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Winds of Change, by Naomi Levine,

published on Jul 14, 2011, Elephant Journal

The Dalai Lama and the Karmapa at the Kalachakra in Washington DC

When the Dalai Lama made his entrance, the Karmapa walked forward, and the two bowed gently towards each other in a Tibetan gesture of mutual respect and affection. The symbolic image of these two great Tibetan spiritual leaders on a world stage, with the Washington Monument behind them and the U.S. Capitol in front, may have been lost on those unaware of Tibetan politics.

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How a blundering shoot-first-think-later accusation by Indian authorities nearly made an enemy of a very influential Tibetan

No Sting in the Monk’s Tale, by Hartosh Singh

Open Magazine, April 7th 2011

When I was leaving Tibet, you must appreciate I was leaving everything behind… India was the land of the Buddha, a place where wishes were fulfilled. I told the people who came with me, as we turned to India, that even if we are caught and killed after taking just three steps towards India I would not have an iota of remorse, that was the amount of faith and hope and affection I had for India. After 11 years here this should now be clear. Yet such an unwarranted accusation has been a source of tremendous hurt, it is difficult to forget it in my lifetime.

Words of dismay, but understandably so. For any Tibetan to be called a Chinese spy would always be a source of consternation, but the young man speaking at the press conference in Delhi was no ordinary Tibetan. On any other day his anguish would have made headlines, but it was also the day Osama’s death became public. In the ensuing frenzy, the story of the quiet withdrawal of a bizarre charge has not received the attention it deserves.

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At 4 pm on March 23, an entourage of monks walked slowly through the Deer Park in Sarnath, the site where the Buddha first turned the Wheel of the Law after attaining enlightenment. We all gazed at the unmistakeable outline of HH Karmapa, as he walked rhythmically towards the deer. A golden parasol was held aloft to shade him from the sun’s rays. The deer leaped into the air and frolicked excitedly in anticipation, as he tossed some carrots into their enclosure.
Then he sat on a throne with a canopy of garlands around it facing the huge stone edifice of Dhamekh Stupa, built by King Ashoka, and made prayers for auspiciousness. All the monks and followers sat on the grass enjoying precious moments of tranquillity. HH Karmapa did several circumambulations of the stupa, then walked slowly towards the main temple containing a relic of the Buddha. Inside the temple he sat down on the floor in front of the huge golden Buddha, while the recitations continued.

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It’s like I should be thanking the earth and sky.
HH Karmapa, Sarnath 2011

In the famous cave paintings at Ajanta there are frescoes of street scenes in India during the Buddha’s time: courtesans, beggars, kings, romantic couples, animals. There is a sensuality about these scenes completely different to the idealism of Tibetan tangkha paintings. Not even the famous bodhisattva Padmapani is sitting on a white fluffy cloud. Thousands of years ago the Buddha was out on the streets with the ordinary people of his time, sharing the human condition in all its colourful display. In a memorable close up he is standing next to his wife and son. The image is striking because the Buddha is shown as a gigantic figure next to two very tiny people. He walks the earth like everyone else but his spiritual greatness makes him tower above everyone.

The teachings in Sarnath reminded me of these paintings. The Karmapa was admittedly not in top form for the first day. It seemed like the vicious attacks from the press had naturally affected his spirits. “On the first day I felt like I was talking in my sleep”, he admitted. “So I didn’t feel like I taught you the dharma. But maybe I should thank time. It’s the kindness of time that it always changes. We had four days and so I would like thank time for continuing to change.

As the days moved along, the teachings started to come out through the engagement of the listeners. The first question was about maintaining equanimity in the face of lies and adversity:

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On the third day of Losar HH Karmapa performed a special Guan Gong Puja (Tsurphu Protector) in the evening outside in front of Vajra Vidya Monastery. At the end he donned a black ceremonial hat to the delight of the onlookers. The evening concluded with a burst of fireworks which seemed to amuse His Holiness, and were loud enough to terrify the demons of the entire chiliocosm.

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Happy Losar from all of us at Vayra Vidya Institute in Sarnath


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Actor Kabir Bedi takes the Indian establishment to task over the Karmapa incident.

The Karmapa is an icon, he deserves more respect, by Kabir Bedi

Times of India, Feb 27th 2011

Almost everyone knows of the Dalai Lama. But not many Indians had heard of the Karmapa Lama before he made news recently, after being accused of having Rs 7.5 crore in foreign currencies, attempting benami land deals near Dharamshala and, worst of all, being a Chinese spy. So why are the Tibetan refugees themselves so angered by these accusations? Tenzin Tsundue, a leading Tibetan activist, says, “This country that we are so grateful to is alleging the Karmapa is a spy for China. And we can’t understand that at all.” Many question the motives of the Indian intelligence agencies in leaking this allegation against the Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, ever since he came to India as a refugee in 2000.

Who exactly is the Karmapa? In a word, after the Dalai Lama, the Karmapa is the most important Tibetan Buddhist leader today. In Christian terms, the Karmapa would be like the Archbishop of Canterbury or the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, second only to the Pope. But the over-500 Kagyu centres of the Karmapa across the world vastly outnumber the Dalai Lama’s Gelug centres —most impressive for a 25-year-old who left Tibet barely 11 years ago.

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His Holiness Karmapa leaving Gyuto Monastery for his spring trip to Sarnath


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sponsored by the Times of India

Presenter: Ladies and gentlemen we have the great pleasure in presenting a most exciting evening of entertainment here on Live IBN News. Yes, Who Wants to be a Crorepati has tonight in the hot seat the State Minister for Himachal Pradesh, Prem Dhumal, who has made news these last few weeks as the champion of the state laws for Himachal defending property rights of the people, the FCRA laws regarding illegal currency and the right of the state law over the Central Government. A very brave man, Mr Dhumal, and here you are wearing a Himachali cap and a khadi wool jacket, just like any shepherd in Himachal.

Dhumal: (waving his fist in the air) Yes, I believe in the right of the state to enforce its own laws and for the Centre not to come between. We know the case of the Karmapa Lama had the backing of US embassy. We know that foreign dollars also came into the cash haul and we are now investigating these suspicious links. We know the Karmapa Lama went to the US few years back and had regular meetings with important American officials, like the Mayor Blumberg of New York. So we are in the middle of our investigations and we need more time to establish all these suspicious links.

Presenter: Hain Hain, now we have a special jackpot here of 7 crore rupees in foreign currency and growing every moment that we speak. The currency is right here in this tin trunk and is in twenty denominations including clean Chinese yuan, in new serial number notes, US dollars, British sterling, Japanese Zen and dirty rupees. Never before has so much cash currency been in the jackpot to win if you can answer the 7 crore rupee question. Are you ready, Sri Prem Dhumal?

Dhumal: I am always ready to tell the truth and serve the people of Himachal.

Presenter: Here is the question. (Drum roll followed by grand display of fireworks)

Who is the owner of Gyatso Monastery?

A. The Karmapa Lama
B. The State Government
C. The Central Government
D. The Dalai Lama

Dhumal: I am very sure of the answer. In fact I don’t even have to call my friends Jagdish Bhatt and Naresh Kumar Sharma of Times of India to find out. I am completely confident. The answer is the Karmapa Lama.

Presenter: Final Answer? If you give the wrong answer you not only lose 7 crore rupees, you could also end your career in Tihar jail with a certain convicted state minister.

Dhumal: Yes, final answer. (waves his arms in the air, audience cheers and boos)

Presenter: Prem Dhumal, It’s the right answer!!! Congratulations. You have won the jackpot all here in this tin trunk. Now tell us what you are going to do with this huge cash haul.

Dhumal: I will enter the next general election for Prime Minister of India and meanwhile I will knock down Gyatso Monastery and replace it with a new five star hotel with swimming pool, ski lift and all facilities, for the people.

Two attendants enter in uniform to help Prem Dhumal carry out the tin trunk. They have trouble lifting it but are finally successful. Prem Dhumal follows the trunk to jeers and cheers from the audience.

Suddenly enter two armed police with batons and rifles.

Police: Prem Dhumal, you are hereby under the arrest for possession of unregistered foreign currency.

They put handcuffs on the startled Dhumal as he kicks and screams and drag him offstage.

Presenter: Wow, what an exciting evening. Now, that’s what I call real live entertainment.

Interruption from offstage as a Chinese construction worker enters escorted by Himachal police. The man speaks through an interpreter. “We have just cracked the code on the hard discs at Gyatso Monastery and we have found the evidence of spying you were suspecting. We found the name of the person who is receiving messages in Chinese. A lady called Kwan Yin which is a code name for Yuan Yen.”

Presenter: Ladies and Gentlemen, that’s all we have time for this evening. Join us next week for another round of Who wants to be a Crorepati. (mumbles and reaches for a cigarette) This is crazy. I’ve lost the plot.

Brought to you by Times of India: ALL THE NEWS THAT IS UNFIT TO PRINT




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