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India, China Tug of War Over Buddhism and 17th Karmapa Lama



India and China seem to be embroiled in a tug of war for the 17th Karmapa Lama and legacy of Buddhism?. While India wants to stand with its claim of being a home of Buddhism with the presence of Dalai Lama in the country, China, on the other hand, has asserted counter-claims and formally requested the US to hand the 17th Karmapa Lama to them. Both India and China recognise Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the 17th Karmapa.

Amid speculation about the 17th Karmapa Lama Ogyen Trinley Dorje’s return to India from the United States later this year, sources indicate at “perceptible strategy change” by Delhi.

The 33-year-old Karmapa, head of the 900-year-old Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, has been in the US for the past one year stating health issues. Officials in Ministry of Home Affairs refused to state anything on record. But sources claim “China has formally placed a request with the US for Karmapa to be handed over to it”.

“India wants to bolster its claim as a cradle and home of Buddhist thought” with the presence of the Tibetan leader in the country, “particularly in view of China’s bid to woo the influential clergy with an eye on the post-Dalai Lama scenario”, the officials told to The Tribune.

“Both the Dalai Lama and China recognise Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the 17th Karmapa. India for long recognised his rival Thaye Trinley Dorje. In the post-Dalai Lama scenario, Thaye Trinley Dorje may not be of much help, as he not only publicly challenges the Dalai Lama’s authority, but, like China, he also does not accept the Dalai Lama as the supreme Tibetan leader,” said a senior MHA official.

As per the sources, Karmapa, over the past few months, has signalled through various activities that he is one with the Dalai Lama and Tibetan cause and stays famous with the diaspora.

China has formally requested the US for the 17th Karmapa Lama Ogyen Trinley Dorje to be handed over to it who is in the US for almost a year. India wants to reinforce its claim as an origin and home of Buddhist thought with the Tibetan leader’s presence in the country, with an eye on the post-Dalai Lama scenario

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