Ogyen Trinley Dorje

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Ogyen Trinley Dorje (Tibetan: ཨོ་རྒྱན་འཕྲིན་ལས་རྡོ་རྗེ།, Wylie: O-rgyan 'Phrin-las Rdo-rje, Chinese: 鄔金欽列多傑; born 26 June 1985), also written as Urgyen Trinley Dorje (Wylie: U-rgyan 'Phrin-las Rdo-rje) is a claimant to the title of 17th Karmapa.

Ogyen Trinley Dorje
Karmapa lama.JPG
TitleHis Holiness
17th KarmapaCo-claimant along with Thaye Dorje
Apo Gaga

(1985-06-26) 26 June 1985 (age 36)
ReligionTibetan Buddhism
SchoolKarma Kagyu
Senior posting
PredecessorRangjung Rigpe Dorje
ReincarnationKarmapaCo-claimant along with Thaye Dorje

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.


Ogyen Trinley Rinpoche was born Apo Gaga in 1985 in Lhatok Township, Chamdo County, Tibet Autonomous Region, to nomadic parents.[1]

The 14th Dalai Lama issued an official statement of recognition and confirmation of the 16th Karmapa's reincarnation as Ogyen Trinley Dorje, on 30 June 1992.[2] He was enthroned as the 17th Karmapa on 27 September 1992 at Tsurphu Monastery (Wylie: Mtshur-phu), the traditional seat of the Karmapa in Tibet, and there he began his Tibetan and Buddhist studies.[citation needed]

Ogyen Trinley Dorje received 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 People's Republic of China has officially confirmed a tulku. A year later, the Chinese announced during the UN World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna they would train him in Tsurphu for his future task as the successor of the Dalai Lama.[3]

Escape from TibetEdit

In 1999, at the age of 14, the Karmapa escaped Chinese-controlled Tibet during the winter, traveling to India through Nepal,[4] arriving at the Tibetan exile quarters at McLeod Ganj on 5 January 2000. Ogyen Trinley Dorje stated he was unable to obtain in China the specialized instruction he needed to complete his studies and to realize his full spiritual authority. He has resided at Gyuto Monastery in Sidhbari, near Dharamshala up to 2017.[5]

Travel through the United States and EuropeEdit

From May 15-June 2, 2008, the Karmapa made his first trip to the US, visiting New York City, Boulder, Colorado, and Seattle[6] and was formally enthroned in the North American seat of the Gyalwang Karmapa at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra monastery in Woodstock, New York.[7] 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.[citation needed] Ogyen Trinley Dorje Visited the United States again in 2011,[8] as well as France, Switzerland in 2016 and the United Kingdom in 2017.[9][10]

Ogyen Trinley Dorje at age 14

Residing in US and becoming citizen of a Caribbean nationEdit

As of October 2018, Ogyen Trinley Dorje was residing in the United States [11] and had been outside of India continuously since May 2017. In 2018, to facilitate travel abroad, he became a citizen of the Caribbean nation Dominica.[12]

Tibetan culture, unity, language and literacyEdit

For many years Orgyen Trinley Dorje has emphasized the importance of preserving Tibetan culture, unity, language, and literacy; underlining the importance of sustaining written and spoken the Tibetan language, because it is the very root of the Dharma in Tibet and its culture. Tibetan language is the lifeline that links Tibetans to their culture, arts, and spirituality.[13][14][15] Tibetan culture, he states, is the mind and life force of the Tibetan people.[16]

Dharma digitizationEdit

Orgyen Trinley Dorje has undertaken the important and long-term task of digitizing Buddhist texts so that as many scriptures, commentaries, etc. are available in digital format as possible for future generations, students, scholars and monasteries around the world.

There are four main websites – [17] Dharma Treasure, [18] Adarsha, [19] Ketaka, and [20] Dharma Ebooks – each one dealing with a different format, tool, or translation. Adarsha, for example, makes the Kangyur, Tengyur, and Tibetan masterpieces available in digital format and has been catalogued under the guidance of Orgyen Trinley Dorje.

108 TranslationsEdit

108 Translations was initiated in 2015 by Orgyen Trinley Dorje in order to produce a needed body of reading material that can promote the reinvigoration of Tibetan language. Rather than focussing on translating a few famous works that match the interests of a small group of well-educated readers (which has been the case for translations into Tibetan up to the present), 108 Translations aims to provide a plethora of good and easily accessible reading materials for average Tibetan readers. The translations must be easy to understand and pronounce in Tibetan, and the selected works need to meet the interests of the readership.[21]

Supporting the female Buddhist communityEdit

Orgyen Trinley Dorje has taken a deep interest in the welfare of the female Buddhist community, as well as being a voice that regularly encourages equal rights and opportunities for women practitioners.[22][23][24] He has, in particular, taken the responsibility to restore full ordination for Tibetan nuns.[25][26][27]

Buddhist vegetarianismEdit

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

On January 3, 2007, 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.[28]

Buddhist environmentalismEdit

Commenting on the Buddhist tradition of life release, where animals destined for slaughter are bought, blessed and natively released, Karmapa Orgyen Trinley Dorje said the meaning of this concept was broad and that practitioners should use their intelligence to expand the tradition. In 2007 during the Kagyu Monlam Chenmo, he suggested that planting a single tree is more beneficial than performing life release for many beings, and recommended that monasteries should plant one to two thousand trees. In addition, he urged monks to practice restraint when sponsors offer technology upgrades.[29]

On Earth Day, on 22 April 2009, he gave 108 instructions on protecting the environment.[30]

In recent years, Khoryug, a network of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and centers that work on environmental protection in the Eastern Himalayas, was developed under the auspices of Ogyen Trinley Dorje as part of the World Wildlife Fund's Sacred Earth: Faiths for Conservation program.[31] In his April 2015 interview with Yale Environment 360, he said, "The environmental emergency that we face is not just a scientific issue, nor is it just a political issue, it is also a moral issue. And therefore all of us approaching this issue have to pick up our share of the responsibility to find and implement solutions. The scientific aspect of it, of course, is the supply of information — the creation of models and predictions and the introduction of techniques that we can use to remedy this. But our share of this responsibility is to take what scientists teach us to heart, so we actually transform our way of life into one that is sustainable.”[32]


Title ClaimEdit

Mipham Chokyi Lodro, 14th Shamarpa (the second-longest recognized tulku lineage in the Karma Kagyu tradition, and who in previous incarnations is said to have held and transmitted the Kagyu lineage between Karmapas) did not recognize Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the Karmapa. Shamarpa instead recognized Trinley Thaye Dorje. (Wylie: Mtha'-yas Rdo-rje) Shamarpa's camp argue until the reincarnation line of the Shamarpas was forbidden by the government of the Dalai Lama,[33] the successive Shamarpas were the persons in charge to recognize the Karmapas, whereas the Dalai Lamas played no role in the recognition.[34]

On 10 and 11 Oct 2018, in rural France, Ogyen Trinley Dorje and Trinley Thaye Dorje met in person for the first time and issued a joint statement. [35][36][37][38][39][40] On 27 October 2019, Ogyen Trinley Dorje and Trinley Thaye Dorje co-authored a long-life prayer for Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche’s reincarnation.[41][42] In February 2020, both claimants agreed to recognise the reincarnation the next Shamar Rinpoche incarnation together. [43]

2011 police raidEdit

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.[44] They also seized several traveler's cheques and land deal documents, suspecting a hawala scam. Initially, the police suspected 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.[45] This allegation was unanimously rejected by all quarters of Tibetan society including the Dalai Lama, the entire Parliament, leaders of the Tibetan government-in-exile and prominent members of the Free Tibet movement[46]

Himachal Pradesh Police 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.[47] The Karmapa denied all the allegations and said the seized money came via the donations from his followers.[48][49] A New York Times report on the matter noted an unnamed rival Karmapa candidate has "close ties to Indian intelligence officials".[50] On 11 February 2011, it was reported the central Indian government had cleared the Karmapa of all charges, finding the money in question had been donated by followers.[51]

In April 2011, a statement was released by the Karmapa's Office to address some of the insinuations and fabrications that had been circulating.[52]

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.[53] The Karmapa's office said Dorje was not involved in the financial administration.[54] Indian police said on Tuesday 24 April 2012 that they had dropped all criminal charges against Ogyen Trinley Dorje.[55] However, in 2015 a judge at the Himachal Pradesh High Court overturned the earlier ruling and began criminal proceedings over the recovery of around US$1 million of foreign currency. His spokesman stated "He strongly believes truth will prevail at the end".[56] Karmapa, along with nine other accused, was charged on 7 December 2012 and was asked by the court to appear personally on 6 March 2013. He failed to appear as he was out of Dharamsala. All of the accused were as of July 2015 on bail.[57]

Lawsuit filed by Vikki Hui Xin HanEdit

After losing contact with Ogyen Trinley Dorje starting January 2019, on July 17, 2019, Vikki Hui Xin Han commenced a family law case seeking child support, a declaration of parentage and a parentage test against Ogyen Trinley Dorje. He was accused of sexually assaulting and impregnating Han when she was a nun-in-training at a New York monastery in 2017, according to the lawsuit.

The woman also alleges that she and Ogyen Trinley Dorje developed a spousal relationship and they planned to live together, though they only met four times. Dorje argues that an intention to live together at some point in the future is not sufficient to show that an existing relationship was marriage-like. The allegations were made public in a ruling by the Supreme Court of British Columbia.[58]

On May 17, 2021 an additional spousal support claim against Ogyen Trinley Dorje was added.[59][60] Reports show Vikki Han gave birth to a child in June 2018. Ogyen Trinley allegedly sent her more than US$700,000 for the purpose of buying a house and a wedding ring.[61] The trial was set to begin on June 7, 2021; though the parties were not prepared to proceed. At a trial management conference on May 6, 2021, the trial was adjourned to April 11, 2022.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Reincarnation and enthronement of the 17th Living Buddha Karmapa". China Tibet Information Center. 14 April 2009. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
  2. ^ Holmes, Ken (1995). His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Urgyen Trinley Dorje. Altea Publishing. p. 55. ISBN 0-95245554-4.
  3. ^ "Die Presse", 17 June 1993, page 2: "Am Rande der Konferenz".
  4. ^ "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. 27 April 2001. Archived from the original on 15 April 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2008.
  5. ^ "Dharamsala monastery of Karmapa closed due to coronavirus threat".
  6. ^ "His Holiness the 17th Karmapa's visit to his North American Seat in the USA". Archived from the original on 6 January 2017. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  7. ^ "YouTube video".
  8. ^ Goodstein, Laurie (28 July 2011). "A Young Lama Prepares to Be a Tibetan Leader". The New York Times.
  9. ^ Karmapa 2015 European Schedule, https://karmapafoundation.eu/visits/2015-visit/
  10. ^ Visits to Europe https://karmapafoundation.eu/visits/
  11. ^ https://www.buddhistdoor.net/news/karmapa-extends-stay-in-us-health-concerns-cited
  12. ^ https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/karmapa-now-a-dominican-citizen/695631.html] through a provision widely used which allows citizenship through investment.[https://www.imidaily.com/caribbean/likely-successor-to-dalai-lama-gets-dominica-citizenship-by-investment/
  13. ^ "The Gyalwang Karmapa Rings an Alarm: We Must Preserve Tibetan Language and Culture | Karmapa – The Official Website of the 17th Karmapa". Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  14. ^ "The Importance of Harmony among Tibetans | Karmapa – The Official Website of the 17th Karmapa". Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  15. ^ "A Wide-Ranging Interview with the Gyalwang Karmapa | Karmapa – The Official Website of the 17th Karmapa". Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  16. ^ "Language as the Link, Unity as the Future: The Gyalwang Karmapa Speaks at the 56th Anniversary of the Upper TCV | Karmapa – The Official Website of the 17th Karmapa". Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  17. ^ https://dharma-treasure.org
  18. ^ https://adarsha.dharma-treasure.org
  19. ^ https://digital-toolbox.dharma-treasure.org
  20. ^ http://dharmaebooks.org
  21. ^ "A Statement of Purpose". dharmaebooks.org. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  22. ^ "It's Time to Restore Bhikṣuṇī Ordination". Harvard Divinity Bulletin. Retrieved 29 June 2021.
  23. ^ "Wandering Western Buddhist Nuns Aim to Plant Permanent Roots".
  24. ^ "Exclusive Interview: The 17th Karmapa and the Buddhist Nuns of the Tibetan tradition".
  25. ^ Staff, Lion's Roar. "Karmapa seeks to restore nuns' ordination". Retrieved 29 June 2021.
  26. ^ "Issues | "I will do it"". www.buddhistchannel.tv. Retrieved 29 June 2021.
  27. ^ "Gyalwang Karmapa's Teaching During the 1st Arya Kshema Nuns' Gathering—Why Bhikshuni Ordination is Important". Arya Kshema. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  28. ^ Talk on Vegetarianism, by Orgyen Trinle Dorje, Karmapa XVII, As Translated Simultaneously by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche 3 January 2007, Full Moon Day, During the 24th annual Great Kagyu Monlam, Bodhgaya, India
  29. ^ Karmapa Orgyen Trinley Dorje,"Words on the Environment", http://www.kagyumonlam.org/index.php/en/2017-02-12-16-06-48/transcripts/213-kagyu-monlam/dharma/transcripts}
  30. ^ "A Message from the Gyalwang Karmapa: 108 Things You Can Do" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 October 2010.
  31. ^ "Sacred Earth: Faiths for Conservation". World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  32. ^ "For Buddhist Leader, Religion And the Environment Are One" Interview with H.H. The Karmapa by Roger Rohn, Yale Environment 360, 16 April 2015. [1]
  33. ^ see: Shamarpa#Controversy
  34. ^ 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, 11 November 2004.
  35. ^ "Joint Statement of His Holiness Ogyen Trinley Dorje and His Holiness Trinley Thaye Dorje | Karmapa – The Official Website of the 17th Karmapa". Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  36. ^ "Joint statement of His Holiness Trinley Thaye Dorje and Ogyen Trinley Dorje". The 17th Karmapa: Official website of Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa. 11 October 2018. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  37. ^ Atwood, Haleigh (11 October 2018). "Two claimants to "Karmapa" title release joint statement calling for unity". Lion's Roar. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  38. ^ Lefferts, Gabriel (11 October 2018). "Karmapas Unite". Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  39. ^ "Two Karmapas Meet for the First Time in France, Issues Joint Statement". Tibetan Journal. 12 October 2018. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  40. ^ "In a first, two claimants to Karmapa title meet for talks | India News - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  41. ^ "ཨོ་རྒྱན་ཕྲིན་ལས་རྡོ་རྗེ་དང་། ཕྲིན་ལས་མཐའ་ཡས་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཟུང་སྦྲེལ་གྱིས་མཛད་པའི་ཀུན་གཟིགས་ཞྭ་དམར་རིན་པོ་ཆེའི་ཡང་སྲིད་ཀྱི་ཞབས་བརྟན། Joint long life prayer for Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche's reincarnation by Ogyen Trinley Dorje and Trinley Thaye Dorje. | Karmapa – The Official Website of the 17th Karmapa". Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  42. ^ "Joint long life prayer for Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche's reincarnation by Trinley Thaye Dorje and Ogyen Trinley Dorje". The 17th Karmapa: Official website of Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa. 27 October 2019. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  43. ^ Tenzin Dharpo, Phayul Newsdesk, 10 February 2020, "Two claimants to Karmapa title to jointly search for reincarnation of Shamar Rinpoche", http://www.phayul.com/2020/02/10/42570/
  44. ^ "Foreign currency seized from monastery". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 29 January 2011. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  45. ^ Vineeta Pandey; Ajay Bharadwaj (29 January 2011). "Money-stashing karmapa may be tried". DNA. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  46. ^ Followers come out in support of Karmapa, refute allegations https://www.phayul.com/2011/02/01/29029/
  47. ^ "No clue about the cash:Karmapa". DNAINDIA. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  48. ^ Statement from Karmapa Office of Administration https://kagyuoffice.org/statement-from-karmapa-office-of-administration-3/
  49. ^ Ananth Krishnan (29 January 2011). "China denies Karmapa links, Tibetans express anger". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Archived from the original on 3 February 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
  50. ^ Wong, Edward (4 February 2011). "China: Officials Say Tibetan Lama Is Not a Chinese Spy as India Says". New York Times. Archived from the original on 8 February 2011. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  51. ^ "India: Tibetan Lama Cleared in Cash Inquiry, Report Says." The New York Times, 11 February 2011.
  52. ^ Latest Statement from HH Karmapa's Office, 2 April 2011 http://www.palpung.com/announce-110204.php
  53. ^ India police charge Tibet holy man in money probe. San Francisco Chronicle, 8 December 2011.
  54. ^ ‘Karmapa not involved in financial administration of office’. Indian Express, 9 December 2011.
  55. ^ "The West Australian".
  56. ^ http://news.sky.com/story/1515983/top-tibetan-monk-on-money-laundering-charge
  57. ^ Start Criminal Proceedings against Karmapa: Himachal HC to Govt, in India Today, 9 July 2015, Retrieved 26 November 2018
  58. ^ Burke, Daniel (28 May 2021). "17th Karmapa Faces Lawsuit". Tricycle: The Buddhist Review.
  59. ^ "2021 BCSC 939 Han v. Dorje". www.bccourts.ca. Retrieved 29 June 2021.
  60. ^ https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/woman-marriage-relationship-buddhist-1.6031624
  61. ^ https://www.buddhistdoor.net/news/karmapa-sued-for-spousal-support-by-woman-who-claims-marriage-like-relationship


External linksEdit

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

Recognized in 1992