Our teachers


The Karma Kagyu lineage belongs to one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. This lineage focuses on meditation and a direct transmission from teacher to student of the experience of the nature of mind. The Karma Kagyu lineage dates back to the historical Buddha, whose teachings were passed on to different meditation masters in India for 1500 years. This transmission came to Tibet around 1000 AD, and in the twelfth century, the Karma Kagyu lineage was formed under the 1st Gyalwa Karmapa, the first consciously reborn lama of Tibet. The lineage has maintained an unbroken transmission of teachings and realization, and continues to thrive today under the guidance of H.H. the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje.

H.H. 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje

The 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje was born in Tibet in 1983 and recognized in 1994 as the authentic incarnation, as per tradition, by Shamar Rinpoche, the second-highest teacher of the Karma Kagyu lineage. In 1994, Karmapa was taken from Chinese-occupied Tibet to India. In December 2003, after completing his formal education, the 17th Karmapa was declared a “Great Tantric Master” (Skt. Vajracharya). Karmapa resides in the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute in New Delhi. In 2000, his first international teaching tour brought him to Asia and Europe, where he was received by thousands of his students. Since then he has continued to visit Karma Kagyu centers around the world, giving teachings, empowerments, and inspiration to his students.

Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche

Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche, a highly respected lama of the Kagyu lineage, is a Maniwa—a title reserved for those who have successfully encouraged others to recite the Mani mantra more than one billion (1,000,000,000) times (Mani Dhungyur). Born in 1950 in Nepal, Rinpoche was ordained in Rumtek by the 16th Karmapa. An exceptionally gifted student, he mastered all aspects of traditional Buddhist study, from the sutras and tantras; to rituals and music; to the sciences, art and composition. Rinpoche’s various responsibilities include the reconstruction of the old Manang monastery, Karma Dubgyu Chöling, in Pokhara; overseeing the Manang monastery at Swayambhu; the publication of essential meditation texts; and the construction of many stupas.

Lama Ole Nydahl

Lama Ole Nydahl and his late wife Hannah were the first Western students of H.H. the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. For over 45 years, Lama Ole has taught Diamond Way Buddhism to tens of thousands of students and founded over 650 Buddhist centers worldwide. Lama Ole specializes in the practices of Mahamudra (the “Great Seal”) and Phowa—a rare, centuries-old method of conscious dying. He teaches his students to combine lay Buddhist practice with independent thinking and the maturity that comes through life experience. Please visit his website for more about Lama Ole’s life and work as well as links to books and videos of his teachings.