Trashigang dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) on August 23 decided to forward a case involving Drukyul karzay tshethar tshogpa to the home ministry and the Department of Culture to authenticate the legitimacy of two individuals who claim to be reincarnated spiritual leaders (trulku) of the tshogpa.

Local leaders accused the two individuals, Karsang and Yeshi Dorji (who is also known as Sangay Wangdi) of forming a group on a social media platform, WeChat, and conducting deceitful practices.

Phongmey gup Pelden Dorji alleged that Karsang was a taxi driver and Yeshi Dorji a lecturer in Trashigang before they became a lam and trulku of the tshogpa.

“People in Trashigang know the two individuals personally. They are ordinary like most of us,” he said. “We are not sure if they are what they claim to be.”

He said that although the intent of the Karzay (vegetarian) tshogpa is noble, going around places performing religious discourses including wang (blessing) ceremonies are not morally right.

Gup Pelden Dorji said that if they are genuine lam and trulku, there is a proper channel through which they will be routed. “We doubt if they have passed through these procedures.”

He said that in order to validate their authenticity, they would request the authorities concerned to look into the matter before it’s too late.

The tshogdu members unanimously agreed that a thorough investigation be conducted to the see if the two individuals are real spiritual leaders or if they are robbing people in the name of religion.

Some local leaders said that certain monetary amounts were also collected to save animals, which could involve a possible case of public larceny.

“This could have a negative impact in future where any individual can claim to be a lam and rob the public in the name of religion,” Pelden Dorji said.

Gups of 14 gewogs in the dzongkhag said they support gup Pelden Dorji and that the culture department and home ministry should intervene.

Refuting the allegations, Karsang (known as Lama Neljorpa) said that the tshogpa was formed with an objective to make people aware of the benefits of living a vegetarian life.

“The tshogpa aims to save as many animals as possible and at the same time encourage people to turn vegetarian,” he said. “As far as money is concerned, both the trulku and I are not involved, as all transactions are looked after by different people in the committee.”

Karsang said that the tshogpa has made a few trips in places like Punakha, Tsirang, Gelephu, Nganglam, Sibsoo and Samtse to advocate on the benefits of becoming a vegetarian. “Except for the awareness programmes, the tshogpa has not conducted any kind of religious discourses and we did not give wangs.”

He said that he would think a thousand times before he does something that he has been accused of because he is not qualified to do so.

Karsang said that the photograph where he is seen blessing people is a camera angle error. “I was distributing some pictures to the people for their effort in coming for the awareness talk on becoming a vegetarian.”

He also claimed that he was not a lam by birth nor did he become one after completion of his studies in a religious institution. “People call me a lam affectionately based at my contribution towards saving animal lives.”

Meanwhile, Yeshi Dorji said that the coordinators of karzay tshethar tshogpa would file a case against the DT chairperson, Kanglung gup Kinzang Dorji, for public defamation.

He said that they would move court because the DT chairperson took the issue to the tshogdu and for harassing and making allegations against him and his colleague.

Yeshi Dorji worked as a lecturer at Sherubtse College for seven years.

Younten Tshedup | Trashigang