(TibetanReview.net, Nov30, 2016) – The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the head of the Kamtsang Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, is visiting the politically sensitive border Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, having arrived there on Nov 28, accompanied by Mr Amitabh Mathur, a Ministry of Home Affairs advisor, said a PTI report carried by arunachaltimes.in. The state’s Chief Minister, Mr Pema Khandu, travelled to the Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport at Guwahati in Neighbouring Assam state to welcome and accompany him to Tawang by helicopter.
He visited the Sera-Jae-Jamyang Choekorling Monastery, the Sangyeling Monastery, and then the Tawang Monastery. At Tawang, Abbot Gankar Tulku Rinpoche and the Chief Minister made a mendel-ten-sum ritual offering – which symbolizes the body, speech and mind offering – to the Karmapa.
The Karmapa was reported to have called it fortunate that he was able to visit Tawang. He has thanked the Chief Minister and the federal Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr Kiren Rijiju, for taking the initiative for his visit.
During an address to the public at Tawang Monastery, the Karmapa was reported to have called on the people to have a firm faith in the teachings of the Buddha and of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In particular he has urged them to carry forward the understanding of Buddhist philosophy and science and to imbibe them in their daily life.
He has called on the Buddhist communities to remain in harmony and prevent outside forces from hampering the progress of Buddhism in Monyul, the land of the local Monpa people.
The Karmapa is the third most influential figure among Tibetan Buddhists. He escaped from Chinese ruled Tibet in Dec 1999, and arrived at Dharamshala, India, the following month, citing lack of religious freedom and the freedom to pursue his Buddhist studies.
The Karmapa’s visit takes place ahead of a scheduled visit to the state by Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in Mar 2017.
China, which calls the state a disputed territory, describing it as a part of southern Tibet, has already criticized the Dalai Lama’s planned visit. It is not clear, however, how it will respond to the Karmapa’s visit. China has refused to condemn his escape and has continued to look forward to his return home.