Trinley Thaye Dorje, one of the claimants to the 17th Karmapa’s throne, the head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, married his childhood friend Rinchen Yangzom earlier this month in a private ceremony, his office announced on Thursday.

“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,” Trinley Thaye Dorje, 33, said in a statement. “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.”

Trinley Thaye Dorje said he will continue his duties as Karmapa except for performing ordinations, which will now be conducted by the 4th Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Karma Mingyur Dragpa Senge.

“Karmapa appreciates that the news of his marriage will come as a surprise to many, and has faith that his students will understand his wish to have kept private this personal element of his very public life,” the statement said.

Karmapa and Rinchen Yangzom, 36, are expected to make their first public appearance together at Kagyu Monlam in Bodhgaya in December 2017.

The 17th Karmapa title is also held by another claimant, Ogyen Trinley Dorje.

Learn more about Trinley Thaye Dorje in his Tricycle interview, “Diamond-like Resolve”

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