In Tibetan Buddhism, as one karmapa passes away another is reincarnated. Since 1110, the karmapa has been reborn in an unbroken string. His lineage is three centuries older than that of the Dalai Lama. The trouble is there are two claimants to being the 17th karmapa—Ogyen Trinley and Thaye Dorje—each supported by important lamas, or priests, from the Kagyu lineage. The majority of the lamas, the Dalai Lama, and Tibetans inside and outside Tibet have supported Ogyen Trinley. Even Beijing supported his claim as the 17th karmapa, although he fled Tibet in 1999.
How do you confirm pedigree? Is there an acid test for the soul involving sneezing onto a prayer-strip and watching color turn? You would think Buddhism would be unfettered by paltry concerns over wealth and power. Think again. Or maybe it’s the regressive evil capitalistic vibes sent out by Richard Gere, Steven Seagal and their ilk. Buddhism Under Siege by Primal Fear. Don’t laugh; that’s as good a supposition as reincarnation.
p.s. Why do I keep reading the majority candidate’s name as a chemical formula?