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In 1981, the 16th Karmapa—leading lama of the Karma Kagyu branch of Tibetan Buddhism—died. In a highly biased but fascinating account, first-time author Curren describes the controversy over the Karmapa's succession that still rages today. After the 16th Karmapa's death, two different factions arose, each naming a different boy the 17th Karmapa: Ogyen Trinley, supported by several Karma Kagyu leaders and the Dalai Lama, and Trinley Thaye, whom the second-ranking Kama Kagyu lama, Shamar Rinpoche, believes to be the true Karmapa. While most previous accounts of the controversy have favored Ogyen Trinley, Curren—who acknowledges early on that he is a student of Shamar Rinpoche—believes Ogyen Trinley to be a fraud. Curren is quite critical of the Dalai Lama, suggesting that His Holiness should never have gotten involved in the dispute to begin with. The bulk of the book lays out the power struggles and court battles that have marked the succession controversy. Unfortunately, Curren's journalistic account is not only highly partial but often badly written, filled with melodrama and purple prose. It will please Trinley Thaye and Shamar Rinpoche's partisans, but it is too one-sided to truly illuminate the Karmapa controversy. (Dec.)
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"Curren's examination of the dispute is unsullied by bias, and his concern - the health of Tibetan Buddhism - feels genuine..." --Kirkus
...untangles a sordid tale of hypocrisy, bribery, intimidation, and violence...an eye opener for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. --Michael Parenti, author of The Culture Struggle and The Assasination of Julius Caesar
A must-read for any student of this unfortunate business. --Alex Shoumatoff, author and publisher
This book is biased at its very heart. Here is what I ask people when they question the legitimacy of a Vajrayana teacher: "Does s/he have lineage? Read morePublished on September 6, 2008 by Philip S. Rosemond
Ignorance is bliss.. well glad to be wakened by this detailed account of Tibetan politics and corruption. Read morePublished on June 24, 2008 by Xavier
The Karmapa issue is something to remind us (Buddhist) that enlightenment is the ONLY purpose of all our prayers and desires. Read morePublished on December 30, 2007 by J. Frasir Chan
The author has rigorously written the book. It tells you where each piece of information or quotes comes from. It is an excellent documentation with academic values.Published on November 21, 2007 by Ben
Whadda crock, wallowing in the lust for certainty, for the Tibetan Buddhist equivalent of political correctness. Read morePublished on July 10, 2007 by S. Hutton
After all that Tibet has gone through including ethnic cleansing by the Chinese and the near total destruction of its Buddhist libraries and monasteries and the kidnapping of the... Read morePublished on May 4, 2007 by L.A.W.
I had an impression that this book offers an impartial view, supported by facts on a highly controversial issue. I enjoyed reading it very much.Published on March 20, 2007 by Roman Kouzmenko