor- tance of America to the Kagyu lineage. The 16th Karmapa made three historic tours of the United States in the 1970s and ’80s and died in an Illinois hospital in 1981. The 17th Karmapa said during his first talk on American soil, at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, that “The American people have never been outside the mind of the Gyalwang Karmapa. The Gyalwang Karmapa has never forgotten the people of America for an instant.” During the two-week tour, the Karmapa mixed a backbreaking schedule of large public talks, smaller audiences, and private meetings with an eager exploration of Western culture. He spoke to audiences of thousands in New York, Boulder, and Seattle; taught for four days at his North American monastic seat, Karma Triyana Dharmachakra in Woodstock, New York; and held dozens of audiences with smaller groups of Western, Tibetan, and Chinese disciples. He also managed to tour the Metropolitan Museum in New York, viewing art from around the world for more than two hours, and to visit Ground Zero, where he composed a spontaneous prayer of healing. on a private visit to los Angeles, he went to Disneyland and Universal Studios, which he reported that he enjoyed very much. The tour was organized by the Karmapa Foundation, under the direction of The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, and members of many Tibetan Buddhist communities worked together to make it a success. The national and regional hosts included Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, Nalandabodhi International, Shambhala International, and Satdharma, with many other sanghas participating as local hosts and supporting centers. SEIGANEDGlASSINGTHEZENSTUDIESSoCIETY The Zen Studies Society in New York will host a celebratory dinner and weekend sesshin from September 11 to 14 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its New York practice center, shobo-ji (above). Buddhist scholar D.T. Suzuki founded the Zen Studies Society in 1956. Nine years later, the Rinzai monk Eido Tai Shi- mano became the society’s spiri- tual head and shifted its emphasis toward zazen rather than scholar- ship. Under his leadership, the community established two Zen practice centers: in 1968, New York Zendo Shobo-Ji on Manhat- tan’s Upper East Side, and in 1976, Dai Bosatsu Zendo Kongo- Ji in the Catskill Mountains. Eido Roshi received dharma transmis- sion in 1972 from Soen Nakaga- wa Roshi and is the abbot and head teacher at the two zendos. The Zen Studies Society also marked the 50th anniversary of the death of nyogen senzaki (below) with a weeklong eDIToR: anDRea MCQuIllIn fall 2008 86 a fIRsT foR Kwan uM sChool 87 Jane fonDa aT uPaya 88 un vesaK Day 91 fIRe aT TassaJaRa ➤