This page has been created to explore the issue in a small way, inspired by a ("partisan") visitor's email. I will not be digging deeply into all the lit available, just presenting a few letters. Many sites exist which champion one side or the other, and with big, high-powered names enlisted. Visitors can decide for themselves. And there are sites which attempt to present both sides, notably Wikipedia and a more dated Buddhist site in NZ with articles and news stories from 2001. Interestingly, WP mentions a small but influential minority which maintains that both are legitimate.
In the current – ie post-1959 invasion of Tibet by the Chinese – political climate, it is inevitable that the normally anti-religious Chinese authorities are taking an interest in all matters of Tibetan religion as a way to manage the restive population. Hence, they are involved in promoting one of the two candidates, Thaye, as the "official" Karmapa. This usage (Thaye as "official") had widespread currency, so i also had adopted it, but changed after the research for this page. I found that the Kagyu lineage / org is itself divided, with Shamar Rinpoche – "normally" (with exceptions) historically being the regent and deciding these matters – going with Thaye, and Tai Situ Rinpoche (also historically a sometime regent) and the Dalai Lama going with Ogyen.
(For spelling enthusiasts, there are many versions of these names, the reason being a variety of practices in transliterating Tibetan script and pronunciation into the Latin alphabet. Ogyen can be Urgyen, Ugyen, Orgyen, Odjen, etc. Trinley can be Trinlay, Thinley, Tinlay, etc, Dorje can be Dorjee, Dorji, Dordge, etc. I have not found alternates for Thaye, which fact may result from the Chinese involvement, as they are said to have a consistent "Chinese way" of rendering Tibetan names.)
Yeah, I know you probably get lots of these, but if
Dorje has been recognized by H. H. Dalai Lama, isn't that sufficient
for him to be the "official" Karmapa?