MISSING DORJE with UGYEN TRINLEY –
by a Staff Reporter
Rumtek: At least four items have been found to be
missing so far – and one of them given away to Ugyen
Trinley Dorje – from the articles of faith belonging
to the Karmapa at the Rumtek Dharma Chakra’s
enthronement room. The work inside the main treasure
room did not begin till the time of going to press
because none of the parties involved could produce the
key to the door of the room, bringing in another twist
in the controversy.
A bell and a dorje, item No. 14 in the ‘List of Ritual
Objects’ in Schedule ‘A’ properties, and described as
“Old ‘Korlo ma’ bell, with dorje with piece of
turquoises (sic). Dorje is gold plated and a little
defect on the spokes” was not found during the
inventorisation. The representatives of Goshir
Gyaltsab Rinpoche is reported to have told the
Commissioner that the set, used by the 14th Karmapa,
and considered to be very holy, has already been given
to Ugyen Trinley Dorje, one of the two main claimants
to the throne of the Karmapa.
Along with this, other precious items missing are Item
No. 11(Silver foot of silver – sic –carved lotus, gold
flower and turquoises); Item No. 33 (Mixed metal
mirror gilded with gold flower and one torquoises(sic)
in the center; and Item No. 34 (Mixed metal mirror,
with seven auspicious signs on the back)
According to agency reports, Sonam Ongmu, speaking on
behalf of the Goshir Camp, confirmed that the
bell-and-dorje set has been given to Ugyen Trinley
Dorje. There was no information about where the other
items have gone.
Meanwhile, the process of inventorisation was reduced
to a formality as the keys to the main room where the
Karmapa treasures are left could not be traced. None
of the parties accepted that they have the keys. V.K.
Sharma, the Commissioner appointed by the District
Court (North and East), for taking inventory of Rumtek
Dharma Chakra Centre properties, was left with little
The camp of Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche, who are in
occupation of Rumtek at present, had said that that
the seal on the lock could be broken, since it had not
been put by the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, “but had been put
on the lock by the members of the monk’s body in
1992’’. They have even agreed to get a locksmith to
make a duplicate key for the lock and have it opened
for the Commissioner to take the inventory of the main
artifacts and ritual objects.
However, the Commissioner has said that he would seek
the court’s advice on this before breaking the seal.
The entire process for inventory is of five days and
is to culminate on 13 July as per schedule. Till 11
July, 42 items have been taken up for inventorisation.
Some sacred texts were found to be missing as well,
though it could not be concluded that they have been
taken away, till the time that the inventorisation is
completed. The Commissioner has now just two days to
complete the inventorisation, and Item No. 61 itself
will take a very long time to scrutiny, as it contains
“226 pieces of Chamgos (mask dance uniforms) made up
of antique Chinese brocades. Among the 226 pieces,
four pairs of Chamgos, made during the reign of Kublia
Khan, depict fir pattern. These are in the main
prayer hall in cupboards having 1,000 Buddha statues.
By the time this is invemtorised, the Commissioner
will have no time left for opening the main room. He
has so far not sought the intervention or the advice
of the court regarding the breaking of the seal,
getting a duplicate key made and the room opened. None
of the two main parties are reportedly willing to move
the court either.
Earlier, on 8 July, the Commissioner had reached
Rumtek at around 11.00 am, and has taken his office
that Gyaltsab Rinpoche’s followers had, as per court
orders, made for him. He had held rounds of
discussions and offered prayers at the shrine.
Later he had inspected the Monastery in General,
reviewing the rooms that hold the sacred treasures.
Till lunch, the keys could not be traced, though a few
months earlier, Goshir Gyaltsab had said he had handed
over the keys to the Tsurphu Lhabrang. The meetings
broke for lunch and later, the Commissioner went back
to work at around 2.30 pm.
The first day’s inventorisation work ended past 4.00
pm, and the Commissioner along with other officials
left for Gangtok.
The Commissioner was, however, not available for
comments. In general, he has refused to speak with the
press and even during his last visit in April, he had
said that he would only communicate with the court, to
which he is solely responsible.
Phunshuk Lama (ADC to Ogyen Trinley Dorje), Tenzing
Namgyal (general secretary of Tsurphu Lhabrang Office
in Exile) and one advocate representing Goshir
Gyaltsab Rinpoche, along with T.S. Gyaltsen, Gyanjyoti
Khangsa and an advocate for the Karmapa Charitable
Trust representing the plaintiff are involved in the
Out of ‘The Weekend Review’ in their ‘Sikkim Update’
page No. 10, and dated 12-18 July, 2002