Any claim of control over Rumtek Monastery is misleading

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Press Release

Karmapa Charitable Trust (KCT), the legal administrative body established during the time of 16th Gyalwa Karmapa which supports the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje, does not approve the statement made by the spokesperson of Uygen Trinley Dorje which trickled in media regarding the control of Uygen Trinley Dorje’s camp on the Rumtek Monastery. As there is a court case pending on the real claimant of the Rumtek Monastery since 1993 so any claims made in this regard do not hold ground.

Lodreu Rabsel Rinpoche, General Secretary to His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje, says, “The statement from the spokesperson of Uygen Trinley Dorje is totally unfounded and misleading as the court case concerning the eviction of the unlawful occupants of Rumtek Monastery and recovery of the valuable sacred objects of the late 16th Karmapa which was filed in 1997 is still pending before the Court. Hence, Ugyen Trinley Dorje’s administration cannot make any such statement, as they have no legal control over the monastery. KCT has full faith in the legal system and we are confident concerning its positive outcome and KCT does not approve of commenting on the subject that is pending before the highest judiciary in India.”

Rumtek, the seat of the Karmapa lamas since the 1960s, has been the subject of dispute for more than a decade. At the death of the 16th Karmapa in 1981, the KCT assumed management of Rumtek, following the late Karmapa’s stated wishes. This body which supported 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje. But on 2nd August 1993, Situ Rinpoche and Gyaltsap Rinpoche with the help of their followers, including Dekila Chungyalpa and a few hundred armed troops supported by then the State Government of Sikkim attacked Rumtek Monastery and physically evicted all the residents, Trustees, as well as Rinpoches and Monks from there and confiscated the Monastery. The court case was filed by the KCT against Gyaltsab Rinpoche and the Sikkim State officials who were involved in this illegal act so that Rumtek Monastery could be returned to its rightful administration. Situ Rinpoche was not named in the suit because he had been banned to enter India at that point of time.

“The High Court of Sikkim in 2003 ruled that KCT is the legal administration established by the 16th Karmapa has full legal authority over Karmapa’s estate, belongings, including Rumtek Monastery. In 2004, the Supreme Court of India dismissed a Special Leave to Appeal filed by Gyaltsab Rinpoche and his secretary Tenzin Namgyal of the opponent camp, thus confirming the earlier decision of the High Court of Sikkim. The court denied the appeal on the grounds of significant contradictions in Tenzin’s petition that Tenzin could not explain, and also on the grounds that Tenzin’s group could produce no documents to show its management of Rumtek,” confirms Lodreu Rabsel Rinpoche, General Secretary of 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje.

About the Karma Kagyu Lineage

Karma Kagyu, or Kamtsang, is the largest lineage within the Kagyu school, one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu is the Gyalwa Karmapa. The Karma Kagyu was founded by the first Karmapa, Jetsun Dusum Khyenpa. It is headed by the Gyalwa Karmapa, a reincarnate lama (tulku). Followers believe that the Karmapa’s appearance as the first historical consciously reincarnate teacher was predicted by the Buddha in the Samadhiraja Sutra. The Karma Kagyu School belongs to the Vajrayana branch of Mahayana Buddhism.

The central teaching of the Karma Kagyu is the doctrine of Mahamudra, also known as the “Great Seal”. This doctrine focuses on four principal stages of meditative practice.

About the 17th Karmapa

His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Trinley (meaning Buddha activity) Thaye (limitless) Dorje (unchanging), was born in Lhasa (Tibet) on the 6th May in 1983. He is regarded as the highest authority in all religious matters of the Karma Kagyu Lineage. The transmission of the Kagyu Lineage originated with the great yogi Tilopa who lived in Northern India sometime around the 10th century AD. The Karma Kagyu Lineage was founded by the first Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa, who was the first consciously reborn master in Tibet. The lineage of the Karmapas is thus the oldest lineage of reincarnate masters in Tibetan Buddhism. According to a nearly 1000-year-old tradition of the Karma Kagyu Lineage successive incarnations of Karmapas and Shamarpas recognise each other. The present Karmapa was recognised by the Shamarpa at the age of 11, in accordance with the tradition.

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