Tibetan Buddhist Leader Charged Over $1.35 Million Hoard

Tibetan Buddhist Leader Karmapa Lama Had Secret $1.35 Million Hoard Buddhism is all about renunciation: To achieve nirvana, the Buddha teaches, one must crush desire. But one exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader allegedly had $1.35 million in cash stashed at his monastery in northern India. What was he planning to spend it on?

The money, in two dozen currencies, was found last January during a police raid, according to the Associated Press. Aides to the 26 year-old Karmapa Lama -- Tibetan Buddhism's third most important figure, and a potential leadership successor to the Dalai Lama -- said it came from thousands of donations from followers in different countries. Indian authorities weren't buying that explanation, and on Wednesday, they charged the Karmapa with conspiracy and knowledge of undeclared money. Three of his followers face additional cheating and forgery of document raps.

The Karmapa Lama could serve two years in jail, if convicted; his followers face potential sentences of up to a decade. The district court where the charges were filed will soon decide whether the case should come to trial, the BBC reports.

"What resulted was due to negligence on the part of the staff members of the Karmapa," an aide told the AP. "It is also a case of ignorance of the Indian law. Now that the case is on, law should take its own course." His Holiness the Dalai Lama has called for a "thorough investigation."

According to the BBC, the Karmapa told investigators that the money was earmarked to buy land for a monastery. He has previously said that he doesn't take part in the financial management of his religious order, which is one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

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1.35 i had a church up the street from me spend 35 mil on there church and since i live on a native american reservation there efforts are to help the savage on the rez whata JOKE

December 15 2011 at 12:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We all have to claim our income...Buddhist or not..they are not "immune" to doing the same. They should have claimed the income, paid their taxes like everyone else and built thier temple or whatever the heck else it is they claim it is used for. My ex-wife was a devout Buddhist, she went to the temple daily, yet she had to have her Chanel, Louis Vuitton bagsm,etc. Cartier watches, etc. My guess is she wanted to look good while she prayed before Buddha? In all religions there is corruption. I have to pay my taxes, they should too. There is no excuse, no matter what the money was to be used for, etc.

December 15 2011 at 8:57 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Ann M Hetzel

Tashi Delek! As a Karma Kagyu Tibetan Buddhist and someone who has been in the presence of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, I can tell any doubters that this man is a fully-realized Buddha who has no use for money. In the TIbetan Buddhist tradition, when the faithful visit their lamas or other religious teachers, it is customary to make offerings of money or other valuables. This has been the traditions for thousands of years, since Buddhist monks roamed the country side with nothing more than the robes on their backs and their begging bowls. I pray for all who doubt the goodness and sincerity of H.H. the 17th Karmapa, as I pray for those who do not doubt him. If he had a use for this money, there would not have been such a large sum just sitting there. Furthermore, it was in different currencies, bolstering the fact that it was given to H.H. the 17th Karmapa as offerings from followers of many different countries. This insidious story is one way in which the Chinese Government is working to wreak additional havoc on Tibetan Buddhists. Karmapa Chenno!

December 14 2011 at 11:38 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

This is ridiculous journalism. Tibetans are refugees in India and are not likely legal experts or scholars. A monastery requires land and buildings and they cost money. Thousands of people around the world DO donate to respected teachers like the Karmapa. Mediation centers in the US cost many millions to build too. A monastery makes intensive spiritual practice and study possible. A monks life is full of austerities and renunciations.

December 14 2011 at 8:50 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply


December 13 2011 at 9:43 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

News reporting that the Tibetants are electing a new lama. You can be sure that the Kar Ma & Pa lama
won't be elected. The money hoarding plot worked. But the power struggles contineue.

December 13 2011 at 10:32 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

this is a problem for me how?

December 12 2011 at 10:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Before anyone jumps to conclusions, the full story should emerge. Unlike the Pope or big business religions like the Evangelicals, Buddhist monks do not covet gold toilet seats or limos. What safer place to secure the offerings of millions of people than in the temple to which the people have donated where the banks can't 'lose it' . Perhaps it should have been declared to the government, I don't know the laws there, but a huge fortune was also stored in a Vedic temple in India and no big deal was made of it. Take a look inside Vatican City and you will find the treasures of many centuries that the church "collected" from unwilling donors. 1.3 million is chump change to the Vatican or Big Box Evangelical churches. They spend more on lobbyists than that. To critics who speak before they think, it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

December 12 2011 at 3:23 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

if they raid dalai lama, they would find a lot more money than that. It is tibetan exiles corruption culture. Selling Buddhism for profits.

December 12 2011 at 9:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to wwchak's comment

And you know this for sure?

December 12 2011 at 6:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

you must be a chinese operative...

December 12 2011 at 8:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to James's comment

You must be a paid DL' spokesman or woman or even a CIA agent.

December 13 2011 at 10:26 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down

Hey! India - Welcome to the world of Escamgelism. You're catching up with the western world wher religious con-artists have been bilking the ignorant and the religiously deluded to the tune of Billions every year, for a long time. Every one of the tel-evangelists, today, are get rich quick scammers. They live like brittish royalty and don't pay a penny in U.S. taxes. Kenneth Copeland owns a sizeable collection of restored WWII fighter aircraft... in addition to his private jet aircraft. Obviously he needs something more than his faith to get close to that make-believe place known as 'heaven'. Currently, the trend in religious tele-scamming is telling the morons who are gullible enough to believe it... that they must "sow" money in order to receive the riches of the deities...... and one guy is telling his moronic followers that $10,000 is the amount they need to send in to get God's attention and have "riches" come their way. Ignorance and low I.Q.'s are the basis of religion and there are plenty of self annointed 'preachers' out there to relieve stupid folks of their assets.

December 12 2011 at 3:51 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to kathleen1108's comment

if you can possibly think buddhism has anything in common with evangelism you are indeed an idiot!!! there is no god in buddhism or blind believers or ignorant practitioners...buddhist are among the smartest people on earth; and the nicest too...you would do well to actually READ about the subject before you mouth off...

December 12 2011 at 8:11 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Bull Slam

It might help if you were to ask yourself WHY the authorities would raid a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Kagyu lineage. Simple answer: The Chinese Maoists have been systematically destroying all they possibly can of Asian culture which is not Chinese, (actually they have no particular regard for their own culture either) just trying to make life unbearable as they can for the monks because they are communists and therefore hate all religion. But especially Tibetan. Of course, by their own admission, the decade of the Chinese Cultural Revolution was a time of total Mass insanity. Anyway, there is a good reason for that hatred. As smart as the Chinese are, or seem to be, historically, the Tibetan's have been their spiritual masters. And it galls them. Chinese just can't really grasp Buddhism with out getting all superstitious. They do have Chan. But it is hardly for the masses. Don't imagine that the Maoists love Christianity either. But since you are not in possession of any natural resources for them to steal and exploit they will leave the America alone for the time being. But actually they do want your oil, and your water. And they already own most of the important parts of America. The Chinese government has murdered so many monks that there is real karmic blood on their hands. Of course, too--- they will try to deny there is such a thing as karma. But it doesn't matter if they deny it or not, there is still karma. I hope and pray it will haunt them. Just as the white man is karmically challenged with genuine stupidity for having destroyed the Native American culture which was in harmony with the earth. Whitey committed genocide as the Chinese are doing right now in Tibet. But the Chinese are not stupid like the "white devil". Yeah, that's what they call you when you go into a Chinese restaurant. Especially if they have recently arrived from China: White Devil! When they talk in Chinese they are talking about you.

Anyway, they know how to spin a story so as to make it look like the monks are the bad guys. So I question the wisdom of the editorial staff at AOL. I realize they tend to have a right wing agenda, but I wonder why they take this story at face value. It is so obviously full of propagandistic holes. Look a little deeper--- you might be able to see the truth. The truth is that the Chinese are trouble makers all over Asia. And they can't wait to invade Nepal, as they did Tibet. That will be more blood. But the Gurkhas know how to fight. Tibetans had been at peace for so long they forgot how to fight strategically. Not so the Gurkhas. Nepal is so remote anyway, beyond the Himalyas, that "nobody" in the West cares. So they will spread their perverted communist ideals through the entire world.

December 15 2011 at 8:28 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply