Being from Quebec the lifetime of the 15th Karmapa hardly qualifies as a long time ago.
There is absolutely nothing preventing the 17th Karmapa from getting married and starting a family.
Politically it would totatally delegitimize him in the eyes of the Chinese.
A “living Buddha’ can’t be married and have kids.
Nothing is outside the scope of a Karmapa though.
At this point the Karmapa getting married may be the only way guarenteed way to get the Chinese out of our Tibetan Buddhism.
The moment the 17th Karmapa falls out of favor with the Chinese they will stop giving him money and so will end their influence upon him.
Perhaps it’s time for the 17th Karmapa to take one for the cause and start a family, which would also be a step towards the “radical” reform of how we raise our Tulkus.
Instead of shutting him down let us instead hook him up with someone.
Better yet how about we make the first Karmapa Yangsi to marry and produce a Tulku gets to be the 17th Karmapa.
All kidding aside.
This is precisely how the Québécois took back their country from the Anglos after over 200 years of occupation, making more babies than their occupiers did, so there’s that, a relatively successful, relatively peaceful resolution of a historic occupation by what remains a powerful neighbor for Tibetans to consider an example given the whole Dalai Lama not living forever situation hanging over their heads.
It beats setting yourself on fire any day in my book.