Lama Phuntsok
Press secretary of H.H. the 17th Karmapa
D-244, Defence Colony, New Delhi-110024

The 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Directs his Followers to Respect Order of Indian Court Regarding Rumtek Inventory

His Holiness The 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Ogyen Thinley Dorje has directed his followers to comply immediately with an order by a court of the Indian State of Sikkim requiring an inventory of certain property and valuables at Dharma Chakra Centre, Rumtek Monastery, in Sikkim. In a letter addressed to his followers and to the monks at Rumtek, the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa states that it is improper to seek to interrupt a lawful court process “despite our religious feelings and sentiments” in the matter. His Holiness directed his followers to obey the court’s instructions regarding the inventory, and to insure that the “course of law can be carried out unhindered.”

His Holiness is the head of the Karma Kagyu Order, one of the major denominations of Tibetan Buddhism. Born in 1985, he was recognized as the successor to the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa in 1992, based on the latter’s sacred letter of instruction. He was enthroned as the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa and resided at Tsurphu Monastery, the traditional seat of the Karmapas in Tibet since the twelfth century. In January of 2000, His Holiness escaped to India in order to continue his religious studies and practice.

In 2001, the government of India granted His Holiness refugee status, which allows him to legally reside in India. His Holiness The 17th Gyalwa Karmapa has been staying in the Gyuto Tantric University and Monastery, near Dharamshala, since his arrival in India.

In his letter, His Holiness reminds his followers that refugees from Tibet are guests of the government of India. “We are duty bound to obey and uphold the laws of the country,” he writes. His Holiness asks that all followers of the Karma Kagyu lineage and all people of Sikkim respect this situation and strive always to faithfully honor the laws of the country.

His Holiness has instructed his followers to inform the Honourable Court and government of Sikkim of His sincere desire and aspiration that the inventory ordered by the court be carried out in a “peaceful and harmonious manner and in deference to the judiciary and laws of the land.”

The Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism traces its origins to Buddha. Since the time of the First Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, the Kagyu Lineage has been headed by a succession of reincarnations of the Gyalwa Karmapa. The line of the Karmapas is said to be self-announced, because each incarnation leaves a letter predicting his next rebirth. All great Kagyu teachers regard His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa as the embodiment and source of all of the blessings of the lineage.

Date: 15 June 2002