Pedong, March 31: The aborted ceremonial enthronement of a rimpoche at the Gaden Chholing Gumba almost led to a clash between two factions of Tibetan Buddhists here today.
Trouble began when about 300 followers of Lobsang Jigme Wangchuk, a four-and-half-year-old child monk, arrived here, about 22km from Kalimpong, from different parts of the hills and sought to enter the gumba (monastery) to enthrone him as the third incarnation of Domogeshi Rimpoche, the head of the Tharpacholing monasteries.
The rival faction of Domogeshi’s followers, who had sought a stay order from the Kalimpong court on March 25, put up a blockade and did not allow Wangchuk backers to enter the monastery. Bound by the court order, the administration, too, used its resources to stop their entry to the monastery.
Both the factions belong to the same Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
“We formed a wall as the supporters of the rival faction came within 10 metres of each other near the Pedong ground en route to the monastery. Otherwise, things could have gone out of hand,” said K.B. Dorji, Kalimpong’s additional superintendent of police.
Wangchuk backers, however, alleged that Nawang Lobsang, the person who had approached the court for a stay, was a fictitious person and not a resident of Pedong, as claimed in the court affidavit. “The stay order has been obtained by misrepresentation and we will challenge it,” said Tenzing Bhutia, the assistant secretary of Ghoom-Darjeeling monastery.
Wangchuk’s backers had last week carried out his enthronement ceremonies at the Darjeeling and Kurseong gumbas of Tharpacholing monasteries. “We will have a similar ceremony at our monastery in Gangtok. It is only here that we have been denied permission,” said Bhutia.
The supporters of the rival claimant to the Tharpacholing monasteries, however, said their selection, Tenzing Jigme Dhendup, has been blessed as the third Domogeshi Rimpoche by the Dalai Lama, the spiritual head of the Tibetans. “We held his enthronement ceremony at the Tirpai gumba in Kalimpong last August,” said P.T. Bhutia, the secretary of the Tirpai monastery.