(1) Monastic tradition, one of the Kagy¸pa group of traditions; (2) its senior reincarnate lama, also known as the Gyalwa Karmapa. This is usually regarded as the oldest reincarnate-lama lineage, and is claimed to go back to the 12th century lama D¸sum Kyíenpa. The 16th Gyalwa Karmapa died in 1981; the identity of his rebirth is currently in dispute.
Title of the spiritual leader of the Kagyu sect or school. (Also the Child K., CK XVII; 21st K., CK XXIII.)
The principal head of the Kagyü lineage, the first Karmapa was Tüsum Khyenpa, the chief student of Gampopa. Subsequently Karma Pakshi was recognised as the incarnation of the Tüsum Khyenpa, Rangjung Dorje the incarnation of Karma Pakshi and so on to the present Karmapa XVII.