Since ‘disrobing’ last month does Thaye Dorje have Ogyen Trinley Dorje at a disadvantage?



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13 responses to “Since ‘disrobing’ last month does Thaye Dorje have Ogyen Trinley Dorje at a disadvantage?

  1. Warrenz

    I can’t see why. Perhaps you’d like to elaborate? I doubt Ogyen Trinley loses any sleep about Thaye Dorje. And vice versa. Both know who their constituencies are.

  2. Karmapa Thaye Dorje has never been interested in competing with the other claimant to his title – let alone, on a wordly level. And he never said anything negative about Orgyen Trinley, too. It is not about an election campaign, but about spiritual development in connection to the task a high lineage lama has. And in connection to the people he has a bond with – hopefully good, highly motivated students who voluntarily decided to follow him. The one Karma Kagyu branch needs one thing, the other one obviously another one.

    Western lay buddhist communities of the Thaye Dorje-branch of the Karma Kagyu School were highly enthusiastic about his marriage.

    • That being said Karmapa Thaye Dorje has revealed himself through his actions to be a Karmapa in his own right.

      It was a move worthy of a Karmapa and must be acknowledged as such.

      • Warrenz

        I think it is sign that Thaye Dorje is finally moving from under Shamar’s shadow. I doubt the latter would ever have approved of this if he were alive.

        The Tibetan community sees this as a bigger deal than we in the West. A Bhikshu giving up robes is seen as a kind of moral failure. Hence Orgyen Trinley message asking his followers not to speak ill of Thaye Dorje for his decision.

        I don’t think it makes Thaye Dorje any more or less able to minister to minister to his students. He had no support among Tibetans really and this changes nothing in that regard. I don’t think it affects his claim as Karmapa. I never thought it was legitimate so why would it?

        it will be interesting to see how he develops his role and what direction he takes his organization. Will his wife be a co-teacher? Will she have a lineage function like the wife of Karmapa XV who was revered as a great practitioner?

  3. “One of the two claimants to the Karmapa’s throne.” ??? Only two? Aren’t there actually about seven?

  4. ROFL

    You could also argue differently, Warrenz, since Shamar Rinpoche also returned his gelong vows long ago and instead took four of the genyen vows. He explained the reasons here: ( Hence, what Karmapa Thaye Dorje did is not so different from his teacher.

    You are also quite mistaken in stating that Thaye Dorje had no followers among the Tibetans. If you speak about Tibetans at large, the majority will go with Karmapa Orgyen Trinley indeed. If you, however, look at those adhering to the Karma Kagyu tradition, it is a different picture, and you could speak of a draw. He also has strong support in the Sakya, Drikung, Drukpa and Nyingma tradition with several lineage masters having imparted important and extensive month-long transmission cycles privately to him. While photos with Karmapa Orgyen Trinley and said Lamas in Tibetan tabloids may give you the impression that they have close contact with him, I did not hear that they gave him major transmissions (not talking about longlife empowerments), but maybe I missed that… While Karmapa Orgyen Trinley ran from mishap to mishap – starting with him wearing shoes at the Bodhgaya temple, which caused a public outcry throughout India up to the problem with foreign currencies ( – until now, no such thing occurred with Karmapa Thaye Dorje. Don’t think that Tibetans did not notice this.
    Knowing that it may damage his reputation among the general Tibetan public and traditionalist, Karmapa Thaye Dorje could have decided to keep his private life a secret – but he chose not to. Again, this is a very honest and transparent process. He does as he says – and this is what his students like about him…

  5. Warrenz

    I have no quibble with Thaye Dorje disrobing. It’s his life. And there is historical precendent. Whether it is quite what Shamar did, I think you are stretching a point there.

    His support among Tibetans is limited to the point of being negligible. It really is. As for the teachings he got – well one would like to hope that great teachers would not turn anyone down who asked earnestly for teachings.

    Ogyen Trinley has not always handled things well – that’s true. Although here are many people trying to trip him up – not least the late Shamar. He is also got a lot more responsibilty and a much bigger organization to manage. Thaye Dorje’s is tiny in comparison. He’s got many more chances to fail.

    Thaye Dorje supporters whether those who have been in it from the beginning or late arrivals to the party like Bill, never give credit were it’s due or report the good things. If you think Thaye Dorje is the real deal, good luck to you. Get on with it and stop trying to tear the other guy down.

    As far as I am aware there are no websites dedicated to denigrating everything Thaye Dorje does.

    • “As far as I am aware there are no websites dedicated to denigrating everything Thaye Dorje does.”
      Yes, but there had been more than just a few defaming attacks from Orgyen Trinley Dorje’s camp against the main supporters of Karmapa Thaye Dorje, e. g. Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche, Topga Yulgyal Rinpoche, Lama Ole Nydahl etc. – especially during the 1990ies. This happened mainly via books, open letters and PR campaigns, as the internet was not so much in use, then. After his runaway in janary 2000, however, Orgyen Trinley Dorje stood under patronage of the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan government-in-exile and being guest in India, his staff had to keep a better communication style.

  6. ROFL

    Not intending to denigrate Karmapa Orgyen Trinley – just responded to your constant rants that Karmapa Thaye Dorje is of no importance and can be ignored. I have nothing against KOT and he may be a good Buddhist teacher for those who rely on him. However, you seem to be quite brainwashed by “your side”. The assumption that Karmapa Orgyen Trinley Dorje’s organization is “bigger” is definitely mistaken. It always depends on where you are from. Talking about America and England – you are right. Talking about Europe in general, it is definitely the other way round and Karmapa Orgyen Trinley Dorje’s support is a minority. I also wasn’t talking about teachers granting Karmapa Thaye Dorje out of compassion a teaching. Just think about late Chobgye Trichen Rinpoche, head of the Tsarpha tradition, for example. At an age above 80, he went all the way to France from Nepal just to meet KTD and impart a month-long cycle of transmissions to him and Shamar Rinpoche. It seems, he did not consider him completely unimportant to take such an effort upon himself. KOT has support from authentic teachers as well, e.g. the Dalai Lama, but this is something you did not put into question…

    • Warrenz

      I do not denigrate Thaye Dorje as a Dharma teacher. He has not taught me so I cannot say he is bad. And to be honest he seems a nice guy – from what I can tell from the internet.

      I do not see the need to tear him down as a person. I do however see a need to correct the inaccuracies born of lack of knowledge and sometimes too the lies born of malice concerning Ogyen Trinley that emanate from this site.

      I think you are living in a bit of a bubble if you think Thaye’s Dorje has the more supporters than Ogyen Trinley. It’s basically limited to former students of Shamarpa/his relatives and Ole Nydahl (and one or two others like Beru Khyentse/Jampa Thaye). Even in Europe, Ole’s followers do not outnumber those of every other Kagyu teacher. Outside of Europe and Diamondway, he’s got next to no support.

      I think it is highly unlikely that Thaye Dorje will convince anyone else the Kagyu lineage that he is Karmapa other than those who follow him now. Same for Ogyen Trinley. I think, realistically, too Thaye Dorje will never go to Rumtek or wear the Black crown. But the Karmapa is more than that.

      The Karma Kagyu has split and is unlikely to be repaired. Isn’t it time to move on?

      • ROFL

        Warrenz, I think the narrative that you follow: “KTD has so few followers that one does not need to consider him” is really flawed.
        First, it is not an election where the majority vote defines what is correct. Second, the numbers aren’t as clear as you think. Third, both KTD and KOT have a sufficient large following to consider them important enough to qualify as not negligible by any standard, contrary to what you claim.
        Furthermore, KTD does not need to convince anyone else than his followers that he is the Karmapa – it is sufficient that he convinces them, which he does. There are three huge organizations in the West that follow KTD (Diamond Way, Bodhi Path, Dhagpo Kagyu Mandala) as well as a lot of independent centres and monasteries. Personally, I am not a student of Ole Nydahl, but the group is huge. I just heard that 5500 of his student gathered last week in Poland for a Buddhist event with him. If numbers would really be all that matters, I assume that most Buddhist groups could than be considered negligible, too, when compared to this. If you compare either KTD’s or KOT’s following to, for example, the Sakya tradition, you could argue that the Sakya tradition with its few centres here and there would be negligible. See the absurdity?
        As far as Tibetans are concerned, the numbers following OTD are definitely higher, but it is less so if you look at the Kagyupa only, including Drikung and Drukpa. In Bhutan and Ladakh, KTD is also very strong. Furthermore, if you speak with religious Tibetans regularly, they tell you that KTD has really gained the respect of many in the past decade.
        Don’t school others for staying in a bubble if you never left yours.

        BTW, there’s a point I agree with you, I also think that we just witness the emergence of two branches of the Karma Kagyu…

        • Warrenz

          I don’t think I can convince you. I’ve been around the lineage a pretty long time and been all over Europe (inlcuding Dhagpo Kagyu Ling) and it certainly does not look like it to me.

          If Thaye Dorje supporters were so sure in there position they would not need to keep tearing Ogyen Trinley down. He does not engage in that behavior whatever other faults he may have.

          I think the untimely death of Shamar was a significant turning point in this. Another will be the death of Ole Nydahl. I am not so sure he’s organization will not shrink dramatically.

          Ogyen Trinley will become the figurehead for the Tibetans in the period between Dalai Lamas. The people who tear him down do not understand the wider politics of this and are doing China’s job for them.

  7. ROFL

    Yes, you cannot convince me. I have also been around for a quarter of a century and seen a bit. You seem to be happy were you are. Great to hear and it is absolutely fine with me.

    However, your argumentation is not very coherent here. You claim that Thaye Dorje supporters try to tear Orgyen Trinley down and you contrast it with Orgyen Trinley’s behaviour, who abstains from such actions. OTD is indeed laudable here, but contrasting his behaviour with that of Thaye Dorje’s student is rhetorically not a fair match. To complete the picture, you should add that Thaye Dorje also never said a bad word about Orgyen Trinley, discourages his students to do so, and that there is a large number of OTD’s supporters who try to paint a negative image of Thaye Dorje/Shamar Rinpoche. It is sad on both sides. The difference, however, might be that the critics of Orgyen Trinley don’t only come from the outside, but again, this is not my business.

    As far as Shamar Rinpoche’s death is concerned: the opposite of what you said is quite true. It was an event that brought many people much closer together. The different groups in Europe started to cooperate since then. A year before his death, Shamar Rinpoche started to travel throughout the most important centres, which now has to be seen as a farewell tour. His last teaching before his death was on death and impermanence – and during his last dinner he ordered a further steak, saying that it was the last steak he was going to it anyway. Wherever he went, he made arrangements so that after his death there was no unfinished business left. A couple of years before, he had already completed all transmission to Karmapa Thaye Dorje and gave full control to him over all monasteries and centres. Doesn’t sound like his death came completely unexpected – and people witnessed it in their personal context, which strengthened faith in him to a great extent.

    Yes, I was also worried about what happens when Ole Nydahl dies, but to me, it seems that the process of putting Karmapa Thaye Dorje in charge of his centres has already begun. Thaye Dorje’s marriage is something that further strengthened his position in the centres of Ole Nydahl.

    I agree, Orgyen Trinley is is likely to become the figurehead of Tibetans and particularly the free Tibet movement after the Dalai Lama. If it works out, it is great for him and those who consider it worthwhile, but this process might still cause some stir within the Gelugpa tradition. Furthermore, I never considered the Karmapa to be a political institution next to the Dalai Lama, e.g. a substitute for the Panchen Lama, but if you consider this a good development, fine with me.

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