By Phurbu Thinley
His Holiness the Karmapa was offered long life prayers and Mandrel-tensum at Chokang Temple in Leh, Ladhak on Tuesday, September 9, 2008 (Phayul)
Leh (Ladakh), September 9: The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, arrived in Leh, Ladhak, early this morning to begin a “Dharma tour” of the predominantly Buddhist region of India.
This is his second visit to Ladakh since seeking refuge in India after escaping Tibet in 2000. He first visited the region in 2001.
During the tour, the 23-year old highly revered Buddhist lama is scheduled to visit many remote, yet significant Buddhist places in the region, where he will carry out several teachings and empowerments.
The Office of the karmapa has described the purpose of the visit mainly as “for blessing” the remote Buddhist regions of Ladakh.
Ladhaki women hold flowers and ceremonial scarves to welcome Gyalwa karmapa in Leh on Tuesday (Phayul)
Hundreds of Buddhists, including Ladakhis and Tibetans, and visiting tourists were seen lining up since early morning along the Karmpa’s entourage route leading up to Chowkhang Monastery here keen to catch a glimpse of him.
During a brief religious function at the Chokhang Monastery, he was offered Mandrel-tensum
and long life prayers.
The Karmapa on accepting the offerings said he was happy to be in Ladakh again for the second time.
Describing Ladakhis as “devout Buddhists”, Karmapa said he had experienced a feeling of receiving great reverence and love from the people of the region during his first visit.
“It is my prayer and hope to visit Ladakh and meet the people of this land many times in future,” he said.
He is scheduled to give a short teaching for Tibetans at SOS Village School Choglamsar tomorrow.
From Ladakh, he will move on to to Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, where he will attend prayer meetings in many Buddhist places, including the world-famous Tabo monastery.
According to the office of the Karmapa, the visit was requested by the people and numerous Buddhist associations of those regions, which include Ladakh Buddhist Association, Ladakh Gonpa Association, Mahey Gonpa Monastery, Lahual Spiti Buddhist Association, Hargrang Rinchen Buddhist Cultural Heritage Foundation, Kinnaur Bodh Mahasabha.
His Holiness the Karmapa will complete his religious tour of the areas close to Tibet border on October 3.
The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa is the head of the Karma Kagyu lineage of the Tibetan Buddhism and is the only major reincarnated monk recognised both by the Dalai Lama and the Chinese Communist government.
The young Karmapa, who turned 23 on June 26, is seen by many as one of the greatest Tibetan Buddhist spiritual masters in the making of our time.
He has been temporarily living on the top floor of the Gyuto Tantric Monastic University in Dharamsala, the exile seat of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile in northern India, since he made his daring escape to India from Tsurphu in Tibet in January 2000 when he was just 14.