Karmapa Thaye Dorje of Tibetan Buddhism leaves monkhood to marry childhood friend

Dorje became the 17th Karmapa of the Karma Kaygu in March 1994 when he was 11 years old. Photograph:( Others )

WION Delhi, India Mar 31, 2017, 12.39 PM (IST)

Karmapa Thaye Dorje, a claimant to the title of the Karmapa Lama, has abandoned his monastic life to marry a childhood friend, his office has said.

He tied the knot in a secret ceremony on March 25, but the official announcement was made yesterday (March 30) in New Delhi, India.

His office released his official statement.

My role and activities as Karmapa will continue as before – with the single exception of conducting ordinations. This responsibility will pass on to His Eminence 4th Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Karma Mingyur Dragpa Senge. As Karmapa, I will continue to protect and preserve our beloved lineage, and strengthen the monastic sangha through initiatives such as the new Karmapa Center of Education.

I have a strong feeling, deep within my heart, that my decision to marry will have a positive impact not only for me, but also for the lineage. Following the wishes of my parents, and having had time to reflect, I deeply feel that I am being true to both myself and the lineage. Something beautiful, something beneficial will emerge, for all of us.

The Buddhist way is to use karma for benevolence and benefit, regardless of the path we choose. For those who follow the path of an ordained life, we must encourage and respect this. In this 17th incarnation, for both the future of the lineage, and fulfilling the wishes of my parents, I have chosen a different path. At the same time, my commitment to protect and preserve the monastic sangha, and the lineage, remains paramount in my life, and my continued role as Karmapa.

Dorje became the 17th Karmapa of the Karma Kaygu in March 1994 when he was 11 years old.

Karmapa and Rinchen Yangzom were close childhood friends, and have known each other for more than 19 years in this life, his website said.