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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Greed biggest issue of the environment, Tibet’s Karmapa Lama says

June 5, 2017

By Martin Regg Cohn

The Toronto Star, May 30, 2017 - It is not his destiny to be the next Dalai Lama for he is already reincarnated as the 17th Karmapa Lama. Yet he may one day succeed his 81-year-old teacher and protector.

Revered since age 7 as spiritual leader of a 1,000-year-old branch of Tibetan Buddhism, Ogyen Trinley Dorje is making his first trip to Canada this week at the age of 31.

Meeting Ontario politicians Tuesday before sitting down for an interview, the Karmapa padded around Queen’s Park in a pair of brown hiking shoes peeking out from under his simple maroon robes. A picture of youthful wisdom with his direct gaze, towering above other monks at six feet tall, he may yet emerge as the public face of Tibetan Buddhism.

Worshipped as a living god and the Buddha of Compassion, will he also inherit the Dalai Lama’s imagery of divinity and celebrity?

This week in Toronto he is giving public lectures about mindfulness and the environment, the power of meditation, and ancient wisdom in modern times. But among his devotees, there is a different kind of knowledge — that karma could ultimately bind the Karmapa to a bigger burden.

As the Dalai Lama grows older in exile, and tensions with China grow deeper, His Holiness muses publicly about declaring an end to his own line. Rather than risk the spectacle of rival reincarnations — with Tibetan monks and Chinese Communists putting forward competing candidates in a spiritual standoff — the Dalai Lama has hinted it might be wiser to repurpose another reincarnated lama for a leadership role.

Many devotees believe the Karmapa will fill any future void, emerging as Tibet’s symbolic leader — if not the quite spiritual leader of all Tibetans (for there are so many complications among the denominations). The Dalai Lama has already delegated many of his erstwhile political responsibilities to a Tibetan administration led by a prime minister, so the tradition of a supreme leader has already been recast.

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