After several attempts back and forth with the staff and security personnel of the Gyuto Monastery, I got no where with my meeting with the Dalai Lama. But I was determined to meet the Karmappa Lama who is the number two in the hierarchy with the Dalai Lama and the heir apparent. I made time to get a written appointment and reached his office at the Gyuto monastery at 9:00 am today. A lot of visitor’s had gathered from Leh and Ladakh. Their were foreign dignitaries and some local Tibetan folk there also. Security was tight and everyone was being frisked and no phones and camera’s are allowed as protocol. After an hour long wait in what seemed to be ante chambers, I was taken to another room which was just outside the holy man’s library and I waited. I thought about what I’d read about the Karmapa. Born Ogyen Trinley Dorje 30 years back at Lahtok town of Chamodo in Tibet to nomadic parents, he was identified as a Karmapa by a search party that Tai Sutupa – a lama who is thought to be a Bodhisatva, had led to find the 17th Karmapa in 1992. He was subsequently installed at the Tsurphu Monastery and recognised by the 14th Dalai Lama and subsequently in an United Nations forum by the People’s Reuplic of China also as the 17th Karmapa and said they would train him. At age 14 however he fled Tibet through Nepal and reached India at Dharmashala, Mcleodganj in the year 2000 and took up residence here. He however has a contestant to the position -Trinley Thaye Dorje, son of a Rimpoche.
I was ushered in by his bodyguard’s who were always smiling and eager it seemed to help. I entered into a room full of book’s and Buddha statues fashioned out of copper. The Lama was seated in the middle. He looked perhaps like any other young Tibetan man calm and composed. He spoke excellent English and looked relaxed. But I might have been disappointed and I had kind of hoped that there would be a halo around his head. I realise I might not have felt an energy field or aura around him either. I introduced myself and spoke a bit about my past and my travails and about my travels .
I asked him politely and timidly deferential “Do you think that I should forgive my father’s murders and not ask for the death penalty for them in my representations to the court as a victim” he was a bit hesitant and then said ”No I think forgiveness is the only way , your father cannot come back and you should not hold on to the pain , forgiveness is for your betterment . No one should be allowed to kill another man not even the state .“ A part of me was expecting that answer and so I said “ But these people had murdered before and they could do it again .” he looked up and then with a pause said “ Yes even then life imprisonment will give him some chance to repent , if you put him to death the pain will be only for a few moment’s and then he will be dead , what is the point . You should make sure he is alive and stays in prison till he dies a neutral death , that is the best for him and for you.”
I then went on to talk to him on my travels’s and my new passion “ Good you are doing a great thing , keep travelling for a few more year’s you will become a wise man even wiser then I .” he chuckled and seemed genuinely interested. I then took a deep breath and said “ You know Martin Luther King , Gandhi , Mandela they all fought for freedom for their people and country and they achieved their goal’s in their one life time . But you and the Dalai Lama have been fighting for half a century with no solution to the Tibetan problem in sight , in face china has become stronger as the year’s have passed. What keep’s you motivated to keep fighting when your ultimate gaol is still so far away .” He looked me in the eye and said “ The key thing to remember is Hope , that is a very strong thing for us . Hope above all else , above the final goal , that is what keep’s us going .” I thought that this was so close to the philosophy of The Gita “ Karm kar par phal ki iccha mat kar.” Keep on rockin’ don’t think about the rewards!
And finally my favourite question “ What is your view on sex do you regard it as dirty .” he was a bit taken aback “ Well we certainly do not encourage sex , we don’t talk about it much and in buddhist monastic life , if one has taken a vow then that monk has to abstain from sex . We think sex is linked with desire and we are trying to cut desire , through our chanting , seva and prayer . By cutting desire we can reach Samsara or Moksha otherwise the relentless cycle of Birth and Death will continue .” Somewhere inside I smiled and figured perhaps in that case moksha is coming my way anytime soon where I am now and Samsara is a distant dream for me. He had had enough of question’s by now and got up to give me his signed book .The photographer took our snap together and he wished me well. I still haven’t gotten that snap and they did say they’d email me, hopefully it will be e mailed to me soon and I will update soon.
But I felt after the meeting perhaps a bit let down I was expecting something extraordinary which did not happen. Maybe expectations are what the problem is? I guess the lama maybe is probably just another ordinary human performing his duties for his people. He is as much individual like you and I and probably even fallible just like all of us. Yes but my inquisitiveness is now over and I feel that my journey of Dharamshala and Manali needs to now come to an end. I am thinking to head towards Rajasthan for the Pushkar Mela tomorrow. Let’s see and as they say – arrivederci and see you till then.