Who is the Sharmapa?
Shamarpa (“Holder of the Red Crown”), also known as Shamar Rinpoche or more formally Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche is a lineage holder of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism and the mind manifestation of Amitabha Buddha. “By tradition it is the Karmapa who will recoginise the reincarnation of the Sharmapa and likewise the Sharmapa the reincarnation of the Karmapa. Herein lies the controversy.”
Who is the Official Karmapa?
The Karmapa (officially His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa) is the head of the Karma Kagyu, the largest sub-school of the Kagyupa (Tibetan Bka’ brgyud), itself one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism (Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, Gelugpa).
H.H. the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje
On March 17th, 1994, the Künzig Shamarpa officially declared him to be the authentic reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa and welcomed the then eleven-year old in New Delhi (India) and introduced him to the public as the 17th Holder of the Black Crown, Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje.
H.H. the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje
Recognised by Tai Situpa (Kagyu Tulku), confirmed by HHDL(July 1992), recognised by Sakya Trinzin (Head of Sakya), accepted by the Government of the Peoples Republic of China.
Why do we have other Masters of other schools of Buddhism recognising the 17th Karmapa? We have many reputable Masters of differing Lineages, all offering their own divine opinion into the real incarnation. To say one is wrong leads to a discussion political and divisive in nature.
Do we follow with tradition? Do we follow the confirmation of someone of stature as HH? What does it mean when one tradition starts to recognise another traditions incarnations? Each school of Buddhism has their own supreme head and have managed their affairs for many generations, why is it now there is a crossing of the schools into the traditions of each. Sakya recoginising Kagyu, Dalai Lama(Gelugpa) confirming Kagyu incarnations. But wait there is more…
Some Interesting Photos…Look closely at who is in these photos
H.E. Chogye Trichen Rinpoche
His Eminence Chogye Trichen Rinpoche, Ngawang Khyenrab Thupten Lekshe Gyatso, is the head of Tsharpa branch of the Sakya Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Amongst his disciples are His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin. Rinpoche later became the Secretary General of the Council for Religious and Cultural Affairs of the Tibetan government in exile, serving in this position until 1969.
The 14th Shamarpa or Shamar Rinpoche
Shamarpa, literally, “Person (i.e. Holder) of the Red Crown”, also known as Shamar Rinpoche or more formally Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche is a lineage holder of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism and the mind manifestation of Amitabha Buddha, He is traditionally associated with Yangpachen monastery near Lhasa. If the Sakya tradition recognised Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, why is such a highly respected Sakya such as H.E. Chogye Trichen Rinpoche taking an official photo in full regalia with Karmapa Thaye Dorje, as well as Sharmapa?
From the left: Trinlay Tulku Rinpoche, H.E. Sakya Jetsun Chimey Luding Rinpoche, H.E. Luding Khenchen Rinpoche, H.H the 17th Karmapa Thaye Dorje, H.H. the 41st Sakya Trizin, H.E. Ratna Vajra Rinpoche, Dagmo Kusho Tashi Lhakyi (consort of the 41st Sakya Trizin), Dagmo Kalden Dunkyi (consort of H.E. Ratna Vajra Rinpoche)
In this photo we have the highest authorities in the Sakya tradition with Karmapa Thaye Dorje. Sitting next to the Karmapa is Sakya Trizin, the Head of the Sakyas. Didn’t Sakya Trizin recognise Karmapa Orgyen Trinley? Trinlay Tulku Rinpoche Trinlay Tulku Rinpoche was born in Switzerland of French and American parents in 1975. At thirteen months, His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa and the Venerable Kalu Rinpoche recognized him as the reincarnation of an important Buddhist teacher.
The following year, Trinlay Rinpoche began the traditional Tulku training under the guidance of Kalu Rinpoche in India. During his spiritual schooling, Trinlay Rinpoche received many transmissions and Buddhist instructions from highly qualified teachers. H.E. Sakya Jetsun Chimey Luding Rinpoche The highest and most thoroughly trained female Buddhist teacher in the West, the sister of the current H.H. Sakya Trizin, was born into the Tara Palace of the Sakya Khon family in 1938, the year of the earth tiger. She began her Dharma studies at the age of five and took novice ordination at the age of seven. She became a fully empowered lineage holder at eighteen. Rinpoche is one of only a few female lineage-holders and is one of three known female teachers to have transmitted the precious Lamdre (path and its results) teachings of the Sakya tradition.
Rinpoche is also known for her teachings on Vajrayogini and is considered an emanation of that yidam of enlightened feminine energy. H.E. Luding Khenchen Rinpoche One of the most highly respected and learned teachers of the Sakya tradtion and of Tibetan Buddhism at large, Rinpoche is believed to be the emanation of Vajrapani. His Eminence is the Head of the Ngor, one of the three sub-sects of the Sakya tradition. Rinpoche was born to the clan of Shang, Sharchen or Ludingpa, which is renowned for producing great scholars and siddhas.
H.H. the 41st Sakya Trizin His Holiness Sakya Trizin is the revered throne holder of the Sakya order of Tibetan Buddhism. His Holiness is the 41st patriach of the Khon lineage which dates back to 1073. His Holiness is reputed to be an emanation of both Manjushri and Mahasiddha Virupa, the founder of the Lamdre teachings. His Holiness was born in 1945 in Tibet and escaped with his family to India in 1959 where he continues to live and rebuild both the lay and monastic elements of the Sakya tradition.
His Holiness has guided the establishment of over 30 monasteries in India and Nepal and has helped found Sakya centres around the world. H.E. Ratna Vajra Rinpoche The eldest son of His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin, was born in 1974 at Dehradun, Uttar Pradesh in India. Rinpoche received his basic religious studies at the Sakya Centre, Rajpur. Rinpoche then joined the Sakya College and finished his Kachupa degree. Since early childhood, Rinpoche has undertaken the intensive traditional training for lineage holders. His Eminence is a master of both the esoteric and exoteric traditions of Buddhist philosophy and meditation, and has given many teachings and initiations in India.
Another photo to add to the confusion surrouding the Karmapas
The previous photo shows Karmapa Thaye Trinley with the elite Sakyas, and here we have the highest Sakya Masters with Ogyen and HHDL, what do they know that others do not, if we believe that High Masters do everything for a reason, then just what are they trying to achieve? From the left: H.E. Chogye Trichen, H.H. the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley, H.H. the 41st Sakya Trizin, H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama.
Karmapa Thaye Dorje with King of Bhutan
Above: H.H the 17th Karmapa Thaye Dorje with The King of Bhutan. Bhutan’s Royal family has a strong connection with Nyingma school of Buddhism, although the country is predominantly Kagyu, so having a photo with Karmapa Thaye Dorje, does it mean that the Royal family do not support the Karmapa Orgyen Trinley?
Is there third Karmapa still to be recognised… more confusion
What does it mean to go against HHDL’s confirmation of Karmapa? When it comes time to take possession of the previous Karmapa’s heritage, properties and monasteries, who will be the official inheritor?
How is it that the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) are anti- HHDL, yet they seem to be on the same side for their choice of Karmapa? Who will have the final say on recognition of H.H. 17th Karmapa? A historical tradition of selecting the Karmapas / Sharmapas incarnations lifetimes after lifetimes has literally been taken away. How did it get to this point? Who is enforcing the recognition? It has been stressed that HHDL was only sought for confirmation, but who are the ones seeking proof & evidence from the Sharmapa as to the authenticity of his claims before permission is sought from HHDL?
Never before has the Sharmapa had to seek permission from the Dalai Lamas, nor proof to be given until now. Surrounding the 16th Karmapas lifetime was a period of political intrigue as the 4 main schools of Tibetan Buddhism relocated to India and the establishing of a Tibetan Government In Exile (TGIE). Is the environment any different today? This is not the only time that confusion has been used to cause disruption and division, take the Panchen Lamas for example.
Unfortunately politics again enters the spiritual domain. It has been said that the PRC saw an opportunity to control Religion for political means. Today, what other political group would stand to benefit from having their hands in the religious affairs of Tibetan Buddhism? The Dorje Shugden issue so it seems, does not escape this type of attention, what cannot be controlled needs to be suppressed. All the pictures above show various lineages holders acknowledging both Karmapas’ openly, yet only one can take the place as the 17th Karmapa, just who will that be? This confusion has been fuelled onwards by the TGIE towards an unknown end, or no end at all.
When the Panchen Lama’s incarnation was announced, it was the TGIE who made it publicly known, in hindsight prematurely, as the Panchen was immediately taken away for his protection by the PRC and in his place, a Panchen chosen by the PRC was installed. At every stage, it was the TGIE who has been mixing their politics with Buddhism and leading people away from traditions and practices that have been around for hundreds if not thousands of years. Practices, such as Dorje Shugden which benefit people, that has been valid for 350 years and was confirmed by the 5th Dalai Lama, became politically ill-advised practices. Up until today, Tibetan Buddhism has been thriving in the world, but its future has been put in doubt by the TGIE’s actions.
Sacred samaya between disciples and their spiritual masters were forced to be broken, Sangha has been divided and all things consider sacred and holy have been turned into a sideshow carnival of hearsay and ridicule, caused brother to turn on brother. The TGIE’s policy of spreading “confusion” has done nothing for the people they represent. The results today for the Tibetan people are a reflection of the TGIE’s best efforts. We do not need to mention what karma is created from their destruction of Dharma.