The Karmapa is the supreme head of the Karma Kagyu lineage. The first Karmapa was Dusum Khyenpa, (1110-1193), who left a letter with his main disciple, Pomdrakpa, which was used to recognise the second Karmapa (Karma Pakshi 1203-1283), to whom he passed the complete teachings so that the continuation of the empowerment lineage would be preserved. This unbroken lineage has continued from master to disciple up to the present day in the form of the Tai Situpa and the 17th Karmapa, Urgyen Trinlay Dorje (b.1985).
Born to nomadic parents he was found by a search party using directions left by the 16th Karmapa in a sacred letter that was left in the care of the Tai Situpa. The Karmapa is seen as a living embodiment of wisdom and compassion and is regarded by his followers as a ‘Living Buddha’.
The 17th Karmapa is greatly respected as a scholar, poet, playwright and artist; and he currently resides in Northern India where he gives teachings and promotes vegetarianism.
For details of his activities visit: Kagyu Office