The 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, touted as the next face of the Tibetan struggle, for the first time held meetings with Trinley Thaye Dorje, who was earlier recognised by India as the ‘real’ Karmapa, in a rural location in France, according to a statement.
Government sources said the meeting reflects change in New Delhi’s stand by ironing out the differences between the two leaders and to ensure the return of the 17th Karmapa to India. Ogyen Trinley Dorje, recognised by the Dalai Lama and majority of Tibetans as Karmapa, had left India earlier this year for the US. He has imposed conditions on India for his return, including relaxation in travel restrictions within and outside India.
Trinley Thaye Dorje is a claimant to the seat of the 17th Karmapa and was projected as the Karmapa as the Indian agencies suspected Ogyen to be a Chinese spy and kept a watch on his movement in Dharamshala. “We are both very pleased to have had this opportunity to meet and get to know each other in a peaceful and relaxed environment. We both had this wish for many years, and we are gratified that this wish has now been fulfilled,” said a joint statement issued after the meeting.
“The purpose of our meeting was primarily to spend time together so that we could establish a personal relationship. We were able to talk together freely and to learn about each other for the first time. We were thus able to begin what we expect will develop into a strong connection. While we were together we also talked about ways… to heal the divisions that have unfortunately developed within our precious Karma Kagyu lineage in recent years. We view it as our duty and responsibility to do whatever we can to bring the lineage together,” it read.
The statement further said, “We therefore ask everyone within the Karma Kagyu community to join us in our efforts…”
India has been trying to ensure Ogyen’s return, but Indian agencies have flagged the fact that he has a Dominican Republic passport.
In 2015, the Narendra Modi government reviewed an earlier decision by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and eased domestic travel restrictions for Dorje, allowing him to visit Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, except Rumtek monastery.
The CCS, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has decided to allot land to Dorje in Delhi to construct his monastery. The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, who is also chairman of the Delhi Development Authority, is scouting for land and is expected to decide on one soon, an official said.