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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

We won't rest until Karmapa is here in Sikkim: Monks

July 20, 2010

We won't rest until Karmapa is here in Sikkim: Monks
Renewed mission to bring Ogyen Trinley Dorjee to Rumtek
Body formed headed by PD Rai to pursue the demand with Centre
Voice of Sikkim
July 19, 2010

GANGTOK, July 18 -- Calls for the 17th Gyalwa
Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorjee to take his seat of
power at Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre located in
East Sikkim have intensified with three major
monasteries of Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism
here collectively taking a lead.

The Gyalwa Karmapa is the head of Kaygu School of
Tibetan Buddhism while Rumtek Dharma Chakra
Centre is the headquarters of this School.

The three major Kagyu monasteries in Sikkim --
Phodong monastery in North Sikkim, Ralong
monastery in South Sikkim and Old Rumtek
monastery have joined hands together to throw
life in the dormant demand pending with the
Centre to allow the 17th Karmapa to take his
rightful throne at Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre.

To back them were monks from several monasteries
across Sikkim including the premier Pemayangtse
and Enchey monasteries, both from Nyingma School
of Tibetan Buddhism, other associations and non governmental organizations.

With the monasteries themselves taking the lead,
the calls have acquired urgency with a strong
support from the people and followers of the 17th Karmapa.

The first meeting of monks, management committees
of the monasteries and non-government
organizations had been held at Phodong monastery
on June 12 and the second meeting was held at
Ralang monastery on June 27. Both the meetings drew great response.

The final meeting was held at old Rumtek
monastery at Rumtek, 25 kms away from here today
where monks and representatives of several
associations participated along with the followers of the 17th Karmapa.

During the daylong meeting, speakers after
speakers highlighted the need to refresh the
pending demand on a stronger note to the Union
government as previous representations and
memorandums have failed to achieve the desired results.

"There is only demand of the Buddhism followers
of Sikkim. Our Karmapa should be allowed to come
to his house (Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre). Until
the matter is resolved, the three monasteries of
Ralang, old Rumtek and Phodong will not rest,"
said Ralang monastery representative NT Bhutia.

A Joint Action Committee (JAC) has been formed to
support the monasteries in their bid to bring the Karmapa to Rumtek.

"There is no controversy regarding who is the
real Karmapa. That chapter is closed. Ogyen
Trinley Dorjee is the real 17th Karmapa and he
should be allowed to come to Rumtek," said the
JAC general secretary, Sonam Topden.

Former minister Thukchuk Lachungpa who is a
member of the JAC said that the monks,
representatives of various associations and
followers of the 17th Karmapa will be conducting
a massive rally in Gangtok to highlight the chief
demand. "We will also be requesting the Chief
Minister to lead a delegation from Sikkim to
place the demand before the Centre for allowing
the Karmapa to visit Sikkim," he said.

Karma Tshering Bhutia, president of Old Rumtek
monastery managing committee said that a body has
been constituted during the meeting today which
will be headed by Lok Sabha member PD Rai to take
the matter ahead with the Union government. The
JAC will be supporting the body which will also
have five members from each of the three monasteries, he said.

Students at Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre also
voiced their demands for allowing the Karmapa to
visit Rumtek. Without our Karmapa, we feel
orphaned and we have been conducting five to six
special prayers at the monastery for his visit to
the monastery, said Bhaichung Bhutia, a student
studying Buddhism at the centre.

Despite repeated requests from the State
government and his followers, the 17th Karmapa
who stays in Dharmasala has been not allowed by
the Centre to visit Sikkim. The nearest place
that the Karmapa has been to is Mirik in
Darjeeling region where he has been conducting
pujas at the local monastery on special occasions for the past two years.

While the three public meetings conducted by the
monasteries which was attended by monks and
followers from all the four districts have placed
the demand in the public domain once more, the
strategies to be launched in Sikkim on a higher
decibel are expected to be implemented in the coming months.

The monks and followers of the 17th Karmapa is
pinning their hopes once again on the State
government, especially Lok Sabha member PD Rai.

On his part, Rai pointed out that bringing the
Karmapa has been committed by the ruling Sikkim
Democratic Front (SDF) party in its election
manifesto and added that the Chief Minister has
been sincerely pursuing the matter with the Union government.

"We are definitely hoping that the Government of
India will sooner or later bring the 17th Karmapa
to Sikkim and towards that end, we will work. It
is definitely a difficult issue, but difficult
issues are what the SDF party prides on," said Rai

The Lok Sabha member said that as a MP, he will
be working on the matter in New Delhi with the
help of the Chief Minister, cabinet colleagues,
Rajya Sabha member OT Lepcha, Northeastern MPs and other interested groups.
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