No official word yet on Karmapa’s visit to Rumtek Monastery

DHARAMSALA: Speculation was rife on the social media regarding the visit of Karmapa to Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim.

Lalit Mohan

Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, July 10

Speculation was rife on the social media regarding the visit of Karmapa to Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim. A notification of the Sikkim government issued on July 6 in which the officials of the Sikkim government have been directed to be ready to welcome Karmapa has been circulated on social media.

However, there was no official confirmation regarding permission given by the Government of India allowing Karmapa to visit Rumtek Monastery. Tenzin Tsendue, a prominent Tibetan activist on whose Facebook the post was made, said the notification had been doing rounds in Tibetan circles. However, he could not confirm whether it was official permission for Karmapa to visit Rumtek.

The Government of India has not allowed Karmapa to visit Rumtek, the second most important religious figure in Tibetan community after the Dalai Lama, since he fled to India from China in 1985.

Rumtek monastery is the most important seat of black hat lamas who consider Karmapa as their head.

Controversy surrounded recognition as the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee was born on 26th June 1985 in a nomad community of Bakor in Eastern Tibet. He was recognized as reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa by the Dalai Lama in June 1992.

However, one of the prominent teachers of Kagyu, Shamar Rinpoche refused to recognize Ogyen Trinley Dorjee as the 17th Karmapa. He instead claimed that Thaye Trinley Dorjee was the real 17th Karmapa.

In May 2012 the Himachal government issued directions against referring Ogyen Trinley Dorjee as Karmapa in official communication. The directions were issued in response to a communication by the Una administration in which it had referred to Ogyen Trinley Dorjee as 17th Karmapa. The directions were also issued reportedly due to objections from Shamar Rinpoche.

Later, a third candidate named Dava Sangpo Dorjee also claimed the office and title. He is presently living in Nepal. The situation has led to a split in Kagyu followers all over the world.

However, despite repeated pleas from Shamar Rinpoche, the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration recognize Ogyen Trinley Dorjee as 17th Karmapa.

Ogyen Trinley Dorjee escaped Tsurphu monastery in Tibet on December 28,1999. He arrived at Dharamsala on January 5, 2000 after trekking about 1,100 km after escaping the Chinese army. Tai Situ Rinpoche, one of the teachers of Kagyu school, reportedly managed the escape of Ogyen Trinley Dorjee from China. He wanted to take him to Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim that is the traditional seat of Karmapas or the Black Hat Lama’s in India. The assets of monastery are pegged at about Rs 1500 crores. However, the union government did not allow Ogyen Trinley Dorjee to move to Rumtek allegedly under the influence of Shamar Rinpoche.

At Dharamsala Ogyen Trinley Dorjee was kept in Gyoto Tantric Monastery under the strict vigil of intelligence and security agencies. He was not allowed to move to other parts of the country and foreign countries for many years.

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