Why India is investigating a reincarnated Tibetan Lama

In the West, the Tibetan religious leader Ogyen Trinley Dorje is admired for his youth (he’s 25), his looks (he was once introduced at a U.S. event as “His Hotness”) and his courage (as a teenager, he fled from Chinese-ruled Tibet on horseback). But in India, where Dorje, the reputed 17th incarnation of the Karmapa Lama, now lives, he is seen by many in less reverential terms. This week, the second-most famous Tibetan in exile after the Dalai Lama found himself at the center of an Indian media storm after government investigators confiscated around $1 million in cash kept in his monastery. The fact that a sizable chunk of the currency was in Chinese yuan prompted manic headlines in India’s ever voluble press, querulously asking whether this was proof that Dorje was a Chinese “spy” or “mole.”

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