Visa denial leads to Karmapa’s absence at Tibetan Religious Conference

The Karmapa in North America in September 2018.

The Karmapa in North America in September 2018. File photo/Facebook

By Lobsang Wangyal

McLEOD GANJ, India, 27 November 2019

One of the high-profile Tibetan Buddhist leaders, the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, was absent from the 14th Tibetan Religious Conference. He was represented by Gorshe Gyaltsab Rinpoche.

Tibet Sun has reliably learned that the Karmapa requested Goshri Gyaltsab Rinpoche to attend the conference on his behalf. Karmapa passed on his ideas, opinions, and messages to Gyaltsab Rinpoche to be delivered at the conference.

It has been reported that the Karmapa had been denied a visa by the Indian authorities for him to attend the conference.

He applied for a visa last year to attend the conference, but his request was denied by the Indian authorities. The conference was originally planned for November last year, but was postponed due to the death of Kathok Getse Rinpoche, the 7th head of the Nyingmapa Tradition.

The Karmapa left India in May 2017, and took citizenship and passport of Dominica, a Caribbean island country. He has been living between the US and European countries. He is believed to be in Germany at the moment.

Taking the Dominica citizenship is said to have angered the Indian authorities, and it was this contentious issue that led to the denial of a visa.

The Indian authorities suggest that he use the Identity Certificate (a document issued by the Government of India to Tibetans for travelling purpose) to process the visa, but he reportedly refused the idea.

He was blamed for being a ‘Chinese spy’ by the Indian authorities, a charge that was never lifted from him. In 2011, he got entangled in a cash haul from his temporary residence at the Gyuto Monastery. He was cleared of any charges, but the cash amounting to US$1.6 million was never returned.

He has been seen as one of the Tibetan Buddhist leaders who will play a major role after the current 14th Dalai Lama, who is 84, passes away. The Dalai Lama is considered the supreme religious leader of the Tibetan people.

When he was 14 years old, Ogyen Trinley Dorje hoodwinked the Chinese authorities in Tibet and escaped to India via Nepal in December 1999, arriving in McLeod Ganj, the exile home of the Dalai Lama, on 5 January 2000, becoming his close confidant.

He has lived at the Gyuto Monastery since then, until he left India one and a half years ago.

Edit 28 November 2019 11:35am IST: Information added about Karmapa requesting Goshri Gyaltsab Rinpoche.

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