Top Tibetan Lama Gives Up Monkhood, Weds Childhood Friend in India

Thaye Dorje, a claimant to the title of the Karmapa Lama – the leader of a major school of Tibetan Buddhism – has abandoned monkhood in order to tie the knot, his office has said.

In a statement on his website, Thaye Dorje said that he would continue as Karmapa but would no longer conduct ordinations.

My role and activities as Karmapa will continue as before – with the single exception of conducting ordinations. This responsibility will pass on to His Eminence 4th Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Karma Mingyur Dragpa Senge. As Karmapa, I will continue to protect and preserve our beloved lineage, and strengthen the monastic sangha through initiatives such as the new Karmapa Center of Education.

Thaye Dorje’s claim, that he is the reincarnation of the Karmapa, has not gone down well with certain sections of the Buddhist community, as a fellow monk, Ogyen Trinley Dorje (or Urgyen Trinley Dorje), has also laid claim to the title.

As per Tibetan tradition, a young boy is identified by monks as being the reincarnation of a late leader. Thaye Dorje’s biography claims he was a little under two years old when he began telling people he was the Karmapa.

It came as a surprise when the 33-year-old announced earlier this month that he was renouncing monkhood in order to wed his childhood friend, Rinchen Yangzom. The couple, who have been friends for almost 19 years, wed in a private ceremony in New Delhi on 25 March.

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The 36-year-old Rinchen, was born in Bhutan and educated in India and Europe.

Thaye Dorje in a statement 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.

(With AFP inputs)

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