KARMA TRIYANA DHARMACHAKRA (KTD) is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery beautifully situated in the heart of the Catskill Mountains above Woodstock, New York. It is the North American monastic seat of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Karmapa’s Vision
The monastery was built through the blessings and inspiration of His Holiness the 16th Gwalyang Karmapa, the Head of the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. His Holiness’ vision came in response to the sincere supplication of students in the West who yearned for an authentic Tibetan Buddhist monastery for the study and practice of the Buddha’s teachings.
To this day, the 16th Karmapa’s vision is being fulfilled as the “whispered lineage” (Kagyu) teachings which are preserved in their purity and made available to students in the West who wish to learn Tibetan Buddhism.
Karma Triyana Dharmachakra houses the Karma Kagyu Institute, fulfilling the directive of His Holiness to preserve Tibetan arts and culture by providing a showcase for Tibetan paintings and statues, offering courses in Tibetan language, publishing Tibetan literature and philosophy, recording CDs of sacred music, producing DVD lectures of Tibetan masters, creating Tibetan sand mandalas, sponsering cross-cultural symposiums such as Buddhism & Psychotherapy and producing concerts where Tibetan liturgical music is performed. By it’s very nature, the monastery is preserving this great tradtion.
The Shrine Building
The shrine building was built by lamas, staff, volunteers, painted by a Tibetan artist-in-residence and decorated in the style and architecture of an authentic Tibetan monastery. It was completed in 1992. The grounds are decorated with Tibetan prayer flags draped up the mountain, a “Dharma Path” with benches and prayer flags that lead to a parking lot and a large goldfish pond stocked by His Holiness the 16th Karmapa.
In the Tara shrine room of the completed shrine building daily practices are open to the public. Tibetan and English transliteration texts are provided for two of the practices so that participants can chant in Tibetan and read the meaning of the prayers in English.
The monastery offers celebrations of Tibetan and Buddhist holidays such as Losar, the Tibetan New Year where festivities take on a week long schedule. Many Tibetan masters such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness Sakya Trizin visit Karma Triyana Dharmachakra giving lectures, blessings and performing ceremonies. Buddhist and non-Buddhists alike visit the monastery appreciating the Dharma message of respect between all religious traditions and peoples. In addition, the main shrine room was used for three scenes of Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award nominated film Kundun, about the life of the present Dalai Lama.
The Monastery Building
The recently completed “New Building” rounds out the vision of the 16th Karmapa by providing a residential monastery building surrounding the shrine building.
In addition to providing housing for staff and visitors, it houses a large library of books on Tibetan religion, philosophy, travel, art, and practice; galleries of Tibetan paintings and statues; facilities to record Tibetan music and teachings; and a 10,000 sq. ft. courtyard for Tibetan cultural presentations. It also houses Namse Bangdzo Bookstore.
The monastery offers two tours each week for visitors from around the world. Programs are held on most week-ends year round, and are open to whoever is interested in discovering more about the Buddha’s teachings on wisdom and compassion. The teachings range from introductory presentations, including Tibetan language and music, to instruction in advanced Tibetan Buddhist (Vajrayana) practices. Many of the teachings are open to the public.
May limitless beings be benefited by KTD’s continual effort to teach the Buddhadharma, and preserve the Tibetan religion, arts and culture.
For more information on KTD and its programs please visit the KTD website, www.kagyu.org.