Answer to Ms. Gerhardt

Posted on Posted in Questions and Answers


Dear Shamar Rinpoche,
Recently a number of people asked me the following questions, which I cannot answer. I am sending these questions to you for your help. Please let me know your answers.

1. Recently the Dalai Lama announced in American television that his future successor might be one of the heads of the other schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He also said that it might, for instance, be Ugyen Trinle. Do you have any comments about this?

2. Why do so many American and English newspapers take the side of Dalai Lama and Urgyen Trinle in the Karmapa controversy?

Thank you for you help.

Carol Gerhardt


Dear Carol,
Regarding your first question, I think that is correct. For one, nowadays H.H. Dalai Lama and his exile government both officially stated that they are going to accept Tibet as part of China. Secondly for the last few years I heard that H.H. Dalai Lama from time to time declared that he would follow the system of the 5th Dalai Lama. In the history of Dalai Lama’s ruling government of Tibet the 5th Dalai lama in the 17th century was the one to take over the Tibetan government from the 10th Karmapa and Tsangpa Desi, the then ruling government. After achieving this he (5th Dalai Lama) established a monastic system for the betterment of his own sect. Then, in order to suppress the other sects he officially merged Tibet with China and had an agreement with the Emperor of China that Tibet would be under China. This is very well explained in the biography of the 5th Dalai Lama himself. Since then the Emperor of China has imposed a law in Tibet that the reincarnations of the Dalai Lamas have to be nominated by the government of the Emperor of China. Regarding Urgyen Trinle the government of China recognized and nominated him as the 17th Karmapa on the 25th of June 1992 and on the 30th of June 1992, the Dalai Lama issued his acknowledgement for that. Therefore I think that it is appropriate for Urgyen Trinle to be the successor of the Dalai Lama in Tibet.

As for your second question, one reason could be that Mr.Tashi Wangdu, a minister of Dalai Lama in New Delhi, has stopped many foreign journalists to come to me and, therefore, they consequently are only informed from one side. Another reason, which I learnt about through meeting some of them and from information given to me by people who are friends of these journalists is that a majority of them are in actual fact disciples of the Dalai Lama. They have taken empowerments and teachings from him. That is why they have to write whatever supports the Dalai Lama. They do not want to write anything, which would not be in his interest. Facts do not count for them, only their devotion to the Dalai Lama. Also when it comes to the problems within the Tibetan culture, religion, ethics and Tibetan politics I found that foreigners do not follow very well. They seem to lose track due to inadequate knowledge about the details. It is not their culture and the mentality and concepts are different.

Yours sincerely,