By Phurbu Thinley
Dharamsala, August 26: His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje will be in the Indian city of Kolkata on Thursday to pay tribute to Mother Teresa on her birth centenary.
The Karmapa in New York, USA, May 18, 2008 (Photo: Phayul/file)
The Karmapa is expected to visit Mother House in the afternoon and offer a floral tribute at the place where Mother Teresa was laid to rest, media reports said.
Later in the evening, Karmapa will inaugurate a photo exhibition and attend the Mother's birth centenary celebrations organized by the Young Men's Welfare Society.
A revered spiritual leader and a leading figure in the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism, the young Karmapa made headlines when he arrived in Dharamsala in 2000 following a dramatic escape from Tibet. He was barely 14 when he escaped.
Ogyen Trinley Dorje, who turned 25 in June, lives near Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile led by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in north India.
In 2001, he was granted refugee status by the Government of India and has been permitted by the Indian government to visit Buddhist sites elsewhere in the country. He makes annual trips to Bodh Gaya and Sarnath where he presides over important Kagyu ceremonies.
The Karmapa also made his maiden and the only visit outside India in May 2008 to the United States after the Ministry of External Affairs of the Indian government granted him permission for the visit that took place between May 15 and June 2, 2008.
Just last month, the young lama, often touted by the media as a possible successor to the Dalai Lama, was prohibited from going abroad for the second consecutive time by the Indian Government. He was scheduled to leave for the United States on a two week religious tour on the invitation of Karma Triyana Dharamchakra centre in Woodstock in New York.
This was after he was denied permission earlier in April this year to visit Europe where he was to give a series of religious teachings in nine European countries.
So far no specific reason has been cited for denying the permission.
Born on June 26, 1985, in Kham region of eastern Tibet, Karmapa is the only leading Tibetan religious figure who is recognized both by the Dalai Lama and Chinese Communist government.
A report by Radio Free Asia earlier this month said Chinese authorities in Chamdo region in eastern Tibet have placed restrictions on displaying and possessing pictures of the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa.
China in 2007 introduced a new rule that bans Tibetan lamas without China’s approval; a move that analysts say is intended to influence the selection of the next Dalai Lama. China says all reincarnate lamas of Tibet or “living Buddhas” must have government’s approval. Tibetans don’t agree and say Beijing is now interfering even in the ancient and traditional reincarnation system of the Tibetan Buddhism for its ulterior political motives.
Karmapa says he escaped Tibet out of fear the Chinese government would use him as a political pawn - “to curse the Dalai Lama” - among other things.