Karmapa takes off shoes to enter shrine

Dec 25, 2001

Category: Urgyen Trinley Dorje

GAYA -- Ugyen Trinle Dorje, the teenaged chief of the Karmapa sect of Tibetan Buddhists made a bare foot entry to the world famous Mahabodhi Temple, the seat of Buddhaïs enlightenment on Sunday morning.

The bare foot entry makes special significance as the Tibetan Buddhists have been demanding the right to temple entry with boots on as per their traditions.

During his last visit in March, 2001, Karmapa virtually defied the ban on temple entry with shoes on, entered the Mahabodhi temple sanctum with heavy boots, thereby inviting loud protest from the neo-Buddhists who demanded the invoking of the penal clause in Mahabodhi temple Management Act, 1949, which envisaged the imposition of fine on anybody who entered the Buddhist shrine with his shoes on.

Unlike the neo-Buddhists, the Tibetan Buddhists do not see anything wrong in booted temple entry.

Last year, the shoe dispute took an ugly turn with gun shots allegedly fired by the pro-shoe Buddhists, necessitating police intervention and the institution of a criminal case under various sections of the Indian Penal Code against nearly a dozen persons, including two monks. The case was filed in the Bodh Gaya police station of the Gaya district.

Karmapa made the bare foot temple entry on Sunday morning to lead a special peace prayer in the temple premises. The special peace prayers were started in the year 1990 in view of the gulf war following Iraqi occupation of Kuwait territory and the subsequent American intervention in the region. Since then the prayers are held every winter. About one lakh oil lamps are also burnt round the clock during the ten-day long peace prayers in the Mahabodhi temple premises. This year the peace prayers have got added significance on account of the Afghanistan war and the war clouds hovering over the Indian sub continent.



Karmapa Symposium

Thaye Dorje Urgyen Dorje

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