March 20, 2015 – East Richmond Heights, California
As his final activity in the Bay Area, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa was given a ceremonial welcome on a visit this morning to Gyuto Foundation, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located in East Richmond Heights, California. Although this center in the Bay Area may be physically far from His Holiness the Karmapas residence in India, the two enjoy a close bond. As the 17th Karmapa noted, Gyuto Foundation is also affiliated with Gyuto Tantric College in India, where he has resided for the past 15 years.
“When I arrived from Tibet,” he said, “the initial plan was that I would stay at the Gyuto Temple for a few months and this opportunity was very graciously provided by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, according to his instructions. That plan was that it would be more like a stay at a guesthouse … a brief stay, maybe a few weeks, maybe a few months. Here it is 15 years later, and I’m still living at the Gyuto Tantric College in Sidhbari. This has been a wonderful opportunity for me. I’ve not only been hosted graciously there, but I really have the feeling toward everyone there that they are like members of my family. We are all in the same family.”
Following on his comments to the larger Tibetan community the night before, His Holiness encouraged the local Tibetans to make full use of the resources made available by Gyuto Foundation for preserving Tibetan culture and language in diaspora, as well as for Dharma study and practice. Gyuto Foundation is active in the Tibetan community, offering Dharma study classes for young Tibetans twice a month, in connection with the Tibetan Association of Northern California.
“I see this as a very important center,” the Karmapa told them. “Therefore I would encourage you to take great pride and delight in having a center with such a noble purpose. Furthermore, there are many Tibetan people who are members of the community and many in the surrounding areas and I would encourage the Tibetan community to use this center as a gathering place to come and meet with each other, become familiar with each other, support each other and do so in an ongoing way. And I really rejoice in this opportunity.”
As part of this same visit, His Holiness shared the morning meal with members of the Dharma center community, before proceeding by car to his next destination.
With the visit to Gyuto Foundation, the 17th Karmapa has completed the northern California stage of his epic journey across the country. We will be reporting soon from southern California, where His Holiness will be making one stop, to visit University of Redlands, a private college that has sent students to study with him at his monastery in India.
Many thanks to Stanford University, the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies, Google, Facebook, Palpung Lungtok Choling, Kagyu Droden Kunchab, American Himalayan Foundation, Gyuto Foundation and the Tibetan Association of Northern California for extending such a warm welcome to His Holiness the Karmapa during his time in northern California.