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Ogyen Trinley Dorje

Ogyen Trinley Dorje
Religion Vajrayana
School Karma Kagyu
Born (1985-06-26) June 26, 1985
Chamdo County, Tibet Autonomous Region, People's Republic of China
Senior posting
Title His Holiness
17th KarmapaCo-claimant along with Thaye Dorje
Predecessor Rangjung Rigpe Dorje
Religious career
Reincarnation KarmapaCo-claimant along with Thaye Dorje
Website .orgKagyuOffice

Ogyen Trinley Dorje (17th Karmapa.

The Karmapa is head of the Karma Kagyu school, one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Ogyen Trinley Dorje and Thaye Dorje are the persisting claimants to that office and title.


  • Biography 1
  • Buddhist vegetarianism 2
  • Buddhist environmentalist 3
  • Controversy 4
    • 2011 police raid on Karmapa offices 4.1
      • Charges dropped 4.1.1
      • Criminal proceedings opened 4.1.2
  • See also 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Born in Lhatok Township, Chamdo County, Tibet Autonomous Region, China, to primarily nomadic parents,[1] Ogyen Trinley Dorje is said to have identified himself to family members as the Karmapa early in childhood. (The identification of the 17th Karmapa is disputed. See Karmapa controversy.) Known as Apo Gaga, he was seven years old before he was recognized by a search party headed by the Tai Situpa, following instructions Situpa claims were left to him by the previous Karmapa in a prophetic letter hidden in a locket. Ogyen Trinley Dorje was installed at Tsurphu Monastery (Wylie: Mtshur-phu), the traditional seat of the Karmapa in Tibet, recognized by both the 14th Dalai Lama and the official sanction of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, who declared him to be a "living Buddha", the first time the China's communist government has officially confirmed a tulku. Already a year later the Chinese announced during the UN-Human Rights Conference in Vienna, that they would train him in Tsurphu for his future task as successor of HH the Dalai Lama.[2]

At the age of 14, he escaped to India through Nepal,[3] arriving at the Tibetan exile quarters at McLeod Ganj 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. He resides at Gyuto Monastery in Sidhbari, near Dharamsala.

From May 15 – June 2, 2008, he made his first trip to the West, visiting several cities in the United States (notably New York City, Boulder, Colorado, and Seattle)[4] and was formally enthroned in the North American seat of the Karmapas at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra monastery in Woodstock, New York.[5] All across the country, he gave multiple teachings on compassion and the environment, gave the reading transmission for a new form of ngöndro, and bestowed several empowerments, including those of Avalokiteśvara and Padmasambhava. He also spoke about the special challenges of the rapid pace of modern society, and the virtues of the Internet as a tool for the study and practice of Buddhism.

In July 2008 he requested permission to visit monasteries in Lahaul and Spiti district in Himachal Pradesh and in Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir. The Government of India initially refused to allow these visits without giving a reason. It was speculated that the reason might have been that these areas are close to the border with China and that the 2008 Summer Olympics were approaching even though the Karmapa had made it clear that he does not promote Tibetan independence and has no political stance on China.[6] India eventually allowed his tour, which began in Ladakh, followed by Lahaul and Spiti, including the famous Tabo Monastery.[7]

Ogyen Trinley Dorje at age 14

Requests to visit USA and Europe in 2010 were denied by the Indian government.

On 9 July 2011, Dorje arrived back in the United States for his second visit. From 09 – 17 July, he participated in the Kalachakra initiation bestowed by the 14th Dalai Lama in Washington, D.C., then traveled by train to his seat at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra and also visited both his center in New Jersey and Hunter College in New York City, returning to India on 4 August. During his visit, he taught extensively on compassion, gave Refuge, and bestowed the empowerments of both the Four-Armed and Thousand-Armed forms of Avalokiteśvara. He also granted an interview with Laurie Goodstein of The New York Times, which was published on 28 July 2011.[8]

Buddhist vegetarianism

"Gyalwa Karmapa" (Ogyen Trinley Dorje), by painter Claude-Max Lochu, exhibition for the project of Temple for Peace in France, 2008

On 19 January, Ogyen Trinley Dorje mandated a purely vegetarian diet in all his monasteries and centers and strongly urged vegetarianism among all his students, saying that generally, in his view, it was very important in the Mahayana not to eat meat and that, even in Vajrayana, it is preferable for students and practitioners not to eat meat.[9]

Buddhist environmentalist

Commenting on the Buddhist tradition of [11]


Buddhist titles
Preceded by
Rangjung Rigpe Dorje
Reincarnation of the Karmapa
Co-claimant along with Thaye Dorje

Recognized in 1992
  • Official website
  • Ogyen Trinley Dorje on Twitter
  • His Holiness the Karmapa at TED

External links

  • The Dance of 17 Lives : The Incredible True Story of Tibet's 17th Karmapa, by Mick Brown. New York, NY: Bloomsbury USA, 2005. ISBN 1-58234-598-8
  • Music in the Sky: The Life, Art & Teachings of the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, by Michele Martin. Ithaca, New York: Snow Lion Press, 2003. ISBN 1-55939-195-2.
  • Karmapa of Tibet: The Politics of Reincarnation, by Lea Terhune. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, 2004. ISBN 0-86171-180-7
  • Tibet vulnerable to climate change ( FacenFacts)
  • Karma Triyana Dharmachakra – The Office of Ogyen Trinley Dorje's center and branches in the United States (re-retrieved Feb 1, 2011)
  • Talk: "The technology of the heart" (Live via interpreter), Nov 2009 (retrieved Feb 1, 2011)
  • "The Karmapa breaks his silence" Business Standard article dated May 23, 2009 (re-retrieved Feb 1, 2011)
  • TIME Magazine article on Karmapa, May 15, 2008 (re-retrieved Feb 1, 2011)
  • Who Is Karmapa (Karmapa is coming to the USA!) (re-retrieved Feb 1, 2011)
  • The 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje at (retrieved Feb 1, 2011)
  • 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje Links at (re-retrieved Feb 1, 2011)


  1. ^ "Reincarnation and enthronement of the 17th Living Buddha Karmapa". China Tibet Information Center. 2009-04-14. Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  2. ^ "Die Presse", June 17th 1993, page 2: "Am Rande der Konferenz".
  3. ^ "Press Statement from the 17 year old Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje April 27, 2001, Gyuto Ramoche Tantric University, Sidbhari, Distt. Kangra, HP, India" (Press release). Worldbridges Tibet. April 27, 2001. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  4. ^ His Holiness the 17th Karmapa's visit to his North American Seat in the USA
  5. ^ YouTube video
  6. ^ Tibetan spiritual leader not allowed to go near China border
  7. ^ India Okays Karmapa’s Visit to Border Areas
  8. ^ Goodstein, Laurie (2011-07-28). "A Young Lama Prepares to Be a Tibetan Leader". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ Talk on Vegetarianism, by Orgyen Trinle Dorje, Karmapa XVII, As Translated Simultaneously by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche January 3rd, 2007, Full Moon Day, During the 24th annual Great Kagyu Monlam, Bodhgaya, India
  10. ^ Karma Triyana Dharmachakra
  11. ^ Kagyu Monlam Chenmo -- Teachings -- More Words on the Environment (2007/12/27)
  12. ^ A Message from the Gyalwang Karmapa: 108 Things You Can Do
  13. ^ Gyuto Monastery in Dharamsala Hosts Conference on Environmental Protection
  14. ^ Karmapa supports international climate action day
  15. ^ see: Shamarpa#Controversy
  16. ^ Prof. Geoffrey Brian Samuel in: “Affirmation of Geoffrey Brian Samuel,” Lama vs. Hope and Ors, CIV-2004404-001363, High Court of New Zealand Auckland Registry, November 11, 2004.
  17. ^
  18. ^  
  19. ^ "The Karmapa Controversy". HomePage of Thrangu Rinpoche. Archived from the original on 2011-02-08. Retrieved 2011-02-08. I have concluded with absolute certainty that Urgyen Trinley Drodul Dorje from Tibet is the 17th Karmapa. 
  20. ^ "Lineage Masters". Nalandabodhi: Gateway to the Buddhist Science of Mind. Nalandabodhi. 2009. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  21. ^ Lettre de Tenga Rinpoché à Sharmapa et Topgala
  22. ^ Lettre de Bokar Rinpoché à Sharmapa et Topgala
  23. ^ [2]
  24. ^ "Shambhala Welcomes His Holiness the Seventeenth Karmapa to America!". Halifax, Nova Scotia: Shambhala International (Vajradhatu). 2008. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  25. ^ "Foreign currency seized from monastery". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 2011-01-29. Retrieved 2011-01-29. 
  26. ^ Vineeta Pandey & Ajay Bharadwaj (2011-01-29). "Money-stashing karmapa may be tried".  
  27. ^ "No clue about the cash:Karmapa". DNAINDIA. Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  28. ^ Ananth Krishnan (2011-01-29). "China denies Karmapa links, Tibetans express anger". Chennai, India:  
  29. ^ Wong, Edward (2011-02-04). "China: Officials Say Tibetan Lama Is Not a Chinese Spy as India Says". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2011-02-08. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  30. ^ "India: Tibetan Lama Cleared in Cash Inquiry, Report Says." The New York Times, 11 February 2011.
  31. ^ India police charge Tibet holy man in money probe. San Francisco Chronicle, 8 December 2011.
  32. ^ ‘Karmapa not involved in financial administration of office’. Indian Express, 9 December 2011.
  33. ^ The West Australian
  34. ^
  35. ^


See also

A judge at the Himachal Pradesh High Court issued an order for authorities to open criminal proceedings over the recovery of around 1 milion USD in foreign currency during a raid on his Buddhist monastery. His spokesman stated that "He strongly believes truth will prevail at the end".[34] Karmapa, along with nine other accused, was chargesheeted on December 7, 2012 and was asked by the court to appear personally on March 6, 2013. He failed to appear as he was out of Dharamsala. All the accused are currently on bail. [35]

Criminal proceedings opened

Indian police said on Tuesday 24 April 2012 that they had dropped all criminal charges against Ogyen Trinley Dorje.[33]

Charges dropped

In December 2011, the Himachal Pradesh Police filed a chargesheet against Ogyen Trinley Dorje, naming him as an accused in the cash and foreign currency seizure case.[31] The Karmapa's office claimed that Dorje was not involved in the financial administration.[32]

The Karmapa denied all the allegations and said that the seized money came via the donations from his followers.[28] A New York Times report on the matter noted that an unnamed rival Karmapa candidate has "close ties to Indian intelligence officials."[29] On 11 February 2011, it was reported that the central Indian government had cleared the Karmapa of all charges, finding that the money in question had been donated by followers.[30]

In January 2011, the Himachal Pradesh Police seized money in currencies of 25 countries including China, valued at over 60 million, during raids on the offices of a trust backed by Ogyen Trinley Dorje.[25] They also seized several traveler's cheques and land deal documents, suspecting a hawala scam. Initially, the police suspected that the money was being used to spread Chinese influence in India, and that the Karmapa was a Chinese agent helping the Chinese government control Buddhist monasteries in India.[26] They said even if the Karmapa was able to explain the source of the money recovered, he might be held liable for violating the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act.[27]

2011 police raid on Karmapa offices

Also sided with Orgyen Trinley Dorje are tulkus he has identified, such as the 11th Nenang Pawo, and those identified by Tai Situ Rinpoche such as the 3rd Kalu Rinpoche. There are now two recognitions of the 4th Jamgon Kongtrul, one sided with each Karmapa.

Other high Kagyu lamas who support Ogyen Trinley Dorje include the 9th Shambhala Buddhism;[24] Drupon Rinpoche and Lama Norlha Rinpoche, among others. He is also recognized as Karmapa by both the current 14th Dalai Lama and the government of China.

Many of the previous Karmapas have left a letter stating the details of their rebirth (this is an aspect of the special self-recognizing Tsurphu Monastery.

[16] played no role in the recognition.Dalai Lamas the successive Shamarpas were the persons in charge to recognize the Karmapas, whereas the [15]


On October 24, 2009, Ogyen Trinley Dorje supported international climate action day at a gathering at McLeod Ganj in northern India.[14]

At the second conference on environmental protection (3 to 8 October 2009, Gyuto Monastery), he stated that "For too long, people have behaved thoughtlessly and ignored the damage to the environment that they are creating and, if this continued there was a great danger that it would be too late to do anything."[13]


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