On the Buddhist Trail in Himachal: Part 5

Delhi and His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa


My trip to Delhi really made me wonder why I’m so fortunate to be in the presence of these high lamas and realised beings. Expecting to spend a quiet night with a good friend before leaving to London, suddenly we’re invited to an exclusive dinner and teaching with the 17th Karmapa. Amazingly, only 50 people are in attendance. I even get to sit in the front row, so close it’s a bit strange, as only weeks ago I was part of the spiritual circus queuing with 1000 other people to see him at the Gyuto Monastery. I wonder why he’s actually here at all since he has such a demanding schedule and why isn’t the room jammed. But this is a charity event put on by a wealthy Indian man.

Only 23 years old at the time of writing, the Karmapa has such tremendous presence I can believe he’s been reincarnated 17 times – since his lineage began in 1110 CE. He’s very handsome, with incredible radiant skin, and a serious composure that only occasionally breaks into a warm smile. He is spacious and calm. The wise words from this very-old-youngster is that life can be chaotic and disturbing with unexpected events that are out of our control. (I find this laced with tinge of irony, considering his own recent disturbance that involved the Indian police uncovering a large stash of Chinese Yuan in his monastery and the media had a feeding frenzy.) He says, “Nothing is beyond the realm of possibility, yet if we get sick or something bad happens, we are surprised. We never know when disturbing things will happen, or the degree of intensity. There is no reliable consistency in life. So, if we cultivate the view that ‘everything is possible,’ the mind can be more prepared and be calm and spacious when it the unexpected happens.” It’s a very auspicious way to leave India and I’m most grateful for all the teachings I received and the time spend focusing on my practice. I feel purified and calm and ready to take on whatever unexpected thing comes my way in London.



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