Rival’s marriage strengthens Dorje’s claim for Karmapa title - Hindustan Times
DHARAMSHALA: With his rival Trinley Thaye Dorje now a married man, who shed monk’s robes to get hitched with his childhood friend, the claim of Ogyen Trinley Dorje to the title of the 17th Karmapa and Rumtek Monastery throne has become stronger
Thaye Dorje, 33, married Rinchen Yangzom, 36, in a private ceremony attended by close family members in New Delhi on March 25 and announced it on March 30. His office described the couple as “close childhood friends” who have known each other for more than 19 years.
Karmapa is the title given to the spiritual leader of the Karma Kagyu sect, one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism and are the oldest institutionalised series of rebirths in Tibetan Buddhism, preceding the Dalai Lama of Gelug sect. Currently, there are three contenders who claim to be the rightful reincarnation of 16th Karmapa. While Ogyen Dorje, who is recognised by the Dalai Lama as well as the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC) lives in Dharamshala, Thaye Dorje resides in New Delhi while the third claimant Dawa Sangpo Dorjee in Nepal.The controversy over succession to the leadership of the Karma Kagyu sect is more than twodecade old.
The 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje died in 1981, and the controversy over his successor that has raged ever since, also epitomises a struggle for control of assets of Kagyu sect including vajra mukut, a sapphire-studded black crown, housed in the Rumtek monastery in Sikkim.
Matters came to a head in January 2000 when Ogyen Trinely, who was installed by the Chinese government at Trushup monastery in Tibet, staged a stunning escape to India. This started the tussle over the control of the Kagyupa, or the “Black Hat” between the factions supporting Ogyen Dorje and Thaye Dorje.
After violent clashes at Rumtek, the Indian government barred all the three claimants from entering the monastery.
Meanwhile, the office of Ogyen Dorje has refused to comment on the fresh development. However, common Tibetans feel that Thaye Dorje was never a rightful successor to the title of Karmapa. “One cannot be a practitioner and a married person at the same time,” Lobsang Wangyal, the director of Miss Tibet pageant. said, adding that in Tibetan Buddhism only accomplished spiritual masters can marry and yet claim the spiritual authority.
WHO IS A KARMAPA?
Karmapa is the title given to the spiritual leader of the Karma Kagyu sect, one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism and are the oldest institutionalised series of rebirths in Tibetan Buddhism, preceding the Dalai Lama of Gelug sect.