Saturday, July 17, 2010

Politics, Religion, and Envious Time: Free the Karmapa

Somebody is employing political means to obstruct the Karmapa's compassionate intentions toward the West.

It is tempting to blame India -- after all, they are the ones who denied his exit visa for Europe a while back, and his exit visa for the United States just yesterday, so no Karmapa at the First North American Kagyu Monlam.
"The Karmapa was scheduled to attend prayer sessions being organised by Karma Triyana Dharamchakra centre in Woodstock in New York, but Indian authorities refused to grant him permission to visit there," said the Karmapa's secretary Gompo Tsering. "We fail to understand why restrictions were imposed on his movement as the tour was purely a religious one."
It is tempting to blame Indians, as they have been known to shoot themselves while cleaning their diplomatic pistols, but I am not one who jumps so quickly at shiny bait. How does it serve Indian interests to upset those quietly powerful Tibetan Buddhists who are strategically employed all over official Washington?

Likewise, it is tempting to blame the Chinese, but the Chinese are the smartest politicians on the face of the planet. They have absolutely no reason to pressure India to block the Karmapa's travel. People who think that the Karmapa is somehow the Dalai Lama's "successor" don't understand the playing field, or how to dissect purely journalistic notions.

Now, I used to work in politics, so I have a dirty mind. I spend about an hour each day saying sorry to the dakinis for all the wicked things I did in political service. I figure at this rate, I should have a complete confession in their hands by about the third future lifetime -- the first time I'll be able to enjoy the salad bar while walking on two legs, with no wings or a tail, or having to watch out for a swatter.

Cock-eyed optimism aside, because I used to work in politics and have a dirty mind, I am sitting here making a list of all those individuals and factions who profit from Karmapa's inability to travel freely. I am putting checkmarks next to every name on that list. Do they have the motive to obstruct? Do they have the opportunity to obstruct? Do they have the means? There are a few other factors, but you get the idea.

The list is short and not so sweet.

If I was still in the rackets, I would spin up a witch hunt and start examining the bank accounts of those individuals directly responsible for the Karmapa's troubles. Their bank accounts, those of their relations, and the purses where their wives keep nail money. While this was in progress, I would start looking at the out-linkages to little issues like the hair of one hundred thousand dakinis, and all the rest of those dusty corners where light hardly ever shines.

If that didn't work?

All things being equal, it doesn't take all that much to keep a Gulfstream G550 in the air.  I been in 'em. Not like it takes a government or anything, if you get my meaning.

Unless they want to put the Karmapa under house arrest like Aung San Suu Kyi, somebody in India better think this thing all the way through, because the Karmapa's real bodyguards are not a loss for heads and hands.

Now, you can change destiny -- I know because I have done it -- but, you cannot oppose forces of nature: what I like to call historical imperatives, or the primordial writ large. The ages are littered with the corpses of men who opposed the Will of Heaven. The Indians know that. The Chinese know that. Their ambitions almost always take this into account.

It is a historical imperative that the dharma take firm root in the West. It is a historical imperative that the Karmapa have fluent, frequent, safe, and unrestricted contact with the West. His predecessor died in Illinois, and since he never did anything without the pure intention to benefit beings, that sends me a strong message.

It was Horace who mentioned carpe diem, usually translated as "seize the day," and those who use the phrase usually forget the context in which said mention was made.
"Don't ask (it's forbidden to know) what end the gods will grant to me or you, Leuconoe. Don't play with Babylonian fortune-telling either. It is better to endure whatever will be. Whether Jupiter has allotted to you many more winters or this final one, which even now wears out the Tyrrhenian sea on the rocks placed opposite -- be wise, strain the wine, and scale back your long hopes to a short period. While we speak, envious time will have already fled. Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the next."
Well, anyway, that's just one more rendition.

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18 reader comments:

Anonymous said...

You should consider adding the Tibetan Government in Exile to your list, in case you haven't already.

Anonymous said...

Dear Rinpoche:
Very clever use of the word "rendition." Think they get the message? How embarrassing it would be if the Karmapa had to be rescued from India and seek political asylum in the West.

Nightprowlkitty said...

I had the good fortune to attend two of the Karmapa's teachings when he visited New York for the first time.

I don't always trust my own sentimentality, but I will nonetheless say that I sensed he had so much love to offer us, like he had all this love stored up inside him he knew he could give us, could benefit us here in the West.

What I am reading here is that there are obstacles to the Karmapa's coming to the West again. So I pray these obstacles will be overcome, as well as the obstacles to the Dalai Lama being able to return to Tibet in peace.

Anonymous said...

The Tibetan Government in exile is top of the list. When Ayang Rinpoche was applying through them to the Indian Government for permission for HHK to travel to his monastery, permission was not forth coming. When they investigated, they found it had not been sent by the Tib Gov to Delhi. By applying directly in Delhi, they received permission.

Anonymous said...

BY the way, inside the Tib Gov are representatives who are pro Shamarpa. Need I say more?

Anonymous said...

To some extent you can blame the Karmapa, or at least the people who decided on things for him (Tai Situpa etc). There is a strong possibility the CIA helped Karmapa out of China, at least part of the way. This isn't the best way to introduce oneself to the Indian authorities.

Also, while in India Karmapa has met in secrecy with messengers of the Chinese government. This, too, has created suspicion among the people in Indian intelligence agencies. Remember, the situation vs. China in Sikkim, Ladakh, Tawang etc. is flammable. Tai Situ Rinpoche was previously banned to enter India because of his political activity in Sikkim. Clearly the Indians don't want any political trouble there.

We don't know what the Indian authorities know, hence it isn't fair to be too judgemental towards them.

Pro Shamarpa people inside the Tibetan Government? I really doubt it. Also, Shamarpa has met with Ogyen Trinley Dorje and I believe Shamapa promised not to obstruct if Karmapa O.T. works with the motivaton to the benefit all beings.

The MOST interesting detail about the whole controversy is the reason why the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa does not support the Karmapa chosen by Tai Situ Rinpoche. That you'll have to find out yourself.


Editor said...

The suggestion that American intelligence agencies "helped Karmapa out of China" doesn't reflect an accurate or informed view of what American intelligence agencies actually do.

Anonymous said...

It is not just a suggestion, there is actually some information to back it up. There's a Japanese journalist who covered Karmapa's flight from Tibet. The story Karmapa told didn't match the facts, and in Nepal they used a helicopter company that has ties to the CIA. Flight log's page from that day was removed, though...

Even though rinpoche-la's grasp of the functioning of American intelligence agencies is surely better than mine, the motive for CIA to get Karmapa out of Tibet did exist (ensuring a political successor for Dalai Lama). Also, as you know, CIA was intimately tied with Tibetan resistance in 60's & 70's. Chushi Gangdruk, training Tibetans guerrillas in Colorado, air dropping them to Tibet, air dropping quite a massive quantities of weapons... Against that historical background, helping one Karmapa out of Tibet surely fits the bill.

All the best, Konchog

Editor said...

Surely, there is no helicopter firm in Nepal with "ties to the CIA." Japanese "journalists" are notorious for such flights of fancy, which is why nobody pays them any mind.

With the possible exception of Japanese "journalists," nobody believes or expects that Karmapa will be HHDL's "political successor." Certainly nobody in the American intelligence community believes this.

I have seen all of the open source material on the Tibetan case. If you want to evaluate or interpret an intelligence service's actions on the basis of open sources you will always be wrong.

To assert, as you do, that the American intelligence community retained any interest in Tibet or Tibetan "resistance" in the 1970s is wholly unsupported by objective fact. The ST/CIRCUS operation was terminated in the early 1960s. Regardless of what open sources say, there was no more funding available after around 1965. All those tales of glory that Tony Poe (and some others) spread around are just fairy stories. I knew Tony quite well, and spreading tall tales was something he enjoyed.

Tibet's strategic importance to China is control of water. Water, in turn, is controlled by dams. Dams are made impermanent by precision air strikes, not by who does or does not assume leadership of emigre political factions. Precision air strikes against hard targets are empowered by technical intelligence not HUMINT.

Formerly, America enjoyed the use of Tibetan human rights issues as a bargaining ploy with China. Ever since America became China's largest debtor, Tibetan human rights are of no further currency.

So, if bombs and bullshit are off the table, why on earth would the intelligence community waste one minute of one precious day on Karmapa?

Anonymous said...

The helicopter operator in Nepal (Fishtail Air) is/was owned by the Americans. Whether the contacts to CIA are true or just a mountain rumor, is beyond me to ascertain, also probably beyound you, unless you were previously a CIA operator on that scene.

ST/CIRCUS was surely terminated, of that we can agree. I doubt CIA would've gone completely cold turkey regarding Tibet. CIA's current involvement with Tibet, if any, is probably about keeping the Tibetan ticket alive, just in case. Even the U.S. government subsidizes monetarily the Central Tibetan gov't in exile.

In a US vs. China war, the U.S. doesn't need Tibetans that much, but the case of a cold war or covert war is a different thing. The U.S. wants to keep its options open vs. China, as evidenced by bases in -stans, Okinawa, South Korea etc. Even the heavy involvement in the Middle East can largely be explained by having control of a region from where China (and Japan) import most of their oil.

In case of need, cooperation with Tibetans could be scaled up. Russian FSB plays games heavily in Georgia, Ukraine, the Baltics etc. I wouldn't be surprised of a minor U.S. intelligence agency involvement with Tibetan freedom politics.

Anyway, even if all talk about CIA involvement were just B.S., the suspicion can be one additional motivator for Indian authorities to keep Karmapa under the lid. Mainly I think they're suspicious about the Chinese, though.


Anonymous said...

I agree with Konchog. The "Gyalwang Drukpa" is more politically ambitious these days than the Sharmapa. Is that the hair of the “dakinis” that he glues on his head??

Scroll down to photo in article:

And compare with:,3993,0,0,1,0

Anonymous said...

hmmm, gossip gossip gossip!

Someone here, with synthetic dakini stubble in their armpits has a very anonymous attachment to idle gossip..

Such a colorful collection of illusions and delusions. What is motivating these I wonder?

There is oldy worldy request in the King of Aspiration Prayers that aspires for auspicious meeting with the lions among men
Great masters!

And a little line elsewhere that says.
May all beings have happiness..

The genuine depth of heart wish that we do not create more prisoners and prisons...

Rather work to end suffering for all beings.

This means we go to wherever the suffering is and with whom.

I agree --look to those who have most to gain in their purse and that is not the Gyalwang Drukpa.

Things are not always what they seem

And it will take far more wisdom and courage than anything I have read or seen here to truly help Karmapa.

Aside from the true devotee Nightprowlkitten who with her skillful means can see in the dark: love and prayers.

Anonymous said...

I know who loves his "gossips"!

Don't drink the kool-aid!!!!!

Anonymous said...

One more "gossip" for anonymous "love and prayers" above:

Does the money come "from" Bhutan or "through" Bhutan?

Anonymous said...

When western devotees start to play politics in religion it usually ends with violence. Let's try to back off from gossips.

Here we have one simple religious equation to solve. The Gelugpa lineage promotes the merger of politics with religion (chos srid zung 'brel) since the Fifth Dalaï lama was placed by military force on the throne of Central Tibet, after a bloody coup with thousands of people killed. Actually he was even only the third DL, the two first having been named as such retrospectively by the first. The 14th DL is loyal to this Chösi Zungdrel approach. When time to organize Tibetan community in exile came, at least Dudjom Rinpoche and the XVI Karmapa were firmly against it. Dudjom Rinpoche has been jailed after a Gelugpa defamation campaign and Karmapa has been threatened to death. Other great lamas like Chatral Rinpoche had also to protect their lives.

It was crystal clear from XVI Karmapa’s instructions that his followers should not mix their practice with the Tibetan cause. Tibetan flags were even forbidden in his gompas.

Now in the Karmapa issue, we have great lamas who consider that DL’s spiritual power prevails and that the recognition of the XVII Karmapa was subject to his decision. It means that in these great lamas’ view, Shamarpa is subordinated to DL and that, as a consequence, the independence of the Karma Kagyu lineage is nonsensical. On the other hand, some other lamas believe that the lineage should not be mixed and subordinated to DL’s command because of his Chösi Zungdrel dogma, and that therefore Shamarpa should not be considered as DL’s subordinate. This second approach complies with the XVI Karmapa clear line.

So from a religious point of view, everyone is free to consider Orgyen Trinley Rinpoche as the first Karmapa subordinated to the DL and to be a strong supporter of both the Kashag and the PRC’s official Religious Policy. From a political point of view, everyone is free to see him as a ready candidate for the Regency of DL, in accordance with the Tibetan Governement in Exile and the views of the most promising candidate for the next Kashag elections: Dr. Lobsang Sangay

On the second hand, everyone is free to consider that Shamarpa is not subordinated to DL, Shamarpa himself at first, and to understand this view as the most loyal to the XVI Karmapa’s legacy.

The parameter of hierarchy is on of the keys to solve the religious equation at stake here. The political equation is for sure much more complex but also understandable.

Anonymous said...

Why draw comparison between the picture of the same person, whats there to judge by appearance?

Anonymous said...

From Bhutan, to pay for your welfare fund

Anonymous said...

Yes please what did this zhamarpa do to agitate your people, he musta been a bad and an insignificant man just like you and i aint it??