Ogyen Trinley Dorje
|Ogyen Trinley Dorje|
June 26, 1985 |
Chamdo County, Tibet Autonomous Region, People's Republic of China
17th KarmapaCo-claimant along with Thaye Dorje
|Predecessor||Rangjung Rigpe Dorje|
|Reincarnation||KarmapaCo-claimant along with Thaye Dorje|
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Ogyen Trinley Dorje (Tibetan: ཨོ་རྒྱན་འཕྲིན་ལས་རྡོ་རྗེ།, Wylie: O-rgyan 'Phrin-las Rdo-rje, Chinese: 鄔金欽列多傑; born June 26, 1985), also written Urgyen Trinley Dorje (Wylie: U-rgyan 'Phrin-las Rdo-rje; or Orgyen Trinley Dorje or Ugyen Trinley Dorje), is a claimant to the title of 17th Karmapa.
Born in Lhatok Township, Chamdo County, Tibet Autonomous Region, China, to primarily nomadic parents, Ogyen Trinley Dorje is said to have identified himself to family members as the Karmapa early in childhood. (The identification of the 17th Karmapa is disputed. See Karmapa controversy.) Known as Apo Gaga, he was seven years old before he was recognized by a search party headed by the Tai Situpa, following instructions Situpa claims were left to him by the previous Karmapa in a prophetic letter hidden in a locket. Ogyen Trinley Dorje was installed at Tsurphu Monastery (Wylie: Mtshur-phu), the traditional seat of the Karmapa in Tibet, recognized by both the 14th Dalai Lama and the official sanction of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, who declared him to be a "living Buddha", the first time the China's communist government has officially confirmed a tulku. Already a year later the Chinese announced during the UN-Human Rights Conference in Vienna, that they would train him in Tsurphu for his future task as successor of HH the Dalai Lama.
At the age of 14, he escaped to India through Nepal, arriving at the Tibetan exile quarters at McLeod Ganj on January 5, 2000. Ogyen Trinley Dorje had felt that he was unable to obtain in China the specialized instruction he needed to complete his studies and to realize his full spiritual authority. He resides at Gyuto Monastery in Sidhbari, near Dharamsala.
From May 15 – June 2, 2008, he made his first trip to the West, visiting several cities in the United States (notably New York City, Boulder, Colorado, and Seattle) and was formally enthroned in the North American seat of the Karmapas at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra monastery in Woodstock, New York. All across the country, he gave multiple teachings on compassion and the environment, gave the reading transmission for a new form of ngöndro, and bestowed several empowerments, including those of Avalokiteśvara and Padmasambhava. He also spoke about the special challenges of the rapid pace of modern society, and the virtues of the Internet as a tool for the study and practice of Buddhism.
In July 2008 he requested permission to visit monasteries in Lahaul and Spiti district in Himachal Pradesh and in Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir. The Government of India initially refused to allow these visits without giving a reason. It was speculated that the reason might have been that these areas are close to the border with China and that the 2008 Summer Olympics were approaching even though the Karmapa had made it clear that he does not promote Tibetan independence and has no political stance on China. India eventually allowed his tour, which began in Ladakh, followed by Lahaul and Spiti, including the famous Tabo Monastery.
Requests to visit USA and Europe in 2010 were denied by the Indian government.
On 9 July 2011, Dorje arrived back in the United States for his second visit. From 09 – 17 July, he participated in the Kalachakra initiation bestowed by the 14th Dalai Lama in Washington, D.C., then traveled by train to his seat at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra and also visited both his center in New Jersey and Hunter College in New York City, returning to India on 4 August. During his visit, he taught extensively on compassion, gave Refuge, and bestowed the empowerments of both the Four-Armed and Thousand-Armed forms of Avalokiteśvara. He also granted an interview with Laurie Goodstein of The New York Times, which was published on 28 July 2011.
On January 3, 2007, Ogyen Trinley Dorje mandated a purely vegetarian diet in all his monasteries and centers and strongly urged vegetarianism among all his students, saying that generally, in his view, it was very important in the Mahayana not to eat meat and that, even in Vajrayana, it is preferable for students and practitioners not to eat meat.
Commenting on the Buddhist tradition of life release, where animals destined for slaughter are bought, blessed and natively released, Orgyen Trinley Dorje indicated that the meaning of this concept was broad and that practitioners should use their intelligence to expand the tradition. Similarly, when addressing the 2007 Kagyu Monlam Chenmo, he indicated that planting a single tree can be more beneficial than performing life release for many beings; recommending that monasteries should plant one to two thousand trees. In addition he urged monks to practise restraint when sponsors offer technology upgrades.
At the second conference on environmental protection (3 to 8 October 2009, Gyuto Monastery), he stated that "For too long, people have behaved thoughtlessly and ignored the damage to the environment that they are creating and, if this continued there was a great danger that it would be too late to do anything."
In recent years, Khoryug, a network of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and centers that work on environmental protection in the Eastern Himalayas, was developed under the auspices of Ogyen Trinley Dorje as part of the World Wildlife Fund's Sacred Earth: Faiths for Conservation program. And, in his April 2015 interview with Yale Environment 360, he said, "The environmental emergency that we face is not just a scientific issue, nor is it just a political issue, it is also a moral issue. And therefore all of us approaching this issue have to pick up our share of the responsibility to find and implement solutions. The scientific aspect of it, of course, is the supply of information — the creation of models and predictions and the introduction of techniques that we can use to remedy this. But our share of this responsibility is to take what scientists teach us to heart, so we actually transform our way of life into one that is sustainable.”
Mipham Chokyi Lodro, 14th Shamarpa (the second-longest recognized tulku lineage in the Karma Kagyu tradition, and who in previous incarnations has held and transmitted the Kagyu lineage between Karmapas), did not recognize Ogyen Trinley Dorje and instead proclaimed Trinley Thaye Dorje (Wylie: Mtha'-yas Rdo-rje), whom he purportedly identified a few years earlier than the recognition of Orgyen Thrinley Dorje in a dream as the true Karmapa. Shamarpas camp argue that until the reincarnation line of the Shamarpas was forbidden by the government of the Dalai Lama, the successive Shamarpas were the persons in charge to recognize the Karmapas, whereas the Dalai Lamas played no role in the recognition.
Many of the previous Karmapas have left a letter stating the details of their rebirth (this is an aspect of the special self-recognizing siddhi of the Karmapas) to assist in the recognition of their future incarnation, and thus the Shamarpa's recognition through a dream has come under scrutiny. On the other side Shamarpa questioned the authenticity of the "prophecy letter" which the 16th Karmapa allegedly had written and asked Situ Rinpoche for a forensic test of the letter, which Situ Rinpoche refused. Ogyen Trinley Dorje is supported by the majority of the Kagyu hierarchy, including two lamas who have played a role in finding previous Karmapas: Tai Situpa and Goshir Gyaltsab. A fourth such lama, the 3rd Jamgon Kongtrul, died early on during the controversy. Ogyen Trinley Dorje was enthroned at Tsurphu Monastery.
Other high Kagyu lamas who support Ogyen Trinley Dorje include the 9th Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche; the 9th Thrangu Rinpoche; the 7th Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche and his Nalandabodhi organization; the 12th Surmang Choseng Trungpa; the 7th Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche; the 3rd Tenga Rinpoche; the Third Bardor Tulku Rinpoche; Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche; Bokar Tulku Rinpoche; Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche (abbot of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra); Sakyong Mipham and his organization, Shambhala Buddhism; Drupon Rinpoche and Lama Norlha Rinpoche, among others. He is also recognized as Karmapa by both the current 14th Dalai Lama and the government of China.
Also sided with Orgyen Trinley Dorje are tulkus he has identified, such as the 11th Nenang Pawo, and those identified by Tai Situ Rinpoche such as the 3rd Kalu Rinpoche. There are now two recognitions of the 4th Jamgon Kongtrul, one sided with each Karmapa.
2011 police raid on Karmapa offices
In January 2011, the Himachal Pradesh Police seized money in currencies of 25 countries including China, valued at over ₹ 60 million, during raids on the offices of a trust backed by Ogyen Trinley Dorje. They also seized several traveler's cheques and land deal documents, suspecting a hawala scam. Initially, the police suspected that the money was being used to spread Chinese influence in India, and that the Karmapa was a Chinese agent helping the Chinese government control Buddhist monasteries in India. They said even if the Karmapa was able to explain the source of the money recovered, he might be held liable for violating the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act.
The Karmapa denied all the allegations and said that the seized money came via the donations from his followers. A New York Times report on the matter noted that an unnamed rival Karmapa candidate has "close ties to Indian intelligence officials." On 11 February 2011, it was reported that the central Indian government had cleared the Karmapa of all charges, finding that the money in question had been donated by followers.
In December 2011, the Himachal Pradesh Police filed a chargesheet against Ogyen Trinley Dorje, naming him as an accused in the cash and foreign currency seizure case. The Karmapa's office claimed that Dorje was not involved in the financial administration.
Indian police said on Tuesday 24 April 2012 that they had dropped all criminal charges against Ogyen Trinley Dorje.
Criminal proceedings opened
A judge at the Himachal Pradesh High Court issued an order for authorities to open criminal proceedings over the recovery of around 1 million USD in foreign currency during a raid on his Buddhist monastery. His spokesman stated that "He strongly believes truth will prevail at the end". Karmapa, along with nine other accused, was chargesheeted on December 7, 2012 and was asked by the court to appear personally on March 6, 2013. He failed to appear as he was out of Dharamsala. All the accused are currently on bail.
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- see: Shamarpa#Controversy
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After the death of the previous Karmapa, a bitter feud broke out between the high lamas charged with identifying his successor: at least two other people now claim to be the Karmapa, though a majority of Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama, recognize Ogyen Trinley Dorje.
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I have concluded with absolute certainty that Urgyen Trinley Drodul Dorje from Tibet is the 17th Karmapa.
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- Tibet vulnerable to climate change ( FacenFacts)
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- 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje Links at Karmapa.net (re-retrieved Feb 1, 2011)
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Rangjung Rigpe Dorje
|Reincarnation of the Karmapa
Co-claimant along with Thaye Dorje
Recognized in 1992