As most people know there is a “controversy” surrounding the Karmapa, the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. To help understand a little better, here’s a brief thumbnail outline.
The 4 main schools of Tibetan Buddhism are the:
Gelug - founded by Tsongkhapa and headed by HH Dalai Lama.
Sakyu – founded by Khon Konchog Gyalpo and headed by HH Sakyu Trinzin.
Nyingma – founded by Padmasambhava or Guru Rinpoche. There never was a single head of the lineage until fairly recently.
Kagyu – founded by Gampopa and headed by HH Karmapa.
Within the Kagyu lineage there are sub groups. The main sub group is the Dagpo Kagyu which includes the Kagyu schools that tract back to Naropa. Within these are the 4 sub-groups of which the Karma Kagyu is the largest. The Karmapa is the head of this lineage.
On Nov. 5, 1981, while on a world-wide tour giving teachings and empowerments, the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, died in Zion, Illinois. It is with the recognition process of the 17th Karmapa that the controversy swirls.
As for me personally, I follow Ogyen Trinley Dorje. I have two “spiritual friends”, Lama Karma Samten & Lama Karma Shedrup. In 1980, they were sent to New Zealand to open a Karma Kagyu center by the 16th Karmapa. I have a very personal connection to them and the Karmapa. I feel very fortunate.
However, there are many people, very nice, intelligent people who follow Trinley Thaye Dorje. There is no right or wrong choice, your Karma will lead you to follow the Karmapa who you have the “connection” with. The most important thing to remember is that we are all practitioners of the Dharma, and that’s beautiful! We need to see each other as Dharma brothers and sisters, all praying with the same goal in mind: to help All beings attain Buddhahood.
I invite you to please leave your comments.
Peace and Happiness to All beings.
I invite anyone who is interested in the matter to do research for yourself. A good place to start is to Google “Karmapa controversy”. You will find many different articles with different points of view.