Karmapa Extends Stay in US, Health Concerns Cited

By Justin Whitaker
Buddhistdoor Global | 2017-10-26 |
His Holiness the Karmapa. From kagyuoffice.orgHis Holiness the Karmapa. From

SEATTLE—His Holiness the Karmapa, the 32-year-old head of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, has postponed his return to his home in India during a personal visit to the United States. Earlier this month, the Karmapa traveled from Germany to the US to visit his ailing 80-year-old senior attendant Gelek Kunchok, who has been hospitalized in New York. While there, the Karmapa himself underwent a general health check-up, which reportedly revealed some causes for concern.

A statement released by his office, the Tsurphu Labrang, explained that the Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, had successfully concluded his extensive teaching tour in the West, with stops in the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and the United States. His Holiness will now remain in the US until he has fully recovered. The statement did not provide details about the health concerns.

Announcement from the Tsurphu Labrang. From kagyuoffice.orgAnnouncement from the Tsurphu Labrang. From

His Holiness’ physicians have advised him to take time for further treatment and full rest and recovery. This is difficult in India because of his busy schedule. Therefore, His Holiness has decided to extend his stay in the United States until he recovers fully. (Kagyu Office)

The official statement also addressed rumors that the Karmapa might be seeking asylum in the United States.

[These rumors] are false and should not be heeded. His Holiness is in the United States purely for medical reasons as outlined above.

His Holiness is also deeply grateful to the Government of India for the hospitality extended to Tibetan refugees in India, and especially to him personally after his arrival in India in January 2000. India has been his home for the past 17 years and His Holiness looks forward to returning to India and continue his dharma activities. (Kagyu Office)

In his time in India, the Karmapa has been a champion of vegetarianism among Tibetan Buddhists and has also spoken widely about female monasticism and the need for greater environmental awareness and sustainability. These messages, along with teachings on quelling greed and aversion, have been central to his international message as well. For many years, the Karmapa has been seen as a likely successor to the Dalai Lama as a global face of Tibetan Buddhism.

The Karmapa in London. From facebook.comThe Karmapa in London. From

The Karmapa is the head of the Karma Kagyu, the largest lineage of the Kagyu, one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, the others being Gelug, Nyingma, and Sakya. The institution of the Karmapa is the oldest tulku lineage in Tibetan Buddhism, predating the Dalai Lama lineage by more than two centuries. Due to a dispute within the Karma Kagyu school over the recognition process, the identity of the 17th Karmapa is a matter of some dispute. The majority of Tibetan Buddhists recognize Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, although an influential minority recognizes Trinley Thaye Dorje. Ogyen Trinley Dorje was born in 1985 in the Lhathok region of Kham in eastern Tibet, and received his initial education at Tsurphu Monastery. In January 2000, at the age of 14, he fled to India and currently resides near Dharamsala.

See more

Announcement from the Tsurphu Labrang  (Kagyu Office)

Related news from Buddhistdoor Global

His Holiness the Karmapa in Canada: Greed is Our Greatest Obstacle
His Holiness the Karmapa Begins Landmark UK Visit
His Holiness the Karmapa Makes Historic Visit to Arunachal Pradesh

Related features from Buddhistdoor Global

Exclusive Interview: The 17th Karmapa and the Buddhist Nuns of the Tibetan tradition
Buddhistdoor View: Keeping the Personal Touch—Khandro Thrinlay Chodon's Example

Please support our work
    Share your thoughts:
    Reply to:
    Name: *
    Content: *
    Captcha: *
    I have read the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy of the buddhistdoor global website.
    Back to Top