Youth leaders from organizations dedicated to social justice and compassionate action joined His Holiness on stage at Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall.
On the unseasonably warm Saturday afternoon of May 9, over 1600 people stood in line at Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall in anticipation of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje’s final public teaching on his two-month trip to the United States. Titled “A Call to Compassionate Action,” the event was a two-part program.
Mitra Mark Power, a senior teacher at Nalandabodhi, welcomed the large crowd. Senior Nalandabodhi teacher and translator Mitra Tyler Dewar introduced His Holiness, remarking on three important qualities of the Karmapa — the authenticity of his lineage, his heart of innovation and his profound inspiration. Seated in front of a vivid photograph of Mt. Rainier, His Holiness spoke of the need for compassion to go beyond philosophy and to be responsibly translated into action. He gave examples of methods for actively cultivating compassion, adding that with true compassion there is no distance between oneself and others. Realizing there is no separation, then compassion and love will naturally arise.
With Mitra Mark moderating, a panel of six youth leaders from organizations dedicated to social justice and compassionate action joined His Holiness on stage. A short video introduced each leader: Silas Follendorf with YouthCare, Jennifer Hotes with Love City Love, Rekeda Roundtree who teaches Roots of Empathy, Burmese refugee Ta Kwe Say plus two youth ambassadors for Seeds of Compassion, Olivia Smith and Habib Behjatnia. Watch This session here:
In the evening, H.H. Karmapa gave an eloquent yet accessible teaching on how to practice and develop compassion through understanding its source and the way everything connects to everything else. Benefitting others starts on the inside, he said, and we need to transform ourselves so that we become the nature of benefitting others. Extending love to others, His Holiness said, is part of human life. Watch the video of H.H. Karmapa’s evening talk, his last public teaching during this two-month long tour to the US, here:
Compassionate action organizations and program collaborators hosted Calls to Action at tables throughout the event space, encouraging attendees to act on His Holiness’ and other leaders’ calls to grow our compassion, to make it real and immediate and to put our love into action now. Organizations included: Compassion Games, Bodhi Seeds, Nitartha Institute, Seeds of Compassion, Youth Care, Roots of Empathy and Love City Love.