17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje

H.H. the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje was born in Tibet in 1983. He is the first son of the 3rd Mipham Rinpoche, a great lama of the Nyingma tradition, and Dechen Wangmo, the daughter of a noble family descending from King Gesar of Ling. At the age of one and a half he started telling people that he was the Karmapa. In 1994, he and his family escaped from Tibet to India. In a welcoming ceremony in New Delhi that year the 14th Shamar Rinpoche formally recognised him as the 17th Karmapa. .

In 1997, he was officially invited to Bhutan for the cremation ceremony of Topga Rinpoche where he was received with full honours. A three-hour drive from the Bhutanese border to the capital Thimpu took seven hours as thousands of well-wishers greeted him along the road. 3,000 people came for his blessing and the whole royal family including the king and four queens received him.

In October 1999, Karmapa Thaye Dorje embarked on his first international teaching tour and gave initiations to several thousand people in Singapore and Taiwan. The beginning of the new millennium was marked by his first historic visit to the West. In Dusseldorf, Germany, he was enthusiastically received by 6,000 students from several hundred Diamond Way Buddhist centres from over 30 countries. Karmapa has travelled extensively in the Europe and the West. He has visited the United Kingdom four times to date.

In 2017, Karmapa married Sangyumla Rinchen Yangzom, who was born in Thimphu, Bhutan. On 11 August 2018, Karmapa and Sangyumla’s son Thugsey was born.

Today, Karmapa has the spiritual responsibility for over 900 monasteries and meditation centres around the world.