Centre clears Karmapa trip to Sikkim

Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje
Gangtok: The Centre has allowed Ogyen Trinley Dorje, recognised by the Dalai Lama as the 17th Karmapa, to visit Sikkim, according to the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF).
The trip, a long-standing demand of Buddhist monks and the people, to the state bordering China was cleared on Thursday by the Centre's cabinet committee on security, SDF spokesperson Dawcho Lepcha said in a release on Friday.
"Under the chairmanship of the Prime minister, the five-member committee gave its nod to the proposal (Karmapa's visit). The SDF wishes to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union government," Lepcha said and hoped the visit of the Tibetan spiritual leader would spread peace and happiness.
The Karmapa - who was born in Tibet and escaped to India through Nepal at the age of 14 - cannot, however, visit the Rumtek Monastery near Gangtok during his tour, according to some Buddhist associations.

Rumtek is the main seat in exile of the Karmapa, the head of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery had been the scene of a battle between the followers of Ogyen Trinley and his rival claimant to the title of Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje, in the early 1990s, followed by a long court battle that is still on. There is also a third claimant to the Karmapa title.
"I have learnt that the Centre has allowed him to visit all parts of Sikkim except the Rumtek monastery. Nevertheless, we are very happy. This is great news for Sikkim," said legislator Sonam Lama.
Lama is a member of Denzong Lhadey, an organisation of monks and monasteries in Sikkim whose members have been on a relay hunger strike since 2016 demanding that the Karmapa be allowed to visit the state. Lama said the strike, which completed 631 days on Friday, would continue till the Karmapa sets foot on Sikkim soil.
The Joint Action Committee (JAC), an umbrella body of all Buddhist Organisations in the state, also cited "information available with it" to say the Karmapa could not visit Rumtek.
After escaping to India, Ogyen Trinley reached the Tibetan exile quarters at McLeodganj in January 2000. Even though he is based in Dharamsala, he has been temporarily staying in the US for sometime.
Thukchuk Lachungpa, a spokesperson for the Joint Action Committee, said the approval for the Karmapa trip was the culmination of years of efforts. "This (clearance) is the result of the collective efforts of various organisations. We will request the Karmapa to come to Sikkim at the earliest," Lachungpa said.

The Telegraph

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