Friday, May 16, 2008

Karmapa Visits NYC Museums and Says Prayers at Ground Zero

On this very rainy Friday in New York City, His Holiness Karmapa took advantage of the opportunity to see some of the sights the city has to offer. The Karmapa’s large traveling party of about 30 people was a roaming sea of robes and umbrellas as they made their way around Manhattan. Among the black umbrellas, some of the senior members of the party had blue umbrellas emblazoned with the Karmapa’s “Dream Flag.”

The Karmapa visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the morning, where he was received as an honored guest and given a VIP tour of various galleries: Medieval, European Renaissance, Asian, and more. When the main part of the tour was over His Holiness was asked what other artwork he would like to see, and he expressed a wish to see the more contemporary galleries. One observer noted that His Holiness seemed particularly intrigued by paintings by Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock. The Karmapa is, himself, a painter and visual artist, and recently completed a major thangka painting that will be hung in Rumtek.

His Holiness also visited the Latse Contemporary Tibetan Cultural Library, after having lunch at Rockefeller Center at a restaurant overlooking the ice skating rink.

His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa visiting the
Latse Contemporary Tibetan Cultural Library in New
York City, May 16, 2008. Photographer: James Gritz.
Copyright 2008 by Karmapa Foundation.

Later in the day, His Holiness visited Ground Zero, where he was again welcomed and given a VIP tour by the co-founders of the Tribute Center. Talking with some of the monks in the traveling party before the Karmapa arrived, the tour guide stated: “What happened here happened because of hate. The reason why this place exists is because we have to find a way to enlighten people so this doesn’t happen again.”

After touring the exhibits and displays about the tragic events of 9/11 and the people whose lives and families were impacted by those events, His Holiness stopped to talk to Theresa Mullan, the mother of Michael Dermott Mullan, a firefighter whose life was taken on 9/11. She showed the Karmapa photographs of her son from an album she carries with her, and gave him a laminated memorial card with Michael’s name and photograph on it, which the Karmapa put into his pocket.

After speaking with Mrs. Mullan, His Holiness signed the Tribute Center’s guest book, writing several lines in Tibetan. The Karmapa was then escorted outdoors to a section of the 9/11 memorial site that is closed to the public — the last dignitary to visit this section was the Pope. His Holiness offered flowers and prayers to honor the victims of 9/11.

His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa offers flowers and prayers at
Ground Zero in New York City, May 16, 2008. Photographer: James Gritz.
Copyright 2008 by Karmapa Foundation.

Finally, His Holiness visited the Rubin Museum of Art, where he was given another VIP tour of the museum’s collection of precious Tibetan and Himalayan art and cultural artifacts. His Holiness the 17th Karmapa paused for a few moments in front of a rupa (statue) of Tara which is said to have been sculpted by the 10th Karmapa, Choying Dorje (1604-1674).

His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa at the Rubin Museum of Art
in New York City, May 16, 2008. Photographer: James Gritz. Copyright
2008 by Karmapa Foundation.


David Crofts Munro said...

This visit of His Holiness to the West is truly a great blessing. It will do so much for the Dharma in the Western Hemisphere. This continues to make me happy and I have every expectation that it will be doing so for others; bringing great benefit to many lives.

Hopefully he will fulfill his desire of "spending two months of every year in the United States". Let us pray as times appear to be changing.

Long life, His Holiness XVII Karmapa.

Jaime said...

It's wonderful to be able to have these accounts (and photos of H.H.K. and DPR!!) - I can share in the experience from afar. Keep it comin'!


Sunset Park Autonomous Zone said...

I am glad to see his interest in art and the fact that he is also an artist. I think artists can do a lot to bring peace to the world.