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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Tibetan Buddhism can solve global conflicts: Karmapa

January 6, 2011

2011-01-03 Sify News

Bodh Gaya (Bihar), Jan 3 (IANS) The four main schools of Tibetan
Buddhism are trying to find common ground to carry forward Lord Buddha's
teachings in way they can be used to resolve geo-political conflicts,
says Thrinley Thaye Dorje, the 17th spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu
school of Tibetan Buddhism.

'The awareness that the four schools have to find common ground is
getting stronger. It will happen because unity among the Buddhist sects
is crucial to world peace,' 27-year-old Thrinley Dorje told IANS in an
interview in Bodh Gaya, the seat of Gautama Buddha's enlightenment.

'It can solve conflicts because the teachings of Buddha are based on
bringing inner and outer peace,' he added.

The four schools are the ancient Nyingma tradition, the Karma Kagyu
school, the Sakya school and the Gelug school. The last three are
relatively new when compared to the eighth century Nyingma tradition.

The Karmapa (the high monk) was in the town to preside over the
commemoration of the 900th anniversary of the Karma Kagyu school of
Vajrayana Buddhism in Tibet. The order traces its lineage to north
Indian monk Tilopa and was formally founded by Dusum Kyenpa (1110-1193)
- known as the high monk with the black crown. The Karma Kagyu sect
manages the affairs of the Rumtek monastery in Sikkim.

Thrinley Dorje believes that although traces of Buddhism have existed in
the Himalayas for a long time, globalisation and modernism have helped
it spread on a larger scale.

'Globalisation has brought the world together. Even 45 years ago,
Buddhism was not heard of outside East and Southeast Asia,' he said.

He said, 'In general, all the four (Tibetan) Buddhist schools are built
on the same foundations'.

'They believe in carrying the teachings of the Buddha forward. The
difference is in the way of interpreting and teaching the tenets of the
Buddha. Our way of teaching is transmission which emphasises on
meditation. Our lineage is one of meditation,' the Karmapa said.

The seat of the 17th Karmapa of the Karma Kagyu sect has been a subject
of controversy. After the death of the 16th Karmapa in 1981, two young
masters, 27-year-old Thrinley Dorje and 25-year-old Ogyen Trinley Dorje,
have been contenders to the post. Both have been enthroned as the
spiritual heads.

The Chinese government and the Dalai Lama however approve of Ogyen
Trinley Dorje. Born in Tibet, both the lamas fled to India in the 1990s
and have been identified as reincarnations of great Buddhist spiritual
masters.

Thrinley Dorje does not miss his homeland or feel distanced from Tibet.

'There is not much of a distance because globalisation has strengthened
bonds between Tibet and India. My bonds are stronger from the
perspective that when I meditate, the physical gap becomes a relative
thing - it's nothing more than an idea,' said the Buddhist master, who
was born in Tibet.

'In our state of meditation, we (Tibet and I) are very much connected.
It is like the way I connect to my students at the opposite side of the
globe through meditation,' he added.

Thrinley Dorje has meditated in isolation for 12 years before being
deemed fit for the post. He was identified as a holy reincarnation at
the age of two and a half by a monk of the Sakya Pa school in Tibet, who
informed the Karma Kagyu monastery in Nepal about the 'boy and his
previous life'.

He was led through the rites of passage after an early initiation by a
Kagyu red hat lama, Shamarpa Mipham Chokyi Lodro, who traditionally
instructs the Karmapa on the complex doctrines of the sect.

'Tibet has four major schools of Vajrayana Buddhism (that incorporates
tantrik Buddhism),' he said.

Thrinley Dorje said he was 'trying to make Buddhism relevant to youth'.

'The awareness about the faith is rising worldwide and it is one of the
ways to reach out to the people. The world finds it easy to emotionally
connect to Buddhism,' he said.

One way that could help youth harness the power of the Buddha in them
was to 'remain close to the family', the master said.

'Youth must respect their parents and remain devoted to them. Respect
and devotion to parents are vital to Gautama's teachings, especially in
modern times,' Thrinley Dorje said.

'The modern times are very exciting and interesting. And if one does not
engage in the right way, it can be quite harmful. The transition to
modern times must be peaceful,' he added.

He advocated 'compassion, tolerance and patience for the monks in Tibet,
who were being persecuted.' 'If we have compassion, tolerance and peace,
situations change because you will not repeat history,' he said.

(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at madhu.c@ians.in)
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