Not going to China, will be back in India by November: Karmapa
Putting all speculations to rest, the Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, who has been in the United States (US) since May 2017, and has repeatedly extended his stay citing a medical checkup, has said that he may return to India by November. Rumors were rife that he may not return to India at all.
In an interview on Monday to Radio Free Asia (RFA), a Washington-based online news broadcaster, the 33-year-old head of Karma Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism, said he has been in talks with the Indian government over his return.
“There are rumours that I may go to China. My intention has been all along to go back to India,” Karmapa told the Tibetan language service of RFA. “There will be a meeting of reincarnate lamas of the major Tibetan Buddhism traditions in Dharamshala in November and I want to attend it,” he said and added that the Central Tibetan Administration and the spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, are expecting him to be present at the meeting. Talks with the Indian government have been constructive, he said.
Karmapa also said that when he arrived in India in 2000, he had many difficulties, including being a suspected Chinese spy, and his access to Indian authorities was limited to lower-level officials. “But, now we have an opportunity to meet higher-level Indian leaders to explain my situation, which has made a huge difference,” he said. He also allayed concerns about his health stating that there is no serious threat to his health.
Since Karmapa has been out of India for over a year now, he may have to seek renewal of his identification certificate (IC), a travel document, granted to Tibetan refugees by the Indian government.
A Tibetan travelling abroad on IC, gets three months at the most to return to India. If he fails, the validity of the IC expires and the renewal can be done from the Indian embassy in the country concerned .
Who is Karmapa?
Born on June 26, 1985 in the Lhatok region of East Tibet, Ogeyn Tinley Dorjee was initially called Apo Gaga. He was discovered to be the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the head of the 900-year-old and powerful Karma Kagyu sect at the age of 7. He was recognised by both the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama and was enthroned on September 27, 1992.
At the age of 14, Ogyen Trinley Dorje made a stunning escape to India through Nepal by dodging the Chinese security ring and arrived at Dharamsala on January 5, 2000. Since then he has lived under the watchful eyes of Indian intelligence agencies and his movement strictly restricted.
The Karmapa controversy
The recognition of the Karmapa is a controversial subject in itself. There is another claimant to the title, Trinley Thaye Dorje, who lives in Kalimpong, West Bengal, and have been independently performing ceremonial duties in the role.
Controversy erupted when two members of the search team, out to look for the 17th Karmapa, identified both Ogyen and Thay as claimants to the title.