China plays its “Karmapa” card in Sikkim to undermine Indian Sovereignty 

Dear Readers,

Rumor has it that in a clear and present threat to Indian Sovereignty creatures of Ogyen Trinley Dorje, China’s Billionaire Karmapa, are positioning themselves on behalf of China’s interests in Sikkim, vis à vis said Karmapa being allowed to establish himself, as a law unto himself, in this part of India which the Chinese government believes, like Tibet, to be part of

Here’s what your fellow readers have been saying on the subject.

A reader known for their attempts to stir up the comment section here in the past, so consider the source, posted a link to after the above subject was broached by an unknown reader that posted a link to something on Facebook about the Indian Government allowing China’s choice for Karmapa to take up residence in Sikkim.

The following is from which I submit for your consideration.

The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje may finally grace his rightful seat at Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim for the first time in 17 years if an official circular issued by the state government is anything to go by.

A circular issued by the Sikkim Government under the order of the state Governor states that the state has appointed Acharya Tshering Lama of Simick Chandey as the Chairman of the Ecclesiastical Affairs Department for welcoming the spiritual leader in the state. The circular also mentions the young head of Karma Kagyu tradition be accorded a cabinet rank reception.

He is responsible for all the arrangements for the visit and also to make a smooth rightful seating of Karmapa at the monastery.

According to a source, the initiative from the State of Sikkim is a welcoming sign. However, the Karmapa office here has not yet received any confirmation letter from either the Central Tibetan Administration or New Delhi.

The source added that it is just the beginning of a process and it would depend on how and when the appointed official approaches the central government to initiate the process.

The announcement circulating in the social media was made on July 6, coinciding with the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Sikkim government and especially Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling have repeatedly asked the central government to permit Gyalwang Karmapa to visit Rumtek Monastery stating the wish of his followers to see him take his seat there.

Originally built under the guidance of the 12th Karmapa Changchub Dorje in the mid-1700s, Rumtek was rebuilt by the pervious Karmapa after fleeing into exile in 1959. Since, it has been the seat of Karmapa lineage in India.

However, due to the controversy surrounding the real reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpai Dorjee and the mysterious circumstances surrounding the current Karmapa’s escape from Tibet, India has so far prohibited him from visiting Rumtek.

In a recent interview with Times of India, the 31-year old said, “Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim holds special significance for me but I cannot go there due to a dispute. Sikkim is a part of India. It is an integral part of India. Rumtek is the seat of my predecessor. Unfortunately, I have not been able to go. But I do understand there is a court case.”

He also added that he does not understand the reason why he has been denied despite so many requests.

Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee headed for Rumtek?

From Kate A, presumably not the same person as the reader above, one never really knows here, had this to say in response.

Why does, a Tibetan news site refer to his escape from Tibet as “mysterious”?

Also this is a very interesting article on why India has reasons to be concerned about OTD’s entry to Sikkim:

“At the root of most of the troubles on the Indian side is the Tibetan standoff. For years, the subtlety of Lamaism – the main powerhouse of Tibetan politics – has taken an intricate sectarian context. Tension that has been festering around it for decades is now getting murkier and complex by the day, and this is clearly happening not without Chinese prompting.”

“The third, and most dangerous, trend of all is growing sectarian rifts that are threatening to tear apart Himalayan stability. Suitors of all sorts with deep funding from Chinese-sponsored Buddhist networks are having a field day. They are building their respective sectarian networks while skilfully managing to manipulate Indian laws, buying off influential individuals and local institutions.

In Ladakh, people have been helplessly watching the sectarian game ignited by outsiders. The menace is creating havoc among a people hitherto devoid of any sectarian differences. It is consuming every walk of life, threatening to divide and cripple the society. The situation took a critical turn last summer when the Dalai Lama ordered the Buddhists of Ladakh not to entertain a rival Karmapa, Thaye Trinley Dorje (TTD), during his visit to the region in 2015. The Dalai Lama has not approved TTD and instead recognised Ugyen Trinley Dorje (UTD) as the 17th Karmapa, who also enjoys China’s official recognition. While a majority of outfits in Ladakh followed Dharamshala’s instruction, other sectarian groups barring the Geluk chose to defy the gag and went ahead to welcome TTD. Clearly, other sects including Druk-pa Kagyu, Drikung Kagyu, Ning-ma and even the Sakya sect do not question the spiritual authenticity of TTD altogether. The incident, however, led to a split in the All-Ladakh Gompa (Monastery) Association (LGA), which is equivalent to a Sangha. The LGA office has since been locked to avoid any direct conflict between sects.[8]”

Emerging flashpoint in the Himalayas

From Warrenz, someone familiar to longtime readers of this blog, we have the following comment.

There have been many false dawns in this regard so I would not get too worried/hopeful (depending on your POV).

That said, a visit may be part of the ongoing strategy on the part of the TGIE and the Indian/US Govts to position Karmapa as the interim figurehead of the Tibetans after HHDL’s passing.

Allowing Karmapa to visit Sikkim would be a signal that the Indian Govt is prepared to work with him as the next Tibetan figurehead. The recent US and European visits may have been trust-building exercises for both parties.

I remain unconvinced he will actually visit Rumtek or take possession of the Black Crown. If it did happen, however, it would be a terrible disappointment for Thaye Dorje supporters. But if we have learned anything from the “Karmapa conflict”, it is that the Karmapa is not defined by the monasteries he heads or the relics of the lineage. It would certainly represent a major development in the controversy and the end of the line for any remaining hopes for Thaye Dorje’s candidature. You can bet his lawyers are already on the case.

To which longtime reader Jack Straw had the following to say.

I think the focus on Rumtek is strange. The purity of the place has been defiled by the occupying rogues in robes. It would take a lot of sage burning to make the place fit for either Karmapa.

To which Historix108, another longtime reader replied.

Very well said, Jack. Rumtek should be made a museum.

And in closing, from Warrenz, his response to Historix108.

To tell the truth, Rumtek itself was never the issue although I’m sure Karmapa would like to be free to live at his own monastery rather than be a guest at his present abode.
The physical relics and possessions of the Tsurphu Labrang are the real prize here. Not least, the Vajra Makhut or Black Crown. However, at this stage I think the race is run and there is really no chance of Thaye Dorje (and even less of Dawa Sangpo) being accepted as Karmapa by anyone outside their existing followers even if they did get hold of the relics. The acceptance of HHDL and the TGIE pretty much sealed the deal before Thaye Dorje was even recognized.

For each side though, having their candidate perform the Black Crown ceremony would be seen as the fulfilment of prophesies and removal of any remaining doubt. For the other side, it would be a sad travesty but would be unlikely to shake the faith of those who have seen it through this far.

Well, this is what your fellow readers have had to say on the subject.

My take is that none of this has anything to do with the Dharma and everything to do with the Chinese Government playing its Karmapa card to undermine India’s Sovereignty, the true purpose for it allowing Ogyen Trinley Dorje to be in India in the first place.




Filed under Buddhism

6 responses to “China plays its “Karmapa” card in Sikkim to undermine Indian Sovereignty 

  1. Rolf

    Very true. I also suspect that this is just another political game.

    Incidentally, the circular mentioned in the phayul-article (July 11) dates from July 6, but a rally “Karmapa back to Rumtek” had been announced already on July 4 and was scheduled for July 10. (Source:
    This is all related and I assume that so far, no permission was given by the Central Government. It looks like a concerted attempt to put pressure on the central government to allow for the visit of Orgyen Trinley Rinpoche. This kind of activism occurs regularly – so far without any outcome.

  2. Rolf

    I found the following passage of the article very revealing: “The Denzong Lhadey, a body of monks has meanwhile warned that if the Indian government fails to grant the same, all monks and devotees of the state may be forced to launch a “democratic agitation” and has warned that the government shall be solely responsible for any consequence that may arise out of any future course of action.”

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