Chicago Karma Thegsum Chöling (KTC) is the official home of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, in Chicago. We are a center for study and practice in the Karma Kagyu Buddhist tradition of Tibet. We are affiliated with Karma Triyana Dharmachakra (KTD), in Woodstock, New York, and are under the guidance of the Venerable Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, the resident abbot of KTD.
“Karma Thegsum Chöling” is a Tibetan name meaning “Place of the Buddha’s Teaching of the Three Vehicles of the Karma Kagyu Tradition.”
Karma refers to the Karma Kagyu lineage, sometimes referred to as “the practice lineage” because of its emphasis on meditation.
Thegsum - “Theg” (pronounced Tek) means “vehicle” and “Sum” means “three” – meaning that the KTC teaches all three “vehicles” (or yanas) of Buddhism: Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana.
Chöling - “Chö” means Dharma and “Ling” means place.
KTC offers instruction for newcomers to meditation, and group meditation sessions for anyone who wishes to attend. Meditation instruction and group practice sessions are offered free of charge. Ongoing classes on Tibetan Buddhism are also available at KTC. Several times a year we have the good fortune of hosting visits of accomplished Buddhist teachers of the Kagyu lineage. These teachers have included Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche, Bardor Tulku Rinpoche, and Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche
The Kagyu tradition dates back to the 10th century in India and remains a flourishing lineage today in the 21st century. The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, who currently resides in India, continues this long tradition of sacred Buddhist instruction.
Chicago KTC was founded over thirty years ago through the blessing of His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, during a visit from the Venerable Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche. Our membership includes a number of senior students who are available to answer your questions and lend their support. Lama Sean Jones, a graduate of the three year retreat at Karme Ling, is the current director and resident lama.
In the winter of 2003, on the day before the Tibetan New Year, we moved into our current location. The main portion of the building on the upper level has been renovated into a traditional Tibetan Buddhist shrine. The walls of the bright and spacious shrine room are ornamented with mantras and traditional designs which were painted by Tibetan artists and KTC members. Dedicated members also constructed a shrine cabinet to house our 4-foot tall, gold-leafed Buddha statue and other religious statuary. Our next big project will be to renovate an interview room for distinguished teachers such as the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, who we pray will visit us again soon! Please see our Sustain the Vision page for more about that.