H.H. the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje was born in Tibet on May 6th 1983. He is the first son of the 3rd Mipham Rinpoche, a great Nyingma Lama, and Dechen Wangmo, the daughter of a noble family descending from King Gesar of Ling. At the age of one and a half the boy started telling people that he was the Karmapa. In 1994, he and his family managed to escape from Tibet to Nepal and then to India. The young Karmapa arrived in New Delhi in March of the same year, where during a welcoming ceremony Shamar Rinpoche formally recognized him as the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa. The 17th Karmapa was given the name of Trinley (meaning Buddha activity) Thaye (limitless) Dorje (unchanging).
In 1997, Karmapa Thaye Dorje was officially invited to Bhutan for the cremation ceremony of Topga Rinpoche where he was received with full honors. A three-hour drive from the Bhutanese border to the capital Thimpu took seven hours as thousands of well-wishers greeted him along the road. On October 17th 1997, three thousand people came for his blessing and the whole royal family including the king and four queens received him as the 17th Karmapa.
In October 1999, the Karmapa Thaye Dorje embarked on his first international teaching tour and gave initiations to several thousand people in Singapore and Taiwan. The beginning of the new millennium was marked by his first historic visit to the West. In Dusseldorf, Germany, Karmapa was enthusiastically received by 6,000 students from several hundred Diamond Way Buddhist centers from over 30 countries.
In December 2003, after completing his formal education, the 17th Karmapa was declared “Great Tantric Master” (in Sanskrit “Vajracharya“). He currently resides in at the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute (KIBI) in New Delhi, India.
Throughout the 2000s, Karmapa Thaye Dorje travelled extensively in the Europe and the West, including the USA for the first time in 2003.