Joint Statement of the Two Karmapas

Seeker12
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Re: Joint Statement of the Two Karmapas

Post by Seeker12 » Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:21 pm

Knotty Veneer wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:40 am
Gatinho wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:33 am

Have abandoned the idea that tulkus are actually tulkus? Or is it just political?
Personally, I view it very cynically as all political. An useful tool for social organization perhaps in medieval times but useless now.

There is nothing in the Buddha's teachings about tulkus. A Tibetan invention.

Karmapa was the first tulku. Would be interesting if he were to be the start of a movement to retire the concept.
IMO, that is a very sad perspective. That’s not to say that there aren’t problems with the tulku culture, or that all tulkus are legitimate, or even that it shouldn’t peter out, but to categorically call it simply politics and organization is disheartening to a degree and a sign of degeneration, it seems.

I believe that it’s been prophesized that there will be something like 21 Karmapas, and we are on either the 17th or 18th, depending on if you include one who allegedly died as a child. Of course, the emanations will be far more than that but in terms of the actual formal position of Karmapa, that’s what I’ve understood.

As Thaye Dorje says in the linked video, this basically occurs due to pure aspirations that are connected with awakened mind and the Path. This is from a timeless and non-dual place, basically, and the manifestations are entirely in line with awakening, basically.

Of note, the Kongtrul associated with Thaye Dorje is legit. Very much, I think. He’s about to go into a ~4 year retreat in a couple of weeks, and he’s super solid.

I’m sorry if my words are upsetting but it does seem basically like a sign of degeneration to simply think that all tulkus are nothing more than a worldly thing. They aren’t. Some are, but some aren’t.

My two cents, fwiw. Which may be little.
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And thereto not the slightest thing to add.
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Knotty Veneer
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Re: Joint Statement of the Two Karmapas

Post by Knotty Veneer » Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:42 pm

Seeker12 wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:21 pm
IMO, that is a very sad perspective. That’s not to say that there aren’t problems with the tulku culture, or that all tulkus are legitimate, or even that it shouldn’t peter out, but to categorically call it simply politics and organization is disheartening to a degree and a sign of degeneration, it seems.
The Karmapa controversy has shown the weakness of the tulku system. Even if there are true tulkus, they still have retrain every lifetime. Naming of tulkus is often for political or monetary gain (CF Steven Seagal). A merit-based system where monastery abbots are elected makes much more sense.
Seeker12 wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:21 pm
I believe that it’s been prophesized that there will be something like 21 Karmapas, and we are on either the 17th or 18th, depending on if you include one who allegedly died as a child. Of course, the emanations will be far more than that but in terms of the actual formal position of Karmapa, that’s what I’ve understood.
You know we don’t have stick to the prophesies if they get in the way – they are not arguably a particularly Buddhist thing – makes us sound like Mormons. Chogyur Lingpa’s prophesy is interpreted in different ways by the two different sides to suit their agendas (TTD for example would actually be the 18th Karmapa according to Shamarpa’s interpretation).
If all either side is trying to do is fulfill any early 19th century prophesy, the lineage is in bad shape.
Seeker12 wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:21 pm
As Thaye Dorje says in the linked video, this basically occurs due to pure aspirations that are connected with awakened mind and the Path. This is from a timeless and non-dual place, basically, and the manifestations are entirely in line with awakening, basically.
At this point, in time we need to be asking, if the beliefs we hold will help or hinder the reconstruction of the lineage. If they are useful, great. If not, they should, at least, not take up much of our time.
“If you are going to put people on pedestals, at least wear a big hat” - Jake Thackray.

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Re: Joint Statement of the Two Karmapas

Post by Seeker12 » Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:49 pm

I do tend to agree that largely, the tulku system should naturally peter out, and it does seem to be quite questionable in many cases.

I also do think that basically practicing the Dharma is the most important thing, far more than holding tightly to outdated systems.

But there are good tulkus still, and I think we should ideally watch for categorical cynicism, but to each his/her own.

Of note, I apologize if I came on too strong and seemed to simply imply that your statement by itself is this huge singular degenerative sign. More broadly, I think the degeneration is if many solely think that enlightening teachers are nothing more than worldly pawns. There are still excellent guides.
Therein is nothing to remove
And thereto not the slightest thing to add.
The perfect truth viewed perfectly
And perfectly beheld is liberation.

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Re: Joint Statement of the Two Karmapas

Post by passel » Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:09 pm

Just a meta-comment on the overall conversation:
Isn't the whole point of Karmapa, and the tulku system generally, that the spiritual and the political are not separate realms?

So, yes, this is politics, but it's good politics. It's creative, generous, and forward-looking. It feels like the beginning of a sloughing-off of a great burden. It should over time allow for and encourage much-needed healing- for the communities involved, but also for these two men, drafted into a grown-up feud when they were children. Rancor just doesn't serve anyone, even if it is apparently sanctioned and sanctified. This calls for a heart response, not a doctrinal one. I look forward to seeing where it leads- wherever that may be- and I pray for the continued institutional health of all the lineages. Here's to burying the hatchet.
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Re: Joint Statement of the Two Karmapas

Post by Seeker12 » Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:14 pm

passel wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:09 pm
Just a meta-comment on the overall conversation:
Isn't the whole point of Karmapa, and the tulku system generally, that the spiritual and the political are not separate realms?

So, yes, this is politics, but it's good politics. It's creative, generous, and forward-looking. It feels like the beginning of a sloughing-off of a great burden. It should over time allow for and encourage much-needed healing- for the communities involved, but also for these two men, drafted into a grown-up feud when they were children. Rancor just doesn't serve anyone, even if it is apparently sanctioned and sanctified. This calls for a heart response, not a doctrinal one. I look forward to seeing where it leads- wherever that may be- and I pray for the continued institutional health of all the lineages. Here's to burying the hatchet.
Generally the Karmapa has not been involved in temporal politics in Tibet, other than in regard to the spiritual hierarchy of the lineage if you want to call that politics. The Dalai Lama holds the position of the temporal head of Tibet, and is also a high tulku within the Gelug lineage.

In general, with that said, it seems that when things become 'institutions' and they get sort of wrapped up in tradition, there arises problems more or less and I think it would be naïve to say that this didn't occur within the Kagyu lineage.
Therein is nothing to remove
And thereto not the slightest thing to add.
The perfect truth viewed perfectly
And perfectly beheld is liberation.

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Re: Joint Statement of the Two Karmapas

Post by Knotty Veneer » Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:52 pm

Seeker12 wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:14 pm

Generally the Karmapa has not been involved in temporal politics in Tibet, other than in regard to the spiritual hierarchy of the lineage if you want to call that politics. The Dalai Lama holds the position of the temporal head of Tibet, and is also a high tulku within the Gelug lineage.

In general, with that said, it seems that when things become 'institutions' and they get sort of wrapped up in tradition, there arises problems more or less and I think it would be naïve to say that this didn't occur within the Kagyu lineage.
That the Karmapas were never involved in politics is a pious fantasy. It was never true going back to at least the 3rd Karmapa. They may not have been running the country like the Dalai Lamas but as powerful lineage heads with chains of monasteries they most certainly had political influence - and used it. Not just in Tibet but all over the Himalayan region.

Why else do you think that the XVIth Karmapa visited Mao in Beijing along with the Dalai and Panchen Lamas? As a tourist?
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Re: Joint Statement of the Two Karmapas

Post by passel » Wed Oct 17, 2018 5:09 pm

No one is not involved in politics. The tulku system is one form of recognition of that fact. We share this world.
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Re: Joint Statement of the Two Karmapas

Post by conebeckham » Wed Oct 17, 2018 5:27 pm

Knotty Veneer wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:52 pm
Seeker12 wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:14 pm

Generally the Karmapa has not been involved in temporal politics in Tibet, other than in regard to the spiritual hierarchy of the lineage if you want to call that politics. The Dalai Lama holds the position of the temporal head of Tibet, and is also a high tulku within the Gelug lineage.

In general, with that said, it seems that when things become 'institutions' and they get sort of wrapped up in tradition, there arises problems more or less and I think it would be naïve to say that this didn't occur within the Kagyu lineage.
That the Karmapas were never involved in politics is a pious fantasy. It was never true going back to at least the 3rd Karmapa. They may not have been running the country like the Dalai Lamas but as powerful lineage heads with chains of monasteries they most certainly had political influence - and used it. Not just in Tibet but all over the Himalayan region.

Why else do you think that the XVIth Karmapa visited Mao in Beijing along with the Dalai and Panchen Lamas? As a tourist?
In fact, Karmapa did run various parts of Tibet throughout history--(this gets into the question of Tibetan self-identity as a Nation, another huge and fraught tangent). Sakya Hierarchs have also, at various times, held great political power in sections of what is now Tibet. Etc., etc.

The most hopeful development in the Tibetan Buddhist world, IMO, is not re the two Karmapas meeting--it's the transfer of power over CTGIE from HHDL and the monasto-governmental system to an evolving representative democratic government. It's a bumpy ride, but it's the right direction. Anyway, another tangent....for another thread. Or not.
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Re: Joint Statement of the Two Karmapas

Post by passel » Wed Oct 17, 2018 6:11 pm

Yeah, 1) learning how to effectively share power, not just from person to person, but across complex networks,

and 2) learning how to use old tools for new tasks-

those are the two central challenges that any society faces, not just TGIE.
It's true on the individual level as well, at least for me.
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Re: Joint Statement of the Two Karmapas

Post by Knotty Veneer » Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:21 am

An interesting if not very deep analysis on the Karmapas' meeting:

http://www.asianage.com/opinion/oped/18 ... story.html

Not sure where the writer gets his info from but claims the meeting was at the behest of Thaye Dorje.

The article portrays the meeting as an attempt to stabilize the lineage in advance of the passing of HHDL.With Ogyen Trinley looked to increasingly as a de-facto leader of the Tibetan exile community in the interregnum between Dalai Lama’s (whether he wants that or not), the article suggests that there is a need finally to put India’s suspicion of Ogyen Trinley to rest. Although not perhaps the primary reason from a lineage point of view , it would be a welcome side effect.

Ogyen Trinley Dorje is expected to be present at the 13th Religious Conference on Tibetan Buddhism in Dharamsala at the end of November – a major meeting of lineage heads. Maybe we might hear further news there or perhaps at Thaye Dorje’s group’s monlam in Bodh Gaya in December.
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Re: Joint Statement of the Two Karmapas

Post by Karma Trinley » Thu Oct 18, 2018 4:41 pm

Of course, I understand that everyone is very curious. For me, it was a great joy to hear that a solution to this problem may have been found, which triggered so much hatred, suffering and created various obstacles for this precious lineage. This clearly outweighs the unease resulting from my personal lack of knowledge to where this is heading. Yes, we are all still in the habit of thinking that our Karmapa is better looking/smarter/more enlightened/etc. than the other one, but this is really a trip we will have to overcome if a reunion should work. Personally, I do not wish for one or the other of the Karmapas to resign - and I am not really sure that this will happen. That would be terrible for the respective students.

What I would wish for - at least as a start until we receive further news - is that we all acknowledge that there are now two branches of the Karma Kagyu, and that we all develop mutual respect for one another. If our two leaders go on well with each other, as they hopefully do, this should work out. Each one of us needs to be confident in his or her Karmapa that a good solution will be found. Some who cannot overcome the old resentments my attempt to interfere. Eventually, if we all assume good faith, be patient, and make an effort, such attempts will fade like an outdated leftover of a past that has been overcome. Let us all look forward! Thaye Dorje and Orgyen Trinley opened up an opportunity that allows for a new dynamic. Let's wait and see - I am sure that we will hear further news from them shortly. We, the practitioners of the former two opposing fractions of the Karma Kagyu, do not need to waste any further thought on quarreling with each other, but can now focus on our common goal: practicing Buddhism, developing loving kindness, compassion, and wisdom, so that all beings will eventually attain enlightenment. Isn't that great?

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Re: Joint Statement of the Two Karmapas

Post by Gatinho » Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:08 pm

Knotty Veneer wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:21 am
An interesting if not very deep analysis on the Karmapas' meeting:

http://www.asianage.com/opinion/oped/18 ... story.html

Not sure where the writer gets his info from but claims the meeting was at the behest of Thaye Dorje.

The article portrays the meeting as an attempt to stabilize the lineage in advance of the passing of HHDL.With Ogyen Trinley looked to increasingly as a de-facto leader of the Tibetan exile community in the interregnum between Dalai Lama’s (whether he wants that or not), the article suggests that there is a need finally to put India’s suspicion of Ogyen Trinley to rest. Although not perhaps the primary reason from a lineage point of view , it would be a welcome side effect.

Ogyen Trinley Dorje is expected to be present at the 13th Religious Conference on Tibetan Buddhism in Dharamsala at the end of November – a major meeting of lineage heads. Maybe we might hear further news there or perhaps at Thaye Dorje’s group’s monlam in Bodh Gaya in December.
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Re: Joint Statement of the Two Karmapas

Post by honestdboy » Fri Oct 19, 2018 5:41 am

:good:
Karma Trinley wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 4:41 pm
Of course, I understand that everyone is very curious. For me, it was a great joy to hear that a solution to this problem may have been found, which triggered so much hatred, suffering and created various obstacles for this precious lineage. This clearly outweighs the unease resulting from my personal lack of knowledge to where this is heading. Yes, we are all still in the habit of thinking that our Karmapa is better looking/smarter/more enlightened/etc. than the other one, but this is really a trip we will have to overcome if a reunion should work. Personally, I do not wish for one or the other of the Karmapas to resign - and I am not really sure that this will happen. That would be terrible for the respective students.

What I would wish for - at least as a start until we receive further news - is that we all acknowledge that there are now two branches of the Karma Kagyu, and that we all develop mutual respect for one another. If our two leaders go on well with each other, as they hopefully do, this should work out. Each one of us needs to be confident in his or her Karmapa that a good solution will be found. Some who cannot overcome the old resentments my attempt to interfere. Eventually, if we all assume good faith, be patient, and make an effort, such attempts will fade like an outdated leftover of a past that has been overcome. Let us all look forward! Thaye Dorje and Orgyen Trinley opened up an opportunity that allows for a new dynamic. Let's wait and see - I am sure that we will hear further news from them shortly. We, the practitioners of the former two opposing fractions of the Karma Kagyu, do not need to waste any further thought on quarreling with each other, but can now focus on our common goal: practicing Buddhism, developing loving kindness, compassion, and wisdom, so that all beings will eventually attain enlightenment. Isn't that great?
:good:
Thank you Karma Trinley. Your comments are helpful to me. After my initial happiness at the wonderful news, I started thinking about dark memories of our past dramas and feeling blue. It will take time to heal old wounds. I think it would be helpful if more elders meet with elder members of "the other side" like Jigme Rinpoche has done. I imagine lamas like Beru Khyentse Rinpoche, Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche, and Tulku Urgyen's family of lamas could play an important role in bringing together a reunion or at least a much more amicable separation of the two branches of Karma Kagyu. :namaste:

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Re: Joint Statement of the Two Karmapas

Post by kirtu » Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:02 am

passel wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:09 pm
Just a meta-comment on the overall conversation:
Isn't the whole point of Karmapa, and the tulku system generally, that the spiritual and the political are not separate realms?
No, the main point is that beings at different levels of enlightenment directly incarnate in order to preserve the influence wisdom and compassion on society. So this is going to happen anyway but in Tibet the tradition of direct identification of beings with ideally superior qualities was instituted in order to preserve the influence of Dharma on society. See esp. Tai Situpa's "Awakening the Sleeping Buddha".

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Re: Joint Statement of the Two Karmapas

Post by Knotty Veneer » Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:01 am

honestdboy wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 5:41 am
:good:
Thank you Karma Trinley. Your comments are helpful to me. After my initial happiness at the wonderful news, I started thinking about dark memories of our past dramas and feeling blue. It will take time to heal old wounds. I think it would be helpful if more elders meet with elder members of "the other side" like Jigme Rinpoche has done. I imagine lamas like Beru Khyentse Rinpoche, Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche, and Tulku Urgyen's family of lamas could play an important role in bringing together a reunion or at least a much more amicable separation of the two branches of Karma Kagyu. :namaste:
I think it’s time to sit back and wait. I agree that the problem looks insurmountable. It has gone on for many years and people on both sides who should have known better have said and done hurtful things. There are court cases, accusations of criminality, political interference from China, from India, from other Tibetans, and so on and so on.

I think it’s a time to grow up a little too. I see several folks (again on both sides) here clutching their pearls and trotting out pious platitudes about holy lamas, samayas and what not. Such fairy stories never represented the truth of the lineage (or any lineage). We need to see some of the actors in the Karmapa controversy drama as the flawed human beings they were/are. That may disappoint some folks but I think living in spiritual lala land is no good for anybody.

Basically, I’m saying we need to put aside our cherished notions of how right our side is. Look at the real situation and see if we can work together better than we have before.

Maybe it can’t be done. Maybe there is too much distrust and bitterness. Maybe seeing each other as flawed and human is all can be done at this time. Neither Ogyen Trinley or Thaye Dorje made this mess. Indeed, they are probably the biggest victims of it. No wonder they are keen to end it if possible.

If we can’t come back together again, maybe we can formalize an amicable divorce. Even that would be better than what we have now.
“If you are going to put people on pedestals, at least wear a big hat” - Jake Thackray.

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Re: Joint Statement of the Two Karmapas

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:11 pm

The joint statement by the two Karmapas is a cause for celebration and joy. I invite posters who wish to continue their conversation on the tulku system and other matters to do so in another thread.

With this in mind, and with full well wishes for the two Rinpoches, this thread is now closed.
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