Monday, February 07, 2011

No Center Nor Edge: Two Corners?

In this corner, from Baiyu County, born in Wood Horse, weighing in at twelve incarnations, we have Tai Situ Rinpoche. 

And, in this corner, from Derge, born in Water Dragon, weighing in at fourteen incarnations, we have Shamar Rinpoche.

Under ordinary circumstances, we would tell them to shake hands and come out fighting, but these are not ordinary circumstances. These two powerful, Kagyu lineage holders are not battling for a champion's belt, but for a crown -- the Black Crown to be exact -- the one made from the hair of a hundred thousand dakinis. 

The one that belongs to the Seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa.

Over the past several days, we have witnessed a rogue politician -- assisted by a very reachable policeman -- play to endemic Indian sinophobia by running roughshod over the institution of the Karmapa with wild accusations of Chinese "spying." It has been ugly, it has been damaging, and it has disturbed millions of Buddhists all over the world.

Yet, a subtle -- and sometimes not so subtle -- theme has been running in the background of this incident. We saw it first when Himachal Pradesh Director General of Police Daljit Singh Minhas took the unprecedented and professionally reckless step of denouncing Tai Situ Rinpoche on India's version of CNN.

Roughly a week later, as the smoke cleared, and as Delhi began to weigh in with the voice of reason, we again heard the name of Tai Situ Rinpoche -- as a window opened into the behind-the-scenes struggle that colors this incident.

That struggle is the battle between Tai Situ Rinpoche and Shamar Rinpoche over who should be recognized as the "rightful" Seventeenth Karmapa.

Let us be clear in stating that the two claimants to the title "Seventeenth Karma" --  Ogyen Trinley Dorje (currently on the hot seat) and Trinley Thaye Dorje (currently waiting in the wings) -- are not fighting between themselves, nor should it be supposed that they are fighting by proxy, with Tai Situ Rinpoche and Shamar Rinpoche as their respective champions. As this sad affair has developed over the past decade, with more than its fair share of murkiness, at least one thing has become very clear to all and sundry. 
This is a fight between Tai Situ Rinpoche and Shamar Rinpoche that long ago abandoned its raison d'etre to proceed of its own accord. In plain language? They took this fight out of the ring, to go brawling in the alley.
As it is presently positioned, the trouble in Himachal Pradesh seems to be proceeding from an underlying assumption that makes sense only in the strange world of Indian politics. The assumption is that Tai Situ Rinpoche is operating Ogyen Trinley Dorje as a puppet, on behalf of Chinese interests. This, in any event, has become their fallback position, ever since it was demonstrated to them -- amid considerable mirth -- that a seven year old boy could hardly have received Chinese intelligence training to become a "sleeper agent."

The way the game stands now, Indian players are laying down an ultimatum to Ogyen Trinley Dorje: if you want peace in Himachal Pradesh, and if you don't want to be (a) arrested, or (b) denied an extension of refugee status, get rid of Tai Situ Rinpoche, because he is the source of your trouble.

If Tai Situ Rinpoche becomes a casualty, whether by knockout punch or throwing in the towel, what will this mean for Shamar Rinpoche? Shamar Rinpoche seems to believe it will mean clear sailing. Tai Situ Rinpoche is the person who discovered Ogyen Trinley Dorje.

According to Tai Situ Rinpoche, in January 1981 the Sixteenth Karmapa gave him a sealed protection amulet covered in brocade, saying, "This is your protection amulet. In the future, it will confer great benefit." 

Years passed, and Tai Situ Rinpoche decided to open the amulet. Upon doing so, he states that he found the above letter, in the Sixteenth Karmapa's own handwriting, and bearing his seal, which he subsequently understood to be the Sixteenth Karmapa's prediction of where he would be reborn. A translation of this letter is as follows:
Self-awareness is always bliss;
The dharmadhatu has no center nor edge.
From here to the north [in] the
     east of [the land] of snow
Is a country where divine thunder
     spontaneously blazes
[In] a beautiful nomad's place with
      the sign of a cow,
The method is Döndrub and the
      wisdom is Lolaga.
[Born in] the year of the one
     used for the earth
[With] the miraculous, far-reaching sound
     of the white one;
[This] is the one known as Karmapa.
His is sustained by Lord Donyö Drupa;
Being nonsectarian, he pervades all directions;
Not staying close to some and distant from others, he is the protector of all beings:
The sun of the Buddha's Dharma that benefits others always blazes.
On March 19, 1992, Tai Situ Rinpoche met with Shamar Rinpoche, Jamgon Khongtrul Rinpoche, and Gyaltsap Rinpoche to review the letter. All parties agree that the meeting took place. On the basis of this review, they agreed among themselves to send a search party to Tibet, led by Jamgon Khongtrul. They wanted to find the Seventeenth Karmapa.

Regretably, Khongtrul Rinpoche was killed in an automobile accident the following month. Nevertheless, a search was conducted, and Ogyen Trinley Dorje was found in a manner consistent with the Sixteenth Karmapa's prediction letter. At the time, he was but eight years old.

On or about July 23, 1992, discovery of the Seventeenth Karmapa was confirmed by the Dalai Lama, who issued a traditional Buktham Rinpoche to that effect, pictured below. On September  27, 1992, the young Karmapa was enthroned at Tsurphu Monastery in Tibet, the main seat of all the Gyalwang Karmapas since the 12th century. Before the ceremony began, he was presented with an official certificate from the Beijing government accepting the recognition.

On January 25, 1994, Shamar Rinpoche issued a statement that the "authentic" reincarnation of the Sixteenth Karmapa had been found in the person of a boy living in Lhasa then named Tenzin Chyentse, and later named Trinley Thaye Dorje. Here, in Shamar Rinpoche's own words, is his complete account of the circumstances leading to the discovery of Trinley Thaye Dorje:
Thinley Thaye Dorje, was born in 1983 in the Year of the Pig. He is the first-born of the 3rd Mipham Rinpoche of the Nyingmapa School of Buddhism.

His father is the third reincarnation of the 1st Mipham Rinpoche, the head of 13 Nyingma monasteries in Kham, Tibet, and a descendant from many generations of doctors and learned medical scholars. His mother, Dechen Wangmo, is the daughter of a noble family descended from King Gaesar of Ling. In his youth the 3rd Mipham Rinpoche escaped the fate that befell many Tibetan people unable to practice their religion under Chinese communist rule. His teacher found a hiding place in the mountains where they were able to practice the Dharma continuously ever since his early childhood. In 1982, after a general relaxation of government restrictions on religious practice, Mipham Rinpoche went to Lhasa to take part in the reconstruction of Buddhist institutions and practice. Due to his good connection with the Panchen Lama, his activities were particularly successful.

In the early 1980s, Mipham Rinpoche's yidam predicted to him that if he took a consort that he would produce several sons who would be great bodhisattvas. The next day a group of pilgrims from Kham arrived to see him; among them was Dechen Wangmo. He realized that she was humble and gentle and an accomplished Chakrasambhara practitioner. When he proposed marriage, she immediately accepted.

As man and wife, Mipham Rinpoche and Dechen Wangmo settled in an apartment rented from an old lady in the Bakor area of Lhasa on the same street that circled three-quarters around the famous Jokhang Temple. A son was born in wedlock in the year 1983. At the age of two and a half, the little boy started to tell people that he was the Karmapa. The landlady happened to be a distant relative of the late 16th Karmapa and had met him before he escaped from Tibet in 1959. He told her once, "Before you die, you will meet me again." Due to the exceptional behaviour of the boy, she was convinced that he was the Karmapa himself. Out of strong devotion, she offered the use of her apartment to the family for free. However, Mipham Rinpoche remained silent about his son while hoping that he might turn out to be the reincarnation of the great Nyingma master Katog Situ Rinpoche.

One day in early 1985, when Ngorpa Lagen, a humble old Sakya lama, was circumambulating the Jokhang Temple in the circular street, he noticed the gleaming white face of a little boy peering out of the window of a private house. Drawn by curiosity, he walked towards the window, and the little boy said, "Don't you know that I am the Karmapa?" Without pondering the seriousness behind these simple words, Ngorpa Lagen replied, "If you are, then give me a blessing." The boy stretched out his arm and touched the lama. According to the lama, he instantly felt something akin to the post-meditative experience of deep calm and expansiveness that prevails over all forms of gross emotions.

A few days after this blessing, the Sakya lama, together with a group of pilgrims who had arrived from his homeland, went to Mipham Rinpoche for a prediction as to where their next pilgrimage should be. He noticed the little boy who previously had blessed him playing in a corner by himself. Mipham Rinpoche asked the group of visitors how many families they were. When they answered, "seven," the little boy rang out from the corner and said, "Eight!" All of them were obliged to count again. When they realized that the boy was right, the lama reported that his hair stood on end and that his shock and excitement were so great that it was difficult to hide his reaction completely.

Further along his pilgrimage in late 1985, Ngorpa Lagen went to Kathmandu, Nepal, and joined a large annual prayer and recitation gathering led by Lama Sherab Rinpoche, a disciple of the late Karmapa. The two soon became acquainted, and Ngorpa Lagen began telling Lama Sherab Rinpoche about his encounter with the little boy in Bakor. After this, Lama Sherab Rinpoche and his attendant Chopel Zangpo left for the Tsurphu Monastery but first stopped to visit Mipham Rinpoche in Lhasa. The boy was not with his father when they arrived, so Lama Sherab Rinpoche asked if he could nevertheless see the boy. When he was brought in, he sat next to his father quietly, but from time to time would eye the guests and smile with obvious amusement. When Lama Sherab Rinpoche inquired about the wife of Mipham Rinpoche, he replied she was doing a Chakrasambhara retreat. During the course of the conversation, Lama Sherab Rinpoche reported that he started to tremble and was unable to stop. As soon as they left, his attendant immediately told him that something very strange had happened to him while they were talking, which was exactly what Lama Sherab Rinpoche himself had felt. The above story was first recounted to me in 1987 by Lama Sherab Rinpoche. The circumstances of the story matched those of an earlier report brought to me from Lhasa. In October 1986, Chobje Tri Rinpoche had alerted me about Mipham Rinpoche's son and showed me a photograph of the young boy.

Between late 1981 and 1984, Tai Situ Rinpoche, Kongtrul Rinpoche, Gyaltseb Rinpoche and I - the committee of regents established by the late Karmapa's General Secretary Dhamcho Yongdu to find the reincarnated Karmapa - held several meetings to coordinate our efforts to recognize the Karmapa's reincarnation. Although Dhamcho Yongdu did not have the authority to create such a group of regents, I initially followed along to be polite. Soon however, I felt that these meetings increasingly became politicized; resolutions were never acted on as the three other committee members had promised. Instead, other courses of action were pursued without notice to the full committee. I was left with no choice but to act independently, but quietly, in my capacity as the Shamarpa, while inside the committee I did my best to win the other Rinpoches to my point of view. After all, by long-standing practice, it is Shamarpas who are empowered to identify and recognize reincarnated Karmapas.

In 1988 I undertook my own independent investigations to determine the authenticity of the Mipham Rinpoche's son as the Karmapa. First I asked Tsechu Rinpoche who visited Tibet as part of a Nepalese government delegation to obtain more information about the young boy during his visit. Next I sent a lama to go to Lhasa to investigate the boy more directly. Immediately upon their first meeting, the boy told the lama that he had been sent to investigate him. The results of all these reports and investigations prompted me in July 1988 to go into a long retreat when I confirmed that the boy was indeed the reincarnated 17th Karmapa.

In spite of my personal conviction about the identity of the Karmapa, the time still had not come to make a formal declaration. However, in early 1991, at the inauguration of the Karma Kagyu monastery built by Shangpa Rinpoche at Phokhara which was attended by Dhazang Rinpoche, Shachu Rinpoche and hundreds of lamas plus more than four thousand Tibetans, I announced: 1) Tibet probably would be the country of the Karmapa's next reincarnation; 2) The supplication to the 16th Karmapa for his early rebirth should be changed to supplication to the 17th Karmapa for his long life; 3) The name of the 17th Karmapa that I had decided on was Thaye Dorje. The obvious conclusion to be drawn from this announcement was that I had in effect confirmed the reincarnation of the 17th Karmapa.

Karma Pakshi, the 2nd Karmapa, in his esoteric works (sangwei namthar) called Dugpa Tsarchod predicted the rebirths of 21 Karmapas and gave or predicted the name of each rebirth. The name of the 18th Karmapa is Thaye Dorje. However, the 5th Karmapa also predicted, "My lineage weakens, at the time of the 16th or 17th Karmapa." On the surface Karma Pakshi's prediction seems inconsistent with my recognition and naming of the 17th Karmapa as Thaye Dorje. The apparent inconsistency can be readily explained, though. As is well known, the reincarnation of the 14th Karmapa only lived for three years and was never enthroned; so official protocol does not count the fifteenth rebirth as the 15th Karmapa. Thus, it follows that the sixteenth rebirth of the Karmapa becomes the 15th Karmapa upon enthronement and so forth. In other words, the predictions of Karma Pakshi and the 5th Karmapa are not ambiguous but actually correct. The 5th Karmapa's prediction of the weakening of the lineage at the time of the 16th or 17th Karmapas actually refers to the discrepancy between the number of rebirths and the number of enthronements caused by the early death of the fifteenth reincarnation. Karma Pakshi's predicted bestowal of the name Thaye Dorje for the 18th Karmapa is actually correct since the 17th Karmapa to be enthroned is the 18th by rebirth.

My announcement at Pokhara no doubt caused much excitement but also provoked many comments. It also stimulated Lama Sherab Rinpoche to come to me immediately in Kathmandu and show me a poem written on a piece of paper. A very old saint named Lobpon Kunzang Rinpoche, who had already passed away before 1991, had given the paper to Lama Sherab Rinpoche in 1983 in strict confidence on one of his many visits to Lobpon Kunzang Rinpoche's retreat in the Rinag mountains in Sikkim. The exact literary origin of the poem is still being ascertained. According to Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche, the spiritual leader of the Manang tribal community of Nepal, Lobpon Kunzang Rinpoche said there are two possible sources. One is the old text called The Treasures of Yogi Zilon Lingpa (Zilon Lingpa belonged to the Nyingma School of Buddhism). The other possible source for the poem is the late Dudjom Rinpoche when he was performing a special Guru Padmasambhava puja in Kalimpong in the 1960's. The poem contains the following four verses:
The area of Dza The town Ki (is)
Goddess Devi, Norbu Dzinma (holder) (in her) golden womb (of) the wish-fulfilling jewel
By nourishment of (Mt.) Khailash fully (it will) ripen
Thaye Dorje (for the) welfare of living beings (will) arise
The meaning of the poem is by and large self-evident. The references in the first verse to Dza and Ki refer to the birth places of the 3rd Mipham Rinpoche and Dechen Wangmo, his consort and the mother of the 17th Karmapa. The allusion to Mount Khailash refers to Dechen Wangmo who is a Tantric adept. The Chakrasambhara Tantra is her main practice, and Mount Khailash is, in the Tantric universe, the mandala of Chakrasambhara.

Immediately after the Karmapa Thaye Dorje and his family managed to escape from Tibet to Nepal in March 1994, the young Karmapa came to New Delhi where during a welcome ceremony I formally recognized him as the 17th Karmapa. In November 1996, he joined the monkhood by receiving refuge vows from Buddha in a large ceremony at the Buddha Gaya Temple. He then was given the name Thinley (meaning, Buddha activity) Thaye (limitless) Dorje (unchanging).
As should be clear from this account, my identification and recognition of the 17th Karmapa Thinley Thaye Dorje proceeded according to many centuries of Karma Kagyu tradition. The process was completely spiritual and not corrupted by political motives.
                                                                        -- Shamarpa Rinpoche
So, these are the respective, basic positions of the two contenders. What is not discussed is the intervening period between Ogyen Trinley Dorje's discovery and enthronement in 1992, and Shamar Rinpoche's sudden announcement of Trinley Thaye in 1994.

What occurs between 1992 and 1994 is one of the ugliest episodes of internecine gutter politics it is possible to imagine: the bitter and bloody battle for Rumtek Monastery, in Sikkim -- the Karmapa's seat in exile, pictured below -- and the very substantial Karmapa Charitable Trust. 

Trouble erupted in June 1992, arising from a struggle between Tai Situ Rinpoche and Shamar Rinpoche for control of Rumtek, and the late Karmapa's assets. Shamar moved quickly, contacting the manager of a Kagyu European franchise -- a Danish citizen named Ole Nydahl, then resident in Russia -- to consolidate cash flow generated by 120 overseas centers. Within twenty-four hours, he prevailed on the Sixteenth Karmapa's old contacts in the Indian government to dispatch a contingent of armed soldiers to protect him at Rumtek.

Hostilities continued through the summer and into the autumn, greatly offending the mother monastery at Tsurphu. In October 1992, Ole Nydahl and his wife, Hannah, were declared persona non grata at Tsurphu, allegedly with the warning that were they to ever visit the monastery, "the place and its water supply would be contaminated all the way to the ocean." We have no way of determining whether this was in fact said or not, but it does give you something of the flavor of this period's rhetoric.

Ole Nydahl

Tai Situ Rinpoche was able to outflank Shamar Rinpoche by appealing to Sikkimese Chief Minister Bhandhari. By August 1993, he had regained physical control of Rumtek Monastery, but his victory was only temporary. Shamar Rinpoche moved against him decisively in 1994, and by August 1994, Tai Situ Rinpoche was embroiled in personal legal issues relating to allegations that he had engaged in "anti-Indian and pro-Chinese activities." In December 1994, Chief Minister Bhandhari was voted out of office, and a new regime came into being that showed greater sympathy to Shamar Rinpoche. 

So, then ---

When we examine the footwork employed in the bouts of 1992 to 1994, and contrast this with the footwork observed in 2011, we see old boxers up to old tricks. The parallels are indeed instructive --  so instructive that the punches, may we say, have indeed been telegraphed.
Late 2010 and early 2011 show of popular support operations in Sikkim, designed to seat Ogyen Trinley Dorje at Rumtek, have been met with Indian government pressure that ultimately singles out Tai Situ Rinpoche.
It is useful to examine similarities, but it is in this case even more important to consider differences. There is one very, very important difference between 1992 - 1994 and 2011, and that difference is the Seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje.

While Tai Situ Rinpoche and Shamar Rinpoche have been fighting over ground, Ogyen Trinley Dorje has quietly and effortlessly won hearts and minds. The sad events of these past few days have established that millions of people around the world care very deeply for his welfare, that he enjoys the respect and confidence of the mainstream international Buddhist community, and that a single glance can put thousands into India's streets. 

He does not occupy a monastery; rather, he occupies auspicious dreams, beneficial thoughts, spiritual inspirations, and compassionate aspirations. Even he speaks barely above a whisper, by the power of truth his words are heard at ten thousand miles.

This is the Karmapa's historical ability.

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30 reader comments:

Anonymous said...

Jamgon Khongtrul's death was the last straw for me. But this has to stop.

I would like the contact information for both Rinpoches. Perhaps they still have shame.

Anonymous said...

You seem to have an ulterior motive yourself with your postings?

Tsult81 said...

1. Look to the activities of the two Rinpoches since HH the 16th Karmapa passed away. Shamar has based himself in Delhi choosing to rent out the entire 7th floor of a 5 star hotel for all these years from where he can access the politicians. Situ has established a monastery, retreats, college, school, Tibetan medical centre, astrological centre, and printing house in order to firmly plant the Dharma outside of Tibet. He has transmitted the entire cycle of empowerments and teachings onto the next generation of teachers including Mingyur Rinpoche, Kongtrul Rinpoche and Kalu Rinpoche.

2. It is well known that Shamar's favorite bribe for a minor official is a new car (look to the Sikkim CM - and i wonder how many new cars are spinning around Himachal??)

3. And what of Thaye Dorje's Indian and French passports?? No questions from the Indian govt there?

You pointed out in a previous post how the previous incarnation of Shamar was ended because of power politics and trying to grab power by invading Tibet. Well, it is clearly his 'karmic inclinations' peeking through again as he makes his political moves for power. That is all he wants. Is it Situ's job to stand by and let him or stop him as peacefully as possible?

The heartening thing throughout all of these troubles is that amongst Kagyu monasteries in Nepal, India and Tibet there is no doubting Karmapa Orgyen Trinlay Dorje. Shamar’s support only comes from a handful of alliances he forged, otherwise the heartfelt support for the Karmapa is universal – as you say, it shines clearly from the man himself. His wisdom and compassion is unmistakable. It is a shame you cant also recognise the pure heart of the Tai Situpa also.

Anonymous said...

Other side of the story:

Geoff said...

The Karmapa does not need our protection, rather it is he that saves us from drowning in our own confusion. So why lament his fate when there is no obstacle to his enlightened activities?

I think it is far more in keeping with the teachings of the glorious Kamtsang to surrender to the ocean of Karmapa's grace than to drown in the bloody swamp of Tibetan politics. Where is the benefit in contending views?

We don't have clear view of what is going on, so is it not better to withhold judgement, have faith in all our lineage gurus and pray with undivided love and attention? Continuing contention only cuts the life vein of our lineage. Is it not better to purify our own obscurations than to moan about the unwholesome tendencies of others?

Anonymous said...

Interesting reading, thank you

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a balanced and objective look at the facts supporting all sides of this story. I was particularly pleased to see you did not favor one side or other, and just let the facts take the story where it wanted to go. Very good job.

peter mannox said...

Mud thown is ground lost

Editor said...

Right you are, Peter. You understand as well as anyone the nature of the 16th Karmapa's feelings toward the West, and one particularly great pity of the present circustance is the extent to which it has curtailed the 17th Karmapa's sphere of activity in that regard. Some of us want to see you present that silver cylinder before we pass away...

Anonymous said...

I suspect that just plain, unenlightened human greed for cash, power and/or prestige is behind this 'controversy'. I've read both sides of the argument and the claims of one in particular sound just like jealous posturing. We read many 'proofs' and denunciations but precious little of bodhicitta.

Not all karmapas are real karmapas in this sorry tale, and not all lineage tulkus involved are real lineage tulkus, either, judging by their actions.

Tsult81 sums up the situation nicely for me.

Cliff said...

The whole history of the Karma Kagyu since the death of the 16th Karmapa does have to come out eventually. There are viewpoints and viewpoints and viewpoints. I have been pained for many years by this family feud. Ignoring the "other side" or slandering them have not diminished bad feeling and confusion.

Anonymous said...

Stirring the pot aren't we, Tenpa? Pointing fingers at this or that lama for doing this, not doing that, possessing this, or giving that. You know, there are a lot of lamas doing similar things, behaving in a similar manner, and who are we to judge? I do not know about you, but I certainly do not have the omniscience, nor the wisdom, to judge who is and who is not a Buddha.

Casting stones at teachers you may not agree with is your choice. You have a right to express yourself as you see fit. Personally, I find your less biased postings more interesting to read, and more helpful to my development as a practitioner. Yes, the Karmapa's current situation is deplorable, but it is evident in your writing about the subject that you have some sort of personal axe to grind. Personally, I find this distasteful, but once again, it is your blog, and you have the right to post whatever you see fit.

Editor said...

There is a story here, and that story is profoundly coloring events in Himachal Pradesh. Do you sweep it under the rug and pretend it doesn't exist, or do you ventilate it?

I have presented both sides of this story and people are at liberty to make their own conclusions.

It is amusing to read the comments, and see some people take me task as a Tai Situ partisan,and some others take me to task as a Shamarpa partisan.

Actually, I do not have any interest in either of these gentlemen.

If anyone feels that these stories are "slanted," then it is because the facts themselves have revealed particular directions.

Ordinary discussion of facts in contention, or even partisan discussion of facts in discussion, does not amount to "throwing stones" at anyone.

Gold is still gold no matter what you do to it. Shit is still shit no matter how it is packaged. Where pretas see gold humans see shit. Where humans see shit pretas see gold.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous:
I do not see ANY evidence of a "personal axe to grind" at all. I see that he has put forth everybody's respective positions using their own language to do so. I think his position is these two lamas have engaged in certain conduct and that conduct has had a certain results. I think he is looking fairly at the situation without any particular prejudice and he is just telling us what he sees. For me I welcome these backgrounders that help me see all sides of the issue. Maybe you have a personal agenda in accusing him of having a personal agenda? Maybe this is because you cannot fault him on the facts? Because I do not see one thing he has presented that can be claimed as his invention. All I see is a superior intellect viewing the situation and making whatever commentary he feels moved to make. Bravo, Tenpa. You turned on the lights.

John Wiley said...

Very clear that Dawa Sangpo Dorjee is the real Karmapa when you check out the shenanigans of Ogyen Trinley Dorje and Trinley Thaye Dorje, he is the only contender who has remained apart from this whole fiasco. Furthermore he has challenged the other two to an ice field meditation for 21 hours, both did not accept.

The truth is out.

Editor said...


Commencing at high noon?

Nightprowlkitty said...

At one time or another I could no doubt agree with every comment here, depending upon my mood.

I found this post to be most helpful and after reading it found myself feeling positive towards both "heavy-weights" in their respective corners, and even felt some compassion towards the Indian authorities who are having their own struggles.

I agree with the commenter who said the Karmapa doesn't need our help so much as we need his. But that's the thing -- it is hurtful to see this happening, and shedding any light on why it is happening, imo, keeps me from having my thoughts proliferate in endless and painful speculations.

I laughed at the first two paragraphs in this post, which was a welcome occurrence. It made me feel everyone involved was worthy of compassion in this human drama, so many lifetimes of strange karma.

I thought the post showed skillful means in dealing with the dissatisfaction of samsara and clarifying the spiritual nature of how one deals with such events.

Blinde Schildpad said...

Conclusion: there's no way to get living in samsara right?

Hmm, if only somebody (maybe some Indian dude with a bump on his head) had thought of a way out!

I may not be entirely sure what these hypothetical teachings would be about, but I'm fairly sure they're not about hats and titles...

The antidotes dissolve themselves...

Anonymous said...

Facts are facts.

Truth is truth.

Someone with an open mind does not have to be hit in the head by a club to understand the mischief that underpins present events.

Homohabilis said...

Well, this has certainly been fascinating reading. Not being a Tibetan-style Buddhist, I don't have a dog in this fight, though as it happens I do wear a "blessing thread" from the "official" Karmapa, which a friend brought back from a pilgrimage to India several years ago.

When I read about the controversy several years ago, I'm afraid I was not entirely convinced by either side; I was interested to see that this write-up by someone more knowledgeable than I reflects almost exactly my intuitive take. The Tibetans are an impressive and charming people, but unfortunately not immune to the same human weaknesses we all share, especially in the realm of politics -- especially tragic as it was the pettiness of the Tibetan ruling class's political obsessions that led to the nation's being completely unprepared to deal with the Chinese invasion, despite the 13th DL's prophetic warning.

Interesting that, as you point out, regardless of what might be going on in the background, Orgyen Trinley himself seems to have proven out a remarkable young man; I know next to nothing about Trinley Thaye, but get at least an impression of sincerity. I gather there have been more than a few cases of "simultaneous emanations" in the history of the tulku "program"; perhaps if these two young men could meet without benefit of their "advisors", some modus vivendi could be worked out.

Btw, it's Jamgon Kongtrul (the second name begins with "ka" not "kha").

Anonymous said...

if Shamar is nice to Kagyupa he wouldn't damage Kagyupa tradition by personal relationship with Tai Situ. Because Oryen Trinley Dorje was recognized by most of people and government already in 1992. he brought problem in 1994. So Sad!

Anonymous said...

A very objective piece of information. I have become a fan of this site. Thank you for your effort. I am benefiting a lot from this blog.

Human mind is like a computer hard disk. Once something is written on it, it is hard to erase it off 100%. So wisdom is in the adage_See no evil, Hear no evil, Say no evil. To this I would gladly add Read no evil. Instead listen to yourself. See unto yourself. With the force of good karma you will see and hear it.
I simply listen to my heart and there I hear and see His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa Ugyen Thinley Dorji. And His Holiness the Dalai Lama has recognized Him. (I don’t give a damn about Chinese recognition) These two people are my everything. My hope for the future, aspiration for salvation and an inspiration for greatness. They are for me a real living Buddha!
Finally I am neither for or against anybody. I have deep faith in all Rinpoches recognized by the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa.

Anonymous said...

A very objective piece of information. I have become a fan of this site. Thank you for your effort. I am benefiting a lot from this blog.

Human mind is like a computer hard disk. Once something is written on it, it is hard to erase it off 100%. So wisdom is in the adage_See no evil, Hear no evil, Say no evil. To this I would gladly add Read no evil. Instead listen to yourself. See unto yourself. With the force of good karma you will see and hear it.
I simply listen to my heart and there I hear and see His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa Ugyen Thinley Dorji. And His Holiness the Dalai Lama has recognized Him. (I don’t give a damn about Chinese recognition) These two people are my everything. My hope for the future, aspiration for salvation and an inspiration for greatness. They are for me a real living Buddha!
Finally I am neither for or against anybody. I have deep faith in all Rinpoches recognized by the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa.

Anonymous said...

A very objective piece of information. I have become a fan of this site. Thank you for your effort. I am benefiting a lot from this blog.

Human mind is like a computer hard disk. Once something is written on it, it is hard to erase it off 100%. So wisdom is in the adage_See no evil, Hear no evil, Say no evil. To this I would gladly add Read no evil. Instead listen to yourself. See unto yourself. With the force of good karma you will see and hear it.
I simply listen to my heart and there I hear and see His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa Ugyen Thinley Dorji. And His Holiness the Dalai Lama has recognized Him. (I don’t give a damn about Chinese recognition) These two people are my everything. My hope for the future, aspiration for salvation and an inspiration for greatness. They are for me a real living Buddha!
Finally I am neither for or against anybody. I have deep faith in all Rinpoches recognized by the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa.

eric said...

Dear Dharma Friends,

With the tremendous outpouring of messages of support from people around the world wishing to contribute positively to the current situation, His Holiness the Karmapa has advised the international Dharma centers, students and supporters around the world that the following practices would be good to do in the current situation:

Prayers to the 21 Taras 21度母禮讚文
Seven-Limb Supplication to Padmasambhava 蓮師七句祈請文
Dharma Protector Practice, such as Mahakala and others 護法儀軌修持(如瑪哈嘎拉等)

His Holiness also mentioned that if people wish to contact other Dharma friends from other centers in their area -- not only Karma Kagyu, but practitioners of all schools of Tibetan Buddhism - and join with them to do group practice sessions together, that would also be very auspicious.

Thanks very much,

Anonymous said...

You left out the largest elepahnt in the room.

Who murdered Jamgon Kongtrul.

Mick Brown said...

Re: Anonymous said...
You left out the largest elepahnt in the room.

Your link connects the reader to a Karmapa.issue posting on the death of Jamgon Kontrul. This contains inaccurate information about myself and my book The Dance of 17 Lives that I would like to rectify.
In order to infer some sort of prior bias on my part the site alleges that 'Mick Brown wrote his book after Mr. Tashi Wangdu, a minister within the Tibetan Government in Exile, approached Bloomsbury Publishing to take on the project.'
This is completely untrue. The book was commissioned on the basis of discussions between Bloomsbury and myself alone.
This is just one of a number of false allegations made on the site about me and the book - that I was 'a student of Akong Rinpoche', that the Dalai Lama also had a hand in the commissioning of the book - all of which I refuted at the time.
Not surprisingly, knowing that the allegations made against me were false led me to doubt the veracity of anything on the site.

Anonymous said...

In '92 I was living at Samye Ling and was befreinded by an old practitioner who showed me a picture of the recently discovered young Karmapa, having spent weeks sitting in the Gompa under the photo of the previous Karmapa (the one where he is adjusting his hat)I instantly recognized him, those intense black eyes lasered out at me.If there was ever a cofirmation of reincarnation there it was .Some years later I saw a photo of the contender, how could this gentle creature be the real one? We are dealing at a level beyond politics, you either know or don't, this is not a topic you are swayed on or bought

Anonymous said...

Hi friends,

If I read that Shamarpa rents a whole floor of a Hotel - I wonder where are the proofs for that. Why people make thei allegations without naming the Hotel, the years Shamar did so. Whom he gave brand new cars. One thing for shure: Karmapa Thaye Dorje has no French passport, he had to leave France during the summrtour of 2007 and had to renew his visa in spain.
And the hearts for Thaye Dorje were not needed to be bought they jumped on him.
All this are a lot of words for nothing, as there are only allegations and no proofs...

Anonymous said...

Mick Brown wrote
"Not surprisingly, knowing that the allegations made against me were false led me to doubt the veracity of anything on the site" (
I just went through your book Mr. Brown and found so many untrue allegations, like the gossip about Topga Rinpoches involvement in the "murder" of Damchö Yongdu and in the death of Jamgon Kongtrul. I interviewed the nephew of Yongdu and he explained me that this is bullshit (excuse me, but such allegations are agains all Buddhist ethics!). If you like, just give me your emailadress and I will send you more details. You just believed all the stories told by people like Levine, Namgyal, etc etc and you presented all the others a s a little strange, pale, I don't know. Topga as smuggler... Shamarpa as addicted to politics. Karmapa Thaye Dorje as pale. etc etc Really, it's a pitty!
But I assure you, if you are seriously concerned about the truth, I would show you in more detail your errors (and please don't publish that biased view in German!!!!)
yeshekunkyen [at]
all the best