NEW DEHLI, March 29, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
HH Karmapa, Leader of One of the Four Main Schools of Tibetan Buddhism, Marries Childhood Friend
Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, supreme head of the 900 year old Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, announces today that he has married a childhood friend, Rinchen Yangzom, in a private ceremony in Delhi, on 25th March.
In a surprise statement to his students, the 33 year old spiritual leader says he will continue all of his activities as Karmapa, with the exception of conducting ordinations - as he is no longer a monk. He has passed the responsibility of ordinations to His Eminence 4th Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Karma Mingyur Dragpa Senge.
The Karmapa, literally 'the one who carries out Buddha activity' is the head of the oldest reincarnate lineage in Tibetan Buddhism, predating the Dalai Lama's Gelug school by over 200 years.
Karmapa says, "I have a strong feeling, deep within my heart, that my decision to marry will have a positive impact not only for me, but also for the lineage… Something beautiful, something beneficial will emerge, for all of us..."
"For those who follow the path of an ordained life, we must encourage and respect this. In this 17th incarnation, for both the future of the lineage, and fulfilling the wishes of my parents, I have chosen a different path. At the same time, my commitment to protect and preserve the monastic body, and the lineage, remains paramount in my life, and my continued role as Karmapa."
Thaye Dorje is not the first Karmapa to marry. Khakyab Dorje, the 15th Karmapa, was married and fathered three sons, two of whom were recognised as senior 'tulkus' or reborn masters in the Karma Kagyu lineage.
Karmapa and Rinchen Yangzom, a Tibetan name meaning 'Precious Prosperity Gathered,' have known each other for more than 19 years, and share what Karmapa describes as a "special, spiritual bond".
Rinchen Yangzom, 36, was born in Thimphu, Bhutan. She has nine siblings. She was educated in India and Europe.
On 19th January 2017, Karmapa proposed according to Tibetan traditions. Upon the aspirations of Karmapa's father, His Eminence Mipham Rinpoche, the marriage took place on 25th March in the presence of close family members. Karmapa and Rinchen Yangzom will mark their first joint public appearance at the Kagyu Monlam in Bodhgaya, the place where Buddha attained enlightenment, in December 2017.
Karmapa's full statement
SOURCE Private Office of the 17th Karmapa