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Reply by Shamar Rinpoche to question from Tseten
   

 
   

IIIIIIIII Date: 15.04.01

Question:
Your Eminence Shamar Rinpoche, With the utmost respect, I want to ask you: Why are you and your "clique" of a few Buddhist teachers unknown to most Tibetans fighting very aggressively for the recognition of your "Karmapa" (www.karmapa.com)? You believe that you had the responsibility for searching him and you think that you have found the right Lama. Then why don't you pray and be happy with him? If you have nothing to hide, why do you still indict other institutions? If you truthfully claim that no Dalai Lama ever had had a say in the internal affairs of the Karma Kagyu Lineage, then why do you fight so violently for the Dalai Lama's recognition? On one side you claim that you fight for the survival of an old institution and on the other side you accuse and allege other old Buddhist institutions and high teachers, who should be working for the survival of their old Buddhist traditions, too. What is so problematic about letting Situ's group (www.karma-kagyu-verein.de) follow their own Lama who they have found. If you are right, they can't be a problem for you. Tolerance and respect is asked from both sides. Who is right and who is wrong, who knows. It is especially weird for a fellow Tibetan to hear from you and various members of your group all kinds of accusations against our Government in Exile. As a Tibetan you should know that Tibet was lost partly due to its rejection of modern technology and science that the thirteenth Dalai Lama had already introduced to the country. We are in the process of building a good democratic future government of Tibet. This is important for all Tibetans, not just for a small group. It would be good if you had a second thought on the consequences of your actions before you made them an object for criticism from outsiders. The Tibetans in exile have made mistakes, and we have learned from them. Democracy is nothing that comes out of the blue sky and can be installed instantly when we return to Tibet. It needs long term practice and experience. We have a golden opportunity to perform it now in exile, while our government resides in the biggest democratic country of the world. It is known to all intellectual Tibetans and Tibet experts in Tibet and outside Tibet that the future of the Tibet will be decided by the Tibetans and not any religious institutions. Tibet was lost because too many people from nobility and religious groups clang to their little field of interest rather than working together for the general good. These mistakes should be avoided in the future. I sincerely wish you a good health.
Most respectfully, Dr. Tseten Trinley Cc: Tibetan Association Germany; German-Tibetan Cultural Society


Answer:
Dear Mr. Tseten Trinley, I would like to respond point by point to your letter.

1. You write: "…a few Buddhist teachers unknown to most Tibetans fighting very aggressively..." The Buddhist teachers you refer to as "unknown", may be unknown to you, however they are quite prominent to many others-- Tibetans and Himalayans alike. In any case, these Rinpoches are known throughout the world to actively serve the Karma Kagyu, and are definitely committed to opposing those who betrayed the lineage. We have never fought aggressively. It is well known in India and the rest of the world, that the traitors within the Karma Kagyu have initiated the fighting and have on three separate occasions physically fought against the spiritual teachers and monks who wish to preserve the authenticity of the Karma Kagyu. During the second and third of these aggressive actions, 'Dotod' people in the Tibetan Exile Government's organization, joined the attack against the Karmapas monasteries in Rumtek and New Delhi. We have videocassettes of these attacks, but we have not circulated these publicly in U.S. and Europe, in order to protect the reputation of Tibet. Would you rather these cassettes were circulated to clear up the confusion of people like you? If you are certain that we have been the aggressors, please show your proof. We have suffered beatings and attacks patiently. Our response has always been to clarify the false accusations, allegations, misrepresentations of history, and lies that those who betrayed and their collaborators have disseminated.

2. You write: "You believe that you had the responsibility for searching him and you think that you have found the right Lama. Then why don't you pray and be happy with him?"
If I were simply a follower of the Karma Kagyu Lineage, I could do as you suggest, be a devotee, pray, and not have to look for the reincarnation of Karmapa. But, I am ShaMarpa and I have the responsibility of protecting the lineage. The situation is not just a matter of finding the reincarnation, but now involves protecting the monasteries and the rights of lineage from those who wish to sell it out. I am a man of principle. If you don't know who ShaMarpa is, go to Bonn University where you will find the complete historical record of my past and my responsibilities.

3. You write: "If you have nothing to hide, why do you still indict other institutions?" Where and when have I indicted other institutions? If I have done this you should be able to prove two points:
a. That I said something about another school that is baseless and untrue.
b. That when I did say something critical about another school, it was said for reasons other than those specifically related to our current Karma Kagyu problems.

4. You write: "If you truthfully claim that no Dalai Lama ever had had a say in the internal affairs of the Karma Kagyu Lineage, they why do you fight so violently for the Dalai Lama's recognition?" I have never requested the Dalai Lama's recognition for Karmapa Thaye Dorje. From the beginning to the present, my stand has been consistent: the Dalai Lama has no authority in the recognition of a Karmapa. Secondly, the world is witness to the fact that I have never acted violently. If you can prove otherwise, please do so.

5. You write: "On one side you claim that you fight for the survival of an old institution and on the other side you accuse and allege other old Buddhist institution and high teachers, who should be working for the survival of the old Buddhist traditions, too." The procedure by which the boy Ogen Trinley was recognized and enthroned as Karmapa was highly irregular and not in accordance with Karma Kagyu tradition. In late 1991, Situ Rinpoche secretly collaborated with the Chinese government in Beijing where they jointly decided to select Ogen Trinley as Karmapa. When Situ came back to India, he produced the so called prediction letter of the 16th Karmapa from around his neck-a letter for which we all had been searching for the last 11 years. How amazing! When I, ShaMarpa, and the 16th Karmapa's monks demanded the letter be submitted to forensic testing because it was obviously written in Situ's handwriting, Situ's collaborators attacked Rumtek Monastery to prevent this from happening. At the same time the Chinese government enthroned Ogen Trinley in Tibet. H. H. Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile fully supported the aggressive physical attack on Rumtek Monastery, Situ's collaboration with China, and the Chinese government's authority to recognize and enthrone Karmapa. Please show me that this is as you say, the authentic procedure of an old Buddhist institution, and I will surrender. My goal is to defend and protect my school, the Karma Kagyu, from those who wish to destroy it. I did not object to Ogen Trinley taking the name of Karmapa, but I do object to him taking over Rumtek Monastery as the Dalai Lama wishes. I will defend against this for these reasons:
a. Rumtek Monastery was both the seat and the most important monastery built by H.H. 16th Karmapa. I, from my position as ShaMarpa, do not want this to fall into the hands of a political puppet.
b. Legally, Rumtek Monastery belongs to 16th Karmapa, not to the Dalai Lama. My brother and I are 16th Karmapa's direct nephews and wish to protect his property from those who want to illegally take it over.
c. I am one of the Trustees of the Karmapa Charitable Trust, the legal caretakers of the monastery. All of the Trustees except one, Situ Rinpoche, as well as Karmapa's legitimate monks, support my view in this matter. Please tell me on what grounds, either spiritually or legally, the Dalai Lama has the right to make decisions over the use and ownership of the monastery that belongs to the 16th Karmapa, which is on land given to him by the Sikkimese king in 1960.

6. You write: "What is so problematic about letting Situ's group follow their own Lama who they have found…" We have never objected to Situ following his own Lama.

7. You write: "It is especially weird for a fellow Tibetan to hear from you and various members of your group all kinds of accusations against our Government in Exile." We never made accusations against the Tibetan Government in Exile until we were forced to defend ourselves against the Government in Exile's involvement in the internal affairs of the Karma Kagyu. The shocking behavior of the Exile Government in taking the side of one faction while trying to distroy the other, made the internal problem infinitely worse. Their actions made it necessary to expose their treachery. But how did we do this? As always we did it in a nonviolent, responsible manner by respectfully explaining the events and historical context of the problem. I find it interesting that when the Dorje Shugden organization violently protested, accused and attacked the Dalai Lama, you were frightened into silence. But when we respond to the Exile Government's dishonest interference in our internal affairs in a respectful manner, you are fearless and make bold accusations that we are being violent. This is wrong.

8. You write: "We are in the process of building a good democratic future government of Tibet. This is important for all Tibetans, not just a small group. It would be good if you had a second thought on the consequences of your actions before you made them an object for criticism from outsiders."
This is exactly what we have been saying to the Exile Government of Tibet. You should direct this comment to them, not to us..

9. You write: "The Tibetans in exile have made mistakes, and we have learned from them. Democracy is nothing that comes out of the blue shy and can be installed instantly when we return to Tibet. It needs long term practice and experience. We have a golden opportunity to perform it now in exile, while our government resides in the biggest democratic country of the world. It is known to all intellectual Tibetans and Tibet experts in Tibet and outside Tibet that the future of the Tibet will be decided by the Tibetans and not any religious institutions."
I congratulate you on your view.

10. You write: "Tibet was lost because too many people from nobility and religious groups clang to their little field of interest rather than working together for the general good. These mistakes should be avoided in the future." I do not agree that Tibet was lost because of nobility and religious groups. I think it was lost because religious institutions and lamas took over the government. In 1988 in front of H.H. Dalai Lama and many Tibetan religious leaders in Varanasi, from my position as a spiritual leader, I suggested that government and religion should be separated. Lay people should run the government in a democratic manner. I also specifically emphasized that H.H. Dalai Lama is the only one who can institute this change. Thank you for you interest.

My best wishes for you. ShaMarpa

     
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