Why a judge in India wants Karmapa to face charge of corruption

In an attempt to justify the purchase of a building in Cicero, a Western suburb of Chicago, for a dharma center in Rogers Park, way up on the city’s far North Side of Chicago, Lama Colleen said:

“We have the money, don’t ask how, but we can’t afford anything where anyone lives. Deal with it. We called the Karmapa while we were at the property and His Holiness personally approved the purchase right on the spot, end of discussion.”

What happened in Chicago is exactly what Ogyen Trinley Dorje will be standing trial for in India.

“I’m paraphrasing Colleen.”

The only difference is that In India, it is illegal for Ogyen Trinley Dorje, a non-citizen, to make such a transaction.

“Just follow the money.”

This started with suitcases of unaccounted for cash, literally no record of where it came from nor where it went, discovered by Indian authorities at Gyuto monastery.

“As an American, someone living in Chicago, we know a thing or two about corruption, that Ogyen Trinley Dorje can’t account for where his money comes from is a problem for me.”

In 2008 the Guardian put the Karmapa’s value at a billion dollars.

“I was told by a reader here in defense of this number that it’s almost all real estate given him from Mr & Mrs Chen, or the like.”

Regardless of whether Ogyen Trinley Dorje is found guilty of corruption in India’s Courts or not His Holiness must be held accountable to us as it pertains to where his money comes from and how it is spent in the event of any future visit to America as head of the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism.



Filed under Buddhism

13 responses to “Why a judge in India wants Karmapa to face charge of corruption

  1. jacdsr

    Have you seen Cassidy’s comment on this (http://tibetanaltar.blogspot.com/)? Any comment?

  2. Jess

    Here’s the latest from the tribune. I didn’t know there was also tax evasion planned had the land deal actually gone through. Buddhist ethics?


  3. okiebuddhist

    I’d like the Karma Kagyu sects to respect the laws of their host country. India didn’t have to accept any Tibetans.

    It’s courtesy and respect. It’s about Buddhist code of ethics, too. If our leader, the Karmapa, cannot lead at the top, then the entire chain of command falls apart.

    • Jess

      I hear you Okie, but “chain of command”?

      Are we talking about lineage? Or are we talking about western notions of non-profit corporate governance.

      Surely the events in Europe show how wide the world can be as it relates to value systems. Germany is pushing for one thing, Greece another…

      What gives us the moral superiority to hoist upon Karmapa a value system which is nothing more than the transitory veil of culture?

      • Maurice

        We are talking about Indian law, and the democracy that operates in,
        also the obligation of tax to support the state and its initiatives.
        It seems that Karmapa considers himself to be morally superior, above “right livelihood” as determined under Indian law.

        • Maurice

          From Hindustantimes http://www.hindustantimes.com/chandigarh/why-karmapa-is-no-stranger-to-controversy/article1-1367582.aspx
          “We are a disappointed by the high court order. Since the state government is party in the case, it should take appropriate step to amicably resolve the issue,” said Karma Chophel, a Tibetan lawmaker who represents Kagyu sect in the exiled Parliament.”

          Seems like Karma Chopel is arguing for an “amicable” corrupt resolution, that bypasses the legal system that you and I are subject to.
          That this was suggested by Karma Chophel publicly, and published in one of India’s premier newspapers, should infuriate Indians. After all, the state government is representative of the voters. It belies a complete disregard of due process, and disrespect and misunderstanding of how democracy works. Complete sham and amateurish politics from the Kagyu sect’s representative in the exiled Parliament!

          • Jess

            Yes Maurice, but you are arguing from the perspective of Indian Law at its most pure, which to be totally honest, would have to be Indian Law in a vacuum.

            Indian State politics tend to be notoriously corrupt. I have been in India when “elected” leaders have been forcibly removed by Central Indian paramilitary so that democracy wouldn’t be impeded.

            In India it’s not as cut and dry as here.

            • Maurice

              This was a High Court decision.
              Separation of powers works
              even in India.

              • Jess

                If the separation of powers were as real as you suggest, why had the court still not heard the case regarding Rumtek?

                It’s been decades. And, all sides admit that Sikkimese state politics as well as politics on the level of the Indian Central Govt (parliament) have ground this to a halt.

                If you expect dramatic swift justice, it might be best to put away John Grisham and pick up Ulysses.

                No matter what happens, it is going to take a long time to “happen”.

                • okiebuddhist

                  Yes, corruption exists in India’s government and all governments.

                  The issue remains that the entire Karma Kagyu sect must be held accountable by Democratic law and standards as they currently exist in India.

                  If not, the negative karma shames the people involved. Right action is needed. The Karmapa needs to step up his game and take full responsiblity of his actions and the actions of his “handlers.”

                  Stop with the excessive money, greed, property, etc. The Karma Kagyu does NOT need an earthly kingdom or even a “home” for the Karmapa.

                  I rent an apartment. What more do I need? What more do other Buddhists need? Heed advice from the Thai Forest monks and the Pali traditions. Heed advice from Milarepa himself.

                  Let the kings, queens, and aristocracy of Tibetan Buddhism fade, as its spiritual tradition thrives!

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