The following article is from the Winter, 2000 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.

His Holiness Karmapa Escapes Tibet

by Michael Doran, Karma Triyana Dharmachakra

We always believed that First Light 2000 would be an inspiration to ail the world, and it was. What we could not have known was that His Holiness Karmapa would choose that time of practice and prayers to flee Tibet. His Holiness is now finally free!

His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche called today to confirm that His Holiness Karmapa, Ugyen Trinley Dorje arrived safely in Dharamsala, India on January 5, at 10:30 in the morning Dharamsala time. He is currently with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche.

His Holiness Karmapa left Tolung Tsurphu Monastery on December 28th with a handful of attendants. The flight from Tibet took seven days on foot. From Dharamsala, His Holiness is likely to spend some time at Sherabling, His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche's monastery, before journeying to Rumtek.

[Updates on this story can be found on the Internet at]

H.H. the Seventeenth Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje

The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is the spiritual head of one of the major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The 900-year-old lineage of Karmapas has included some of Tibet’s greatest spiritual masters. Born to nomadic parents in rural Tibet, he was identified while still a young child as the heir to this leadership position.

In 2000, the Karmapa’s dramatic escape to India from Chinese-ruled Tibet at the age of fourteen propelled him onto the world stage. Since then, he has emerged as an international Buddhist leader and environmental activist, founding Khoryug, a region-wide environmental protection program.

The Karmapa has been dubbed the “new face of Tibetan Buddhism,” and many Tibetans look to him for inspiration in their struggle to preserve their embattled culture. In 2008, he made his historic first visit to America. He currently resides at Gyuto Monastery, near Dharamsala, India.