From the Chapter Moments that Changed Entire Lives
First meeting with Karmapa
The encounters were not necessarily long, as was the case for John Castlebury. When His Holiness passed by „so close I could practically feel his breath”, he had the impression, “like coming face-to-face with one of the natural wonders of the world. His Holiness seemed (...) to be the fruition of the path of dharma that we were practicing. But these are just words from afterwards, at the time it was wordless. His Holiness passed by, and time stood still.”
These meetings could change entire behavioral patterns, as Nick Jennings describes:
"I took a good friend to the event with Karmapa. This friend had a big problem with alcohol. I picked him up at 7 o’clock in the morning and he was already drinking orange juice, with vodka hidden in it.
At the Vajra Crown Ceremony, the friend didn’t want to go for the blessing. Another friend literally dragged him there. His Holiness twice banged him strongly on the head and that made a big impression on him. Soon after he entered an addiction clinic where he gave up all drinking. The blessing changed his life completely."
Eric Edelmann asked his 14 year old brother, who like most people at that age, “was not interested in spirituality,” if he wanted to accompany him to a Black Crown Ceremony.
He finally agreed. At the ceremony my little brother was completely overwhelmed by wonder. Afterwards he said: “Karmapa was like the sun and everything melted, not even the people in front of me were visible anymore, the material aspect disappeared.”
Speaking for many others, Heather Rigby describes her deeply transformative encounter:
"I was a step away from him; being in his presence was an unbelievable experience. It was like arriving in the ultimate reality. It was a revelation to me. I must have done some good in the past to be in such a presence, a feeling that remains in me today: great, tremendous, undeniable—and indescribable. Meeting this man changed my whole life. Being with him was nothing like what I’ve experienced either before or since. On one hand, I did not fully understand what was happening, and on the other, I was fully aware. The energy he transmitted was extremely powerful; all that remains to do is to realize it in this lifetime."
Rudy Maend describes his transforming power: “I remember six or seven of us sitting in a room with him, and he somehow allowed us to participate in his consciousness.” Suddenly all reference points vanished: “There was no top nor bottom to it. I did not know up from down nor sideways, where I was, what was the time. There were no more definitive dimensions. It was not something special he did or said, but just his presence was uplifting. But words are not enough to describe it.” For Maend this presence was this the very reason why His Holiness could in this relatively short time help the Dharma to take root in the West.
Mark Elliot confirms the deeply transforming effect His Holiness had on the West as follows:
"If you went around with the Karmapa, whether it was a policeman or ordinary people in a shop or an airport, everybody was just blown away.
The influence of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa on the spread of the Dharma in the States was indispensable. The whole thing changed in so many ways through his blessings. So many of us, thousands, were just drawn to him without knowing why, just through his presence."
© From the book Radiant Compassion, Vol. 2, p. 270.
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 John Castlebury on: http://radiofreeshambhala.org/2009/12/recalling-a-buddha/
 Interview wit Nick Jennings, May 2021.
 Interview with Eric Edelmann, December 2020.
 Interview with Heather Rigby, January 2014.
 Interview with Mark Elliot, August 2020.