February 9, 2011

Today, during the routine registration for the public audience with His Holiness Karmapa, Indian security officials were taking passports and questioning many of the foreign disciples who had come for blessing. This was the first time that I have been detained for questioning, and I must admit that the experience left me feeling a bit unnerved. The questions they asked:

  1. Are you taking a course of study in India?
  2. Have you registered in Dharamsala?
  3. What is your purpose for being here?

I answered “no” to the first two and “tourist” to the third, and held out my hand for my passport. Unfortunately, the Indian official wasn’t eager to give it back. “We’ll need to keep it until after the audience, so that we can make a copy of it.”

“Well, if you must.”

It feels like the vise of control is tightening around Gyuto, in the wake of the recent media feeding frenzy and false allegations, though I hope that this is just a temporary show of power by the Indian security, and not a protocol that will be implemented from now on.

It’s difficult to believe that foreign devotees will be interrogated every time we go for a public blessing. However, seeing the Karmapa in person offset my discomfort, for being in his shining presence always feels like a miracle to me and is worth any temporary inconvenience with the police.

After the audience, a group of us gathered together in front of a very special Guru Rinpoche statue that spontaneously emits golden powder, to recite some of the prayers that His Holiness recommended recently for the removal of obstacles.

Yeshe Wangmo