Friday, June 3, 2011

First meeting

Hello One and ALL from the past.

Yesterday (May 4) we met the 17th Karmapa: something that very, very few people do, at least in the setting that we had. We met him in his monastery while he was giving out his blessings, but then we were escorted back in to the library where he spends much of his time. This was a very nerve-racking experience for me, because we began by presenting him with gifts that we brought. I had brought a one-stringed instrument I had made last year and he seemed to enjoy it. I also had given him a song I wrote to one of his poems. This was the most difficult part of the meeting for me. We all sat and watched him listen to it on an mp3 player. I really did not want to be there, but I had to realize how many times in anyone's lifetime does an extremely important lama listen to a piece of music you composed? I sat and absorbed everything he dished out. At the end he seemed to be very pleased and genuine with his response..."It's over? Thank you."

His English is very good, but sometimes there needed to be a translator helping him along. Once we got over the introductions we were able to ask him some questions. He answered very straightforwardly, and we could tell he was being completely sincere. I can tell that these meetings we are having with him are going to be beneficial for all parties involved and for the rest of the world as well. His Holiness seemed to lounge back on his seat in the middle of the session, which I take as an indication that he felt comfortable with us.

We know that these meetings we are having are very special and no one else has been given this opportunity before. This was very apparent to us, and this was why it was so nerve-racking, but the Karmapa really just seems to want to meet with us and have it be as comfortable as possible. He made it very clear how new these interactions were to him. Even longtime students of his do not had such opportunities to be in such close quarters for extended periods, and ask such questions. Most people are given 15 minutes and we were given 12 sessions approximately two hours each. This is truly an experience that will impact a lot of people. I will write more soon.

I will leave you with a quote from the Karmapa that really put me at ease.

"We have all been living together on this earth. We just had not had the opportunity to introduce ourselves before."

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

[Note from blogmaster: In the first photo above, Patrick has just offered His Holiness the instrument he made for His Holiness from recycled materials found in Redlands. In the lower photo, His Holiness has placed a ceremonial white scarf around Patrick's neck, as a blessing and farewell gesture.]

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