Karmapa will bring instant karma on his visit to Scotland

By CLAIRE SMITH, The Scotsman, 20 March 2010

Edinburgh, Scotland -- THE Karmapa, one of the most important figures in Tibetan Buddhism, is to visit Scotland this year as part of his first trip to Europe.

The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, 24, will give a public talk at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, and visit the Buddhist-owned Holy Isle, off the coast of Arran.

The head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism will also visit the Samye Ling Tibetan centre in Dumfriesshire – the first Tibetan temple in the west. He follows in the footsteps of the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpa Dorje, one of the inspirations behind the Samye Ling Centre.

Lama Yeshe, Abbot of the Samye Ling Monastery, said of the 17th Karmapa: "He is a man with a vision. He is young, he is engaging and he is a really modern teacher with a strong interest in environmental issues.

"His predecessor saw a vision at Samye Ling and said it was going to become one of the most successful monasteries in Europe."

The 16th Karmapa visited Scotland twice, in 1974 and 1976, and helped to draw up the plans for what would become Samye Ling.

The current Karmapa was born in 1985 in Tibet and hit the headlines all over the world when he escaped across the mountains to India in 2000, when he was just 14. The Karmapa, who now lives in India, visited the United States in 2008, but this is his first visit to Europe.

In a statement on his website The Karmapa said: "When I was very young, I used to look at many children's books from Europe and, somewhat inspired by those, I sometimes had an experience of being in the natural environment of ancient Europe, where I was living in a very pleasant and happy way.

"I think the most important thing is to follow in the footsteps of the 16th Karmapa. Whatever activities he started and imprints or impressions he left with his body, speech and mind in Europe and in the people of Europe, I wish to follow it up, continuing his activities and lay a good foundation in my students. This is my first wish."

He added that he also hoped to work towards bringing "not only outer material progress, but to bring inner happiness and wellbeing to the people of this world, finding a way to create the outer developments as a means to develop inner peace and joy."

Lord David Steel, who will introduce the Karmapa at his talk in the capital on 25 June said :

"I look forward to meeting this remarkable young man and to introducing his public talk.

"Having recently returned from a visit to Tibet, I am intrigued to meet the High Lama on whose youthful shoulders so much rests and to hearing his talk on a subject that affects us all, namely, The Key to Happiness."

Ani Rinchen Khandro, the resident nun from Samye Ling in Edinburgh, said for many Buddhists the Karmapa's visit was a dream come true. "I'm really excited. I have been wanting this to happen for so long."