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Lions Roar : January 2010
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2010 48 Tibetan government-in-exile, and was greeted by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Like his predecessor, who had escaped Tibet in 1959, another Karmapa had emerged into the wider world. The Seventeenth Karmapa, however, entered the modern world at a much younger age than the Sixteenth did. He is fluent in Chi- nese and is learning English rapidly. While the Sixteenth loved birds, and seemed to be able to communicate with them, the Seventeenth’s hobby is books. He loves art, music, and computers and has writ- ten several songs. He plays video games. At age twenty-four, he is fifty years younger than the Dalai Lama, and is deeply concerned about people his age and the world they are inheriting. All of the Karmapas have adapted to the circumstances of their day, to ensure that the teachings remain fresh and time- ly, but the Seventeenth, who is coming on the scene during the digital revolution, the age of global climate crisis, and the mash- ing and muddling of cultural identities, must find his place in a world of rapid change his predecessors in isolated Tibet could hardly have conceived of. He’s been talking about the environment (“We will not give up on this Earth!”); the place of women in the world (“From a Bud- dhist point of view, men and women are equal”); and social action (“It is very important that dharma be harmonious with the larger society in which one lives, that it be humanitarian”). And people are starting to listen. He intends to fulfill his traditional role com- pletely, ensuring the continuity of the lineage and the transmis- sion of the authentic Mahamudra teachings to practitioners of the Kagyu tradition. But he also wants to bring the message of libera- tion to as many people as possible, as the Dalai Lama has done. Professor Robert Thurman, a friend and important adviser to the Dalai Lama who was among those welcoming the Karmapa on his The Karmapa ensures the continuity of the Kagyu lineage and the transmission of the authentic Mahamudra teachings. Officiating at the annual Kagyu prayer festival in Bodhgaya, India. PHoTo©TSuRPuLABRAng