Let Kagyu Monlam 2017 serve as proof the 17th Karmapa not 16th’s legitimate successor 

Thanks to the Panama Papers we today know that the 31 year old 17th Karmapa was caught last year hiding the money he used to pay for his million dollar Kagyu Monlam in an offshore bank account funded by members of the Chinese Buddhist community whom support China’s occupation of Tibet.

Yes, it is time for 58 year old me to protest said Karmapa’s Kagyu Monlam Prayer Festival to be held February 13-19 this year in India.

I can’t believe this is still a thing in 2017.

What’s wrong with kids these day?

22 year old me would have been all over this bullshit.

Anyway.

According to the Lion’s Roar the Chinese declared HHDL’s 2017 Kalachakra illegal.

This actually happened.

Let us therefore take China’s prohibition of Tibetans attending HHDL’s Kalachakra to be our benchmark here.

If China prohibits Tibetans from attending the Kagyu Monlam this year I am wrong to question the 17th Karmapa’s claim to be the 16th Karmapa’s legitimate successor.

My bad.

If China doesn’t prohibit Tibetans from attending the Kagyu Monlam this year I am right to question the 17th Karmapa’s claim to be the 16th Karmapa’s legitimate successor.

To date the Chinese have yet to declare the 31 year old Karmapa’s Kagyu Monlam to be illegal.

Advertisements

85 Comments

Filed under Buddhism

85 responses to “Let Kagyu Monlam 2017 serve as proof the 17th Karmapa not 16th’s legitimate successor 

  1. What about to ponder the possibility that H.H. Thinley Thaye Dorje – once found and proclaimed without political interference from either Chinese authorities or Gelugpas with absolutely no authority on the spiritual matters of the Karma Kagyu lineage – could be the authentic 17th Karmapa?

    • Chen

      Bill, why did you delete my comment?

      That this particular blog entry is boring to me should be no skin off your back.

      I’m actually a little surprised that you are so self conscious about people not agreeing with you.

      What’s the big deal?

    • If you wish to make the case for Thaye Dorje, the 33 year old Karmapa, being the legitimate successor to the 16th Karmapa you are welcome to do so here.

      That being said, If I may, I’m afraid that I must take issue with your choice of words.

      Authenticity?

      Please don’t go there here.

      I refuse to be dragged down that Tibetan rat hole again.

      This blog is about us.

      As such our language here must reflect this.

      The authenticity of neither 17th Karmapa is an issue for me.

      That’s a Tibetan concern.

      58 year old me doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what concerns Tibetans.

      I’m done with these people and their petty bickering about who is the authentic reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa.

  2. Michael

    You conveniently forgot to highlight the fact that the Karmapa is attending and supporting the event. If he was so pro-China, why would he be doing this?

    “Among the attendees is Holiness the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, whose Office of Administration is supporting the event in numerous ways, including providing some 4,000 participants with “three meals per day and accommodation free of charge at the large Kagyu Monlam facility near Tergar Monastery.”

    • Not at all.

      Yet the Chinese did not condemn the 31 year old 17th Karmapa for doing so.

      Why is that?

      That this is so only supports my questioning the 31 year old 17th Karmapa’s claim to be the 16th’s successor.

      Nice try.

    • Steve

      DL is also making use OTD to spike Chinese communist. In long run OTD will be more busy with his political games then spreading dharma. Beside , OTD is supported by millions of dollars from Chinese communist, he is even able to provide 6 meals a day !

  3. Michael

    China won’t condemn or criticized the Karmapa because they insisted, in the immediate aftermath of his escape, that he had only gone on a visit to India and would be returning home. So that’s the line they are playing when it comes to him so that they don’t appear to contradict their endorsement of him. It’s a different kind of propaganda they are taking with him.

    Make no mistake though, they see him as a problem, hence their complaints to India for allowing HHK to visit Anuchal Pradesh recently. Karmapa has stated on numerous occasions that he escaped Tibet and fled into exile. Unfortunately you choose to agree with the Chinese version.

    And it still stands that you regularly edit out Karmapa’s public support for HHDL because it’s an inconvenient fact in your simplistic narrative.

  4. You know Bill your position on this issue is really unclear and confusing. You call for OTD to step down, you say in no uncertain terms that his claim to be Karmapa is not legitimate but you also deny any other alternative such as TTD or in fact any other. This leads me to believe that you may actually be calling for the discontinuation of the Karmapa’s karma Kagyu lineage. Is this so? Do you have an alternative other than being negative to all sides, or what exactly is your position here.
    I am really curious and just wish for some clarity,

    Best Wishes,

    QP

    • I have a statue of Vajradhara on a table beside my bed.

      Every evening it is the last thing I see before I close my eyes.

      Every morning it is the first thing I see when I open my eyes.

      While asleep I recite to myself “Karmapa Chenno”.

      I wake and I receive the four empowerments.

      Since I was 22 years old over the past 36 years I have done so.

      My guru, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, is 92 years old.

      I’m today a lama of the Karma Kagyu lineage.

      What of this depends upon who is the 17th Karmapa?

      In 1981 the 16th Karmapa passed into Parinirvana here.

      From day one I have watched what has followed.

      None of which has had anything to do with the dharma.

      From day one it has been all about Tibetans.

      Despite the fact that the 16th Karmapa passed away here.

      He chose to pass into Parinirvana here rather than in India.

      Not that Tibetans gave this a second thought at the time.

      From day one they were too busy fighting with each other.

      I remember seeing the 16th Karmapa’s body off at O’hare airport.

      It was just me, Lama Ganga, and Bob Martinez that sad day.

      What a lost opportunity for us I thought at the time.

      All Tibetans care about are themselves I concluded.

      They care not for that which the Karmapa’s lineage represents.

      This lineage dates back to Tilopa and Vajradhara in India.

      It was just passing through Tibet on its way to us.

      As established by the 16th Karmapa passing into Parinirvana here.

      This is my position as it pertains to both 17th Karmapas.

      Neither have anything to do with the practice of the dharma.

      Our lineage is not reducible to causes and conditions.

      Vajradhara is not reducible to causes and conditions.

      The 31 year old 17th Karmapa is a Tibetan creation.

      The 33 year old 17th Karmapa is a Tibetan creation.

      Which is the 17th Karmapa is a Tibetan dispute.

      As such Tibetans insist this is none of our business.

      In this I am in complete agreement with Tibetans.

      For Tibetans here this wasn’t enough for them though.

      For my part I refuse to involve myself in this Tibetan nonsense.

      That being said my being who I am I must speak truth power.

      As such I have spoken out against the 31 year old 17th Karmapa.

      The powers that be here insist he is something he is not.

      He is not the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa.

      I say the same to anyone who claims the 33 Karmapa is.

      Both were selected as children to succeed the 16th Karmapa.

      The 31 year old Karmapa is China’s choice for Karmapa.

      As such the 31 year old 17th Karmapa is problematic for us.

      The 33 year old Karmapa is not China’s choice for Karmapa.

      The question remains for us whether he is the 16th’s legitimate successor.

      China interfered in said succession of legitimacy.

      As such the 16th Karmapa may well be the last of his kind.

      All of which brings us back to where I began with my practice.

      I have a statue of Vajradhara on a table beside my bed.

      Every evening it is the last thing I see before I close my eyes.

      Every morning it is the first thing I see when I open my eyes.

      While asleep I recite to myself “Karmapa Chenno”.

      I wake and I receive the four empowerments.

      Since I was 22 years old over the past 36 years I have done so.

      My guru, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, is 92 years old.

      I’m today a lama of the Karma Kagyu lineage.

      What of this depends upon who is the 17th Karmapa?

      • Thank you for this very detailed answer, Bill. I agree with much about what you say about the Tibetans, if you have 3 of them in a room you will have 5 political parties. While perhaps from your perspective nothing pertaining to you depends on who is the 17th Karmapa some might argue that the authenticity of our oral transmission and of the lineage of teacher and student depends on it. The transmission of our teachings should be kept intact as to preserve them for the benefit of all beings, don’t you think? Or are they not really worthwhile or perhaps not needed?

        You mentioned Karmapa TTD, have you ever clearly stated why you do not consider him or his nomination from the Sharmapa to be legitimate? Is it something the Sharmapa did to disqualify him? I am not sure why you seem to never give him a fair shake.

        Thank you once again for your time and answer.

        QP

        • That China in 1992 successfully interfered with the selection of the 16th Karmapa’s successor nullifies the 17th Karmapa’s claim to legitimacy.

          If the 16th Karmapa was in fact the last legitimate Karmapa there is nothing that can make either 17th Karmapa the legitimate successor to the 16th Karmapa as such.

          China successfully interfered in the selection of the 16th Karmapa’s successor and there is nothing that can change what in fact happened.

          This is as true today as it was 25 years ago.

          Nothing has changed.

          Over the past quarter century the magical thinkers among us have insisted that notwithstanding said Chinese interference we reserve judgement on what happened until the 17th Karmapa had the opportunity to make right somehow China’s wrong and follow in the 16th Karmapa’s footsteps.

          Said hoped for happy ended never happened.

          At 58 years of age as I have stated previously neither 17th Karmapa has a role to play in my life as a dharma practitioner.

          Even if China had not interfered in the selection of the 16th Karmapa’s successor this wouldn’t change the role even a legitimate 17th Karmapa would play in my life as a dharma practitioner.

          Just as when I turn a light on once I do not need to turn it on a second time after the 16th Karmapa passed into Parinirvana in 1981 I did not need to wait for the selection of his successor to continue on with my dharma practitioner as such.

          At this point in my life I’m all about what I received from Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche over the past 36 years.

          Despite the fact Khenpo Gangshar’s Mahamudra represents a departure from the Mahamudra of his day, 1950’s Tibet and its monasteries, it remains in keeping with the Mahamudra Tilopa received from Vajradhara himself in spirit.

          I hold Khenpo Gangshar’s lineage and as such will uphold it until the day I die.

          I leave it to other lineage holders to uphold their respective lineages as they see fit.

          How they pay forward what they have received is none of my business.

          I have no fear that our lineage will cease to function as it has down through the ages.

          This is how we have done it since Tilopa’s time.

          That being said, as far as my blogging here is concerned, my speaking truth to power, I stand opposed to the magical thinkers amongst us that refuse to accept that China interfered with the selection of the 16th Karmapa’s successor.

          I leave it today’s generation of young Karma Kagyu here to decide how they wish to proceed in regards to either 17th Karmapa.

          I rely upon you to tell me what role Thaye Dorje being 17th Karmapa plays in your life as a dharma practitioner.

          It’s not like either 17th Karmapa is going anywhere.

          Like it or not we live in a post-Karmapa Karma Kagyu lineage and it is up to the youngest among us here to make this work for themselves moving forward.

          There is no going back to what we were as Karma Kagyu before the Chinese interfered with the selection of the 16th Karmapa’s successor.

          • Good day Bill,

            You did not answer the question about the Sharmapa. Why in your opinion is his choice of candidate not valid?

            What does the Karmapa mean to me? Great question I have enjoyed thinking about it and my answer will likely grow with time.

            The Karmapa is one of the few lineage holders. It is not enough to be realised as a lineage holder but one must pass it on and some students also must achieve realisation. If not there is no transmission and therefore no lineage.

            The institution of the Karmapa is a living one, not a dead one or I had it once and I never need it again. I do not feel that just because one meets a buddha that its all over. We will need the teacher until every last being reaches enlightenment. I am part of the living lineage and I wish for all other beings that they have the chance to meet a buddha or at least a very highly realised being and be inspired as I am to practice. I hold this wish very close to me, to benefit all beings and to help them on their way. The Karmapa and his activity is a very big part of this. This is but one aspect of the living oral tradition of the Karma Kagyu lineage and the Buddha Dharma.

            The Karmapa is also our highest example to hold up and say, cool man if he can do it so can I, it gives us the confidence to keep going.

            The Karmapa is the one I melt or dissolve within the state of Mahamudra.

            There is no need to go back to before the time when the Chinese interfered with us. Many of us with TTD fearlessly just kept on going regardless of what OTD and his followers did. And it is still working.

            QP

  5. Why did you block me on Twitter? Do you have something to hide? I met you. Chicago, 2010, Stars of Wisdom, Shambhala Center. Boy, you betta run.

  6. VAL

    What makes Bill a legitimate Karma Kagyu lama?
    => tells you to fuck off when you try to challenge with arguments his fantasied apologetical narrative.

  7. Kek

    You have a pretty nonsensical argument. You assume that China is some permanent Collective that always has the same mindset and intention at all times. You assume that the Dalai Lama and the Karmapa must have identical relationships with China and if otherwise it means that somehow the Karmapa is in cahoots with China and that China has nefarious intentions with regard to Buddhism and that the Karmapa also agrees with these intentions. There are many unknowns here. And the simpler argument is that the Karmapa is trying to bring dharma to Tibet and that is all. As a bodhisattva his duty is to try to help beings. How would teaching in China or organizing a Monlam in China go against the goals of a bodhisattva?

  8. James Hitchens

    Lamar Bill,

    I have three questions as a result of reading this post:

    1 – 11th Trungpa, Vidyadhara Chokyi Gyatso Trungpa Rinpoche, aka Dorje Dradul, aka Lord Mukpo, aka Chuggy, said that he was last in his line. That there would not be a 12th. Do you know of any evidence that the Chinese, Kagyu and/or Sakyong Mipham had they dollar grabbing trotters in the process of finding Trungpa XII?

    2 – I’m still somewhat insure why talk of bodhisattvas is magical thinking and talk of vajradhara is not – please be so kind as to spell it out for me because I don’t really get it…they both sound quite magical to me if they’re taken as a belief instead of a method of recognising the great completion of the space of awareness within our own experience.

    3 – The 16th Karmapa formally decreed that Mahamudra should be taught openly in the modern world. Some teachers, such as Reginald Ray, have taken this seriously. Others keep it as a way to make more money for their offshore accounts. What do you think the best way to receive the depth of Mahanudra is today, given the state of the Karma Kagyu institutions?

    Thanks Bill.

    The 2nd Hitch

    • After Trungpa died in 1987 Situ Rinpoche attempted to make Vajradhatu his own.

      He thought this should be so.

      Vajradhatu thought otherwise.

      In retaliation Situ Rinpoche recognized a 12th Trungpa for Surmang monastery thus ending the Trungpa succession and bringing to fruition Trungpa Rinpoche’s prediction.

      According to the Tibetan Buddhist schema of the three turnings, Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana, only the Vajrayana is definitive.

      This is a gross simplification for the sake of brevity.

      That being said both the Hinayana and Mahayana are provisional as such.

      They require interpretation.

      Like a fairy tale.

      Bodhisattvas are a Mahayana literary device.

      Anyone whom speaks of a Bodhisattva as being otherwise is engaged in magical thinking.

      In contrast to a Bodhisattva, Vajradhara, a primordial Buddha, is understood to be empty, luminous and capable of anything, as is the true nature of the mind, and thus requires no interpretation as such.

      Once pointed out, you either get it, or you don’t.

      Again, this is a gross simplification for the sake of brevity.

      Between 1974 and 1981 the 16th Karmapa introduced us to Vajradhara through his dharma activity in our country, his pointing out of the true nature of the mind for us, a hitherto unknown to us Buddhist paradigm His Holiness considered us uniquely qualified to practice.

      Long story short, this did not sit well with Tibet’s monks in exile living here.

      After the 16th Karmapa died in 1981 they decided to go in another direction.

      In their opinion we needed to instead focus on the Mahayana as practiced by Tibetan Monastics in Tibet prior to their exile in 1959.

      Neither being Tibetans nor monks we were thus tasked by Tibetans with building a monastic seat worthy of a Bodhisattva for the 16th Karmapa’s future successor.

      We balked at doing so.

      The Chinese Buddhist community here and abroad did not and this is how since 1982 to present its Mahayana, magical, transactional thinking came to dominate the Karma Kagyu lineage in our country.

      This is off the top of my head this morning, my attempt to answer your questions here in the form of a hastily composed response to your comment, which I submit for your consideration.

      • James Hitchens

        Wow. Thank you for your composition, which – while hasty – actually struck me as very informative and illucidative, particularly on the topic of Vajradhara.

        I had no idea about the Situ situation – let The 2nd Hitch mull this over and see if we can’t stir up a storm.

        In my previous life I showed Mother Teresa to be an awful hag, perhaps I can do the same for Situ Rinpoche.

        Enjoy your weekend Lama Bill.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s