The Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje, the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, was born in Tibet on May 6th 1983. He was the first son of the 3rd Mipam Rinpoche, a great Nyingma Lama, and Dechen Wangmo, the daughter of a noble family descending from King Gesar of Ling. At the age of one and a half the boy started telling people that he was the Karmapa. In 1994, he and his family managed to escape from Tibet to Nepal and then to India. The young Karmapa arrived in New Delhi in March of the same year, where during a welcoming ceremony H.H. Shamar Rinpoche formally recognized him as the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa. The 17th Karmapa was given the name of Trinley (meaning Buddha activity) Thaye (limitless) Dorje (unchanging).
The Gyalwa Karmapa is an enlightened being, the holder of the teachings of the transmission of the Kagyu lineage that goes back to Tilopa, a great Mahasiddha master or the 10th Century A.D. who received and mastered the so-called four special transmissions: the first coming from Nagarjuna, the second from Nakpopa, the third from Lawapa and the fourth from Khandra Kalpa Zangmo.
After him, Naropa received the entire transmission, which then was passed through Marpa and the well knows Milarepa. Then after, Gampopa, the Milarepa’s famous disciple, joined together what he received from his Kadampa masters and from his root Guru Milarepa and transmitted it to the first Karmapa, Tusoum Kyenpa, the supreme being prophesized by the Buddha himself.
Today, the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje pursues its work of transmission of the dharma and develop indefatigable activity in four corners of the world, transmitting Buddha’s teaching in a pure and authentic form up to the present day.
In December 2003, after completing his formal education, the 17th Karmapa was declared “Great Tantric Master” (skt. Vajracharya). The 17th Karmapa Thaye Dorje that time resided in Kalimpong, India, where he continued his spiritual training and Western education.