The Karma Kagyu lineage belongs to one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. As a lineage of direct oral transmission, it especially treasures meditation and, through interaction with a qualified teacher, can bring about the full and direct experience of the nature of mind. The Karma Kagyu methods were taught by the historical Buddha Shakyamuni to his closest students. These methods were later passed on through the Indian Buddhist masters (Mahasiddhas) like Naropa and Maitripa, and the famous Tibetan accomplishers (yogis) Marpa and Milarepa who formed the lineage as a naturalistic lay-movement. Since the 12th century the successive conscious rebirths of the Gyalwa Karmapas have kept the teachings alive and powerful to the present day. Today, great Tibetan Buddhist teachers (tib. lamas) such as H.H. the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje, Shamar Rinpoche, Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche and Jigme Rinpoche transmit this unbroken wisdom when visiting the many Karma Kagyu Diamond Way Buddhist centers around the world.
The Karma Kagyu school offers practical teachings applicable to everyday life. A wealth of methods are available also for lay people to develop mind’s inherent richness and clarity, both through meditation and in one’s daily activities. The roof of the self-liberating Great Seal (skt. Mahamudra) is supported by three pillars: verifiable non-dogmatic teachings, meditation, and the means to solidify the levels of awareness that are attained.