17th Karmapa criticizes Parliament member over Nechung views

The 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, in an undated file photo.

The 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, in an undated file photo. Facebook

Tibet Sun Newsroom

McLEOD GANJ, India, 28 September 2017

Annoyed by the importance that the Central Tibetan Administration places on Nechung, the State Oracle of Tibet, MP Tenpa Yarphel said that Buddhism is not about invoking deities.

“Where in Buddha’s 84,000 different teachings had he mentioned invoking deities?” he asked on the second day of the ongoing exile Tibetan Parliamentary session on 20 September.

He questioned how the “screeching sounds” made by the oracle when he is in trance could be understood by those who are transcribing them. This transcription of the sounds uttered by the oracle is traditionally often used in deciding important matters concerning the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration.

Yarphel suggested that the CTA should do away with the role and the post of the state oracle. He substantiated his views by saying that even the Dalai Lama has said that Buddhism is not about following deities.

The Karmapa, head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, in a statement issued on Sunday from New York, said that he couldn’t accept some of the views of the Kagyu representative, as he felt that the views he has expressed in the Parliament over the years were loaded with sectarian overtones.

Without naming the MP, the Karmapa said that he respected freedom of speech and the democratic rights of the MP, and had kept quiet thus far, but the MP went overboard this time in speaking about the Nechung oracle.

“Being a lama from the Kagyu sect, there is no way I could ignore such a serious matter, when an MP representing the Kagyu sect makes such irresponsible statements in the Parliament,” the Karmapa said.

“I feel concerned as these kinds of views could cause sectarian discord within the Tibetan community.”

He urged the MPs to bear in mind that they are representatives of a province or a sect, and that they must put in their efforts for the unity of the Tibetan people, and the Tibetan cause for a free Tibet, and that the Parliament is not the place for bickering and digging up factional differences.

“They must remember the contributions and acts of benevolence of the Dalai Lama for the Tibetan people, and should be careful not to vilify him or to hamper Tibetan unity when they speak in the Parliament.”

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