Reincarnation & Recognition
of the 17th Karmapa
Here are some extracts of a speech given by Kunzig Shamar
Rinpoche on the occasion of the meeting of all the Karma Kagyu
centres in the the world which recognise the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa
Trinley Thaye Dorje. On this occasion Shamar Rinpoche outlined
the events and circumstances which enabled him to identify and
recognise with certainty the seventeenth incarnation of the Gyalwa
instructions left by the Lama
Up to the present day there have been seventeen
official Karmapas who have acted as Heads of Monastic Institutions.
They have been found, identified, brought back to the monastery
and enthroned. Thus there have been seventeen incarnations of the
Almost fifteen years have passed since the sixteenth
Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpei Dorje, passed away. The late Karmapa didn't
leave the instructions that indicate his reincarnation with any
of us. No one has these instructions. It's important to understand
that this type of instruction is not analogous with, say, a will
that parents leave to regulate the distribution of their property
among their heirs. Instructions left by high spiritual masters
such as the Karmapa are very different.
Buddhas and Bodhisattvas don't think in terms of just one person
and one short life; they have the constant good of each and every
sentient being in mind. They take the past, the present and the
future into consideration.
The circumstances of their reincarnation are related to specific
purposes. Moreover, the process of identifying a reincarnation
is a spiritual practice. This process is not comparable with the
way in which, for instance, a King leaves instructions for his
country's Crown Prince.
In the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, this process is
based on the essence of its teachings. To identify a reincarnate
is an activity beyond the scope of ordinary people. It is not consonant
with the way ordinary people think and act. An ordinary person
practising the Buddha-Dharma doesn't have the ability to identify
a reincarnate. This is the domain of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who
either have attained or are close to attaining Buddha, the enlightened
state. Only those who have attained high levels of realisation
have this capacity. That person can perceive both the past, the
present and the future; he's able to communicate with a Yidam (the
different forms in which enlightened individuals manifest) in order
to seek the Yidam's advice and assistance. He must also have faith
in his Lama and in the teachings.
I would like to elucidate the endeavours which led me to reach
the decision that Thaye Dorje is the authentic reincarnation of
His Holiness the late Karmapa.
The encounter with Chobgye Trichen Rinpoche >>>