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The Karmapa lineage is widely recognized as the first lineage of reincarnate lamas in Tibet. The main seat of the Karmapa's is Tsurphu, located in Central Tibet. The 16th Karmapa established his seat-in-exile at Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, India.
- 1st Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa (dus gsum mkhyen pa) (1110 - 1193)
- 2nd Karmapa Karma Pakshi (karma pakshi) (1204 - 1283)
- 3rd Karmapa Rangung Dorje (rang 'byung rdo rje) (1284 - 1339)
- 4th Karmapa Rolpe Dorje (rol pa'i rdo rje) (1340 - 1383)
- 5th Karmapa Deshin Shekpa (de bzhin gshegs pa)(1384 - 1415)
- 6th Karmapa Thongwa Donden (mthong ba don ldan) (1416 - 1453)
- 7th Karmapa Chodrak Gyatso (chos grags rgya mtsho) (1454 - 1506)
- 8th Karmapa Mikyo Dorje (mi bskyod rdo rje) (1507 - 1554)
- 9th Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje (dbang phyug rdo rje) (1556 - 1603)
- 10th Karmapa Chöying Dorje (chos dbyings rdo rje) (1604 - 1674)
- 11th Karmapa Yeshe Dorje (ye shes rdo rje) (1676 - 1702)
- 12th Karmapa Changchub Dorje (byang chub rdo rje) (1703 - 1732)
- 13th Karmapa Dudul Dorje (bdud 'dul rdo rje) (1733 - 1797)
- 14th Karmapa Thekchok Dorje (theg mchog rdo rje) (1798 - 1868)
- 15th Karmapa Khakyab Dorje (mkha' khyab rdo rje) (1871 - 1922)
- 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rikpe Dorje (rang 'byung rig pa'i rdo rje) (1924 - 1981)
- 17th Karmapa is contested between, at least, two candidates.
- NB: "At the moment , two Karmapas have surfaced, one from India and the other from Tibet. In terms of worldly affairs, I have nothing to do with them. I am in Nepal. But in the course of my lineage practice, I constantly prayed to the 16th Karmapa for his help to enable me to know clearly and deeply in my mind who is the real 17th Karmapa. Praying with pure motivation and with the blessings of the 16th Karmapa, I have concluded with absolute certainty that Urgyen Trinley Dorje from Tibet is the17th Karmapa. I have reached this conclusion from my own practice and the blessings of the Karmapa." Khenchen Thrangu, Rinpoche; Karma Choying Kunkyab Ling; 24 May 2000
- interview translated to English Language by TDSPJ Translation Team from the Chinese; prepared by For You Information magazine. The interview was arranged by Karma Choying Kunkyab Ling and given to the Chief Editor of For You Information magazine, Venerable Guang Chao at Karma Choying Kunkyab Ling, on 24th May 2000.