Official portrait/Thule C. Jug, 2018

From childhood in Tibet to travelling the globe as a world Buddhist leader. From traditional texts to social media. The life story of the 17th Karmapa, His Holiness Karmapa Thaye Dorje, spans East and West, just as his activity bridges traditional values and contemporary issues.

Here is the official short-form biography of His Holiness from www.karmapa.org:

His Holiness Karmapa Thaye Dorje was born on 6 May 1983 in central Tibet. His parents were the great Nyingma lama Mipham Rinpoche and Dechen Wangmo. As soon as he could speak, he told them he was the Karmapa. The Karmapas are the leaders of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.

In March 1994, in accordance with the 900 year old tradition, Thaye Dorje was enthroned as the 17th Karmapa. His Holiness the 14th Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche, the second most senior Karma Kagyu lama, enthroned him. The 14th Shamarpa, Mipham Chokyi Lodro was himself recognized by the 16th Karmapa and His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1957 and officially enthroned in 1963. Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche passed from this life on 11 June 2014.

The first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, was born in 1110. The first Dalai Lama, Gendun Drub, was born in 1391. The Karmapa leads the longest unbroken chain of reincarnated leaders among the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

His Holiness escaped from Tibet in 1994. In 2003, His Holiness Karmapa Thaye Dorje’s formal education was completed when he received the title of Vidyadhara, or Knowledge Holder of the Sutras and Tantras.

Today, His Holiness travels extensively, meeting students, young people, world leaders, and leading lights in the fields of spirituality, peace, conflict resolution, and education. His Holiness has the spiritual responsibility for over 900 monasteries and meditation centres around the world.

Trinley Thaye Dorje means Limitless Unchanging Buddha Activity. His Holiness resides in Delhi, India.

Top (left to right): HH Karmapa and his parents HE Mipham Rinpoche, Dechen WangmoBottom (left to right): Rinchen Yangzom and her parents Mr Chencho, Mrs Kunzang


His Holiness Karmapa Thaye Dorje is a world spiritual leader. Born on 6 May 1983, His Holiness is a Buddhist teacher and ambassador for peace.

His Holiness was 11 years old when he made a dramatic escape from Tibet to India. In 1994, His Holiness was enthroned as the 17th incarnation of the Karmapa, and the leader of the Karma Kagyu lineage – one of the main schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

As the 17th Karmapa, His Holiness holds the precious transmission of unique Buddhist knowledge and methods passed down for nearly 1,000 years by the Kagyu lineage masters.

His Holiness has spiritual responsibility for over 900 monasteries and Buddhist centers in 68 countries around the world.

His Holiness has a powerful vision of peace. Inner Wealth, His Holiness believes, holds the key to peace within ourselves and within our communities. We are all enriched with Inner Wealth, a limitless source of compassion and wisdom. His Holiness teaches that by cultivating our natural, noble qualities, we are all able to experience and express peace.

As a world Buddhist master, His Holiness Karmapa Thaye Dorje is able to translate traditional wisdom into practical steps that we can all use to be happier and to benefit the world around us.

His Holiness teaches students and the public around the world, through in-person and digital events on karmapa.org.

His Holiness’ other activities include: empowering young people; meeting international leaders in the fields of spirituality, peace, conflict resolution, and education; and creating videos and articles to promote peace and prosperity in our world.

His Holiness defines education as “knowledge that offers compassion and wisdom”. Cultivating our innate values of compassion and wisdom – our Inner Wealth – enables us to experience peace. Read more about His Holiness’ views on education and literacy.

More than half of the world’s population is under the age of 30. For His Holiness, young people are therefore essential to engage with for peace in our world. Read more about His Holiness’ work with young people.

His Holiness says that “It is essential that non-material values are supported, to help us cultivate balanced and beneficial human beings.” Read more about His Holiness and non-material values.