News and Views on Tibet

Nepal rescinds permission for Buddhist leader’s cremation

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DHARAMSHALA, JULY 14: The government of Nepal has revoked its decision to allow the last rituals of a prominent Buddhist leader who passed away in Germany last month due to heart attack, reported the New York Times.

The Nepalese Embassy in New Delhi had earlier issued a “no objection letter” for the body of Shamar Rinpoche to be taken to Nepal for the last rituals but reversed the decision after Nepal’s Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued directives to revoke the permission.

As per the wishes of the late Shamar Rinpoche his body was scheduled to be brought to Nepal for cremation at his own monastery, the Shar Minub in Kathmandu on Monday.

Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, a spokesman for Nepal’s Home Ministry, said the “no objection letter was retracted after we came to know that Rinpoche was found possessing a Bhutanese diplomatic passport.”

Nepal, home to some 20,000 Tibetans, has accommodated Tibetan exiles for decades but has come under increasing pressure from China, a major donor for the impoverished country, to crack down on the political protests by Tibetan refugees on its territory.

Sey Namkha Dorje, a Buddhist Scholar in Nepal, told the New York Times that China might have pressed Nepal to reverse its decision because a representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama was to participate in the rituals.

Lobsang Tseten, Asia Regional Coordinator for International Tibet Network, said he was not surprised by Nepal’s refusal to allow the last rites of Shamar Rinpoche. “Being born and brought up in Nepal, I have seen the rise in the level of repression by the Nepalese government towards the Tibetan community,” said Lobsang.

“Past few years, we have seen similar acts carried out by the Nepalese government. Refusal to allow proper cremation for Karma Nyidon Gyatso who self immolated in Kathmandu clearly shows China’s influence on Nepal,” said Lobsang.

The body of Shamar Rinpoche was kept at the Karmapa Buddhist Institute in New Delhi till July 1st, and then at Diwakar Institute in Kalimpong. “Due to some unanticipated circumstances, we have had to postpone the departure of Shamar Rinpoche’s kudung from Kalimpong on July 13, 2014. We regret the inconvenience that this may have caused on your travel plans. We will be providing the updates once the date has been confirmed,” said a statement on the official website of Shamar Rinpoche.

Shamar Rinpoche Mipham Chokyi Lodro was born in Derge, Tibet. At the age of four he was recognized by the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpei Dorje as the 14th Shamarpa.

The 14th Shamar Rimpoche wass one of the three main disciples of the previous Karmapa. After the death of the 16th Karmapa, Shamarpa recognized Thaye Dorje as the 17th Karmapa in 1994. However, Tai Situpa Rinpoche chose another boy, Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the 17th Karmapa who was approved by the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

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