Answer to Manish Chand

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Dear Sir, Ever since His Holiness Dalai Lama endorsed Ugyen Dorje Trinley as the 17th Karmapa,the Karmapa controversy is widely seen to be resolved in his favour. In that case, how do you plan to advance the claims of your nominee, Thaye Dorjee.And what is his altenative agenda?
2. What are the key issues in the Karmapa controversy? Do you smell a plot to divide Karma Kagyu sect of Mahayana Buddism? Besides, who stands to benefit from this schism? 
3. There are some who have realised serious questions about the effectiveness of reincarnaton as a method to select the next Karmapa in favour of a more democratic method. Do you see the possibility of an alternative method?

Manish Chand 


Dear Manish Chand,
Thank you for your questions about the Karmapa controversy. H. H. the ShaMarpa has referred your letter to me.

The key issue in the Karmapa controversy is as follows: As early as 1988 H.H. the Dalai Lama made a strategic plan to take over the Karma Kagyu School. This was part of his larger plan to place all the Schools under his authority. The Dalai Lama was able to do this because he realized that Situ Rinpoche had great ambitions to be the one to nominate the next Karmapa.

Situ had difficulties in nominating the Karmapa because the Karmapa’s Labrang (administration) was not Situ’s Labrang. Therefore, the Dalai Lama sent his minister, Juchen Thubten, to make a deal with Situ to promote Situ’s candidate in exchange for Situ’s acceptance of the Dalai Lama’s authority over the Karma Kagyu School. This deal would benefit both sides greatly.

The Dalai Lama was so eager for this deal to take place that he happily allowed Situ to collaborate with the Chinese Government, something he does not often do.

Situ accepted the deal and became a traitor to the Karma Kagyu for world prestige and great financial gain. Situ made a plan with the Shan Pao Foundation in Taiwan to bring the boy Orgyen Thinley and the Black Crown to Taiwan for pujas and ceremonies. He was promised from $50 to $100 million US dollars if he could do this. There would be five major beneficiaries of this great wealth: Palpung Labrang (Situ Rinpoche’s administration), Chogong Labrang (Gyalsup Rinpoche’s administration), Thrangu Labrang (Thrangu Rinpoche’s administration), Bukar Labrang (Bukar Rinpoche’s administration), and the Joint Action Committee of Sikkim. A few other organizations, such as KTD in Woodstock New York, were second level beneficiaries.

Minister Juchen Thubten was Situ’s principle ally and strategic director, working openly with Situ to take over Rumtek Monastery. He personally came to Rumtek to support Situ and challenge Rumtek’s administrators when these administrators questioned the authenticity of Situ’s prediction letter and insisted that it be forensicly tested in 1992.

Of course today, it would be still quite possible to test the dubious letter. However, now the Dalai Lama is helping Situ by stating that the prediction letter is really not important anyway. The Dalai Lama maintains that his own vision has confirmed Orgyen Thinley as Karmapa. He has gone so far as to officially announced that even if the authentic prediction letter surfaces, the person named in that letter can not be the throne holder of Karmapa, because the throne holder must be someone whom he approves. Obviously, this totally violates 900 years of Karma Kagyu tradition.

Now that Orgyen Thinley has come out of Tibet, the primary responsibility for directing the conspiracy has shifted form the Dalai Lama’s minister, Juchen Thubten, to his minister in New Delhi, Tashi Wangdu. Mr. Wangdu’s main work is to influence the world media-CNN, BBC, Time Magazine, Newsweek, etc.-so that they completely ignore the existence of Karmapa Thaye Dorje.

Regardless of Tashi Wangdu efforts, there is a huge group of pure Karma Kagyu devotees who will never accept Orgyen Thinley as the true Karmapa. However, if Orgyen Thinley does manage to take Rumtek Monastery, 80% of the controversy will be resolved in the Dalai Lama’s favor. Then Orgyen Thinley will control both Thurphu in Tibet/China, and Sikkim in India.

Regarding the future process of finding a high reincarnation: This cannot be done in a democratic manner as you suggest. If that were to happen, the Tibetan Exile Government would have full authority over this process. For purely political reasons they could choose who would be the next Karmapa, or even decide that the Karmapa reincarnation no longer exists.

Regarding Karmapa Thaye Dorje’s activity: Through his own actions and work he will be respected throughout the world as the high lama that he is, and his wise and compassionate activity will continue. People who know the true facts about the controversy will never accept Orgyen Thinley, and there will be a split in the Karma Kagyu. We have to accept that because we cannot give up supporting the authentic Karmapa Thaye Dorje in favor of an impostor. Who will succeed remains to be seen.

K. Wangchu
Director of Public Relations International Karma Kagyu Buddhist Organization