Karmapa status claimant visits Tawang for 1st time - The Times of India

Nov 30, 2016

ITANAGAR: Ogyen Trinley Dorje, one of the three claimants to the title of the 17th Karmapa, head of the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism, visited Arunachal Pradesh's Tawang for the first time on Monday.

Dorje, whose identification as the 17th Karmapa and escape from Tibet to India have both been subject of controversy, was accorded a warm welcome there. He was accompanied by adviser to the Union home minister, Amitabh Mathur.

The visit of Dorje is significant as Arunachal is claimed by China as part of its territory. Tawang, home to a sizeable Tibetan Buddhist community, was one of the flashpoints of the India-China war of 1962. The presence of US ambassador to India Richard Verma at the recently concluded Tawang Festival had also provoked a sharp response from China.

The visit also assumes significance as the Centre had previously imposed several restrictions on Dorje's movements, especially proposed trips to areas of strategic importance like Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh.

On Monday, however, the spiritual leader was welcomed by Arunachal chief minister Pema Khandu at the Guwahati airport. They then flew to the Tawang monastery where Dorje advised people to have faith in the teachings of The Buddha and The Dalai Lama. He also urged the Sanghas to be united to prevent 'outside forces' from hampering the progress of Buddhism in the region.

Dorje, who serves as spiritual guide to millions of Buddhists around the world, interacted with locals who lined up along the road to the monastery with 'khada', incense sticks and flowers to welcome him.



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