His Holiness the Karmapa is the supreme head of all the Kagyu Sects. The main seat of the Karma Kagyu lineage has been at Tsurphu Monastery in central Tibet where it was established in 1159 by the First Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa. It was predicted that in the future the Karmapa would assume two nirmanakaya forms: One would continue the lineage of the “Black Crown” as the Karmapa and the other would establish the lineage of the “Ruby-red Jewel Crown” as the Shamarpa. The sixteenth Karmapa, Rangjiong Rigpe Dorje (Rangjing Rikpe Dorje 1924-1981), established his seat at Rumtek monastery. He also established a North American seat, Karma Triyana Dharmachakra (KTD) at Woodstock, NY and many dharma centers in the West.
Now there are two contenders for the “Black Crown”–Trinley Thaye Dorje who is supported by H. E. Shamarpa Rinpoche and Urgyen (Ogyen) Trinley Dorje who is supported by H. E. Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche, H. E. Tai Situ Rinpoche, and H. E. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche.