A Indian of Tibetan origin, Tsering Namgyal Khortsa, studied in Taiwan and in the UK and he is now a resident of Hong Kong. He works as a correspondent and essayist, contributing his articles to several newspapers, like the Asian Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Asia Pacific Review and Himal South Asia.
I know Tsering since a few years, meeting him here and there around Hong Kong, often at the legendary FCC, where we are regular patrons.
Even if Tsering has a great reputation as an economist, he is also well versed in Tibetan history and its splendid traditions. Mixing facts of his personal life with Tibetan Buddhism, Tsering’s book is a biography of the XVII Karmapa, having the title: His Holiness The 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje. It is a work extremely well researched, detailed and well written, a tangible proof of its devotion for the Karmapa.
The XVII Karmapa was born in Tibet on 26 June 1985 – four years after the death of his predecessor – into a family of nomads. He is the latest reincarnation of a line of great teachers which stretches back to the year 1110, with the first Karmapa, Dusun Khynpa.
Tired of Beijing’s interferences into his ministry, the Karmapa decided to defect to India, afraid that a grim fate, similar to the one of the Panchen Lama, was in store for him. There are two Panchen in existence, one is the China-appointed Gyalsen Norbu; and the Dalai Lama picked Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, which should be somewhere in China under house arrest but his whereabouts are unknown.
On 28 December 1999, while all the world was worried about the non-existent Millennium Bug, with a few assistants the Karmapa jumped out of a window of the Thurpu Monastery, then crossed the snowy peaks of Tibet and after a strenuous journey, appeared in Dharamsala in the morning of 5 January 2000, to be greeted by the Dalai Lama. Then he took residence in the Guyto Monastery where for 8 years concentrated on his study and deep meditation, then on 2008 the Indian Government gave him permission to travel abroad. He visited the United States, where his predecessor, the XVI Karmapa had resided and died, expressing his wish of being reincarnated in Tibet and leaving a letter behind, detailing where to look for his reincarnation.
Tsering wrote this book during an auspicious year: the first Millennium anniversary of the existence of the Karmapas (1110-2010) and this remains the only biography on the XVII Karmapa written in English by a Tibetan. Furthermore, it is a must read for all the people interested in Tibetan culture and religion, a proof that truth will never get out of fashion.
Tsering Namgyal Khortsa His Holiness The 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje Hay House India, 2013. ISBN 978-93-81431-87-0