C h i n a N e w s D i g e s t
February 7, 2000

Karmapa Lama Declares Freedom Required for Religious Practice

[CND, 02/06/00] The young Karmapa Lama, who recently made a perilous flight from Tibet into India's Tibetan exile community, has given an unexpected series of public appearances, the Associated Press reported on Friday.

"The most important tenet of Tibetan Buddhist teaching is compassion. But to try to practice this, one has to be free," said the Karmapa Lama. He further added his hopes that "with the blessings of His Holiness (the Dalai Lama), all the people of Tibet will soon be able to win their freedom."

The Karmapa has been holding public meetings twice daily at his current residnece, the Gyuto monastery near the Dalai Lama's headquarters in Dharamsala. The Dalai Lama's office had already announced that the young Lama would not appear or hold meetings during the Lunar New Year celebrations, making the meetings an abrupt surprise. He has also periodically been seen walking with other monks on the roof of the monastery, occasionally greeting the crowds surrounding the compound.

The Karmapa's sudden appearance in India, after he had dramatically but quietly crossed treacherous Himalayan terrain, has proved awkward to both Indian and Chinese diplomacy. The Indian government has yet to make a final determination of his status and residency. (Phil Stephens, WU Yiyi)