The recognition of the Seventeenth Karmapa, the head of the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism, has been the subject of controversy. Since the death of the sixteenth Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, in 1981, two candidates have been put forward:
- Ogyen Trinley Dorje (also spelled Urgyen Trinley Dorje)
- Trinley Thaye Dorje
Both have already been enthroned as 17th Karmapa, and both independently have been performing ceremonial duties in the role of a Karmapa. They have not met, though both have expressed a willingness and desire to meet. The situation has led to deep division among Kagyu followers all over the world. As one academic expert in the field testified in court, while the recognition of Ogyen Trinley "appears to have been accepted by a majority of Karma Kagyu monasteries and lamas, there remains a substantial minority of monasteries and lamas who have not accepted Ogyen Trinley as Karmapa. In particular, these include the Shamar Rinpoche, who historically has been the person most directly involved in the process of recognition." It is difficult to produce an objective description of the events because the most important developments are known only from conflicting accounts by those involved.
The Karmapa lineage is the most ancient tulku lineage in Tibetan Buddhism, predating the Dalai Lama lineage by more than two centuries. The lineage is an important one as the Karmapa is traditionally the head of the Karma Kagyu school.
Famous quotes containing the word controversy:
“And therefore, as when there is a controversy in an account, the parties must by their own accord, set up for right Reason, the Reason of some Arbitrator, or Judge, to whose sentence, they will both stand, or their controversy must either come to blows, or be undecided, for want of a right Reason constituted by Nature; so is it also in all debates of what kind soever.”
—Thomas Hobbes (15791688)