How is the 17th Karmapa’s “Tibetan Buddhism” not racist?

I’m preoccupied with crowdsourcing retweets of Twitter sources from my lists covering today’s presidential election here in the United States of America today, my wife and I both voted for Hillary Clinton on Halloween, hands down the scariest Halloween ever, Gigi being a lifetime feminist so she was with her from day one whereas I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary, I’m all about disrupting the status quo, but that being said given my experience in Quebec in 1976 when the PQ, extreme ethno-nationalists whose first order of business was to attack Quebec’s English speaking minority by ethnicity cleansing the province of the English language I had no choice but to vote against the toxic ethno-nationalism of Donald Trump, all of which I share here in the name of transparency and to flip the script of the person posing as a KTD lama here, I have no way of knowing whether they are who they are pretending to be, who accused me being of being a racist for attacking the 17th Karmapa for being a Chinese Buddhist pyramid scheme which has fleeced Chinese Buddhists of over a billion dollars since 1992, this figure does not include the money which the Panama Papers caught the 17th Karmapa red handed hiding in the British Virgin Islands using the same law firm as members of the Chinese Communist Party, none of which has anything to do with my views on race and everything to do with my politics, this blog is not a rhetorical exercise but instead a political act against the 17th Karmapa’s “Tibetan Buddhism,” the reduction of Buddhism to his own ethnic group, which in itself is racist, a perfect example of this being KTD, the 17th Karmapa’s million dollar money laundering operation funded entirely by Chinese Buddhists who believe that they are improving their Karma, a straight up fraud perpetrated by the 17th Karmapa, by supporting places like KTD around the world with funds for which the 17th Karmapa cannot account for without creating a money trail that leads back to the Chinese Communist Party which made Ogyen Trinley Dorje 17th Karmapa in 1992.



Filed under Buddhism

18 responses to “How is the 17th Karmapa’s “Tibetan Buddhism” not racist?

  1. Wow Bill things sure have changed here since the last time I checked you out. Do you think your readers would like to read what OTD said in “die Zeit” several years ago?

    Here is my English translation:

    • Indeed, Ven. Orgyen Trinley Dorje Rinpoche made similar statements at a talk in Berlin, June 2014:
      “The happiest days of his life were when he was a little nomad boy, free to run across the meadows of Tibet, with the snow mountains in view. Then, everything had changed when, at the age of seven, he was recognised as the 17th Karmapa, removed from his family, and taken to Tsurphu Monastery, near Lhasa in Tibet. …”

      “”Everything that has happened to me in this life was not by my choice, it fell upon me,” he said. “If I’m to speak to you about a meaningful life, perhaps I should ask myself first whether my life is meaningful, and whether I am happy about my life or not.” …”

      “My activity is to accomplish benefit for the lives of other beings. If the Karmapa’s life is of benefit to others it is meaningful. If I can’t do that, my Karmapa life is a failure. …”
      “In conclusion, His Holiness tackled the question of happiness and whether he was happy.

      “I’m not so happy,” he admitted, “But a meaningful life is more than happiness. Happiness is temporary. A meaningful life has to be purposeful. Not just for me but for other beings. …”
      Compared to what we know from life stories of the Karmapas before, this does not sound like words of an authentic Karmapa Tulku. Former incarnations used to tell as a child that they are Karmapa. From a bodhisattva on the 10th level we can expect he has overcome any reasons for being sad. Otherwise, it would be difficult to teach your students how to be constantly happy themselves. My Dharma teachers always told: Joy is a quality inherent to liberation and enlghtenment – while it would make no difference whether you have a paradise or a mad world around you.

      Both Orgyen Trinley Dorje’s patience and his sense of duty deserve high respect – and I mean it! However, it is obvious that the Karmapa title and the expectations others imposed upon him form great burdens to the young Lama.

      Indian buddhists use to say that there is one happy Karmapa and an unhappy one.

      • Friends why can we not take a look at the Happy Karmapa? Is this too scary for us? Are we too immature or have we not meditated enough to see the truth is out there?

        • If you think characterizing Shamar Rinpoche’s choice to succeed the 16th Karmapa as the “happy” Karmapa to a radicalized, woke, audience of Buddhists here in the United States of America, as a lama of the 16th Karmapa’s Mahasiddha inspired crazy wisdom Karma Kagyu lineage who is a friend to inclusiveness, I am open to including alternative Karma Kagyu narratives here in our discussions, please consider your choice of words carefully for to characterize the current Karmapa of the Shamarpa succession (which has its Shamarpa and Karmapa succeeding each other based on the presumption that the Karmapa and Sharmapa are one in the same, equals as such), to characterize such a Karmapa as the “happy” Karmapa is a gross and I must add insulting simplification of an otherwise historically valid alternative line of succession to that which the 17th Karmapa represents as the choice for Karmapa of the Chinese Communist Party, (which in 1992 assumed the historic role played by dictatorships past whom ruled China throughout its history to name a 17th Karmapa), given the fact that when 16th Karmapa died in 1981, despite his having left very detailed instructions on how he wished his estate to be handled after his death with his Labrang, Damchö Yongdu, he left no explicit instruction as to the recognition of a 17th Karmapa prior to his death, and furthermore, it remains to be determined to my satisfaction at least the source of the so-called “happy” Karmapa’s happiness, if this is how you wish to characterize him here, other than his being happy to not be the 17th Karmapa, an obvious reason for anyone to be happy, or something more problematic to a radicalized, woke, Buddhist such as myself, specifically, the life of a wealthy and privileged elite which he presumably enjoys since the death of the Shamarpa in 2014 as the current head of Shamarpa’s lineage of Tibetan Buddhism (the reduction of a form of Buddhism to a particular ethnicity being racist as such).

          • Bill,

            Thank you for your openness to other viewpoints in your blog. I will gladly respect your wishes to the very best of my ability, however, we must all understand that in the pursuit of truth sometimes very difficult questions must be asked and sometimes these questions can be offensive to some, I am sure that you are no stranger to this phenomena. This is especially true because this issue not only in the blogosphere or the internet but in gompas and the hearts and minds of Buddhists around the world is extremely emotional. Funny thing for Buddhists eh? Never the less, respect is of the utmost importance. For my part, the use of the “happy Karmapa” was a quote of your other reader’s response to my entry. I must admit I have heard this more than once myself in my travels in Nepal and India. It might be inflammatory and true. Sorry for this.

            I would like to thank you for recognising the validity of the Sharmapa/Karmapa line of succession. It would do all of us good to study this as much as some of us have studied Situ Rinpoche’s status and claims to recognise the Karmapa within the Kagyu tradition. How can you help us here, what do you know of this personally?

            I know this is a little late to respond on your blog, would you prefer I ask this in one of your newer posts to widen the discussion?

            • In our visualization of the field of merit, our refuge tree, our history as a lineage is available to us all as Karma Kagyu, it is just a matter of drilling down into this, doing your due diligence as a dharma practitioner, all you will ever need to know about the Karma Kagyu lineage flows forth from your visualization of this field of merit, I myself began with three books which have been my constant companions for over thirty five years now of doing this practice, “The History of the Sixteen Karmapas of Tibet” by Karma Trinley and “The Rain of Wisdom” compiled by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and last but not least my copy of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche’s “Commentary on the Ngondro Practice”, through my years of practice I schooled myself in the succession of each of the sixteen Karmapas of Tibet, which undeniably includes a period in which the Karmapa and Shamarpa succeeded each other as equals, the basis for the late Shamarpa’s claim the prerogative of Shamarpas past to recognize a 17th Karmapa as he did, obviously, from the beginning there were problems with this succession given despite the best laid plans either party dies unexpectedly and thus the whole idea of a Karmapa and Shamarpa succeeding each other doesn’t work as a form of succession as such, that being said we can’t depend on one succession to the exclusion of its alternatives, such as Situ Rinpoche’s which was to have the current rulers of China recognize the 16th Karmapa’s successor which is how we ended up with the two 17th Karmapas as we have at present.

              • Well said, I would add that for a time having two Karmapas served a good purpose. Please forgive my wording if it offends, but Situ’s Chinese or political Karmapa offered his followers a dream that many found too precious to pass up, old Tibet, their support allowed them access to their lost monasteries, colleagues, and likely family back in old Tibet. I can only imagine how painful it must have been to have to sell your soul to the devil, sorry for the Christian phrase, to have the dream of “going home and rebuilding”. Sharmapa’s Karmapa offered many of us in the west, who from the beginning could not trust anything the Chinese politburo had their fingers in, better dead than red, was my motto. He offered us a candidate who would and is more of, in my opinion, a spiritual leader. Karmapa TTD is free of scandal, political influence, and has more support than most people know including the Bhutanese royal family and the current Je Khenpo and his Lopons.
                As a group, we all had what we needed at the time. In some ways, it was actually perfect. But as good Buddhist, we all know that nothing last forever, and I think that the time for change is near. We need healing and unity and we need to practice and preserve the teachings in good style and in ways that are meaningful for the modern world but in honour of the old traditions.

                Thank you once again.

  2. Warrenz

    Morning Lama Bill. How will the Karma Kagyu fare in the fascist paradise of Trumplandia, do you think?
    China maybe not looking so shabby now, eh?

    • Actually the triumph of the ethno-nationalism which Donald Trump’s victory over Hilary Clinton in yesterday’s election for president represents the people of the United States of America political repudiation of the very same Chinese Communist Party which Thrangu, Akong and Khenpo Karthar Rinpoches collaborated with after the 16th Karmapa died in 1981, globalization normalized the United States of America’s relationship to said dictatorship, a relationship in which the Chinese Communist Party cheated on the United States of America every chance it got from the get go, yesterday the voters of the United States voted into power the candidate whom campaigned on the premise that he alone could by sheer force of will, as he demonstrated over the course of a long and grueling presidential campaign in which he prevailed over both political parties in our two party system, before he defeated Hilary Clinton the Democratic Party’s standard bearer he did the same against all challengers in the Republican Party, against all expectations, my wife has been commiserating with her friends all morning on the phone, the friend she is on the phone with as I write this just told my wife that she feels like a loved one just died, people are freaking out about what happened, that being said as bitter a pill as Donald Trump’s election may be for every American who voted against Donald Trump, our form of government, governance for the people, by the people, democracy, is alive and well in the United States of America, the people have spoken, I voted for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Primary, I cast my vote against Donald Trump and for Hilary Clinton, I will never forget what happened in 1976 when the people of Quebec voted the ethno-nationalist PQ into power, I am a life long opponent of ethno-nationalism, I know through hard experience what happens to minorities when ethno-nationalists control a government, the Anglophone community in Quebec became a minority in 1976, but whatever challenges Donald Trump’s presidency holds for the American people moving forward, the global economy that has normalized the Chinese Communist Party, the dictatorship which the 17th Karmapa sees as the future of Buddhism and which he collaborated with in 2015 to deny the freedom loving Buddhists of America a reincarnation of our beloved Traleg Rinpoche, is over, stick a fork in it, the consequence of which will be the biggest challenge to the Chinese Communist Party since the death of Mao in 1976, whatever growth in GDP the Chinese Communist Party needs to peacefully remain in power without having to resort to the violent repression of the Chinese people will not happen, the 17th Karmapa’s Chinese pyramid scheme which has since 1992 fleeced Chinese Buddhists desperate to improve their Karmic fortunes of billions of dollars is finished in the United States of America too, mark my words, those signs in Chinese at KTD, the Danang Foundation with its Chinese language materials, and so on, suffice it to say in Donald Trump’s America the days of the 17th Karmapa’s ethno-nationalistic Tibetan Buddhism and its long standing financial relationship with the Chinese Buddhist community here is over, I hate Donald Trump, as I hated George Bush, and Ronald Reagan before him, all of whom I survived living with them as president of the United States, fear not for what will become of the United States of America, fear what will become of the world order which Donald Trump has dedicated himself to relegating to the dust bin of history, and like this election was for the people of America is going to be a gut wrenching experience for people around the world the likes of which haven’t been seen since Ronald Reagan was President of the United States of America.

  3. John

    Tibetan Buddhism has always operated one form of dictatorship or another. When it first came to West, the Kagyu system was very weakened, and many of us were so idealistic and eager for something to look up to that we didn’t recognise those tendencies. Even now, and in this blog, there is a nostalgia for those times as though the Rinpoche’s back then were better and did what they did with our interests at heart.

    Take for example the way in which, on these pages, the 16th Karmapa is presented as the last “true” Karmapa” while the 17th is presented as a Chinese puppet. Well, the 16th clearly made a whole list of choices that put Tibetan lineage ethno nationalism at the forefront and the Kagyu as a result is a fractured mess. You may not like it, but if you genuinely want to “strip it down to the studs” then you need to include the 16th Karmapa. For many in the west, and I suspect for Bill here too, this is a step that is too challenging as it means that you lose the whole idea of a golden heyday which now justifies your cynicism of the present situation.

    • If this is your reading of my politics you could not be more off in your reading of what I believe in, in 1980 the election of Ronald Reagan as President of the United States marked an abrupt end, I decided to quit what had been a very promising career in academia I had dedicated the past four years of my life, after a very successful semester as research assistant to a professor writing a book inspired by the works of Michel Foucault on French sociology after which I was chosen by the head of the department to run his classes and after he was unable to due to illness teach in his absence, I was a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale at the time, a 21 year old Anglophone kid from St Bruno, Quebec,
      teaching a class of college juniors “The Marxist Perspective on Criminology”, a room full of young future Republicans, the very same white men who made Donald Trump president of the United States of America, just saying his name makes me sick, and retrace my steps back to Chicago where I had four years earlier after the PQ came to power in Quebec in 1976 as a 17 year old ending up living, one hell of a scary place for someone coming from the middle of nowhere Quebec wearing a down parka and mukluk boots, when I stepped off the Greyhound bus terminal locals laughed out loud at the sight of me, but the one place I knew I could disappear into before people like me were inevitably forced by necessity to be repurposed into corporate ladder climbers, which in my case meant being forced to bathe regularly, cut my hair, shave my beard, learn to wear shoes again, I never felt the need to wear shoes in Carbondale, and horror of horror , wear a suit and a tie, I basically had to forget the person I was and transform myself into a passable replica of my dead father and get a job, get married and start a family the very same path in life that killed my father at the age of 42, one day he just dropped dead of a massive coronary while I was off enjoying myself on the local ski slope, all of which is how I came to take refuge with Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche and become a lama of the 16th Karmapa’s Mahasiddha inspired crazy wisdom Karma Kagyu lineage which I here represent, so please, random stranger on the Internet with your two cents to share, what you think I think of the 16th Karmapa is just your opinion of something you know nothing first hand of, I don’t know you and you don’t know, what I do know this and I say this without fear of contradiction because I witnessed this myself in 1881, against the expressed wishes of his fellow Tibetans, the 16th Karmapa chose to pass into Parinirvana here in the United States of America at Zion, Illinois in an undeniable declaration of his intentions for the future of his lineage, beyond the toxic, racist, ethno-nationalism of the 17th Karmapa’s Tibetan Buddhism which, which long before the 17th Karmapa was but a gleam in his fathers eye I so despised given my politics, what Tibetans did with Buddhism disgusted me, I was looking for a Soto Buddhist sangha here in Chicago when a neighbor introduced me to her guru Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche whom she
      assured me beforehand that Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche was not sent here by the 16th Karmapa to make me into a Tibetan Buddhist, the very idea of which I consider to this day a racist project, which Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche himself before I took refuge with him assured me without equivocation that what he had to offer me was wisdom which transcends Tibetan culture which had nothing to do with anything Tibetan, but in fact originated in India with the Mahasiddha Tilopa, that we would be working with an oral lineage transmitted from guru to disciples since the time of Tilopa and Naropa in ancient India, not a bunch Tibetan monks whom I had so many issues, the parasites, and that if I focused exclusively on my practice and not waste my time and energy concerning myself with his relationships with my fellow sangha members, what he had them doing and so on, I would accomplish my goal, which Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche has whole heartedly supported to this day, to die totally present and aware of my last moment, something which since the age of 14 I had been so haunted by, my fathers sudden death and how it must of felt, which is exactly what Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche and I bonded for life over, from that moment forward he threw away the book on how to make a Tibetan Buddhist and over the course of our thirty five years together since he shared with me his most personal oral instructions learned from having countless loved ones die on him since his childhood in Tibet, during his escape to India, the years spent at Buxador, India, where more Rinpoches died of tropical diseases than have died at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party’s genocidal occupation of free Tibet, it was a death camp for monastics whom had no monastery in India to take them in which Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche survived, barely I might add, while living in India, all of which I share here in my response to my being characterized as being someone I am not, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche himself, in the presence of my fellow sangha members at Chicago KTC did formally bestow upon me the lung and tri authorizing me to make the practice of Mahamudra, up to that point a word I was familiar with from reading the books of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche but I otherwise had no idea of what this meant other than that it was a big deal, to make this my practice, afterwards Rinpoche explained to me that his days of visiting me every six months were coming to an end and he wanted me to have his blessings to make this practice my own, that which he received from Khenpo Gangshar in Tibet, this is how much Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche thought I was capable of accomplishing, to master these teachings and in time pass them as he did with me on some point for the benefit of future generations, which is what is happening with this blog, every word here flows from my thirty five years as a Karma Kagyu, so as much as much as I appreciate the comment I have taken the time to respond to in such boring detail, I beg to differ.

  4. Warrenz

    The America that Trump builds may not have many more freedoms than the PRC if you are not white, male, straight, Christian, English-speaking or able-bodied. Heaven help us all!

    • I’m confident that just as when the PQ made me into a minority to be ethnically cleansed from its experiment in ethno-nationalism it inflicted upon the residents of Canada trapped in Quebec when it came to power in 1976, Donald Trump’s presidency will only make our minority communities stronger and more capable advocates of the rights of minority in the United States of America than they otherwise would be if Hilary Clinton had been elected president, the most galvanizing moments in the history of the LGBT movement came during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, the arch of humanity bends towards just and I am confident the majority of the American people know this to be true and are willing to do whatever it takes to make this so in the coming years.

      • Warrenz

        I hope you are right and this is the bottom of the curve. Still the Supreme Court will be stacked for a generation (BTW – something else that needs introduced – time limited terms for Supreme Court judges). God knows what it means for women’s and workers rights. Maybe this the kick up the ass the left finally needs to create a real popular movement in the US.

        • As you can imagine everyone I know is freaking out over the election of Donald Trump, more my wife’s friends than mine, last night my best friend, he was my freshman year roommate in college and my wife and I had dinner at Calo’s in Andersonville, a favorite gathering place for us, to hash out over a meal the issues we’ve been discussing here, Harry wanted my take on the election, all his friends are having nervous breakdowns too, as if this was the worst thing to ever happen to them over the past 60 years, we aren’t kids anymore, I can assure you that a lot worse things have happened to my generation over the course of our lives than Donald Trump being elected President of the United States of America, as far as the Supreme Court is concerned there is no replacing a Scalia in terms of the role he played in its deliberations, whoever Donald Trump replaces him with will be some middle aged white guy nominated by George Bush to the Federal Court, confirmed by a Democratic Senate and no Scalia by any stretch of the imagination, the man was so much more than the political ideology he subscribed to, he was unique to his generation, we don’t make minds like Scalia’s anymore, the causes and conditions that made him who he was were unique to him alone, so Hilary Clinton isn’t going to get to nominate Scalia’s replacement to the court, it’s not like the Republican Senate was going to confirm her choice anyway so we are basically right back where we were while he was still alive, last night across the country young people here in Chicago, New York, Oakland, the list goes on, took to the streets in protest, nothing out of the ordinary if you live in Paris perhaps where such spectacles are commonplace but for America something we haven’t seen here since Reagan was President, people taking to the streets in protest as a matter of principle instead of some narrowly defined grievance, Trumps election has galvanized a new generation of counter culture for our time united against Donald Trump and the people that elected him President of the United States of America, so fear not for what will become of America, this shit is about to get real like it hasn’t been since I was a freshman in college and I can’t wait to see what will come of this historic moment in our politics as a country.

  5. John

    It does all sound quite complicated, so Thanks for taking the time to explain your road to this point. Much appreciated and I wish you all the best as a lama.

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