the 16th Karmapa  

The controversy at a glance:

Overview of the controversy

The historical background
Rebuttal to the Time article of 1994
>> Main events surrounding the controversy (81-96)
>> The wrong prediction letter
>> The Rumtek court case
>> ! The Death of Damchoe Yongdu
>> ! The Role of N.B. Bhandari

>> ! Letter by Topga Rinpoche (PDF)



In old Tibet, sending open letters was a common way to raise an issue in public discourse.
All Open Letters

The rebuttals to the book "The Dance of 17 Lives: The Incredible True Story of Tibet's 17th Karmapa" by Mick Brown.
All rebuttals

Responses to "Karmapa: The Politics of Reincarnation" by Lea Terhune
The responses

Answer to Linda (NY)

Answer to Allison

Answer to Ms. Gerhardt

Answer to Ms. Hilton

Answer to Ms. Hilton [2]

Answer to Su Wong

Answer to Tseten

Answer to Manish Chand

NEW 28. Mar. 14  

The recognition of reincarnated lamas in Tibetan Buddhism


12. Oct. 13  

Statement from the Rumtek Office concerning Akong Rinpoche

27. Apr. 12  

Jigme Rinpoche's statement about the DNST petition

Jigme Rinpoche's statement about the DNST petition

22. Mar. 12  

Jigme Rinpoche's statement about the DNST petition

Open letter to His Holiness the Dalai Lama from the Karma Kagyu Lineage Center in Hong Kong

12. Feb. 12  

Jigme Rinpoche's statement about the DNST petition

Additional Statement From The Shamarpa concerning accusations of holding a contradictory stance on the Karmapa Issue

24. Jan. 12  

Jigme Rinpoche's statement about the DNST petition

Statement From The Shamarpa:
Clarifying the accusations
of holding a contradictory stance on the Karmapa Issue
13. Nov. 11  

Karmapa Prophecies

Debunking Situ Rinpoche's "Prediction Letter"
Extracted from The Karmapa Prophecies By Sylvia Wong

Analysis of the Situ Rinpoche's "Prediction Letter"
07. May. 11  
Letter to His Holiness the Dalai Lama about the controversy
Introduction by Chagdzöla Lodrö Rabsel Rinpoche

12. February. 11  

Letter from Shamar Rinpoche to Samdhong Rinpoche, Prime Minister of the Dalai Lama

06. July. 09  
Letter from Shamar Rinpoche to the editors of Wisdom Publications concerning the book: 'Karmapa - The politics of reincarnation'

24. May. 08

Message of IKKBO (PDF)


30. Jan. 07

First letter about the meeting by Administration of Shamar Rimpoche


09. Jan. 07
H.H. Orgyen Trinley meets Shamar Rinpoche

After various attempts to get an audience and have a personal meeting with Shamarpa Rinpoche, H.H. Orgyen Trinley Rinpoche finally met Shamarpa Rinpoche at Delhi on the 9th of January at New Delhi, India.

                  Trinley meets Shamar Rinpoche


According to a reliable source of IKKBO, Shamarpa Rinpoche had been approached twice before to arrange a meeting between him and Orgyen Trinley Rinpoche which did not materialize. However, this time on behalf of Orgyen Trinley Rinpoche, Shamarpa Rinpoche was approached by venerable Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, the eldest son of late venerable Tulku Orgyen Rinpoche. Chokyi Nyima on his way back after meeting Orgyen Trinley Rinpoche at Bodh Gaya contacted Shamarpa Rinpoche at New Delhi and mentioned Orgyen Trinley Rinpoche's urgency for the meeting. Since Orgyen Trinley Rinpoche wanted to have the meeting immediately, Shamarpa Rinpoche and Orgyen Trinley Rinpoche met for the first time at New Delhi, India. However, it is not known at this point as to what they discussed.


IKKBO Staff reporter.

12. Dec. 06
Report from the Council of H.H. Gyalwa Karmapa

In early 2005, the head of the Drikung Kagyu School, H.H. Drigung Chetsang Rinpoche contacted H.H. Shamar Rinpoche while he was conducting teachings on the Sutra of Alankara in Hong Kong. Drigung Chetsang Rinpoche informed Shamar Rinpoche that in early 2004, he had a meeting with H.H.Orgyen Trinley Rinpoche in Bodh Gaya, India. Drigung Chetsang Rinpoche told Shamar Rinpoche that during their meeting, Orgyen Trinley Rinpoche had expressed respect for Shamar Rinpoche's important position as a lineage holder. Orgyen Trinley Rinpoche also said that he was willing to pacify the longstanding Karmapa controversy and asked Drigung Chetsang Rinpoche if he could arrange a meeting between himself and Shamar Rinpoche. Shamar Rinpoche told Drigung Chetsang Rinpoche that he would give his response once he returned to India.

11. Jul. 06

Scans of original documents

In The Politics of the Incarnation written by Lea Terhune; we have already challenged, in our Rebuttal to Lea Tehune, many of the purported facts, in what is a blatant misinterpretation of Karma Kagyu history. Indeed, several words she employs cannot be found in either Tibetan or Sanskrit dictionaries. This kind of story telling is quite clearly designed to mislead people who otherwise have little or no knowledge of Tibetan Buddhist history or language. Additionally, six chapters of personal allegations have been contested in court in the case of Karma Wangchoub versus Wisdom Publications and Lea Terhune. On May 24, 2006, the High Court of New Delhi, India, demanded proof of the above allegations. To date, no proof has been given. Finally the court warned that the judgement would be automatically against the defendants, (Wisdom Publications and Lea Terhune), if no proof was forthcoming. At this time the following two pages were presented:

>> a letter from Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche to Lea Terhune, with clearly no relevance whatsoever

and the second from Robert Thurman

06. Jun. 06
  >> Letter to Robert A. F. Thurman
by Shamar Rinpoche

It is especially crucial for me to clearly reply to all the points you make because you are a well-known and well-respected professor of Tibetan Buddhism in the United States. [more]

15. Mar. 06

>> Open Letter to Tenzing Chonyi, Karma Triyana,
Woodstock, U.S.A. from the Monks' and Lay Community Rumtek, Sikkim, India

The scan of an original common letter from the monks and lay people of Rumtek comunity [more]

02. Mar. 06
Buddha's Not Smiling

  Uncovering Corruption at the Heart of Tibetan Buddhism Today
by Erik D. Curren

Order the book now!

31. Jan. 06
>> Open letter from Lama Jigme Rinpoche to Mick Brown about the Black Crown

Regarding the misrepresentation in your book, The dance of the 17 Lives, that the Vajra Crown the 16th Karmapa wore during his lifetime is a duplicate of the original: it seems as though you must know something more about the crown than the crown holder himself, the late Gyalwa Karmapa. I was with the late Karmapa since 1955 when I was six years old. During his lifetime I had many
opportunities to hear him talk about the crown, to see many historic documents about the crown, to see the crown itself many times, and to write documents
myself about it..
. [more]

22. Oct. 05 I
>> Open letter from Shamar Rinpoche to Mick Brown
I cannot understand the value or nature of your professional ethics: that you have obligation to a questionable source but not to me, the entire subject of your story. Would that mean I had to accept your verdicts just because you are a journalist? Justice is the basis of ethics, and rights always equal responsibility. But somehow your journalistic practice looks the other way so that a journalist is able to exercise many rights over his subjects but zero moral responsibility toward them. That makes your position insensitive to say the least. [more]
Please read also: the referred letter of Mick Brown

21. Oct. 05 I
>> Open letter to Mr. Randeep Ramesh from " The Guardian"
In this article, you wrote that the assets of the Karma Kagyu school are estimated to be worth £600 million, and that two factions are fighting over these assets. This issue of who is claiming ownership of what has caused some confusion among the devotees of our sect as well as people around the world who are interested in the Karmapa issue. [more ]


21. Sep. 05 I   >> Rebuttal to Lea Terhune, author of "Karmapa: The Politics of Reincarnation"
To follow on previous statements on the Karmapa issue at this web-site, here are further 'proofs' supplied by none other than our detractors themselves: proofs to the effect that the whole controversy was conceived and put in motion by Mr. Juchen Tupten in the Tibetan exiled government, to subvert our rights to recognize the Karmapa from within; to bring Karma Kagyupa to its knees till it became a vassal to Dharamsala. [more ]

24. Aug. 05 I   >> Open letter by Shamar Rinpoche as response to a letter by Mick Brown
On the donation in question, you will recall that in your book The Dance of 17 Lives, on page 103, you write that Shamar ' also had a gift for raising funds. One Western devotee recalls being with him in New York, in an apartment on 5th Avenue, with a wealthy sponsor, and he extracted this $25,000 donation, just like that. He had enormous charm and personality. It was just his way.'

I have asked you to present your evidence for this alleged donation. [more ]

Overview Open letters

23. Aug. 05 I   >> New Karmapa Book Adds Balance

Visitors to this site may know that there has been a lot of publishing activity in the last few years on the controversy around the recognition of the seventeenth Karmapa. The Karmapa is the first reincarnated lama of Tibet and one of Buddhism's most venerated masters. As it turns out, he is also famous enough in the West to inspire four books in English, all published in 2003 and 2004. Unfortunately, the authors of these books show a unanimity of opinion that makes me wonder if they started their books together in the same coffee klatch. [ more ]

19. July. 05 I   >> Open letter by Khenpo Chödrag Tenphel to Mick Brown concerning the Black Crown
I am writing you about the pending inventory of valuables at Rumtek Monastery. I came to Rumtek in 1961 at the age of 10 years and was guided in meditation and studies by the late 16th Gyalwa Karmapa himself who appointed me to the office of Khenpo of the Monastery in 1976. I also, from an early age, acted as the personal secretary and assistant to His Holiness the Karmapa.[ more ]

08. July. 05 I  
>> Open letter by Lama Thubten Gyaltsen to Mick Brown concerning the Black Crown

As one of the best living authorities on the Black Crown, I can say without a doubt that you are mistaken here Mr. Brown. I am not sure who your source for this story is, but for those of us who packed the Black Crown at Tsurphu and helped His Holiness the sixteenth Karmapa bring it into exile, there is no doubt whatever that we brought the older crown from the Chengzu (Yongle) emperor and not the newer crown from the king of Li Jiang [ more ]

23. June. 05 I   Information about International Karma Kagyu Buddhist Organisation (IKKBO)

>> H.H. Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche's message to the IKKC
>> Statement by the monks community at the IKKC
>> Open letter to H.H. the Dalai Lama

27. Apr. 05 I   >> Statement on HH Dalai Lama's Comments about Rumtek Monastery by Shamar Rinpoche
Recently, HH Dalai Lama visited Gangtok, the capital city of the state of Sikkim in northeastern India . Gangtok is only a couple hours drive from Rumtek, the monastery that the sixteenth Karmapa built as his seat-in-exile in the early 1960s. His monks were violently expelled from Rumtek on a tragic day in August, 1993...[ more ]
07. Apr. 05 I   >> Open letter by Shamar Rinpoche to Mick Brown from 18. Mar. 05
Dear Mick Brown,

Thank you for your letter of 29 th July 2004. My understanding from your reply is that you will stand by the words you used in the description (of the $25,000 donation given to me by a New York City lady), and that your source has reconfirmed that they are 'entirely accurate'. But 'accuracy' is not the issue here. The real issue is Honesty: i.e. whether your source is honest or not, if indeed it ever existed...[ more ]

>> Open letter from 20. Mar. 05
>> Open letter from 28. Mar. 05

03. Nov. 04 I  

>> Novelist Tries to Wrestle with the Karmapa Controversy in Non-Fiction Format:

IKKBO Says She Should Have Stuck To Fiction

By the IKKBO, New Delhi [ more ]

06. Sep. 04 I  

His Master's Voice #8
Response to Brown's Attacks on Topga Rinpoche by Dawa Tsering

Director, Kathmandu Office, IKKBO

The eighth in a Series of responses to "The Dance of 17 Lives: The Incredible True Story of Tibet's 17 th Karmapa"
by Mick Brown (Bloomsbury, 2004).

>> Overview of all rebuttals

21. Oct. 04 I   >> Shamar Rinpoche Files Defamation Suit against Controversial Karmapa Book

Author Lea Terhune accused in spreading false information solely to harm Tibetan Buddhist leader and lineage

By the IKKBO, New Delhi [ more ]

09. Sep. 04 I  

>> New statement by the IKKBO
A Curious Question of Legal Strategy:
Where to Go Next on the Rumtek Case?
[ more ]


22. Jul. 04 I   >> Group Loses Legal Bid to Retain Control over Disputed Monastic Seat of the Karmapas
Indian Supreme Court Rejects Claim of Tsurphu Labrang, Clearing the Way for the Karmapa Charitable Trust to Regain Control of Rumtek Monastery [ more ]

Also read the text of the decision from the Indian Supreme Court.

15. Jun. 04 I  

>> Clarification of the Term 'Heart Sons'
by Shamar Rinpoche
Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.
For reasons that I cannot fathom, recent books on the Karmapa controversy by two supporters of Tai Situ Rinpoche, Lea Terhune and Mick Brown, employ the term 'Heart Sons' to describe four Karma Kagyu lamas Shamar Rinpoche, Situ Rinpoche, Gyaltsab Rinpoche and Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche.
[ more ]

08. Jun. 04 I   >> Setting the Record Straight #3
The third in a Series of Responses to Karmapa: The Politics of Reincarnation by Lea Terhune (Wisdom Publications, 2004)

Read article Nr.
[ 1 ] [ 2 ]

19. May 04 I   >> Karmapa Charitable Trust: Press Release

13. May 04 I   >> Examining the Death of Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche

04. Jan.04 I
  >> Official Statement of Shamar Rinpoche concerning Lama Naran Singh's Recent High Court Case Against H. H. the Dalai Lama

25. Sept.03 I
  >>The Indian court decision on Rumtek!

Here are the scans of the original documents of the indian court. [ more ]
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