The Karmapa Prophecies by Sylvia Wong

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The Karmapa Prophecies by Sylvia Wong

Postby Karma Dorje » Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:39 am

Quick question: Has anyone read this voluminous tome yet? Any short review you can make of it?

I notice Sylvia Wong lives in Toronto. Is she one of Karma Thinley Rinpoche's students?
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Re: The Karmapa Prophecies by Sylvia Wong

Postby dzogchungpa » Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:51 am

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Re: The Karmapa Prophecies by Sylvia Wong

Postby Knotty Veneer » Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:39 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:Quick question: Has anyone read this voluminous tome yet? Any short review you can make of it?

I notice Sylvia Wong lives in Toronto. Is she one of Karma Thinley Rinpoche's students?


Don't know who Sylvia Wong's teacher is but Geshe Dawa Gyaltsen whose re-interpretations of various prophesies which have proved problematic to the acceptance of Shamarpa's candidate make up the body of the book is Thaye Dorje's cousin. He is I think the real author of the book - or at least provides the source material and Wong has edited and presented it for Western readers. The book seems to be an attempt to provide alternate interpretations of several key prophesies that have been used to back the candidature of Karmapa Ogyen Thinley. It also includes material that attempts to refute the version of events surrounding the selection of the Karmapa that appears in The Politics of Reincanation and The Dance of 17 Lives. A lot of it looks like stuff that has been previously on the pro-Shamarpa karmapa-issue.org website.

I don't think there is anything new in the book for anyone who has been following this for the last 20 years. I wonder what the point of it is? There are few people undecided on the issue nowadays - have not been for many years. Depending on your allegiances you will see these re-interpretations as brilliant textual analyses which reveal the truth or tortured attempts to twist the texts to get them to mean what the author wants them to. I don't think it will change anyone's mind.

Like the other books on the Karmapa controversy that have emanated from the Shamarpa's camp (Rogues in Rogues, Buddha's Not Smiling) Wong's book cannot resist also from indulging in some unpleasant character assassination of leading Kagyu lamas - which is unfortunate.
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Re: The Karmapa Prophecies by Sylvia Wong

Postby Karma Dorje » Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:52 pm

Knotty Veneer wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:Quick question: Has anyone read this voluminous tome yet? Any short review you can make of it?

I notice Sylvia Wong lives in Toronto. Is she one of Karma Thinley Rinpoche's students?


Don't know who Sylvia Wong's teacher is but Geshe Dawa Gyaltsen whose re-interpretations of various prophesies which have proved problematic to the acceptance of Shamarpa's candidate make up the body of the book is Thaye Dorje's cousin. He is I think the real author of the book - or at least provides the source material and Wong has edited and presented it for Western readers. The book seems to be an attempt to provide alternate interpretations of several key prophesies that have been used to back the candidature of Karmapa Ogyen Thinley. It also includes material that attempts to refute the version of events surrounding the selection of the Karmapa that appears in The Politics of Reincanation and The Dance of 17 Lives. A lot of it looks like stuff that has been previously on the pro-Shamarpa karmapa-issue.org website.

I don't think there is anything new in the book for anyone who has been following this for the last 20 years. I wonder what the point of it is? There are few people undecided on the issue nowadays - have not been for many years. Depending on your allegiances you will see these re-interpretations as brilliant textual analyses which reveal the truth or tortured attempts to twist the texts to get them to mean what the author wants them to. I don't think it will change anyone's mind.

Like the other books on the Karmapa controversy that have emanated from the Shamarpa's camp (Rogues in Rogues, Buddha's Not Smiling) Wong's book cannot resist also from indulging in some unpleasant character assassination of leading Kagyu lamas - which is unfortunate.


OK. I don't have any allegiances to anyone. I am quite content to view both candidates as Karmapa until it is established otherwise. In fact, I haven't read anything on the issue aside from what has been here and on various websites and this book is sort of a first step in looking at them. It seems kind of odd that zany Tibetan politics also play out amongst Western practitioners. Everyone kind of expects Tibetan feudal politics to take place, but what's in it for Westerners? It's not even two different schools at issue. Very strange.
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Re: The Karmapa Prophecies by Sylvia Wong

Postby Knotty Veneer » Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:11 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:OK. I don't have any allegiances to anyone. I am quite content to view both candidates as Karmapa until it is established otherwise. In fact, I haven't read anything on the issue aside from what has been here and on various websites and this book is sort of a first step in looking at them. It seems kind of odd that zany Tibetan politics also play out amongst Western practitioners. Everyone kind of expects Tibetan feudal politics to take place, but what's in it for Westerners? It's not even two different schools at issue. Very strange.


Well to be honest, I don't think any one candidate will come to be accepted by all at this point (unless his rival steps down voluntarily). Most Kagyupas seem to end up following the candidate preferred by their teacher.

In addition to Wong's book, you might also like to read The Dance of 17 Lives by Mick Brown. I think it comes closest to an impartial account of the Karmapa controversy - in that Brown is not a Buddhist. It also the best written of the several books on this topic. He does seem to come out in favor of Ogyen Thinley which has led to cries of bias from Thaye Dorje's camp but you can decide for yourself whether that is true or not.
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Re: The Karmapa Prophecies by Sylvia Wong

Postby Karma Dorje » Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:40 pm

Knotty Veneer wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:OK. I don't have any allegiances to anyone. I am quite content to view both candidates as Karmapa until it is established otherwise. In fact, I haven't read anything on the issue aside from what has been here and on various websites and this book is sort of a first step in looking at them. It seems kind of odd that zany Tibetan politics also play out amongst Western practitioners. Everyone kind of expects Tibetan feudal politics to take place, but what's in it for Westerners? It's not even two different schools at issue. Very strange.


Well to be honest, I don't think any one candidate will come to be accepted by all at this point (unless his rival steps down voluntarily). Most Kagyupas seem to end up following the candidate preferred by their teacher.

In addition to Wong's book, you might also like to read The Dance of 17 Lives by Mick Brown. I think it comes closest to an impartial account of the Karmapa controversy - in that Brown is not a Buddhist. It also the best written of the several books on this topic. He does seem to come out in favor of Ogyen Thinley which has led to cries of bias from Thaye Dorje's camp but you can decide for yourself whether that is true or not.


Thank you. I will definitely pick up a copy to read alongside this. It sounds like as most things in life and almost everything in Dharma, the truth lies somewhere in the middle!

My guru was ordained by the 16th Karmapa, but after his parinirvana he wanted nothing to do with all of the controversy and we focused on Nyingma lineage holders that were above all of this. Consequently, I have much appreciation for the extensive teachings we received from the Kagyu lineage but I have never felt it necessary to take sides. Every time I read the lineage prayer, both Situpa and Shamarpa are included so I don't know how I could side with one or the other. Regardless of who they were in their past lives, both candidates seem to be holy lamas full of good qualities. I am certain beings will benefit regardless which of them they encounter.
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Re: The Karmapa Prophecies by Sylvia Wong

Postby Jikan » Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:00 am

I'm closing this topic in the interest of foreclosing on potential conflict. If anyone has a good reason to reopen it, please PM me and I'll consider it.

Thank you for your consideration. Karmapa Khyenno!
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