Newspaper: Amar Ujala (Immortal Shine)
April 14, 2000, by DR. UPENDRA
fact, the 17th Karmapa Ugyen Thinley Dorji is an adult, not a 14 year-old
boy as have been said by the China Government or the Tibetan Government
Orgen Thinley was invited to visit Ladak by the original Himalayan Buddhist
Association Pro Tibet Campaign. The Venerable Lama Lobzang, an officer
of the Minority Committee of India, under the instruction of the Tibetan
Government in Exile, was in charge of his visit. Ladak is a Buddhist kingdom
of the Drukpa Kagyupa School, headed by Heme Taktsang Monastery. Currently,
the leader of that monastery is H. H. Drukchen Rinpoche.
The second largest Buddhist school is Dri Gung Kagyupa School. The third
largest is the Gyalupa School of the Dalai Lama. The Karma Kagyu School
is small but people in Ladak are very devoted to the Karmapa. Previous
ShaMarpas have had influence over the Dri Gung Monasteries in Ladak, and
the 10th ShaMarpa Chodrub Gyathso's mother was a princess of Ladak. On
August 29, 2001, Orgen Thinley came to New Delhi from Gyuto Monastery
in Dharamsala to begin this trip. For weeks in advance, the Ladak office
of the Tibetan Government in Exile and the Himalayan Buddhist Association
jointly prepared for his arrival, arranging for him to stay at the Dalai
Lama's house in Leh, the capital of Ladak In Ladak there are only two
Karma Kagyu monasteries.
Lama Chimye Rinpoche developed the Karma Kagyu monastery near the Dalai
Lama's house in Leh in the early 1960's under the instruction of His Holiness
the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. This monastery was approached by the Tibetan
Government in Exile and asked to participate officially in the visit.
The monastery officials refused, saying that Orgen Thinley had not been
recognized in the traditional manner. In the Karma Kagyu tradition, the
Karmapa recognizes the ShaMarpa, and then the ShaMarpa recognizes the
Karmapa. ShaMarpa never recognized Orgen Thinley. In addition they said
that because there has been so much underhanded politics involved in the
recognition process of Orgen Thinley, they wished to remain neutral.
They would not welcome Orgen Thinley, but they would not protest either.
The second Karma Kagyu Monastery is Mahe Monastery, newly built by Situ
Rinpoche in the Northern part of Ladak. This monastery joined in the preparations
to enthusiastically welcome Orgen Thinley. There is also Karma Kagyu School
in Leh, under the guidance of Reverend Chonyi Dorje, which was asked to
join in the preparations. They too, refused. The Tibetan Government in
Exile was very upset that the local Karma Kagyu institutions refused to
participate, saying that Orgen Thinley was not recognized in the traditional
manner by the proper authorities.
This greatly affected his prestige to the Ladaki people. September 2,
when Orgen Thinley arrived from Delhi, thousands of Ladaki people and
Tibetan refugees, Gyalupa Monastery and Mahe Monastery monks, and several
Ladaki Government Officials, including the queen of Ladak, gathered at
the airport to receive him. The next day many people came to for his blessing
at the house where he was saying. On September 4, over seven thousand
people came to a public initiation given by Orgen Thinley on the ground
where the Dalai Lama usually conducts his teaching ceremonies. At 11:30
that morning, Orgen Thinley came to the grounds and ascended the throne
in and elaborate procession with costumes, musical instruments, yellow
silk umbrellas, etc. Monks lead the public in the mandala offering, after
which Orgen Thinley started the initiation. As he was conducting the initiation,
a very unusual strong blue whirlwind blew from the south and greatly disturbed
the area. The public covered their heads and remained.
Then a stronger wind with red dust blew in. As the wind continued the
dust turned black and everyone including the Karmapa ran away. There was
a panic, and the police had to shoot their guns in the air to disperse
the crowd. The wind blew for the entire day and Orgen Thinley could not
continue the initiation. The failure of the initiation was a great disappointment
for the supporters of Orgen Thinley. Afterwards people said that the wind
came because the Protector Dieties of Ladak did not welcome Orgen Thinley
because he is not the authentic Karmapa. These rumors revived stories
of previous bad omens connected with Orgen Thinley. People began to talk
about the day of his escape from Tibet, when concurrently the Dalai Lama
was in a very bad accident in Varainassi, which killed his driver.
Another bad omen was that with the very first step that Orgen Thinley
made on the holy ground of BodGaya, through his pride he kept his shoes
on and was fined 100 rupees by the authorities. The third bad omen was
this terrible wind, which interrupted the biggest ceremony he had ever
begun. Talk of these bad omens has badly affected Orgen Thinley's reputation.
The next few days of his visit, Orgen Thinley was to tour the monasteries
of Leh. He tried to visit Heme Monastery, but they did not wish to welcome
him. He went there anyway, and a few people did open the shrine room to
let him see the Buddhas. Then he visited other Dri Gung Monasteries, and
was not welcomed there either.
At one he was offered a cup of tea, but there were no official ceremonies
showing respect. The cool reception by the Kagupa monasteries also affected
his reputation badly. Then Orgen Thinley visited the Gyalupa Monasteries,
which arranged everything for him in a very elaborate way. Again, another
bad omen occurred. During the monk's procession at Trektse Monastery,
the largest Gyalupa Monastery, another great wind came and disturbed the
procession. The ceremonial umbrella, which was held over Orgen Thinley's
head, was destroyed and the golden jewel on the top of it fell off and
rolled across the ground. According to Buddhists, this is a very bad omen.
The organizers also tried to invite him to Situ's monastery in the North,
but the Indian Government did not allow him to visit there.
On the 12th of September he returned to the Gyuto Monastery in Dharamsala.
Afterwards, many officials of the Tibetan Government in Exile in Ladak
tried to put a good face on the disaster of the trip maintaining that
it had been successful. However, they were very disappointed, and talk
circulated privately that the visit was a disaster, like food without