Karmapa in New York, May 18, 2008 Phayul Photo: Wasfia Nazreen
DHARAMSHALA, MAY 27 - The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje has departed for Germany for his first-ever visit to Europe. The most important stops on this tour will be his European seat in Langenfeld/Eifel, and the German capital, Berlin, said Kunzang Chungyalpa, the spokesperson for the younger Buddhist leader's office.
"His programme of activities includes traditional Buddhist teachings as well as secular events addressing current social issues such as the environment, the significance of compassion in a globalised world, and an encounter with artists exploring the theme of freedom of thought," said Kunzang Chungyalpa
During his fortnight-long programme from 28th May to 9th June, the Karmapa will meet with a wide cross-section of people from across Europe who are visiting Germany to participate in the events. He will also interact with young people of his own generation, in order to engender hope and faith in their future. As did his predecessor the 16th Karmapa, the 17th Karmapa has a strong personal connection to Europe, where his message of social responsibility and environmental sustainability has been warmly embraced.
Since making headlines after a dramatic flight from Tibet to India in January 2000 when he was 14 years old, the Karmapa has emerged as a strong thought leader, and retains a close relationship of mentor and protege with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. "The Karmapa is the head of the 900 year old Karma Kagyu lineage, which he has worked to modernize while remaining faithful to the authentic teachings of the Buddha," said Chungyalpa.
"His call to create a more compassionate future directly addresses the dilemmas facing 21st-century global society and has inspired people worldwide. The Karmapa is a strong advocate of environmental conservation."
Th young leader has spoken out frankly about the destruction of the environment and the effects of climate change in his homeland, urging the international community to work together to protect Tibet’s fragile environment.
The Karmapa, besides being a religious leader, is a painter, calligrapher, poet, music composer and playwright and director. He takes keen interest in preserving and renewing Tibetan artistic forms and has written and produced several plays that combine elements of traditional Tibetan opera and modern theatre. The Karmapa currently lives in Gyuto Monastery in close proximity to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The Karmapa has previously traveled to USA in 2008 and 2011. He was denied permission by the Indian government to travel to nine countries in Europe in 2010 for a visit scheduled from May 27 and July 2, 2010.
The young head of the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism made his maiden visit outside India in May 2008 to the United States after the Ministry of External Affairs of the Indian government granted him permission in February 2008. The visit took place between May 15 to June 2, 2008.