Delhi pressured to allow Karmapa visit Sikkim monastery

A large number of Buddhist monks and followers of Karmapa from the exiled Tibetan communities across the country are likely to congregate at Gangtok on September 26 next to hold a rally and mount pressure on New Delhi to allow Dorjee to visit the controversial monastery in Sikkim.

Chief Minister Pawan Chamling’s Government in Sikkim is understood to have got in touch with the Union Government, particularly the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi, to seek advice how to deal with the monks, who are apparently planning to turn the congregation into a huge rally. 

Keen to tread cautiously and maintain the delicate balance in its complex relation with Beijing, New Delhi has never allowed Trinley to visit the Rumtek Monastery, which had been built by the 9th Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje in the 16th century and had since been the seat of the top spiritual leader of the Kagyupa sect of Tibetan Buddhism.

The 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje had rebuilt the monastery after he had fled from Tibet to India in the wake of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s foray into the “Roof of the World”. It had been his principal seat in exile till his death in 1981.

India had earlier this year also denied permission to Trinley to visit the US and Europe, ostensibly keeping in mind the sensitivity of China on the issue of Tibet.

Karmapas have traditionally been the spiritual leader of the Kagyupa sect of the Tibetan Buddhism. Dalai Lama, the supreme spiritual leader of all Tibetan Buddhists, recognised Dorjee as the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa. But a section of the Kagyupa monks project Thaye Dorje, another claimant of the coveted title, as the real inheritor of the spiritual legacy of the 16th Karmapa.

“It has been 10 years since he (Karmapa) came to India, but still he could not visit the Rumtek Monastery. We don’t understand why the Government of India is imposing restrictions on his visits,” said K N Topden, an official of the Karmapa Reception Committee, which is organising the rally on September 26. “We have waited long enough. Our patience is running out,” he added.

Apart from being careful about its ties with Beijing, New Delhi is also reluctant to allow Trinley to visit the monastery as its permission would mean that it had also officially accepted him as the 17th Karmapa. India has so far been avoiding publicly taking a position on the row.

New Delhi had allowed Trinley, to visit abroad only once in the past 10 years.

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