Reception Committee of Sikkim to Karmapa met with His Holiness in Dharamsala - Sikkim Messenger

The Reception Committee of Sikkim to His Holiness The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje led by Acharya Tshering Lama, Chairman of Ecclesiastical Affairs, Government of Sikkim met with his Holiness The 17th Karmapa at Karmapa Monastery in Dharamsala on 19th September 2016. 

This is what His Holiness The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje said during the meeting with Reception Committee of Sikkim for His Holiness :

"It has been about 16 years, that I am living in India and I hope every Indian people may know well about me. And in particular as all people of Sikkim, they are doing hard work on the issue to invite me to Sikkim as soon as possible. And that's true that I have a great relationship with Sikkim and Sikkimese People. It's not my present life only but it's a life of previous 16th Karmapa. That is why myself, as once atleast I would really like to visit in Sikkim. After I came in India, I got great opportunities by Indian Government for visit in every part of the India. And now for me, Sikkim is the only place which is left for my visit but I hope that day will come as soon as soon possible through the hard work by Sikkimese people and Sikkim's Government. Therefore, I am expecting that this issue should be sort out in very peaceful way as soon as possible.

Thank you all."



Karmapa's quest for house at Dharamshala may end - Hindustan Times

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)
17 Sep 2016
HT Correspondent ■ letters@hindustantimes.com

SHIMLA: Living from past 17 years under watchful eyes of Indian security agencies the 17th Karmapa, Oguen Trinley Dorje’s quest for an independent house may end soon, as Central government has agreed to reconsider request of his follower to allow the high ranking Buddhist monk to settle permanently in Himalayan region. 

Oguen Trinley Dorje, who head, parallel Kagyu Karma sect of Buddhism currently lives in tightly guarded back yard of Gyotu Tantric Monastery in Dharamshala. The ministry of home affairs apprised the state government that it will examine the request for allowing Oguen to settle down permanently in Dharamshala and its surrounding area. Home ministry deliberated with officials of the state government and reviewed Karmapa’s security arrangement. Oguen Trinley Dorje at the age of 14, in 1999 made a dramatic escape, from Tsurphu monastery in China controlled Tibetan Autonomous Region. The Buddhist monk’s escape had taken the Indian intelligence agencies by surprise. Dorje claimed that he along with his attendants and elder sister Nodup Palzom travelled 1450 km on horseback, train and helicopter to reach Dharamsala.

Stir to allow 17th Karmapa into Sikkim gaining momentum - Kalimpong News

Pramod Giri, HT, 18 Sep 2016,

SILIGURI: As all political outfits and social groups across the spectrum in Sikkim unite over the issue of the 17th Karmapa, it is only a matter of time before the central government comes under enormous pressure to life the ban on his entry into the state. The chief minister, all opposition parties and religious groups have already expressed their desire to see Orgyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa, take his seat at the Rumtek monastery, the Dharma Chakra Centre of Kagyu sect of Buddhism which he represents. The Dalai Lama has already endorsed him as the 17th Karmapa. But the Centre’s decision to ban his entry into Sikkim has made the people of the Himalayan state quite restless.

Observers feel that if the issue is not tackled deftly, it may snowball into a major problem that may have far-reaching repercussions.

According to the Kagyu sect of Buddhism, the Karmapa is the head of the sect and is regarded as Living Buddha. The Karmapa’s seat at the Rumtek monastery is lying vacant since the death of the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpey Dorjee, on November 5, 1981.

Leaders of Sikkim, cutting across party lines, and Buddhist monks of the state have come under one common platform to press the Centre to allow Orgyen Trinley Dorje to visit the state. Ogyen Trinley Dorje, recognised as the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa by the Dalai Lama, had fled Tibet and reached Dharmasala in Himachal Pradesh in January 2000. He has always remained as a controversial figure because there have been at least three claimants for the post. Buddhists monks across the globe are also divided over the matter and are supporting different claimants, although Orgyen Trinley Dorje, who stays at Dharmasala, has the largest following.

However, the circumstances leading to his recognition, remains a bit controversial. Denjong Lhadey, the association of Buddhist monks of Sikkim, has been organizing a relay hungerstrike in Gangtok for the last 65 days demanding his early entry into Sikkim even if he cannot be allowed to visit Rumtek, which is a matter that is sub-judice for now. On September 10, the Denjong Lhadey had organised a sit-in protest in front of the Raj Bhawan in Gangtok. Earlier, a pro-Karmapa rally held in Gangtok on July 10 was attended by former chief minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari, Sonam Lama, the Sangha legislator, Tsheten Tashi Lepcha, the Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee (SIBLAC) convener, and Bharat Basnett, the president of Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee, apart from monk heads from various monasteries of Sikkim.

Sonam Lama, the Sangha MLA representing the opposition SKM and leading the movement for the Karmapa’s entry to Sikkim, told HT, “It is due to the non-serious attitude of the state government that the 17th Karmapa is not being able to come to Sikkim.” Sangha is an MLA seat reserved for religious leaders. Lama, who had led a team of Buddhist monks to stage a two-day-long dharna at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, said, “If the Centre cannot allow the 17th Karmapa to enter Rumtek, he should be allowed to come to either Fodong or Ralang monastery.”

Former chief minister Bhandari also blamed the state government for adopting “dual standards” with regard to the Karmapa issue. However, chief minister Pawan Chamling recently met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi and requested him to expedite the process of the Karmapa’s entry into Sikkim.


Chinese Calligraphy by His Holiness 17th Karmapa: Danang / Bright Moon


Bright Moon

【Danang 】means『 BRIGHT MOON』. 

The【Danang】 calligraphy was specially created by His Holiness 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje for Danang Foundation.



How to Use Emptiness as a Means to Develop Compassion and Freedom (Podcast Episode #010)

Today we are happy to bring you the tenth episode in the new Podcast series containing selected talks and teachings by His Holiness the 17th Karmapa.
This special teaching took place in the USA and has Tibetan with an English translation.
During this episode, the Gyalwang Karmapa discusses how to meditate on emptiness, and how such meditations can lead to the natural development of compassion. Emptiness opens us up to a new realm of possibility, gratitude, and freedom which can lead to greater compassionate action.
You can get the podcast here on iTunes or simply download the episode right here. Please make sure you subscribe in iTunes to be notified of new episodes.


Home ministry raises concern over 17th Karmapa’s security - Hindustan Times

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)12 Sep 2016

Centre to hold meeting in Delhi tomorrow to discuss the issue

SHIMLA: Though the Sikkim government had urged the central government to allow 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to visit Rumtek Monastery, the ministry of home affairs has raised fresh concerns over the security of 30-year-old Buddhist monk, who is the parallel head of Kagyu sect of Buddhism.

The Centre has called a meeting in Delhi to discuss issues related to security of Dorje. “Inputs from intelligence agencies about threat perception to Karmapa will be ascertained in the meeting in New Delhi. The home ministry has also sought inputs from the state government about Karmapa’s security arrangement,” said a senior police official, who requested anonymity. The meeting is scheduled on September 13 and will be chaired by the home secretary. 


In 1999, Ogyen Trinley Dorje at the age of 14 made an escape from Tsurphu monastery in China controlled Tibetan autonomous region. Dorje’s escape had made world headlines. It took the Indian intelligence agencies by surprise.

Dorje claimed that he, along with his attendants and elder sister Nodup Palzom, had travelled 1,450 km on horseback, train and helicopter to reach Dharamsala. Since the time of his escape, Dorje remains under watchful eyes of security agencies. The government has clamped restrictions on his movements.

Dorje at present resides at back side of tightly guarded Gyuoto Tantric monastery in Dharamshala. The monastery made headlines in 2011 when sleuths recovered more than `6.5 crore (foreign currency), which included 12 lakh Chinese Yuan. The cash recovered during raids belonged to the Karmae Garchen Trust headed by the Karmapa. Police arrested a cashier of the Trust, Rabgay Chosang. 


Dorje was recognised the head of Karma Kagyu School of Buddhism, the Tibet’s exiled temporal head the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso. Dorje is followed by a majority of Tibetan population and other Buddhist devotees. The other claimant to the seat is Delhi-based Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje, who was recognised by Shamar Rinpoche as incarnation of 16th Karmapa Ranguan Rigpe Dorje.

The Indian government has banned the 17th Karmapa from visiting the Rumtek Monastery for the past 17 years, following his escape from Tibet in 1999 and controversy over the real reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa. Intelligence agencies are apprehensive that Beijing anointed him to serve its long ulterior motives to change the mindset of Budhist population in India to favour China. Even after 17 years of his escape Beijing has still not denounced Dorje — the Chinese government still recognises him as the real head of the Kagyu Karma Sect. 


Dorje’s supporters that include some high-profile leaders of Sikkim, for long have been demanding relaxing restriction on movement of Dorje. They had been lobbying hard to persuade the central government to allow him to visit Rumtek monastery in Sikkim, which was originally built by 12th Karmapa Changchup Dorje in the 18th century. It was later rebuilt and renovated by the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje after his escape from Tibet in 1959. Rumtek is considered the real seat of Karmapa lineage in India.


Monks on Governor’s door with Karmapa demand - Sikkim Express


GANTOK, September 10: Scores of monks staged a sit-in outside the Raj Bhawan gate here today seeking to meet Governor Shrinwas Patil and reiterate their demand that the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje be allowed to visit Sikkim.

The demonstration outside the Raj Bhawan gate lasted for nearly three hours after which a 10-member delegation was granted appointment with the Governor.

Some monks, among those who have been on a relay hunger strike at BL House, Tibet Road here with the demand since the past 63 days, later met the Governor and placed their memorandum. Sangha MLA Sonam Lama and SIBLAC convenor Chewang Lama was also part of the delegation of monks under Denjong Lhadey’s banner.

“We called on the Governor to know about the progress in our demand. He has given positive assurances,” said Lama to reporters.

According to Lama, the delegation sought details of actions taken by the Governor’s office on the demand among other issues discussed during the hour-long meeting.

The decision to meet the Governor was taken as the State government has failed to act on the demand, added the Sangha MLA.

The relay hunger strike by the Buddhist monks would continue until a concrete assurance is given by the Centre on the Karmapa demand, it was informed.


Exclusive Interview: The 17th Karmapa and the Buddhist Nuns of the Tibetan tradition - Buddhistdoor Global

By Dominique Butet; images, Olivier Adam

His Holiness the Karmapa in Paris, 2016

Our initial motive for documenting the lives of Tibetan Buddhist nuns through our photography stemmed from the fact that for many years, the Western world has largely ignored their very existence. Other aspects have since emerged that have enriched this documentary approach as the question of gender equality was being played out before our very eyes with regard to the gradual emancipation of nuns through improved access to education and progressive changes to their status in society.
A number of contemporary Tibetan masters have taken a personal interest in empowering Buddhist nuns and in doing so have become spokespeople, communicating the importance of this cause throughout the world. Among them is His Holiness the Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, head of the Kagyu lineage, who we had the honor of meeting in Bodh Gaya, India in February. His Holiness overwhelmed us with the strength of his presence and won us over with the undeniable sincerity of his attention, patience, and commitment to supporting the cause of Tibetan nuns.
Dominique Butet: Why are you so deeply involved with the feminine cause?
His Holiness the Karmapa: The main thing, in terms of Buddhist teachings, is that men and women are the same. They have the same ability and the same opportunity to uphold the teachings of Buddhism. So looking at it in this way, I want to give the nuns this opportunity.
DB: What are your thoughts on the present situation for Tibetan Buddhist nuns?
HHK: Of course, a lot of progress has been made already. For example, support for the nuns is becoming much stronger, in particular support for their livelihood—that’s really a big deal. In the past, many nunneries in Tibet didn’t receive much support from laypeople and the nuns had to beg for everything. Now the situation is getting much better.
Also, in terms of education, the nuns are now able to study Buddhist texts and philosophy, which is a great advance—especially in India and Nepal, where they are about to receive the first Geshema degrees.*
What still needs improvement is, first of all, leadership. The nuns need to develop the ability to direct and lead themselves; to be able to provide their own leadership. Right now, monks provide a lot of leadership, and the [Geshema] classes are being taught by monks. In the future, nuns will be able to stand on their own two feet! Nuns who have completed the Geshema degree will themselves be able to teach other nuns.
The second difficulty for the nuns is the question of full ordination. This question has been discussed for more than 20 years, with a lot of meetings and talks. Now many people are saying that it’s time to actually put it into practice. So my hope and my encouragements are that we can create a situation where [full ordination] can happen quickly within Tibetan society.
DB: Could you explain why the lineage of fully ordained nuns died out in the Mulasarvastivada Vinaya?
HHK: I think that there probably were communities of nuns in Tibet. They were established there but then later died out. The reasons why that happened are not clear, so it’s really hard for me to explain much about that. In any case, we would like to start the process of reviving the bhikshuni ordination next year—first within the Kagyu lineage. We had hoped to begin this year but it didn’t work out, so we will try to begin next year.
DB: At the Winter Dharma Gathering for nuns in Bodh Gaya last year, you said that the nuns would first receive the “vows of going forth,” then novice vows, and then “training vows”. Finally, in the fourth year, they would be given the bhikshuni vows. Who could confer these vows?
HHK: Actually there are three different ways we could follow: the first way would be for members of the bhikshu sangha to confer the vows. The second would be to have members from both the bhikshu and bhikshuni sanghas offering the vows. As there is no community of bhikshuni within the Tibetan tradition, we could invite bikhshuni from the Chinese Buddhist tradition, while the sangha of bhikshu would be representatives from the Tibetan tradition. In that way, we could have a dual-sangha ordination. In the third option, we could invite members from the bhikshu and bhikshuni sanghas of the Chinese tradition.
Of these three different methods, the one that has been chosen is the second because it is more in tune with the Vinaya. So we will invite a sangha of Chinese bhikshuni because in the Chinese tradition there is a lineage of bhikshuni vows. I think this would also be a nice way to restore the connection between the two sanghas within the different traditions—by bringing them together to cooperate, I think it will give more power to the full ordination of the nuns and will be very beneficial for all. As most of the nuns who will be taking ordination are Tibetan and Himalayan, I think they’ll have more confidence by taking the vows within the Tibetan tradition. And Tibetan society will also be more accepting of full ordination by having bhikshu of the Tibetan tradition involved.
DB: In Bodh Gaya this year, you mentioned that you would like to set up a common monastic college, or shedra, for Buddhist nuns. Could you tell us more about that?
HHK: Sixteen years ago, I came to India. And actually in these 16 years I haven’t been able to get a real residence of my own. My own personal situation is difficult; it’s mixed up with politics and other difficulties, and it’s sometimes hard for me to accomplish all my wishes exactly as I would like. So even if I wanted to build a shedra by myself it might be difficult. The main thing is that there are many nuns who are Indian citizens and I think that if they take on the responsibility and build a shedra, then it will be possible. Sure, we have many shedras within different nunneries, but it’s not like bringing all the energies together. As you know, it’s difficult to get enough teachers to teach the nuns. So if we had an institute for the nuns, we could give them a place where they would be able to study at a higher level. But it is not just a question of nuns; there are many other women who want to study the Dharma, so thisshedra would be a place for all women to study.
DB: You saw the nuns debating a few weeks ago—​what do you think of their ability?
HHK: It has been three or four years since I first saw them debating. The nuns were really beginners at that time—in the first year, there only were one or two who actually knew how to debate. In the second year it was a little bit better, and in the third year I noticed incredible improvements in terms of confidence as well as in the logic they used for debating. So when we saw this progress, we were very, very happy. I’m now sure that the nuns will further raise their level very quickly.
DB: How do you see the future for Buddhist nuns in the Tibetan tradition?
HHK: In Tibetan society we talk a lot about interdependence, we could also say circumstances or auspicious connections. Since we began working with the nuns, all of the connections have turned out very well, and because of this I have developed great confidence and courage. In the future, I’m sure that the teachings of the nuns will flourish.
DB: Your Holiness, thank you for your time and attention.
The Karmapa’s hopeful conclusion and optimism resonated within our hearts and minds for a long time after we took our leave, and we were reminded of a paragraph from His Holiness’ book The Heart Is Noble: Changing the World from the Inside Out:
“We need to recognize that the most important qualities of today are those that most societies consider as being ‘feminine:’ communication, listening to the needs of others. The coming era will be more ‘feminine’ and women will make a greater contribution.”
His Holiness the Karmapa has been able to accommodate and overcome many obstacles and difficulties related to living in exile; he knows how to meet each day and rejoice in daily life, and is fully committed to wearing the colors of the feminine future.
For the benefit of all sentient beings!

HH the Karmapa in Bodh Gaya, March 2016

* The Geshe (feminine: Geshema) is a Tibetan Buddhist academic degree for monastics, emphasized primarily by the Gelugpa lineage of Vajrayana Buddhism, but also awarded in the Sakyapa school. It is equivalent to a doctorate in Buddhist philosophy and is awarded after a 17-year course of study. Until recently, the qualification was only open to monks.
Olivier Adam is a freelance photographer and teaches photography in Paris. He is a contributor to various magazines and works regularly for The Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama as a photographer during the Dalai Lama’s visits to Europe.
Dominique Butet is a teacher and a journalist. After meeting Olivier Adam in 2010, she joined his project to document the daily lives of Buddhist nuns across the Himalayas. Dominique contributes to various media outlets, and in 2016 co-wrote a book on meditation for children, Yupsi le petit dragon.

Monks intensify stir to press for Karmapa's visit to Sikkim - nezine.com

Ugen Bhutiya
Date of Publish: 2016-08-19

While the whole country was celebrating its 70th Independence Day with fervour, monks in Sikkim celebrated it in a novel way; they celebrated it with black armbands. These black armbands were the sign of despair and discontent against alleged insensitivity and indifferent attitude of the government towards their demand, even after their hunger strike of more than a month.

The monks, supported by the Buddhist communities in the state, have been demanding that the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje should be allowed to visit Sikkim since soon his escape from Tibet in 2000 to India. Since then various cultural and political groups in the state have been raising their voice for it. The monks from different monasteries in the state organized a rally- ‘Peace and Aspiration rally’- in Gangtok on July 10, 2016. The government’s response was not a positive one; it ignored it completely.  Reading from the first signs,  Denzong Lhadey Tsopa, an organisation of the monks, had decided to fast till the demand was accepted.

Karmapa is the highest order in the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Majority of the Buddhists in Sikkim belong to this sect. Rumtek Monastery in East Sikkim is the abode of Karmapa. It was built by 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje in 1966 and was named as Pal Karmapa Densa Shed Drub Cho Khor Ling meaning ‘The seat of His Holiness The Gyalwa Karmapa’. Hence demands were raised to get permission for the 17th Karmapa to live in Rumtek Monastery. But there was a major problem in this demand.

Ogyen Trinley Dorje supported by Tibetan religious head Dalai Lama is not the only one who claims to be Karmapa. Trinlay Thaye Dorje who came to India in 1994 from Tibet because of the threat from the Chinese government is also another candidate for the post. His candidature is no less than the Ogyen Trinley because he is supported by Shamar Rinpoche, the second highest rank in the Kagyu monk’s hierarchy. The disagreement about the real 17thKarmapa has reached judiciary and is presently subjudice.

The monks and Buddhists in Sikkim consider Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the original 17thKarmapa. But now the matter is subjudice,  they changed their demand from reinstating Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the 17th Karmapa to permit him to visit Phodong or Ralang Monastery for the Drukpa Tsheshi prayers instead of Rumtek monastery. Drukpa Tsheshi is one of the important Buddhist festivals in the state. Since this demand was also ignored, lamas who were in hunger strike since 10 July are now demanding that he should be allowed to visit any place that the government suggest at the least.

The issue of Karmapa visit to Sikkim became one of the major political issues in the State. By and large every political party in the state promised that they will bring him to Sikkim in every election since the year 2000. State legislative Assembly election in 2014 was no way different. The issues is more important for the candidates who are contesting for Sangha seat. Article 371 (f) of the Indian constitution gives space for the Sangha seat to give monks representation in the governance of the State. Only the monks from different monasteries of Sikkim can vote for Sangha candidates. Needless to say, the trusts of monks on the candidate in bringing Karmapa greatly influences their choice while voting. Moreover, the adequate numbers of voters from Buddhist communities make the issue undeniable for any political outfits in the State.

In 2014, State Legislative Assembly passed two resolutions urging the Central government to allow Ogyen Trinley’s visit to Sikkim.

But the present contradiction between the monks and the state government is about the place of his visit. According to the protesting lamas the government is trying to confuse and manipulate the situation by requesting Central government to allow Ogyen Trinley to visit Rumtek Monastery. While knowing that this could not be achieved because the case is in the judicial process, such insistence by the government has desolated the monks. 

Moreover, rather than heeding to the grievances of the citizens, those in power are adding into their misery by eschewing the issue. Various Bhutia Lepcha Buddhist organisations of Sikkim and a Joint Action Committee (for restoration of Democracy in Sikkim) submitted the memorandums on 10 and 11 august respectively to the Governor requesting him to look into the matter. To date no reply has been received from the gubernatorial office.  

While governor maintained the silence and ignored the issue, representatives from the government visited the protestors on 11th August 2016. But the insensitivity and callousness attitude of the government towards their demand was increasingly leading to desperation. The protesters have been sitting on a hunger strike since 33 days in the Bhutia-Lepcha House in the Tibet road, Gangtok. According to the protestors when the ministers visited them they had shown concern on water and electric supplies in the BL house than discussing the issue for which they were protesting.

However, even such attitudes of the authorities could not deter the monks from their steadfast protest. And on 15th of August more monks joined them to celebrate Independence Day with a black armband. They are now planning to the march towards the Nathula, Indo-Chinese border and one of the favorite tourist spot in Sikkim, if authorities continued such attitudes. And for the government the need of an hour is that it should understand the situation and start the real dialogue with these monks rather than beating around the bush.

Ugen Bhutiya  
(Ugen Bhutiya is a Doctoral Fellow at the Department of History, Sikkim university. He can be reached at bhutiaups@gmail.com )