Shamarpa warns theft case, reveals recent attempts to sabotage inventorisation

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from the “Weekend Review” -by A STAFF REPORTER

Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche, the second in the hierarchy of the Karma Kagyu Lineage, has warned that if major articles of faith are missing from the Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre (DCC), a theft case will be filed against whoever was in charge of the properties of the DCC after 1993, when a majority of the monks had been thrown out by force by the State Police with the help of some senior Rinpoches.

His statement has come in the wake of completion of the inventorisation of DCC properties. Shamar did not specify if he knows about the things that are missing. “I am not speaking on that before the Commissioner, VK Sharma, files his report with the court,” he told this correspondent, “but if things are missing, we shall take a serious course of action.” But it seemed almost certain from his manners that he has heard of some important items not being found. The Rinpoche also said that on 13 July, there had been ‘a last ditch attempt by the Tibetan Government-in-Exile (TGI),’ resident at Dharamsala, ‘to split the Sikkimese Buddhist monks and take over Rumtek’. “When the issue came up of the sealing of the new locks, this man, who was the former secretary to the previous Karmapa, said that they should use the seal of the TGI. They said that this should be done to unite the Buddhists under one umbrella. But this has never been done, not even in Tibet. It is clear to us now, in hindsight that the TGI has been operating for a long time to split us,” he said. It has been earlier reported that after inventorisation was over on 13 July, the Tsurphu Labrang-in-Exile had wanted their seal to be used. “These people (Tai Situ Rinpoche and Goshir Gyaltshab Rinpoche )are now trying to dump their misdeeds on Urgyen Thrinlay Dorji, because what they call as the Tsurphu Labrang today is now headed by Dorji, and if things are found missing, these people will simply wash their hands off and only Dorji will be left to wear their dirty hats,” Shamar Rinpoche told WR.

Shamar also said that he or his people would do nothing to soil the image of Urgyen Thrinlay Dorji. The Rinpoche, who happens to be the previous Karmapa’s brother’s son as well, and was reportedly the closest among all the monks who had accompanied the 16th Karmapa to India, has expressed serious doubts that the letter that had been used by Tai Situ Rinpoche to recognize Urgyen Thrinlay Dorji as the next Karmapa, might be missing. He has said this in the past as well – even before the inventorisation started – and reiterated this again during the course of this interview.

Shamar has also revealed that some people representing Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche, had visited one of the very senior trustees at least twice, the second time as recently as just a few days before the actual inventorisation began, and pleaded with him to somehow stop the inventorisation. “Eight of them had gone to meet this trustee of the Karmapa Charitable Trust (KCT), and pleaded with folded hands, saying, ‘you are the only one who can save us now.’ According to the Rinpoche, the trustee refused and said that because the matter is in the court, nothing at all could be done now.
He also said that the KCT – which is the Plaintiff in the case – would not ask Urgyen Thrinlay Dorji to return the precious Vajra and Bell that has been given to him by the Goshir Gyaltsab Camp. According to him, the KCT will not make a fuss if minor things are missing, but there are some major items of religious significance. If any them are missing, they shall file the theft case. Asked what he had to say if the opposite camp insists that he had ‘stolen’ the items, Shamar Rinpoche said, “Well, it is all documented. Goshir Rinpoche and I were both there when we opened the boxes in 1992. The seals were put again by all of us. So how could we have stolen anything?” he asked.

Gangtok: Many senior and responsible officers in the district administration here are very unhappy with the manner in which Commissioner VK Sharma, Regional Director, Reserve Bank of India, had conducted the inventory of the properties of Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre (DCC). The inventorisation process, which was dragging on with little progress till the afternoon of 13 July, was suddenly over by early evening, and the Commissioner left town the next day. What is irking officials, who wanted a final and definitive solution to the lingering problem, is that the Commissioner did not break open the seals of any of the almirah in the main treasure room, despite the fact that none of them were the seal of the Karmapa. “He brought so many of his people from Kolkata, kept them in Gangtok in style, and in the end nothing came out!” said a senior official. The three parties involved, the state government, the plaintiff (Karmapa Charitable Trust) and defendant No.3, Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche, had chipped in equal amounts of money to share the Rs. two lakh expense account that the Commissioner had been given. The court had directed the Commissioner that only visual verifications of certain items, which includes the Vajra Mukut (the famous Black Hat, which is the virtual symbol of the Karmapa) if the box had been sealed by the previous Karmapa.

Sources confirmed that none of the seals on any box or cupboard was that of the Karmapa. The original seals of the Karmapa, which the 16th Karmapa had instructed his juniors to put while he was being treated in the US for cancer (of which he died in 1981), had been broken open in 1992, in the presence of Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche as well as Shamar Rinpoche, now the two contending parties in the case for inventorisation of DCC properties. “Why did he need to panic?” asked a very senior monk. “No one out there in the main treasure room would have objected had he broken the lock, because that was all within the orders of the court. Since the seals were not that of the Karmapa, there would be no question of people’s religious sentiments being hurt either,” he said. It is learnt that the Commissioner will seek the advice of the court once again to break the seals. But this is precisely what has surprised most senior officials. Till then, the warring factions are waiting with bated breath for one of the most important thing that can settle the entire Karmapa issue: the prediction letter.