DHARAMSHALA, June 13: Over a dozenTibetan college students have gathered here to participate in interactions with the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje.
The interactive program is being organized by the Kun Kyong Charitable Trust at the request of the young Buddhist leader who returned to his exile home near Sidhbari earlier last month.
The program which started on May 29 will go on until June 16 during which Tibetan students pursuing masters and doctoral degrees from various universities in India will talk about issues ranging from identity to poverty to women’s empowerment.
The current program is a follow up to the Karmapa’s meeting on youth leadership in November last year with over 100 Tibetan university students in Delhi, where the Gyalwang Karmapa committed to engage in continued interactions with Tibetan university students. “This is the first programme of its sort, linking Tibetan university students with a Buddhist spiritual leader for such a sustained dialogue regarding topics of broad social concern,” said Kunzang Chungyalpa of the Karmapa’s office.
The interactions, said Chungyalpa, continue the Karmapa’s emphasis on working with youth to address major issues facing 21st-century society, and to inspire them to take greater responsibility for resolving those issues. The programme also reflects his interest in exploring ways that Buddhist teachings might offer new perspectives on matters of shared concern in today’s world, said Chungyalpa.
As part of their daily meetings, the Karmapa and a dozen Tibetan university students are devoting a day each to topics such as identity, discrimination, gender equality and women’s empowerment, leadership, education, the environment, consumerism, poverty, unemployment, suicide and anger management.
During their first session, the Karmapa urged the students to actively seek ways to keep their Tibetan identity relevant, by giving new meaning to old customs and traditions. “Before asking how to preserve Tibetan culture, language and religion,” he told them, “the first step is to clarify for yourself why they are important to preserve. Once you see clearly why they must be preserved, the second step will be easy,” the young Lama told the students.
During his two month tour of the United Staes, the Gyalwang Karmapa delivered lectures and held dialogues with youth at six universities, including Harvard, Yale and Princeton University.