Devotees stand by Karmapa, throng monasteryJanuary 31st, 2011 - 5:16 pm ICT by IANS
By Vishal Gulati
Dharamsala, Jan 31 (IANS) A day after Indian investigation agencies questioned him, a sea of Buddhist monks and devotees, including foreigners, turned up at the Gyuto Monastery near here Monday to express solidarity with the 17th Karmapa.The Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the only major Tibetan monk reincarnate recognised by both the Dalai Lama and China, is caught in a controversy after nearly Rs.7 crore worth of unaccounted foreign and Indian currency was recovered last week from the monastery.
“The devotees are back to the monastery to have an audience and seek his blessings. Since early morning there has been an unprecedented rush. Normally such a huge gathering is seen on special occasions,” a security personnel at the monastery said.
With beads in their hands, the devotees were seen inside the massive complex praying for the well-being of their spiritual leader.
“Today I have specially come to stand by the Karmapa. He is not a Chinese agent. It’s a false propaganda. He is here only to enlighten his devotees and preach peace, non-violence and Buddhism,” Christina, a devout from Switzerland, told IANS.
Mobiles and cameras were not allowed in the monastery due to security reasons.
A police team, led by Una’s Additional Superintendent of Police K.G. Kapoor, arrived at the monastery Sunday to question the Karmapa about the unaccounted cash, including Rs.70 lakh in Chinese currency and over $600,000, which has raised questions about his links with China. He was quizzed Jan 28 as well.
“We stand by the Karmapa. We also expressed solidarity with him by participating in a candlelight procession Sunday night,” follower Tenzin Tsering said.
Officials of the monastery said the Karmapa has a private audience day every Monday. “Today also he had an audience with the gathering in the morning as usual,” they said.
The Karmapa also meets the public every Wednesday and Saturday.
Since the controversy erupted, his aides have sought to avoid his interaction with the mediapersons.
State investigating agencies have denied reports of his house arrest.
“We have full respect for the spiritual head. He is free to meet the devotees and perform religious duties. There is no restriction on his movements within permissible limits,” Additional Director General of Police S.R. Mardi told IANS.
The Karmapa is allowed to move freely within a 10-12 km radius of the Gyuto Monastery. Beyond that, he has to take police permission.
“If he has to visit McLeodganj (headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile), he has to take permission as it’s more than 12 km from the monastery. This norm has been prevalent since before the controversy,” he added.
With news channels pointing a finger of suspicion at the Karmapa, most Tibetan exiles settled in McLeodganj have boycotted the channels, saying “they are hurting our sentiments”.
“We have stopped watching the news channels as they are wrongly projecting our spiritual guru. It seems they (the channels) are working under the guise of some foreign agencies,” said Lhasang Yeshi, a shopkeeper at McLeodganj.
Hundreds of Tibetans and foreigners took out a candlelight procession here Sunday evening to express solidarity with the Karmapa.
Tibetan NGOs like the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), the Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA), the Gu Chu Sum Movement of Tibet, the National Democratic Party of Tibet, and the Students for a Free Tibet have also come out in support of the Karmapa.
An important institution in the Tibetan religious set up, the Karmapa is the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu sect, one of the four sects of Tibetan Buddhism and one of the richest.
In the Tibetan religious hierarchy, he is considered the third most important Tibetan religious head after the institutions of the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama.
The present Karmapa is the 17th reincarnation of the sect’s founder. He mysteriously escaped to India January 2000 with a few close aides from the Tsurphu monastery near Lhasa.
The headquarters of the Kagyu sect or the Karmapa is in the Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, set up by the 16th Karmapa. The government of India has banned the entry of the 17th Karmapa to the monastery.
- Karmapa not a Chinese spy, says Beijing - Jan 31, 2011
- Devotees march in Karmapa's support - Feb 02, 2011
- India allows Karmapa to visit US - Jul 06, 2011
- High ranking lama arrested in Delhi - Jun 15, 2012
- Stop solidarity marches for Karmapa, Dhumal tells Tibetans - Feb 03, 2011
- Currency row: Karmapa office assures cooperation - Dec 09, 2011
- Karmapa's monastery raided, aide arrested - Jan 27, 2011
- Karmapa quizzed again, says India's interests not harmed (Second Lead) - Jan 30, 2011
- I am not a Chinese spy: Karmapa - May 02, 2011
- Karmapa cash row: Enforcement Directorate scans records (Lead) - Feb 01, 2011
- Cash row renews clash of rival Karmapas - Feb 04, 2011
- Karmapa cash row: Enforcement Directorate begins probe - Feb 01, 2011
- Karmapa's cash links should be fully probed: Dalai Lama (Lead) - Jan 30, 2011
- Karmapa to visit Sarnath next month - Feb 18, 2011
- 11 years after his escape, Karmapa remains as controversial - Jan 29, 2011
Tags: 17th karmapa, buddhist monks, candlelight procession, chinese agent, chinese currency, dalai lama, devotees, false propaganda, gulati, gyuto monastery, indian currency, investigation agencies, lakh, police team, private audience, security personnel, special occasions, spiritual leader, tibetan monk, trinley dorje