17th Karmapa

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OrgyanThrinleDorje, the 17th Karmapa (b.1985)

Ogyen Trinley Dorje (Tibetan: ཨུ་རྒྱན་འཕྲིན་ལས་རྡོ་རྡྟེ་; Wylie: O rgyan phrin las rdo rje) (b. June 26, 1985) is recognized by many followers as the 17th Karmapa, leader of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Born in Kham, Tibet to largely nomadic parents, Ogyen Trinley Dorje is said to have identified himself to family members as the Karmapa early in childhood. He was seven years old before he was recognized by a search party headed by the Tai Situpa, following instructions left by the previous Karmapa in a prophetic letter and hidden in a locket. Ogyen Trinley Dorje was installed at Tsurphu (Wylie: Mtshur-phu; ZWPY: Curpu) monastery, the traditional seat of the Karmapa in Tibet, where he lived for another seven years.

Over the 2000 Millennium he escaped to Nepal and then India, arriving in the Dalai Lama's exile headquarters of Dharamsala on January 5, 2000. Ogyen Trinley Dorje had felt that he was unable to obtain in China the specialized instruction he needed to complete his studies and to realize his full spiritual authority.

A controversy exists over the identity of the true 17th Karmapa: the Shamarpa, arguably the second highest Karma Kagyu lama, does not recognize Ogyen Trinley Dorje and instead has proclaimed another boy, Trinle Thaye Dorje (Wylie: phrin las 'mtha yas rdo rje), whom he identified a few years earlier, as the true Karmapa. Ogyen Trinley Dorje, however, is supported by most of the Kagyu hierarchy, including two of those charged with finding the new Karmapa: Tai Situpa and Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche (a fourth such lama, the 3rd Jamgon Kongtrul, died shortly before the controversy arose.)

Other high Kagyu lamas who support Ogyen Trinley Dorje include H.E. the Fourth Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, H.E. the Eleventh Pawo Rinpoche, the Ninth Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche, the Ninth Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, the Third Kalu Rinpoche, the Seventh Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche and his Nalandabodhi organization, the Twelfth Surmang Trungpa Rinpoche, the Seventh Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, the Third Tenga Rinpoche, the Venerable Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, the Venerable Bokar Rinpoche, Bardor Tulku Rinpoche, the Venerable Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche (abbot of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra), H.E. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and his organization, Shambhala International, the Venerable Drupon Rinpoche, and Lama Norlha Rinpoche, among others. He is also recognized as Karmapa by the current Dalai Lama.

As of 2006 he resides at Gyuto Monastery in Sidhbari, near Dharamsala.

Ogyen Thrinle Dorje, o rgyan phrin las rdo rje, (b.1985). He became famous the world over for his daring escape from Tibet, arriving quite unexpectedly in early January 2000 in Dharamsala. The 17th Karmapa was born in 1985 in Kham/East Tibet and enthroned in his ancestral seat of Tsurphu in 1991. After it became apparent, that the Chinese government would not allow him to pursue his education as he intended, he escaped from Tibet and crossed the Himalayas in the depth of winter. He presently resides near Dharamsala where he has resumed his studies under various tutors.


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Kagyu Office, the official website of the 17th Karmapa