Friday, December 26, 2008

Tibetan Buddhism Celebrates 900 Years Of The Karmapa Lama

Tibetan Buddhism Celebrates 900 Years Of The Karmapa Lama Image
Both Tibetans and the Chinese government recognize Trinley Thaye Dorje, 17th Karmapa. He occupies the third highest post in Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or "lightning vehicle") after the Dalai and the Panchen Lama. He lives under Indian "protection."

A two-day celebration will be in Bodh Gaya, India (the place thought to be where the Buddha gained enlightenment, but it is not certain even if people take it for granted and a related Bodhi tree has been planted there now), starting this Wednesday.DHARAMSALA, India (AsiaNews) - "The 17th Karmapa is the oldest and the most revered reincarnate lineage in Tibetan Buddhism," Samdhong Rinpoche told AsiaNews. The Kalon Tripa or prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile spoke a few days before the 900th anniversary of the Karmapa, the third highest spiritual office in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama.

The current incarnation (since each person who fills the post is thought to be the same person reborn and returning on purpose to continue the work) has lived in India since 2000, free from Chinese control. He is viewed as the "natural" successor to the Dalai Lama.

Born in 1983, the current Karmapa Lama (Trinley Thaye Dorje) fled from Tsurphu Temple in central Tibet. And after an overland winter trek across the Himalayas, he reached India where he was given asylum.

He has lived in Dharamsala (the seat of the government in exile) since he went into exile. He is free to travel but requires official permission to receive visitors.

For Rinpoche, 900 years "of Karma tradition are significant because it is an occasion to strengthen and reinforce the Tibetan religious and cultural identity."

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