28th Story Update: Taking Refuge with the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa

Karmapa Center 16 is grateful to have longtime Buddhist practioner Lynne Conrad Marvet now serving on its Board of Directors as secretary.



An artist, performer, teacher and professional fundraiser, Lynne grew up in Chattanooga, TN, and began meditating when she was 16 years old. But it wasn’t until she met His Holiness the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa, four years later, that she connected with Tibetan Buddhism and the Karma Kagyu lineage of His Holiness. In 1980, while living in New York City, Lynne’s friend suggested they attend the Black Crown ceremony held in the city during His Holiness’ third, and what would be his final, tour of the United States. So, they went, and the connection for Lynne was made.  

“The strongest connection to my heart was the description given for the Refuge Ceremony,” Lynne said. “At the time, I was not well versed in what taking ‘refuge’ meant. But the way His Holiness described it, I remember having a very strong feeling of ‘Yes, Yes’ this is what I want to do. I still get chills. (It was a) powerful experience: It was the principle of compassion, the power of his speech, his presence, and the message that this is a path to help transcend confusion and help all sentient beings. Because of meeting His Holiness, I felt very connected to the Karma Kagyu lineage.”  

Shortly after the ceremony, Lynne met her first Tibetan teacher, Khyabje Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche who served, from 1978 until his death in 2019, as abbot of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra in Woodstock, New York, the first Karma Kagyu monastery established in the United States and the North American Seat of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa. Her current and longtime teacher is Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, acknowledged as a heart son of the 16th Karmapa.  

Lynne shared with us a special description of the life of the 16th Karmapa spontaneously spoken by Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, guru of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, during an interview in Seattle in 1999. She had supplicated Khenpo Rinpoche for his words about His Holiness, which were then translated from Tibetan into English by Ari Goldfield.

THE WONDERFUL, MIRACULOUS LIFE STORY OF HIS HOLINESS THE 16TH GYALWANG KARMAPA
By Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche

In the glorious valley of Gurum, there is a monastery called Tsurphu. It is the palace of glorious Chakrasamvara. The all-pervasive lord is Rangjung Rigpe Dorje himself. Simply meeting him causes faith to expand. Simply listening to his speech vanquishes the darkness of doubt. Receiving pith instructions from him causes dualistic appearances to be self-liberated. This is his wonderful, miraculous life story. He brings outer, inner and other together in Mahamudra and causes all of existence to shine as the infinite expanse of purity. His practice of the rituals of the four classes of tantra is uninterrupted. This, too, is his wonderful, miraculous life story…

Listen to Lynne read the rest of the story:


When asked about the stupa for Karmapa Center 16, Lynne said in many ways, it is incredible that the stupa doesn’t already exist.

“His Holiness had such a huge impact on people,” she said. “And, because he passed away (in Zion, IL), that place is blessed. To continue to share that with many generations to come, it is important to have a physical representation of his sacred body, which is what the stupa is: his enlightened body, speech, and mind. To have a stupa there will be a great blessing to not just those in close proximity but to the entire United States.”

“Recently, I’ve been thinking about the importance of blessings and what that does for one’s practice. I can’t say enough of adhisthāna or blessings that can be received as a result of the physical presence of the teacher or the representations of enlightened beings… It is something very real even though it is intangible. The Karmapa Center 16 is already that place, but it will increase, I have no doubt. It is important for us to invest in this dream.”


If you’d like to share your memories or photos of His Holiness with us, please send them to: media@karmapacenter16.org.

As always, we offer our heartfelt thanks for your continued interest and support of KC16. May the Center be of great benefit to all beings!

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