Comes now great, good fortune in which we may all rejoice. His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama has enthroned former New York photographer and long time serious dharma student Nicholas "Nicky" Vreeland (grandson of the late, legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland) as the new abbot of Rato Monastery in southern India.
This is the first time a Westerner has been afforded such a high honor.
Meeting the Dalai Lama in 1979 led Vreeland to take ordination in 1985, and begin studies at the monastery he now leads. When he first arrived, there were 27 monks. There are now about 100 monks, between the ages of 6 and 90.
Upon granting the responsibility, the Dalai Lama told Vreeland, "Your special duty is to bridge Tibetan tradition and the Western world."
In addition to his new duties, Vreeland will continue as Director of The Tibet Center, in New York.
"His Holiness wishes to bring Western ideas into the Tibetan Buddhist monastic system," Vreeland remarked during a recent PBS interview. "And that comes from his recognition that is is essential ... that there be new air brought into these institutions."
May all things be in accord with Nicholas Vreeland's generous wishes for the benefit of all sentient beings, may his accomplishments be effortless, and may the word "obstacle" not even be heard. May we all support him in any and every way we can.