Should the Dalai Lama ask Ogyen Trinley Dorje to step down as leader of the Karma Kagyu and seize its assets?

Dear readers,

Should the Tibetan Government in exile ask Ogyen Trinley Dorje to step down as head of the Karma Kagyu sect and seize its assets for collaborating with China’s occupation of Tibet?

We have a precedent for it doing so.

Dare I say, is it not Tibetan tradition to do so?

I am not just referring to when the Fifth Dalai Lama forced the Tenth Karmapa into exile for collaborating with the King of Tsang against his government and seized his sect’s assets in the 17th century.

We also have the example of what happened to Mipham Chödrup
Gyamtso, the Tenth Shamarpa, who in 1788 collaborated with Britain’s proxy Nepal in its war against the government of the Eighth Dalai Lama.

Is there any question that after the death of the 16th Karmapa that Thrangu Rinpoche as defacto leader of the Karma Kagyu sect, both Shamar and Situ were in their 20’s at the time and thus neithee of them had a hand in this matter, did indeed with the Chinese Government against the 14th Dalai Lama’s collaborate witg China to recognize Ogyen Trinley Dorje as 17th Karmapa and thus establish the precedent of said government as arbiter of succession for not only the Karma Kagyu sect but all sects of Tibetan Buddhism, including that of the present Dalai Lama’s Gelug sect.

Just take a moment to get your mind around what the Karma Kagyu sect of having done.

Let us set aside for the moment that we, America, were at war with the Chinese, we had fought two bloody wars, Korea and Vietnam, against Communist China, when Thrangu Rinpoche collaborated with our enemy against us and our way of life as a free nation when he was provided the opportunity to re-establish his sect’s traditional relationship with the rulers of China which dates back to the 13th century and Karma Pakshi, the second Karmapa.

If there is a 18th Karmapa the child chosen will be China’s choice for Karmapa and enthroned by the Chinese Government at Tsurphu Monastery in occupied Tibet.

Just think about this.

If there is a 15th Dalai Lama the child chosen will be China’s choice for Dalai Lama and enthroned by the Chinese Government at the Potala in occupied Tibet too.

So much for a free Tibet.




Filed under Buddhism

14 responses to “Should the Dalai Lama ask Ogyen Trinley Dorje to step down as leader of the Karma Kagyu and seize its assets?

  1. Martin

    The idea of a free Tibet was never realistic; in fact it will certainly not happen now that the Cold War is over and there really isn’t the same energy on our part to support tiny ethnic minorities to be a thorn in the side of China, soon to be a superpower.

    The assets of the Kagyu lineage, as you say bill might total one billion US dollars. That’s a lot to people like you and I, but in the global marketplace that’s actually a pretty small number.

    There is no reason for the Karmapa to resign or hand over assets because the tradition as it has been known is over. 16th Karmapa was the last Tibetan Buddhist Karmapa. 14th Dalai Lama is the last of that tradition. Trungpa was the last of the Trung Mase lineage- it’s over. We think all this is real; especially the geopolitical machinations of Thrangu Rinpoche; that’s not real either.

    There’s nothing to worry about because there is nothing happening.

    • Martin,

      Is the Free Tibet movement no longer a thing for us?


      Was it a thing?

      It was a thing, it happened, and as such, it is part of our history as Buddhists.

      Should we not hold the Karma Kagyu sect, as a religion, if only here in the United States, to account for what it has done not just to us as dharma practitioners, we have had our last Karmapa, we have had our last Trungpa, we have had our last Traleg Rinpoche, all thanks to these men but also the Tibetan people for depriving them of the right to recognize a 14th Dalai Lama of their own choice without the interference of the Chinese Government?

      I say, yes, we should hold these men to account.

      We know who they are.

      They are none other than our very own Rinpoches and their creatures.


      • Martin

        Yes, but there’s nothing going on? Why expend the energy on truth and reconciliation with the inevitability of the natural arising of appearance?

        There’s nothing left for us to do; if we get hot and bothered we are losing the view.

        • Martin,

          In passing up this opportunity to invoke and dissolve Vajradhara into the four bodies that the Karma Kagyu sect’s collaborating with China represents for us as dharma practitioners, have you not strayed from a view consistent with the Mahamudra view which we hold so dear?

          I think so.

          To quote Mingyur Dorje.

          “Letting go is not giving up.”

          Bring this as with all things to your guru yoga and the blessings of the Karma Kagyu lineage will be yours based upon my experience.


  2. Martin

    My point is that there was never anything to let go of in the first place.

    This is the prime instruction I practice.

    • Martin,

      How did you come to such a view?

      This is not our view, speaking of the Karma Kagyu lineage, that there was never anything to let go of in the first place.

      To quote Rangjung Dorje, the first Karmapa.

      “May we realize the luminous nature of mind.”

      What is this subject which we are discussing here, our Rinpoches, other than the luminous nature of the mind?


  3. Martin


    Rangjung Dorje was the 3rd Karmapa, not the first. I’ll chalk that mistake up to exhaustion- lord knows we all get tire from time to time. You’ve been through a lot.

    I prefer the Indian texts on mahamudra- that’s how I got there. My teachers gave me transmission for most of the Indian mahamudra source texts. They are a little different.

      • Martin

        Check scribd. You’ll find many of the Indian source texts in translation there. My posting quotes here would be innapropriate.

        Part of the meaning is in the journey.

        • Martin,

          How is our discussing the difference between the rangtong and shentong views of emptiness inappropriate?

          It has been a subject of discussion in the Karma Kagyu lineage since Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen first argued the point in the 14th century.

          I favor the Shentong empty of other view.

          You have taken the Rangton empty of self view.

          Thirty one years ago, it was during Traleg Rinpoche’s first visit to Chicago as I remember it, I was able to discuss this very same subject in public with Rinpoche , and it wasn’t an issue.

          Rinpoche was in fact delighted that I challenged his not mentioning the Shentong view in his teaching of emptiness with us.

          It was very un-Tibetan of me to so challenge him but it was the beginning of a lifelong relationship with him.

          I cherish the memory.

          I can assure you that there is nothing inappropriate about our discussion here of the difference between these to views in public.


          • Martin

            I tow the shengtong view as defined by Maitrīpa. I don’t go in for big talk about the experience of liberated mind.

            Call it a Kagyu thing; what arises as experience stays as experience. I don’t feel the need to broadcast anything about it. That’s in part because my teacher stressed the pointlessness of banal chatter about Mahamudra.

            As for the original topic. Karmapa won’t step down or hand over anything because at this point the karma kagyu are too big to fail.

            • Martin

              All of which is consistent with your rangtong view that there is nothing to that which is being discussed here, what Dalai Lamas of the past have done before in similar situations vis à vis the Karma Kagyu sect.

              You believe there is nothing to it.

              I don’t buy that.


              My shentong view that anything is possible, which you so oppose, as a matter of principle.

              I respect that, it is a perfectly valid point of view.

              It is not a Karma Kagyu view though.

              Trungpa spoke of the impossibility of Vajradhara, that he has no basis in reality, yet we evoke Vajradhara nonetheless in our guru yoga.

              Vajradhara appears to us nonetheless when we practice guru.

              At least he does when I practice guru yoga.

              Now, if you don’t want to discuss guru yoga, don’t.

              I’m perfectly comfortable with discussing it with anyone here who is willing to discuss their practice with me.

              If that is okay with you?

              I won’t be dissuaded by your objections to my doing so.


  4. Gerd

    Dear Bill! The old legend of the bad 10th Shamarpa is over. Read Sam van Schaik: Tibet a history or the Douglas/White (Dowman) Black Hat Lama where the 16th Karmapa says on page 151: Black turned white” and expressed thus that the ban of the Shamarpa was baseless.

  5. Sonam Gyurme

    There is a “prophecy” that there were only supposed to be 14 incarnations of the Dali Lama. This being the last one. And for the Karmapa, something like 21. The rides not over yet.

    Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, is my spiritual friend. Had it not been for his teachings, I would still be in no mans land. But by his grace, and the blessings of the Karma Kagyu, here I am. Bill sees the spiritual materialism taking place amongst our sect, but at the same time, as Trungpa Rinpoche would say, “that is our heritage”. We have to be smart enough to recognize when we’re being spiritually materialistic. And the only way to do that is through the cool boredom of sitting practice.

    Trungpa told his closest students to uproot and move to Halifax. And guess what, they did. Now there are Trungpa’s aging students, hanging tough in Halifax, practicing Mahamudra. They have no one but their small Sangha, which is probably dwindling down, as I keep reading of more and more of Trungpa’s senior students dying at what seems like every 3 months.

    My long winded point, is that Trungpa wanted his Sangha to establish ground, and grow the teachings on their own. Free from their homeland, like true Bodhisattvas. So that, westerners like myself, who are fledgling practitioners, (I just took refuge in November 2015. My practice is taking refuge daily, and practicing Shamatha, and learning all I can about the Hinayana.) People like me can go to Halifax, and hopefully find wise people there, who are able to help.

    The Karma Kagyu are out there, sprinkled throughout North America. The odds of running into someone with some knowledge, are better than they were in 1965. It is not easy, as Trungpa would say “you have to go out into the wilderness naked. Make your own clothes, make your own food, your own shelter. No one is going to give you those things.”

    Now is our time of being naked, finding our own ground, putting the teachings to work, and working on our own discipline.
    If we want to help the Karma Kagyu, we should band together, and try to help people meditate. Nothing else will help someone other than to meditate, “there’s no way in, and no way out, if you don’t sit.”-Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche”

    My opinion is, we received so many good situations in the west, from HH The 16th Karmapa, Chogyam Trungpa, Suzuki Roshi. We have had the feast, had more teaching than we could possibly digest in a lifetime. Now lets focus on taming our minds, and taming the spiritual landscape of the US.

    I digressed very far off the track, but I have a great deal of heartfelt devotion. I’m not worried, “there’s no guarantee, because there’s no guarantor”-Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

    Thank you Bill for providing a space for us as Karma Kagyu to gather.

    PS, When I received my refuge name from Bardor Tulku Rinpoche, the cover page was a picture of Shakyamuni Buddha. The second page was a picture of the 16th Karmapa, black cap and all. Glad to see some things don’t change.
    -Karmapa Chenno!

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