Over the last few days, I have been receiving disturbing information from Tibet regarding the forced conversion of Drukpa Lineage monasteries in the Mount Kailash region by the Karma Kagyu Lineage. My followers in Tibet tell me that nearly all of the historic Drukpa Lineage monasteries in the Mount Kailash region are being forcibly occupied by the Karma Kagyu Lineage, using money, coercion, and certain Chinese support. Monks of the Drukpa Lineage looking after the monasteries are suddenly exiled from their spiritual homes by the Karma Kagyu monks.
Historically the Drukpa Lineage and the Karma Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism have shared a deep and close spiritual bond. The Gyalwang Drukpas and Gyalwa Karmapas were known as Gyalwa Kar-Druk Yab-sey or “spiritual father and son” because whoever was elder would give spiritual guidance to the younger ones. This close bond continued till the time of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa.
More than 15 years ago, Dri-ra Phug monastery, the seat of Gyalwa Gotsangpa who was the most illustrious disciple of the 1st Gyalwang Drukpa Tsangpa Gyare, was forcibly taken over by monks of the Karma Kagyu, saying that they were instructed to do so by His Holiness Karmapa Ugyen Thinley Dorjee. I did not believe then that His Holiness Karmapa Ugyen Thinley Dorjee would have given such an instruction because he was just a child at that time. Even today the name “His Holiness Karmapa Ugyen Thinley Dorjee” is being used to forcibly take over and convert the Drukpa Lineage monasteries to the Karma Kagyu. Historic pictures, images, and art of Drukpa Lineage Lamas are being defaced and removed by the Karma Kagyu in an attempt to rewrite history. Despite what I have been informed, I still do not believe that His Holiness Karmapa Ugyen Thinley Dorjee would give instructions to forcibly take over Drukpa Lineage monasteries and convert them to Karma Kagyu.
However, it is definite that some high Lama of the Karma Kagyu with certain Chinese connections is misappropriating the name of Karmapa. Therefore, for the sake of religious and humanitarian harmony, I urge His Holiness Karmapa Ugyen Thinley Dorjee, as head of the Karma Kagyu, to instruct his followers in Tibet and elsewhere to refrain from taking over and forcefully converting Drukpa Lineage monasteries and to issue a statement so that those within his lineage who have been using his name to conduct such oppression to leave forcibly occupied Drukpa Lineage monasteries and return that sacred heritage of all kinds, taken forcibly, to the Drukpa Lineage.