17th Karmapa Thaye Dorje
The 2nd Karmapa is considered the first consciously reincarnated Lama of Tibet. Since the 12th century, the Karmapas have been the spiritual heads of the Karma Kagyu lineage. They are responsible for the continuation of the line of transmission. The 16th Karmapa, who left Tibet in 1959 due to the Chinese annexation of his country, secured the continuation of the Karma Kagyu lineage. With the help of his students from the West he brought the knowledge of the nature of mind into the modern world.
The current incarnation, H.H. the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje, was born in 1983 and managed to flee to India from suppressed Tibet in 1994. He frequently teaches in our centers.
Lama Ole Nydahl
Lama Ole Nydahl is one of the few Westerners fully qualified as a lama and meditation teacher in the Karma Kagyu Buddhist tradition. In 1969, Ole Nydahl and his wife Hannah became the first Western students of H.H. the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. After completing three years of Buddhist philosophy studies and intensive meditation training – including the transmission for a unique Diamond Way Buddhist practice called Conscious Dying (tib. Phowa) – Ole Nydahl began teaching Buddhism in Europe at the request of the 16th Karmapa. Lama Ole has since transmitted the blessing of the lineage in a different city nearly every day, traveling and teaching worldwide. His depth of knowledge and dynamic teachings inspire thousands of people at his lectures and meditation retreats.
Challenging people’s concepts of life and Buddhism in an unorthodox manner, Lama Ole has been a major driving force in bringing Buddhism to the West, and to date has established more than 591 Diamond Way Buddhist centers in 44 countries around the world. His unique synthesis of modern style and ancient wisdom helped create the largest body of students practicing Diamond Way Buddhist methods in the West.
Shamar Rinpoche has said “In 1973 the 16th Karmapa ordered Ole and Hannah to teach and predicted that they would be very successful in spreading the Buddha’s teachings in the West. The 16th Karmapa taught them their main practices, the Guru Yogas on the 8th and 16th Karmapas. They kept their samaya without any doubt, following and fulfilling Karmapa’s wish. Ole is carrying out the activity of the 16th Karmapa.”
The 14th Shamar Rinpoche (1952-2014), Mipham Chökyi Lodrö, taught for many years in our centers. Traditionally the Shamarpa is the second-highest lineage holder of the Karma Kagyu lineage and is in charge of finding and recognizing the Karmapas. In Tibetan Buddhism he is considered an emanation of the Buddha of Limitless Light (Amithaba).