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A Prediction of Troubles to Come - 9

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As he had made so many astonishing predictions throughout his life, near its end the sixteenth Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje also predicted the troubles to come. In January 1980 the Karmapa traveled to New Delhi to attend the ground-breaking ceremony for the new Karmapa International Buddhist Institute.

Early in the morning before the ceremony, the Karmapa started vomiting up blood. But he insisted on going through with the event, at which Indian President Neelam Sanjiva Reddy was due to preside. Through the power of his will, the Karmapa played his role in the ceremony. Government officials, devotees, and other guests saw little sign of the great pain the Karmapa must have been feeling and the ceremony was a success. Afterwards, in private, he collapsed. The Karmapa was taken to the All-India Medical Institute for immediate stomach surgery.

While recovering in Delhi, the Karmapa stayed at Sikkim House. There, twenty-two-year- old Drukchen Rinpoche, traditional leader of the Drukpa Kagyu school, paid a visit. The two lamas spent almost four hours talking together.

"I heard very sad news that Your Holiness was in bad health. Bur now I have come here and I see that you appear to have recovered very nicely," Drukchen Rinpoche reportedly said.

"No, no, no," the Karmapa replied, "in about a year I will die. So I have one request to make of you, Rinpoche. After I die, a major obstacle will appear for the future of the Karma Kagyu lineage. At that time, Shamar Rinpoche will be the only one to preserve the lineage from disaster. Please help and support him."

Then, the Karmapa took both of Drukchen Rinpoche's hands in his own and looked him in the eye. "You and Shamar Rinpoche should be to each other like the sun and the moon. Together, you will embody all my hopes for the future of the Kagyu school." [1]

The Most Famous Unknown Lama

Shamar is Tai Situ's chief rival in the battle to choose the seventeenth Karmapa. Without Shamar's opposition to Ogyen Trinley, the young tulku would probably be the undisputed head of the Karma Kagyu today. To his followers, Shamar is the last bulwark against the pollution of the Karmapa line. To his enemies, Shamar is the last obstacle to the return of the Karmapa.

To Tibetans of past centuries, the Shamarpa was one of the most venerated lamas of Buddhism. His name was often said in the same breath as that of the Karmapa. For seven hundred years, the close tie between the Shamarpas and the Karmapas served as the model of a student-teacher bond that transcended death and endured lifetime after lifetime.

Since the takeover of Rumtek in 1993, the current Shamar, now in his mid-fifties, has fought a lonely battle against the most powerful forces in the Tibetan Buddhist world. Stubbornly, for twenty years Shamar has refused to admit defeat in the (ace of imposing odds. He has also been accused of enriching himself at the expense of the Karma Kagyu, a charge with no merit.

In her book on the Karmapa, Australian novelist and Tibetan rights activist Gaby Naher has written that Shamar "received many gifts from his uncle, including a monastery in Mehrauli, India. Now a wealthy man in his own right, he owns property across India and Nepal, including the substantial Galinka House in Kalimpong." [2]

Unlike other high lamas, Shamar's alleged wealth is nor apparent. When I asked Shamar if he owned a monastery in Mebrauli, India, he replied that Naher must have been referring to the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute in New Delhi, located in a development that used to be known as the Mehrauli Institutional Area, but was renamed the Qutab Institutional Area in honor of the nearby Mughakra tower, the Qutab Minar. "We do nor own the land, and the Karmapa's labrang, not me, holds it on a perpetual lease from the government of India," Shamar told me.

"At his death in 1981, His Holiness had very little, only about $160,000, and in the confusion of financial records then, the Rumtek administration could only get access to about $60,000 of that. Of course, my uncle left me nothing, he had no will and all his property went automatically to his labrang at Rumtek, under the control of the Karmapa Charitable Trust." Indeed, because it was difficult for the Rumtek administration to raise funds after the Karmapa's death, Shamar paid the day-to-day expenses of the monastery for a decade, raising the funds on his own primarily in Hong Kong and Singapore.

While his rivals Tai Situ and Gyaltsab Rinpoches have both built large, expensive monasteries for themselves in India, Shamar has been slow to start monasteries and Buddhist centers in his own name. His supporters say that Shamar has unselfishly sacrificed the chance to advance himself in order to serve the Karmapa.

Until recently, Shamar devoted himself to managing and building institutions for the Karmapa. Aside from running Rumtek until Situ and Gyaltsab took it over in 1993, Shamar completed the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute (KIBI) in New Delhi in the early eighties, raising 30 million rupees (about $3.5 million) for the project. In the mid-nineties, Shamar built a monk's school in Kalimpong, located in the northeastern Indian state of West Bengal, just three hours south of Rumtek in Sikkim. His Karmapa candidate Thaye Dorje was due to complete his education there in 2006, and the school is part of the Karmapa's labrang, not Shamar's.

Shamar's outreach in the West has also lagged behind dozens of other lamas. Only in the mid-nineties did Shamar start the first dharma center under his own management in the United States, the Bodhi Path center in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Back in Tibet, in 2003 he begin restoring Yangpachen monastery, the historic seat of the Shamarpas near Lhasa that was confiscated by the Central Tibetan government in the eighteenth century, as we will learn about, and then reduced to rubble in the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. By contrast, Tai Situ had begun to restore the massive complex of the Situ pas at Palpung in Kham twenty years earlier. Apparently, as Shamar was building institutions for the Karmapa, Tai Situ was doing the same thing for himself.

As to Shamar's residence in Kalimpong, Galinka House is a medium-sized bungalow built at the tail end of the British era that would not look out of place in a suburban development of Houston or Cleveland. But by American standards, its three bedrooms. dining room, sitting room, and office would each be considered cramped. Even in Kalimpong. it would be difficult to term substantial the house's two floors built on a single- acre lot. since some of his neighbors boast much grander houses than Shamar's. Yet, perched on a steep hillside facing the line of the Himalayas crowned by Kanchenjunga, the world's third-highest peak, the location is breathtaking. During the few weeks a year that he lives there, Shamar can enjoy a million-dollar view as he sips sweet Indian tea with milk from a small gazebo in his well groomed front yard.

The Red Hat Karmapa

It is his relationship with the Karmapa that defines the Shamarpa most strongly, as it defined his predecessors for the last seven centuries. As with the Karmapas, so a prophecy from the Buddha, found in the Good Kalpa Sutra, foretold the coming of the Shamarpas: "In the future. a maha-bodhisattva [a great saint] with a ruby-red crown will come to the suffering multitude. leading them our of their cyclic bewilderment and misery."

Nearly two thousand years later. the second Karmapa Karma Pakshi (1206-81) predicted the coming of the Shamarpas, saying they would alternate as student and teacher with future Karmapas and that the two lamas would support each other as the "Black Hat Karmapa" and the "Red Hat Karmapa." Tibetans traditionally compared the Karmapas and the Shamarpas to the sun and the moon. An early Shamarpa predicted that "At times the Black Hat Karmapas and the Red Hat Karmapas will act as spiritual masters of each other and at times they will be students of each other. In one instance, they will be related as father and son and in another instance they will be related as uncle and nephew." [3]

The third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje (1284-1339) selected the first Shamar Khedrup Drakpa Sengye (1283-1349) as his official deputy, a kind of permanent co-Karmapa, in recognition of the disciple's spiritual attainment. He became a popular preacher and evangelist, converting nonbelievers through his skill in logical argument and rhetorical presentation. The Shamarpa later went on to practice years of solitary meditation retreats in which he saw auspicious visions that helped guide him to found monasteries and locate the students who would become his leading disciples. The first Shamarpa spent the last twenty years of his life in an isolated cave perfecting tantric meditation practices and teaching students who took the trouble to seek him out.

Remembering the prediction of the second Karmapa a century earlier, the fourth Karmapa Rolpe Dorje (1140-83) presented the Shamarpa with an exact copy of his own mystical Black Crown in red and explained that future Karmapas would manifest in two human forms. "You are the one manifestation, while I am the other. Therefore the responsibility to uphold the Karma Kagyu teachings rests equally on me as it docs on you." [4]

Later, Tai Situ, Goshir Gyaltsab, and other high lamas would appear, but for the next four centuries, the Shamarpas would shoulder most of the responsibility to recognize Karmapa reincarnations. The Shamarpas recognized six out of the nine Karmapas who came between the years 1384 and 1797, five working alone and one with another lama. In this same period, Tai Situs recognized one Karmapa alone and a second Karmapa with help from another lama, the fifth Sharmapa. The chart of Karmapas in appendix A of this book indicates which Karmapas were recognized by Shamar, Situ, and other lamas.

History Written by the Victors

Supporters of Ogyen Trinley and journalists sympathetic to them have tried to discredit the current Shamar Rinpoche by criticizing previous Shamarpas, particularly the tenth incarnation, who lived in the eighteenth century. Predictably, Tibetan Buddhism inspires this peculiar sort of critique. It would be difficult to imagine holding the current United States President responsible for the actions of Andrew Jackson or Rutherford B. Hayes, for example. But under the tulku system, the same mind-stream is said to inhabit generations of different individual lamas. Thus, it might stand to reason, at least for outsiders, that the current incarnation of a tulku would carry the praise and blame of his previous incarnations.

The current Shamarpa disagrees with this view: "Buddhist reincarnation does not work this way, that you are the same person in a different body lifetime after lifetime. It is merely a tendency of mind that continues from one life to the next. This carries over into accomplishments. For example, I cannot take credit tor books written by earlier Shamarpas. I would have to write my own books. Political problems work the same way." Nonetheless, Shamar has found himself required to answer criticisms of his predecessor from two centuries earlier.

In the late eighteenth century, at the time of the tenth Shamarpa Mipham Chodrup Gyatso (1742-92), a tragedy befell the line of the Shamarpas that would remove them from Tibetan public life until the middle of the twentieth century. The role of the tenth Shamarpa has been hotly contested by historians and journalists. It has become a test of the current Shamar's fitness to recognize the seventeenth Karmapa -- or to object to the recognition of Ogyen Trinley.

"Tibetan Buddhists believe that karma from one's past actions or deeds can cling to a person through many lifetimes," wrote British reporter Tim McGirk. "That is why many Tibetans explain the odd behavior of a lama named Shamar Rinpoche by referring to an event 202 years ago. In his incarnation then, Shamar Rinpoche was a monk so overcome by greed that he lured the Gurkha army into attacking a monastery for its treasure." [5]

Lea Terhune echoed this view in Karmapa: The Politics of Reincarnation: "The Gurkhas had been spoiling for a fight with Tibet. In this they were helped by the Shamarpa, who is credited by historians with instigating the Gurkha War with alluring descriptions of the riches at the Panchen Lama's monastery, Tashilhunpo, and egging on the Gurkha king." [6] Later, we will see how McGirk and Terhune worked as colleagues in New Delhi in the 1990s, so it would not be surprising that they shared the same interpretation of Tibetan history. In this case, their views appear to derive from the well-known history of Tibet by former Lhasa official Tsepon W.D. Shakabpa, whom we met in chapter 3, where we discussed his biased account of the fifth Dalai lama's rise to temporal power in the seventeenth century.

In his book, Shakabpa blamed the tenth Shamarpa for starting the Tibet-Gorkha war. After the Dalai lama's government intervened to prevent the Nepali Gorkhas from conquering Sikkim, Shakabpa wrote:

   The Gurkhas were annoyed at the Tibetan interference and were looking for an excuse to attack Tibet. An excuse was found in the controversy over the third Panchen Lama's personal property, which was being claimed by the Panchen's two brothers, Drungpa Trulku and Shamar Trulku; the latter was the ninth [sic] Red Hat Kar-ma-pa Lama named Chosdrup Gyatso. Shamar Trulku hoped to use Gurkha backing for his claim to the Panchen Lama's property in the Tashilhunpo monastery; while the Gurkhas wanted to use his claim as a pretext for invading Tibet. [7]

Shakabpa's interpretation of the Shamatpa's role in the Tibet-Gorkha War has been disseminated widely. Yet, as in the case of Shakabpa's account of the rivalry between the Karma Kagyu and the Gelugpa that led to the Dalai Lama's ascension to power in 1642, his story of the tenth Shamarpa does not agree with standard Tibetan historical sources of the period. [8] These sources show that Shakabpa is too easy on the Tibetan government of the time and too hard on the tenth Shamarpa. This is not surprising, considering that Shakabpa was a minister of the old Lhasa government. since the seventeenth century the historic enemy of the Shamarpas.

Tibetan chroniclers -- especially a general named Dhoring who led Tibetan forces in the Gorkha War and provided an eyewitness account of the major players involved -- are much more sympathetic to the tenth Shamarpa. These historians explain that while trying to claim his portion of a family inheritance, the tenth Shamarpa unwittingly became a pawn in a conflict between Central Tibet and its overlord China on the one hand, and Nepal and the British in India on the other. The outcome would have disastrous effects for the future of the Shamarpa line.

In the past, the Shamars and Karmapas sometimes appeared in the same family, as the fifth Shamarpa had predicted. A, we have seen, the current Shamar is the nephew of the sixteenth Karmapa. However, in the eighteenth century, the Shamarpa took birth in the family of the second most powerful lama of the Dalai Lama's Gelug school, adding an unusual political twist. The tenth Shamarpa Mipham Chodrup Gyatso was born in 1742 in Tsang province as the half-brother of the third Panchen Lama Lobsang Palden Yeshe (1737-80). The Shamarpa was thirty-eight years old when his half-brother, age forty-three, died of smallpox while on a visit to the Qianlong emperor in Beijing in 1780. The emperor gave a substantial sum of silver coins as a condolence to one of the Panchen's brothers, known as the Drungpa Hutogatu, to distribute to the Panchen's family. The tenth Shamarpa and the Drungpa clashed about these funds.

The Shamarpa argued that the bequest was intended for the Panchen Lama's family, and as a half-brother of the late Panchen Lama, the Shamarpa claimed a portion of the emperor's gift. But the Drungpa refused to share the Chinese funds, saying they were intended for the Panchen Lama's Gelugpa order. Perhaps fearing that this position would not stand up in court, the Drungpa, who like the Panchen was a lama of the Gelugpa order, enlisted allies in the Lhasa government. We have seen how the Gelugpas came to enjoy government patronage after the fifth Dalai Lama took power in Lhasa in the seventeenth century. By the 1780s, government preference for the Gelugpa over the other religious schools had become established practice.

The Drungpa found a willing ear in the regent Ngawang Tsultrim, who had refused to relinquish effective control over the government after the eighth Dalai Lama Jampal Gyatso (1758-1804) reached adulthood in the late 1770s. Regent Ngawang apparently saw in the dispute between the Drungpa and the Sharnarpa a pretext to accomplish three long- cherished political goals: to extend the power of the Gelugpa school further over its old rival the Karma Kagyu; to settle a long-running trade dispute with Nepal, where Shamar had powerful supporters; and to assert Tibetan autonomy against Nepal's patrons,"' the British East India Company's administration of India, which had been trying to establish trading posts inside Tiber. The Tibetans and their Chinese overlords feared that trade relations with the East India Company would open Tibet to British interference and perhaps even colonization.

The Qianlong emperor was particularly nervous about European encroachment on his empire, of which he considered Tibet to be a part. Qianlong is known in the West as the Chinese ruler who rebuffed Britain's commercial overtures in 1793. only a year after the Gorkha War, arrogantly informing King George Ill's envoy Lord George Macartney that the British had nothing to sell that the Chinese wanted to buy. Fifty years later, Anglo- Chinese tension would explode into the Opium War of the 1840s. In the late eighteenth century, as this tension began to grow, Qianlong was as eager to exclude the British from Tibet as he was to keep them out of the port cities of southeastern China.

The Shamarpa had great influence in the kingdom of Nepal. In the early years of their partnership, the Karmapa and Shamarpa had divided Tibet into geographical spheres of responsibility. The Karmapa would teach Buddhism in eastern Tibet, while the Shamarpa would cover the south. Historically, this southern region included Tibet's neighbor Nepal. Over the centuries, the Shamarpas gained thousands of followers there, and the Shamarpas came to serve as spiritual advisors to prominent noble clans and even to the royal family. Shamarpa influence in Nepal continued even after the invading Hindu Gorkhas overthrew the Malla kings of the Kathmandu valley and consolidated their power over the formerly Buddhist kingdom in 1769.

In Lhasa in the early 17905, Regent Ngawang convinced important Central Tibetan officials and, more importantly, the Chinese Amban, the de facto ruler of Tibet, that the tenth Shamarpa was about to betray Tibet to Nepal and to the Gorkhas' British allies. The regent claimed that the Shamarpa had invited Gorkha forces to cross into Tibet, first to help him claim the wealth of the Panchen Lama and then to go unto Lhasa to pillage the city and force on Tibet a trade agreement favorable to Nepal. The regent was able to make these charges stick at the Dalai Lama's court and a warrant was put out for the Shamarpa's arrest. To escape capture and likely torture and execution without trial in Lhasa, as was Tibetan custom at the time, the tenth Shamarpa fled for safety to Nepal in 1791.

Nepal's King Prithi Narayanan Shah gave the Shamarpa political asylum -- and, to preempt a Tibetan invasion, he sent an expeditionary force across his northern border and into Tibet. Meeting little resistance from the small, poorly trained Tibetan army, the Gorkhas advanced towards Lhasa and prepared to take the city. To avert the capture of their capital, the Tibetans were required to call on the Chinese for help. It response, the Qianlong emperor sent thirteen thousand troops to join Tibetan force as large as ten thousand w halt the Gorkha advance. The imperial army arrived just in time to prevent a total Tibetan rout, and the Gorkhas were turned back and put on the defensive.

Meanwhile, Regent Ngawang Tsultrim died in Lhasa-Karma Kagyu lamas said that their school's protector deity, Mahakala, had punished the regent for his attack on the Shamarpa. The regent was succeeded by his deputy Tenpai Gonpo Kundeling, who continued to sideline the Dalai Lama as his predecessor had. On his own initiative, the new regent concluded the war, with terms to his own advantage.

With Lhasa no longer under threat of being sacked by Gorkha cavalry, and with the power of the Shamarpas broken in Tibet. the regent could make use of the property of the maligned Red Hat Karmapa Tenpai Gonpo confiscated the Shamarpa's monastic seat at Yangpachen and put it under the control of the large Gelugpa monastery Ganden, one of the powerful Three Seats. Dozens of other Shamarpa monasteries were forcibly converted to the Gelugpa order by official mandate. Regent Tenpai Gonpo personally took possession of the tenth Shamar Rinpoche's residence in Lhasa and turned it into a police court and lockup, where accused prisoners were subjected to physical mutilation and other tortures. [9] The regent then convinced the Qianlong emperor to issue a decree that forever after Shamar Rinpoche was prohibited from reincarnating in Tibet. The Lhasa government would enforce this distinctive punishment for the following two centuries.

The tenth Shamarpa died in 1792 in Nepal. Historians have speculated that he was poisoned by either the Nepalis or by Tibetan agents. Bur the current Shamar told me that his predecessor decided to transfer his consciousness out of his body through the practice of phowa -- essentially bringing on his own death -- to escape capture and torture by the Chinese. His body was cremated in Nepal, but this did not stop the victorious Qianlong emperor from demanding the the Nepalis hand over the ashes and charred pieces of bone, and taking them back to Beijing to undergo a ritual punishment as a warning for others, according to Qing dynasty custom.

Back in Tibet, the Shamar labrang was dissolved and the people and property attached to the Shamarpa under Tibet's feudal system were taken by the government or distributed to various Gelugpa and Karma Kagyu lamas. In light of the Lhasa government ban, no Karmapa could recognize or associate with a Shamarpa on an official basis. To avoid military reprisals against Karma Kagyu monasteries from the government of Central Tibet, the Karmapa observed the ban in public. In private, however, the Karmapas continued to recognize successive reincarnations of the Shamarpas for the next century and a half. [10]

The Shamarpa Returns

The Lhasa ban on the Shamarpas left a power vacuum in the Karma Kagyu hierarchy that was filled by the next highest ranking lamas. For this reason, Karmapa reincarnations for the next century and a half were recognized by other high Kagyu lamas, including the Tai Situs. Of this period, the sixteenth Karmapa commented that "merit was becoming smaller and smaller. There was much political interference. Black was becoming white. The real was becoming unreal. At that time it was not practicable to have any Shamarpas recognized or enthroned. Everything was kept secret. The incarnations appeared, but were not revealed."

In official records, the Shamarpa's spot in the hierarchy of Karma Kagyu lamas remained empty though it was not stricken from the rolls either in Lhasa or in the Karma Kagyu's own listing of lamas, the Kagyu Gyalwa Yab Say formalized under the Tsangpa kings in the seventeenth century. But in practice the Tai Situs moved up to the number two spot, the Gyaltsabs took the third spot, and each lama below them moved up one rung in status when Shamar and his administration disappeared. In the nineteenth century, Jamgon Kongtrul was inserted below Situ and above Gyaltsab.

In the absence of the Shamarpas, three incarnations of Situs and five incarnations of Gyaltsabs enjoyed their new higher status. Over a century and a half, their administrations settled into these positions and became accustomed to a Shamar-free Karma Kagyu and the additional privileges, spiritual and worldly, that they gained thereby.

This boon ended for them abruptly in the 1950s and 1960s with the official return of the Shamarpas to their spiritual and temporal leadership of the Karma Kagyu. First, in 1956 the sixteenth Karmapa publicly recognized the current Shamarpa at age four. The Karmapa felt he could make this move because the Chinese invasion of 1950-51 had softened the attitude of the Lhasa government towards the Karma Kagyu and reduced fears of intra- Buddhist rivalry. In addition, in the mid-fifties, the Karmapa had already obtained a promise from the Dalai Lama that he would lift the ban on the Shamarpa as soon as tensions with the Chinese lessened. But tensions only worsened, and the Dalai Lama was not able to officially lift the ban before he fled Tibet in 1959.

In exile, the situation became even more fluid. The defunct Central Tibetan government's ban on Shamarpa became toothless. In India, the Tibetan exile administration could not enforce the ban on Shamarpa. Thus, on his own and without any fear of reprisal, the sixteenth Karmapa could have restored Shamar to his predecessors' role as deputy Karmapa. Nonetheless, out of respect for the Dalai Lama's position as leader of Tibetan exiles, the Karmapa wanted to seek his blessing -- in the form of an official end to the old ban -- as a courtesy and to show his solidarity with the Dalai Lama's advocacy for Tibetan freedom.

I asked Khenpo Chlldrak, the abbot of Rumtek before the takeover in 1993, if he thought that the sixteenth Karmapa's asking the Dalai Lama to lift the ban on the Shamarpas in 1964 was comparable to Tai Situ asking the Dalai Lama to recognize his Karmapa candidate in 1992.

"No, I do not think these arc the same," Chodrak said. "Even though the Lhasa government ban had no legal power in exile in India, it was a gesture of friendship from the late Gyalwa Karmapa to His Holiness Dalai Lama to request a formal end to the ban. It was quite different in 1992. There had been no ban on the Karmapas, so there was no need for Situ Rinpoche to ask permission from the Dalai Lama. Instead, Situ's request was just a way for him to go around the traditional process for choosing a Karmapa within the Karma Kagyu by bringing in an outsider with great prestige, His Holiness Dalai Lama."

But in the mid-1960s, the Dalai Lama was grateful for the Karmapa's gesture towards Tibetan unity, and in 1964 he officially removed his government's old ban on Shamar incarnations. The Tibetan leader then offered his blessing to the twelve-year-old fourteenth Shamar Rinpoche.

"Many of the Karmapa's lamas and administrators had known Shamarpa from his early childhood," Chodrak said, "and they were happy to be able to openly train him to lead Rumtek in the future. Bur the administrations of all the other high lamas who were effectively taken down a notch in the Karma Kagyu hierarchy with the reinsertion of Shamar Rinpoche, particularly Situ and Gyaltsab Rinpoches, appeared to feel betrayed."

In exile, Situ and Gyaltsab had pledged their allegiance to the Karmapa as children, even though in Tibet their predecessors were proudly independent, and had often been rivals of the Karmapa, as we have seen in the case of Gyaltsab and will see with Situ in the next chapter. In fleeing Tibet in 1959, the once-rich labrangs of Situ and Gyaltsab had lost their imposing monasteries and massive landholdings. Now, so soon after that shock, the administrations of these exiled high lamas had to endure the humiliation of the return of Shamar as their superior. Monk-officials of Situ and Gyaltsab were particularly offended by the official return of Shamar.

"Every tulku in Tibet was surrounded and groom\:d from cradle to grave by a retinue of professional advisers and servants," wrote Indian journalist Anil Maheshwari. "Life after life, their families held the same functions around their lama. These groups grew in prominence and size until they became de facto courts, strait-jacketing their master ... After 200 years of enjoying higher status, the protective families that surrounded Situ and Gyaltsab Rinpoches were unwilling to accept the latest declining twist in their fortunes." [11]

"At Rumtek, Situ and Gyaltsab Rinpoches were boyhood playmates of Shamarpa, as I was, and they seemed to care little for issues of hierarchy," Chodrak said. "But the officials of their respective labrangs never forgot how the sixteenth Karmapa had effectively downgraded them, and these men and their families -- whose own power and prestige depended on the rank of their lamas -- encouraged Situ and Gyaltsab to remember what they had lost in Tibet. As they grew up, the two rinpoches started to act more and more as if they felt they had been cheated out of their inheritance by Shamar Rinpoche."

When the Karmapa got Shamar's ban officially lifted by the Dalai Lama in 1964, he also decided again, as he had in Tibet, against reconstituting the old Shamarpa labrang. Instead, in the spirit of the historical identity between the "Black Hat" and "Red Hat" Karmapas. Shamar would share the Karmapa's administration. This would allow Shamar to be as close as possible to the Karmapa and put him in the best position to protect his legacy in the future. Bur this would also make Shamar vulnerable. Without his own loyal labrang, Shamar had relatively few allies in case of a conflict with lamas who had their own centuries-old administrations and retained, even in exile, tics of loyalty from hundreds of vassal lamas and regional families then living both inside and outside of Tibet.