Join our campaign to purchase The Karmapa Center 16 land by October 31st, 2015

His Holiness, the 16th Karmapa with Chogyam Trungpa RInpoche in the United States.

We have an incredible opportunity to purchase the Wadsworth, IL land located 5 miles west of the 16th Karmapa’s parinirvana at the cancer center and blessed by the 17th Karmapa. We invite you to join us in this auspicious undertaking to establish this pilgrimage site in North America!

As we complete ecological and traffic studies to prepare for the county and village meetings and permit approval process, we are simultaneously fundraising to purchase the land. To date, approximately $300,000 has been raised… 

in order to close on this property, we require an additional $650,000 by October 31, 2015.  

How can I help, you ask?

We’re so very glad you did! There are several ways to make a connection to the project and contribute meaningfully:

  • Donate in the following ways:
    • Online
    • Write a check to “The Karmapa Center 16” and mail to: 41230 Kilbourne Road, Wadsworth, IL 60083
    • Wire transfer or direct deposit by contacting us at, Subject line: DONATION
  • Spread the word
    • Tell your friends!
    • Share the news on social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn
    • Contact us at for brochures/pledge card packages to distribute
  • Share your stories, experiences, pictures and memories with the 16th Karmapa by emailing us at
    • Video yourself sharing the story
    • Write your story
    • Scan your pictures or memorabilia

We look forward to hearing from you!

HHK blesses proposed Stupa ground
HHK17 blesses the proposed HHK16 parinirvana stupa ground at The Karmapa Center 16

17th Karmapa Blesses Proposed Stupa Ground & Visits CTCA

We are pleased to share the news that His Holiness the 17th Karmapa stayed at the Karmapa Center 16 land during his 2015 tour of the U.S. on Sunday, May 3rd and Monday May 4th.

During his stay, he visited the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) and received a tour from Bill Kelly who showed the group the room where His Holiness the 16th Karmapa stayed. The space has been remodeled and is now a part of administrative offices. He was also able to meet Dr. Chris Stevenson whose father was a key supporter of His Holiness receiving care in Zion.

Monday, May 4th, HH blessed the proposed stupa ground and conducted a smoke puja with Rinpoches, Acharyas and Lamas in attendance. Wadsworth Mayor Glenn Ryback, Village Administrator, Moses Amidei, and several Village Trustees, CTCA staff, donors from near and far, local friends and family, volunteers and staff were present to celebrate the event.

The ceremony was held in the center of the proposed stupa site under a sun rainbow this glorious Monday. The land was lush and green with flowers blooming everywhere and birds singing in the pond and trees.

Architectural Plans

The preliminary draft plans drawn by architect Keith Spruce show that the parinirvana stupa will be on the western third of the ten-acre property. The 30 foot stupa will be enclosed by a building with the entrance facing east towards the cancer center. This stupa and meditation hall will offer seating for over 100 meditators and enable circumambulation around the stupa from the inside as well as the outside. The current proposal includes windows around the top portion of the stupa in order to be visible from the outside.

The current 17th Gyalwang Karmapa continues to employ ethical programs for living in harmony with the environment, such as the Khoryug Environmental Protection Program: Khoryug Vision. To this extent, our goals include environmental conservation and sustainable environmentally responsible practices proposed wherever possible for new construction, remodeling or removal of buildings proposed on this site. For example, we are considering uses of gray-water recycling, composting toilets & dry urinals, green roofs, natural native landscaping, natural storm water retention and processing on-site, pervious pavement areas, low-energy use buildings utilizing passive and active energy conservation system, among other considerations. Our intention is to minimize the impact on the natural environment as much as possible while restoring and harmonizing our proposed site development plans with the natural rural surroundings and improvements.

Proposed Stupa Site

We have located a lovely 10-acre property in Wadsworth, IL 5 miles almost directly west of the cancer center. We are leasing the property with option to buy with successful completion of appropriate studies, permits and approval of the Wadsworth Village Board.

The property includes an existing single-family and caretaker’s house where we Lamas and religious workers reside. In the back third of the land is where we are planning the building of the stupa.

Place of Parinirvana

The American International Hospital where His Holiness attained Parinirvana still exists, but has grown and expanded and changed ownership. It is one amongst a network of centers, now called Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Midwest Regional Medical Center. People refer to this facility as the Chicago Center, although it is located in Zion, IL, about 45 miles north of the heart of the city of Chicago. The cancer center is about a mile and a half from Lake Michigan in the State of Illinois, approximately three miles from the Wisconsin border. Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of the US and Canada, formed by glaciers. Illinois Beach State Park creates a recreational accessible space for humans and animals alike.

Directly west of the cancer center is Shilo Park alive with a pond, geese and ducks and other waterfowl. To the north is Historic Shiloh House, the former residence of the city’s founder, Dr. John Alexander Dowie—who preached divine healing and whose intention was to build a religious utopia and planned industrial community in the early 1900s (+ more). The park was designed/built as a central point with “spokes” extending outward in all directions. From what we’ve researched, this design had some kind of religious energetic significance. It seems interesting that Dowie chose this specific place to build a utopian society, with God as ruler, and His Holiness 16th Karmapa also chose this location to pass into Parinirvana.

Additional Historical Information

After the organization of the Christian Catholic Church in Zion, Dowie dreamed of a city where his congregation would be free from the evils of the world, a city where God would be the ruler. He first looked for land south of Chicago in the Blue Island area, but the land was not suitable, so he looked north of the city. In the fall of 1899, Dowie visited the land north of Waukegan and envisioned what he would come to name “Zion City.” After successfully securing options on approximately 6,600 acres of land, he unveiled his plan for Zion City at the Watchnight Service the eve of the New Year 1900. It would be a city where his congregation could worship, work, and play free from the temptations of the world. Zion City was the only city, besides Washington D.C., that had plans completed before the first spade of dirt was turned. There would be places of employment—he imported a lace mill from England—schools, and recreational facilities, all controlled by John A. Dowie. The land would be leased to the people, with definite restrictions, for 1100 years. Dowie reasoned that Christ’s return was to be within 100 years and then the millennium, after which there would be no need for leases. 
The people would share in the profits of the industries in Zion City and the profits, tithes, and offerings would be sufficient for the support of the Christian Catholic Church in Zion.