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Transcript of a Press Conference with His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa

held April 27, 2001 at Gyuto Ramoche
Tantric University, Sidbhari, Himachal Pradesh, India

Japanese Broadcasting Corporation:
How long are you going to Stay in India? Will you go back to China?

His Holiness Karmapa:
Having come here to India from Tibet as a refugee and in accordance with that having received the status of a refugee, I do not plan to return to Tibet until HH the Dalai Lama returns. I will go back with him.

Ajit Jagra:
I would like to know what actually inspired you to come to India since you have lots of followers all over the world?

His Holiness Karmapa:
One of the most important reasons why I was inspired to come to India was so that I would be able to see or visit the sacred places of this country [India].

Norway Radio of Tibet
Your Holiness, since you have come to India, the government of China has asserted that you did not come to take up residence in this country, but only to reclaim the Black Hat and other possessions of your predecessor; that you would be returning to China, and that you left a letter behind you in Tibet that stated that?

His Holiness Karmapa:
It is true that I left a letter behind me, but as I wrote the letter myself, I’m perfectly aware of what was in it and what wasn’t. I said in the letter that I left because, although I had for a long time, persistently and repeatedly, requested permission to travel internationally, I had never received it and so I had to leave. I did not in the letter mention the Black Crown, the Black Hat. Why would I want to retrieve that from India and bring it back to China anyway? The only thing that would be served or accomplished by doing so that would be to place that Hat on Jiang Zemin’s head.

Italian News Service
Your Holiness in your statement you never mentioned the Shamarpa who is the second highest Kagyu lama and has accused you of being a Chinese agent. What is your opinion of this?

His Holiness Karmapa:
Up to this point, I have done my best to deal with the situation in an appropriate way and therefore I saw no reason to it speculate about it or write about it in my statement as that would only make things worse.

The Week
I just wanted to ask the Karmapa whether while he was in Tibet there was any pressure placed upon him by the Chinese to recognize the Panchen Lama that they selected?

His Holiness Karmapa:
There was no particular pressure placed on me to support the Chinese government’s recognition of their Panchen Lama, but I was invited to his hair cutting and ordination.

PTI
Sir, It took you only thirty hours to come out of Tibet into Nepal and yet it took you more than five days to reach Dharamsala within a free country. Why so? [question repeated] Why did a journey of 1500 kilometers take 30 hours and yet it took 5 days to reach here [Dharamsala] form Nepal. It’s been said that [inaudible] helped you reach Nepal. Is Situ Rinpoche an agent of the Chinese?

His Holiness Karmapa:
The reason why parts of the journey took longer than others was because of the distance to be traveled and the difficulty of traveling in that region. The whole journey took 8 days and I think I have explained the times pretty clearly in my statement. I don’t think I can say anything clearer than that. As far as his Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche is concerned, while I was in Tibet, I repeatedly asked the government of China for permission to invite him to Tsurphu so that I could receive the empowerments, transmissions, and instructions that I wished to received from him. But they refused to allow Tai Situ Rinpoche to enter China, saying that he could not come because he had too close a connection to HH the Dalai Lama and was, therefore, inadmissible to the country of China. I think that if what you said were true, that they would have been delighted to let him in.

Australian newspaper
Do you intend to work with the Dalai Lama in the cause of promoting world awareness of Tibet and in the cause of Tibetan independence or autonomy?

His Holiness Karmapa:
As I mentioned in my statement earlier, what has made Tibet so famous throughout the world is its religious tradition and culture. So I regard it as my duty and responsibility to support the religion and culture of Tibet as much and as vigorously as I can. I think that by doing this I will benefit Tibetans and the people in Tibet and benefit the situation in Tibet as well. In that sense, in the sense of supporting Tibetan religion and culture I will assist His Holiness the Dalai Lama as much as I can.

The Daily Telegraph
Your Holiness, you are one of the most famous lamas of Tibet and are regarded as someone who can know the past and future. Would you, therefore, care to comment on where you will be in 15 years?

His Holiness Karmapa:
Never mind the future, I will forget tomorrow what I said today.

Are you worried about Tibetan culture becoming extinct because of the state of affairs in China?

His Holiness Karmapa:
[As a Dharma practitioner not involved in politics], all I can say is that every nation has its own distinct spiritual tradition and culture. If any of these are in danger of becoming extinct, I would hope that that would not happen.

Newsweek
Are the Chinese waiting for the Dalai Lama to pass away in the hopes that that will be the end of the Tibetan independence movement and that they will thereafter be able to fully absorb Tibetan culture within Han Chinese culture?

His Holiness Karmapa:
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is not that old and is in very good health.

In addition, I constantly pray for his longevity and I am confident that the situation of his passing will not occur for a long time. It is quite possible that before then the political situation in China will change considerably. In addition, the power of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s aspirations and compassion is inconceivable. With regard to the youth of Tibet, I think the most important thing is for them to concentrate on the preservation of the spiritual and cultural traditions of Tibet. And His Holiness the Dalai Lama regularly gives them the same advice.

BBC
What future would you like to see for Tibet?

His Holiness Karmapa:
Since the foundation of the spiritual tradition of Tibet is non-violence and peace, my greatest aspiration is that Tibet abide in the future in a state of non-violence and peace or tranquillity.

The Times
I understand that you have recently spoken about your parents. Do you have any concern about your parents being ill-treated or your followers? And do you know where your parents are?

His Holiness Karmapa:
Of course, one’s parents are extremely important to anyone, because in a sense our parents are of the greatest kindness to us of anyone. And therefore, for me as well, the situation and circumstances of my parents are very important. Nevertheless, for the reasons I explained in my statement, I felt it was necessary for me to leave them behind. In this situation, I do not know the precise details of my parents’ circumstances.

However, I continually pray for the welfare of my parents and everyone in Tibet.

Star News
What sort of cooperation have you received from the Indian government? What restrictions, if any, have they placed on your travel?

His Holiness Karmapa:
In general the Government of India has been extremely helpful and generous to me. In particular I have been given permission to reside in the country and was also given permission to go on pilgrimage.

Hindustan Times
Karmapa, it is said that you were being reared by China for a political purpose. If so, what was that purpose, particularly in regard to Tibetan independence?

His Holiness Karmapa:
I have heard it said that in a sense the Government of China was planning to make use of me. I was certainly treated as someone very special. For example, when I was taken on tour in China to Beijing, I was well-treated.

But I came to suspect that there might be a plan to use me to separate the people within Tibet from His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Asahi Shimbun
Your Holiness, do you plan on learning English and other foreign languages to communicate with other cultures as has His Holiness the Dalai Lama?

His Holiness Karmapa:
Having been born in Tibet, in addition to Tibetan, I speak what I would call slightly broken Chinese, and I am acquiring a little bit of English and have the intention of learning Japanese some day.

Times of India
Why did it take you such a long time to interact with the media? And don’t you think that the interest the Western media has shown in you is a ploy to [?discredit, tape not clear] China?

His Holiness Karmapa:
I agree that it took a long time for me to meet with the media. I wanted to straightforwardly present the true story of my coming here, but my situation did not allow me to have this kind of press meeting until now. In answer to your second question, I think it is not only the Western media but also the Asian media that are interested in my situation, and as they are all free to take interest in whatever they wish, I cannot guess and do not know the motivation behind their interest.

Reuters
I think we got only half the answer to a question posed by my colleague. What specific restrictions have been placed upon your travel in India?

His Holiness Karmapa:
Having been given permission or status to reside in India, I am free to travel within this country. The restrictions on this or exceptions to this are that I may not go to Sikkim and I may not go to Sherab Ling, which I find confusing.

Reuters
How do you react to the assertion of some Karma Kagyu followers that Thaye Dorje is the real Karmapa?

His Holiness Karmapa:
The identity of the Karmapa is not decided by a popular vote or a debate between groups. It is decided only by the prediction of the previous Karmapa.

London Times
What do you do on an average day?

His Holiness Karmapa:
I study and practice Buddhism.