August 01, 2014

A Shamarpa without Borders

After over a month of political turmoil, the 14th Shamar Rinpoche is cremated in Nepal.Ralph Frammolino

KATHMANDU, Nepal—It was the kind of ceremony that the honored guest seemed to be directing from the Beyond: thousands of students and admirers, from peons to a Nepalese government minister, converging on a half-built monastery to attend the traditional cremation rite of a vajra master that, even in death, stirred up an international fuss.

They came to honor the 14th Shamar Rinpoche, Mipham Chokyi Lodro (1952–2014), a spiritual force who understood that staying true to his calling as the second-highest ranking lama of the Karma Kagyu order wouldn't win him any dharmic popularity contests. To many, he was a polarizing figure, an uncompromising traditionalist.

But to his students and friends, especially those in the West, he was a gentle and occasionally irreverent teacher who defied convention, saw straight into our secret fears, foretold our futures, and insisted on teaching Westerners the essence of the holy dharma, untainted by sectarianism. 

In other words, he was a Shamarpa without borders.

So it was only fitting that after Rinpoche died suddenly of heart failure on June 11 in Germany, the traditional 49 days of mourning would be anything but normal. His death triggered a political row about where his body would be cremated that lasted until Tuesday, July 29.

Shortly after he passed away, the Government of Nepal issued a "no objection" letter to an official request to perform the rite at Rinpoche's new Shar Minub monastery on the edge of Nepal's rowdy capital city. The complex, still under construction, is to be the new and extended version of the monastery that Shamarpa and his predecessors have contributed to and helped maintain atop Swayambhu, a Buddhist-Hindu religious complex in Kathmandu, for more than 300 years.

Days later the government reversed its decision, leaving hundreds of Shamar Rinpoche's students from the Americas to Europe to the Far East with nonrefundable tickets to Kathmandu, and sending Rinpoche's body, or kudung, on a slow trip to nowhere. 

His corpse was greeted by tens of thousands of people in Renchen-Ulm, Germany; New Delhi and Kalimpong, India; and at the Royal Palace in Bhutan, where Rinpoche had an especially close relationship with the royal family. Meanwhile, Kagyu leaders huddled privately with Nepalese officials while more than 13,000 supporters signed a petition in four days to get the reversal reversed.

Rumors abounded. The prevailing one was the Nepalese government was acting at the behest of the Chinese, who wanted to prevent the cremation out of fear it would inspire political protests among Tibetan exiles living in Nepal. Whatever the reasons, the government's reversal catapulted the cremation into the headlines. With only two days to go, the Nepalese government relented. The Cabinet met Tuesday morning and formalized a policy allowing the remains of foreigners to come into the country if they have contributed significantly to Nepal's cultural or economic welfare. 

By Tuesday afternoon, the body had arrived in Kathmandu. Tens of thousands of Nepalis and Tibetans lined the streets as the motorcade brought the kudung on its last trip to Swayambhu before depositing it at Shar Minub. The next day, a long queue of mourners braved the sweltering monsoon heat to lay katas—white ceremonial scarvesbefore the remains, contained in a box atop the shrine.

They came to pay their last respects to one of the most powerful figures in Tibetan Buddhism. Mipham Chokyi Lodro was born in 1952 in Derge, Tibet and was recognized at age 4 by the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. He received his monastic education at Rumtek Monastery, seat of the Kagyu order, in Sikkim.

The Karmapas and Shamarpas are the two oldest lines of reincarnated Tibetan Buddhist meditations masters—predating even the line of Dalai Lamas—and have enjoyed a unique tag-team leadership role over the centuries. They are considered two sides of the same coin: as one Karmapa dies, it is often the Shamarpa who leads the lineage while recognizing and grooming the next Karmapa, and vice versa. 

Ironically, it was the 14th Shamarpa's determination to carry on with this tradition that put him at odds with other Kagyu leaders. While they sought out the Dalai Lama's blessing for one Karmapa candidate, Shamar Rinpoche recognized and enthroned Trinley Thaye Dorje as the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa. This in turn touched off a struggle over who should control the 16th Karmapa's seat in exile, a fight that spilled out into public view when Rinpoche filed suit to get the seat of the order and its ancient relics back. The case is pending.

While the fight drained the Shamarpa—and marked him as Tibetan Buddhism's bad boy—he refused to let it define him. 

He was an immensely popular teacher who looked after 800 other traditional monasteries throughout Tibet and the Himalayas while helping individual students in the West clarify even their most personal decisions. He was a precocious lifelong learner, a trickster who loved to tweak his followers and even make fun of himself. Once after talking about intricate Dharma rituals to a student, Shamarpa stopped himself, widened his eyes and raised his hands. "Hocus Pocus!" 

He wrote a book about reforming government corruption; started a school in rural India; founded a meditation center in Natural Bridge, Virginia; visited the oppressed Chakma Buddhists in Bangladesh's Chittagong Hill Tracts; and cared deeply about animals, founding the Infinite Compassion Foundation for their humane and ethical treatment. 

One of Shamarpa's biggest causes was teaching the nonsectarian and secular practice of Buddhism as it spread to other parts of the world. To that end, he established the Bodhi Path Centers in the United States, Latin America, Asia, and Europe. He insisted that his students steer clear of the Karmapa controversy or the Chinese issue and concentrate instead on practicing lojong [mind training] and shamatha [calm abiding meditation] and learning seminal Buddhist teachings.

In the months leading up to his death, Rinpoche took on a new urgency to set his projects in order. He made a US book tour marking the publication of his The Path to Awakening. He solidified the financing for continuing construction of Shar Minub, which he began in 2003. He cleaned out his residence at the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute in New Delhi. He had all of his clothes cleaned.

He dropped hints. He didn't expect to grow old. He was tired of his body. He proclaimed that he would pass away quietly. He began stressing impermanence. 

Out for dinner after a teaching at his Renchen-Ulm center, he ordered a second steak. "This will be my last dinner," he told companions, who took it to mean that he wouldn't eat after lunch. Two days later, at the breakfast table, he bowed his head and died, sitting up. Students report that his meditation lasted two days, during which his body stayed warm.

The cremation rite on Thursday, July 31 featured an unprecedented array of Buddhist leaders from all of the Himalayan orders, including the Newar community and members of the Bon religion. Representatives of the Bhutanese Royal Family and the Nepalese Minister of Information and Communication attended and paid homage.  

Making his first visit to Kathmandu, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje, officiated over the ceremony, circumambulating the white stupa containing Rinpoche's remains. Led by their spiritual leaders, hundreds of monastics from the Karma Kagyu, Drukpa Kagyu, Sakya, and Nyingma orders performed six different rituals simultaneously before following the Karmapa up the steps of a platform atop the monastery to oversee the lighting of the pyre by a boy who had never met Shamarpa, according to the dictates of tradition.

As flames shot into the stupa and smoke billowed out, thousands of onlookers standing on the monastery roof and the surrounding hills clasped their hands in prayer, chanted, or watched silently. Some wept. Many remembered words spoken during one of the last teachings Shamarpa gave: "You don't need to be afraid of death if you know how to practice in death."

For more on Rinpoche and his activities, see shamarpa.org or sharminub.org.

Ralph Frammolino, a former Los Angeles Times investigative reporter and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, is a crisis communication and strategic media consultant. He was a student of Shamar Rinpoche for six years.

Image 1: Fire shoots through the stupa holding Shamar Rinpoche’s remains and consumes the traditional canopy over the pyre, which was built atop the concrete roof of his unfinished Shar Minub monastery in Kathmandu. Photograph by Tokpa Korlo.

Image 2The 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje (center), head of the Karma Kagyu order, leads a puja before before the funeral pyre of his mentor, Shamar Rinpoche, was set on fire. Photograph by Tokpa Korlo.

Shamar Rinpoche at Tricycle

"Tulku, Inc." - An interview with Shamar Rinpoche on the perils of picking a teacher

Tricycle Talk with Shamar Rinpoche - An audio interview with Shamar Rinpoche

"Mipham Chokyi Lodro, the 14th Sharmapa, Dies at 61" - An obituary by Pamela Gayle White

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Naive's picture

If the high Lamas are at odds regarding who is the rightful Karmapa then how is any ordinary person such as myself going to know? If we don't know, then who should I take teachings from? Who is telling the truth, who can be trusted? There are so many doubts.

peacenik's picture

I've never understood the "problem" of having two Karmapas.
As far as I'm concerned having two Karmapas means that the benefits are multiplied. It is only a slightly greater "mystery" to have two Karmapas than one. In fact, that there are lamas at all to reflect and personify the nature of our Mind is a great mystery, to say nothing of tulkus . So, I say let's celebrate and delight in as many tulkus as there are grains of sand . . .

There are precedents for multiple tulku appearances among the Kalkha, Buryat and Kalmyk Buddhists. A good account of one of these is found at the following reference:
Hyer, Paul and Sechin Jagchid. A Mongolian living Buddha : biography of the Kanjurwa Khutughtu . Albany, N.Y. : State University of New York Press, 1983.

Naive's picture

We don't really have two Karmapas, we can imagine that we do. We are actually not even sure that we have one. No one seems to know, not even the great Lamas. It would have been different if Shamarpa had acknowledged Ogyen Trinley Dorje. Then we could say two Karmapas are possible. But because of the "dispute" we simply don't know. In order to acknowledge both Karmapas as valid we need the great Lamas to all agree, but now Shamarpa has passed away that is no longer possible. It will be interesting to see how many new "Shamarpas" we end up with.

lshaw's picture

How many tulkus can dance on the head of a pin? Or in Davey Jones' locker? ;0)

Naive's picture

Are you sure? How do you know?

asanga's picture

May I ask if any of your practice asked for the blessing of a living master, e.g. the Karmapa?

Let me share my experience. I learned a few teachings from different lamas. Most of them pay respect to (or ask blessings from) the Buddha, the Avalokiteshvara, the Amitabha, etc but not from a living master. So, I have no problem with that.

One or two teachings are about the long life prayer of living master (I would not say which Karmapa but it is not relevant in this context). I have no problem with that either since it is my wish to have long life of any of my teacher, my friend, etc.

I also looked at the text and not one is about asking personal gains from current living master but e.g. Amitabha (i.e. reborn in Dewanchan). So, I am ok. I guess the practice is more important (if you are afraid of wasting time on a not rightful Karmapa). Therefore, I can say trust the practice.

Naive's picture

If not even the highest lamas can agree on who the Karmapa is then if we wish to take teachings from the Karmapa who should we go to? (obviously we will never know). Regarding trusting the practice, the Buddha himself said that we need to test his teachings to determine their validity. Regarding the valid Karmapa, I have no way of testing for validity.

asanga's picture

Since validity of Karmapa is unknown, we then have to, in your own words, "test the teachings" Correct? So, does this mean that go to the Karmapa that connect you the most. Go to the teaching the fit you the best. Go to your local center that you feel most comfortable. Go to a group that makes you feel the need to continue to practice. When do you the practice, the merit is yours and nobody can take the away. My practice's merit is dedicated to all the sentient beings. Both Karmapas are sentient beings. I went to a center that, fortunately, the teacher talks about the practice & the dharama all the time and rarely rarely about Karmapa politics. That makes me comfortable and that is why I go.

Naive's picture

All good points, thank you. The thing that still concerns me, why was all this fuss created in the first place? Was it necessary? Why all the bitterness and accusations of corruption by High Lamas towards High Lamas? Is this the example we are to follow? I guess it is. High Lamas' behaviour will be our behaviour when we reach their level.

asanga's picture

I guess the fuss is a lesson. We know that some high lamas might lie. So, we don't need the fantasize someone with a rinpoche title. I heard people say it is not good to "doubt" a lama. That he/she might be in a realization that you don't understand. Ok, again, if the Buddha allowed us to check out his activities, it is strange that I could not check out the activities a lama, a student of the Buddha?

I heard high lamas died of alcoholism. I heard high lamas slept with women. I imagine the old Tibet would take it quite different from our society. So, I am not sure how would I take it if I ever reach their level. Maybe not in this life. So, I guess I can only judge from my perspective from the culture I grew up.

Naive's picture

I have no idea what the lesson is, maybe someone has learned something from it, I'd be interested to know? For me I will never know if I'm taking teachings from the valid Karmapa. To me that seems to be a tremendous loss to the world but what can we do? We rely on the High Lamas for leadership.

asanga's picture

What I meant about the lesson is that we couldn't blindly trust whomever with a title rinpoche since some lamas obviously lied in this conflict. Yes, it is a regrettable loss. I am not sure what we can do too. There are books written from both sides. So, in order not to blindly trust whatever your lama says, be fair and read from both sides?

Naive's picture

There's really nothing we can do, its out of our hands. Unfortunately both of the Karmapas think they are Karmapa which is a problem if its not true. Also the deceit you mention is a problem, where does it start and stop? For example, for the purpose of financial gain is it OK to deceive those who trust in you? I've followed up on both sides of the debate and have not found it helpful. It's colourful but if its not true then its hollow, and therefore why waste precious time and resources on it? The meaning of the path is in the teachings, to extract meaning from our lives we need to study and test those teachings, and put whatever is valid into practice. Validity is paramount. As far as the teacher is concerned, as HH Dalai Lama advises, take your time and examine that person well. If I was a High Lama, I wouldn't be sleeping with many different women unless I was prepared for the likelihood of trouble with someone who believed they were deceived and then discarded. In the end we are fully responsible for our own lives.

asanga's picture

I've read several accounts of women whom slept with high lama. Interesting thing is they claimed they did it voluntarily. Some regretted many years later. Some didn't. It is surprisingly common too. (see The Red Thread by Bernad Faure). A revered teacher will also be guaranteed easy women. I also understand there are some advanced practice for a male practitioner to practice sexual activities with women.

If there is a sexual desire involve, I guess the high lama is the same as us.

Let's assume it is a pure practice and not a sexual desire involved. As a high lama, would they be able to foresee the karmic effect of the act on the women years later? If they can and decide to do so, it is their choice. If they can't, I would be really interesting in their thinking, it almost looks like a desire to enlightenment (through advanced practice). As a "desire", I am really wondering what is the difference between this & a regular sexual desire. They are both desires, aren't they?

Naive's picture

The whole thing is secret, I honestly don't know the answer to your question. The end result is to fully transcend ignorance. All of our practices and actions in the end will be focused on that. That's why we place so much emphasis in the beginning on study, analysis and validity. I'm just saying that if a High Lama is sleeping with lots of different partners he has to be prepared for some backlash here and there. Sometimes a partner who has been discarded will feel betrayed and may respond in a very public way. As you say, a true Lama will not be concerned with worldly opinion. Desire in its subtlety is impossible to discern for someone without renunciation. What is renunciation? There's plenty of good literature on the topic available for study. At that level desire/attachment is seen as an obstacle to be transcended. By the way, if High Lamas are capable of foreseeing someone's future karma then surely those Lamas would be able to agree on who is the rightful Karmapa! Just saying.

asanga's picture

IMHO, desire/attachment is seen as an obstacle at every level, not only theirs.

Naive's picture

Because it is secret, at the level of Highest Yoga Tantra we cannot be sure about how desire/attachment is viewed. In any case, until we have thoroughly purified or transcended desire/attachment I think it should always be viewed as an obstacle or a poison.

asanga's picture

I am wondering if it matters even if we know how it is viewed by them. From diamond sutra/heart sutra, we know how a bodhisattva "view" and how to practice. But I am not at the bodhisattva level, so, I am not really sure if I know the "secret" will benefit me. Also, as a "secret", it will just incite people's desire (i.e., e.g., since I know it and you don't know and therefore, I am more advanc than you. etc.)

Naive's picture

Yes, I think we should analyse and verify the view of the practitioners at all the various stages of the path. For those of us who are beginners this will inspire us with joyous enthusiasm for the practice, and strengthen our faith in the result. Having gained a more 'complete' faith (through analysis and verification) we will then be able to extend that faith into the "secret" path via the Lama. Words or attitudes such as "I am more advanced etc" should be disregarded. Being influenced by such words is a sign that our minds can be controlled by worldly dharmas (if we allow that).

Rob_'s picture

Trust no one.

Naive's picture

In this case are we knowingly being misled or duped, or are these people innocently making mistakes? Someone said that the creation of the "controversy" was for the benefit of the ignorant. Trusting no one is an extreme attitude don't you think?

As an aside, I don't remember reading that Mila actually checked up a great deal on Marpa, I think he relied upon Marpa's reputation. Please correct my ignorance on this.

G's picture

Ah yes, the "uncompromising traditionalist" who sat on his hands for an unprecedented ten years, happy to be the top dog with no Karmapa around, and who then miraculously produced a second candidate right after his hand is finally forced. If nothing else, at least it exposed to the world how rotten and corrupt the tulku business and Tibetan Buddhist politics in general really is. Sorry to see Tricycle run a propaganda piece like this one. Intelligent western readers demand better.

attilabarcellos's picture

It's weird to recognize Trinley Thaye Dorje as "The 17th Karmapa" when Dalai Lama says otherwise and when there is a letter left by the 16th Karmapa stating the place and the parents' name where the child was born. The person that matches these facts is Ogyen Trinley Dorje, The 17th Karmapa.

The title isn't the most important aspect of any master, but I just don't understand why to keep going on that theory.

Talking about Shamar Rinpoche, my best prays for him and may his followers keep on his work.

The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, said to Tai Situ Rinpoche to perform the proper practices after knowing Sharmapa passed away and they made a spetacular practice with hundreds of monks, showing that the 17th Karmapa is a realized master with compassion for everyone.

asanga's picture

Well, it seems that you think Dalai Lama is a superior to everybody in Tibet so that he can decide the right candidate. But there is also the "golden urn" system designed by Chinese emperor to determine the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and many Khutughtus since 18th century. So, in this line of thought, one would accept that the Dalai/Panchen Lama should be determined by the Chinese government. Wouldn't it be weird for Dalai Lama to against the Chinese government's "godlen urn" choice of Panchen Lama?

On a side note, I imagine it would be hard to be a Karmapa. Many people asked for his blessings and he would barely have enough personal free time. So, how to they practice in their schedule? I guess both of them, either real or not, needs to have a lot of determination to be the Karmapa.

Dolgyal's picture

Are you seriously advocating for this quaint instrument of Chinese imperialism that was in fact ignored by the Tibetans? You are surely aware that the People's Republic of China has passed regulations ensuring all tulkus or nimanakaya reincarnations will be loyal to the Communist Party of China. (Articles 36-40 of the TAR Implementing Measures for the "Regulation on Religious Affairs"), issued on September 19, 2006, by the TAR People’s Congress Standing Committee.
The PRC have recognized not only their own Panchen Lama (son of two State Security officers), but many others–potentially up to 2000 reincarnations in Tibet by their own estimation. The goal is clear: to instal their own 15th Dalai Lama by way of the supposedly 'traditional' method of Golden Urn lottery. This is the new suzerain deconstruction of Buddhism and systematical undermining of Tibetan culture by the Communist Party of China.
You can read more about this in Chinese at State Administration for Religious Affairs of PRC:
http://www.sara.gov.cn/GB//zcfg/89522ff7-409d-11dc-bafe-93180af1bb1a.html

Here is an English translation of the Chinese regulations:
http://www.cecc.gov/pages/virtualAcad/index.phpd?showsingle=98772&PHPSES...

asanga's picture

I am just saying that if we accept that Dalai Lama is a higher authority to justify the recognition of there Karmapa, there is another authority (that effectively control the current Tibet) whom would be justified the same way to the recognition of Panchen Lama or the next Dalai Lama.

If we don't want Chinese government to interfere the religion affair of Tibet, we surely don't want Gelugpa to interfere the religion affair of Kagyu. Fair? I see people saying one Karmapa is the right one because Dalai Lama say so and Dalai Lama is the leader of the Tibetans. I am not saying whom is the right Karmapa here. It should be the internal affairs among the Kagyus. However, the Dalai Lama factor shouldn't be a factor in the consideration.

Dolgyal's picture

One fact has been left out of this story: Shamar Rinpoche had selected a candidate in Bhutan, who unfortunately fell out of a window and perished. At the time of the 14th and 15th Karmapa, there was no Shamar Rinpoche. In fact from 1792 to 1950 there was no Shamar on the scene, for this we can thank Chinese imperial interference.
In any case it is completely absurd to now entrust the Communist Party of China to be in charge of reincarnation. Presumably Mao, as a Marxist, did not wish to reinstate the foreign policy of the decadent Manchu Dynasty long since overthrown, so why use the Golden Urn scam now? This reincarnation legislation is just the PRC grasping at straws to find some shred of historicity that is not fictional when it comes to sovereignty over Tibet, which was deemed by the International Commission of Jurists to possess both de facto and de jure independence.
Actually the head of the Gelugpas is the Ganden Tripa and His Holiness the Dalai Lama was–by unanimous agreement of all the Tibetan schools– given stewardship to ensure the survival of the diversity of Tibetan learning: this includes Bon, Islam and various lineages that were on the verge of extinction like Jonangpa that are now quite strong.

asanga's picture

Thanks for your info on Ganden Tripa. In this case, I would say it means even less reason for Dalai Lama to interfere with Kagyu's choice of Karmapa.

Dolgyal's picture

If you believe confirmation of Situpa's choice from the head of Tibetan Buddhism is interference and could even advance the Communist Party of China as an alternative, you ought to study history more, Kelsang, because your knowledge of things Tibetan is shallow and distorted.
Thankfully such responsibilities are not yours.
There are alternative methods of succession:
1. Hereditary lineage like the Sakya tradition. The Khon family is descended from one of the first group of gelongs ordained by Khenchen Shantirakshita and have upheld the buddhadharma for thousands of years. This custom avoids any confusion caused by intrigue and multiple candidates.
2. Self-proclaimed appointment, as is the case with Nga Lama Kundeling.
3. Nepotism: it can be very lucrative to be a tulku, real estate, world travel, servants, gold, money...best to keep it in the family!
4. The vague noncommittal Musical Chairs method: favored by the New Kadampa Tradition who have opted out of Buddhist educational standards. There was an anointed successor to their expelled leader, Steven Wass, but he was defrocked. NKT also does not recognize the successor to Trijang Rinpoche, thereby further breaking their link with the living lineage.

giankar's picture

The NKT has put a woman in charge. Should be a good teaching for some of you who are so evidently in need of a good fuck…. : )

Wisdom Moon's picture

This is a crude and sexist thing to say. Isn't this blog moderated by anyone?

Dolgyal's picture

Yes, False Wisdom Moon, they shut you down every time

Dolgyal's picture

Fortunately they don't and the rGyalpo cult will die out in the west in one generation.

asanga's picture

Thanks for your history lesson. I guess I didn't write it clear. I said in the reverse way. I am just saying Dalai Lama shouldn't interfere with Kaygu's choice, in the same sense as China shouldn't interfere with Tibet's religion affair. What I don't like is people used Dalai Lama's decision to determine the Karmapa. The difference between Situpa and Shamar Rinpoche is another issue then.

I am really not prepared to join the history discussion and "advance" the Chinese Communist Party cause.

Dolgyal's picture

What you don't like is frankly of no consequence to Tibetans, whose culture it is.

wsking's picture

I have heard that HHDL has not worried too much about the two Karmapas, saying that tho he has recognized one as the true incarnation, he thought both the boys would work it out themselves, and that there are so many followers that it is a good thing to have more teachers, saying that even if there were a thousand Karmapas, a million Karmapas, it would not be enough to help all the students.

That kind of stance seems to be the most beneficial for all of us. We can give respect to both men. Both are well-trained, both are knowledgeable, both have good intent.
They are so young and so vulnerable, just starting their lives. Both are already good teachers. Let's give them both a chance and not slander them.

Once again, the Buddha advised the Sangha to "Look upon each other with kindly eyes, compassionate and caring." Let us avoid getting into controversy at this sad time for so many students. Let us respect each other and each other's teachers.

Let us be healing to each other. Remember the Buddha's further admonition to the Sangha to "avoid heated arguments on whether things are thus or otherwise." knowing that what we say upsets the minds of others and may negatively affect their devotion, their practice, and their refuge. There is no need for that.

Shamarpa's great teaching now is Holy Silence. A wise student will follow his suggestion.
Gassho
_/|\_

alalaho's picture

One can say that it is just as weird that the Dalai Lama would recognize a Karmapa when history shows that no one other than the Karmapas themselves, the Shamarpas, along with other Karma Kagyus have recognized a Karmapa. The letter has been in question for years and never been verified for authenticity, also weird. It is also weird that the Dalai Lama would support a Chinese approved Karmapa. Now that's weird. These are also facts.

It is also weird that many high ranking Rinpoches have visited with HH 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje throughout the years, and continue to do so. This is also weird wouldn't you think?

My appreciation for the practices done by Ogyen Trinley Dorje and his monks. But I was disappointed by his letter of condolences. (really?)

But I will leave this conversation here, in respect for my teacher, the fully-loaded lama, Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche, who always expressed for us to not get involved in the controversy and politics. And with respect to Tricycle magazine and all of the sincere dharma practitioners who read these wonderful post and contribute their thoughts more eloquently than this old dharma bum ever could.

Shamarpa Khyenno

keving's picture

Just curious , who had the letter in question and why did they take it to the Dalai Lama instead of the Sharmapa ? Why wasn't the Sharmapa in possession of the letter in the first place ? Why did the Kagyu in general break from tradition and accept the Dalai Lama's verdict ?

DSklar's picture

In addition to being a profound and delicious homage to Shamar Rinpoche, this is a luminous gift of reporting for those of us who couldn't be there. Thank you.

alalaho's picture

An informative and moving tribute to a well loved teacher and spiritual friend. Although his time with us was cut short, his powerful impact will ring with us for lifetimes Thank you Mr. Frammolino.

Dolgyal's picture

This video is very interesting document of a meeting between three of the four regents, Urgyen Tulku and the CM of Sikkim in 1992.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnKGoCopBB0

Kristina108's picture

A wonderfully written article - befitting an extraordinary man. Thank you.