Shamar Rinpoche and Dalaï Lama
points of view about Karmapa between Shamar Rinpoche and Dalaï Lama
In a recently published article in "Bouddhisme
Actualites" (Bouddhist News) - a French weekly - Shamar Rinpoche
talks about his relationship with the Dalaï Lama. Having first expressed
his respect towards the religious master, he explains: " The Dalaï
Lama heads a government-in-exile . So he applies a policy. In this context,
it is better for him to have the Kagyu school under his rule, and it is
my duty to oppose it. Previously, His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa
disagreed with him on these matters, for the very same reasons. Back then,
Karmapa had reminded him that the Kagyu school had always been independant
and that he did not want to associate the spiritual realm of Buddhism
with the mundane realm of tibetan politics.
Today, this is the point about which we are still
opposed . However, we do have a mutual understanding of our reciprocal
In his various press releases, the Dalaï Lama
does not hide his political views. His central concern is always the tibetan's
Interviewed about Urgyen Trinley, he answers :"Karmapa
Rinpoche (Ed. note: meaning Urgyen Trinley) was fully aware of what was
happening in his country, religious suppression, prison, tortures, environment
destruction, genocide through sterilization of tibetan women, volontary
drug availability and emergence of behaviors meant to demean people."
Further, the Dalaï Lama says: "One can say there is an obvious
connexion between Karmapa Rinpoche's arrival (Ed, note. in India) and
the preservation of tibetan culture." "Actually, the true reason
why Karmapa Rinpoche fled, is there is no freedom in Tibet. That is why
he could not stay." "Now, he has stayed in India since several
months, and he shows great determination in his fight for the tibetan
people and religion." These words from the Dalaï Lama are quoted
from "La legende du Karmapa" (Karmapa's Legend) written by Ann
Riquier, and published in France by Editions Plon.
There is such a political use of Karmapa's name on
the Dalaï Lama side, that now international media start citing Karmapa
Urgyen Trinley a possible successor to the Dalaï Lama, what he denies.
The (scarce) speeches from Urgyen Trinley are quite
amazing for anyone who knew the 16th Karmapa. The later's words were always
totally uninvolved with partisan discourses. He never supported more the
tibetan cause than that of any people, and was greatly suspicious towards
the tibetan government. He forbade his entourage to deal in politics and
firmly expelled from Rumtek any who would depart from this rule.
Let us recall what was the 16th Karmapa's view for
Tibet's future. In his work "Le livre bouddhiste de la sagesse et
de l'amour" (The bouddhist book of wisdom and love), (Michel Lafon,
publisher) author Gilles Grasdorff interviews the 17th Karmapa Trinlay
Thaye Dordje and reminds us of the predictions the 16th Karmapa said to
Guendun Rinpoche: " Moreover, it will be very difficult for Tibet
to be independant again, and even in this case, we surely could not go
back there. We will remain here, in India. There will come a time when
difficulties will arise for some disciples who will have no place to go
...(...) In Tibet, there will come a time when Dharma will be restored
and people will again be able to practice, but to a lesser degree, certainly
not like before, when Tibetan could devote their lives to practice. ..
In Bhutan, where the situation is stable now, there is no guarantee it
will remain such ... In Sikkim, as well, everything is fine now, but it
may change overnight ... As for Rumtek , sadly, matters will not remain
as they are..." These excerpts show how little concerned with going
back to Tibet the 16th Karmapa was. To him, it was past history, and his
works in India showed he was completely occupied with India and the West.
The wishes he asked
his disciples to fulfill after his death, concerned these countries only.
Building Tsurphu again was no priority to him. What mattered to him was
Dharma , whatever the country .
The Dalaï Lama, as a political leader, can but
only work for going back to Tibet: it is his country, and most Tibetans
live there. And so there are two coherent views colliding in this 17th
- the political view from the Dalaï Lama, who
uses these events for what he perceives as the tibetan people' interest
- the spiritual view from Shamarpa who seeks only
to find again his spiritual master, so that the transmission of buddhist
teachings within the Kagyu school can go on
position about Urgyen Trinley
Shama Rinpoche never fought against
Urgyen Trinley, recognized by China and the tibetan government. He can
but accept this fait accompli.
As a practical viewpoint, Urgyen Trinley's
presence in Tibet is not a bad thing. China backs Dharma, Tsurphu monastery
is being rebuilt and enlarged, the Kagyu lineage is in the forefront and
receives subsidies from Beijing, Tibetans have a lama, religious activities
are promoted. All this brings about a renewal for Dharma. Shamarpa considers
that this Karmapa has a political role, that he is a puppet for Chinese
and other interest groups. He can not prevent this state of affairs, which,
after all, might have some usefulness.
Nevertheless, he has recognized the
authentic Karmapa and proposes to all (China, Dalaï Lama, JAC from
Sikkim) to recognize two Karmapas. Karmapa Urgyen Trinley for the Tsurphu
seat, and Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje for the Rumtek seat in Sikkim.
Having two Karmapas never bothered him,
because this would be a good mean to stop controversy within the Kagyu
lineage. This is what he proposes in June 2000 to the Dalaï Lama
when they meet in Washington.
This idea can not be accepted by Situ
Rinpoche who recognizes ony one Karmapa, his own.
between Shamar Rinpoche and the Dalaï Lama Office
Shamar Rinpoche met the Dalaï Lama several times
, in 1992 and most notably, in 1997 and July 2000. Shamar Rinpoche informed
the Dalaï Lama he does not recognize Uryen Trinley as the authentic
Karmapa , but that he knows a disciple of the 16th Karmapa who would have
information about this reincarnation. The Dalaï Lama encourages him
to proceed with his search.
On the face of it, each meeting between the two lamas is very cordial.
Nevertheless, various mails sent as follow-ups by the private office of
the Dalaï Lama often give a distorted version of the exchanges during
these meetings, as can be seen below.
From Dalaï Lama
Office to Shamar Rinpoche,
Letter dated Feb. 3, 1997
Holder of the Karma Kagyu Lineage.
I hereby send you our response to the points you
raised at your meeting on the 3rd of January 1997 with H.H. the Dalai
Lama. (List of the points you mentioned during the meeting:)
You expressed the desire that H.H. the Dalai Lama
meets with and gives the novice-vows of monastic ordination to the young
reincarnate of H. H. the 16th Karmapa (who you have recognised) and that
the young reincarnate's parents also meet with H. H. the Dalai Lama.
You said that Chobgye Tri Rinpoche also recognises
the same reincarnate.
You also requested the Dalai Lama's permission that
Urgyen Trinley be the Throne-Holder of the Karmapa's seat in Tibet Tsurphu
Monastery and that the reincarnate that you have recognised be the Holder
of the Karmapa's seat in India, Rumtek Monastery.
In the past you've repeatedly informed H. H. the
Dalai Lama that the late Karmapa left instructions regarding the circumstances
of his future reincarnation with a bhikshu who has adhered to the moral
ethics of monastic tradition in a very pure manner and that when the time
is right you would inform H. H. the Dalai Lama of the contents of these
instructions. H. H. the Dalai Lama responded that if there is an authentic
source regarding these instructions, a second Karmapa-reincarnation is
a possibility. However, at His Holiness's recent meeting with you, when
analysing the implications of what you said, it seems to us that the older
bhikshu you have spoken of is Chobgye Tri Rinpoche.
We, on the 18th of January 1997, through our representative
in New Delhi, gave you a copy of a letter from Chobgye Tri Rinpoche addressed
to H. H. the Dalai Lama. In 1996 our representative in Nepal approached
Chobgye Tri Rinpoche to ask how he had recognised the reincarnate that
you have put forth. Chobgye Tri Rinpoche, in response, wrote to H. H.
the Dalai Lama that he hadn't made the recognition. This letter made it
clear that you don't have an authentic source for your claim. Thus, there
is no possibility of a second Karmapa-reincarnation.
There can be just one head of the Tsurphu and Rumtek
Monasteries. There is no possibility of two heads. H. H. the Dalai Lama
has clearly & comprehensively recognised the Karmapa-reincarnation
residing in Tibet. Regarding this there is no room for change. Also you,
at a previous meeting with our representative of the Department of Religious
Affairs and representatives of the various Tibetan Religious Lineages,
said that you have no intention of creating disturbance regarding the
position associated with the traditional seat of the Karmapas.
Regarding H. H. the Dalai Lama's meeting with and
giving monastic ordination to the reincarnate, we said that it is very
important to consult with and clarify all details with the Situ and Gyaltsab
Rinpoches as well as their associates. Your response was that this can
be done, that it can be done through the Department of Religious Affairs.
Thus the Department of Religious Affairs has sent the minutes of your
meeting with H. H. the Dalai Lama to you and the individuals associated
with this issue.
On the 29th of January Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Trangu
Rinpoche, a representative of Situ Rinpoche, two Kagyu-representatives,
the treasurer of the Black Hat tradition, the president of the small Zung
Drel Association, the president of the Sikkim Hla-De Association, the
vice-president of the Himalaya Association, representatives of nineteen
centers in eight countries, seventy-nine representatives of thirty-two
monasteries in India and Nepal called on the Ministers of the Tibetan
Government in exile on the 29th of January. They also called on H. H.
the Dalai Lama on the 30th of January. In brief they discussed what is
outlined below. The people meeting with H.H. the Dalai Lama told him that
as to the history of the Karmapas and associated predictions there has,
up till now, never been, at the same time, a number of reincarnations,
such as reincarnations of body, speech and mind. Also, if His Holiness
gives an audience and monastic vows to the young reincarnate, problems
and arguments in the Kamtsang Kagyu Lineage will never come to an end.
Therefore, the individuals present insisted, it isn't feasible to recognise
the young reincarnate as a body, speech or mind incarnation of the Karmapa
or to give an audience and monastic vows.
Therefore, for the sake of preventing further problems
and for the sake of reconciliation, H. H. the Dalai Lama can not give
an audience or monastic vows to the young reincarnate for the time being.
Please keep this in mind.
The Office of His Holiness The Dalai Lama
The 3rd of February 1997
reply from Shamar Rinpoche
To The Private Office of the Dalai Lama. Dharamsala
Feb. 7, 1997
I have received your letter dated the 3rd of Feb.
1997, where you informed me of H. H. the Dalai Lama's decision concerning
the topics I discussed with him on the 3rd of Jan. 1997. What was decided
then has, according to your letter, changed. There are, in your letter
of the 3rd of Feb., points you did not discuss at the meeting. It may
be that you forgot to mention those points while we were talking face
to face. It seems that you after our meeting remembered those points,
points that are far removed from the truth, and that you then wanted to
communicate them. I have stated my response to each of your points below.
Chobgye Tri Rinpoche is a Lama that I have respect
for and faith in. Therefore, what he told me in private about the late
Karmapa's reincarnation I regard as the auspicious words of a holy man.
However, I took his indication to be one source among others and to be
investigated. Fundamentally, it is on the basis of my own efforts that
I have arrived at my decision. I have pursued many avenues, until there
were absolutely no doubts in my mind. I have, in using traditional methods,
supplicated enlightened deities in order to receive their indications.
I have no need for requesting the assistance of Chobgye Tri Rinpoche or
any other individual. H. H. the 16th Karmapa Rigpa'i Dorje recognised
me to be the Shamar reincarnation. It is over thirty years ago that he
enthroned me and established this. In the Karma Kamtsang Lineage the Shamarpas
are the authority adjoining that of the Karmapas. Thus there is no individual
to succeed a Shamarpa in taking the decision who is the authentic reincarnation
of a Karmapa. However, I do not insist upon tradition for the sake of
forcing others to comply with my decision. It is up to the Karma Kamtsang
follower whether or not he desires to respect tradition or chooses another
During our recent meeting we just touched on the
subject of Chobgye Tri Rinpoche and the associated issue. I have, during
the Karma Kagyu Conference in New Delhi 1996, clearly explained each and
every detail of my encounter with him and the tape-recordings of the Conference
are available everywhere. I'm aware of that Chobgye Tri Rinpoche was approached
by your representative in Nepal and that Chobgye Tri Rinpoche gave his
response in a letter to H. H. the Dalai Lama. He wrote me too and I have
enclosed a copy of his letter. Thus it is clear that the details I disclosed
at the Karma Kagyu Conference ten months ago accord with the truth. As
you mentioned in your letter, at my recent meeting with H. H. the Dalai
Lama I did not go into these details. This is because I presumed that
H. H. the Dalai Lama has knowledge of them as the resolutions of the same
Conference are common knowledge. However, you pretend that I implied that
Chobgye Tri Rinpoche is the person I have knowledge of as the individual
who is in possession of H. H. the Karmapa Rigpa'i Dorje's instructions
as to his reincarnation. In fact, I did not utter one word in this direction
to H. H. the Dalai Lama. I also did not say that the person in question
is a bhikshu upholding moral ethics in a very pure manner. What I did
say was that this individual is a disciple of the late Karmapa, a disciple
who has kept his relationship with the Karmapa pure and who the late Karmapa
held in high esteem. In 1994 when I met with H. H. the Dalai Lama at the
Centaur Hotel close to New Delhi's Airport he said, that the person in
question would be a bhikshu upholding pure moral ethics. At the time I
immediately responded that this is not the case. At our recent meeting
H. H. the Dalai Lama stated the same thing again, but as I thought it
quite unimportant I did not attempt to correct him which I now apologise
for. However, your mention of a bhikshu's moral ethics also apply to the
discipline of a bodhisattva, so in fact it is not necessary to correct
It was for the sake of showing respect to H. H. the
Dalai Lama that I requested an audience with His Holiness on behalf of
the young reincarnate of the late Karmapa. It is common knowledge that
during the later part of the late Karmapa's life, H. H. the Dalai Lama
and H. H. the Karmapa were in constant opposition. For the sake of discontinuing
this trend I did my best to establish an auspicious connection when requesting
that H. H. the Dalai Lama gives monastic vows to the late Karmapa's reincarnation,
who I have recognised. I never requested that His Holiness acknowledge
the young reincarnate as a body, speech or mind incarnation. I have no
need at all for such an acknowledgement because H. H. the Karmapa is not
obliged to request permission to take rebirth in this world. The claim
that he needs a visa to enter this world is laughable to each and every
individual in the three realms that make up our universe. China's new
political trend has allowed the recognitions of the Karmapa and the Panchen.
In this situation the Private Office of the Dalai Lama's political response
was inadequate. The Office made public that China's choice of the Karmapa's
reincarnation is authentic but it rejected China's choice of the Panchen's
reincarnation for its own gain. I, the Shamar reincarnation, have put
an end to the attempts to drag the Lineage of the Karmapas in the dirt.
This, to prevent politics from entering the ways of religion, is of benefit
not just to the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism, but to all schools that
are based in a lineage of successive reincarnated masters. To prevent
this is extremely beneficial in terms of remaining self-governing. The
Private Office of the Dalai Lama stated, among other things, that it would
merely consider to allow a body, speech or mind reincarnation of the late
Karmapa on the basis of a reliable letter of instruction by the late Karmapa.
This amounts to a medieval dictatorial command and I understand that this
is the approach that you desire. But it is completely unacceptable to
me. Our Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje is completely beyond the trap of such
deceptive political schemes. As is known throughout the world he is fully
established as one of the twenty-one Karmapas in accordance with the prophecy
of the fifth Karmapa Deshin Shegpa. There is no need whatsoever to request
a reconfirmation of this fact in the disguise of a body, speech or mind
reincarnation. Such a reconfirmation has never before, from the time of
the first Karmapa Düsum Khyenpa, been required. So why would it be
Similarly, with respect to Rumtek Monastery, the then
Dharma King of Sikkim offered that property to H. H. the Gyalwa Karmapa
Rigpa'i Dorje who constructed his seat there. As H. H. the Dalai Lama,
from the time of H. H. the Gyalwa Karmapa Rigpa'i Dorje, has never had
any right of influence there, there is absolutely no need for his permission
to allow or not to allow a Karmapa to take possession of his rightful
seat. However, Situ bribed the previous Chief Minister of Sikkim Mr. Nar
Bhadur Bhandari who, using the local armed forces, took over the Monastery
by force. But Mr. Bhandari lost the election. Now, Rumtek Monastery is
subject to litigation in the Indian courts. This legal dispute is the
only circumstance that hinders the young reincarnate from going there.
His going there does not depend on a permission from H. H. the Dalai Lama.
All of us are the same in that we are refugees. Why bother to request
permission to enter Sikkim from a fellow refugee? The fact that H. H.
the Dalai Lama does not have the authority to prevent the supreme Karmapa
Thaye Dorje to occupy his throne, to take possession of his monastery
in New Delhi, clearly demonstrates that he also has no right of influence
over Rumtek Monastery. Rumtek Monastery is situated in India, because
of that and for many other reasons I, out of concern, insisted on requesting
H. H. the Dalai Lama that this kind of immoderate course of action that
can not achieve its aim be given up. I did say that we will not attempt
to obtain influence over the Tsurphu seat of Karmapa Urgyen Trinley. Similarly,
as Rumtek Monastery is situated in India, neither the Government of China
nor Gyalwa Karmapa Urgyen Trinley have laid claim to Rumtek Monastery.
All Monasteries and Institutions in India that belonged to the late Gyalwa
Karmapa Rigpa'i Dorje, the Rumtek Monastery: the Karmapa Institute in
New Delhi and other branches in India the late Karmapa, who was the legal
possessor, transferred to the Karmapa Charitable Trust. Therefore, if
the Private Office of the Dalai Lama makes a lot of inadmissible claims
as to property that does not belong to it, the rumours that the Tibetan
Government in Exile is up to placating the Government of China for its
own purposes, that the Tibetan Government in Exile tries to make out that
Sikkim is part of Tibet will be proven to be true. Thus, both the name
of the Dalai Lama and his aims will be negatively affected.
Furthermore, regarding the great Gyalwa Karmapa obtaining
an audience with H. H. the Dalai Lama, you spoke of difficulties, that
you among other things, must request the permission of Situ Rinpoche.
This is clearly stated in your letter. Just so, it is satisfactory for
us if the present decision to not grant an audience is maintained for
as long as the Karmapa is not yet an adult as our primary concern regards
his education. Another reason for why an audience is not desirable at
this point is that we have lost our country and we have taken refuge in
India. Situ and Gyaltsab can not meet here in India because Situ is barred
from entering the country and Gyaltsab is barred from leaving the country
as both of them have transgressed the laws of India. It is simply because
of the kindness of the Indian Government, the fact that this country's
policies are peace-loving, that they at this point have not been imprisoned.
Personally, I have not fallen into the abyss of having to ask for permission
from two of the most discredited individuals among us refugees.
Our Karmapa, the supreme Trinley Thaye Dorje, resides
in India where the government shows respect and veneration for him. India
is a country of great consequence for Tibet and the Tibetans. It is the
source of Tibetan Buddhism and it is the country that gave shelter and
protection to the Tibetans who fled Tibet in 1959. India has showed us
Tibetans great kindness. Two of the most powerful nations in Asia are
India and China, and as I mentioned above, the Indian Government holds
Karmapa Thaye Dorje in high esteem. To attempt to gain circumstances better
than those would amount to discarding with a diamond in order to obtain
a semi-precious stone. We are perfectly satisfied with the present state
of affairs, our joy is comparable to the joy of samadhi (meditative absorption)
at the highest level. As you know, all of us are dependent on the Government
of India for our welfare, there are no other options. With respect to
our Lineage it is up to us, who are part of that lineage, to achieve its
aims. Right now, except for the situation at Rumtek Monastery, our aims
have been accomplished. The Rumtek Monastery property, its land and its
movable assets are protected as a result of my efforts. Regarding the
difficulties of the monk-body, the Sikkim Police Force is charged with
keeping order. These difficulties are to be resolved by the court, that
is how law abiding individuals go about solving disputes. Therefore, we're
simply waiting for the court's ruling.
H. H. the Dalai Lama, in terms of his responsibilities,
has until now, again and again, advised the Tibetans in exile to be prepared
to go back to Tibet, that they shouldn't set up their permanent homes
outside Tibet, that they shouldn't even set up furniture in their homes.
To make efforts toward going back to Tibet is His Holiness's responsibility,
but the Rumtek Monastery is not. Therefore, my final request to the Private
Office of the Dalai Lama is that it does not involve His Holiness's name
in this problematic issue because Rumtek Monastery is a Sikkim Monastery
and as such there is no possibility of bringing it with one to Tibet.
In your letter of the 3rd of Feb. you clearly stated that if our young
reincarnate is granted an audience with H. H. the Dalai Lama there would
be endless problems. If this is your true view-point why did you then
from the very beginning act as the very people who added fuel to this
fire of problems. The consequence of this course of action is that the
people of Sikkim have come to suffer the most. Would it be of any benefit
if H. H. the Dalai Lama appears as the individual who has created disturbance
in one of the states in India? I request you to apply a more far-seeing
approach. You ought to be cautious in your undertakings! The blazing fire
of political schemes ignited by Situ and Gyaltsab who used the Karmapa
reincarnation as a pretext was, on the basis of peaceful means, put out
by me before it had consumed everything. Documents relating to the course
of events, from the beginning to the end, prove this. But is it not the
case that H. H. the Dalai Lama, in that he has accepted the Nobel Peace
Prize, should act on the basis of methods that bring about peace and happiness,
methods that are a hundred times more peace-loving than my own. Recently,
a group of people associated with Situ and Gyaltsab obtained an audience
in Dharamsala with H. H. the Dalai Lama. They made out that they represent
a large number of monasteries and Buddhist Centres in many countries.
But we know very well who they are. Previously, Situ and his associates
bribed the then Chief Minister of Sikkim, Mr. Nar Bhadur Bhandari who
by then had become dictatorial. In consequence, they destroyed their root-Guru's
seat, which is an extremely evil deed. At the time Mr. Kunzang Sherab,
who, I was told, is in the present under investigation by CBI (the Central
Bureau of Investigation), and his associates, among others a group of
juvenile delinquents from Lal Bazaar, Gangtok, gave gifts of food and
clothing to a number of crazed Sikkim subjects. Thus, they were able to
bring these individuals to Rumtek. The resulting gathering they referred
to as 'The International Kagyu Meeting'. At this 'Meeting' resolutions
that are blatant distortions of the truth were made. The resolutions they
then submitted to the Land Revenue Office of Gangtok. The Office came
to know that the 'Meeting' had no legal authority to take the decisions
it had taken, that it in fact was illegal. Therefore, the Office did not
accept the resolutions. It is these very individuals who had an audience
with H. H. the Dalai Lama. But as we are not children, we are far from
being impressed either by these people or their number. If, hypothetically,
these people were who they pretend to be, as I mentioned earlier, they
are still associated with two of the most discredited people in our community,
that is, they are followers of lawless individuals. Therefore, we are
not at all impressed. Furthermore, I was told that H. H. the Karmapa's
General Secretary was among this group of people during their audience
with H. H. the Dalai Lama. Regarding this, the late Karmapa Rigpa'i Dorje
appointed two General Secretaries. The older General Secretary passed
away many years ago. The younger General Secretary, Tragpa Yongdu, nephew
of the late Karmapa, is still alive and well. Therefore we enquired at
the Embassy of China if the Tibetan Karmapa Urgyen Trinley had dispatched
a General Secretary to H. H. the Dalai Lama's residence in Dharamsala.
The answer was that this is not the case, that not a single person has
been sent to Dharamsala. So, be aware of that the 'General Secretary'
who came to His Holiness' residence is an impostor.
H. H. The Shamarpa Chokyi Lodrö
The Karmapa Monastery
New Delhi Feb. 7, 1997
and Dalaï Lama meet in Washington, on june 20th, 2000
Statement of Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche Concerning His
Meeting with H.H. the Dalai Lama on June 20, 2000
On June 20, 2000, I had the privilege of meeting with
H.H. the Dalai Lama in Washington, D.C. I feel fortunate to have enjoyed
a frank, cordial and thorough exchange of views with him about the issues
surrounding the Karmapa problem. H.H. the Dalai Lama informed me that
he will insure that Urgyen Trinley is not emeshed in the controversy between
Situ Rinpoche and me. I greatly respect him for taking this position,
and I wholeheartedly support it.
Regarding the disagreement between Situ Rinpoche
and me, H.H. the Dalai Lama requested that we try to settle our differences
and develop an amicable relationship. In deference to His Holiness and
for the sake of harmony within the Kagyu community, I am open to this
possibility. Since the start of our discord, I have only reacted passively
and defensively to Situ Rinpoche's claims, accusations and overtly hostile
actions. If his coalition stops its aggressive maneuvering, the problem
will naturally dissolve.
In spite of inadequate evidence and proper religious
procedure, I concurred that Urgyen Trinley Dorje be a Karmapa and the
seat holder of Tsurphu monastery in Tibet. I fully appreciate the reasons
behind His Holiness's initial consent to naming Urgyen Trinley as a Karmapa:
the government of China, in collusion with some Kagyu lamas, had already
recognized him as Karmapa. If the Karmapa Urgyen Trinley's flight from
China in late 1999 was indeed for the genuine purpose of gaining religious
freedom, I congratulate H.H. the Dalai Lama and our Tibetan Government
in Exile over this development.
During my discussion with H.H. the Dalai Lama, I
clearly reiterated my unwavering position that the Karmapas and Shamarpas
always have shared equal authority within the Karma Kagyu Lineage. Throughout
the disagreement with Situ Rinpoche and his followers, my primary concern
has been to protect the spiritual integrity and pure lineage of the Karma
Kagyu. As historically is the role of the Shamarpa and according to accepted
Karma Kagyu practices, I managed to find the genuime reincarnation of
the late 16th Karmapa Rigpe Dorje. The 17th Karmapa Thaye Dorje alone
is, and always will be, the spiritual Karmapa of the Karma Kagyu.
Karmapa Thaye Dorje is proving himself an exceptional
religious leader by manifesting many spiritual qualities. From an early
age, he has steadfastly displayed a compassionate and gentle nature. In
the past year as he has traveled throughout the world and offered blessings
and teachings to countless people, they have experienced him as a Boddhisattva
and accepted his authenticity.
I am very grateful that H.H. the Dalai Lama was willing
to meet the Karmapa Thaye Dorje in 1997. Although this could not occur
due to a threat of violence from Situ Rinpoche's party, I deeply appreciate
His Holiness's kind intentions. I am also pleased to have had the fruitful
meeting with H.H. the Dalai Lama last month in Washington, and I look
forward to a continuing, cordial dialogue with him.
July 10, 2000
Letter from Shamar
Rinpoche to Tenzin Geshe Tethong, on Jul. 29, 2000
Private secretary to H.H. the Dalaï-Lama
Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India.
Tenzin Geyche Tethong July 29, 2000
Office of H. H. the Dalai Lama
Dharamsala, H. P. India
Dear Mr. Tenzin G. Tethong,
Thank you for your letter of July 14, 2000. I would
like to clarify an apparent misunderstanding contained in it.
When I met with H. H. the Dalai Lama on January 3,
1997, I did not identify Chogye Trichen Rinpoche as the person who has
the Sixteenth Karmapa's instructions regarding the rebirth of the Seventeenth
Karmapa Thaye Dorje. I also did not request any recognition for Thaye
Dorje to be Karmapa, nor did I request permission for him to be the seat
holder of Rumtek Dharma Chakra Center.
During my visit with His Holiness I requested that
he grant an audience to the Karmapa Thaye Dorje who had been independently
recognised and enthroned according to traditional Karma Kagyu methods.
H. H. the Dalai Lama happily agreed to this, but unfortunately the audience
could not take place at the appointed time because of threats of violence
made by Situ Rinpoche's party.
Regarding the matter of how I recognised the Karmapa
Thaye Dorje, I informed H. H. the Dalai Lama that I started the investigation
of the baby boy after hearing the auspicious indications that Chogye Trichen
Rinpoche reported to me. This has been my consistent position from the
beginning, which I stated publicly and in writing at the International
Karma Karma Kagyu Conference ten months before my meeting with H. H. the
After my meeting with His Holiness I again clarified
this point. A letter to me from the office of H. H. the Dalai Lama dated
February 3, 1997, with an enclosed copy of Chogye Trichen Rinpoche's letter
to the Tibetan Government in Exile dated July 29, 1996, refers to this
Chogye Trichen Rinpoche's letter verifies that he
had indications. However, it does not refer in any way to a request by
the Office of the Tibetan Government in Exile regarding the Sixteenth
Karmapa's instructions. In my reply to the Tibetan Government in Exile,
I again tried to clarify this point, and stated that Chogye Trichen Rinpoche
is not the person who has the instructions of the Sixteenth Karmapa.
During my most recent meeting on June 20, 2000, with
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he again casually referred to Chogye Trichen
Rinpoche as having the instructions of the Sixteenth Karmapa. Out of respect
for His Holiness I did not argue this point directly, but told him that
I have a copy of the letter mentioned above.
I will not respond to other issues raised in your
letter at this time, however I feel that I must mention the actual role
of Chogye Trichen Rinpoche so that the record is clear and correct. I
fully understand that because of your busy schedule and many responsibilities
it is difficult for you to check all of these details. However, if you
trace the past records the chronology will become clear.