Tibetan spiritual leader not allowed to go near China border

July 24th, 2008 - 1:43 pm ICT by IANS  


Dharamsala, July 24 (IANS) The Indian government has refused to allow Tibetan spiritual leader the Karmapa Lama, the only major monk reincarnate recognised by both the Dalai Lama and China, to visit areas close to the China border ahead of the Beijing Olympics, his aides said here Thursday. The 17th Karmapa, Ugyen Trinley Dorjee, had sought permission to visit various monasteries in Lahaul and Spiti districts of Himachal Pradesh as well as Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Karmapa’s personal security officer Thenlay told IANS that the two-month-long religious tour was cancelled by the central government.

He said the government had not cited any reason but the tour might have been cancelled in the wake of the Beijing Olympics.

“The government might be anticipating large-scale protests during the Karmapa’s visit in the forward areas,” an aide of the spiritual guru said.

The Karmapa fled Tibet and sought refuge in India some eight years ago. Ever since, he has mostly lived in the Gyuto Tantric Monastery in Sidhbari near Dharamsala - the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile, which is not recognised by any country.

As per the tour schedule, the Karmapa was supposed to attend prayer meetings in Buddhist-dominated areas, including the world-famous Tabo Monastery in Spiti, which is also called the Ajanta of the Himalayas.

This was not the first time that the Karmapa has been denied permission. A number of requests made by him for visiting monasteries and pilgrim centres had been turned down by the government in the past.

The Karmapa is the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu School, which is one of the four sects of Tibetan Buddhism. He is considered the third most important Tibetan religious head after the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama.

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