India finally allows Karmapa to visit Sikkim, but not Rumtek

The Karmapa at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, Woodstock, New York, on 26 March 2018.

The Karmapa at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, Woodstock, New York, on 26 March 2018. File photo/Kagyu Office

By Shri Puri | TNN

DHARAMSHALA, India, 1 April 2018

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has allowed the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to visit Sikkim.

It is being seen as a goodwill gesture by the India government. Earlier, Tibetans were upset after the Centre had unofficially conveyed to the Tibet government-in-exile officials to shift the ‘Thank You India’ event from Delhi to Dharamshala. The event was to mark 50 years of Dalai Lama arriving in India.

Dorje will, however, not be able to visit Rumtek Monastery in East Sikkim, which is the official seat of the Karmapa. There is another claimant to the seat who has been asserting his status too. Dorje, however, was backed by the Dalai Lama.

The move has come following a relay hunger strike by monks in Sikkim which has crossed 630 days. Sikkim chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling had said on March 20 that he too had written to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, seeking permission for the 17th Karmapa to visit the state whose capital Gangtok is home to his exiled seat monastery of Rumtek.

Official spokesperson of the Karmapa, Karma Chungyalpa, stated that they have come to know about this from the reports published online and awaiting official documents. “But if this visit is allowed it is going to benefit numerous followers of the Karmapa, not only in Sikkim but also in the Himalayan region,” he said.

The head of the 900-year-old Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism Ogyen Trinley Dorje was endorsed as the 17th Karmapa by the Dalai Lama in 1999. The Karmapa had escaped from Tibet in 2000 at the age of 14. The 33-year-old has since been living at Gyuto monastery in Dharamshala.


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