Karmapa Karmapa means "the one who carries out
buddha-activity" or "the embodiment of all the activities of the
buddhas." In the Tibetan tradition, great enlightened teachers are said
to be able to consciously arrange to be reborn as a teacher who can
carry on the teachings of a predecessor in a prior life. Pursuant to
this tradition, the Karmapas have incarnated in human form for seventeen
lifetimes, as of the present, and all have played the most important
role in preserving and propagating the Buddhist teachings of Tibet.
to the birth of the first Karmapa, the arrival of a Buddhist master who
would be known as the Karmapa was been prophesied by the historic
Buddha Shakyamuni and the great tantric master of India, Guru
Padmasambhava. Throughout the centuries, Karmapas have been the central
figure in the continuation of the vajrayana lineage in general and
Kagyu lineage in particular, and have played a very important role in
the preservation of the study and practice lineages of Buddhism. The
current Karmapa is the Seventeenth Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje.