Karmapa Charitable Trust
In 1959, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, together with His Holiness 14th Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche, and many lamas and lay people, had to leave Tibet due to the Chinese invasion. They settled in Rumtek, and started the rebuilding and development of the monastery there.
It was felt that a new institution was needed, which would be recognised in the Indian system, and help protect and develop Karmapa’s activity in exile. Therefore, in 1961, the 16th Karmapa founded the Karmapa Charitable Trust, to own and take care of Rumtek monastery and all of Karmapa’s affairs.
When it was founded, the Karmapa Charitable Trust had only one trustee, the 16th Karmapa himself. After the 16th Karmapa passed away, the Karmapa Charitable Trust was run by seven trustees that Karmapa had nominated. The trustees changed over the years. They included Shamar Rinpoche, as well as other high lamas and lay people.
The trustees were to run the affairs of the seat of the 16th Karmapa and the affiliated monasteries and centres, until his reincarnation came of age. On 17 May 2006, Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, was officially appointed by the Karmapa Charitable Trust as the legal and administrative heir of the 16th Karmapa.
The objects of the Karmapa Charitable Trust are wide-ranging. They go beyond supporting the spiritual activity of Karmapa’s seat in Rumtek and all of his monasteries and centres worldwide to include promoting social welfare and healthcare, and in general protecting and preserving the Buddha Dharma.
Among other projects, the Karmapa Charitable Trust constructed the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute (KIBI), thus fulfilling an explicit wish of the 16th Karmapa. KIBI is now a higher education provider recognised by the Indian government, and hosts meditation and study courses for students from India and around the world, including the Karmapa Public Course and the Public Meditation Course.