Transcript of Press Conference of the Karmapa (April 27, 2001)
Transcript of a Press Conference
with His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa
held April 27, 2001 at Gyuto
Ramoche Tantric University, Sidbhari, Himachal Pradesh,
(Note: for a list of translations into other languages available
on the internet, click here)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Japanese Broadcasting
Corporation: How long are you going to Stay in India? Will you
go back to China?
His Holiness Karmapa: Having come here to India from Tibet as a
refugee and in accordance with that having received the status of a refugee, I
do not plan to return to Tibet until HH the Dalai Lama returns. I will go back
Ajit Jagra: I would like to know what actually inspired you
to come to India since you have lots of followers all over the world?
His Holiness Karmapa: One of the most important reasons why I was
inspired to come to India was so that I would be able to see or visit the sacred
places of this country [India].
Norway Radio of Tibet: Your Holiness, since you have come to India, the
government of China has asserted that you did not come to take up residence in
this country, but only to reclaim the Black Hat and other possessions of your
predecessor; that you would be returning to China, and that you left a letter
behind you in Tibet that stated that?
His Holiness Karmapa: It is true that I left a letter behind me, but
as I wrote the letter myself, I'm perfectly aware of what was in it and what
wasn't. I said in the letter that I left because, although I had for a long
time, persistently and repeatedly, requested permission to travel
internationally, I had never received it and so I had to leave. I did not in the
letter mention the Black Crown, the Black Hat. Why would I want to retrieve that
from India and bring it back to China anyway? The only thing that would be
served or accomplished by doing so that would be to place that Hat on Jiang
Italian News Service: Your Holiness in your statement you never
mentioned the Shamarpa who is the second highest Kagyu lama and has accused you
of being a Chinese agent. What is your opinion of this?
His Holiness Karmapa: Up to this point, I have done my best to deal
with the situation in an appropriate way and therefore I saw no reason to it
speculate about it or write about it in my statement as that would only make
The Week: I just wanted to ask the Karmapa whether while he
was in Tibet there was any pressure placed upon him by the Chinese to recognize
the Panchen Lama that they selected?
His Holiness Karmapa: There was no particular pressure placed on me
to support the Chinese government's recognition of their Panchen Lama, but I was
invited to his hair cutting and ordination.
PTI: Sir, It took you only thirty hours to come out of
Tibet into Nepal and yet it took you more than five days to reach Dharamsala
within a free country. Why so? [question repeated] Why did a journey of 1500
kilometers take 30 hours and yet it took 5 days to reach here [Dharamsala] form
Nepal. It's been said that [inaudible] helped you reach Nepal. Is Situ Rinpoche
an agent of the Chinese?
His Holiness Karmapa: The reason why parts of the journey took
longer than others was because of the distance to be traveled and the difficulty
of traveling in that region. The whole journey took 8 days and I think I have
explained the times pretty clearly in my statement. I don't think I can say
anything clearer than that. As far as his Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche is
concerned, while I was in Tibet, I repeatedly asked the government of China for
permission to invite him to Tsurphu so that I could receive the empowerments,
transmissions, and instructions that I wished to received from him. But they
refused to allow Tai Situ Rinpoche to enter China, saying that he could not come
because he had too close a connection to HH the Dalai Lama and was, therefore,
inadmissible to the country of China. I think that if what you said were true,
that they would have been delighted to let him in.
Australian newspaper: Do you intend to work with the Dalai Lama in the
cause of promoting world awareness of Tibet and in the cause of Tibetan
independence or autonomy?
His Holiness Karmapa: As I mentioned in my statement earlier, what
has made Tibet so famous throughout the world is its religious tradition and
culture. So I regard it as my duty and responsibility to support the religion
and culture of Tibet as much and as vigorously as I can. I think that by doing
this I will benefit Tibetans and the people in Tibet and benefit the situation
in Tibet as well. In that sense, in the sense of supporting Tibetan religion and
culture I will assist His Holiness the Dalai Lama as much as I can.
The Daily Telegraph: Your Holiness, you are one of the most famous
lamas of Tibet and are regarded as someone who can know the past and future.
Would you, therefore, care to comment on where you will be in 15 years?
His Holiness Karmapa: Never mind the future, I will forget tomorrow
what I said today.
Are you worried about Tibetan culture becoming
extinct because of the state of affairs in China?
His Holiness Karmapa: [As a Dharma practitioner not involved in
politics], all I can say is that every nation has its own distinct spiritual
tradition and culture. If any of these are in danger of becoming extinct, I
would hope that that would not happen.
Newsweek: Are the Chinese waiting for the Dalai Lama to
pass away in the hopes that that will be the end of the Tibetan independence
movement and that they will thereafter be able to fully absorb Tibetan culture
within Han Chinese culture?
His Holiness Karmapa: His Holiness the Dalai Lama is not that old
and is in very good health.
In addition, I constantly pray for his
longevity and I am confident that the situation of his passing will not occur
for a long time. It is quite possible that before then the political situation
in China will change considerably. In addition, the power of His Holiness the
Dalai Lama's aspirations and compassion is inconceivable. With regard to the
youth of Tibet, I think the most important thing is for them to concentrate on
the preservation of the spiritual and cultural traditions of Tibet. And His
Holiness the Dalai Lama regularly gives them the same advice.
BBC: What future would you like to see for Tibet?
His Holiness Karmapa:
Since the foundation of the spiritual
tradition of Tibet is non-violence and peace, my greatest aspiration is that
Tibet abide in the future in a state of non-violence and peace or
The Times: I understand that you have recently spoken about
your parents. Do you have any concern about your parents being ill-treated or
your followers? And do you know where your parents are?
His Holiness Karmapa: Of course, one's parents are extremely
important to anyone, because in a sense our parents are of the greatest kindness to us of anyone. And therefore, for
me as well, the situation and circumstances of my parents are very important.
Nevertheless, for the reasons I explained in my statement, I felt it was
necessary for me to leave them behind. In this situation, I do not know the
precise details of my parents' circumstances.
However, I continually pray for the welfare of
my parents and everyone in Tibet.
Star News: What sort of cooperation have you received from
the Indian government? What restrictions, if any, have they placed on your
His Holiness Karmapa: In general the Government of India has been
extremely helpful and generous to me. In particular I have been given permission
to reside in the country and was also given permission to go on pilgrimage.
Hindustan Times: Karmapa, it is said that you were being reared by
China for a political purpose. If so, what was that purpose, particularly in
regard to Tibetan independence?
His Holiness Karmapa: I have heard it said that in a sense the
Government of China was planning to make use of me. I was certainly treated as
someone very special. For example, when I was taken on tour in China to Beijing,
I was well-treated.
But I came to suspect that there might be a
plan to use me to separate the people within Tibet from His Holiness the Dalai
Asahi Shimbun: Your Holiness, do you plan on learning English
and other foreign languages to communicate with other cultures as has His
Holiness the Dalai Lama?
His Holiness Karmapa: Having been born in Tibet, in addition to
Tibetan, I speak what I would call slightly broken Chinese, and I am acquiring a
little bit of English and have the intention of learning Japanese some day.
Times of India: Why did it take you such a long time to interact
with the media? And don't you think that the interest the Western media has
shown in you is a ploy to [?discredit, tape not clear] China?
His Holiness Karmapa: I agree that it took a long time for me to
meet with the media. I wanted to straightforwardly present the true story of my
coming here, but my situation did not allow me to have this kind of press
meeting until now. In answer to your second question, I think it is not only the
Western media but also the Asian media that are interested in my situation, and
as they are all free to take interest in whatever they wish, I cannot guess and
do not know the motivation behind their interest.
Reuters: I think we got only half the answer to a question
posed by my colleague. What specific restrictions have been placed upon your
travel in India?
His Holiness Karmapa: Having been given permission or status to
reside in India, I am free to travel within this country. The restrictions on
this or exceptions to this are that I may not go to Sikkim and I may not go to
Sherab Ling, which I find confusing.
Reuters: How do you react to the assertion of some Karma
Kagyu followers that Thaye Dorje is the real Karmapa?
His Holiness Karmapa: The identity of the Karmapa is not decided by
a popular vote or a debate between groups. It is decided only by the prediction
of the previous Karmapa.
London Times: What do you do on an average day?
His Holiness Karmapa: I study and practice Buddhism.
Translations into other languages
(note: the referenced translations are not official translations of the Kagyu
Office and are provided for convenience):
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