Here is an article I wrote for NESA (Near Eastern School’s Association):

Touching Peace Within:  The Karmapa Visits the American Embassy School

by Meena Srinivasan (Middle School Faculty, American Embassy School – New Delhi, India)

In honor of the UN International Day of Peace, the American Embassy School in New Delhi hosted His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa. After the Dalai Lama, the Karmapa is the most important spiritual leader for Tibetans and is being groomed to lead the Tibetan people when the Dalai Lama steps down. Only 24, he was born into a family of nomads in Tibet, recognized as the 17th Karmapa at age 7, and at the age of 14 made a daring escape from Tibet to India.  Like the Dalai Lama, he is regarded as an embodiment of compassion. The Karmapa’s day long visit marked the fourth year the American Embassy School has come together as a community on the International Day of Peace to create a space for reflection and practical acts of peace.

The Karmapa arrived with an entourage of monks who visited classrooms and interacted with students throughout the day. The essence of their message was that peace is a choice we make. In an all school assembly of more than 1000 students and faculty His Holiness guided the school community through a short meditation to illustrate that peace is something natural to all of us; it is right here and now. By relaxing, being present in our body and placing our attention on our breath, we can easily see that peace is not something we have to create; it is already within us. The Karmapa stressed that education must go beyond acquiring knowledge to include our taking that natural peace inside ourselves, expanding it and giving it to others to make a better  world.

In addition to addressing students and faculty in an all school assembly, the Karmapa’s day-long visit included a talk given to parents and high school students about how to cultivate happiness.  Younger students participated in small-group question and answer sessions. His Holiness gave of himself to bless everyone who came to meet him including students, parents, faculty, custodians, gardeners, security guards. 

The visit of His Holiness was especially meaningful because the American Embassy School had an opportunity to share with the Karmapa our long standing partnership with the Tibetan Children’s Village, a community for the education of Tibetan children in exile.

A unique feature of the American Embassy School is our Educators’ Sangha that has been meeting weekly for the past eight years to share in mindfulness, meditation and peacefulness within. The Karmapa’s visit transformed the entire school community into a space of peace for the day, teaching us that “we all have the ability to touch the peace we hold within at any moment, under any circumstances.”

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