Dialoguing on Tibetan Issues with Students from Different Cultures

July 25, 2016 – Sidhbari, HP, India

For over twenty years now university students have been coming to Dharamshala under the auspices of the Gurukul program to receive an extended introduction to Tibetan spirituality and culture. They live in nunneries and monasteries as well as meet with Tibetan artists and activists. The students learn how it is and what it takes to leave a homeland, come to a new country, and start from scratch, all the while working for the welfare of the country left behind. They hear about Buddhist philosophy and about the Tibetan government, and NGOs.
They also watched the Lion’s Roar, a film about the Sixteenth Karmapa. On their last day of participating in interactive sessions, the students came to visit the Seventeenth Gyalwang Karmapa and ask him their questions. First His Holiness was requested to relate something of his life story, and then he opened the floor to the students’ queries.
The first one asked: Since the Karmapa was known for supporting the conservation of nature and wildlife, could he give some tips on how to have more love and compassion for them?
His Holiness responded, “I was born in a remote place and lived close to nature, so I could see its beauty. Our life style then was very traditional and we lived in harmony with nature. This chance to be close to nature and experience it firsthand is the reason I felt motivated to protect the environment and its wildlife.”
This kind of childhood experience, he noted, it very precious and important. Many people have been born in the city and continue to live there so they do not have the experience of being in touch with nature. It would be good for them to spend more time out in the natural world.
He further suggested that we should also understand the interdependent relationship between ourselves and nature, and how important it is for us and all living beings. If we can do this, then slowly we will increase our love and gratitude to nature.
One young woman commented, “Before I did not know the physical size of Tibet. I thought it was a small country, but actually it’s really big. I was not aware of all the natural resources in Tibet some of which can be used for many things. Tibet is also the central waterpower in Asia. Now we’re learning how important it is to conserve all these natural resources.” His Holiness agreed with her.
One of the leaders of the group said, “One might feel that Tibetans in exile are quite happy and everything is going well, but we do not see what is going on in Tibet.”
His Holiness responded that there is a big difference between the Tibet he knew when living there and today’s Tibet. Lhasa has become two times bigger than before. “Many friends told me,” he said, “when you visit Lhasa, you get the feeling of being in a modern Chinese city. It does not seem like Tibet. When I heard this, I thought that on one hand maybe it is good, but on the other, people come to see Lhasa because they want to see Tibet not a Chinese city.”
He added that this transformation makes him wonder what other things will change in the future. “Change is happening very quickly,” he remarked, “and as things develop, people have more desires and more money. They want to build bigger houses, more roads, and buy more cars. Lhasa now has lots of traffic jams. Many things have changed. I have the feeling if I could come back to Tibet, I wouldn’t be able to see the natural and pure Tibet I once knew.”
Another student asked why the Tibetans did not use violence, since it’s a question of their survival.
The Karmapa responded that in our contemporary world, violence seems to be nonstop. In the media we can hear bad news every day. “Recently in Afghanistan there was a bomb that killed 80 innocent people. We do not want to see this kind of thing happening.” He continued, “Even when Tibet is in a critical, difficult situation, I think we still have the option of different avenues of approach and different choices. It is not that we have to take a certain position and have only one single choice. I don’t see it like that.”
Another questioner queried: In Tibet there have been 144 instances of self-immolations. In Xinjiang, the people are killing the Chinese. So in one place, they are doing violence to themselves and in another, violence to others. Still in Buddhist philosophy, self-immolations are considered a form of violence. What do you think?
The Karmapa replied that he had already made several appeals to people not to self-immolate. “Maybe I’m the only person saying this,” he remarked, “and I’m a little bit worried, but I can’t bear this, so I must speak. We have high number of people who have self-immolated, but all these deaths have not brought the desired result. Internationally, no country really cares about them, and it is such a waste of this precious life. In general the Tibetan population is small; each and every person is valuable and needs to survive for the cause of Tibet. That is why I have made an appeal several times, saying that this is not a good choice.”
Sometimes the Tibetans in Tibet do not understand the international situation, the Karmapa explained, because they have not received correct information. They have the mistaken idea that if they do something, people outside Tibet will like and support them. Or they think that the international community will take some action or challenge what is happening in Tibet. But this comes close to being just an illusion. They should understand that if they continue the immolations, they are wasting their lives. It is also not good for Tibet or for their family. These are the reasons why I think they should chose another method. There are some people, for example, who are doing a very good job. They are studying, maybe by themselves, and getting a good education, so they can serve their community. We should adopt these more realistic ideas.
The next person asked the Karmapa about his stand on Tibet being autonomous or independent. He replied, “The leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama is very important. We all need to agree and support his leadership, because everyone can come together under his guidance. Unity has the greatest power. If we become divided into parts, I do not think we will get any result either for independence or the Middle Way. That is why I think the two sides need to understand each other. They cannot just hold on to their own view, but need to take in the larger picture.”
The next question concerned the degradation of the environment and the role of governments.
The Karmapa answered that many governments do not want to believe that the environment is a critical issue. They rely on oil and want to continue their economic development, so they are reluctant to make changes. In the short term, he remarked you can avoid these issues, but in the long term you cannot. “Scientists say that human greed is too powerful, and even if we had 3 or 4 planet earths, it would not be enough. Human greed has no limitation, but our natural resources do. This is the problem.”
“Will you be the next Dalai Lama?” asked the next questioner.
The Karmapa replied that he should create an official document to answer this question as so many people ask it and the media is repeating it, too. “I cannot be the next Dalai Lama,” the Karmapa stated. “The next Dalai Lama will be the Fifteenth Dalai Lama, not me.” He continued, “Also you need to understand that I’ve already become the Karmapa, and being the Karmapa is enough. It is a heavy responsibility and I cannot carry more than that.”
People are also saying, he continued, that he would do the Dalai Lama’s work of benefiting all Tibetans after His Holiness passed away. But there is no need to wait until then for the him to engage in benefiting the Tibetans. “It is not like that,” he explained. “Then it almost becomes like the Chinese who are waiting for His Holiness to pass away, and then they think the whole Tibetan issue will die out. They do not recognize that there are existing Tibetan issues but think it’s only the issue of the Dalai Lama. This is not true. After His Holiness passes away, the situation will be come more difficult, for no one will be able to control it.”
“In my case,” the Karmapa explained, “even if His Holiness passes away, I will serve. It is not because I would receive another position; it is because I am one of the very important lamas in Tibet, maybe the longest reincarnated lama in Tibetan history. That is why I have some responsibility, not just for my own lineage but also for the general welfare of the Tibetan people. I take that on that even now. There is no need to wait until His Holiness passes away to start a program or make plans. I will do that right now.”
In speaking of the future, the Karmapa noted, “We already have political leaders, who are elected by the people. They will take care of the political part of Tibetan life. For the religious part, each lineage has their own leaders, and I do not think someone who is not the Dalai Lama can be the leader for all these spiritual leaders. That is not realistic.”
On a more personal level, the Karmapa said, “Even the fifteenth Dalai Lama could not. It is difficult to earn the kind of respect that is given to the Dalai Lama with all his vast activities. The Fifteenth will be under a lot of pressure, as people will expect so much of him, saying, ‘You should be like the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, who was like this and did that.’ I think it would be very difficult to bear this kind of pressure. The expectation and the reality are very different. I know this from my own experience.”
The following question touched on the Tibetans in exile. Have they done their part for the Tibetan cause?
The Karmapa noted that 2018 is the sixtieth anniversary of the Tibetans being in exile. It is difficult to satisfy all needs, he said, but “I think we have done a lot. For any Tibetan coming from Tibet, we provide an education and a place to stay. Not many refuge communities can provide these facilities. Even so, I think many people are not satisfied, even me. We will do better, but sometimes it’s not easy. India society moves at a slower pace. Some Indian friends tell me that India is like an elephant. ‘Why?’ I asked. ‘Because elephants move very slowly and they are powerful,’ they replied.”
The Karmapa commented, “I think we Tibetans are moving a bit slowly, too. Tibetans tend to think of themselves as refugees and get stuck there, thinking, ‘We cannot do too much because we are refugees. We have to be satisfied with less.’ Maybe we need to change this kind of attitude, because young people like development and need new things. This why many people have left the Tibetan settlements and moved to different parts of the world. They do not want to stay here. Others are going back to Tibet, and the flow of Tibetans from Tibet has almost been stopped, so it could be that after 10 or 20 years, there will not be much of a refugee community left in India.”
Reprising his thoughts on the slowness of change, the Karmapa observed, “Sometimes I think we should change slowly. Even if the change is a good thing, we may need time. In the past I have encouraged people to stop eating meat, but I do not like to order people to do something. People need to clearly understand the reason why they are doing something; maybe they can come to experience why not eating meat is meaningful and then stop. Otherwise, it is not so meaningful; it is good but not perfect, so slowly is better here.
The last question asked the Karmapa about what inspired him and how he found time to pursue his artistic interests.
The Karmapa responded that some people think since he is the Karmapa, he does many different things. He commented, “If I am diligent enough, maybe I will become better at them. Sometimes I make paintings, poems, dramas, songs, music, or graphic designs. Usually I do not see myself as a high lama like the Karmapa. I see myself as a servant, and that is why I do a lot of things on my own. It is tiring and not easy, but I take this as an opportunity. I do not think that since I received the name of the Karmapa, it means I am a great person. It is not like that. Having this name means that I have the opportunity to serve people. Thank you.”

[During this dialogue, the Karmapa spoke in English, which was lightly edited.]

2016.7.25 Dialoguing on Tibetan Issues with Students from Different Cultures


Gyalwang Karmapa To Sikkim

The Denjong Lhade

His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje has been residing in the Indian State of Himachal Pradesh after his escape from Tibet (China) in the year 2000 AD. His predecessor, the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa Rangjyung Rigpe Dorje lived and died in Sikkim. Karmapas are the Supreme Head of the Kagyupa Lineage of Lamaism. Due to various circumstances, restrictions have been imposed on His free movement since. However He has been allowed permission to travel across the world, off-late. The Indian government has also permitted him visit several places in India over the years. In the recent years, He was even allowed to visit Mirik in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal State to conduct religious rituals and ceremonies for over a week.
The monks and lay devotees in Sikkim have infinitely been waiting for the arrival of their Dharma Guru since the passing away of the 16th Karmapa in 1981. With the escape of the 17th Karmapa to India in 2000, the ever waning aspiration of the devotees rejuvenated once again. Overwhelming majority of the Sikkimese people acknowledges Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the 17th Karmapa and have since been representing the Indian government to allow Him to visit Sikkim, at-least once to bless them. The government has also been given prerogative to decide on the location in Sikkim where the Karmapa could be allowed to visit. However, in the garb of security it so far has fallen only on the deaf ear of New Delhi for sixteen-long years despite popular demand.
In 2014, the Sikkim Legislative Assembly passed two historic Resolutions urging the Indian government to grant permission to enable the much awaited visit of the 17th Karmapa to Sikkim to bless the land and its people. Earlier, about 40,000 people came to streets in 2010 with the same demand. Once again in May 2016, the monk community from Sikkim called on a two-day long Peace dharna at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. Again, back at home, on June 22, 2016, all the major and minor monasteries of Sikkim held historic meeting at Gangtok and unanimously resolved that the Indian Government must immediately grant permission to His Holiness. With no response from the Indian authority, a massive Rally was held at Gangtok by hundreds and thousands of monks & lay devotees once again on July 10, 2016 with the same demand. Moreover, since July 10, 2016 – Sikkimese monks have begun indefinite Relay-hunger strike at BL House, Gangtok seeking early visit of His Holiness to Sikkim.
It is very condemnable that the religious rights and interests of the people should be encroached or subdued for a long period of sixteen years in the name of security. National security & concern is indeed a matter of utmost concern and there is no compromise on it, we respect this. However, the manager of national security must also be sensitive and considerate to our religious concern at the same time for the Buddha dharma has strongly been guarding the nation’s northern frontier with its message of peace & non-violence. It’s been sixteen frustrating long years now. A generation of Sikkimese have passed away with this simple aspiration of having their Root Lama (Karmapa) at Sikkim before they die. Root Lama is the ultimate sacred guide to any Buddhist. Since the state of tolerance of the Sikkimese devotees has crossed all heights, it can go to any extent in redeeming their simple dharma aspiration of having their precious dharma guru in their own land for few days. Perhaps, this dharma aspiration of the Sikkimese people is not a very big deal if perceptively addressed by the Indian authorities with more human heart.
India has witnessed rampant massacre of Buddhist monks in Arunachal Pradesh in the recent months. Let it not become precedence in this oft-called land of religious tolerance. If the Karmapa can be allowed to Mirik in Darjeeling (hardly one & half hour drive from Sikkim), why can’t he be allowed to Sikkim? What is the variation of security perspective between Sikkim & Mirik? Who is circulating / composing such reports (misreports rather) and analyses or who is influencing or guiding such communications at local level to the authorities? Did the authorities at New Delhi ever authenticate such reports with reality? Can the national security and common aspirations be based on such biased assumptions or reports which are a complete deviation from reality? Let the Karmapa’s visit to Sikkim be more smooth and in accordance to its dharma tradition and lineage and without ill-heart.
If the Indian authority still keeps on denying permission to the Karmapa to visit Sikkim, series of volatile questions arise. Its reluctance to unanimously decide on the matter poses grave question of Sikkim being a part of the Union unlike the way the Union has decisively allowed Him to Himachal Pradesh, Bihar or West Bengal - its other constituent units like that of the Sikkim State. Indian government must maintain complete authority on all matters pertaining to its territory. Moreover, the disinclined approach of the Indian authority is also indicative of its feeble foreign policy wherein it appears to be under duress of some extra-territorial power or unseen factor that apparently is even beyond its sovereign jurisdiction. If so, is India - the largest democracy that helpless? Frustrated Sikkimese devotees now remember and compare that when the 16th Karmapa came to Sikkim in 1956, there was no trouble at all regarding permission, asylum, etc. for then they had their own Chogyal (King) as the Head of the State. They did not move from post to pillar of alien systems as today. It simply was faith and respect that worked then.
We live in an era of instant communications, connections and contacts owing to tremendous technological advancement. At such circumstances, mere physical presence of any individual at any given location, and more so of the stature of a Karmapa who is already delimited by intelligentsia & security beeline on any visits can never have repercussions, if ever. Such conceptions are no more than hallucination at this age. It rather is the intention of the Indian authority that has to be stable, clear and pro-people. The government must realise the fact that the security of the nation depends largely on its people and not necessarily on circumstances or territory.
We, the Sikkimese monks and devotees already have had enough of it in this past sixteen years. In fact, it has been an infinite wait out of the rough and insensitive handling of New Delhi. We have begun Indefinite Relay Hunger Strike since July 10, 2016 at Gangtok as Holy Crusade and will go to any extent in simply having our dharma guru here in Sikkim for few days. Indian government! Aren’t we justified in expressing our simple dharma aspiration?
Karmapa Khyeno Karmapa Khyeno Karmapa Khyeno
Gangtok July 19, 2016


HH 17th Karmapa Graces Ceremony of Birth Anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava at Nechung Monastery - CTA

July 18, 2016

DHARAMSHALA: Earlier today His Holiness 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje graced the ceremony of the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava, which is observed in the fifth month of the Tibetan Monkey year.
Emulating a ceremony that used to be observed at Nechung Monastery in Tibet, the energetic oracles in trance made a procession around the Nechung monastery’s main yard along with a statue of Guru Padmasambhava carried on a palanquin.
Chief Justice Commissioner Mr Kargyu Dhondup, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, Deputy Speaker of Tibetan Parliament Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok, Kalons and Secretaries of different departments of CTA, members of the standing committee of Tibetan Parliament and representatives of the Central Tibetan Administration were present at the ceremony.

His Holiness 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje graced the ceremony of the birth of Guru Padmasambhava at Nechung Monastery on 18 July 2016.
His Holiness 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay and representatives of CTA at invocation of Oracle at Nechung Monastery on 18 July 2016.
The State Oracle Nechung invoked and performed ritual before procession around the monastery on 18 July 2016.

Celebrating the Year of Guru Rinpoche’s Birth

July 18, 2016 – Dharamsala, India

According to Tibetan tradition, Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) was born on a lotus in Dhanakosha Lake on the tenth day of the monkey (fifth) month in Year of the Monkey. This reappears every twelve years in the Tibetan Calendar, and the western year of 2016 is a Fire-Monkey Year. To celebrate this special occasion, Nechung Monastery under the guidance of Nechung Kuten (Oracle) and Nechung Choktrul Rinpoche has organized two celebrations during this month of the monkey. The first took place at Rewalsar (Tso Pema in Tibetan), another lake linked to Guru Rinpoche. Here, on July 13 and 14, 2016, HH the Dalai Lama presided over two days of ceremonies, which included teachings, ritual practice, and a particular focus on the oracles present for the occasion.
Continuing the celebration, HH the Gyalwang Karmapa was invited to preside over ceremonies at Dharamsala’s Nechung Monastery on July 18, 2016. The walls of its warm golden and red-hued temple are covered in large thangkas. For today’s occasion, the monks had set up a shrine filled with copious offerings and a central throne draped with garlands of marigolds for the Karmapa. His throne faced a statue of the Buddha and to the Karmapa’s right, resided a radiant statue of Guru Rinpoche. The Karmapa arrived around 7 o’clock and was welcomed with a formal procession of monks carrying brilliant brocade banners. They were led by Nechung Kuten and Nechung Rinpoche as well as the Vajracharya and Discipline Master of Nechung Monastery.
Entering the main shrine hall, the Karmapa made three bows to the Dalai Lama’s throne and offered a khata as well as making offerings to the statue of Guru Rinpoche. Once seated on his throne, the Karmapa was presented with the traditional offerings for long life—a mandala and the representations of body, speech, and mind—by the two main lamas and the most senior monk of Nechung Monastery. Soon after commenced the ritual of the inner practice of Lama Rigdzin Dung Drub that belongs to the Northern Terma tradition of the Nyingma school. Focused on Guru Rinpoche, this profound text beautifully evokes the primordially pure nature of mind.
During a break, the shrine hall was prepared for the Nechung Kuten to enter trance. In the center of the shrine stage, a wide rug in a tiger skin pattern was laid out and a seat placed upon it for the Nechung Kuten. The Karmapa’s throne was moved to stage right to face the oracle, and monks below formed a semi-circle of musicians with cymbals, thighbone horns, and drums. Two gold and silver long horns (radung) were lifted aloft on a carved frame while the center of the floor was left empty. On stage left sat representatives of the three pillars of the Central Tibetan Administration: the Chief Justice Minister Kagyu Dondrup from the Supreme Justice Commission for the judicial; Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay for the executive; and the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Acharya Yeshe Phuntsok, for the legislative. Also participating were Ministers and Secretaries of different Departments of the CTA, members of the standing committee of the Tibetan Parliament, representatives from the CTA and from diverse NGOs.
The Karmapa entered to take his place, and soon the Nechung Kuten came to the center of the shrine where he was dressed in his ceremonial robes and an immense headdress topped with three plumes of white fur surrounding a radiant jewel fashioned in gold. For this ceremony, the Karmapa wore the bright red hat of a pandita. For a long while the monks were chanting in low voices, occasionally broken by a drumbeat or short roll of the cymbals; finally the Oracle entered into trance and with a bow forward came up to standing. Vocalizing in a high pitch, he moved toward the Karmapa and their heads remained together for a long time as the music continued and the Oracle spoke.
Still in trance the Oracle returned to his seat, and everyone present, beginning with the Sikyong, came for his blessing. After everyone had passed in front of him and received a handful of blessed, orange-colored grains, the Oracle moved outside to the veranda where a large table was filled high with offerings. He sat in front, offered a red and white torma, and then called for the Guru Rinpoche statue to be brought forward. While the Karmapa remained inside on his throne, the Oracle carrying a long incense holder led the statue of Guru Rinpoche in a circumambulation of the temple. When he returned inside, the Oracle offered the Karmapa a long khata and returned to the center of the shrine where the monks carefully removed his headdress and ceremonial robes before carrying him away.
This significant and moving celebration of Guru Rinpoche’s birth concluded with luncheon for everyone present. Afterward the Karmapa went up the steps up to the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives next door to Nechung Monastery and paid one of his many visits before returning to his temporary residence at Gyuto Monastery.

2016.7.18 The Gyalwang Karmapa Graces The Official Ceremony of Birth Anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava at Nechung Monastery 2016.7.18 大寶法王參觀達蘭莎拉的西藏文物與文獻圖書館 Karmapa visits LTWA

Hunger Strike by Monks Continue in Sikkim - NorthEast Today


The hunger strike by monks demanding that the Karmapa be allowed to visit Sikkim reached into its eighth day at the BL House complex. Monks of Ralang, Phodong and Rumtek monasteries have announced that they will intensify their agitation if Karmapa is not allowed to visit the state by 6th August.
The monks stated that not a single representative from the government has bothered to pay a visit to the protest site and instead an effort was made to politicize the issue. They alleged that the recently appointed chairman Acharya Tshering Lama of Ecclesiastical Affairs Department, who was given the responsibility of welcoming Karmapa to Sikkim is doing anti social activities in Karmapa’s monastery visit programme at the village level.
Further, they said that the Sangha MLA was being ignored in the whole process and a divisive campaign was being carried out by the government. The monks also said that they will not be held responsible if any social unrest is caused due to this.


Gyalwang Karmapa Teaches on the Seven Line Prayer to Guru Rinpoche (Podcast Episode #009)

Thursday the 14th of July, 2016, is a special day of Padmasambhava – one of the most important masters in history of Tibetan Buddhism. Also known as Guru Rinpoche, he is regularly referred to as ‘the second Buddha’ such is his importance to buddhists around the world.
According to the Tibetan calendar, today is particularly important as it is the Monkey Year – one that only occurs every 12 years and is strongly associated with Guru Rinpoche.
To celebrate this occasion we have created a special two-part podcast episode. First is a recording of the Gyalwang Karmapa chanting the Seven Line Prayer to Guru Rinpoche. After that we bring you a teaching that His Holiness gave on the importance of the Seven Line Prayer and his own particular experience learning and reciting it.
You can get the podcast here on iTunes or simply download the episode right here. Please make sure you subscribe in iTunes to be notified of new episodes.

Tibetan with English Translation. Painting of Guru Rinpoche by the Gyalwang Karmapa.

Karmapa, India’s junior Home Minister attend Dalai Lama’s 81st birthday in Delhi - Tibetan Review

JULY 14, 2016 

His Holiness Karmapa Rinpoche with former Kalon Mr Tempa Tsering at the launch of a book on His Holiness the Dalai Lama, published by Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama based in New Delhi. (Photo courtesy: tibet.net)

(TibetanReview.net, Jul10, 2016) – The 81st birthday Jul 6 of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, was marked in India’s capital New Delhi, with the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee and India’s Minister of State for Home Affairs Mr Kiren Rijiju being among the guests. Later in the evening, more than 300 guests attended a dinner reception hosted by the Bureau of HH the Dalai Lama at the Silver Oak, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.
In his address, Mr Rijiju praised the Dalai Lama as a global icon of peace and nonviolence and said India was blessed by his benevolent presence in the country.
Others who attended the morning function included Kasur Tempa Tsering, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, New Delhi, who read the Kashag’s statement for the occasion; Kasur Gyari Dolma, Dr NK Trikha, former National Convener of the Core Group for Tibetan Cause, India; and Mr Pankaj Goyal, Core Group member and members of Indian Tibet support groups.
Those who attended the dinner reception included Ambassadors, Indian Government officials, Members of Parliament, Former Indian bureaucrats, servicemen and diplomats, people from the media, Tibet support group members and academics. The main speaker at the event was Ambassador Dalip Mehta, former secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
During the reception, the 17th Karmapa released a book on His Holiness the Dalai Lama published and launched by the Bureau of HH the Dalai Lama.


Sikkim Monks on Hunger Strike Demanding Karmapa Visit - Northeast Today


After a massive rally held to request the Union government to allow Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to visit Sikkim, a relay hunger strike is in process at BL House, Tibet Road demanding the Karmapa to be allowed to visit Sikkim.
Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee (SIBLAC) convener Tseten Tashi Bhutia along with sixteen other monks are on strike. Thousands of monks and devotees had taken to the streets demanding Karmapa be allowed to visit the state on Drukpa Tseshi to be held on August 6. The Denzong Lhadey, a body of monks has meanwhile warned that if the Indian government fails to grant the same, all monks and devotees of the state may be forced to launch a “democratic agitation” and has warned that the government shall be solely responsible for any consequence that may arise out of any future course of action.


Sikkim rallies for Karmapa's visit to Rumtek - Phayul

[Monday, July 11, 2016 19:16]
By Tenzin Monlam

DHARAMSHALA, July 11: Boosting the recent initiative taken by the Sikkim government to facilitate the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee’s visit to Rumtek Monastery, thousands of people yesterday took to the streets of Gangtok urging the central government to allow the young head of Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. 

The rally known as ‘Peace and Aspiration Rally’ reportedly saw around 5,000 people including Tibetans, monks and devotees carrying large portraits of Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee, Karmapa’s Dream Flags and Buddhist flags while reciting ‘Karmapa Khyenno’ mantra.

The prominent slogan on the banners were: “It’s time that our dharma guru visit Sikkim now”, “Please allow Karmapa to visit and bless Sikkim” and “Government of India, you have sovereign power to allow Karmapa to visit Sikkim”.

The rally, also participated by former Sikkim CM Narbahadur Bhandari, urged the central government to allow Karmapa to visit his rightful seat at Rumtek, indicating that they would be ‘compelled to undertake revolutionary approaches to democratic traditions’ should the government of India fail to fulfill their demand. 

“We the people of Sikkim, in conformity and continuity to our common aspiration and prayers, therefore unanimously resolve that the Government of India must immediately grant permission and necessary clearance to Gyalwang Karmapa to visit and bless Sikkim,” the organizers said in a statement.

It has been over 17 years since he fled into exile and has never set foot in the monastery, which became the seat of Karmapa lineage in India since the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje’s escape in 1959.

The organizers have also initiated a relay hunger strike, which they say would continue until central government agrees to their demand of allowing Gyalwang Karmapa to visit Sikkim.

According to a source, the Shamar Rinpoche-appointed 17th Karmapa Trinlay Thaye Dorjee, one of the claimants to the throne, have raised objection over the Sikkim government’s move. 

The Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the CTA recognize Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the 17th Karmapa. However, the Indian government has still not lifted the restriction it imposed on the young Lama to visit Rumtek.

A circular issued on July 6, by the Sikkim Government under the order of the state Governor, which appointed Acharya Tshering Lama of Simick Chandey as the Chairman of the Ecclesiastical Affairs Department sparked a hope for his long awaited visit to Rumtek.

2016.7.10  'Karmapa To Sikkim' rally

Le 17e karmapa : «La méditation nous fait traverser des difficultés» - Le Monde des Religions


Reconnu par le dalaï-lama, le 17e karmapa est l’un des plus importants chefs spirituels tibétains. Après avoir fui son pays natal à l’âge de 14 ans, il est devenu un symbole du Tibet en exil. Ce jeune maître a fait de la protection de l’environnement son combat quotidien. Nous l'avons rencontré pour un entretien exclusif lors de sa toute première visite en France.

Rencontre inspirante avec le 17ème Karmapa




GANGTOK, July 11: A day after holding a Gangtok rally demanding the Union government to allow the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to visit Sikkim, monks have started a relay hunger strike here at BL House, Tibet Road seeking a Sikkim visit of their religious leader.

Seventeen monks along with Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee(SIBLAC) convener Tseten Tashi Bhutia are on the relay fast from a temporary shelter outside the BL House starting Monday. The relay hunger strike will continue till Drukpa Tsheshi which falls on August 6, it was informed.

The monks are demanding that the Karmapa is permitted to visit Rumtek, Ralong or Phodong monastery.

“The Karmapa is allowed to visit Mirik close to Sikkim but cannot come to his rightful throne here in Sikkim. We want the Union government to consider allowing him to visit one of three Kagyud monasteries in Sikkim on the holy occasion of Drukpa Tsheshi,” said the SIBLAC convener.

“We also thank Chief Minister Pawan Chamling for leading a delegation to New Delhi recently and submitting the demand on Karmapa to the Union government. We seelk support of all political parties and organizations so that the Karmapa demand is fulfilled,” said Tseten Tashi.

RALLY FOR KARMAPA - Sikkim Express

Sikkim Express
11 July, 2016

Images of the rally held in Gangtok on Sunday by monks and devotees requesting the Union government to permit 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee to visit and bless Sikkim. The rally commenced at around 10 am from BL House, Tibet Road an took a round of the town via Nam Nam, Deorali and Zero point before concluding at BL House.

The rally organised by Denjong Monasteries Chogchen was to seek early Sikkim visit of the Karmapa which has been a long pending demand from Sikkim.

The Rally also saw participation of Sangha MLA Sonam Lama, Shyari MLA Kunga Nima Lepcha, former Chief Minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari and others.

A SKM release informs that SKM president P.S. Golay could not participate in the rally as he is in Delhi for medical treatment. He has extended his good wishes to the organisers and those who participated in the rally, the SKM release mentions.

Golay has said the SKM is always in support of this demand, said the SKM adding that it has raised the Karmapa demand in Centre. (Text: Dichen Ongmu / Pics: Wang Chen)

Ogyen Trinley Dorje headed for Rumtek Monastery? - Hindustan Times


DHARAMSHALA: If a recent notification by the Sikkim government is anything to go by, Ogyen Trinley Dorje would finally visit Rumtek Monastery, the seat of Karmapa, the head of Karma Kagyu sect located in north-eastern Himalayan state of India.

In exercise of the power conferred by Section 3(1) of the Sikkim State Public Services Act, 2006, the Pawan Chamling government has appointed Acharya Tshering Lama as the chairman of the ecclesiastical affairs department to welcome Ogyen Dorje, one of the three claimants to claimants to the title of 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, in Sikkim and seat him at Rumtek.

The circular also mentions that the young head of Karma Kagyu tradition be accorded a cabinet rank reception.

Interestingly, the notification overrides the Central government’s order banning any of the three claimants Ogyen Trinely Dorje, Trinely Thaye Dorje and and Dawa Sangpo Dorje.

While Ogyen Dorje lives in Dharamshala, Thaye Dorje resides in New Delhi while Sangpo Dorje in Nepal.

The visit of Ogyen Dorje, speculated to occur in the first week of August for a Buddhist congregation, is also likely to fuel the two-decade old controversy over succession to the leadership of the Karma Kagyu sect- one of the four major schools in Tibetan Buddhism and the richest. The 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje died in 1981, and the controversy over his successor that has raged ever since, also epitomises a struggle for control of assets of Kagyu sect including vajra mukut, a sapphire-studded black crown, housed in the Rumtek.

Matters came to a head in January when Ogyen Trinely, who was installed by the Chinese government at Trushup monastery in Tibet, staged a stunning escape to India.

This started the tussle over the control of the Kagyupa, or the Black Hat between the factions supporting Ogyen Dorje and Thaye Dorje.

On December 9, 2001, the situation reached boiling point when Dawa Sangpo, the third claimant’s attempts to enter Rumtek were thwarted by the Sikkim government.

Since, then, the Sikkim government has written several times and passed resolutions requesting the Centre to allow Dorje to claim the Karmapa throne as its rightful owner

However, not all are ready to believe the fresh move by the Sikkim government.

“This seems yet another attempt to trick the monastic community,” said Sonam Lama, MLA from Sangha seat in Sikkim, India’s only assembly constituency that has no territorial boundaries and is reserved for the Buddhist clergy with only monks and nuns as the electorate. Sonam has been spearheading a campaign requesting the Centre to allow Ogyen Trinley Dorje to visit Sikkim. “In past over 17 years, the government has made such promises many times and failed them. Nothing concrete has been done to bring His Holiness to Sikkim,” Sonam told Hindustan over phone.