Saturday, March 5, 2011

India Raids Holy Money To Karmapa - 4

By Manuwant Choudhary

McLeodganj, Dharamsala: I wanted to see the Tibetan parliament so I wandered down a path but I suddenly found myself surrounded by a million prayers.....a solitude...when even if you don't believe in can feel his presence....a strong breeze made the prayer flags flutter....

I felt this once before at Kedarnath when I walked across the snow to the temple for the evening aartee. I had said, "If God exists, he lives here."

Many years later when I worked at the Afternoon Despatch & Courier, my editor Behram Contractor wrote a piece on Kedarnath saying the same `If there is God, he lives at Kedarnath'. Mr. Contractor was a Parsi and he had visited Kedarnath many years before I did.

As I stood amongst the fluttering prayer flags I felt closer to `The Maker'.

I also thought about distant Tibet.

The breeze carried with it something of Tibet.

I thought about the strange world of Tibetan buddhism where faith in non-violence is stronger than a rock....even thorns had prayer flags tied around them.

I thought about the world of incarnations and whether it was real.

Was it just a succession plan?

Does one have a past life?

Or a rebirth?

Why do we do what we do?

Why do we fall in love?

Why do we not fall in love with everyone?

What was I really doing at McLeodganj surrounded by these prayer flags, overlooking the breath-taking view of the plains.

From here it made everything that goes on in the world really petty....

I entered very briefly into the world of Tibetan Buddhism.

It is said that Buddhism came to Tibet in the reign of King Trisong Detsen - 755 CE, wherein Buddhism becomes Tibets official religion. It was the King who had invited famous Indian teachers like Shantarakshita and Padmasambahava to Tibet.

Until then the religion followed in Tibet was Bon.

It was Padmasambhava - a master of Tantra - who is credited with spreading Buddhism in Tibet. He built the Samye montastery and his influence on develpment of Tibetan Buddhism is incalculable. He was also referred to as Guru Rinpoche.

Nyingma - the oldest among the four major Tibetan Schools of Buddhism - claims Guru Rinpoche as its patriarch.

According to legend when Guru Rinpoche arrived in Tibet he pacified the Bon demons and made them protectors of `Dharma'.

Then comes the Kagyu sect, of which the Karmapa is the 17th descendant, so its the oldest lineage. The Karmapa is discovered only through letters left behind by the previous Karmapa..which should cite the time, year, place of birth..and other clues to enable high monks to find the incarnation.

Then comes the Gelug or the `Yellow Hat Sect'..the Dalai Lama is their spiritual leader and they value `compassion' the most.
It is said that a high lama from this sect Sonam Gyatso converted Mongol Altan Khan to Buddhism and it is bleieved that he gave the name to him Dalai Lama or `Ocean of Wisdom' in 1578. Sonam Gyatso was the 3rd Dalai Lama. The first two got their title posthumously.
Later Gashri Khan declared himself King of Tibet and in 1642 recognised the 5th Dalai Lama as spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet.

But again there is another theory which suggests the Dalai Lama existed before the invasions of the Mongols.

Then there is the Sakya whose head is Nawang Kunga Thekchen Rinpoche (born 1945) and their headquarters are at Rajpur in Uttar Pradesh.


There are two claimants to being the Karmapa.

1) Trinley Thaye Dorje, born May 6 1983 at Lhasa, Tibet, and it is said that when he was 6 years old he began saying that he was the Karmapa. So in 1988 Shamar Rinpoche went on a secret visit to Lhasa since the boy appeared to him in a dream. In March 1994 Trinle Thaye Dorje escapes from Tibet to Nepal and then to India where Sharam Rinpoche recognises him as Karmapa. He lives at Kalimpong and apart from Tibetan studies he receives western education as well.

2) Ogyen Trinley Dorje, born June 26 1985, in eastern Tibet, he was born to nomadic parents who moved from one place to another...but his parents found his behaviour unusual when he insisted that his parents move camp early.

Thus when the search party came they found the boy in exactly the same place as was predicted in the letter handed down from the 16th Karmapa..he was recognised as Karmapa at the age of 7.

Tai Situpa gets an intution and finds a prediction letter in an envelope marked "Open in Metal Horse Year." Letter said the Karmapa was to be reborn `to the north, in the east of the land of the snow.'

Is a country where divine thunder spontaneously blazes.

In a beautiful nomad's place with the sign of a cow,

The method is Dhondrub and the wisdom is Lolaga.

Born in the year of the one used for the earth.

With the miraculous, far-reaching sound of the white one, is the one known as Karmapa.

Ogyen Trinley Dorje's mother's name is Loga and father is Karma Dondrub Tashi.

In June 1992 he moved to Central Tibet to Tolang Tsurphu Monastery - main seat of all previous Karmapas..

The Chinese recognsed him as a Karmapa.

So did the Dalai Lama who says he had a dream about the area where the Karmapa was found. Although the Dalai Lama has no say in lineage of other sects, lineage itself is extremely important in Tibetan Buddhism since tradition is sustained through teachers passing along their knowledge and wisdom to the next generation of disciples..

In 1999 the Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorge escapes from Tibet and arrives in India. Here he is warmly received by the Dalai Lama and the Indian government grants him asylum.

However, the Sharmapa Rinpoche refused to recognise him.

The first Karmapa & Sharmapa Rinpoche control the Karmapa Trust but have no control over the Rumtek monastery in Sikkim.
The monks who control the Rumtek monastery support Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the Karmapa. The matter has now gone to India's Supreme Court.

The Dalai Lama held a meeting with the Sharmapa Rinpoche to resolve the dispute for the sake of all Buddhism.

Ogyen Trinley Dorje met the Sharmapa Rinpoche at Oberoi International Hotel in New Delhi on January 9 2007..and the Dalai Lama met the Sharmapa on August 13 2010 and the Sharmapa promised to work towards an amicable solution, "Although this matter is not easily resolved since it is connected to the politics of China and India....."

The 16th Karmapa wrote this song in 1940.

In the springtime, a cuckoo comes as guest.

In the fall when the harvest ripens, it knows where to go.

Its only thought is travel to the east of India.

In the lofty land of Tibet, inhabitants high and low,

And in particular, you, Tai Situ the Lord and Protector of Maitreya,

Who remains above the crown of our head,

May your activities, like the sun and moon set in space,

Be continuous, stable and without hindrance.

I pray that we meet again and again.

(Credits to Wikipedia)

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