Press Release – His Holiness And His Wife Are Expecting Their First Child

Immediate release, 9 March 2018, NEW DELHI, India.

Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, leader of one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, announces today that he and his wife Sangyumla Rinchen Yangzom are expecting their first child.

In a statement on Karmapa’s official website, his Private Office says that the due date is during the first week of September and both Sangyumla and the baby are in good health.

Karmapa, 34, says: ‘My heart is filled with joy. Sangyumla and I have a precious opportunity and responsibility to be parents, and follow the great examples of our own mothers and fathers…

Sangyumla tells me that she feels blessed and welcomed into our global family, and I have every confidence that you will offer the same loving kindness for our baby.

My role as Karmapa continues as ever, and is somehow now imbued with even more purpose, more responsibility and more compassion. I have a strong feeling that this baby will be a special addition to our Karma Kagyu family.

As the third Karmapa to marry, and the second to become a father, I trust that all of my decisions may benefit our precious lineage, and all sentient beings, now and for generations to come’.

Karmapa and Sangyumla

His Holiness 17th Karmapa and Sangyumla

The 15th Karmapa, Khakyab Dorje, was also a father, and had three sons, two of whom he recognised as reincarnate masters – the second Jamgon Kongtrul and the twelfth Shamarpa, Tugsey Jamyang.

The 17th Karmapa:

  • is the head of the 900 year old Karma Kagyu lineage, the oldest reincarnate lineage in Tibetan Buddhism, predating the Dalai Lama’s Gelug school by over 200 years
  • married his childhood friend Sangyumla (now 37) on 25th March 2017
Official portrait of Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa. Photo / Thule Jug

Karmapa, the ‘Black Hat Lama of Tibet’


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Notes to editors

  • Karmapa’s statement in full.
  • Karmapa’s statement to students regarding his marriage in March 2017 – ‘I deeply feel that I am being true to both myself and the lineage. Something beautiful, something beneficial will emerge, for all of us.’ In full:
  • Further details about the 15th Karmapa:
  • The first Karmapa was born in 1110. The first Dalai Lama was born in 1391
  • Details of Karmapa’s continued activities and teachings at
  • Karmapa’s continued activities include, but are not limited to:
    • preserving the Karma Kagyu lineage by receiving and passing on the entirety of its transmissions

    • offering teachings and empowerments to students in India and around the world

    • finding the next incarnation of His Holiness Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche, his fellow lineage holder