Back Again, for the First Time

Almost three decades since his predecessor passed away in Illinois, the Seventeenth Karmapa takes his first trip to the West.

Peter Alsop

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The Seventeenth Karmapa in New Jersey
The Seventeenth Karmapa in New Jersey

 

SHAMONG TOWNSHIP, in southern New Jersey, sits about two hours down the turnpike from New York City, and yet it feels about as far from Manhattan as Kansas. The creep of the suburbs doesn't quite extend here, and you can still find large tracts of pinewoods and farmland, as well as diners and trailer parks and Baptist churches. It's a quiet place, unaccustomed to much excitement, which might explain the mystified reaction of some townsfolk as they motored down one of their rural roads on a Friday afternoon in May.

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