At 4 pm on March 23, an entourage of monks walked slowly through the Deer Park in Sarnath, the site where the Buddha first turned the Wheel of the Law after attaining enlightenment. We all gazed at the unmistakable outline of HH Karmapa, as he walked rhythmically towards the deer. A golden parasol was held aloft to shade him from the sun’s rays. The deer leaped into the air and frolicked excitedly in anticipation, as he tossed some carrots into their enclosure.
Then he sat on a throne with a canopy of garlands around it facing the huge stone edifice of Dhamekh Stupa, built by King Ashoka, and made prayers for auspiciousness. All the monks and followers sat on the grass enjoying precious moments of tranquility. HH Karmapa did several circumambulations of the stupa, then walked slowly towards the main temple containing a relic of the Buddha. Inside the temple he sat down on the floor in front of the huge golden Buddha, while the recitations continued.