(TibetanReview.net, Oct12, 2018) – In what is seen as a sudden development, the two 17th Karmapa reincarnate claimants put forward by rival regents designated for the recognition of the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa have met at an undisclosed location in rural France over four days and issued a joint statement dated Oct 11. The statement does not resolve anything but addresses a decades-old rift in the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism resulting from the reincarnation issue. The two sides have resolved to work together to preserve and strengthen the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
The majority of Tibetan Buddhists recognize Ogyen Trinley Dorje, born in eastern Tibet in 1985 and endorsed by Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, as the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. An influential minority recognizes Trinley Thaye Dorje who was put forward by regent Shamar Rinpoche. Trinley Thaye Dorje, born in central Tibet in 1983, has since married and is a father but has made clear his intention to continue to discharge the role of the Karmapa.
The Karma Kagyu is the largest of the four major Kagyu lineages, one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Karmapas have historically been based at Tsurphu Monastery in the outskirts of Tibet’s capital Lhasa from where Ogyen Trinley Dorje fled the Chinese rule in late Dec 1999. The 16th Karmapa rebuilt Rumtek Monastery after he fled Chinese occupied Tibet in 1959 on an invitation from the king of the then independent Buddhist Kingdom of Sikkim. Rumtek currently remains off-limit for both the claimants due to an ongoing court case, although the state has been lobbying New Delhi to enable Ogyen Trinley Dorje to ascend the throne at the earliest.
The joint statement was released simultaneously on the official websites of both the lamas. It does not resolve anything but indicates a common intention to work amicably to establish a personal relationship of cooperation and strong connection in order to strengthen the Karma Kagyu lineage.
The full transcript of the joint message follows:
His Holiness Ogyen Trinley Dorje and His Holiness Trinley Thaye Dorje met over the last few days at a rural location in France. Their purpose was to get to know each other personally. They also discussed how they might work together to preserve and strengthen the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
After their discussions, His Holiness Trinley Thaye Dorje and His Holiness Ogyen Trinley Dorje issued the following joint statement:
“We are both very pleased to have had this opportunity to meet and get to know each other in a peaceful and relaxed environment. We both had this wish for many years, and we are gratified that this wish has now been fulfilled.
The purpose of our meeting was primarily to spend time together so that we could establish a personal relationship. We were able to talk together freely and to learn about each other for the first time. We were thus able to begin what we expect will develop into a strong connection.
While we were together we also talked about ways that we could work to heal the divisions that have unfortunately developed within our precious Karma Kagyu lineage in recent years. We view it as our duty and responsibility to do whatever we can to bring the lineage together.
This undertaking is critically important for the future of the Karma Kagyu lineage as well as for the future of Tibetan Buddhism and the benefit of all sentient beings. We therefore ask everyone within the Karma Kagyu community to join us in our efforts to strengthen and preserve our lineage. We view it as our collective responsibility to restore harmony to our tradition which is a lineage of wisdom and compassion.”
His Holiness Ogyen Trinley Dorje His Holiness Trinley Thaye Dorje