By Tenzin Dharpo
Trinley Thaye Dorje (Left) and Ogyen Trinley Dorje, in France on Oct 11, 2018
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 11: In a move seen as truce between opposing claimants of the Karmapa title, the two main claimants of the title to the foremost religious head of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism have met in a bid to “heal divisions” and “strengthen and preserve” the lineage.
In a joint statement by Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje and Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorjee released on Thursday, the two said they met in a rural location in France recently “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,” the statement read.
The two young Tibetan religious figures said that they talked about ways “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.”
The two Karmapas in their apparent understanding of the positive ramifications further said that the “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”
The two urged followers and the Karma Kagyu community to join them in their efforts to strengthen and preserve the lineage. “We view it as our collective responsibility to restore harmony to our tradition which is a lineage of wisdom and compassion,” the statement read.
The Karmapas controversy stems primarily due to the emergence of opposing claimants to the title of the age-old Karma Kagyu lineage. The Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje who escaped Tibet in the year 2000 was recognized by the Dalai Lama as the 17th Karmapa and enjoys backing from key ranking figures in the lineage such as Tai Situpa.
The Indian government has also signalled change in their approach to host Ogyen Trinley Dorje who is currently in the US, with a senior official from the Ministry of Home Affairs saying that the government is willing to further ease travel restrictions and dispel Indian intelligence notions that he may be a foreign agent, ushering a renewed outlook for the Tibetan religious figure.
His counterpart Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje was recognised by another prominent religious figure Shamar Rinpoche who passed away in 2014.
Rumtek monastery, also called Dharmachakra centre in Sikkim, considered as the main seat of Karma Kagyu lineage in exile is also the focal point of this sectarian tension between the two organizations, Tsurphu Labrang (supporting Ogyen Trinley Dorje) and Karmapa Charitable trust (supporting Thaye Dorje). The Karmapa controversy is played out in the Indian court as the two rival parties supporting the two candidacies has reached an impasse.