Karmapa monastery episode reignites debate over real Karmapa

Jan 30, 2011

Category: Police Raid Jan 2011

DHARAMSALA: The seizure of considerable foreign currency including Yuan (Chinese) and possible funding from Beijing for constructing a monastery near Dharamsala has reignited the debate about the real claimant to the throne of the 17th Karmapa.

Though Ogyene Trinley Dorjee had been given recognition by the Dalai Lama, the exiled head of Tibetan community, the question remains that the Dalai Lama holds the right to decide about the 17th Karmapa since he is head of Kagyu sect, which is a different institution from the Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) order, headed by the Dalai Lama. There are four main sects of Tibetan Buddhism are: the Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) order, headed by the Dalai Lama, the Kagyupa (Red Hat), order, Nyingmapa order and the Sakyapa order. The Kagyu School is one of the four main branches of Tibetan Buddhism.

The head of the Kagyu School is called the karmapa. He wears a black crown to symbolize his ethereal black crown woven from the hair of goddesses. For this reason the Kagyu School is sometimes called the Black Hat School.

The first Karmapa who died in 1183 sometime before his departure had written a letter in which he made prediction that he would be reborn ten years later with the name Karma Pakshi. After ten years, the boy with the name predicted arrived on the scene, the Kagyu School regarded him as the reincarnation of the First Karmapa and chose him as the second Karmapa. For eight centuries one Karmapa followed another in orderly succession. This ended when the 16th Karmapa died in 1981 and the Kagyu School split over who should replace him which has led to a great deal of confusion and dispute over the real claimant to the throne of the 17th Karmapa.

After 11 years, in 1992, Situ Rinpoche, officially the third ranking lama in the lineage presented a letter to fellow Kagyu lamas, which he claimed was the "prediction letter" of the 16th Karmapa. However, Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche, the second ranking lama in the lineage rejected the authenticity of that letter outrightly and insisted the document undergo a forensic examination.

However, the Dalai Lama acting against the historic tradition gave recognition to Ogyen Trinley Dorjee as the 17th Karmapa. Due to which, the demand of Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche for forensic examination of the "prediction letter" did not cut much ice.



Karmapa Symposium

Thaye Dorje Urgyen Dorje

Articles and News Reports


News from Enlightened Heart RSS © Enlightened Heart 2015
Home | Introduction | Karmapa Symposium | Karma Kagyu Lineage | Aspirations | Events | Contact | Sitemap