His Holiness the 17th Karmapa

His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is a featured contributor to our book, The Power of Love.  He is the head of the 900-year-old Karma Kagyu Lineage and guide to millions of Buddhists worldwide.

Born in 1985 to a nomad family in Tibet, he lived in rural life until age seven, when he was recognized as the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa and was returned to the Tsurphu Monastery in Tibet, historical seat of the Karmapas.  Over 20,000 devotees witnessed this event. Once enthroned at Tsurphu, His Holiness began studies in Buddhist sciences of mind, rituals, and sacred arts, and began the fulfillment of his leadership role by giving audiences and bestowing empowerments.

However, since many of the teachers in his lineage were not in Tibet, and receiving the oral transmission of the lineage teachings was necessary for his role, he embarked on a long and harrowing journey to India by horseback, foot, helicopter, and train. Arriving in 2000 to Dharamsala, he was welcomed by Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. A year later, he received refugee status from the government of India, where he has been a guest ever since.

In India, His Holiness grants audiences to thousands of visitors every year at Gyuto Monastery. He also leads Buddhist retreats that draw thousands, bestows empowerments, participates in conferences on the environment and other world issues, and has made several trips to the United States and Canada.

His Holiness is recognized as a meditation master and scholar of Buddhism, as well as a gifted painter, poet, songwriter, and playwright. He is an environmental activist and global spiritual leader who is also interested in technology, women’s well-being, and animal welfare.

In this way, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa is bringing the Karmapa lineage’s activities to bear on the pressing issues of the 21st century—with the compassion and wisdom of a living Buddha. He is the author of many books of Buddhist teaching. Two of them, The Heart is Noble and Interconnected, are based on dialogues with college students from the University of Redlands who spent several weeks with him in India, showing his interest to engage Buddhist teaching with the questions of the next generations.   The co-editor of those two books, Dr. Karen Derris, a refined Buddhist scholar, wrote her beautiful memoir of the power of Buddhist stories in the journey of trauma and cancer.    The Karmapa wrote the Foreword to her book, Storied Companions.

To learn more about the Karmapa, see his website.