Buddha's Not Smiling: Uncovering Corruption at the Heart of

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Re: Buddha's Not Smiling: Uncovering Corruption at the Heart

Postby admin » Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:08 am

Chapter 15: The Return of the King

An Angry Welcome

On March 16, 1994, at about 9:30 in the morning, a car delivered eleven-year-old Tenzin Khyentse to the gate of the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute (KIBI) in New Delhi. Like Rumtek but smaller, the school is constructed on the plan of a Tibetan monastery, with a wall of student rooms forming a courtyard around a temple in the center.

Quietly, attendants took the youngster through the main courtyard, and then led him upstairs to a room on the third floor of the main temple building. There, the boy rested for a few hours, received instructions about the events of the next day and met with various lamas. Khenpo Ngawang Gelek, one of the teachers at the monk's school at Rumtek before the takeover in 1993, was one of these lamas. "I went to see His Holiness Karmapa to drop off a damaru (a ritual drum), and a bell, with Khenpo Chodrak's brother, Tashi. We entered his room and we bowed. Tashi then said we had brought very special toys today. But the Karmapa replied 'No, they are not toys.' That was the first time I met him."

Then, the boy was put to bed. None of the nearly one hundred students and staff of the school knew that the child who would be officially welcomed the next day as the seventeenth Karmapa was already on the premises.

Around seven o'clock the next morning, a large crowd assembled in front of the institute's main gate awaiting entrance to the festive event. Security guards frisked arrivals and searched their bags before allowing them inside. About five hundred guests were seated in the main temple for the ceremony. Most were monks and lay people from Rumtek and around the Himalayan area, but nearly two hundred Westerners, including about eighty students at KIBI, were in attendance as well.

Lea Terhune, who would write her book Karmapa: The Politics of Reincarnation ten years later, also came to attend the ceremony, in her capacity as a freelance correspondent for the Voice of America. Interestingly, Terhune had worked at KIBI several years earlier, during the eighties, before leaving to work exclusively with Tai Situ. On the morning of Tenzin Khyentse's welcome ceremony, Terhune arrived at KIBI with Tim McGirk, the writer for the London Independent who accused the tenth Shamarpa of starting the Tibet-Gorkha War of the eighteenth century, as we saw in chapter 7. Flashing press credentials, Terhune and McGirk managed to make it past the guards at the gate. But a KIBI staff member recognized Terhune as Situ's secretary, and asked her and McGirk to leave the premises. They were ushered past the main gate, and waited outside.

Inside the main temple, the guests were seated and the puja was ready to begin. At about eight o'clock in the morning, Shamar gave the word for the welcome ceremony to proceed. In procession under a traditional yellow umbrella, Shamar led Tenzin Khyentse into the temple, giving his eager followers their first glimpse of the boy they believed to be the seventeenth Karmapa. The boy wore glasses and walked between the two halves of the crowd as if he was used to appearing before hundreds of people on a regular basis. To the blare of gyaling horns and the rattling of cymbals Tenzin Khyentse walked slowly into the shrine room, moving with quiet confidence towards the oversized Buddha statue in the back of the room.

Under the gaze of the eyes of devotees who had come from around the Himalayas and around the world to welcome the new Karma Kagyu leader, the child stopped in front of the Buddha statue and performed three prostrations. Then, he mounted the throne reserved for the Karmapa, a seat that had sat empty from the day it was installed a decade earlier. The ritual master of the shrine, Nendo Tulku, handed the boy a replica of the Vajra Mukut, the Black Crown of the Karmapas, and placed a brocade robe around his shoulders. Horns, drums, and cymbals sounded. In a state of meditative concentration, the new Karmapa placed the Black Crown on his head and the puja began.

Barbarians at the Gate

The ceremony continued for more than an hour. Inside the temple, there were monks and devotees chanting, musical instruments playing, and sticks of incense and butter lamps burning. At about 9:30 a.m., the ceremony drew to a close.

Meanwhile, outside the shrine room and across the street from KIBI, seven vans pulled up, bringing more than a hundred monks from Tai Situ's monastery Sherab Ling and dozens of lay people from Sikkim to begin a protest demonstration. A total of about two hundred protesters massed in front of the institute's gate and unfurled cloth banners with slogans written in English including "The Dalai Lama's word is our word," "Topga Yugyal [general secretary at Rumtek before the 1993 takeover] don't hide behind Shamarpa," "Joint Action Committee, All Buddhist Organizations of Sikkim," and "Stop using the boy." The demonstrators chanted slogans denouncing Shamar and Topga and promising to expose their "fake Karmapa." The KIBI management identified some of the monks as the same shedra students who had overwhelmed the sixteenth Karmapa's monks at Rumtek and had helped expel them when Situ and Gyaltsab took over the monastery in August 1993.

According to Indian journalist Anil Maheshwari, "Shamar Rinpoche was aware that the following day Situ's men would try, at all costs, to stage a demonstration in front of KIBI." [1] But Khenpo Chodrak Tenphel, the abbot of Rumtek before August 1993 and the director of KIBI at the time of Tenzin Khyentse's welcome ceremony, denies any advance knowledge about or planning to respond to a protest.

"We did not expect any kind of demonstration and certainly not the attack that did happen," Khenpo Chodrak said. "That's why we did not try to keep the welcome ceremony a secret, but we announced it a month in advance, so that our guests could attend. KIBI is located in a development in New Delhi with business schools, a hospital, and a Hindu ashram, but no other Tibetan centers of any kind, so we thought there would be no trouble from our neighbors. Also, there are more observers in a city like New Delhi. We had invited journalists from the Times of India and the Indian Express. Troublemakers can't get away with so much in a big city. The situation was different than at Rumtek, which is in Sikkim, a far-off state that could be dominated by a corrupt little regime like Bhandari's. If we had expected a problem at KIBI, we would have simply asked the New Delhi police for protection."

Writer Terhune witnessed the fight from outside the gates of KIBI: "Outside, a contingent of monks from Delhi and Himachal Pradesh were assembled to demonstrate against Shamarpa and what they saw as a sacrilegious introduction of a fake Karmapa. It was meant to be a silent protest. It was unclear who cast the first stone." [2] But for the five hundred guests at the ceremony and the KIBI staff, it was clear that Tai Situ's supporters launched an unprovoked attack on KIBI to disrupt the welcome ceremony for Shamar's "Karmapa candidate. This version of events is backed up by dozens of eyewitness accounts and fourteen minutes of video footage shot by an Austrian filmmaker who had come to New Delhi to record the ceremony. [3]

The protesters were apparently disappointed to find that they had missed nearly the whole welcome ceremony. Just as the puja was concluding inside the temple, outside the monks started picking up stones and bricks from the street. Then, they charged, the institute's locked gate. The three or four private security guards inside panicked and then fled. Though a couple of KIBI monks tried to hold the gate, a surge of protesting monks pushed through and flooded into the courtyard. Once inside the KIBI gates, the protesters began throwing their stones and bricks at the main temple, aiming at any windows they could reach.

As glass started to shatter, the monks and guests in the temple exchanged looks and then sprang to their feet. Bricks and stones began to crash through the windows onto the heads of the crowd inside. The puja finished just at this point. A KIBI official signaled the ritual master to conclude the ceremony. Then, he asked the crowd to remain calm and urged everyone to take cover, assuring visitors that the police had already been called and would arrive soon. KIBI monks and staff ran outside and tried to push back the invaders.

"One journalist who wasn't thrown out reported that projectiles such as coke bottles and bricks were stockpiled on the roof of the monastery, apparently for just such an eventuality," Lea Terhune wrote. [4] But KIBI staff members tell a different story. According to Khenpo Ngawang Gelek, after the protesters began to throw stones and bricks at the temple windows, on their own initiative, the mostly-Nepali kitchen staff began collecting bottles that they normally saved to return for a deposit. They ran the racks of bottles upstairs to the roof. From there, they rained down bottles on the courtyard to try to scare off the attackers. They had no bricks. Dropping bottles helped to contain the fighting, and later the KIBI management paid each kitchen staff member a bonus for his or her role in the institute's defense.

Meanwhile, attendants brought Tenzin Khyentse down from the throne and waited with him on the stage at the back of the main shrine room for ten minutes until the fighting subsided. Thaye Dorje described his own impressions of the attack to me. "I simply didn't know what was going on. I just thought there were so many visitors that they were trying to crowd in to see me. It's like that in Tibet. People see a rinpoche once or twice in their lifetimes and they just have to push their way in to get a blessing, it's their only chance. So there are many crowds like this at special ceremonies, people just barge in. Later, when the lamas put me behind the throne, I didn't really understand why."

Once it was safe to leave the shrine room, his attendants took Tenzin Khyenrse upstairs to his room on the third floor. From his window there the boy looked down at the fight below as it was winding down. He said that he still wasn't scared for himself, but that he was concerned that others might get hurt. "When we went upstairs and looked out the window, I suggested that we bring out big water hoses to push the crowd away without hurting them," Thaye Dorje told me.

Khenpo Ngawang Gelek was with the young lama. "The protesters carne into the courtyard, just at the end of the ceremony," he said. "They kept shouting and throwing stones. Karmapa went to his room and was watching from a window to see what they were doing. He wasn't scared at all."

During the melee, a young Polish student of the Danish Lama Ole Nydahl managed to close the main gates but was badly injured in the process by monks from Situ's group. Blood from a head wound that the young man had sustained splattered onto the shirt of Tim McGirk, the London Independent reporter who carne with Lea Terhune. During the fighting, the KIBI monks invited McGirk into the facility to make sure he was not injured. They washed his shirt. This gave him a chance to ask questions of Shamar Rinpoche. McGirk told Shamar that he had somehow gotten the idea that Shamar's monks were the aggressors, and that they were trying to take over the monastery.

"I think the reporter got things backwards," Shamar said. "As the fighting went on outside, I talked with Mr. McGirk. When he saw that the stones were actually coming from outside the gates, he asked me 'Shouldn't you be throwing the stones?' Then, I said to him 'Why would I want to injure my own monks?' He looked puzzled. Then he said 'But you're supposed to be taking over the monastery.' I explained that KIBI was already under my management and that it was Situ Rinpoche's monks who had come to disrupt the ceremony. The reporter looked at me again and then he looked down at the ground. He obviously thought that Situ's monks were already inside KIBI and that our monks were attacking. Maybe it was too big a change from what he had come to expect and he couldn't understand the true situation."

Despite what he must have seen for himself, McGirk later published his article blaming the fight on Shamar and his monks. Though he admitted that the protesters threw the bricks, McGirk implied that they had good reason to do so. "The tale took a more sinister twist when, in Delhi yesterday, Shamar Rinpoche unveiled his candidate for 17th Karmapa, a shy, rather scared 11-year-old Tibetan. Three coach loads of Tibetan monks and students arrived and waged a fierce battle with Shamar's renegade followers. 'Shamar's manipulating this boy for money and power,' shouted one protesting monk as he threw a brick." [5]

The Indian press would have less trouble understanding the situation at KIBI. One national paper in New Delhi wrote: "A ceremony to-crown a 10-year-oid [sic] Tibetan boy as the one chosen to be Karmapa, head of the prestigious Rumtek monastery in Sikkim, ended on a violent note Thursday morning when members of rival Buddhist group, who plan to install another boy living in Tibet as Rumtek chief, reached the scene and indulged in heavy brickbatting." [6]

While Shamar was talking to McGirk at KIBI, the battle in the courtyard went on for about five more minutes, until the New Delhi police arrived. Once on the scene, police officers arrested nine protesters for inciting violence and committing assault. About twenty people were injured, including monks who had been violently expelled from Rumtek just seven months earlier. The institute sustained several thousand dollars in property damage. While the main shrine room had largely been spared, nearly every window on the premises was broken, a walkway had been ripped up, the rails and posts of a protective fence had been torn out, and the guardhouse at the front gate had been sacked. "The KIBI courtyard was covered with bricks, stones, and broken glass and stained with spots of blood. It looked like the scene of a big riot," Khenpo Ngawang Gelek told me.

First as Tragedy, then as Farce

In the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, Karl Marx wrote: "Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce." To Shamar and his followers, the takeover of Rumtek by Situ and Gyaltsab in 1993 was a tragedy that deprived many of them of their home and put the monastic seat of the Karmapas under the influence of their historic rivals in the Tibetan administration of the Dalai Lama. By contrast, the attack on KIBI the following year turned out to be little more than an annoyance for supporters of the new Karmapa.

On the same day as the welcome ceremony for Tenzin Khyentse, the Dalai Lama was addressing a human rights conference. After his speech, word of the attack at KIBI got out. Two facts, that the protester-attackers were supporters of the Dalai Lama's Karmapa candidate, and that they carried banners invoking the Dalai Lama's authority, reached attendees at the conference. In response, a group of foreign delegates sent a memo to the Tibetan exile leader asking him how he could criticize Chinese human rights violations while he himself was involved in this incident that threatened freedom of religion for his own Tibetans in exile. I was not able to discover what answer, if any, the Dalai Lama gave.

A few days later, Tai Situ held a news conference in New Delhi to give his opinion of the events at KIBI. Standing in front of a large photo of the Dalai Lama, smiling, and with hands in prayer position, Situ answered questions from a podium. When a reporter asked Situ if his monks had attacked KIBI, according to witnesses, the rinpoche replied mendaciously that he did not know who the attackers were, but that he heard they might have been Nyingma monks. Situ did not add that many of the protesting monks came from his own monastery, Sherab Ling.

He then spoke about the need for world peace and cooperation, hearkening back to his aborted Pilgrimage for Active Peace of five years earlier. "The peace and harmony of "the sacred order, which has been laid down by the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism has been disturbed." [7] Finally, when a reporter from an Indian magazine asked him what would happen if Shamar tried to enthrone his Karmapa candidate at Rumtek, Sint replied ''I'm afraid that may lead to a bloodbath in Sikkim." [8] This was taken by the monks who had been thrown out of Rumtek in August 1993 as a threat.

Three months later, in June 1994, Tai Situ's attorney Ram Jethmalani brought a suit against Shamar for control of KIBI in the High Court of New Delhi. Jethmalani argued that since Ogyen Trinley had been recognized as the seventeenth Karmapa, his "regents" Tai Situ and Gyaltsab had the legal right to control the Karmapa's school, KIBI. Jethmalani was a formidable opponent, a charismatic courtroom presence, and one of the best known lawyers in India. We have already seen how Jethmalani got the ban on Situ entering India lifted. However, this time, Shamar's attorney, a young unknown lawyer named P.K. Ganguli, produced arguments that convinced the court to dismiss the case at its first hearing.

An Education Ancient and Modern

Tenzin Khyentse was uninjured by the attack on KIBI, and this rough welcome did little to reduce his joy at being united with Shamar and having the opportunity to study under the teachers at the Karmapa Institute. "My traditional monastic education continued. But now I met with more teachers, especially Topga Rinpoche. Also Khenpo Chodrak. I was able to properly start on Tibetan grammar. I started English at this time too, studying with a Russian man who then lived in America. Later I had teachers from Australia and other countries, so my accent should be a bit mixed. I also got a smattering of math, science, and world affairs."

In November 1996, in the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya, where Shakyamuni Buddha had gotten enlightened twenty-five hundred years earlier, Tenzin Khyentse had his hair- cutting ceremony and rook monks' vows. He officially took the name Trinley (Buddha Activity) Thaye (Limitless) Dorje (Unchanging). In 1998 Khenpo Sempa Dorje, one of the most prominent scholars of the Tibetan monastic tradition and a professor at Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi -- which claims to be one of the three largest residential universities in the world, with 128 teaching departments -- began to tutor the Karmapa on Buddhist philosophy. Interestingly, Sempa Dorje was trained as a Gelugpa geshe, again showing that some individual lamas of the Dalai Lama's school are not scared off by the Karmapa controversy.

In 1997, Shamar was able to arrange a meeting for Thaye Dorje with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. Shamar has insisted that he did not want to obtain the Tibetan leader's approval, and he has continued to assert that the Dalai Lamas had never had any authority to choose or recognize a Karmapa. But Shamar wanted the meeting to demonstrate that the Tibetan leader was not implacably opposed to Thaye Dorje. The Dalai Lama signaled that he was ready to meet Thaye Dorje, and a time was set. Then, the meeting was just as quickly cancelled. "Beforehand, Situ's supporters found out about our meeting with His Holiness Dalai Lama," Shamar said. "They threatened to make the streets of Dharamsala run with blood if the meeting took place. Therefore, His Holiness had no choice but to postpone this meeting."

In November 1999, Thaye Dorje accepted an invitation to make a tour of Southeast Asia. This would be his first trip abroad. He met with thousands of devotees at dharma centers in Singapore and Malaysia. But he almost did not make it into Taiwan, according to Ngedon Tenzin. Earlier, we encountered him as the senior monk-official at Rumtek who had his monk's robe wrapped around his neck by angry local supporters of Situ when he and Gyaltsab took over the Karmapa's cloister in August 1993. Since 2004, as we have seen, Ngedon has served as the general secretary of Thaye Dorje's labrang, the post held by Topga Rinpoche until his death from cancer in 1997.

"Our staff obtained a Taiwanese visa for Gyalwa Karmapa Thaye Dorje weeks before he was supposed to enter Taiwan. We used the diplomatic passport issued to him by the Bhutanese government," Ngedon said. "But the day before he was due to fly into Taipei airport, officials in the Foreign Ministry tried to stop His Holiness Karmapa from coming in because of a technicality."

Immigration officials noticed that his passport said that Thaye Dorje was born in Tibet. As a result of its strained relations with Beijing, the Taiwanese government required travelers born in China to obtain a special permit to enter the island nation. Only the timely intervention of one of Thaye Dorje's supporters in Taipei saved the trip. This devotee used his influence in the Foreign Ministry to convince the manager of the relevant office to remain open after normal closing time at five o'clock to process an emergency permit for Thaye Dorje. The tulku was able to obtain clearance and fly into Taipei the next day.

Ngedon suspects that Chen Lu An, who by this time was a former government official but one who still enjoyed influence in the tight-knit administration of the island nation, tried to block Thaye Dorje's entry into Taiwan. "Through our devotees in Taiwan" we heard that Mr. Chen had already lined up perhaps fifty people willing to pay one million dollars each to carry the box for the Black Crown and hand it to Ogyen Trinley during the Black Crown ceremony," Ngedon said.

Here we might recall that Jigme Rinpoche accused former Rumtek Abbot Thrangu of planning with Chen to tour the next Karmapa around the island to raise funds, as we saw in chapter 8. Now, it appeared that Chen had started to put a similar plan into action with Tai Situ.

According to Ngedon, Chen had even more Taiwanese pledged to pay five hundred thousand dollars each to hand Ogyen Trinley the so-called Body, Speech, and Mind Objects during the ceremony -- a stupa or sacred pagoda, a statue of the Buddha, and a text of Buddhist scriptures. "Mr. Chen had made commitments to Karma Kagyu lamas in Taiwan, as well as monasteries around the world, from Kathmandu to New York, to distribute these funds. If His Holiness Thaye Dorje came to Taiwan, Mr. Chen's plan would be spoiled. We heard that he was practically sleeping in front of the Foreign Ministry office to stop Karmapa Thaye Dorje from getting into Taiwan."

As it turned out, Thaye Dorje received a royal welcome on the island. The Karmapa controversy led coverage on the local television news for a couple of days. Meanwhile, Thaye Dorje gave empowerment ceremonies around Taiwan and toured the Taiwanese legislature and the studios of a major television station. "In the city of Tainan, more than ten thousand devotees attended one of his ceremonies. The line of people waiting for blessings was endless," Ngedon said. "At some point, we had to stop, or it could have gone on forever. About two hundred lamas who supported Ogyen Trinley attended Thaye Dorje's empowerment just to get donations themselves from the generous devotees."

In January 2000, Thaye Dorje went on to Europe, giving teachings to and performing ceremonies for thousands more students. He concluded his European visit with a retreat at the Dhagpo Kagyu Ling center in France, under the management of Shamar's elder brother Jigme Rinpoche.

At that time, when he was sixteen years old, Thaye Dorje explained that traveling was an important part of his education. "There are many new things that I have never experienced before, both good and bad, but my main discovery was the differences in culture. In each country, they have their own way of talking or relating to each other. In every aspect of life, there's something different, so that has been quite interesting to see. Otherwise, what I really like the most is that people are genuinely devoted to dharma. Since I'm a teacher, that's what I am looking for. There are many people who are really interested and who do their practice from the heart, and that's been the experience I have liked the most." [9]

When he travels, particularly around Asia, Thaye Dorje is often met with Byzantine protocol and extravagant displays of devotion and respect. During his first visit to Europe, he said that "it is totally wrong to see a lama as some kind of supernatural being. A lama is someone who shows the path to enlightenment, and that's it. He's simply a teacher. It is similar with the Three Jewels: you can rely on the Buddha and the Sangha because they've been through this samsara, know what it is and how to overcome all this suffering; the dharma is the path for this aim. This kind of special treatment, I really don't expect it and I don't want it. It is not important for me. All I want is to help people find real happiness. What I mean is the real happiness that is achieved in the state of liberation. I myself go through my spiritual practices in order to become able to guide others on this path. It is for this reason that 1 am getting the teachings from all the high lamas, teachers and professors." [10]

The young lama has divided the last few years between studying at the monk's school in Kalimpong and traveling. In December 2003 he went through his Vidyadhara ceremony, a kind of graduation held at the Karmapa Institute in New Delhi to signify the completion of his formal monastic education. However, at Shamar's urging. Thaye Dorje has continued to study Buddhist philosophy at the monk's school in Kalimpong as graduate-level study. Shamar, who is in charge of Thaye Dorje's education. said that, "I want His Holiness Karmapa to receive the broadest schooling possible in Tibetan Buddhist studies and also to gain a basic knowledge of Western science, culture, and thought, for the modern world."

In the summer of 2004, to introduce Thaye Dorje to Western philosophy, Shamar invited Harrison Pemberton, the philosophy professor who accompanied me to Rumtek, to teach Thaye Dorje in Kalimpong. Pemberton had just retired from forty years in the philosophy department at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Pemberton accepted Shamar's invitation, and he began teaching in Kalimpong in October 2004. For five weeks, Pemberton tutored the young tulku and five other young lamas on his specialty, the dialogues of Plato. Pemberton ran his class solely in English with no Tibetan translator present and he taught in the style of an American seminar course, with the emphasis on discussion over lecture. "In the tradition of Socratic dialogue, I really wanted class to be an interactive encounter," Pemberton said.

Along with Plato, Pemberton also introduced the leading philosophers of the European tradition including Descartes, Kant, Hegel, and Heidegger. "This will be the first Karmapa who can bring together East and West on an intellectual level," said Pemberton. "He was particularly interested in the role of Socrates as a guru, prodding students towards knowledge and wisdom. I don't know if I'm a Buddhist or not, but I can say that the Karmapa displayed one of the sharpest analytic minds I have ever encountered."

Tantra in California

Thaye Dorje made his first trip to the United States in June, 2003. On this low-key visit, he remained in California. He spent two months studying in the Menlo Park home of Sandy Yen, a sponsor from Silicon Valley's thriving Chinese-American community. The young lama used the relative isolation of Yen's residence from his normal responsibilities as an opportunity to fulfill a long-held dream of the sixteenth Karmapa. In the eleventh century, the legendary Tibetan founder of the Kagyu lineage, Marpa the Translator, brought fifty tantric ritual texts from India to Tibet. He passed on the empowerments for these texts to his students, and these texts became valued lore of the Kagyu linage until the death of the last teacher who could pass them on in the nineteenth century.

Fortunately, the nineteenth-century scholar Jamgon Kongtrul the Great had preserved these texts and passed them on to lamas of the Sakya school. The Sakyas in turn passed along the oral teachings surrounding these texts up to the present day within their own school. The sixteenth Karmapa had wanted to receive these Tantras from the Sakya lama Chobgye Trichen Rinpoche in the mid-1960s in Sikkim. But, since Sikkim had not yet joined India, permission of its traditional ruler, the Chogyal, was necessary for Chobgye Trichen to enter the small kingdom. This permission could not be obtained. The sixteenth Karmapa never had another chance to receive the empowerments for these texts, and he died without realizing the dream of returning them to the Karma Kagyu.

Thaye Dorje decided to fulfill this dream. Originally, he wanted to receive the Marpa Tantras from the Chobgye Trichen himself, but the elderly lama's health did not permit him to travel. Another high-ranking Sakya lama, Ludhing Khenchen Rinpoche, agreed to present the empowerments to Thaye Dorje and to Shamar as well. After more than a century, these fifty tantric texts from Marpa and their oral teachings returned to the Kagyu lineage in a series of sessions held in a ranch house in northern California.

After receiving these empowerments, Thaye Dorje then went on to give more general teachings and empowerments to his students in California. He said he liked the United States, "in America everything is very big ... I see big roads, big cars, even big people (laughter), But generally, people have open minds, which is very important tor Buddhism." [11]

In the summer of 2004 Thaye Dorje made a two-month tour of Europe, giving teachings at dharma centers and holding empowerments in auditoriums in nine countries. At the beginning of the tour, Thaye Dorje consecrated the new Kalachakra stupa at Ole Nydahl's center in Malaga, Spain. This forty-foot-high stupa is one of the largest in the Western world. In Hamburg, the young lama attended a twenty-fifth anniversary celebration for Nydahl's center. Also present were Nydahl himself, the mayor, members of the city's senate, and the Lutheran Bishop of Hamburg.

In Braunschweig, Thaye Dorje blessed an abandoned factory that Nydahl's students were turning into a dharma center. In Copenhagen, he gave a forty-minute interview to Denmark's largest TV station. In Perpignan, France, the young lama attended an inter-faith conference with Christian, Jewish, and Muslim representatives. In Kuchary, Poland. he gave interviews to TV stations and to Poland's largest weekly magazine, Prtekroj. In the same city Thaye Dorje also gave the empowerment of Amitabha Buddha and the Bodhisattva Vow to three thousand devotees from Poland, Russia, the Ukraine, Lithuania, and other eastern European countries.

On his plans for the future, Thaye Dorje told me that he will finish his formal education in 2006 and then devote himself to travel and teaching worldwide. "There are already many dharma centers started around the world. Maybe fifty new centers a year are started. There are a lot of eager people, a lot of intelligent people. They keep me going and give me inspiration to study and practice well so to really be able to help others."

Thaye Dorje has already become the most cosmopolitan lama in the history of the Karmapas, but his philosophy of life remains that of the first Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa or for that matter, Shakyamuni Buddha. His favorite movies are The Lord of the Rings series. He edits Tibetan texts on his laptop and thinks that the Internet can be a powerful tool for his teaching. "Certainly, for our Buddhist activity, I think it's quite important," he said. "What we do is we teach, so all the teachings can be written down and put on the Internet. Thanks to the Internet, our teaching can reach a wider audience. One good thing there is to see is that for youngsters, the Internet is their life. They really enjoy it, you know? If we use the net to give more information about dharma, youngsters can have better contact with the teachings."

Thaye Dorje recognizes that because of the Internet and mass media people today may suffer from data overload. But he does not think the confusion caused by too much information is a new one. "I think that's quite normal. It's not just because of the Internet, it has always been like that. To think that it's happening only now is like saying that things were perfect in the past, and that's not true." [12]

In line with the Buddhist view that time and history are cyclical -- good eras alternate with unfortunate ones in an endless cycle -- he considers other problems of the contemporary world as nothing new. Perhaps this is why Thaye Dorje does not propose political reforms such as programs for world peace or environmental cleanup, but instead, like his predecessors, he offers what Buddhism would consider a more fundamental approach. He thinks that international terrorism, for example, is a sign of a deep malaise of our era, a malaise that was foretold in Buddhist prophecy. "Now as it says in the Buddha's teachings, is a time of degeneration," Thaye Dorje told me. "More and more problems will arise in the future. We should take that as a reason to practice dharma and make an effort to save ourselves and all sentient beings. We should practice diligently."

Thaye Dorje's approach to practice and its final goal is rigorous but practical. He realizes that many Westerners may think that enlightenment is an impossible goal but he counsels them not to give up on it. "It's really far to reach the full enlightenment of, the Buddha. We don't really have to reach that stage now though. We can reach the first Bodhisattva bhumi or level. We can also keep the Bodhisattva Promise and be virtuous in our thoughts and actions."
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Re: Buddha's Not Smiling: Uncovering Corruption at the Heart

Postby admin » Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:12 am

Chapter 16: Conclusion

Thaye Dorje's View

However modestly he may express himself, Thaye Dorje has no doubt that he is the Karmapa. "The main holders of the Karma Kagyu lineage are the so-called Black Hat Karmapas and the Red Hat Karmapas. The first refers to my own line of reincarnations. The latter refers to the line of reincarnations of the Kunzig Shamarpas. In many cases the Karmapas have recognized the respective next Shamarpa and the Shamarpas in turn the next Karmapa. This is also what has occurred with my recognition.

"Of course, the whole principle of reincarnation is not easy to understand, in particular if one is not familiar with Buddhism. Normally, samsaric beings are reborn through the power of their karma and their emotions. In the case of the successive lines of the Karmapas reincarnations this is different. Taking rebirth happens due to the wish to be reborn to help sentient beings. In this way I took rebirth as the 17th Karmapa." [1]

Thaye Dorje said that he had proclaimed himself to be the Karmapa at an early age and that he had "a strong feeling that I could do something good, simply put, that I could perform the activity of the dharma and take up the challenge to teach. I had very strong confidence." He went on to say that he still had this confidence and had augmented it since he arrived in India with confidence in the way he was recognized as the Karmapa. "Just saying 'I am Karmapa' is not enough. To recognize the Karmapa, one needs proof. It takes a lot of work and intense meditation on the part of the person who is responsible for recognizing him," in this case, Shamar Rinpoche.

Is it important for the Karmapa to he recognized by the Dalai Lama! "The Dalai Lama is certainly a great man. The Karma Kagyu school, however, is an independent lineage and according to our tradition, the Karmapas have to be confirmed in this Karma Kagyu lineage and nor by the Dalai Lama. There is no need for that."

Of the split in the Karma Kagyu school, he said that it is not important in the long run: "Whether there are one or two groups doesn't really matter. What matters is that people benefit and for that it is essential that the teachings transmitted in the Kagyu tradition remain intact. In fact, there is no division. Many people talk about it, yes, however, what matters is the dharma as such and the dharma is not divided. People who don't really understand the dharma think there is a division. They think about institutions. For an authentic dharma practitioner, however, there is no split. For this kind of person there is only the dharma."

Even though he has been winning in court, Shamar has been careful not to place too much importance on placing Thaye Dorje at Rumtek. "His Holiness Karmapa can perform his activity from anywhere in the world. All previous Karmapas were based in Tibet, but the sixteenth Karmapa left that behind. He established a new seat at Rumtek and did not think it was important to return to Tibet. It is not necessary to return to Rumtek now either. Yes, it would have symbolic value for devotees, bur the Karmapa can have another monastery. It is the young man who is special, not the building."

Likewise, Thaye Dorje has said that he does not need to live at Rumtek or claim the symbols of the Karmapa such as the Black Crown. He has said that these objects do not have any intrinsic power, but that they gain their force from the faith of devotees:

It was important. It was a tradition kept until the sixteenth Karmapa, but still only a tradition, no more than that. For me it is not so important. We can have it, but if we don't, it will not make a big difference. We say that the Black Crown is a symbol of Karmapa's activity, and it was true for that time. Now, given the right moment, even a baseball cap could open someone's mind. It's like a door handle that opens a door. [2]

Thaye Dorje has no objection to meeting his rival: "Yes, I would like to meet Ogyen Trinley if we could talk things out, why not?" He hoped that Ogyen Trinley would be able to help people by teaching Buddhism but said that "within the lineage, there can be, of course, only one Karmapa. I personally hope the issue will soon be resolved."

Whom to Believe?

It is now time to take up the question posed at the end of chapter 14: After our journey over the landscape of the controversy over the Karmapa and Rumtek monastery, do we have any more certainty than when we started?

We have traveled back in time to the early days of sectarian conflict in Tibet and we have seen how this conflict followed the lamas into exile in 1959. We have seen how the rivalry between the Dalai Lama's Gelug school and the Karmapa's Karma Kagyu spread into the Karmapa's school itself and helped split the lamas he had raised to carryon his lineage. We have seen how Tai Situ and Gyaltsab Rinpoches clashed with Shamar at Rumtek, leading to their proclamation of Ogyen Trinley, with the backing of both the Dalai Lama and his arch-enemy China.

Then, we have seen how Situ and Gyaltsab took over Rumtek monastery with the help of the corrupt state administration of Sikkim. We have heard the stories of the monks who were expelled from Rumtek on August 2, 1993 and in the days that followed. We have also learned the views of supporters of both young men who aspire to the role of seventeenth Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley and Thaye Dorje. In particular, we have heard much from Shamar Rinpoche, whose story has been little told outside of the Himalayas.

Throughout the tangled story of the problems at Rumtek, we have sought answers to the biggest questions of the Karmapa issue: Why are Buddhist lamas fighting each other over two young men and a monastery? And which side in the dispute has a better claim to truth? Tibetans spend much effort interpreting good and bad omens, but to outsiders this may seem little more than a kind of mystical "he says, she says" -- his prediction letter says this, her dream-vision says that

Perhaps more convincing to us are the methods each side has used to make its case. In some ways Situ might seem more in tune with today's world, because he embraced what are essentially tactics from contemporary electoral and issue campaigning, such as forming political action committees and forging outside alliances. By comparison, Shamar may seem old-fashioned for insisting that the reincarnation of the Karmapa must be located and confirmed using "traditional means."

However, this has not prevented Shamar from adopting what is useful in modern technology and conflict resolution to make his case for Thaye Dorje and thus, as he sees it, to preserve the tradition of an unbroken lineage of genuine Karmapas. Notably, Shamar has embraced ideas of accountability and transparency, calling for verification and testing on major issues in the Karmapa dispute by mutually acceptable, neutral authorities. He has asked that Situ's prediction letter be tested by a graphologist for authenticity; he has asked that the valuables at Rumtek be inventoried and inspected to make sure that they have not been removed or damaged; and most importantly, he has asked the Indian court system to decide who has a right to manage Rumtek monastery. Perhaps quixotically, Shamar has also, on occasion, called for Ogyen Trinley to have a bone-marrow test to determine his age, and thus to verify the charges leveled by Yoichi Shimatsu's international team of investigative journalists in 2001 that the original boy was switched with an older child back in Tibet.

While Shamar has called for openness and accountability, Tai Situ and other supporters of Ogyen Trinley have resisted calls to verify their claims in a neutral, rational setting. Ironically, for a lama who has been an innovator and modernizer in waging a wide-ranging campaign for his Karmapa candidate, when it comes to his own most significant claims, Tai Situ has fallen back on the most traditional of attitudes -- blind devotion to the sacred. Throughout the controversy, Situ has asserted that all the most contentious issues of the controversy are hands-off: the authenticity of his prediction letter, the identity of the boy, the safety of the valuables at Rumtek, and the ownership of the monastery itself. His main argument has been that to verify these things would constitute sacrilege. Thus, Situ seems to offer little more than an empty reassurance to the effect: "These things are holy. Trust me."

Modern people are correct to find this rationale unconvincing. And we should know that, for centuries, Tibetans themselves have also rejected blind faith in religious leaders. It seems that when it comes to a healthy skepticism, East and West may not be so far apart.

Lessons of the TuIku System

Choosing leading lamas through reincarnation may have taken the politics out of monastic succession when the Karmapas began this practice in the Middle Ages, but some Tibetans and outside observers think that, for the last few centuries, the tulku system has created more problems than it has solved. Rarely has it functioned as in the movie Kundun, where as we saw at the beginning of our investigation, the Dalai Lama's incarnation was found strictly on the basis of whether the child could pass various tests to prove his authenticity as a tulku. Many lamas admit that even in old Tibet, it was the rule rather than the exception that tulkus were chosen for political reasons.

Over the centuries, more and more creative stories arose to justify questionable tulku choices. If there was a dispute, a compromise solution would be to say that there could be more than one reincarnation of a great master -- "body, speech, and mind" emanations -- as in the 1993 film Little Buddha, where two boys and a girl are all recognized as incarnations of the recently deceased Lama Dorje. Or, if a lama did not trust his disciples to choose his successor, he could choose his own reincarnation himself before his death, a so-called ma-dey tulku.

Two parallel lines of tulkus (with two competing incarnations) could even be "absorbed" back into one lama in the following generation. The Tibetan scholar Gene Smith has documented this in the case of the Khyentse incarnations, a line of tulkus that expanded from one original founder in the nineteenth century to several lamas living simultaneously a century later, all claiming to be Khyentse tulkus. [3] These included many respected lamas, including two prominent contemporary tulkus, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, a young lama-filmmaker who directed the highly acclaimed 1996 film The Cup.

Such tulku tall-tales made the whole system of finding reincarnates look spotty to many in Tibet in the old days. Some reincarnates were known to be authentic Buddhist masters; others were simply tulkus of convenience. But after the Chinese invasion of 1950-51, and particularly in the last twenty years, things have gotten much worse, and tulkus have begun to multiply rapidly both inside China and in exile. Now, there are thousands more reincarnates than before, including such questionable cases as Stephen [Steven] Seagal and Catherine Burroughs, the "Buddha from Brooklyn," both recognized as reincarnate lamas by a major Tibetan lama.

Surprisingly, considering that Tibetans believe him to be a high tulku himself, Shamar is one of the loudest critics of filling leadership positions in Tibetan Buddhism with reincarnate lamas. "I have criticized Tibetan monastery administration since I was a boy at Rumtek," Shamar told me. "Choosing tulkus has always been political. Now, this is becoming painfully clear to all.
Tulkus are just bodhisattvas. They can reincarnate as humans, but also as fish or birds, for example. They do not need to be recognized officially to do their work to help sentient beings. I pray that bodhisattvas will continue to help our world. But we do not need to make them our administrative leaders. This just leads to too many fake tulkus and cheapens both religion and politics. We should slowly work to abandon this system and begin choosing leading lamas on the basis of their merit."

Shamar believes that lamas who serve as leaders of Buddhist schools or powerful monasteries should be elected by their peers, as in the case of the head lama of Bhutan, known as the Je Khenpo, or the Ganden Tripa of the Gelugpas. Both of these positions are filled by older, experienced lamas who serve a term as leader after being selected by a qualified group of other high lamas. "They are not treated like gods, but merely respected as experienced elders," Shamar said.

What about Thaye Dorje, the tulku that Shamar recognized as the reincarnation of the sixteenth Karmapa? "I know he would agree that tulkus need to be taken into the modern world and out of their environment of magic and ceremony. He's a young man. I'm sure he doesn't want to live the old kind of life, wrapped in cloth inside and locked away from the world outside."

We have seen that Thaye Dorje has said that he would like to meet Ogyen Trinley and work out the Karmapa situation together with him. Shamar supports this solution as well, and he told me that Ogyen Trinley had even contacted him in the last year to arrange a meeting. "I told the young lama that we should wait some time, and then meet in the future, once he has gained some life experience and has had a chance to look at the records of the Karmapa controversy himself. I believe that he is quite intelligent. Once he is more mature, I hope he can work for the benefit of the Karma Kagyu."

As to the future. perhaps the two young men can come up with a solution to choose the eighteenth Karmapa as well. "My responsibility as Shamarpa was to protect the Karma Kagyu lineage," Shamar told me, "to find a boy through traditional means, and to hand over the sixteenth Karmapa's property to him. Once I give Rumtek to Thaye Dorje, then my job will be finished. Rumtek may not be necessary for a Karmapa, but it is my duty to protect his legacy. After that, if he likes, he can meet with Ogyen Trinley, and the two of them can decide what to do."

Obviously, no human institution has yet come up with a perfect system of choosing its leaders. United States presidents are chosen by an unrepresentative Electoral College, and in 2000, the election was bedeviled by disputed ballots (with their famous "hanging chads") and decided by the Supreme Court in a contested process leading to years of acrimony. Corporate CEOs, school principals, union leaders, baseball team managers -- all are chosen in processes subject to dispute, dissension, and discord. Perhaps we should look t9 the Catholic Church's selection of the popes for a model of orderly succession of wise leaders? Well, only if we are willing to ignore a past that included some sinners along ith the saintly and, in the fourteenth century, dueling popes in Rome and Avignon. Today, many Catholics complain that the Pope does not represent their approach to faith and is not responsive to their views on Church reform. They call for a different way to choose their leader.

So, on balance, is the tulku system any worse than many other ways of choosing people to lead large groups? I believe that we should leave that question to the Tibetan lamas themselves. As outside observers, admirers, or followers, our role should be to get beyond the tulku mystique, and learn to judge for ourselves which Tibetan lamas or spiritual leaders anywhere are worth our full faith and trust. Some are, and some are not. Our responsibility is to learn to tell the difference.

The bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is the patron saint of Tibet, where he is known as Chenrezig. His mantra is Om mani padme hung, and Tibetan children drink in its soothing melody with their mother's milk. The old kings of Tibet were considered to be emanations of Chenrezig, and both the Daiai Lama and the Karmapa are still seen as embodiments of Tibet's beloved bodhisattva, as we saw in chapter 5.

Legend says that when he was an eager but inexperienced bodhisattva, Chenrezig promised to help all beings reach enlightenment, a commitment he sealed with an oath: "If I ever waver from this sacred mission, may my head explode into ten pieces!" Chenrezig went to work diligently helping all beings he encountered. But after several eons, he began to realize that no matter how many beings he saved from suffering, there would be innumerable more who still suffered. He began to despair of fulfilling his vow, and wondered if he should stop trying to save others and just focus on his own enlightenment. At that point, his head split into ten pieces. Shakyamuni Buddha, looking down from the celestial realms, took pity on Chenrezig, and put him back together, but with a difference. He gave the bodhisattva ten heads, to better see and hear the suffering of all beings, along with a thousand arms to better relieve their plight.

As we investigate Tibetan lamas, other spiritual leaders, or any leader or teacher that we might choose for ourselves, we should be ready to take Chenrezig's journey. At first, we may be enthusiastic and energetic. Then, sooner or later, if our eyes are open, we will certainly become disillusioned, and our faith may break into pieces. Then comes the most crucial point. What will we do with our disillusionment? Will we take refuge in denial, and proclaim our faith loud enough to drown out our own doubt? Will we descend into cynicism, salting our former idol with a knowing smile and a wink as we walk away? Or will we find a middle path, a way to balance skepticism and faith?

"Only a truly compassionate religious teacher is worth following," Shamar told me. "People today need to decide for themselves whether a teacher is compassionate or not. A selfish teacher might tell his students that 'west is east and if you want to follow me then you have to accept this without question. Otherwise, you will be breaking samaya.' But a compassionate teacher, like His Holiness Dalai Lama for example, will not do this."

Surprisingly, even after more than a decade of opposing the Dalai Lama's attempts to choose the Karmapa, Shamar still admires the Tibetan exile leader. "I have seen that often students ask His Holiness to tell them, from his great wisdom, something hidden, such as predicting the future. A charlatan teacher might indulge this request, or at least imply through dramatic behavior that he has some special knowledge and powers that he cannot reveal. But His Holiness Dalai Lama never does this. He sets an example for honesty in his spiritual teachings. That is why I respect him, even if we have differences when it comes to religious politics.

"His Holiness made a mistake getting involved with the Karmapa. He may have been misled at the beginning by Situ Rinpoche and his supporters that all members of the Karmapa Search Committee agreed with his boy. Later, even when the dispute began, and it became clear that I opposed Situ's choice, His Holiness persisted in supporting Situ and Ogyen Trinley, and strongly implied that the Karmapa needed to be approved by him. This was wrong. History shows that Dalai Lamas have never selected or confirmed Karmapas, and we will not accept a change now. We must have a genuine Karmapa chosen according to Karma Kagyu tradition-not for political reasons. I oppose any attempts to subvert the Karmapa for the purposes of Tibetan politics. Even so, I still support His Holiness Dalai Lama in helping the Tibetan people, as long as he follows his own Buddhist principles. He should stay out of sectarian politics, and just work purely for Tibetan freedom while teaching Buddhism around the world. That would be a noble role for him."

Shameful Means and Questionable Ends

Earlier, we speculated on the motives of Situ's followers. Did they campaign for him just because they were paid, or did they believe that their ambitious rinpoche was involved in something exciting and heroic? I think that it was a bit of both. Now, we should consider Situ's own probable motives. Outsiders, who are used to thinking of the highest Tibetan lamas as international paragons of non-violence, compassion, and wisdom, may be tempted to .search for an altruistic motivation behind Tai Situ's actions. How could a respected lama with a 700-year history knowingly promote a Karmapa candidate on evidence he knew to be false, employing pressure tactics that obviously contradicted Buddhist ethics?

Situ has maintained that he was a devoted disciple of the sixteenth Karmapa and that his goal in selecting and promoting Ogyen Trinley, and even in taking over Rumtek, was to protect the Karma Kagyu lineage and to ensure a genuine seventeenth Karmapa. If Situ really had this view, then judging by his actions he must have believed that lofty ends would justify unethical means. How else could he justify such dirty tricks as forging a Karmapa prediction letter, bribing politicians in Sikkim, putting street toughs in monks' robes, and either encouraging -- or at least failing to stop -- his supporters from violently attacking not one, but two monasteries of his own order?

Taking over Rumtek seems to be the hardest to reconcile with any altruistic motivation that Situ and his supporters might have had. It seems to me that if Situ Rinpoche had only wanted to enthrone and support Ogyen Trinley as Karmapa, then he could have stopped short of taking over Rumtek. It was not necessary for the young lama to wear the Black Crown or to take over the sixteenth Karmapa's monastery to gain legitimacy. In the eyes of many Tibetans and most outsiders, Ogyen Trinley already derived all the legitimacy he needed from the Dalai Lama's support. As we have seen, in 1992 Shamar himself even wrote a letter accepting the boy on the basis of assurances from both Situ and the Dalai Lama.

Ogyen Trinley did not need to control Rumtek in order to play the role of Karmapa. He could have remained on the throne of the previous sixteen Karmapas at Tsurphu monastery and inspired growing devotion from Karma Kagyu followers inside Tibet and in exile without ever leaving there.

Later, in 2000, as we have seen, Ogyen Trinley's supporters would make the unconvincing claim that the Chinese interfered with the boy's Buddhist education and that he had to flee Tibet in order to gain his religious freedom. In 2001, the boy himself repeated this claim. Perhaps only a Cold War mindset whose first impulse is to see China as a godless totalitarian state bent on destroying all religion could induce outsiders to believe that the boy was repressed by the Chinese in light of strong evidence to the contrary. We have seen how Gyaltsen Lama, the boy's own guide across the Himalayas in his staged escape of 1999-2000, said that Ogyen Trinley was not unhappy in China. Indeed, he seems to have been quite happy under the Chinese. Reports from Tsurphu in the nineties indicated that, in an effort to win Tibetan hearts and minds, religious authorities of the Tibet Autonomous Region in Lhasa treated Ogyen Trinley like a king.

Further, at the time Situ took over Rumtek in 1993, Situ and his supporters had not yet started to criticize the Chinese. On the contrary, at the time Situ and Gyaltsab were collaborating closely with Beijing and Lhasa to install and promote their Karmapa candidate. Ogyen Trinley had been enthroned at Tsurphu the year before with Chinese help, and Situ and Gyaltsab, along with other lamas who supported Ogyen Trinley, were able to freely travel to China to see the boy for extended visits. Ogyen Trinley had everything he needed at Tsurphu because his teachers had good relations with the Chinese government.

Yet, for some reason, at the height of Situ's friendship with China and of Ogyen Trinley's glory there, Situ decided to incur the trouble and expense to stage a putsch at Rumtek in Ogyen Trinley's name. Was Ogyen Trinley merely a pretext for Situ to take the cloister? Legally, strategically, and of course, morally, taking over the sixteenth Karmapa's monastery from the sixteenth Karmapa's own legacy administration appears to have been a grave error on Situ's part. As a result of his coup, Situ has faced years of litigation and stands to face years more, perhaps even criminal charges. The fight for Rumtek has cost Situ the goodwill of the Indian government and has handicapped Ogyen Trinley, who remains under virtual house arrest in India, unable to travel the world as Thaye Dorje as already begun to do. And Situ himself remains a target of Indian suspicion, banned from returning to Rumtek or entering the state of Sikkim. Under such restrictions, it would be difficult for either lama to preach Buddhism or spread the teachings of the Karma Kagyu school in an effective way.

Finally, how can taking a monastery by force from monks of your own lineage appointed by the master you claim to venerate, the sixteenth Karmapa, ever be a way to advance the teachings of the Buddha?

Not surprisingly, Shamar has a strong opinion about the takeover of Rumtek. "Buddhism teaches that there are Four Acts of Limitless Consequence or limitless karma," Shamar told me. "If you knowingly perform any of these acts, you do so much harm to living beings that the suffering you create cannot be calculated. One of these acts is known as Splitting the Sangha, that is, creating a division in the community of ordained practitioners -- monks, nuns, and lamas. By taking over Rumtek, Situ split the Karma Kagyu sangha, turning spiritual brothers against each other, making spiritual fathers and sons into enemies. How much suffering this has created! I fear that it will take a long time to heal the deep wounds of this rash and selfish act."

If taking Rumtek was not necessary to support Ogyen Trinley as Karmapa, and if it exposed Situ to so much trouble, then why did he do it? He must have had some other motivation. We have already seen that. Shamar's supporters think, that it was larceny. Given that several valuable items were found to be missing from Rumtek on Situ and Gyaltsab's watch, as we have seen, I can find no other motive that appears more likely.

Yet, despite the history of his abuses well documented in the Indian press, Situ continues to claim that he has done nothing wrong, and that Ogyen Trinley is the real Karmapa. Of course, Shamar makes the same claim for Thaye Dorje. One of these two lamas must be wrong, since by tradition there should only be one Karmapa. A compromise allowing two Karmapas would seem to further undermine any credibility that the tulku system has left. We have seen strong evidence that Situ's candidate was chosen in a corrupt process marred by unnecessary haste and interference by outsiders including the governments of China and Sikkim. Given the crimes and misdemeanors committed to bolster Ogyen Trinley's candidacy, I do not see how an observer with the facts could honestly embrace the young man as the reincarnation of a high Buddhist lama.

Let us now consider the evidence for Thaye Dorje. On the plus side, he does not have the black marks on his record that Ogyen Trinley does. Yet, logically speaking, the misdeeds of Tai Situ and his party are merely evidence against Ogyen Trinley and not evidence for Thaye Dorje. Neither investigative reporting nor modern science can prove that one boy is the genuine reincarnate. And outsiders cannot be expected to find the mystical signs and portents that both candidates' supporters cite to be very convincing. So what else do we have to go on? For now, the case for Thaye Dorje appears to rest on the strength of the assurances of Shamar and his party, and the ethical standards that they have maintained in promoting their candidate. They have not broken the law, incited violence, or colluded with outsiders as Tai Situ has.

In addition, Thaye Dorje has already, shown signs of much promise as a religious leader worthy of trust and a teacher skilled enough to present the ancient and arcane tradition of Tibetan Buddhism to modern people. Interestingly, like Shamar, Thaye Dorje seems most comfortable when sharing the teachings of the Kagyu masters with an audience that does not insist on too much flash or spectacle, a strong contrast to Tai Situ's animated style. In another contrast with Situ, neither Thaye Dorje nor Shamar has shown much interest in promoting ambitious programs to solve world problems, as Tai Situ did in his short-lived Pilgrimage for Active Peace in the late 1980s. Instead, both lamas have called and continue to call on their students to meditate earnestly in order to get themselves out of the cycle of cyclic existence and suffering Buddhists call samsara.

This may be a different way of thinking than we arc used to, but I believe this approach harmonizes better with Buddhism's bottom-up path to happiness, to change the world by helping people change themselves. Ever since the European Enlightenment, the world has been treated to one system after another to reform society en masse -- humanism, secularism, Marxism, popular revolution, environmentalism, and post-colonialism, to name only a few. Indeed, up until now there has been no shortage of political and social philosophies to change the behavior of large groups of people and thus improve our world. I am willing to bet that the supply of reform movements will probably not run out anytime soon either.

While the past century has brought much progress in solving human problems, it has also brought human suffering on a level unparalleled in history: two world wars; two atomic bombs; the Holocaust; massive deaths under Stalin and Mao; the. nuclear brinksmanship of the Cold War; continued war, famine, and disease in Africa; and the spread of AIDS around the world. Now, we face the twin apocalyptic threats of international terrorism and global environmental collapse. If all our reform movements were unable. to prevent such tragedies, can we say that they have made humans happier as a whole?

Many today believe that Buddhism should spur social reform. But Buddhism teaches something else than this. Though its ethics can be used to create better governments or organizations, improving today's world is not the primary purpose of Buddhism.

Shakyamuni Buddha taught that life is suffering, or more subtly, that life is unsatisfactory. Did he say that with a little bit more altruism or creativity applied to good works and well- designed social programs we can eliminate suffering? No -- he said that life is always, by definition, suffering, because humans and all other beings cling to mistaken ideas that we and our physical world exist as we see them. This insight is what makes Buddhism truly radical; it goes to the root of the problem, our own emotions of anger, greed, and apathy. Indeed, a Buddhism that finds the cause of suffering in our own minds and hearts is more radical than any revolutionary credo that merely tries to improve the outside world could ever be.

It was not an accident that Tibet, the world's most complete buddhacracy, had as its greatest heroes neither enlightened rulers nor great social reformers, but uncompromising meditators such as Milarepa. After a life of worldly troubles, Milarepa sought a qualified spiritual master and then retreated to a cave to meditate, alone. When he was with others, he never stopped teaching that worldly affairs were a waste of precious time that could be better spent in meditation. "Life is short. and the time of death is uncertain, so apply yourself to meditation," he exhorted.

There is a lesson here. And it is not that all Buddhists should retire from the world as Milarepa did. The lesson is a more subtle one, and I believe that it is this: If we reduce Buddhism to yet another philosophy of improvement to spawn yet more social programs, whether Tibetan nationalism or world peace, we drain it of its vitality. As the Dhammapada puts it, "The gift of the dharma surpasses all gifts; the taste of the dharma surpasses all tastes; the joy of the dharma surpasses all joys; extinguish desire, and all suffering passes." [4]

Where Are They Now?

Thaye Dorje is finishing his studies at the Karma Shri Diwakar Institute of Higher Buddhist Studies in Kalimpong, in the eastern Himalayas just south of Sikkim. He spent the summer of 2005 teaching in Europe, and made news by appearing at an interfaith ceremony with the Bishop of London. He hopes to make a trip to the United States in the next two or three years to teach at centers established by Shamar Rinpoche and by the Nydahls.

Shamar Rinpoche continues to lead the effort of the Karmapa Charitable Trust to regain Rumtek. In July 2004, after six years of hearings in a case that his current lawyers say was badly mishandled by earlier attorneys, major preliminary issues were resolved in Shamar's favor by the Indian Supreme Court (see the text of its decision in appendix B). It seems likely that the main case will soon be heard by the District Court in Gangtok.

Khenpo Chodrak teaches at the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute in New Delhi. The school was closed for renovations starting in mid-2005 and will reopen in Fall 2006 to international students seeking to study Karma Kagyu Buddhism.

Ogyen Trinley is finishing his studies at Gyuto Tantric College in Sidbhari in Himachal Pradesh in northwestern India while presenting teachings and meeting with devotees. The Indian government continues to prevent him from traveling abroad and restricts his travels in India. In 2004, he attended the funeral of Bokar Rinpoche at Mirik just over the state line from Sikkim and only a few hours from Rumtek. But the Indian government refused to let him go into Sikkim or to Rumtek. In the last couple years, as we have seen, he has had contact with Shamar Rinpoche. Shamar is confident that the young lama, whom he refers to as "Ogyen Trinley Rinpoche," will turn out to be a strong advocate among the Tibetan exile leadership for the interests of the Karma Kagyu.

Tai Situ Rinpoche lives at his monastery Sherab Ling in Himachal Pradesh, not far from Ogyen Trinley.

Gyaltsab Rinpoche lives at his monastery Ralang, a few hours from Rumtek in Sikkim.
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Re: Buddha's Not Smiling: Uncovering Corruption at the Heart

Postby admin » Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:14 am

Appendix A: Buddhism and the Karmapas


Fifth century B.C. Shakyamuni Buddha reaches enlightenment while sitting under the Bodhi Tree in present day Bodh Gaya, India.

779 A.D. Padmasambhava, a missionary from India, establishes Samye, the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet.

1110 The first Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa is born.

1185 Dusum Khyenpa founds Tsurphu monastery and the Karma Kagyu school.

1358-1642 Pagmotru, Rinpung, and Tsangpa Dynasties rule Central Tibet under the tutelage of the Kagyu school and the Karmapas.

1408 Chinese Ming Dynasty Emperor Chengzu presents the Black Crown to the fifth Karmapa.

1642 The fifth Dalai Lama assumes the throne of Central Tibet with military backing of the Qoshot Mongols under Gushri Khan. The new government forcibly converts hundreds of Nyingma and Kagyu monasteries to the Dalai Lama's Gelug order.

1792 The tenth Shamarpa dies in Nepal and the Qianlong emperor of China bans his future reincarnations. Many of his monasteries are confiscated and his monks forcibly converted to the Gelug order.

1924 The sixteenth Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorie is born.

1950-51 The Chinese People's Liberation Army invades and conquers Tibet.

1959 Nearly a hundred thousand Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama, the sixteenth Karmapa, and other high lamas flee Tibet.

1962 The Karmapa Charitable Trust is formed to manage the assets of the Karmapas after the death of the sixteenth Karmapa and until the seventeenth Karmapa reaches adulthood.

1966 The sixteenth Karmapa opens Rumtek monastery in Sikkim as his seat-in-exile.

1964-1973 Gyalo Thondup tries to unite all five religious schools of Tibet under his brother the Dalai Lama through the United Party initiative.

1974 First visit of the sixteenth Karmapa to Europe and the United States. While the Karmapa is away, Tai Situ leaves Rumtek to start his own monastery.

1975 Thrangu Rinpoche resigns as Rumtek abbot and leaves to start his own monastery.

November 5, 1981 The sixteenth Karmapa dies at age fifty-eight in a cancer hospital outside of Chicago.

May 6, 1983 Birth in Lhasa of Tenzin Khyentse, whom Shamar Rinpoche later recognizes as the seventeenth Karmapa, giving him the name Thaye Dorje.

June 26, 1985 Birth in rural Kham of Apo Gaga, whom Tai Situ later recognizes as the seventeenth Karmapa under the name Ogyen Trinley.

September 1989 As he would later claim, Tai Situ discovers the letter written by the sixteenth Karmapa predicting his rebirth.

March and November 1990 The Karmapa Search Committee holds two meetings in New Delhi. Situ Rinpoche does not present his letter at either meeting.

March 19, 1992 Situ presents his Karmapa prediction letter to a meeting of the Karmapa Search Committee at Rumtek. Shamar, Jamgon, and Rumtek General Secretary Topga express doubts about its authenticity and call for testing.

April 1992 With permission of the Chinese government, Situ and Gyaltsab send out two search parties to find the boy in Tai Situ's prediction letter.

June 9, 1992 The Dalai Lama confirms the recognition of Ogyen Trinley as Karmapa.

June 29, 1992 The Chinese government approves the recognition of Ogyen Trinley as the "Living Buddha Karmapa."

September 22, 1992 Ogyen Trinley is enthroned at Tsurphu monastery. No representative from either Rumtek or the Karmapa Trust is present, but thousands of devotees and dozens of Chinese officials attend.

August 2, 1993 With assistance from the state government of Sikkim, Situ and Gyaltsab take over Rumtek monastery and expel the monks of the sixteenth Karmapa and officials of the Karmapa Trust.

January 26, 1994 Shamar announces that he has found his own Karmapa candidate, Thaye Dorje, in Tibet.

March 17, 1994 The Karmapa Institute in New Delhi hosts a welcome ceremony for Thaye Dorje that is disrupted by a violent protest by supporters of Ogyen Trinley.

August 2, 1994 While traveling abroad, Tai Situ is banned from reentering the country for "Anti-India activities."

July 31, 1998 The Karmapa Trust files its first civil case to regain possession of Rumtek and its valuables.

August 1998 The ban on Situ returning to India is lifted. But soon afterwards the government issues a permanent order excluding him from nine northeastern states, including Sikkim, on national security grounds.

Decemher 1999 Thaye Dorje makes his first trip abroad, visiting Southeast Asia and Europe.

January 2000 Ogyen Trinley arrives in India with a story of escape from the Chinese authorities. The Indian press challenges major details of his account.

2003 Thaye Dorje completes his formal education and prepares for a career of teaching and traveling.

July 5, 2004 The Indian Supreme Court decides the major preliminary issue in the case over possession of Rumtek in favor of the Karmapa Trust. Soon after, the Trust asks a Sikkim court to restore Rumtek to its management.

May 30, 2005 In New Zealand, the High Court in Auckland decides in favor of followers of Thaye Dorje in a property rights dispute with supporters of Ogyen Trinley.
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Re: Buddha's Not Smiling: Uncovering Corruption at the Heart

Postby admin » Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:15 am


bodhisattva (Sanskrit, lit., "enlightenment being") An advanced spiritual practitioner who remains in the physical world to help others, or, more generally, any person who promises to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of others.

Buddha (Sanskrit, lit., "Enlightened One") A person who has realized the nature of reality and has full knowledge of the open, dynamic nature of all phenomena. Buddhists believe that there have been numerous Buddhas In the past and that others will follow, but that the Buddha for our era was Shakyamuni, "the sage of the Shakyas," who lived in northern India around the fifth century B.C.

Chogyal (Tibetan, lit., "King of Dharma") The title of the Namgyal dynasty rulers of the tiny eastern Himalayan kingdom of Sikkim from 1642 until India annexed Sikkim in 1975.

Dalai Lama The effective leader of the Gelugpa order (though its formal leader is the Ganden Tri Rinpoche). The Dalai Lamas controlled the government of Central Tibet from 1642 until the current fourteenth Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso fled the Chinese in 1959. Since 1959, the Dalai Lama has run the Tibetan Government-in-Exile based in Dharamsala in the Himalayan foothills of northwestern India.

dakini (Sanskrit) A female meditational deity, sometimes called a Buddhist angel, representing the inspiring power of consciousness.

dharma (Sanskrit, lit., "carrying, holding") The teachings of the Buddha, comparable to the Christian term "Gospel." More generally, phenomena.

Ganden Phodrang (Tibetan) The formal name of the Dalai lama's government of Central Tibet from 1642 until 1959. Since 1959, the term has been applied to the Dalai lama's Tibetan Government-in-Exile in Dharamsala, India.

Gelug (Tibetan, lit., "Joyous Way" or "Ganden Way") The last of the four main schools of Buddhism founded in Tibet. Begun in 1409 by Tsongkhapa, the school later produced both the Dalai Lamas and the Panchen Lamas. Its three large monasteries of Sera, Drepung, and Ganden came to dominate Lhasa after the fifth Dalai Lama rook control of the government of Central Tibet in 1642.

Gyalwa (Tibetan, lit., "Victorious") An honorific term applied to the Karmapas.

Kagyu (Tibetan, lit., "Hearing Lineage") The third of the four major schools of Buddhism founded in Tibet. It originated in the eleventh century with the householder yogi Marpa the Translator (1012-1097). The Kagyu developed at least twelve separate lineages, most originating with Gampopa (1079-1153).

Karma Kagyu (Tibetan, lit., "Hearing Lineage of the Karmapas") The largest sub-school of the Kagyu, established by the first Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa in 1185 when he founded Tsurphu monastery, which became the seat of the Karmapas.

Karmapa (Tibetan, lit., "Man of Enlightened Activity") The highest lama of the Karma Kagyu lineage and the first reincarnate lama or tulku of Tibet, whose line began in the eleventh century with the first Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa (1110-1194.)

Kham (Tibetan) A large, fertile area located in the borderland between central Tibet and China, traditionally independent from both governments. Since 1642, when the Dalai lama took power in Central Tibet, Kham has served as the power base of the Karma Kagyu. Today, the western section of Kham is included in the Tibet Autonomous Region while eastern Kham has been absorbed into the Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan, and Qinghai.

khata (Tibetan) A silk offering scarf, usually woven with traditional religious symbols.

khenpo (Tibetan) A degree awarded by traditional schools of Buddhist philosophy equivalent to a Ph.D. or doctor of divinity in the Kagyu and other religious schools of Tibet. Equivalent to a geshe in the Gelug school.

KIBI The Karmapa International Buddhist Institute, a school in New Delhi to train international students in Buddhist philosophy. It was started by the sixteenth Karmapa before his death in 1981 and completed by Shamar Rinpoche.

KTC The Karmapa Charitable Trust, established by the sixteenth Karmapa in 1962 to manage his assets after his death and before his next reincarnation -- the seventeenth Karmapa -- would be found and reach the age of twenty-one.

labrang (Tibetan) Originally the personal household of a high lama, it came to refer to the monastic corporation that held the assets of a line of reincarnate lamas after the death of one incarnation and until the majority of the successor.

lama (Tibetan, lit., "none above") A religious teacher. Lamas can be either monks or laypeople.

lineage A succession of teachers who have passed down oral teachings to their students, usually originating with Shakyamuni Buddha or with a meditational deity seen by an advanced practitioner in a vision. Buddhists value an unbroken oral lineage because its teachings carry invaluable blessings of all the previous masters in that lineage that only a qualified lineage master can convey to his or her students.

Mahamudra (Sanskrit, lit., "Great Seal") In the Kagyu school, the most advanced practice of meditation, or more generally, the path to enlightenment.

Mahayana (Sanskrit, Iir., "Great Vehicle") The type of Buddhism practiced in East Asian countries including China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam as well as in the Himalayas, where it is called the Vajrayana. It is the path of the bodhisattva, where practitioners try to reach enlightenment not only for their own benefit, but to help all beings. Often contrasted with the Theravada ("The Way of the Elders") Buddhism of Southeast Asia, or with a straw-man version of the Theravada known as the Hinayana ("The Lesser Vehicle"), both of which Mahayana adherents see as paths to individual enlightenment only, without helping others.

Madhyamaka (Sanskrit, lit., "Middle Way") A philosophical view usually expressed in the negative, as a position between two extremes of positivism (that everything exists the way it appears to the mind and the senses, a view that can lead to complacency) and nihilism (that all phenomena are illusory, a view which can lead to despair or megalomania).

Nalanda Institute The monk's college at Rumtek, named for the first Buddhist university which operated in northern India during the Middle Ages.

-pa (Tibetan) Suffix that can be attached to a proper noun to make it refer to a person, for example Gelugpa (a member of the Gelug school) or Khampa (someone from Kham).

PLA The People's Liberation Army of Communist China.

puja (Sanskrit) A ritual prayer ceremony. In Tibetan Buddhism, a puja may involve visualizing a bodhisattva or meditational deity and reciting mantras or a liturgy.

Rinpoche (Tibetan, lit. "precious one" or "precious jewel") A title of respect for lamas who are considered to have achieved a high level of spiritual realization. Sometimes the title is recognized as purely honorary.

Rumtek The monastery founded in Sikkim by the sixteenth Karmapa after his escape into exile in 1959.

samadhi (Sanskrit, lit., "establish, make firm") A state of deep meditative concentration said to be peaceful and joyful.

samaya (Sanskrit) An advanced vow in the Vajrayana, a bond between a teacher and a student of serious tantric practice. The vow should only be taken after careful consideration, since to break it can lead to lifetimes of suffering. Often misunderstood, ordinary devotees are not bound by samaya.

samsara (Sanskrit, lit., "journeying") The state of physical existence, described as a cycle of an unending cycle of birth, death, and rebirth entailing various degrees of suffering.

sangha (Sanskrit, lit., "crowd, host") The community of ordained Buddhist practitioners, primarily monks and nuns. In the West, the term is often used more generally to refer to people who practice Buddhism.

shamatha (Sanskrit, lit., "dwelling in tranquility"; Tibetan, shi'nay) Mental-calming or tranquility meditation considered preliminary to higher forms of meditation and spiritual practice in Tibetan Buddhism.

Shak-yamuni (Sanskrit, lit., "Sage of the Shakya Clan") Epithet of Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha, who lived in northern India in the fifth century B.C.

TAR The Tibet Autonomous Region, the government of the central area of Tibet established by the Chinese in 1965 to cover most of the geographic area ruled by the Dalai Lama's Central Tibetan government before 1959.

thangka (Tibetan) A religious painting done on a scroll and usually framed by silk.

tulku (Tibetan, lit., "transformation body") Generally, a reincarnate lama, though it can also refer to a religious object such as a statue or a painting that has been blessed so that it is considered to contain the spirit of the deity it portrays. Like "rinpoche," tulku is often given as an honorary title.

Vajra Mukut (Sanskrit and Tibetan) Also known as the Vajra Crown or the Black Crown of the Karmapas. Originally given to the fifth Karmapa Deshin Shegpa (1384-1415) by the Chinese Ming dynasty emperor Chengzu, also known as Yongle (1403-1424), in the fifteenth century. Later, in the seventeenth century, the king of Li Jiang gave a replica of the crown to the tenth Karmapa Choying Dorje.

Vajrayana (Sanskrit, lit., "Diamond Vehicle") The form of Mahayana Buddhism practiced in the Himalayas, sometimes called Tantric Buddhism and known for powerful practices that can help a person achieve enlightenment in a single lifetime.

vipashyana (Sanskrit; Pali, vipassana; Tibetan, lhaktong) Insight or analytic meditation, considered an advanced practice in the Tibetan tradition.

Yarney (Tibetan) Annual rainy season retreat begun by Shakyamuni Buddha and continued by many Buddhist traditions to this day. In the Himalayas, the retreat begins with an opening ceremony, reserved for ordained monks only, known as the Sojong.
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Re: Buddha's Not Smiling: Uncovering Corruption at the Heart

Postby admin » Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:16 am


The Karmapas were the first reincarnate lamas, or tulkus, of Tibetan Buddhism. They began this tradition in the twelfth century, nearly three hundred years before the appearance of the Dalai Lamas. The lamas who recognized the Karmapas always came from the Kagyu school, and usually from the Karmapa's own Karma Kagyu sub-school. The lamas who recognized the most Karmapas were the Shamarpas, with six recognitions, five alone and one with another lama, Tai Situ. The Tai Situs recognized the second highest number of Karmapas: two alone and two more working with other lamas, for a total of four. Gyaltsabs recognized two Karmapas working alone.

No Dalai Lama or other lama from the Gelugpa order or one of the other schools of Tibetan Buddhism ever recognized a Karmapa in the past.

The table below lists each Karmapa through the sixteenth along with the lama who recognized him. This information is taken from a chart submitted in 2004 by Geoffrey Samuel, professor of anthropology at the University of Newcastle in Australia, as part of an affidavit in the case of Lama vs. Hope and Ors. in the High Court of New Zealand, Auckland Registry. Samuel's primary source was the 1976 book Karmapa: The Black Hat Lama of Tibet by Nik Douglas and Meryl White. "For the first thirteen Karmapas," Samuel wrote, "their account is based on the Zla ba chu Shel gyi phreng ba ('Moon Water Crystal Rosary') by the 8th Situ, Chokyi Jungne (1700-74), supplemented by two earlier sources. For the 14th to 16th Karmapas, it is based on the spoken commentary of the 16th Karmapa. Both sources should be acceptable to all parties in the present dispute."
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Re: Buddha's Not Smiling: Uncovering Corruption at the Heart

Postby admin » Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:17 am



1st Dusum Khyenpa (1110-1193) / Gampopa
2nd Karma Pakshi (1204-1283) / Pomdrakpa
3rd Rangung Dorje (1284-1339) / Urgyenpa
4th Rolpe Dorie (1340-1383) / Konchok Rinchen
5th Deshin Shegpa (1384-1415) / 2nd Shamar Khacho Wangpo
6th Tongwa Donden (1416-1453) / 3rd Shamar Chopal Yeshe
7th Chodrag Gyamtso (1454-1506) / 1st Gyaltsab Goshir Paljor Dondrub
8th Mikyo Dorje (1507-1554) / 3rd Situ Tashi Paljor
9th Wangchuk Dorje (1556-1603) / 5th Shamar Konchok Yenlak and 4th Situ Chokyi Goha
10th Choying Dorje (1604-1674) / 6th Shamar Mipham Chokyi Wangchuk
11th Yeshe Dorje (1676-1702) / 7th Shamar Yeshe Nyingpo
12th Changchub Dorje (1703-1732) / 8th Shamar Palchen Chokyi Dondrub
13th Dudul Dorie (1733-1797) / 7th Gyaltsab Kunchok Oser
14th Thegchog Dorje (1798-1868) / 9th Situ Pema Nyingc Wangpo
15th Khakyab Dorje (1871-1922) / 9th Drukchen Mingyur Wong Gi Dorje
16th Rangjung Rigpe Dorje (1924-1981) / 11th Situ Pema Wangchuk Gyalpo and 2nd Jamgon Kongtrul
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Re: Buddha's Not Smiling: Uncovering Corruption at the Heart

Postby admin » Sun Dec 04, 2016 9:46 pm

Appendix B: Analysis of Original Documents


July 5, 2004

This decision was the culmination of the case that the Karmapa Charitable Trust filed in 1998 to regain control of Rumtek monastery. In this decision, given in the case of Tsurphu Labrang vs. Karmapa Charitable Trust and Ors., announced in New Delhi on July 5, 2004, the court refused to hear the appeal of the Tsurphu Labrang, a group created by Gyaltsab Rinpoche and Tenzin Namgyal to represent the claims of followers of Ogyen Trinley to manage Rumtek in legal proceedings. The court rejected their Special Leave Petition to this effect. By thus refusing to interfere in the earlier decision of the Sikkim District Court and a subsequent confirmation by the High Court in New Delhi, the Supreme Court allowed the original decision to stand -- meaning that the Tsurphu group had no legal claim to Rumtek, and that the Karmapa Charitable Trust was the only group recognized to manage the monastery.

SLP(C)No. 22903 OF 2003



Petition(s) for Special Leave to Appeal (Civil) No. 22903/2003
(From the judgement and order dated 26/08/2003 in WP 5/03 of The HIGH COURT OF SIKKIM at Gangtok)

(With Appln(s). for permission to place addl. documents Vol. III to VI and exemption from filing O.T. and clarification and directions and with prayer for interim relief and office report)

Date: 05/07/2004 This Petition was called on for hearing today.

For Petitioner(s) Mr. A.B. Saharya, Sr. Adv.
Mr. Sudarshan Misra, Sr. Adv.
Mr. Naresh Mathur, Adv.
Mr. Sudarsh Menon, Adv.
For Respondent (s) Mr. Parag Tripathy, Sr. Adv.
Mr. Parveen Agarwal, Adv.
Mr. Somnath Mukherjee, Adv.
Mr. S.S. Hamal, Adv.
Mr. Kamal Jetely, Adv.
Mr. Gurpreet Singh, Adv.
Mr. Jayant, Adv.
Mr. Harish N. Salve, Sr. Adv.
Mr. Deepak K. Thakur, Adv.
Mr. K.V. Mohan, Adv.
Mr. Brijender Chahar, Adv.
Mrs. Jyoti Chahar, Adv.
Mr. Ashok Mathur, Adv.

UPON hearing counsel the Court made the following ORDER

Mr. B.S. Chahar, learned counsel states that the State of Sikkim does not desire to file affidavit.

We see no reason to interfere. The Special Leave Petition is dismissed.

We, however, clarify that the trial court will not take into consideration any observations made in the impugned order or in the order of the District Judge dismissing the application.

(K.K. Chawla) Court Master
(Jasbir Singh) Court Master
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Re: Buddha's Not Smiling: Uncovering Corruption at the Heart

Postby admin » Sun Dec 04, 2016 9:58 pm



At a meeting of the Karmapa Search Committee held at Rumtek on March 19, 1992, Tai Situ Rinpoche presented a letter that he claimed was given to him by the sixteenth Karmapa before his death. After the meeting, the Rumtek administration made a detailed study of the letter to determine its authenticity. Below are their major findings, as published in The Karmapa Papers, 71-73.


Documents: The letter

Analysis of the Prediction Letter

As mentioned earlier, there have been doubts expressed about the letter presented by Situ Rinpoche on March 19, 1992. Is it the authentic testimonial letter of H.H. the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa?

Unfortunately, we only had a copy of the letter, not the original. Nevertheless we examined the copy to see what might have brought about these doubts. Some seem to suspect Situ Rinpoche of having written the letter himself, so we included in our analysis those of his letters available to us.

General remarks about the letter:

In several places the text seems to be damaged by humidity. Traces of a vertical fold can be seen in the middle of the paper. Horizontally the letter seems to have been folded in at least three places below the third and the eighth line of the text and above the seal. This last fold can also be deduced because traces of the seal are found above it.

Although the writing in the part above the seal is blurred to such an extent as to be illegible, there seem to be no traces of ink on the seal itself.

Fortunately, we had more than 30 letters handwritten by H.H. the 16th Karmapa dating from the 1970s to 1981, shortly before he passed away. We asked several Tibetans for comparison who confirmed that the letter at first sight, looked as if it were written by His Holiness. But this impression seemed to vanish the more they went into details, especially for people very familiar with the H.H. the 16th Karmapa's handwriting. What follows are comparisons as to: 1) the signature, 2) the handwriting and spelling, 3) the letterhead.

1) Signature:

The signature on the letter is almost entirely covered by the seal. From what little was visible on our copy, the signature might be different from those we found on H.H. the 16th Karmapa's letters. This impression is strengthened when the signatures are superimposed by computer.

Signature on the prediction letter

Examples of Karmapa's signature as found on his letters

2) Handwriting and Spelling:

Only a forensic test of the original letter could definitely prove whether the handwriting on the letter is that of H.H. the 16th Karmapa or not.

• Nevertheless we compared the handwriting of the letter with that of Karmapa and Situ Rinpoche. There seem to be differences between the script in the letter and the handwriting in Karmapa's letters we had. On the other hand, one could find similarities when comparing the letter's script with Situ Rinpoche's handwriting (see two examples in the tables below; the syllables used for comparison are marked in the respective letters).
• For differences in the spelling of the word "drub" see table below. In line 6 of the letter, this word is written with the second postscript 'sa'. We did not find this misspelling in any of H.H. Karmapa's letters, whereas it is to be found in a letter by Situ Rinpoche (see Doc. T5)

the syllable "phyogs"

as written by H.H. the 16th Karmapa / as written by Situ Rinpoche / as written in "the" letter
Image / Image / Image

two examples of the vocal "e"

as written by H.H. the 16th Karmapa / as written by Situ Rinpoche / as written in "the" letter
Image / Image / Image

the syllable "drub"

as written by H.H. the 16th Karmapa / as written by Situ Rinpoche / as written in "the" letter
Image / Image / Image

The above examples were taken from the letters below: (see Part D, 4 for enlarged reproductions):

The letter

letter by Situ Rinpoche

Letter by Situ Rinpoche

Image Image Image
Three letters of H.H. 16th Karmapa

3) The Letterhead:

We found different letterheads on H.H. the Gyalwa Karmapa's letters available to us. On several examples the emblem in the middle (two antelopes and the dharma wheel) was the same as in document T27. In some cases, it was multicoloured. In others monochrome red. On most of the letters however one could see the more elaborate emblem also used in the letters. Sometimes the words 'His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa' were written in italics as shown in Doc T27. In other cases, these words and the address were lightly italicised as shown below in example III. In few instances the words 'His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa' were written in the middle of the page, just below the emblem.

None of Karmapa's letters available to us had a letterhead identical to the one on the letter, even though the more elaborate emblem shown there was often used:

• In no case did we find the words 'His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa' printed as in the letter, where the distance between the words is unusually big.
• In our copy of the letter the words 'His' and 'the' are not in line with the rest of the text. Perhaps this was just a problem with the photocopier.
• The characters themselves in the letter are different from those in the Karmapa's original letters. Especially the letters 'S' as in 'Holiness' and 'P' as in 'Karmapa' are broader in the letter's letterhead than in any of Karmapa's letterheads available to us. As a matter of fact, only in some of the International Kagyu Headquarters' letterheads (see example IV below) did we find the exact same script as in the letter.

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Re: Buddha's Not Smiling: Uncovering Corruption at the Heart

Postby admin » Sun Dec 04, 2016 10:37 pm



On May 24, 1997, K. Sreedhar Rao, an Indian government official stationed in Sikkim, submitted a fourteen-page report to the secretary of the Indian cabinet in New Delhi, T.S.R. Subramaniam. The report was marked "secret" on each page and its subject was the situation at Rumtek and its implications for relations between India and China. Rao began his term as chief secretary during N.B. Bhandari's final term as chief minister of Sikkim. But unlike officials of the local government, Rao was not elected by Sikkim voters or appointed by Bhandari. Under India's federal system, a chief secretary serves as the representative of the central government in each of India's twenty-eight states, and the office is filled by appointment from New Delhi. Thus, as a federal appointee, Rao was independent of the local Sikkim administration and was able to criticize its behavior when he concluded that it threatened the national security interests of the country as a whole. The text of his report is reproduced in full below, staring with Rao's original cover letter.


CAMP: Government of Sikkim
Sikkim House
12, Panchsheel Marg
Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110021
No. SM/4(2)/CS/
Dated: 24.5.1997

Dear Shri

I had sent a brief report to you on the Rumtek situation on 10.12.96. Taking into account certain recent developments I have carried out a more derailed assessment outlining possible options before us. I am sending herewith this assessment for your kind perusal. I am endorsing copies of this both to the DIB and the Chairman JIC with whom I have discussed this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Cahinet Secretary,
Government of India,
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Re: Buddha's Not Smiling: Uncovering Corruption at the Heart

Postby admin » Sun Dec 04, 2016 10:39 pm


The controversy regarding the reincarnation of the seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa has been persisting ever since 1992. Recently, the arrival of the Karmapa, recognized by the Shamar Rinpoche faction, in Kalimpong (Darjeeling District) has caused considerable apprehension among the members of the Joint Action Committee in Sikkim who have been advocating the cause of the Karmapa reincarnate in Tibet, recognized by the Tai Situ Rinpoche group. There are reports to indicate that the Joint Action Committee is planning to send a delegation to Tibet in an effort to bring the Karmapa incarnate from Tibet to Rumtek. This group is being supported by Lamas not only from the Rumtek monastery but also reportedly by Lamas from Phodong, Ralang and even Pemyangtse monastery, even though the Pemyangtse monastery does not belong to the Karmapa sect. These developments have made it necessary to comprehensively assess the matter in order to develop a suitable strategy to deal with the emerging situation.

Genesis Of The Problem

On the demise of the sixteenth Karmapa in 1981, the affairs of the Rumtek monastery were managed by four regents, namely, Tai Situ Rinpoche, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Tsurphu Gyaltsab Rinpoche and Shamar Rinpoche. Of these four regents Shamar Rinpoche being related to the sixteenth Karmapa is believed to be a higher reincarnate Lama occupying a position next only to the Karmapa himself, whereas the other regents occupy lower position in hierarchy. While the monastery's affairs with respect to religious practices were to be looked after by these four regents, the temporal affairs of the monastery were to be looked after by a trust. Before the demise of the sixteenth Karmapa he was the sole trustee and after his demise, a body of seven trustees was constituted and duly registered to manage the affairs of the monastery and its property. Shamar Rinpoche, Tai Situ Rinpoche, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and Jigdal Densapa (a former Additioinal Chief Secretary of Govt. of Sikkim), Mr. Gyaltshen (another ex-bureaucrat), Topga Yugyal from Bhutan, a representative of Dabur and Company and Gyan Jyoti from Nepal were all the trustees. This body of trustees used to meet regularly after the demise of the Gyalwa Karmapa and the affairs of the monastery and its properties were being administered in an organized manner. This trust consisting of the above mentioned trustees continues to exist and has been as mentioned above duly registered in India.

The task of finding the seventeenth reincarnate Gyalwa Karmapa however was the collective responsibility of the four regents mentioned above.

In March, 1992 Tai Situ Rinpoche appears to have declared that the letter of prediction about the reincarnation left behind by the Gyalwa Karmapa has been found and the regents should take action to find the reincarnation in accordance with the letter. The regents had apparently met and studied the letter and informed some lay people as also the trustees, of the discovery. However, it is reported that even at that point of time the authenticity ot the letter was questioned by some of the trustees and more particularly by Shamar Rinpoche who had pointed out that the letter was not in the handwriting of the sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa, that there are a number of grammatical and other errors and there could be doubts whether the letter was written prior to the demise of the sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa. It appears that in view of this doubt the regents resolved to consider the matter further and postponed a decision on the identification of the reincarnation for about seven months. In fact a demand seems to have been ralsed that this letter supposedly left behind by the sixteenth Karmapa should be subjected to a forensic test but Tai Situ was evasive about this.

In spite of the agreed waiting period mentioned above, taking advantage of the absence of Shamar Rinpoche, the Tai Situ group seems to have organized an expedition to Tibet to identify the reincarnation. This was a violation of the collective responsibility that had been cast upon the four regents to find the reincarnation. In the meanwhile one of the regents, namely, Jamgon Kongtrul met with an accident and died allegedly under suspicious circumstances. It is also alleged that the Government of Sikkim did not conduct a proper inquiry into the matter. Normally, the identification of a reincarnation is apparently a fairly detailed and lengthy procedure involving a number of tests. Reportedly the whole identification in Tibet was carried through in Tibet within a very short while and the reincarnation was taken from the village Bakor in the Kham province of Tibet where the identification took place, to Lhasa and then on to Tsurphu monastery, the original seat of the Karmapas, and formally installed with the active assistance of the Chinese authorities. It is also reported that the reincarnation accompanied by Tai Situ Rinpoche was given a highly visible, ostentatious reception by the Chinese in Lhasa as well as in the Tsurphu monastery.

Having installed the reincarnate in Tsurphu monastery, a message was sent to His Holiness the Dalai Lama who was then in Brazil attending the Rio Earth Summit. The Dalai Lama accepted the discovery as the reincarnation of the sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa possibly because it was claimed that the reincarnation had been identified unanimously and there was no controversy whatsoever.

The reason as to why His Holiness the Dalai Lama approved the reincarnation in a hurried manner and that also without adequate evidence and proper verification needs to be analyzed. It is possible that a small coterie around him had been influenced by the Chinese. This belief is reinforced by the fact that this small group has influenced His Holiness to continue to support the Tai Situ group even though the Dalai Lama himself has been briefed about the controversy and the lack of unanimity with respect to the reincarnation. The second explanation could be that Dalai Lama was at that point of time carrying on delicate negotiations with the Chinese with respect to Tibet and he was influenced to think that such a recognition may go in his favor during his further discussions with the Chinese. A third explanation put forth by the religiously inclined is that the Dalai Lama heads the Gelug Sect which is not favorably inclined towards the Kagyu sect particularly because of the growing influence of the Kagyu sect. (After the establishment of the Dharma Chakra Center in Rumtek in the early 1960s, the Karmapa sect has opened not less than 600 centers all over the world). The fourth explanation is that the recognition given by the Dalai Lama is not a religious recognition but basically a temporal act placing the Karmapa in a hierarchy next to the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama. It is an act which need not be given any religious significance. While this matter needs to be studied in more detail, what is important to note is that following the recognition of the Karmapa in Tibet and its approval by the Dalai Lama, the People's Republic of China put their seal of approval on the reincarnation. This. is perhaps the first time that the People's Republic of China has given such an approval and is possibly calculated to demonstrate to the world the decisive say that the People's Republic of China have in the affairs of the Tibet both spiritual and temporal.

It would appear from the above analysis that the Tai Situ Rinpoche group had managed to get their candidate approved by the Dalai Lama as well as the PRC in spite of the fact that there were fundamental doubts about the correctness of the so-called instructions left behind by the sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa. Since then the Tai Situ Rinpoche group has been influencing local opinion in Sikkim to continuously pressurize the authorities for bringing the Karmapa reincarnate to Rumtek and formally install him in the monastery.

The Chinese Connection And Role Of Tai Situ Rinpoche

It would appear from the above that Tai Situ Rinpoche group had wittingly or unwittingly played into the hands of the Chinese. However, reports indicate that the Tai Situ who is a Tibetan national had been visiting Tibet on and off and in 1984-85 he traveled extensively and drafted a program for so-called development of his country. He records that "at the end of 1984 and beginning of 1985 I visited for four months my country (meaning China) after 26 years abroad and traveled to the areas of Sitron Tsongol, Gangsheo Yunnan and Shingkjang." The development program includes education, healthcare, culture, handicrafts, increase in income and living standards, etc. What is noteworthy is that throughout his report he talks about friendly connections between the Chinese and the people of other countries, study of the Chinese language and study of Chinese medicine. He talks about Chinese in the most friendly terms referring to the Chinese as Chinese brothers. He talks about Chinese brothers living abroad as well. He talks about the autonomous region of Tibet and indicates that his plan has the honest intention to benefit the people of China and in particular the autonomous region of Tibet, Sitron, Yunnan, Gangshuo, etc. He profusely thanks the two leaders of China, namely, Hu Yao Ban and Deng Xiao Peng as well as other leaders of China for their excellent political stance. The report of Tai Situ Rinpoche is addressed to the Director of Chinese Communist Government. All this indicates that Tai Situ had built up a good relationship with the Chinese possibly from 1984.

It would be appropriate to consider the Chinese interest in this entire matter at this stage. From the time of Chinese occupation and indeed after the departure of Dalai Lama from Tibet, the Chinese have been strengthening their control over Tibet in a variety of ways. Apart from the well established efforts to reduce the religious influence of the Dalai Lama and changing the demographic composition of Tibet by large scale influx of Han Chinese into Tibet it would appear that China having got their own Panchen Lama, have by formally recognizing the seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa extended their control over the religious consciousness of the Tibetans. It is also very much possible that the Chinese are preparing to get themselves into a position of strength in the post Dalai Lama Tibet. It is not inconceivable that having established their right to recognize the reincarnates, the Chinese would not hesitate to identify the successor to the present Dalai Lama, when the time comes. This would complete their hold on the religious consciousness of the Tibetans both within and outside Tibet. The Chinese may not attach too great an importance to the declaration by the Dalai Lama that there will be no more reincarnation of His Holiness. It is important from our point of view to take note of this. It is also important to note that along the entire Himalayan belt right from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh the influence of Tibetan Lamaistic Buddhism is extensive with a string of monasteries. It is reported that the Chinese have been making efforts to penetrate into these monasteries and as of now no less than eleven monasteries are headed by Lamas who can be considered as proteges of China. It would be most undesirable to allow the Chinese to extend their influence in this manner and it is in this context that the present situation in Rumtek needs to be carefully viewed.

The Contending Parties

It has been mentioned above that while the regents who arc responsible for the religious affairs of Rumtek, it is the trustees who are really the inheritors of the trust constituted by the late sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa. No doubt three out of four regents were members of the trust and with one of them dying in an accident only two namely, Tai Situ Rinpoche and Shamar Rinpoche continue to be members of the trust.

After the so-called discovery of the reincarnate in Tibet, Tai Situ Rinpoche has been avoiding attending the trust meetings and in any case after 1993 he had not been permitted to enter India. He therefore seems to operate through Gyaltsab Rinpoche who continues to be in Rumtek. For some strange reasons though he is also a Tibetan refugee (as indeed are Tai Situ Rinpoche and Shamar Rinpoche), Gyaltsab's permit to remain in Sikkim is renewed by the State Government year after year whereas Shamar Rinpoche has not been allowed to enter Sikkim for some time now.

A group of individuals consisting of Kunzang Sherab, an ex-bureaucrat not particularly known for integrity or efficiency and who for some time was the Secretary of Ecclesiastical Department of the Government of Sikkim, Namkha Gyaltsen, an MLA who represents the Sangha Constituency, Sonam Topden, brother of Mr. Karma Topden, Member of Parliament and few others have formed a Joint Action Committee and have been keeping the issue alive and influencing the local population in Sikkim to subscribe to the view that the reincarnated Karmapa in Tibet is the only real incarnate. They have been able to capture the loyalty of the local Bhutia Lepcha population to a large extent because of the seal of the approval given by Dalai Lama and to a certain extent because of the fact that they do not hesitate to use strong-arm tactics where necessary. They are also supported by some local politicians such as Thuckchuk Lachungpa who is currently with the Congress but was earlier with the Sikkim Sangram Parishad and who specializes in agitational politics. It is due primarily to the Joint Action Committee that an ugly situation was created in the monastery itself, as a consequence of which the two groups fought each other and the group of Lamas owing allegiance to Shamar Rinpoche was physically thrown out of Rumtek monastery. This group of Lamas have been given shelter near the monastery but have not been allowed to enter the monastery itself. The presence of Gyaltsab Rinpoche and the fact that the group owing allegiance to Tai Situ Rinpoche is in physical possession of the monastery, has enabled them to claim that the monastery already belongs to the seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa reincarnate from Tibet and he should be brought from Tibet and be enthroned in Rumtek. The Joint Action Committee keeps issuing pamphlets, monograms, cassettes all calculated to establish that the Tibetan reincarnation is the only correct reincarnation. This propaganda has no doubt had an impact on the local population. It needs also to be highlighted that the local bureaucracy and the police have also been heavily influenced by this strong propaganda. Attempts by the Shamar Rinpoche's followers to enter the monastery even for the purpose of worship have been beaten back by use of force by the group in occupation of the monastery.

As mentioned before, a legally established trust exists and it was functioning in a normal fashion until the controversy erupted in 1992. Even thereafter, in spite of the trust being for all practical purposes boycotted by Situ Rinpoche, the trust continued to meet right up till 1995. The resolutions taken by the trust from time to time have appealed for moderation, for settlement of dispute by adopting the middle path and dialogue. The efforts of the trust for bringing about a rapprochement have been dismissed somewhat derisively by the Joint Action Committee possibly inspired by the Tai Situ group. In fact the Joint Action Committee seems to have organized something called an International Kagyu gathering and had gone to the extent of calling for the resignation of the trustees. They also made an effort to replace the present trustees with a trust of their own but this was not successful. Because of the possession of the monastery by Tai Situ group the trustees have not been able to occupy their official position within the monastery nor have they been able to perform their functions in a proper manner.

Role Of The State Government

It has been reported that the then Chief Minister Sri Nar Bahadur Bhandari had developed links with Tai Situ Rinpoche and his attitude towards the Rumtek controversy was to a large extent influenced by the Tai Situ group. Reports also indicate that his election campaign was financed by Tai Situ Rinpoche. It is possible that Sri Bhandari wanted to keep his hold over the Bhutia/Lepcha voters who he thought were inclined towards the Tai Situ group, Bhandari's own political history indicates that he was opposed to the merger of Sikkim with India and he has not hesitated from taking anti-India stances whenever it suits his political convenience.

What needs to be highlighted however is that when the controversy erupted and developed into a law-and-order problem the Sikkim Govt. officers who went to the monastery to control what was basically a law-and- order situation seem to have exceeded their authority. Whether they did this because of express instructions by Sri Bhandari or not is unclear but having arrived on the site to control the situation created by warring groups of lamas aided generously by outside elements reportedly gathered by the members of the Joint Action Committee, the then Home Secretary and the Inspector General of Police seem to have also got hold of the keys to the monastery. They did not take care to make an inventory of the articles in the monastery, What is more important is that the keys were handed over not to the duly constituted trust or to any member of the trust but to the Tai Situ group. By this act of the State Govt. intentionally or otherwise the State Govt, handed over the possession of the monastery to the Tai Situ group who since then are prohibiting the other group from entering the monastery. The trustees have not been able to enter the monastery either and perform their duties and have been writing to the State Govt. to take corrective action in the matter and the Shamar Rinpoche has also been trying to impress upon the Govt. that they should also be given access to the monastery, An attempt was no doubt made to get the monks of the Shamar group back into the monastery but in the face of violent opposition from the Tai Situ group from within the monastery, the attempt was given up. The trustees have not met after 1995 but the Shamar group is now attempting to take recourse to legal remedies. The State Govt. has received two notices from the legal firm M/S Dada Chandji asking for restoration of possession of the monastery and its properties giving a list of articles that are supposed to be a part of the monastery. On expiry of the statutory period it is possible that the matter may be taken formally to a court of Law.

The Joint Action Committee is now stepping up its demand for permitting Tai Situ Rinpoche to come back to Rumtek and is reportedly also intending to send a delegation to Tibet if necessary via Nepal for bringing the Tibetan reincarnate Karmapa to be formally installed in the Rumtek monastery. They are displaying a certain sense of urgency in the matter as they are apprehensive that the reincarnate Lama recognized by the Shamar group who is already now in Kalimpong for approximately a month or so and who intends to be in Kalimpong for about five months, may be brought into Sikkim and attempts may be made to install him in Rumtek. The Joint Action Committee has been urging the Government of Sikkim to lift the ban on the entry of Tai Situ and give permission to bring the reincarnate from Tibet to Rumtek while at the same time not allowing Shamar Rinpoche to enter Sikkim. On the other hand the Shamar group not only wants to re-enter the monastery from which they have been thrown out but would like Shamar to be allowed to come back and indeed the reincarnate identified by him to be installed in Rumtek. A potential conflict of interests is definitely brewing.

Current Concerns And Proposed Courses Of Action

Taking into account the fact that the Chinese Govt. is actively interested in the Rumtek affairs and the emerging situation described above, it would be necessary to anticipate events and consider possible courses of action. The Sikkim Government right now would be hesitant to act because of the belief that a large proportion of the Bhutia/Lepcha population is inclined to accept the Tibetan reincarnation, primarily because of the blessings given by the Dalai Lama and would not like to do anything which can be construed as offending the sentiments of Bhutias/Lepchas. However, given the fact that Sikkim occupies a strategic position it would be most undesirable to have a situation where a Tibetan reincarnation, who is basically a Chinese National recognized by the Chinese, formally occupies a position in a monastery in Sikkim. The Karmapa reincarnate if at all is brought into Sikkim will not come alone and may be accompanied by a very substantial entourage. Such an event can lead to consequences quite unpredictable and may affect the security interests of the country very substantially. Clearly we cannot allow a situation where a Tibetan reincarnate is brought into Sikkim, however vociferous such a demand may become.

The problem can assume complex dimensions because the regents as well as the trustees lose their official authority the moment the Karmapa reincarnate attains the age of 21. We will have to consider steps well before this time. We therefore have to rake note of:

(a) The clear intention of the Chinese to expand their influence on the religious consciousness of not only the Tibetans but also of the population in the entire Himalayan region.

(b) The fact that the Chinese are possibly preparing themselves for the post Dalai Lama situation.

(c) The demand for installation of the Tibetan Karmapa in Rumtek which can become more strident as time goes by.

(d) The fact that the Chinese have not recognized Sikkim as part of India.

(e) The possible reaction of the local Bhutia/Lepcha to any steps that may be taken to deny access to the reincarnate from Tibet or alter the present situation in Rumtek.

(f) On the other hand while keeping our security interests in mind also recognize the fact that the legitimate trustees have been disallowed from functioning from the monastery by an act of the State Government and that within the next five or six years both the regents and the trustees will lose their status as religious and temporal authorities of Rumtek once the Karmapa reincarnate attains the age of 21.

Two courses of action that can be suggested in this context are:

• Whether Dalai Lama can be influenced to recognize the second reincarnation and -
• Whether steps can be taken to restore the trustees their legitimate control over the monastery.

The two actions may have to be taken simultaneously and for this the full cooperation of the State Govt. is absolutely essential. The monastery itself has to be cleansed of all unruly elements and of offensive material which can be used to prevent entry by anyone else and which can crate an ugly law-and-order situation.

The above issues require detailed consideration and a careful assessment of both possibilities and consequences.
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