book coverRogues in Robes

An Inside Chronicle of a Recent Chinese-Tibetan Intrigue in the Karma Kagyu Lineage of Diamond Way Buddhism

Tomek Lehnert

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ISBN: 978-1-57733-026-4, 334 pages, 13 photos, 5.5 x 8.5, paper, $19.95

When a Tibetan Buddhist leader dies, he leaves clues as to where he will next incarnate so that he can be found and trained to take up his duties again. When the sixteenth Karmapa, head of the Karma Kagyu lineage, died in 1981, the search for his successor soon began. This is the story of the politics and intrigue involved in finding him, not a simple task as it turned out, as told by a Western student of Lama Ole Nydahl.

Table of Contents

Cast of Characters

1.The Kingdom
2. The Rivals
3. The Split
4. The Slander
5. The Silence
6. The First Shot
7. The Crash
8. The Coup
9. The Fight
10. The Retreat
11. The Confusion
12. The Rejection
13. The Resistance
14. The Disappointment
15. The Support
16. The Turning Point
17. Karmapa
18. Rogues in Robes



A mysterious letter from Asia had arrived at all our Buddhist centers in Europe.... The authors, an obscure group of Tibetan merchants called the Derge Association, from the Kathmandu valley, did not mince their words. What they had to say would throw Tibetan Buddhism into unprecedented turmoil. In a sudden outburst of threats and insolent demands, they were pressing for the reversal of a centuries-old tradition, a tradition that had served as the vehicle for recognizing the successive incarnations of the Gyalwa Karmapa, spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibet.... Not at all familiar with the shady affairs that had been an integral part of the Himalayan kingdom for centuries, we thought the sky was collapsing on our heads. Holy Tibet was suddenly engaging in rather unholy behavior.

Lama Ole alone seemed to understand the true meaning. Someone, hiding behind this group of traders from Nepal, was trying to split the Karma Kagyu school. The letter was just the first visible shot. What was at stake and lurked between the lines of the message was far more significant than the identity of the attackers. Their assault struck at the heart of the lineage. Their secret aim, known at that time only to an innermost circle of accomplices, was control over the next Gyalwa Karmapa, king of yogis of Tibet.

Blue Dolphin Publishing, 1998

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