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Time Magazine Interview with His Holiness May 10, 2001(Asia edition)

BY MICHAEL FATHERS

Sixteen-year-old Ugyen Trinley Dorje, the most senior religious leader in Tibet until he fled the country 15 months ago, has spoken for the first time since he joined the Dalai Lama in exile in India. Better known as the 17th incarnation of the Karmapa — and a possible successor to the Dalai Lama — the teenager’s press conference on April 27 lifted the veil on his personality. Two days later, he sat down with TIME’s South Asia bureau chief Michael Fathers and discussed growing up, missing his parents and his love of painting and music. Edited excerpts:

When do you expect to return to Tibet?

Having come to India as a refugee, I don’t plan to return to Tibet until the Dalai Lama returns. I will go back with him.

The government of China says you left your monastery to go to India to reclaim the Karmapa’s symbolic black hat and other religious possessions. They said your reasons were contained in a letter you left behind.

It is true that I left behind a letter. I am perfectly aware what was in it as I wrote it myself. I said in it that I was Read the rest of this article

The Observer

Interview with His Holiness
Apr 29, 2001 (United Kingdom)

BY LUKE HARDING

THE LHATOK region of eastern Tibet is about as remote as the country gets. Only a few hardy nomads eke out a living here, tending their yaks and wandering across a vast expanse of grassland enclosed by white mountains.

It was here 15 years ago that Ogyen Trinley Dorje was born, a baby whose life would eventually cause the Chinese government a great deal of embarrassment.

It was when he was eight that a search party arrived at his parents’ yak hair tent and solemnly announced that their mission was over. They had found the Karmapa, the latest incarnation of one of Tibetan Buddhism’s most senior leaders.

Three suns promptly appeared in the sky. Before that, ‘it would have seemed extremely disrespectful to have imagined I might be the Karmapa,’ he said yesterday.

Dorje was bundled off to Tsurphu monastery, 30 miles from the Read the rest of this article

The Observer Interview with His Holiness Apr 29, 2001 (United Kingdom)

BY LUKE HARDING

THE LHATOK region of eastern Tibet is about as remote as the country gets. Only a few hardy nomads eke out a living here, tending their yaks and wandering across a vast expanse of grassland enclosed by white mountains.

It was here 15 years ago that Ogyen Trinley Dorje was born, a baby whose life would eventually cause the Chinese government a great deal of embarrassment.

It was when he was eight that a search party arrived at his parents’ yak hair tent and solemnly announced that their mission was over. They had found the Karmapa, the latest incarnation of one of Tibetan Buddhism’s most senior leaders.

Three suns promptly appeared in the sky. Before that, ‘it would have seemed extremely disrespectful to have imagined I might be the Karmapa,’ he said yesterday.

Dorje was bundled off to Tsurphu monastery, 30 miles from the capital, Lhasa. The boy’s status was swiftly recognised by the Chinese government, which spent six years grooming him as a pliant rival to the Dalai Lama.

By late 1999, however, the Karmapa had Read the rest of this article

The Karmapa’s Great Escape (December 28, 1999-January 5, 2000)

While His Holiness was at Tsurphu, the Karmapa fulfilled the traditional responsibilities of the Karmapa, ministering to the Tibetan people and supporting Tsurphu Monastery. The monastery underwent extensive rebuilding to restore the temples, shrines, stupas, a shedra, and residences that had been destroyed over the years, fulfilling one of the main duties of a Karmapa. As the years went by, however, the authorities began to restrict the Karmapa’s ability to travel and teach his disciples, and to receive the transmission from his lineage teachers. His Holiness decided that it would benefit beings most if he were no longer to stay in Tibet. In view of the refusal of the authorities to allow him to leave, he undertook a plan of his own.

Various accounts of the Karmapa’s escape has been described in innumerable media reports around the world. On April 27, 1992, His Holiness himself described his departure to the world Read the rest of this article