H.H. the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje’s first visit to Canada got off to an auspicious start on Day 1 of his visit to Toronto. Devotees lined the streets with katas, despite tight security from both private teams and Metro Toronto Police.
The city of Toronto is hosting the visit of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, which began earlier today with a public welcome at Karma Sonan Dargye Ling Temple:
May 31 is a very special day in the long history of KSDL. His Holiness the 17th Karmapa will be visiting Karma Sonam Dargye Ling at 12 Maynard Ave on Wednesday, May 31 at 10am. Sarva mangalam! Everyone is invited to welcome His Holiness upon his arrival outside the building. Remember to bring a khata.
This event was a “welcome only” from the public point of view, as “The Karmapa will be having a private lunch at KSDL and will be departing the premises by 12:30pm.” 
Five Toronto Events Planned
There are five Toronto-area events planned (many sold out, check ahead at the Karmapa Canada website>>) — before the Karmapa will “travel to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.”
In an interview in the Toronto Star, the Karmapa emphasized the environment. One of the main Toronto events focuses on “Environmental Responsibility.” In the interview, the Karmapa said:
“I think the biggest issue is also related to humans’ motivations — human greed is the biggest issue of the environment, because of consumerism. The sad thing is, until something happens, people don’t want to change.”
In the Toronto Star feature, columnist Martin Cohn focused extensively on the future leadership of Tibet. (Full story here>>)
H.H. the Karmapa’s First Visit to Canada
Press Release: “The 17th Karmapa, one of Tibet’s leading Buddhist figures has arrived in Toronto today on his first visit to Canada. Known for his concerns about current global issues as well as for his spiritual leadership, the 31-year-old Karmapa will engage in a wide range of religious activities and will speak on environmental and social responsibility at various universities.
During his month long trip to Canada, the Karmapa will travel to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. In doing so, he is following in the footsteps of his predecessor the 16th Karmapa, who travelled extensively throughout the country and was instrumental in introducing Canadians to Buddhism in the 1970s.
Head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, the Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is the 17th holder of a 900-year old lineage. Born in a nomadic family in eastern Tibet, he made headline news in 2000 with his dramatic escape to India, where he now lives near the Dalai Lama. The 17th Karmapa has emerged as one of the most influential Buddhist figures of his generation, and plays a key role in the preservation of Tibetan culture and religion. As he travels across Canada, the Karmapa will be meeting with Tibetan communities and visiting many Buddhist centres connected to the Karma Kagyu lineage.
As a spiritual leader for the 21st century, the Karmapa has a deep commitment to environmental protection as well as to social justice, and frequently engages with youth groups to encourage them to work for positive change. While in Canada, he will give lectures at the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia on environmental conservation, social equality and the need for inter-religious dialogue. The 17th Karmapa founded Khoryug, an eco-monastic movement that has mobilized 55 Buddhist monasteries and nunneries across the Himalayan region. As a committed vegetarian, he often speaks out against cruelty to animals. His current initiative to grant full ordination to nuns in his lineage is a ground-breaking first step toward creating full access to spiritual opportunities for women in Tibetan Buddhism.
His visit to Canada coincides with the release of his latest book, “Interconnected: Embracing Life in Our Global Society”, in which he outlines his vision for building a more compassionate society. In this book, the Karmapa argues that global integration has failed to move sufficiently beyond an atomistic vision of who we are as human beings. As a result, globalization has led to greater competition, conflict and isolationism. Offering a more sustainable alternative, the Karmapa argues that our inherent capacity for empathy can be strengthened to serve as a sound natural basis for developing the personal and social values consistent with living as interdependent individuals: compassion, responsibility, equality and appreciation of diversity.
The Karmapa is an accomplished artist, poet and composer. In 2010, he oversaw the production of a full-length play that he had authored on the life of Milarepa, Tibet´s most widely revered yogi, innovating a new theatrical form that combined Tibetan opera with modern theatre. Many of his poems have been set to music, and he has worked to revive the performance in India of the sacred “doha” songs associated with the Buddhist lineage he heads.
The visit to Canada is organized by the Karma Kagyu Associaton of Canada.”
Who is the Karmapa?
From the Kagyuoffice.org website: “Karmapa means the embodiment of all the activities of the buddhas, or the one who carries out buddha-activity. In the Tibetan tradition, great enlightened teachers are said to be able to consciously control their rebirth in order to continue their activity for the benefit of all sentient beings. On this page we will give you an overview of the Karmapa lineage, and a brief introduction to the life and many activities of the present Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje.
The first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, was born in 1110. He was the first of the great Tibetan masters to establish an incarnating lineage. Since his death in 1193, successive Karmapas have incarnated in this form of manifestation body (Skt. nirmanakaya), for sixteen lifetimes so far, and all have played a most important role in preserving and promulgating the Buddhist teachings of Tibet.
Prior to the birth of the first Karmapa, the arrival of a Buddhist master, who would be known as the Karmapa, had been prophesied by the historical Buddha Shakyamuni and the great tantric master of India, Guru Padmasambhava.
Throughout the centuries, Karmapas have been the central figure in the continuation of the vajrayana lineage in general and the Kagyu lineage in particular, and have played a very important role in the preservation of the study and practice lineages of Buddhism. (For more on the Karmapas prior to the Seventeenth, see the page on the Seventeen Karmapas.)
A Brief Introduction to the 17th Karmapa’s Life
The present Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is the 17th in the line of Karmapa incarnations. Here is a brief introduction to the present Gyalwang Karmapa’s life story from his birth in Tibet to his dramatic escape to India and present activities. A more extensive biography continues below including details on how the 17th Karmapa incarnation was identified in Tibet.”
As a large event, tickets are important. More information here:
 KSDL website: https://www.ksdl.org/blog/
 Karmapa Canada website: https://www.karmapacanada.org/2017/05/press-release-monday-may-29-2017/
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Author | Buddha Weekly
Lee Kane is the editor of Buddha Weekly, since 2007. His main focuses as a writer are mindfulness techniques, meditation, Dharma and Sutra commentaries, Buddhist practices, international perspectives and traditions, Vajrayana, Mahayana, Zen. He also covers various events.
Lee also contributes as a writer to various other online magazines and blogs.