The 23-year-old Karmapa Lama is considered to be a "living Buddha" by the Tibetan people and third in line after the Dalai Lama.

As a 14-year-old, he made a daring escape from a Tibetan monastery in China. He crossed the Himalayas by foot and horseback to India. He now lives in the Indian town of Dharamsala, the base of Tibetan exiles.

Tibetan scholars believe that since he chose to give up the privileges he would have enjoyed under the Chinese Communist Party, his flight from Tibet made him a hero to the Tibetans.

Despite his traditional upbringing, the Karmapa Lama is also strikingly modern.

[Karmapa Lama]:
"Tibet has, for a long time, remained isolated by itself and it has developed over many generations its own way of thinking and living which is pretty much outdated. There is a gap between the old Tibetan mentality and the youth of today. That is a huge problem."

Despite his classical Tibetan education, Karmapa says he has an iPod, a Playstation and he enjoys "Indiana Jones" movies.

His fellow monks say he is forbidden from talking about politics by the Indian government. But he seemed willing to speak about the situation in Tibet.

[Karmapa Lama]:
"We are under a huge power, under the suppression of a huge power and the suppression is so extreme that sometimes we have no rights, no liberty to breathe in and out."

Before he dies, the Dalai Lama, by tradition, will inform monks of his new reincarnation and they will seek the child Lama. But Tibetans fear the Chinese communist party will implant their own successor, as they did in 1995 with the Panchen Lama, the second highest ranking Lama.

The Karmapa Lama is the leader of the Kagyu sect, while the Dalai Lama is the head of the Gelug sect. The fact that the Karmapa comes from a different sect could hinder any plans to make him a successor to the Dalai Lama.
Categorie: Nieuws & politiek
Karmapa Lama Dalai living Buddha Tibetan

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