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About the 10th Shamarpa

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The history of the Shamarpas becomes especially dramatic during and after the lifetime of the 10th Shamar, Chödrup Gyatso (1742-1792). For that reason it is useful to explain his life in more detail here. The brother of the 3rd Panchen Lama Palden Yeshe (1738-1780) - a highly ranked Gelukpa Lama - the 10th Shamarpa had a very poor relationship with the Gelukpa government of Tibet based in Lhasa and directly ruled by the Chinese Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799). Tsomonling Ngawang Tsultrim, the imperial Chinese representative in Lhasa at that time, was especially opposed to him for a number of reasons. First of all, he belonged to the Karma Kagyu school and claimed that that the Kagyus were the former rulers of Tibet. Second, he was on friendly terms with the British government in India, a state of affairs that had come about because his mother was a princess of Ladakh. Both of these facts made the Emperor's government very suspicious. Fearing censure or punishment from the governments of both Tibet and China, the 10th Shamarpa fled to Nepal. He lived there comfortably until, in 1788, a war broke out between Tibet and Nepal over the minting and circulation of counterfeit coins. The 10th Shamarpa was used by the government of Nepal as a mediator in the peace talks with Tibet, and as a result the government of Tibet informed the Emperor Qianlong that the Shamarpa had taken the part of the Nepalese in the conflict. The Gelukpa Tibetan government then requested that the Shamarpa institution be banned. The ban was effected upon the death of the 10th Shamarpa in 1792 and remained in effect until the 20th century.

Written by Lara Braitstein on Shamarpa’s website

Here is what Shamarpa said

The earlier announced letter about Karmapa’s rebirth was put in a relic-box in the Karmapa’s apartment in Rumtek Monastery in 1987 by Shamarpa, Situpa, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and Gyalsab Rinpoche together.

In the paper of the “International Karma Kagyü Conference” (that took place in New Delhi from the 28th to the 30th of March 1996) on page 65, Shamar Rinpoche goes into detail about this letter. He is being citated for saying: “In 1986 - - - we [the 4 Regents] issued a statement that we had found a short letter left behind by the late Karmapa, but as it was short, the instructions were difficult to interpret. - - - The fact [is], that the short letter we had said was the late Karmapa’s instructions was in fact not the instructions. - - - At one of our meetings, I do not remember if it was in 1985 or ‘86, but around that time, Jamgon Rinpoche said that in his opinion, it was certain, that a letter with instructions would appear. The way he said this, convinced me that Jamgon Rinpoche was in possession of the instructions, that the late Karmapa had given to him. It was at Jamgon Rinpoche’s suggestion that the announcement, that the instructions of His Holiness had been found, was made. As I myself was convinced that Jamgon Rinpoche had the instructions, I agreed to this. - - - At another meeting in 1987 Gyaltsab Rinpoche suggested that we use a verse which the late Karmapa had composed and had himself written down as the “provisional” letter of instruction.” It is this poem that was placed in the blessing-box. The box was placed in Karmapa’s apartment in Rumtek, where pilgrims often came to pray and receive blessings from the many holy objects in these rooms. Shamarpa at that time thought, that Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche was in possession of a real letter of instruction, but that he did not trust the others to see it, nor to let it be placed at such a public place. If nothing else, this tells us that there were mistrust between the 4 Regents and they were not in a position to speak freely with one another. How much this entails lies, can thus be discussed, but Situpa declared that it was all lies, just before he announced his prophetic letter, that he promissed was neither a lie nor falsified. The question is, if we will ever know, but Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche apparently did not possess any letter from Karmapa.

(The paper from “International Karma Kagyü Conference” does not declare any publisher. It is a book with 125 pages. The conferencen took place in connection with the KIBI institute, so you may very well get it from there. Read also the description in Sussie Wong’s book: The Karmapa Prophecies on page 200 ff, and page 218.)