(April 17, 2015 – Woodstock, New York) As billowing clouds of juniper smoke mingled with the wobbling sounds of horns and drums to fill the senses, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa arrived at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, the North American seat established by the 16th Karmapa over three decades ago. Although gusting winds made the tall banners a challenge to hold erect, several dozen monastics, Western as well as Asian, formed a colorful yet dignified procession escorting the Gyalwang Karmapa along a walkway recently painted with auspicious signs.
At the entrance to the shrine hall, the 17th Karmapa was received by Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, the 91-year-old abbot who was chosen by the 16th Karmapa to create and oversee this hilltop monastery in the late 1970s.
Once inside the main assembly hall, His Holiness paid his respect to the sacred images enshrined there, lit a lamp and ascended the steps to the throne that has stood empty, awaiting his presence, since his last visit here in 2011.
Traditional prayers were recited and salted butter tea was served along with rice, golden with visible strands of saffron. KTD President Tenzin Chonyi uttered warm words of welcome, and His Holiness responded greeting and thanking all those present, including the Mayor of Woodstock and the town board as well as KTD lamas, staff and supporters, for their support and hard work on behalf of KTD. The Karmapa observed that the time that lapsed between his visits served to enhance his appreciation for the time he had at KTD.
“This has caused me to feel how precious and valuable such opportunities are,” His Holiness said.
On that note, the crowd joyfully dispersed, looking forward to many more opportunities to receive the Dharma from their spiritual guide in the days to come.