Global Petition to the Government of India Free His Holiness the Karmapa!(2010)
The international community of Buddhist practitioners and supporters advocate the universality of the spiritual role of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje. He is respected in both Buddhist and non-Buddhist communities for his contributions as an important Buddhist teacher, a concerned environmentalist, poet, artist, musician and an extraordinary, compassionate human being. We have noted with concern, however, the excessive confinement of the Karmapa in India by Indian authorities.
The 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje has been living in Sidbhari India since his arrival in 2000. He does not belong to India where he is confined as he was born Tibetan, yet he cannot return to Tibet due to the political and cultural upheaval caused by Chinas colonization of the country. The Karmapas requests to travel and teach outside of India have been continually denied by the government of India for ten years without justification. Due to these circumstances, the Karmapas capacity to perform as a spiritual leader in our world has been significantly compromised.
The Karmapa has expressed a desire to expand his horizons and increase his understanding of western culture and our world at large. He has expressed this aspiration to his close supporters, in media statements, and in public teachings on numerous occasions. Since receiving refugee status in India, he is monitored and held in a crowded temple compound which he is not allowed to leave. His movements are limited and the required permits for travel are denied by Indian authorities considerably more often than they are approved. In 2008, after eight years of requests to travel outside of India, the Karmapa was granted permission to visit America for a brief two weeks. He taught and gave lectures in three major American cities and received numerous invitations to return. Since this event Indian authorities have denied the Karmapas requests to return to America, again without explanation.
On April 4th 2010, the long-planned tour to teach in Europe was repudiated by the Indian government without any public statement. Thousands of tickets for the important teachings in nine European countries had to be returned and large groups were left disappointed. Many dharma centers suffered economically due to the unexpected cancellation. Similar circumstances occur when he applies to travel and teach within India. We believe the Indian governments actions in this situation are inequitable and unjustified.
The broader issue, which we address, is one of the Karmapas basic human rights. The Karmapa is not a criminal, why is he treated as such? Orgyen Trinley Dorje is an important spiritual leader whose mission is to edify the principles and values of Buddhism and help others worldwide. The unreasonable and inconsiderate practice of confining him in India is a violation of his human rights and a blatant disregard of his freedom for religious expression.
We, the undersigned, firmly request the Government of India to address the unlawful confinement of the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa. We petition for his immediate release from confinement in Sidbhari India. We request his right to travel freely outside of India be respected and supported.