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Teen Karmapa Raises Controversy

on 2001/3/12 8:47:02 ( 1381 reads )


BODH GAYA, INDIA, March 9, 2001: Authorities in eastern India have ordered an investigation after teen-age Tibetan leader Ugyen Thinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa Lama, was accused of wearing his shoes when he visited the sanctum of the Mahabodhi Temple in the state of Bihar. The Karmapa is one of the highest-ranking monks in Tibetan Buddhism, recognized by both Beijing and the exiled Tibetan religious leader, the Dalai Lama, and is considered by his followers to be the reincarnation of his predecessor. Bhadant Anand, the general-secretary of the All India Monks' Association, demanded the Karmapa be punished for "trampling'' upon the Vajrasana, the place where the Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment. Although there is no restriction on wearing shoes inside a temple in Tibetan Buddhist tradition, a 1949 law that governs the Mahabodhi Temple bans footwear inside the complex. Those defying the law may be fined $2.20, according to the law. The Karmapa was defended by Tenzing Lama, the monk-in-charge of the Tibetan monastery in Bodh Gaya, who said: "It is the heart and not the shoes that is important.''

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