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Actor Kabir Bedi takes the Indian establishment to task over the Karmapa incident.

The Karmapa is an icon, he deserves more respect, by Kabir Bedi

Times of India, Feb 27th 2011

Almost everyone knows of the Dalai Lama. But not many Indians had heard of the Karmapa Lama before he made news recently, after being accused of having Rs 7.5 crore in foreign currencies, attempting benami land deals near Dharamshala and, worst of all, being a Chinese spy. So why are the Tibetan refugees themselves so angered by these accusations? Tenzin Tsundue, a leading Tibetan activist, says, “This country that we are so grateful to is alleging the Karmapa is a spy for China. And we can’t understand that at all.” Many question the motives of the Indian intelligence agencies in leaking this allegation against the Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, ever since he came to India as a refugee in 2000.

Who exactly is the Karmapa? In a word, after the Dalai Lama, the Karmapa is the most important Tibetan Buddhist leader today. In Christian terms, the Karmapa would be like the Archbishop of Canterbury or the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, second only to the Pope. But the over-500 Kagyu centres of the Karmapa across the world vastly outnumber the Dalai Lama’s Gelug centres —most impressive for a 25-year-old who left Tibet barely 11 years ago.

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