Freda Bedi sometimes spelled Frida Bedi also named Sister Palmo, or Gelongma Karma Kechog Palmo, was a Tibetan buddhist nun, born in England in Derby (1911 - 1977).

Early life

Freda Bedi was born Freda Swan in Derby, England February 5, 1911, and was the daughter of Francis Edwin Houlston and Nellie Diana Swan. She studied at Oxford University where she encountered her future husband, a Sikh from the Bedi family, linked to a Sikh dynasty tracing back to Guru Nanak Dev.[1]

Life in India

In the 1930s, she moved to India. She participated in the Indian national independence movement and was arrested and detained with her children along with Gandhi as a satyagrahi. In 1952, she visited Rangoon where she learned vipassana from Mahasi Sayadaw, and Sayadaw U Titthila. In 1959, when the 14th Dalai Lama arrived in India along with thousands of Tibetans, she was asked by Nehru to help them and she was in charge of the Social Welfare Board. She dedicated her self to social activity and, she followed the guidance of the 16th Karmapa of the Kagyu School. She was the principal of the school for the young tulkus (including Chogyam Trungpa and Thubten Zopa Rinpoche) established by the Dalai Lama in Delhi and then in Dalhousie. In 1963, with Lama Karma Thinley Rinpoche and under the guidance of the Karmapa, she founded the Karma Drubgyud Darje Ling nunnery for Tibetan women in northern India. After the young tulkus' school stopped, Bedi went to Rumtek in Sikkim, the seat of the Karmapa in exile. In 1966, she took sramaneri ordination by the Karmapa, and was given the name Gelongma Karma Kechog Palmo. She was the first Western woman to take ordination in Tibetan Buddhism. In 1972, she took full bhikshuni ordination in Hong Kong. She accompanied the Karmapa on his first visit to the West in 1974. In 1971, a book she had written was published by Lama Anagarika Govinda's Arya Maitreya Mandala in Germany. She died in Sikkim, or in New Dehli,[2] in 1977.

She is the mother of Kabir Bedi.


Ein Rosenkranz von Morgengebeten : nach der Tradition des Mahayana - Buddhismus / aus dem Tibetischen ins Englische übers. von Karma Khechog Palmo. Deutsche Wiedergabe von Advayavajra. – Almora, Indien : Kasar-Devi-Ashram-Publication, 1971. – VI, 49 S.


  1. Gelongma Karma Khechog Palmo, Curriculum Vitae
  2. [1]

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