Nobody was more surprised than HHDL when Ogyen Trinley Dorje escaped occupied Tibet

Picture of HHDL and the Karmapa Yangsi, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, who 14 years into his captivity in occupied Tibet, surprise, surprise, escaped to India when the opportunity presented itself

In retrospect we can say that it was a mistake for HHDL to bless the Karma Kagyu sect’s attempt to repatriate the Gyalwa Karmapa to Tsurphu monastery in occupied Tibet.”

Allen continues.

“Nobody was more surprised than His Holiness when the Karmapa Yangsi the Karma Kagyu sect had condemned to life in occupied Tibet showed up on his doorstep in India.”

Sally replies.

“All this is before my time but it’s obvious that if it wasn’t a mistake Ogyen Trinley Dorje never would have had to escape occupied Tibet.”

Allen continues.

“This isn’t a criticism of HHDL, he believed that the Chinese Communist Party’s days were numbered after Mao died, which proved not to be the case.”

End scene. Fini.

A teachable moment, brought to you by the Naropa Prairie Dog Players, for your entertainment pleasure.



Filed under Buddhism

17 responses to “Nobody was more surprised than HHDL when Ogyen Trinley Dorje escaped occupied Tibet

  1. What’s the point? Yes, if people acted differently, there would have been a different outcome. You can’t really know that that other outcome would have been though. So, I don’t know what is being said here. Someone is guessing that something better might have happened but it’s just as likely something worse could have happened.

    • There is nothing to agree or to disagree with in this exchange as such.


      I’m not.

      What did happen?

      That something did happen though, the consequence of which we are experiencing today, is worth exploring in my opinion.

      Reasonable people can disagree.

      It was a mistake.

      It wasn’t a mistake.

      I leave to readers to decide for themselves.

  2. okiebuddhist

    How the Karma Kagyu sect is protected in China is beyond me. The Chinese have to approve the Tulkus and monastery life. It seems apparent Tibet may be a money-making industry at some point in the future, if not already. Why else is China being nice to the Karma Kagyu?

    From the Chinese perspective, the Dalai Lama is the devil. Perhaps the Karmapa holds an historic connection to the Chinese rulers. Or, perhaps there are people in the Communist party who are closeted Buddhists.

    • Blinde Schildpad

      Ad hoc theory: in order to exert control on the Tibetan People (and, inderectly, many Han Chinese who still identify as Buddhists), you need to control a lineage. The Gelugpa is the most obvious one, but right out because they’re basically synonymous with the ancien régime (except for the Dolgyal folks of course, and the PRC does use that). Strike off the Nyingmapas: they are like cats, no global organisation to speak off. The Sakyapas transmit through a noble family, which doesn’t fit with communist thinking. As for the Kagyupas: among the Drukpa the Drukchen was alive, young and in India and also, they don’t have the numbers. The Karma Kagyu has just enough organisation to be useful for crowd control purposes and the Karmapa line is very well respected among other lineages to boot. If the PRC wanted a pet Buddhist school, the Karma Kagyu would have been the most obvious choice.

    • Akong Rinpoche was a ranking member of the United Front Work Department, a longtime member of the Chinese Communist Party.

      That’s how the Karma Kagyu sect was able to repatriate the Gyalwa Karmapa to Tsurphu, by collaborating with Tibet’s occupiers.

      • okiebuddhist

        Akong was given authority by the Chinese communist party. Which members of the party permitted this authority? And, how high did it go?

        Finally, how many Communist members practice Buddhism, Daoism, even Christianity when they’re supposed to be secular? I’m fascinated by this and how the Karma Kagyu sect has been able to revive its culture and religion with some positive efforts.

        When will others in the Chinese Communist party stop supporting the Karma Kagyu cause as Karma Kagyu monasteries are bulldozed down similarly to many Christian churches that got too large and powerful in China?

      • Steven

        Akong Rinpoche was clever that way. He worked persistently with the Chinese so that he could keep returning to Tibet, primarily for his humanitarian projects. he was rebuilding monasteries and cared for many orphaned children. He did a tremendous amount of repair for his people. It does not mean that he was a communist sympathiser. But because of his connections he had more freedom to travel to find the Karmapa.

      • Steven

        One evening Akong Rinpoche showed us video footage of different places in Tibet. It was mainly of the towns and cities and the industrialisation. Also the large prisons where many Tibetans were being held. He was clearly angry and upset and said “this is what the Chinese have done to our country.” So to imply that he was a member of the party for anything other than strategic means is to not know who Akong Rinpoche was.

        • That my story and I’m sticking to it.

          He was a ranking member of the the United Front Works Department.

          This is a fact.

          Do you think the Chinese Communist Party approved Ogyen Trinley Dorje as Karmapa Yangsi and allowed him to be enthroned in at Tsurphu in occupied Tibet if Akong Rinpoche wasn’t as I have characterized him?

          I don’t think so.

          Reasonable people can believe otherwise, of course.

          As more information becomes available regarding what happened I will gladly take it into account as such.

          Unfortunately, his ignorance of the consequences of his collaboration is not new information.

  3. If China hadn’t moved in so aggressively, none of us would have had any exposure at all because Tibet would have remained isolated. I’m no historian so I couldn’t say what China really wants from Tibet. There was always something off for me though, something that I just couldn’t fully invest in and I’m not sure what that is. Communication was a huge issue because the Rinpoches rarely spoke fluent English so everything, even the teachings felt scripted. That’s the format though, teachings passed on from generation to generation. Personally, I felt I cultural disconnect.

    It’s fine to say that the Dharma is the same for everyone but it was never presented that way. All the fairy tales and mantras centered around this mystical land of Tibet – it’s people, it’s language, it’s air and mountains and so forth. Can the Karmapa really Westernize that without betraying his own culture? Without somehow implying that the pride the Tibetans have in their own culture and beliefs is worthless? I don’t think he can. I don’t think he should.

    I just think that is something to keep in mind when we talk about how Tibetan Buddhism or a Karmapa can make Buddhism accessible to us. It really cannot be the same thing. And, fleeing China’s aggression is not the same as fleeing their cultural heritage.

  4. myself

    Indo-Asian Buddhism first attacked from the West then the North. Seems to me they like the world are in high alert mode. Nerves are on edge.

    Indian is pretty protective now as a few of these settlements are quite fortified. So we have a lot of wrathful practice and shotgun-shy empowered tulkus…. Or rockstars really. Main Monlam ’14 was an asian rockstar event with many an enamored Chinese girl clamoring to be a gopi girl. Far western minority anglos were crying in queues as they were out of merit for priority tickets.

    The show must go on. And the enlightened ego is the biggest ego of all…albeit enlightened.

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