Karmapa History

The sacred prophecy of twenty-one Incarnations of the Karmapa

17 Karmapas' History:

The Seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje (1985-Present)

Early Childhood

His Holiness the Seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, was born in 1985 in the Lhothok, Tibet. He was called "Apo Gaga" by his older sisters when he was a little boy. Apo Gaga was sent to Kalek monastery in his early age and received a special education by the abbot of Kalek monastery.

Identification and Confirmation

In May of 1992, Apo Gaga was officially located in Lhothok† region of Tibet. Not only the locale in which he is living matched the place described by the prediction letter left to Tai Situ Rinpoche by the Sixteen Karmapa but also the names of the parents and the boy himself all matched what the prediction letter has described. His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche also confirmed the identification.

Returning to Tsurphu

After a short time spent at Kalek monastery, preparations were made for the journey to Tsurphu where His Holiness received his early education in dharma studies from His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche, His Eminence Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche, and the late Drupon Dechen Rinpoche, the abbot of Tsurphu. The return of the Seventeenth Karmapa also brought back the physical rebuilding of Tsurphu Monastery as well as new building such as the Shera was added.

Escape to India

During the years at Tsurphu Monastery, The Karmapa's activities were restricted from teaching his disciples and receiving teachings from his lineage masters. In order benefit the sentient beings with his future teaching and receiving teachings from his lineage masters His holiness decided to escape from Tsurphu Monastery to India. On January 1, 2000, as the Western calendar marked a new millennium, His Holiness began a new journey. Just a few days earlier, on December 28, the fourteen-year old Karmapa, left Tsurphu Monastery with a few of attendants, and secretly escaped from Tibet. On January 5, he arrived safely in Dharamsala, India where he met His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama.


Since that time, His Holiness Karmapa has been living temporarily at Gyuto Ramoche Tantric University near Dharamsala. At Gyuto, he has been able to continue his studies in Buddhist philosophy and receive instructions, transmissions, and empowerments of Karma Kagyu vajrayana practices from masters of the lineage. His principal tutor has been Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, an eminent scholar of the Kagyu lineage.