The present day Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje (born in 1983) was recognized by Künzig Shamar Rinpoche as the official reincarnation. Shamar Rinpoche is the second highest teacher of the Karma Kagyü lineage and responsible for the identification of the reincarnated Karmapas. In early 1994, at the age of 11, Gyalwa Karmapa was able to leave Chinese occupied Tibet and was brought safely to India. Since then the Gyalwa Karmapa has lived in India, where he has completed his basic spiritual training under the guidance of Künzig Shamar Rinpoche. This training covered the entire Buddhist cannon of theory and practice. In 2003 he received the title of Vidyadhara, that marks the formal completion of a cloister education. At the same time he studied a normal modern education and amongst other subjects Western philosophy and several languages.
In 2000, at the age of 17, he visited the West for the first time where he was met by 6000 students in Germany.
Since then he has visited his Western students and centers regularly. Conversely Buddhists from all over the world travel to the traditional ceremonies lead by the 17th Karmapa. The Karmapa feels a strong connection to the Western world and through the use of modern communication technology keeps in close contact with his students.
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