Friday, January 28, 2011

BREAKING: Indian Police, Media Fuel Karmapa Raid Story

Lead story in The Telegraph (Calcutta) today. Above, is the photo that ran with the story. Note the inflamed rhetoric, quoting official sources, and the potentially life-threatening information regarding the Karmapa's security arrangements:

Dharamshala/Shimla, Jan. 27: Himachal Pradesh police today raided the 17th Karmapa’s home in Dharamshala and claimed to have seized six suitcases containing unexplained cash in Indian and foreign currencies that could amount to crores.

Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje, now 25, is the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism and has been in Dharamshala since his headline-making escape to India in January 2000, aged 14.

Sources said the government had increasingly curbed the movements of the “Boy Karmapa” over the past few years under suspicion that Beijing had stage-managed his “escape” so he could keep an eye on the Dalai Lama’s activities.

Today’s raids on the Gyuto Tantric Monastic University, where the Karmapa lives, followed yesterday’s seizure of Rs 1.25 crore in Una town from a vehicle that was allegedly carrying some monks to Dharamshala.

“The monastery was raided around 1.30pm. Three currency-counting machines from three local banks have been pressed into service. The counting is still on. The police so far have counted Rs 5 lakh in Indian currency and a huge amount of foreign currency,” Kangra superintendent of police Diljeet Singh Thakur said.

Sources later said some 4,000 Euros had been counted and that the Indian currency could run up to more than Rs 10 crore. The police are trying to ascertain the source of the cash and also whether the money seized yesterday belonged to the Karmapa.

A close aide of the Karmapa, Rabjaychojan alias Shakti Lama, has been arrested and questioned about the source of the money. Some of the money is in the currencies of China, Japan, America, Britain, Australia and Thailand, police said.

The Karmapa was said to be inside the monastery during the raids but there was no word from him or any of his aides on the search or the seizures.

Two men, Asutosh and Sanjay, were arrested after yesterday’s seizure of cash, which sources said had been drawn from a private-sector bank in Delhi.

Dorje has been under the security agencies’ scanner since his arrival in India. He lives in Sidhbari, 10km from the Dalai Lama’s residence. The Centre has confined the Karmapa’s movements within 15km of his home for sometime, and does not allow him to visit the Dalai Lama too frequently.

“On July 25, 2009, the Karmapa was given only 30 minutes to meet the Dalai Lama. Earlier, three consecutive requests from him to see the spiritual leader were turned down,” a source close to the Dalai Lama said.

Since July 2008, the Centre has refused to let the Karmapa visit other monasteries in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir that are located close to the China border.

Dorje has also been banned from travelling abroad. He had toured the US in 2008, when he visited New York and San Francisco in an attempt to raise his international profile. He is keen to visit America again but the government has not budged.

The Karmapa’s Z-plus security cover was withdrawn a couple of months ago; so he is now guarded by a single police constable instead of 24 security personnel. Till 2006, he was always escorted by a group of four aides but that was stopped after the security agencies objected.

A month ago, when the Karmapa began building a multi-crore religious structure on a 75-acre site in Kotla, 42km from Dharamshala, the income tax department and security agencies questioned the source of funding. The foreign ministry later ordered the construction stopped.

Followers of the Karma Kagyu sect, one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism, are believed to be the richest among Tibetans. The Karmapa’s followers often controversially project him as the successor to the Dalai Lama, who heads the Gelug sect.

The Karmapa’s official seat is the Rumtek monastery in Sikkim, but Dorje cannot go there because of the emergence of a rival Karmapa.

If the government keeps refusing to allow him to travel abroad, Dorje will likely have to spend the rest of his life in Sidhbari, sources said."

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6 reader comments:

Cliff said...

Obviously bad news.

Why the hostility?

Too much conspiracy and intrigue?

Very sad news for all Karma Kagyu.

Anonymous said...

"Of all the paramount sources of refuge or opportunities for accumulating merit there is none greater than the teacher. Especially while he is giving an empowerment or teaching, the compassion and blessings of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions pour into him and he becomes indivisibly one with all the Buddhas. At such a time, therefore, offering him even a mouthful of food is more powerful than hundreds or thousands of offerings at other times" - Patrul Rinpoche, The Words of My Perfect Teacher

This Indian news report is highly suspicious and is probably fueled by those who want to show the Karmapa in a bad light. We all know who they are! A similar story was put out in the Indian news last year. It seems that people will go to great lengths to cause controversy where there is none.

Everyone knows that the Karmapa receives countless visits from his devotees. They come from all over the world to see him because he is their guru and the source of blessing for the Kagyu Lineage.

During their time with him they are likely to make offerings of money to support his activity and the Kagyu lineage at large. This is the Tibetan [and Indian] tradition and is considered an extremely meritorious act for those making the offerings.

There is not a single Tibetan lama who has not received offerings of money. Every Dharma centre in the world needs money to operate and support its sangha of monks and nuns. If some money is found in the Karmapa's private residence, then so what!

The motivation behind this news is clear. The Indian government also need an excuse as to why they have been keeping him from travelling freely for the past 11 years. Those who recognise the qualities of the Karmapa will never be touched by such nonsense.

Anonymous said...


Before the truth is out, it seems the whole report has been engineered to portray His Holiness in a bad light.

From what I know, most respected Masters have so many followers so being well funded is nothing out of the ordinary. The Karmapa has been restricted to only Gyuto Monastery and lives simply, a full vegetarian who observes all precepts and is a sterling example to his followers, hence the support monetarily and otherwise.

I hope the Indian government will be fair in this affair and and recognize also that contrary to being just they will incur the wrath of bad karma.

Nightprowlkitty said...

This news was disturbing to me. I happened to be re-reading Tulku Urgyen's "Blazing Splendor" right after watching a video about Gendun Chopel called "The Angry Monk." Both works speak of what was happening in Tibet during the time the Chinese were approaching.

In the movie, there was this really creepy old British fellow who very matter of factly spoke of his role in reporting Chopel to the Tibetan powers that be and helped cause Chopel to be arrested and jailed when he returned to Tibet as a "conspirator" to overthrow the government because he hung around some intellectual reformers in a border town on his way back from many years in India.

The British fellow had no remorse whatsoever for his actions.

Chopel wanted to write a history of Tibet ... after he was released from jail the government thought it was a very good idea, too -- they must have found out more about him in the meantime. At that point Chopel refused and he died not long after.

Well, this is a mish-mosh comment, but in Tulku Urgyen's book, he speaks of when his root guru and uncle, Samten Gyatso was about to die and some of the things he told his nephew/disciple.

At one point Samten Gyatso expressed regret for not just being a meditator in a cave and spoke of the "obstacle" of success:

"Being successful lis actually called the pleasant obstacle. Whereas any unpleasant obstacle is easily recognized by all, success is rarely acknowledged to be a barrier on the path."

He goes on to say:

"Unpleasant obstacles include, for example, being defamed or implicated in scandal, falling sick or otherwise meeting with failure and misfortune. Able practitioners can deal with these. They recognize these situations as obstacles and use them as part of the path."

I know nothing about why this "scandal" is taking place now and doubt I will ever know the truth of the situation. But I have noticed in my lifetime that more and more when anyone has power or recognition, there arise forces to destroy them, and in our age of information, it is easy to bury the truth under mountains of just plain mean talk.

Because I have experienced some of this myself in my blogging life, and have an obsession at times with what is called in samsara "justice," I tend to get disturbed in a personal way when I see this endless effort to retain and restrict power for fewer and fewer people.

NTZ said...

India would be very foolish to do anything that would help China. Persecuting a Tibetan would be one such thing, and so perhaps there is more to this case, whatever it is.

Anonymous said...

i dnt understand , for what, a huge amount of chinese yen packed in polythene packets was recovered from karmapas mahal,means to say (as some bloggers have said that, this is money given by there followers to raise charity..)he had been visited by more chinese residents than ny other country.!!!!!one can understand clearly everything