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Ogyen Trinley Dorje

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Ogyen Trinley Dorje

Ogyen Trinley Dorje (Tibetan: ཨོ་རྒྱན་འཕྲིན་ལས་རྡོ་རྗེ།, Wylie: O-rgyan 'Phrin-las Rdo-rje; born June 26, 1985), also written Urgyen Trinley Dorje (Wylie: U-rgyan 'Phrin-las Rdo-rje; or Orgyen Trinley Dorje or Ugyen Trinley Dorje), is a claimant to the title of 17th Karmapa.

The Karmapa is head of the Karma Kagyu school, one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Ogyen Trinley Dorje and Thaye Dorje are the persisting claimants to that office and title.


Born in Lhatok Township, Qamdo County, Tibet Autonomous Region, to primarily nomadic parents, Ogyen Trinley Dorje is said to have identified himself to family members as the Karmapa early in childhood.

(The identification of the 17th Karmapa is disputed. See Karmapa controversy.)

Known as Apo Gaga, he was seven years old before he was recognized by a search party headed by the Tai Situpa, following instructions left by the previous Karmapa in a prophetic letter and hidden in a locket entrusted to Tai Situpa.

Ogyen Trinley Dorje was installed at Tsurphu Monastery (Wylie: Mtshur-phu, ZYPY: Curpu), the traditional seat of the Karmapa in Tibet, with the official sanction of the Central People's Government who declared him to be a "living Buddha", the first time a communist Chinese government has recognised a tulku.

Critics of this collusion call it a "bad precedent" for the 11th Panchen Lama and the next Dalai Lamad urged the Tai Situpa to smuggle Ogyen Trinley out of Tibet.

The Tai Situpa resisted, insisting that there was a need to "legalize" the boy's position in Tibet, and so Ogyen Trinley Dorje lived at Tsurphu Monastery for another seven years.

At the age of 14, he escaped to India through Nepal, arriving at the Tibetan exile quarters at McLeod Ganj on January 5, 2000. Ogyen Trinley Dorje had felt that he was unable to obtain in China the specialized instruction he needed to complete his studies and to realize his full spiritual authority.

The Chinese government was embarrassed by the escape, but it did "not [excoriate] him as they [did] the Dalai Lama.

" Despite a lack of evidence, some believe that he is a Chinese spy.

He resides at Gyuto Monastery in Sidhbari, near Dharamsala.

From May 15 - June 2, 2008, he made his first trip to the West, visiting several cities in the United States (notably New York City, Boulder, Colorado, and Seattle, Washington) and was formally enthroned in the North American seat of the Karmapas at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra monastery in Woodstock, NY.

All across the country, he gave multiple teachings on compassion and the environment, gave the reading transmission for a new form of Ngondro, and bestowed several empowerments, including Avalokiteshvara and Guru Rinpoche.

He also spoke eloquently about the special challenges of the rapid pace of modern society, and the virtues of the Internet as a tool for the study and practice of Buddhadharma.

In July 2008 he requested permission to visit monasteries in Lahaul and Spiti (Himachal Pradesh) and in Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir).

The Indian government initially refused to allow these visits without giving a reason.

It was speculated that the reason might have been that these areas are close to the China border and that the Beijing Olympics were approaching, even though he had made it clear that he does not promote Tibetan independence and has no political stance on China.

India eventually allowed his tour, which began in Ladakh, followed by Lahaul and Spiti, including the famous Tabo Monastery.

Ogyen Trinley Dorje at age 14

Requests to visit USA and Europe in 2010 were denied by the Indian government.

On 9 July 2011, Dorje arrived back in the United States for his second visit.

From 09 - 17 July, he participated in the Kalachakra initiation bestowed by HH the XIV Dalai Lama in Washington, DC, then traveled by train to his seat at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra and also visited both his center in New Jersey and Hunter College in New York City, returning to India on 4 August.

During his visit, he taught extensively on compassion, gave Refuge, and bestowed the empowerments of both the Four-Armed and Thousand-Armed forms of Avalokiteshvara.

He also granted an interview with Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times, which was published on 28 July 2011.

Buddhist vegetarianism

"Gyalwa Karmapa" (Ogyen Trinley Dorje), by painter Claude-Max Lochu, exhibition for the project of Temple for Peace in France, 2008

On 3 January 2007, Ogyen Trinley Dorje mandated a purely vegetarian diet in all his monasteries, nunneries, and centers, and strongly urged vegetarianism among all his students, saying that generally, in his view, it was very important in the Mahayana not to eat meat and that, even in Vajrayana, it is preferable for students and practitioners not to eat meat.

Buddhist environmentalist

On Earth Day, April 22, 2009, Orgyen Trinley Dorje gave 108 instructions on protecting the environment.

At the second conference on environmental protection (3 to 8 October 2009 at Gyuto Monastery), he stated that "For too long, people have behaved thoughtlessly and ignored the damage to the environment that they are creating and, if this continued there was a great danger that it would be too late to do anything."

On October 24, 2009, Ogyen Trinley Dorje supported international climate action day at a gathering at McLeod Ganj in northern India.


See also: Karmapa controversy

The 14th Shamarpa, who is the second longest recognized tulku (reincarnate Lama) incarnation lineage in the Karma Kagyu tradition and who, in previous incarnations,

has held and transmitted the Kagyu lineage between Karmapas, does not recognize Ogyen Trinley Dorje and instead has proclaimed Thaye Dorje (Wylie: Mtha'-yas Rdo-rje),

whom he purportedly identified a few years earlier (than the recognition of Orgyen Thrinley Dorje) in a dream, as the true Karmapa.

Traditionally, Karmapas leave a letter stating the details of their rebirth (this is an aspect of the special self-recognizing siddhi of the Karmapas) to assist in the recognition of their future incarnation,

and thus the Shamarpa's recognition through a dream has come under scrutiny.

Ogyen Trinley Dorje is supported by the majority of the Kagyu hierarchy, including two lamas who have played a role in finding previous Karmapas:

Khentin Tai Situ Rinpoche and Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche (a fourth such lama, the 3rd Jamgon Kongtrul, died early on during the controversy).

Orgyen Trinley Dorje has been enthroned at Tsurphu Monastery, and is regarded as the 17th Karmapa by the monks of Rumtek Monastery.

Other high Kagyu lamas who support Ogyen Trinley Dorje include the Ninth Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche; the Ninth Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche; the Seventh Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche and his Nalandabodhi organization;

the Twelfth Surmang Trungpa Rinpoche; the Seventh Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche;[citation needed] the Third Tenga Rinpoche; the Third Bardor Tulku Rinpoche; the Venerable Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche;

the Venerable Bokar Rinpoche; the Venerable Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche (abbot of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra); Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and his organization, Shambhala International; the Venerable Drupon Rinpoche, and Lama Norlha Rinpoche, among others. He is also recognized as Karmapa by the current Dalai Lama and the government of the People's Republic of China.

Also sided with Orgyen Trinley Dorje are tulkus he has identified, such as H.E. the Eleventh Pawo Rinpoche, and those identified by Tai Situ Rinpoche such as the Third Kalu Rinpoche. There are now two recognitions of H.E. the Fourth Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, one sided with each Karmapa.

2011 police raid on Karmapa offices

In January 2011, the Himachal Pradesh Police seized money in currencies of 25 countries including China, valued at over INR 60 million, during raids on the offices of a trust backed by Ogyen Trinley Dorje.

They also seized several traveler's cheques and land deal documents, suspecting a hawala scam.

Initially, the police suspected that the money was being used to spread Chinese influence in India, and that the Karmapa was a Chinese agent helping the Chinese government control Buddhist monasteries in India.

They said even if the Karmapa was able to explain the source of the money recovered, he might be held liable for violating the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act.

The Karmapa denied all the allegations and said that the seized money came via the donations from his followers.

A New York Times report on the matter noted that an unnamed rival Karmapa candidate has "close ties to Indian intelligence officials."

On 11 February 2011, it was reported that the central Indian government had cleared the Karmapa of all charges, finding that the money in question had been donated by followers.

In December 2011, the Himachal Pradesh Police filed a chargesheet against Ogyen Trinley Dorje, naming him as an accused in the cash and foreign currency seizure case.

The Karmapa's office claimed that Dorje was not involved in the financial administration.

Charges dropped

Indian police said on Tuesday 24th April, 2012 that they had dropped all criminal charges against Ogyen Trinley Dorje.


Wikipedia:Ogyen Trinley Dorje