Karmapa prays for Himachal flood victims

    By IANS,

    Rekong Peo (Himachal Pradesh) : The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, Tuesday ended a three-day tour of Kinnaur district, ravaged by flash floods in June, with prayers for victims and survivors.

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    The Karmapa is the third most important Tibetan religious head after the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama.

    “The Karmapa gave blessings for long life here to about 15,000 people,” an official said.

    Disciple Kalsang who attended the teachings said: “Although Kinnaur faced a major flood disaster, we are confident this will not happen again after blessings by the Karmapa.”

    Unprecedented rain and snow June 15-17 claimed 23 lives, washed away roads, houses and thousands of acres of apple orchards on which people depend for their livelihood.

    Roshan Lal of upper Kinnaur said: “It will take many years to recover from this disaster. An apple tree usually takes 15-16 years to mature and bear fruits. People will face 80 to 90 percent loss in income.”

    The Karmapa, 28, reached this town Aug 31 after a long overland travel from Dharamsala where the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama’s government-in-exile is based.

    En route to Rekong Peo, the Karmapa stopped at affected areas and offered prayers and blessings.

    Although this is his first visit to Kinnaur, his previous reincarnation, the 16th Karmapa Rigpe Dorje, visited Kinnaur on a pilgrimage in 1948.

    An official statement by his office said the Karmapa appreciated the peaceful and harmonious nature of the people.

    The Karmapa, who fled Tibet and sought refuge in India in January 2000, is the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu school, one of the four sects of Buddhism.