Sharmapa Celebrates 60th Birthday Oct 27

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Sharmapa Celebrates 60th Birthday Oct 27

Post by phantom59 » Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:54 pm

Sharmapa Celebrates 60th Birthday

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Shamar Rinpoche gave an Amitabha initiation to his followers in Nepal, in the
field behind the Grand Hotel in Boudhanath. Roughly 120,000 people attended,
many of whom were from the Helambu (Yolmo) region, whose ancestors were
followers of past Sharmapas— in particular the 8th Shamarpa who was born in
Yolmo. Many Newari Buddhists from Kathmandu also attended, who likewise claim
ancestors that were disciples of past Shamarpas. The event was organized jointly
by many indigenous Buddhist organizations in Nepal. The ceremony lasted roughly
9 hours, and eventually the local authorities had to close the roads leading to
the site so that the ceremony did not last for days.

The history of the Shamarpas becomes especially dramatic during and after the
lifetime of the 10th Shamar, Chödrup Gyatso (1642-1692). For that reason it is
useful to explain his life in more detail here. The brother of the 3rd Panchen
Lama Palden Yeshe (1738-1780)- a highly ranked Gelukpa Lama - the 10th Shamarpa
had a very poor relationship with the Gelukpa government of Tibet based in Lhasa
and directly ruled by the Chinese Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799). Tsomonling
Ngawang Tsultrim, the imperial Chinese representative in Lhasa at that time, was
especially opposed to him for a number of reasons. First of all, he belonged to
the Karma Kagyu school and claimed that that the Kagyus were the former rulers
of Tibet. Second, he was on friendly terms with the British government in India,
a state of affairs that had come about because his mother was a princess of
Ladakh. Both of these facts made the Emperor's government very suspicious.
Fearing censure or punishment from the governments of both Tibet and China, the
10th Shamarpa fled to Nepal. He lived there comfortably until, in 1788, a war
broke out between Tibet and Nepal over the minting and circulation of
counterfeit coins. The 10th Shamarpa was used by the government of Nepal as a
mediator in the peace talks with Tibet, and as a result the government of Tibet
informed the Emperor Qianlong that the Shamarpa had taken the part of the
Nepalese in the conflict. The Gelukpa Tibetan government then requested that the
Shamarpa institution be banned. The ban was effected upon the death of the 10th
Shamarpa in 1792 and remained in effect until the 20th century.

From 1792 until 1963, no Shamarpa reincarnation was enthroned, although the
11th, 12th, and 13th Shamarpas were secretly recognized during that time by the
Karmapas. In 1963, the 14th Dalai Lama and the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa formally
restored the institution of the Shamarpas, enthroning the current, 14th,

Shamar Rinpoche is also the author of two books. Creating a Transparent
Democracy: a New Model, the first book written about democracy by a Tibetan
Buddhist teacher, lays out a framework for establishing a genuine democratic
system of governance that promotes the welfare and prosperity of a population.
This model proposes a system of democracy based on the decentralization of
political power, the promotion of political literacy among the population of
democratic states, and an end to campaigning. It is Shamar Rinpoche's wish that
this new model of democracy will inspire volunteers to dedicate themselves to
improving the lives of their fellow citizens through sincere engagement with the
structures of their governments.

In The Path to Awakening, Shamar Rinpoche provides an extensive commentary on
Chekawa Yeshe Dorje's Seven Points of Mind Training. Chekawa's text was based on
the Mind Training (lojong) teachings brought to Tibet by Atisha in the 11th
century, and Shamar Rinpoche's commentary elucidates the inner meaning of
Chekawa's Seven Points. It is both a guide to living a fulfilling life as a
Buddhist and a comprehensive manual of meditation techniques.

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