30.01.2012, India

His Holiness The 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje visits his newly purchased land in Kalimpong, West Bengal, India

Kalimpong

On January 30, 2012, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje, visited his newly purchased land in Kalimpong for the first time. This land has been donated to him by students from Europe.

Nestled in the serene foothills of the Himalayans, the property covers an area of 40,000 square meters. The site extends across terraced fields and woods and offers a splendid panorama of the small valley and surrounding mountains. It is obvious that the land formation and location manifest the features of an auspicious site. Moreover, the site is well-known among the older villagers as a place where Buddhist practitioners lived and meditated some decades ago. The foundation of their residence can still be seen.

Education is one of the main focuses of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, with this motivation, the new land is intended to become a new education centre with school facilities where students will be instructed in the timeless values and wisdom of the Buddha Dharma, while maintaining the standard requirements of a modern education.

Beginning in the early morning, students of the Kalimpong Shedra were eagerly making preparations for the visit of Gyalwa Karmapa, and a Tibetan tent was erected for the traditional welcome ceremony where tea and sweet rice were served to everyone.

Although Gyalwa Karmapa’s visit was unannounced, and only a few attendants accompanied him, the news of the arrival of such a prominent guest spread quickly and many local people came to welcome him and in order to receive his blessing.

The three former owners – two brothers and a sister – handed over the heritage land of their ancestors, praising the purpose of establishing a school here and announcing that the merit accrued through this positive action would be dedicated to their late parents who had worked so hard cultivating the land. Karmapa Thaye Dorje expressed his thanks and deep appreciation for this noble wish, saying that in this time of personal economic pursuits to attain wealth, it is rare to find such noble aspirations to support spiritual education.

After the welcome ceremony, Gyalwa Karmapa, together with his retinue, were shown around the land, making good wishes on this explorative walk. Assessing the possibilities of the land, the 17th Karmapa assured all present that he would personally see to it that this place will be developed into an education centre. As a first step, the focus will be the construction of school facilities for about 100 students where all students will be granted free education and boarding.

Report and photos: Diane Brodkorb