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Introduction to the controversy about Karmapas
A few historical points
1959 : Karmapa flees to India
Difficulties in 16th Karmapa's times
Years 1980 Through 1990
Events beginning 1992
Events during May and June 1992
Propaganda campaign
Orgyen Trinley, Situ Rinpoche's Karmapa
Events during November and December 1992 in Rumtek
Some information about Sikkim
Year 1993 - situation deteriorates in Rumtek
Recognizing the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje
Year 1994
Controversy: opposing viewpoints
Relationship between Shamar Rinpoche and Dalaï Lama
A quick glance at events from years 1995 to 1999
Year 2000
Year 2001
Chronology of Events
Bibliography and data sources
french version
receiving mail updates
mail us


Year 2001

Indian government grants refugee status to Urgyen Trinley

Karmapa's status a security risk?, published in "Hindu"

The Crossing, in "Times of India"

Karma Kagyu International Conference on March 16 and 17, 2001

Public statement by the monks community of h.h. Gyalwa karmapa

Speech of h.h. Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche

Resolutions passed by the International Karma Kagyu Conference

Open letter to the Dalaï Lama

Indian government grants refugee status to Urgyen Trinley

Karmapa issue far from resolved

Hidustan Times Friday, February 9, 2001, New Delhi

Udayan Namboodiri - (New Delhi, February 8)

The government's decision to formally recognise Lama Urgyen Trinley Dorjee as a "registered Tibetan refugee" comes after months of back channel diplomacy. The decision was taken during former Chinese premier Li Peng's last month visit.

The principal of equal disadvantage prevailed eventually as both India and China were left half satisfied.

New Delhi has refused to recognise the 14-year-old as the Karmapa of the Karma Kagyu sect. He will continue to live in Dharamsala, the headquarters of the Tibetan government in exile. His movements within and outside the country will be restricted. Most importantly, he might never be allowed to go to Sikkim where his followers want him to take charge of the Rumtek monastery.

The arrival of the Lama was not good news for New Delhi as it was seen as a deliberate move on China's part to drive a wedge between the followers of "their" Karmapa and "ours". Seventeen-year-old Thaye Dorjee, who lives in Kalimpong under Indian intelligence cover but not allowed to enter Sikkim, is "Karmapa" to his own flock.

Here the role of the Dalai Lama, supreme spiritual head of Tibet in who is reposed the power to arbitrate, is curious. His holiness continues to oscillate between accepting the "Chinese Karmapa" as the 16th Karmapa of the Rangjung Rigpe Dorje sect and the two Karmapa theory. This comes in handy for Beijing, and sometimes Kathmandu, resulting in diplomatic pressure on India to put an end to the debate and accept, by extension, Beijing's man as head of a universally pro-Indian people.

During his stay in Delhi, Li Peng tried to hustle India on the issue. But India stood firm on its resolve to further the status quo. China has another backer in the Pawan Chamling government of Sikkim. The time is also ticking away. The "Kalimpong Karmapa" will be 21 in four years time and may very well decide, on the backing of his estimated 50,000 followers, to lay claim to the coveted "Black Hat". A communal explosion, degenerating into a diplomatic face-off with China may result. Those who urged New Delhi in January last to send the 14-year-old packing may have offered the best solution.

Karmapa's status a security risk?

Article published in " Hindu " 8 février 2001

By Atul Aneja

New Delhi, Feb. 7.

By granting the teenage monk, Urgyen Trinley Dorji, ``refugee'' status last week, the Government may have exposed itself to a security risk with far-reaching consequences.

Highly-placed sources in the Government said his ``refugee'' status could lead the 17th Karmapa to the powerful Rumtek monastery in Sikkim, ``headquarters'' of the five million strong Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism, and to which he belongs. With an estimated following of five million in 300 monasteries across the globe, the sect has a large following in Sikkim too.

Sources here are concerned about the security implications of granting refugee status as they cannot rule out a Chinese hand in the Karmapa affair. Suspicions about a larger international involvement in the episode have been aroused by the manner of the boy monk's arrival in India. A section of the Government feels the Karmapa could not have arrived without the prior knowledge and assistance from China. According to them, the Karmapa, lodged on the third or fourth floor of the Tsurphu monastery near Lhasa, ``escaped'' and supposedly travelled by jeep along a single pothole-ridden road leading out. Seven bridges were crossed by the party which included six others, besides the Karmapa, before the border with Nepal was crossed early last year. The defectors, it is believed, then entered India from Nepal in the vicinity of Gorakhpur before arriving in Dharamsala. It is highly improbable that they managed to elude the Chinese vigilance machinery throughout the journey.

Initial reports about the monk's arrival here, however, negated this view saying the Lama and his entourage, in peak winter, trekked 1,450 km before reaching Dharamsala. While suspecting a Chinese hand, sources here do not rule out the U.S. involvement either. The presence of the U.S. special coordinator on Tibet in Dharamsala, a day after the Karmapa's arrival there, may not have been coincidental.

The Karmapa's presence in India has been matched by pressures on shifting him to Rumtek. Tai Situ Rinpoche - a U.S- educated monk and one of the four regents involved in the selection of the 17th Karmapa after the death of the 16th Karmapa, has been seeking his presence in Rumtek. Others in the sects, however, have opposed him. Shamar Rinpoche, another regent involved in selecting the 17th Karmapa, has objected to bringing Urgyen Trinley Dorji to Rumtek. In fact, he has challenged Dorji's status as the 17th Karmapa and has instead chosen Trinley Thaye Dorje the real representative of the Kagyu sect.

In case the Karmapa, who may have tacit Chinese support, reaches Rumtek, it could have several negative security implications for India. The monastery is highly influential and its rulings can greatly influence public opinion in Sikkim. It also houses the black hat, symbol of ultimate authority in the sect. The monastery has tremendous wealth and resources and houses the treasures brought by the 16th Karmapa, who escaped with the Dalai Lama in 1959. India has granted Urgyen Trinley Dorji refugee status, but has not given him permission to visit Rumtek. Asked whether Dorji could visit Sikkim, a Foreign Office spokesman said: ``Not as yet.'' The Karmapa, the spokesman said, was ``free to move subject to rules and regulations imposed from time to time.''


The Crossing, in "Times of India"

20 March 2001 in The Time Of India Editorial, by Rai Singh, New Delhi

Apropos of Bisheshwar Mishra's news report "Is the Karmapa a security risk?" (Mar 7), I feel China has achieved a major foreign policy objective by successfully appointing the 14-year old, Lama Urgyen Trinley, as the 17th Karmapa. Lama Trinley is now the rightful successor and head priest of the Rumtek Monastery following the death of Gyalwa Karmapa, whom I happened to know personally while serving in Gangtok.

During the recently held Sino-Indian talks, the issue regarding the status of 14-year-old Chinese-sponsored Lama Urgyen Trinley as the successor to the Karmapa of the Rumtek monastery in Sikkim also came up for discussion. It may be recalled that during his visit to India in January this year, Mr Li Peng had tried to convince India to accept his candidate Lama Trinley's claim as the rightful successor of Gyalwa Karmapa. This time too he reiterated this. Realising the security implications of the Chinese move, India has so far declined to accept the Chinese claim.

By granting the teenage monk, Urgyen Trinley Dorji, permanent refugee status, India has exposed itself to a grave security risk. The government knows his refugee status will eventually lead to his becoming the 17th Karmapa of the powerful Rumtek monastery in Sikkim, which is the headquarter of the five-million strong Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The sect has a large following in Sikkim too. The Chinese are hand-in-glove in the Karmapa affair. They are suspicious about a larger international involvement in the episode.


Karma Kagyu International Conference in Kathmandu on March 16 and 17, 2001

A Karma Kagyu International Conference took place on the 16th and 17th of March 2001, in Kathmandu, Nepal with H. H. Shamar Rinpoche, Khempo Tchödrak Rinpoche and Nyendo Rinpoche leading the meeting.

The conference gathered many tulkus, lamas, monks and lay people who came from 23 countries and represented more than 500 centers and monasteries around the world. This gathering fostered a closer relationship among the members of the Kakyupa community and took place in a warm, sociable atmosphere.


Public statement by the monks community of h.h. Gyalwa karmapa

Venerable Rimpoches, Respected Khenpos, Dear members of the Karma Kagyu Sangha, Very distinguished guests,

We, the monk-community of Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre extend our sincere welcome to all of you and thank you for attending this conference. We have decided to hold this conference mainly because of specific extraordinary recent developments which have to be urgently discussed, considered and resolved by the entire Karma Kagyu Organisation. Thank you for your presence, which we highly appreciate.

During the last centuries there always existed 4 main separate and independent schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Even after 1959 they succeeded to exercise and to maintain their spiritual and also legal independence in exile. Recently however H.H. the Dalai Lama has seriously endangered this long established good tradition to protect and preserve the rich diversity of the Tibetan Buddhist Faith.

The late 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, the undisputed spiritual leader of the Karma Kagyu School, repeatedly had to defend the special qualities of the teachings of his school against frequent interferences of H.H. the Dalai Lama. At the end of the day these attacks were in vain and unsuccessful. But as a direct consequence H.H. probably began to develop an unsurpressable animosity against both, the independently minded 16th Karmapa and the Karma Kagyu School. Regretably the Dalai Lama continued and even increased his subversive activities against the Karma Kagyu School after Karmapa had passed away in 1981.

At first we only experienced very harmful activities of a certain high Kagyu Rimpoche, who obviously had totally discarded his loyalty and respect for his own School. This Situ Rimpoche misguided many honest people, bribed numerous officials and closely associated himself with thieves and gangsters who committed serious crimes including murder. We, therefore, never had a choice but had to defend our school against these malicious attacks. We did so by rejecting all political and nonreligious influences and strictly confined ourselves to the pure practice of our religion. We actively avoided all potentially harmful confrontations and always worked hard to further improve the good image of Tibetan Buddhism in our world. This compassionate and peaceful reaction to the sometimes rather vicious attacks of Situ Rimpoche and his associates served us very well until now. Therefore it is not surprising at all that the international community, political leaders, human rights groups and the international media, did not even know about our very existence in the past. We considered the stated problem to be an extremely unfortunate and highly regrettable but internal issue of our Karma Kagyu School into which outsiders should not get involved. Recently we discovered however that H.H. the Dalai Lama, who is not a member of our school, had actively directed the said activities of Situ Rimpoche from the very beginning. This shocking discovery is the reason for this public statement.

In close cooperation with Situ Rimpoche H.H. the Dalai Lama secretly directed the false recognition and enthronement of a Karmapa in China, thus successfully creating a split in the Karma Kagyu School. Since ancient times shrewed politicians always tried to divide and rule their opponents and potential competitors. In this respect H. H. is no exception.

Until recently we always wondered why H.H. the Dalai Lama never publicly condemned the violent and hostile take-over of Rumtek monastery in Sikkim in August 1993. At that time Situ Rimpoche had successfully bribed some powerful officials of the Sikkimese administration, who in return gratefully organised the violent take-over of the monastery and expelled all Karmapa's loyal monks by force. Immediately afterwards they handed the control of the monastery over to Situ Rimpoche.

Meanwhile we analysed H.H's activities towards our school and resolved that he is motivated by his deep disappointment and dislike of the late Karmapa, who always strongly resisted H.H.'s numerous attempts to bring the Karma Kagyu School under his control. He had this basic disagreement with the Karmapa, who strongly upheld the spiritual freedom and independence of his school.

We are now making this public statement, although we are aware of the Dalai Lama's excellent reputation in the western world. Many honest private persons, great teachers, politicians and eminent statesmen have been genuinely impressed by the unusual strong personality of this "simple monk". Also due to the Dalai Lama's religious activities the pure buddhist teachings of nonviolence, compassion and love are becoming more and more popular in our today's world. In this respect we sincerely acknowledge the most outstanding contributions of H.H. the Dalai Lama. At the same time we realize however, that many admirers of H.H. the Dalai Lama either do not or do not wish to distinguish between his pure religious teachings and his political activities. Many supporters of H.H. have not noticed the subtle influence of Hollywood's frequent presentations of Tibet as a spiritual paradise and of the Dalai Lama as an absolutely faultless, holy man. On this background his long, political fight against the legal communist government of China even enhanced his carefully crafted image as a galant defender of democracy, freedom and human rights. In particular the media in many western countries such as the USA, Germany, France and others often just follow the popular, well established trends and opinions without making their own proper investigations and judgements of the complicated underlying realities of Tibetan affairs.

Due to his deep-rooted opposition to the late 16th Karmapa H.H. the Dalai Lama searched and found a small number of unhappy Rimpoches within the Karma Kagyu School who were willing to secretly support his ambitions. Thus the traitorous Situ Rimpoche and his men became willing participants of H.H.'s scheme to divide and conquer the Karma Kagyu School. H.H. took a great risk by openly disclosing his previously secret leadership of Situ Rimpoche's group now. But obviously he had to make that disclosure now because he finally noticed that Situ Rimpoche alone had no realistic chance of success with his destructive schemes against us.

We wish to emphasize that we never had and do not have any intention whatsoever to tarnish the reputation of H.H. the Dalai Lama as a religious leader. In that capacity we do respect him very, very much. But after H.H. openly disclosed his leading role in Situ Rimpoche' s group we are forced to take a firm stand. His close association with the highly questionable Situ Rimpoche, who had happily enjoyed a very special relationship with China and who was banned to enter India for good reasons in the past, is most deplorable indeed. As we sincerely respect our own spiritual leader, the Karmapa, our first duty is to protect and preserve the authentic, special teachings of our Karma Kagyu School. Therefore we cannot agree at all to H.H.'s preposterous claim to be the authorized person to enthrone the Karmapa.

The conference is scheduled to debate this issue and to resolve this delicate problem in the most effective way, if possible. At the same time the conference will also serve all interested parties as a valuable source of information regarding Tibetan and Himalayan Buddhism in general.

Khenpo Choedrak Tenphel Ngendo Rimpoche


Speech of h.h. Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche

Venerable Rinpoches, Respected Khenpos, dear members of the Karma Kagyu Sangha, very distinguished guests.

We have reached a crossroads in our effort to preserve the authentic transmission of the Karma Kagyu lineage. The individuals behind the secret design to split and ultimately take over the Karma Kagyu lineage have today emerged at the forefront of the controversy.

In my meeting with H.H. the Dalai Lama in Washington in June, 2000, I emphasized that the Karmapa and the Shamarpa had for centuries exercised authority over the Karma Kagyu. I declared that in 1994, I alone had identified and recognized Thaye Dorje as the 17th Karmapa in accordance with our traditional methods.

H.H. the Dalai Lama had previously involved himself in the Karmapa matter and he appeared to have taken a side. He also mentioned that there could be more than one Karmapa. I accepted his position and asked him to reveal it publicly. Since Urgyen Trinley was installed in Tsurphu, I proposed that Tsurphu naturally continued to be his seat. Thus, he would be the Karmapa for China and Tibet. In return, Thaye Dorje would be supported as the Karmapa for India and as the head of the Kagyu monasteries there.

I put forward this compromise in my genuine desire to solve the conflict which had split the Karma Kagyu lineage in half. However, the Dalai Lama rejected my offer. I was informed in writing that, in fact His Holiness had recognized Urgyen Trinley as the authentic Karmapa. The Dalai Lama's recognition was carried out not only on the basis of Situ Rinpoche's so called "prediction letter" but also because of his own private indications. This was a total departure from the Karma Kagyu practice and tradition. The Dalai Lama was forcing himself into a position of religious arbiter, endowed with spiritual powers and authority to deliver the Karmapas. A move was set afoot to convert the Kagyu school to the Gelugpa order!

I could not accede to such a scenario!

I then came forward with yet another compromise, that, if implemented, could have won us back the unity of the lineage and installed a Karmapa all his followers could accept. I proposed that the issue of the Karmapa be solved by the Karmapas themselves. Accompanied only by their parents, Urgyen Trinley and Thaye Dorje would meet and themselves arrive at a satisfactory solution. I could have no possible personal gain from any such offer and had only the lineage's benefit in view. I was also convinced that my proposal would best serve the boys' interests. Again my offer was not appreciated, this time by the Dalai Lamas favorite political group in Sikkim (Joint Action Committee).

What logical conclusion can one draw from these constant rejections? The answer which comes to mind is that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is against the growth of Karmapa's activity and has engaged in a "divide and conquer" policy. How else to interpret the broken promises, behind the scenes plotting, the infringing upon our centuries old tradition, the creation of new religious customs.

I am sharing this information with considerable concern and much regret. Is the Dalai Lama still driven by his old personal animosity to the late 16th Karmapa and to the then Rumtek administration? The late 16th Karmapa, undisputed leader of the Karma Kagyu school, confronted Dharamsala's ambition regarding the four schools. By creating a successful counterbalance to Dharamsala's policy, H.H. the 16th Karmapa gained no friends within the exiled government. It seems that old rivalries die hard and today the Karma Kagyu school has come under fire at it's most vital point.

We have reached a turning point. If we lose the right to recognize the Karmapa, our lineage will cease to function as an autonomous transmission that has been preserved for nine centuries. I am asking your opinion and seeking your advice. Do we fight for our independence? Or do we submit to another lineage? If we should fight, what is there to fight for? What constitutes the uniqueness of the Karma Kagyu school that is now in imminent danger of disappearing?

Is it Rumtek monastery that lies at the centre of the Kagyu legacy? The answer is no. According to the Buddhist sutras, a place where the Sangha have been split and have engaged in a fight - described in the sutras is one of the five limitless negative actions (Tsam Meapa Nga) - loses its blessing, is devoid of spiritual merit and, in fact, becomes spiritually polluted. To restore its unequaled qualities, the warring sides must be brought together and fully reconciled; moreover, a Yen-Dum (conciliation) Stupa must be erected on the site, else no spiritual activity there is possible. If Rumtek is to once again function as a Buddhist place, if a practitioner is ever to develop and accumulate merit there, whoever resides at Rumtek has to bring the Sangha together as well as construct the conciliation Stupa.

Furthermore, Rumtek - or any other monastery for that matter - is only a building designed to accommodate the monk community so they can perform the necessary rituals and practices. The late 16th Karmapa chose Rumtek for his headquarters and the cloister had well served that purpose until the 2nd of August, 1993 when it came under attack from and was subsequently occupied by Situ and Gyaltasb Rinpoche's supporters going hand in hand with the Sikkimese armed forces on orders from bribed officers. The attackers committed one of the five limitless negative actions described in the sutras.

Furthermore, for all its beauty and auspicious location, a building alone cannot aspire to the spiritual status of the Kagyu's unique heritage. In spite of this, every effort is still under way to recover Rumtek and return it to its rightful occupants.

The holy relics stored at Rumtek carry the blessing of the lineage. However, those are moveable artifacts which, luckily, had been placed under lock and key as early as August 1992 by the farseeing Rumtek monk community. They were later sealed on order issued by the District Magistrate and can be recovered once the court comes down with a ruling. Even Karmapa's famous black crown - adorned with precious ruby - is not indispensable for the functioning of the lineage. The crown was offered to the 5th Karmapa by the Ming Dynaty's Yung Lo emperor of China. However, our lineage had flourished no less successfully without the crown's presence than when it was endowed with its physical existence. Besides, neither Urgyen Trinley nor Thaye Dorje may be able to obtain the black crown unless they reach a mutual agreement.

What then constitutes the Karma Kagyu's unequaled transmission which should be preserved at all costs? First and foremost, our right to recognize the Karmapa, the undisputed spiritual leader of our lineage. The Dalai Lama's attempts to force the Kagyu school into the Gelugpa order must be stopped in its tracks. Regrettably, Situ Rinpoche together with Thrangu Rinpoche, closely followed by Gyaltsab and Bokar Rinpoche gave in to the Dalai Lama's intrusion and in doing so they have created a crisis of unprecedented proportions in Karma Kagyu history. Their short-sighted and self-serving deals with the Communist Chinese and their sheepish submission to the Gelugpa school's authority put the independence of the lineage in total jeopardy.

Second, we must preserve the teachings and methods written and handed down by the Karmapas and the Kagyu masters which make up the uniqueness of this school. The main source of the lineage are the founding fathers: Marpa, Milarepa and Gampopa. The transmission encompasses profound Vajrayana teachings such as the essential instruction given by Dusum Khyenpa; the Six Yogas of Naropa, taught for the first time in written form by the 2nd Shamarpa; the profound commentaries to the tantras, extensively given by the 3rd and 8th Karmapas along with the 4th Shamarpa. The Kagyu transmission also encompasses the vastness of the sutras such as the Madhyamaka, the Abhidharma, the Prajnaparamita, the Vinaya and the Tsema explained in complete detail by the 7th and 8th Karmapas. Finally the transmission contains both Sutra and Tantra within the profoundness of the Mahamudra, written, explained and taught by the 9th Karmapa and others. Additionally, the Karma Kagyu transmission includes the Nyingma teachings, called Karma Nyingtik, incorporated into the lineage by the 3rd Karmapa as well as the Termas of Jatson Nyingpo and Karma Chagme.

We are at a turning point in our history. Indeed, it would be a great loss to the Buddhist world if our transmission were to disappear in favor of another ambitiously expanding lineage. I am once again asking you the crucial question: Do we fight for our lineage, or do we surrender? We must come down with a binding decision during this conference. If we yield, we will lose the treasure of the Karma Kagyu transmission. If we wish to continue our struggle, we have no choice but to oppose the Dalai Lama. It is his interference and his "divide and conquer" strategy that is the primary threat to the integrity of our Karma Kagyu today.

If we together decide to defend the lineage, we would need everybody's help and support. It is our common house we are protecting. We are struggling for the very survival of the Karma Kagyu blessing; our aim is to preserve the Buddha's unparalleled methods for helping beings achieve enlightenment. They must not disappear today due to corruption from within and aggression from without.

In order to function as an efficient body, under today's challenging circumstances I would propose the following: The establishment of our Karma Kagyu headquarters in New Delhi, India and the set up of two administrative centres, one in Washington, DC, USA for the West and one in Hong Kong for the East.

Shamar Rinpoche


Resolutions passed by the International Karma Kagyu Conference

During the two days of discussions, work groups were organized, and several actions were taken and resolutions passed:

1) The International Karma Kagyu Organization (IKKO) was created, with headquarters in New Delhi, India. It is in charge of coordinating the circulation of information among the various Karma Kagyu centers, and of coordinating decisions involving the whole school. Under the authority of H.H. Shamar Rinpoche, the IKKO will act in the name of all the centers and monasteries claiming to belong to it.

2) The delegates reaffirmed the independence of the Karma Kagyu lineage and their opposition to any external intervention in the internal affairs of the lineage. An open letter to H.H. the Dalai Lama was written with this intention.

3) A request concerning the recognition of the 17th Karmapa was presented to H.H. Shamar Rinpoche. Specifically, delegates encouraged H. H. Shamar Rinpoche to continue his effort to have the alleged "prediction letter" from Situ Rinpoche submitted to an independent and official test of its authenticity.

4) The members of the conference expressed their sincere and unanimous gratitude to H. H. Shamar Rinpoche as well as support for his past and present activity devoted to preserving the authenticity of the Karma Kagyu school. They passed a resolution requesting him personally to give His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dordje the authentic and pure transmissions, initiations, and teachings of the Karma Kagyu lineage. Delegates from the various centers will be invited to participate in this transmission.


Open letter to the Dalaï Lama

This letter has been sent by all the participants in the International Karma Kagyu Conference

Kathmandu, 17th March 2001

Your Holiness,

An International Karma Kagyu Conference was held in Kathmandu, Nepal, on 16th and 17th of March, 2001. Delegates representing over five hundred monasteries and centers of the Karma Kagyu Lineage from around the world attended. The conference was expressly convened to address the present crisis within the Karma Kagyu lineage. A unanimous resolution was passed to declare our school's determination to reject any interference from outside the Karma Kagyu lineage regarding the process of recognition and enthronement of the Karmapas and to protect the authentic transmission of the Karma Kagyu Lineage.
At the heart of the Karma Kagyu lineage's existence lies its own fundamental right to recognize the Karmapa, the spiritual leader of the lineage. This must be done in accordance with the genuine, spiritual custom of the Karma Kagyu lineage and without interference from outside the lineage. Traditionally the Black-Hat and the Red-Hat Karmapas have recognized and enthroned each other's incarnations.

History shows that the present crisis is rooted in the past. For centuries, the Gelugpa lineage of the Dalai Lamas and the Karma Kagyu lineage of the Gyalwa Karmapas have been locked in a struggle.
The conflict started as early as the fifteenth century, at the time of the Seventh Karmapa and Fourth Shamarpa. This coincided with a period during which the Tibetan government was controlled by the Kagyupas.
Hostilities peaked in 1638 when the Fifth Dalai Lama invited the Mongolian army under Goshir Khan to invade Tibet. The Gelugpa and Mongol alliance was subsequently responsible for the death by decapitation of virtually all abbots from one thousand Karma Kagyu monasteries. All these monasteries were converted to the Gelugpa order by force. The Tenth Karmapa's camp came under attack and over seven thousand of his monks were slaughtered. Only Karmapa and his attendant managed to escape. The Karmapa was forced to stay in exile for the next forty years.
Two centuries later the struggle escalated further during the regency period between the Seventh and Eighth Dalai Lamas. Tenpai Goenpo, a Gelugpa minister, took the opportunity to permanently remove the Shamar Rinpoche from the religious scene in Tibet. In spite of having mediated in the war between Nepal and Tibet-China, the Ching-Emperor of China declared him a traitor and all his monasteries were forcibly converted to the Gelugpa order. An edict banning Shamarpa's future incarnations was proclaimed.

In 1959 came the demise of Tibet at the hands of the Communists. Unfortunately Tibet's destruction seemed not to have been disaster enough to reign in the long-standing and unjustified aggression of the Gelugpa School towards the Karmapa and his Karma Kagyu order.
In 1961 the Tibetan government in exile proposed to merge the four Tibetan schools into one religious body headed by Your Holiness. This policy inflicted serious spiritual suffering on much of the Tibetan exile community. Rallying behind Karmapa's authority, thirteen Tibetan settlements challenged the Exile Government's plan and as a consequence the whole scheme was abandoned. Later in the seventies Karmapa came under blame because he had chosen to defend the autonomy of the three other lineages.
The aggressive atmosphere which had been fomented during that period triggered joyful celebrations at the Tibetan camps in Ladakh when H.H. the 16th Karmapa died in 1981. This painful incident further inflamed the mistrust between the two schools.
Even before the 16th Karmapa's death, members of Your Holiness' circle had already approached certain high Kagyu lamas with an offer of collaboration in the search and recognition of the 17th Karmapa. In close cooperation with this traitorous Kagyu group, Your Holiness succeeded in dividing our school for the first time in its history. This scheme brought about the subsequent enthronement of a false Karmapa in China.
In 1992 and 1993 Your Holiness deliberately endorsed the wrongful claims and actions of this group of corrupt Kagyu lamas. This interference is absolutely unacceptable to the Karma Kagyu School.
In July 2000, Your Holiness' involvement in the matter went even further. Your Holiness informed H.H. Shamar Rinpoche in writing that even if an authentic prediction from the 16th Karmapa was found and presented, it would not sway your insistence that Urgyen Trinley is the Throneholder-Karmapa. By doing so Your Holiness would retrospectively deprive the undisputed 16th Karmapa of his right to determine his own reincarnation. Such a preposterous claim goes against the Karma Kagyu tradition and sets the stage for a take-over of the Karma Kagyu School by Your Holiness' School and Government.
Up until Your Holiness' interference in 1992, no other Dalai Lama has ever played a role in the recognition of a genuine Karmapa. As Your Holiness well knows, the Karmapa incarnations precede the Dalai Lama line by over three hundred years. There is no historical precedent for Your Holiness' current involvement.

We highly respect and support Your Holiness' struggle for the welfare and freedom of the Tibetan people. We therefore request you to apply the same goodwill in the case of the Karmapa controversy. For the sake of the integrity of our lineage, we urge Your Holiness to gracefully bow out of this internal conflict of the Karma Kagyu School. We also ask for Your Holiness' support regarding our view that the whole world will benefit by preserving the rich diversity of all four schools, including the Karma Kagyu.
We sincerely make wishes for Your Holiness' long life and continued health.

Most respectfully, for and on behalf of all delegates to the International Karma Kagyu Conference
H.H. Luehrs (Chairman)