26 June, 2015
GANGTOK: As the seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje turned 30 today, he expressed his fervent wish to visit Sikkim, where his previous incarnation – Rangyung Rigpae Dorje – had built his monastic seat outside Tsurphu, Tibet.
“Many people in Sikkim have a solemn and sacred bond with the sixteenth Karmapa and now are deeply devoted to me. Many of them have repeatedly requested me to come to visit them and it is my own heartfelt wish to be able to travel to Sikkim in order to meet with them to honor these sacred bonds and to make a pilgrimage to holy places in Sikkim,” said the head of the 900 years old Kagyu lineage in his birthday message.
The message further read: “I have yet to visit but have heard from my many friends there that Sikkim is a peaceful and environmentally friendly State. The main seat of the Karmapa reincarnation lineage is Tsurphu Monastery in Tibet, and I have had the wonderful opportunity to experience life there. When the 16th Karmapa left Tibet, he built a monastic seat at Rumtek in Sikkim, which is now a part of India.”
Sikkim, it may be recalled has an old association with the Karmapa ever since the ninth Karmapa established Ralang monastery in West Sikkim, the oldest Karma Kagyu monastery in Sikkim.
Like every year, hundreds of devotees including monks from as far as Phodong, Ralang, Mirik, Lava and Sonada thronged to Dharma Chakra Centre, Rumtek to offer their prayers to the Karmapa.
However, the Karmapa, as per his message released today, chose not to celebrate his birthday citing several reasons, which he thinks are more important: absence of his parents, unnecessary inconvenience at Gyuto monastery in Dharamsala, his temporal residence; sense of urgency for the protection of the fragile ecosystems of the Tibetan plateau as well as the It is my own heartfelt... Himalayas; inability to visit Sikkim, where the 16th Karmapa has a sacred bond; and destruction and loss of life due to the recent Nepal earthquakes.
“For all these various reasons, I personally will not be celebrating my birthday. I understand that others may still want to mark this day, and I do not wish to prevent anyone else from holding celebrations if they wish to do so,” reads the message. He has, however, taken the opportunity to thank the people for their support and love.
Earlier this morning , incense was offered and prayer flags planted at the DCC premises, followed by prayers for the long life of the Karmapa and mandala offering. The afternoon was marked with cultural performance and birthday cake cutting ceremony. Meantime, Tsurphu Labrang, the office of the Karmapa, has carried out a number of activities – religious and charitable – as a part of the Karmapa’s thirtieth birthday.