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The following transcript and photos comprise a press release regarding 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje's first public comments since the Indian police raided his monastery on Friday—seizing over $700,000 in donations. Since the raid, there has been a world-wide showing of support for the lama as well as controversy surrounding widely questioned reports and accusations that he is a Chinese spy.
(Dharamsala, February 2, 2011) His Holiness the Karmapa addressed a huge gathering of supporters this afternoon, acknowledging the difficult situation and stating that he trusts that the matter will be cleared in time. His Holiness further contrasted the rule of law in India to the system of communist China, calling India a second homeland for Tibetans. In a show of solidarity with His Holiness, the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of the Tibetan government-in-exile, Dolma Gyari and seven other members of the Tibetan government shared the stage with His Holiness while he spoke.
The comments marked the first time that His Holiness the Karmapa has spoken publicly since the investigation began. His Holiness was speaking at the behest of several thousand Tibetan supporters who had staged a march from the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in McLeod Ganj to His Holiness the Karmapa’s residence in the Kangra valley, a march of several hours. The organizers of the march, leaders of the Free Tibet movement, specified that it was not a protest, explaining that they were not opposing anyone, but merely showing their unequivocal confidence and trust in His Holiness the Karmapa.
“We usually hold public audiences on Wednesdays and Saturdays,” said His Holiness the Karmapa. “Today, so many people have gathered to show their love, sincere intentions and support, and I want to especially thank you and express my heartfelt gratitude. We are now facing such a situation, which has arisen due to misunderstandings and mistakes, that it has even caused concern to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
“India has become a second homeland to Tibetans. We all have taken refuge and settled here. India, in contrast to communist China, is a free country, a democratic country that is based on the rule of law. Therefore I trust that things will improve and the truth will become clear in time. So please be at ease. There is no need to worry.
“You have all borne hardship to come here under this hot sun, and I thank you for that too. It seems there are too many people here today to receive you individually. You can see me from there and I can see you, so perhaps there is no need to give individual blessings.”
Along with the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Dolma Gyari, sharing the stage in a show of their support for His Holiness the Karmapa were the following members of the Parliament of the Tibetan government-in-exile: Geshe Monlam Tharsi, Sonam Damdul, Sherab Tharchin, Tsering Youdon, Nawang Lhamo and Dawa Tsering.
His Holiness was confident and serene at all times while speaking. Since the investigation began, His Holiness has continued to receive visitors and participate in a major annual ritual cycle taking place, while also offering his full cooperation to the investigation.
*There is another claimant to the seat of 17th Karmapa, Thaye Dorje. Tricycle does not take sides in sectarian disputes.