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A Devotional Lineage Supplication of the Kagyu Tradition
by Niall Tenzin Gyurme
Copyright @ 2009 by Karma Triyana Dharmachakra All Rights Reserved Published in the United States of America
This book is dedicated to everyone who desires to learn about the lineage of the direct oral transmission of the teachings of Buddhism. These teachings can be traced in an unbroken lineage directly back to the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni himself. This lineage of transmission is known as the Kagyu tradition of Buddhism. or it is also known as, the ear-wispered tradition, as the lineage is passed from teacher to disciple by means of secret oral transmissions. May the merit created from reading this book Free all beings from their suffering, And create immeasurable merit for all sentient beings. Mangalam.
CONTENTS Introduction Golden Rosary Chapter One Chapter Two The Indo-Buddhist Connection The Tibetan Buddhist Connection pg 5 pg 8 pg 10 pg 20 pg 27 pg 38 pg 62 pg 78 pg 89 pg 103 Chapter Three The Kagyus Become Monastic Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six The Tulkus Are Created The Tulku Speaks Tibet In Conflict Chapter Seven The Dispadora of Tibet Conclusion 4 .
INTRODUCTION Forefather of the Kagyu Lineage. as well as the force that such words of insight carries." The first syllable "Ka" refers to the scriptures of the Buddha and the oral instructions of the guru. these syllables mean "the lineage of the oral instructions. This emphasis is reflected in the literal meaning of "Kagyu. Marpa Lotsawa The forefathers in the Kagyu lineage are known as the "Golden Rosary. "Ka" has the sense both of the enlightened meaning conveyed by the words of the teacher. Together. The second syllable "gyu" means lineage or tradition." 5 ." The lineage of the Kagyu emphasizes the continuity of oral instructions passed on from master to student.
and 4) inner heat. called the direct and indirect lineage.Below is a detailed list of the Golden Rosary figures. and then traveled three times to India and four times to Nepal in search of Buddhist teachings. Naropa obtained these teachings directly from Tilopa (9881069). who brought the unbroken lineage from India to Tibet. Marpa received the lineage of tantric teachings called the Four Special Transmissions (bK'a-babs-bzhi): the yogas of 1) illusory body and transference of consciousness. including the lineage of the Karmapas. 6 . the great translator and yogi. The direct lineage and original source of the teachings was Buddha Vajradhara. Marpa The Translator Marpa first trained as a translator under Drogmi Yeshe (993-1050). Tilopa And Naropa From Naropa. 2) dream. Shakyamuni through Marpa. Below is a short synopsis of the Kagyu lineage and a brief remark on some of the great founders who established this ancient tradition and passed it on from "mouth to ear" for so many centuries. but his principal teachers were Naropa and Maitripa. Kagyu Lineage The Kagyu Lineage traces its origin back to the historic Buddha. who in turn had received them from two original sources. scholars. The indirect lineage comes from four main teachers of Tilopa called the "four special transmission lineages." Both Tilopa and Naropa are some of the greatest panditas. Each name expanded upon in the text and takes you to further details on the main figures of the lineage. He is said to have studied with a hundred and eight masters and yogis. 3) luminosity.
of Nalanda. Milarepa held the lineage and tradition of the Practice Lineage. who held the Marpa's tradition of the Teaching Lineage. who achieved enlightenment in one lifetime.and siddhas. who established the Karma Kagyu lineage. Gampopa was prophesized in the sutras by Buddha. This is how the two great systems of the practice lineage and the teaching lineage were founded in Kagyu lineage. the famous Buddhist University of ancient India. the most renowned and accomplished of Tibet's tantric yogis. Düsum Khyenpa (1110-1193). Gampopa The great master Gampopa (1084-1161). He pioneered in establishing the framework of the lineage by unifying Milarepa's Mahamudra lineage with the stages of the path tradition of the Kadampa lineage. This lineage and tradition is known as the Dhakpo Kagyu. passing them on to his primary disciple and lineage holder. also known as Khampa Usey (literally. the "white-haired Khampa"). became known as the First Karmapa. Milarepa Marpa brought these lineages to Tibet. accomplished saints. Some of the other great students of Marpa were Ngog Choku Dorjey. Milarepa (1040-1123). and Rechungpa (1084-1161) were the principal students of Milarepa. 7 . Phakmo Drupa and Saltong Shogom. Tsurton Wangey and Meton Chenpo. Gampopa had three heart disciples: Düsum Khyenpa. also known as Dakpo Lhaje.
Rangjung Dorje Gyalwa Yungtönpa 4th Karmapa .Deshin Shekpa Ratnabhadra 6th Karmapa .Düsum Khyenpa Drogon Rechen Pomdrakpa 2nd Karmapa .Karma Pakshi Orgyenpa 3rd Karmapa .Chödrak Gyatso Tashi Paljor 8 .Thongwa Dönden Bengar Jampal Sangpo Goshir Paljor Dhöndrup 7th Karmapa .Rolpe Dorje Khachö Wangpo 5th Karmapa .The Golden Rosary Vajradhara Tilopa Naropa Marpa Milarepa Gampopa 1st Karmapa .
8th Karmapa .Yeshe Dorje Palchen Chökyi Dhondrup 12th Karmapa .Ogyen Trinley Dorje 9 .Changchub Dorje Chökyi Jungney 13th Karmapa .Wangchuk Dorje Chökyi Wangchuk 10th Karmapa .Dudul Dorje Mipham Chödrup Gyatso Pema Nyinje Wangpo 14th Karmapa .Thekchok Dorje Lodrö Thaye 15th Karmapa .Mikyö Dorje Könchok Yenlak 9th Karmapa .Chöying Dorje Yeshe Nyingpo 11th Karmapa .Rangjung Rigpe Dorje 17th Karmapa .Khakyab Dorje Pema Wangchok Gyalpo Palden Khyentse Öser 16th Karmapa .
According to Buddhist cosmology. Prince Siddhartha's achievement of 10 . expresses the quintessence of Buddhahood itself. he was the Fourth Historic Buddha of this fortunate eon. the primordial buddha. and source of the Kagyu lineage Vajradhara is the primordial Buddha. Historically. Prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment under the bodhi tree in Bodhgaya over 2500 years ago and then manifested as the Buddha. the dharmakaya Buddha. depicted as dark blue in color. Vajradhara.THE INDO-BUDDHIST CONNECTIONS Vajradhara CHAPTER ONE Vajradhara. Vajradhara represents the essence of the historical Buddha's realization of enlightenment.
or wisdom of enlightenment itself. his realization is called the sambhogakaya. Thus. is called the dharmakaya. the realization. When such realization manifested in more accessible or physical form for all sentient beings as the historical Shakyamuni Buddha. The dharmakaya.enlightenment. the body of enjoyment. is the source of all the manifestations of enlightenment. Vajradhara is central to the Kagyu lineage because Tilopa received the vajrayana teachings directly from Vajradhara. That realization of the nature was in turn transmitted within the Golden Rosary by Tilopa. the body of truth. the dharmakaya Buddha. When he expresses that realization through subtle symbols. it is called the nirmanakaya. 11 . the body of manifestation. the Kagyu lineage originated from the very nature of Buddhahood. synonymous with Vajradhara Buddha.
was born in the town of Chativavo (Chittagong. into the Brahmin caste. When he grew up he learned all the doctrinal treatises of Brahminism.Tilopa (989-1069) Tilopa received the the transmission of enlightened wisdom directly from the source of enlightenment itself. known as Prajnabhadra. which is now in Banladesh). While he was wandering in various places asking for alms. he 12 . Vajradhara Tilopa is one of the most authoritative and renowned Indian mahasiddhas and masters of mahamudra and tantra. Naropa. He received various tantric teachings and unified them and transmitted to his disciple. seeing that the monks lived a life of renunciation. His father was Pranyasha and mother. India?). Tilopa. Kashi. His birthplace is also recorded to be Jagora (in eastern Bengal. he finally came to a temple and.
his 13 . and the monks expelled him from the monastery. he had a unique experience and great wisdom was born within him from this realization.entered the monastic life and became a learned in the Tripitaka. It is also said that from ultimate point of view. He received further teachings from different persons and had many sacred visions and made great accomplishments over the years." the sesame pounder. Acharya Nagarjuna. and Matangi played very important roles in his development. He pursued the work of a sesame seed pounder in the town. For 12 years. He received various teachings from dakinis in the land of Oddiyana. such as Somapuri. he had lost all his opportunities for wealth and fame. Tilopa devoted himself totally to his practices and attained realization. the Great Brahmin Saraha. Tilopa had no human teachers and he received the full mahamudra and vajrayana transmissions directly from Buddha Vajradhara. Among his many masters. Tilopa practised with a ksetra yogini. After a short time. He then came to be known as "Tillipa. Through the methods that he received from his Guru's instructions. According to Taranatha. He then continued to pound sesame seeds in Oddiyana until the sesame became like a butter broth. Tilopa received teachings and transmissions especially the "Four Special Transmission Lineages" from great tantric masters of India. the daughter of a sesame seed pounder. and engaged very diligently in meditation practices on those instructions at different places. the three collections of the teachings of the Buddha. and learned acharyas. He was empowered into the tantric mandalas by his master. Because he was a former Brahmin Pandita and Buddhist monk.
When each person in the audience asked questions. His two most well known students were Naropa and Lalitavajra. he finally attained the complete siddhi or accomplishment. Tilopa putting his experiences into song. Through such diligence and skilful practice of mahamudra and tantra. He also worked at a brothel for Dharima. Tilopa then started to teach and benefit sentient beings for many years. and is one of the eighty-four mahasiddhas of India. Thus he became renowned as the Siddha Tillipa. He attained great mahamudra realization through practicing in this situation. until he realized the co-emergent wisdom. in the form of a song to the gatherings in towns. His Golden Rosary lineage heir was Naropa. answered each question in this way. He started to pass on what he had realized. as instructed by his guru Matangi. 14 . At first. It is said that many of those who realized the meaning of the songs attained siddhis. After many years of benefiting beings and guiding his disciples for a long time. everyone was usually full of doubt. in Bengal. Hundreds of thousands of people came to see the acharya in a town in Bengal on one occassion. a prostitute. he departed for the enlightened realms without leaving his physical body.body and mind was also pounded and synchronized through this process. Tilopa appeared with his consort in the sky pounding sesame seeds.
Shrimati. who say that he was born in a place called Jambu (Shrinagar. 15 . His father was Shantivarman and mother. known as Abhayakirti ('jig med grags pa) Jnanasiddhi. according to Taranatha and other sources. Marpa. according to Guenther) in eastern part of India. was born in Kashmir into the Brahmin caste. Brahmin Upbringing Naropa. He received the mahamudra and tantra lineage teachings from his guru Tilopa and transmitted them to his disciple.Naropa (1016-1100) Naropa Naropa is one of the most prominent and authoritative Indian mahasiddhas and masters of mahahudra and tantra. the Great Translator of Tibet.
Naropa was at a monastery in the eastern region. just throw these 16 . The old man responded: "If you don't like it. At some point. Naropa then went to Madhyadesha where he became an ordained monk in the Buddhist order. During this time. One day.According to Taranatha. He became very inspired by the teachings and his heart filled with devotion for the dharma. After the Buddhist pandita departed. also practicing the tantras of Hindusim. a vile and filthy old man came in and roasted many live fish in the glowing fire. Go before him and you will attain great siddhi!" Searching for Tilopa He traveled to the eastern regions and searched for Tilopa everywhere. but Tilopa was nowhere to be found. While in the monastery kitchen. Naropa. He taught at the universities and became one of the most well-known abbots of the time. He was honored for this accomplishment by being made the "Northern Gatekeeper" of Nalanda and Vikramashila universities. "In the east is Tilopa. becoming educated in the Buddhist teachings. Naropa went to the house of a woman who sold beer and encountered a junior Buddhist pandita. from an early age. he practiced the vajrayana tantric meditation of Cakrasamvara every evening and had many sacred visions of the dakinis. some dakinis encouraged him to leave by saying. who had been a tirthika pandita became instead the most learned pandita in the Buddha-dharma. Naropa was unable to persuade him not to roast the fish alive. and the other monks jumped up and began to run towards the old man to stop him from killing. he began to receive a complete education and became a tirthika pandit (scholar of nonbuddhist teachings). During this time. Naropa found a volume of Sutras left behind by him and began to read them.
it is not the accepted custom to go to a banquet twice in one day. uttering auspicious words. but Naropa managed to hang onto the pot and bring the vegetables to his guru. Tilopa said. they came to life and swam away in all directions. Following after him. He then grabbed her 17 . The old man became angry and struck Naropa without saying anything.roasted fish leftovers into the water!" Upon putting the roasted fish remains into water. The people at the wedding caught him stealing and beat him with sticks and rocks. Naropa then knew that the old man was a realized siddha. "Grab the princess and bring her here!" Naropa transformed himself into a Brahmin and. In India. During all these times Naropa had no conceptual thoughts or doubts about Tilopa's realization. When Naropa thought to himself. he realized that this old man was Tilopa. At another time. so Naropa stole the whole pot of vegetables and carried it off. Tilopa and Naropa encountered a princess sitting in a palyanka (palanquin) on the road. Tilopa sometimes manifested as a yogi by performing yogic deeds and sometimes just seemed to be a simple madman. Developing Naropa's Devotion Once Naropa received a lot of vegetables from a wedding celebration and he offered them to Tilopa. Tilopa asked for more and so Naropa went again to the wedding reception. thinking that it would please his Guru. he prostrated at his feet and begged him to teach. he put flowers on the girl's head. "Is this yogi Tilopa?" the old man answered: "Yes! Yes!" When Naropa thought "Is this yogi someone other than Tilopa?" the old man replied: "No! No!" At that point.
" Naropa looked around and said: "There are no flowers nor any water here to make mandala offering. the servants of the princess however caught up with him. Tilopa got very mad and said to the girl: "You don't like me but instead. Tilopa never even spoke a single good word to him. Naropa subsequently recovered through the blessings and skillful means of his guru. when they were at an empty plain Tilopa said. the girl was so attacted to Naropa that she made love-glances at Naropa. During all of these events that Naropa went through. his guru recited mantras and Naropa soon recovered fully. but Naropa became very ill and was sick for many days. in fact his faith and devotion expanded. Tilopa wanted her as his wife and told Naropa to do as he had done previously. he then cut off his fingers and arrayed them as if they 18 . However. and beat Naropa to the ground until he was like a corpse. "Now make a mandala offering so I can give you the upadesha (key instructions). Not only did it not diminish. you like him. Naropa served his guru Tilopa for twelve years and although he went through numerous hardships.and fled with her. He thought he would offer her to his guru in the morning. Once again." He then beat both Naropa and the girl. Seeing this. Those and many similar deeds were done in order to develop Naropa's faith. Sandal Transmission Finally. Naropa offered the girl to Tilopa. During this time." Tilopa answered: "Does your body not have blood and fingers?" so Naropa cut himself and sprinkled the ground with his own blood. this time married to a minister. Naropa paid her parents the price for a high caste girl and took her off with him. his devotion and faith remained firm and was not shaken even slightly. Tilopa and Naropa met someone's wife. In this way. At that time.
he engaged in nonconceptual meditation. events forced him into a debate with a Tirthika.were flowers. Foremost among his disciples was the Tibetan Marpa. Milarepa. at which time Tilopa appeared and helped Naropa. Atisha. The principal student and lineage heir of Naropa was Marpa. giving upadeshas. there were eight extraordinary disciples. When he woke up he was able to see the reality of things as they are. Naropa attained the realization of the Reality and became one of the most renowned mahasiddas of India. who brought the lineage of Naropa to Tibet and continued it through his great disciple. and also engaging in great activities for the benefit of many sentient beings. Naropa had many students including. However. 19 . the great translator.if you act thus you will swiftly attain the highest state. don't debate." When Naropa was abiding at Phullahari monastery. and many other masters who where door-keeper panditas. four who were learned in the Father Tantras and four who where learned in Mother Tantras and held the Oral Instructions lineage. which caused him some obstacles in the path. teaching tantras. Naropa became one of the greatest yogins and Tilopa instructed him: "Now. Naropa stayed mostly in Phullahari. don't teach any students . Naropa was completely healed and was given all the upadeshas and further instructions. Tilopa then struck him with a muddy sandal and knocked him unconscious. near Nalanda and also he wandered around various places conducting abhishekas. Shantipa. Among his students. Thus he did not fully comply with the instructions.
Marpa first received training for three years at Mangkhar with Drokmi Shakya Yeshe and mastered the Sanskrit language. He decided to travel to India to study dharma with renowned Indian Buddhist masters. was born in Lhodrak Chukhyer to a well-to-do family. He began studying at a young age and was wild and untamed compared to other children. Marpa returned home to Lhodrak and 20 . Naropa and Maitripa Marpa Chökyi Lodrö.CHAPTER TWO THE TIBETAN BUDDHIST CONNECTION (1012-1097) Marpa Marpa travelled to India from Tibet at great personal peril across the Himalayas to study with his principal teachers.
In total. However. with determination. Of these. he studied with Paindapa and Chitherpa. trust. On his third visit. At the end of twelve years. Naropa. because Naropa. instructions. his main gurus were Naropa and Maitripa. Marpa traveled to India two more times and studied with Naropa and other great mahasiddhas of India. Arriving first in Nepal. Journeys to India Marpa set out on his journey to India. he set forth on his journey back to Tibet. but that his lineage would be carried on by disciples—especially one with the appearance of a monk and the inner realization of Mahayana. Subsequently. Paindapa accompanied Marpa to Pullahari.converted his entire inheritance into gold for his travel expenses and to make offerings to his Indian gurus for requested teachings. Later. where Naropa taught. near Nalanda University. Marpa went through an adventure in finding Naropa. two famous students of Naropa. and devotion. Naropa prophesied that a family lineage would not continue for Marpa. he traveled three times to India and four times to Nepal. 21 . Shortly after. was nowhere to be found. where he taught and continued his dharma activities. having already entered into the tantric conduct. Marpa spent twelve years receiving abhishekas. At that time. and studying with Naropa and other great Indian gurus to whom Naropa sent him to study or receive instructions. Marpa offered a ganachakra and sang his first song of realization to his guru. This prophecy foretold of the arrival of Lord Gampopa. Marpa managed to find Naropa and receive the final teachings and instructions from him.
who became the main student to receive the transmissions and master the practice of Phowa [transference of conciousness]. Mila Thöpaga or Milarepa became his disciple. Dakmema and their sons lived in Lhodrak in the southern part of Tibet. and conduct. Marpa brought the teachings and lineages of vajrayana and mahamudra back to Tibet. so Naropa formally declared Marpa to be his dharma successor. who became the principal student to receive the transmissions and master the explanations of the Tantras. Many of his translations are part of the Kagyur and Tangyur. Marpa continued to practice and give teachings. 3) Meytön Chenpo. His most well known disciple and lineage holder was the Marpa. 2) Tsurtön Wanggi Dorje. Marpa spent many years translating Buddhist scriptures and contributed to the effort to bring the complete buddhadharma to Tibet. and transmissions to many students in Tibet. After his third visit to India. Chitherpa. 22 .Bringing the Complete Dharma to Tibet Marpa now had received the full transmissions. meditation. abhishekas. and Maitripa. Marpa along with his wife. who became the principal student to receive the full transmissions and master the view. Upon his return to Tibet. Shri Shantibhadra or Kukuripa. and 4) Milarepa. who inherited his lineage in full. the translator. Marpa had numerous disciples. Naropa in general had seven major disciples including Paindapa. who became the primary student to receive the transmissions and master the practice of Ösal [luminosity]. The four most outstanding students were known as the "Four Pillars:" 1) Ngok Chöku Dorje.
23 . The principal student and lineage heir of Marpa was Milarepa.Marpa gave the full transmission of his lineage to Milarepa. who became his spiritual heir and continued the lineage of Naropa.
Mila Thöpaga's uncle. Nyangtsa Kargyen. when Mila grew up. making them work in the field. he lost his father and his family's estate passed into the hands of his father's brother. virtually enslaved Mila's mother and family. Peta Paldron. including his uncle's family. he studied magic from two different teachers in order to take revenge through the use of magical powers.1123) Milarepa Milarepa. He was named Mila Thöpaga. which means "Mila who is a joy to hear. along with his mother and sister. with his wife.(1040 . who. Through a spell. A Foray Into Magic At his mother's request. His father was Mila Sherap Gyaltsen and mother. and destroyed most of the crops of the village. He. After this 24 ." At a young age. He had one younger sister. the most renowned yogi in Tibetan history Milarepa was born in Gungthang. went through tremendous suffering because of the ill treatment of his uncle and aunt. he killed thirty-seven people.
) At the age of forty-five. Studies Under Marpa Mila spent over six years studying with Marpa. At the end." Marpa also conferred on Milarepa the full transmissions. At the age of thirty-eight. as well as the lineage of Mahamudra . He then became known as Milarepa. and his mind turned towards the sacred dharma. he started to practice at Drakar Taso (White Rock Horse Tooth). Before he arrived. The latter eventually advised Mila to go and study with Marpa. who made Mila build the famous nine-story tower as part of his journey on the path. Enlightenment and Teaching Through Poetic Songs After practicing very diligently for twelve years under Lord Marpa." ("Repa" is the designation given to many tantric yogins since they wear a white robe. and other well known caves and also began to wander and teach at various places. Marpa had a dream in which a yidam prophesied the arrival of Milarepa. Shepa Dorje. the cotton clad one. 25 . Milarepa attained the inseparable state of vajradhara (the complete state of enlightenment) in this very lifetime. Rongtön Lhaga. and abhishekas of Tantra. instructions.was done. which means "Laughing Vajra. Mila first went to the Tsang region and studied with the great master.all that Marpa had received from Indian mahasiddhas Naropa and Maitripa. great remorse arose in him for the heavy karmic consequences he had caused himself. he went to Lhodrak to find Marpa. he received the abhisheka of Chakrasamvara from Marpa during which he received the secret name. which means the "Mila.
the eight-heart-sons. and many others. Gampopa or Dhakpo Lhaje. Many of Milarepa's poetic compositions have been translated into numerous other languages. Milarepa had countless disciples such as Rechung Dorje Drakpa. in which he expresses the profundity of his realization of the dharma with extraordinary clarity and beauty.Milarepa is most famous for his songs and poems. his spiritual successor who continued his lineage and became one of the main lineage masters in Milarepa's tradition was Gampopa. Among them. 26 .
He was named Dharma Drak.CHAPTER THREE THE KAGYUS BECOME MONASTIC Gampopa (1079-1153) The great master Gampopa unified Milarepa's Mahamudra lineage with the stages of the path tradition of the Kadampa lineage Gampopa Sönam Rinchen was born in Nyal in central Tibet. beginning at the age of seven. Medical Training His father started his son's education at the age of five. His father was Nyiwa Sangye Gyalpo and mother was Shomo Zatse. he studied medical sciences and received training as a physician from Kyeme. an Indian 27 . For over eight and one-half years.
At the age of twenty-eight. and was known as Dakpo Lhaje. At the age of twenty-five. Because of Gampopa's pride. a Nepalese doctor. Gampopa arrived at Trode Tashigang. He also became interested in dharma and started to study in the Nyingma lineage from the master Bar-rey. the physician from Dakpo. he decided to search for him. where it appeared that Milarepa already had been expecting him. Usil. Stricken by an Epidemic At the age of sixteen. a doctor from the Tsang region of central Tibet. he received great respect from the community. studying under thirteen other doctors from China and Tibet. he met Nyukrumpa Tsöndru Gyaltsen and received many Kadampa teachings. He lived as a householder and as a highly-trained physician. however. Historic Meeting Milarepa Hearing of the fame of the Lord of Yogins. He and his disciples received the monk. Gampopa. Gampopa received the fully monastic ordination from Geshe Loden Sherap of the Kadam order. He practiced their teachings for many years. 28 . and in the Kadam tradition with Sharpa Yonten Drak. He became one of the best doctors of the time. with great respect and hospitality. After a long and difficult journey. Milarepa. For many subsequent years. At the age of twenty-six. his wife and children died from an epidemic disease. and Viji. Dharma Drak married the daughter of Chim Jose Dharma Ö.doctor. They had two children. his audience with Milarepa was delayed for two weeks. he continued his medical training. and this caused him to fully turn his mind towards dharma.
Karmapa Düsum Khyenpa. His collected works comprise three or four volumes. and then through the uncommon mahamudra and tantra path of the Kagyu lineage instructions of Milarepa. This was an historic moment. he had many experiences and finally attained great realization. He became the most important disciple and the lineage holder of Milarepa. which demonstrated that he would receive the full lineage teachings of mahamudra and tantra from Milarepa. Gampopa practiced with great diligence and endured many hardships under his guru. Among many disciples of Gampopa. He founded the Dhaklha Gampo Monastery where he continued his activities of teaching. Founding the Kagyu Monastic Order Gampopa was the founder of the monastic order of the Kagyu School and the lineages that branch out from him is known as the Dhakpo Kagyu. meditation.When Gampopa met Milarepa for the first time. the Kagyu tradition has contained both lineages together and has become rich in methods for leading disciples to realization. and benefiting beings. After this significant meeting. Phakmo Trupa. he did so anyway. the latter offered this new disciple a bowl of chang (Tibetan beer). and many others. Gampopa led his own students first through the common mahayana path of the Kadampa lineage teachings. Since his time. Gampopa held both lineages of the Kadampa as well as the mahamudra and tantric traditions of Milarepa. Saltong Shogam. The Jewel Ornament Of Liberation. Gampopa is the author of a most famous book. Barom Dharma Wangchuk. Although Gamapopa initially hesitated to drink it because it would be a violation of his monastic vow. the most well-known and closest disciples were: Gampo Tsultrim Nyingpo. and 29 .
The Golden Rosary lineage heir of Gampopa was the First Karmapa. 30 . Düsum Khyenpa.Zhang Drowae Gönpo.
we supplicate at your feet. even as a young child. He first studied with his father. you will be the buddha named Drukpa Sengge. ruler of the teachings of the practice lineage. Düsum Khyenpa. "Knower of the Three Times" Early Years Born to a family of devoted Buddhist practitioners in Teshö in eastern Tibet.1193) “In the future. ” —from Supplication To The Karmapas The First Karmapa Düsum Khyenpa. you nurture all realms through many emanations. and became a knowledgeable and seasoned practitioner. Lord of dharma. the boy who was to become known as the first Karmapa was called Gephel as a child. He 31 . In the present.The First Karmapa Düsum Khyenpa (1110 .
Milarepa. Training under Gampopa At the age of thirty. or siddhis. he moved to Central Tibet. following that. First Teachers Already quite learned by the age of twenty. through 32 . a great logician and the founder of the debate system in Tibet. who translated many madhyamaka texts (one of the highest schools of Buddhist philosophy) into Tibetan and was a great master of the Prasangika Madhyamaka tradition. became a monk and spent the next twelve years or so engaging in study and meditation practices. His practice produced rapid results and great accomplishments. such as Chapa Chokyi Senge (1109-1169). he received teachings from Gampopa. The Karmapa's accomplishment in meditation and the practices transmitted to him by his teachers were greatly enhanced by his own natural compassion.continued his education with other Buddhist teachers of the region. He studied with very well known masters of the time. the legends of the Karmapas through the ages speak of their ability. in the general philosophy of the sutras. Düsum Khyenpa first trained in the foundation practices of the Khadampa tradition and. the heart son of the greatest yogi in Tibetan history. This training in the basis of all Buddhist traditions established a pattern for all future Kagyu followers by demonstrating the importance of establishing a correct basis of knowledge. Düsum Khyenpa also received and unified the lineage teachings he received from Rechungpa and other students of Milarepa. and Patsab Lotsawa Nyima Drakpa (1055-?). This is true even when engaging in the most powerful of advanced vajrayana practices. Such accomplishment is often perceived by followers as the ability to perform miraculous activity and in fact.
he was the first Karmapa to present a prediction letter. All the Karmapas have since been known for their ability to inspire. in East Tibet. and at the age of 60 (1169). Düsum Khyenpa passed away at the age of eighty-four. The first Karmapa. Düsum Khyenpa. founder of the Katok Nyingma lineage. In particular. Tsangpa Gyare. Establishing Monastic Seats At the age of 55 (1164). to create a great sense of wonder and faith in their students. in the Tolung valley. At the age of 80 (1189). he established an important seat at Karma Gön. in eastern Tibet (1184). he established his main seat at Tsurphu. 33 . founder of the Drukpa Kagyu. a river which feeds into the Brahmaputra. Düsum Khyenpa founded a monastery at Kampo Nénang. Later. and Lama Khadampa Deshek. whom he chose to become the next lineage-holder. this profound sense of wonder and faith in the reality of the accomplishment which is the fruition of the Buddhist path. founder of the Ta-lung Kagyu. The principal student who held the lineage of the Golden Rosary from the First Karmapa was Drogon Rechen. in central Tibet. at the age of 76 (1185). made predictions about future Karmapas. He gave it to his main disciple.the manifestation of this seemingly miraculous activity. Among his other main disciples were Tak-lungpa. he started the Panphuk monastery in Lithang. through their simple presence. detailing his future incarnation. Drogon Rechen.
he received the complete transmission of the Chöd lineage.from Thöpa Samdrup. from Ngari-pa. he received Vajrapani and Vajrasaddhu. Before his passing away. from Nyalpa Josey. Although he attained great qualities of samadhi he still was not fully satisfied. he studied and practiced under many Kagyu masters as well as with Dzogchen masters. in eastern Tibet. As a young child. he met and received many teachings . and practice hard so that he could become a great master in this tradition. He practiced meditation wearing only a cotton cloth and was therefore called "Rechen. including ear-whispered teachings and dohas of the Mahamudra masters. Zangri Repa. Drogon Rechen was advised to find the disciples of Milarepa's lineage. he started a journey to Kham. passed into parinirvana. his teacher." which means "great cotton-clad yogi. Studying In Milarepa's Tradition When he reached the age of fifteen. In accordance with this. On his way. part of Central Tibet. and received many teachings. receive the full lineage transmission. he demonstrated his awakened potential in the gradual path of hinayana-mahayana. Deciding to leave his home to develop his practice further. At the age of nine. through Kongpo.Drogon Rechen (1148-1218) Drogon Rechen was born to an educated family in the Yarlung area of Tsang. Meeting The First Karmapa 34 . he connected to the Kagyu master. Zangri Repa. he received Peaceful and Wrathful Manjushri and Mahakala. He established eighteen Tantric seats and many great practitioners have been produced as a result." He experienced many signs of meditative accomplishment.
When he was told to go back and went. and became the lineage-holder. At that time. At the age of 70. and so on." Drogön Rechen asked "what kind of students do you have?" Karmapa replied "Deuchung Sangye. who was living at Kampo Nenang. Upon hearing the fame of the First Karmapa Düsum Khyenpa. when they first met. "O young tantric practitioner. The First Karmapa told Drogon Rechen. he saw an old yogi who had those pebbles he threw on his lap. it is unnecessary to point out how great must be their teacher's realization and achievement!" Making a strong commitment. When Karmapa traveled back to Central Tibet.Drogön Rechen mastered the prana and nadhi practices at this point." Drogon Rechen first went to see Deuchung Sangye who directed him to Baltsa Takdelwa. When he went to the cave of Takdelwa. Baltsa Takdelwa. he saw a little pond in the cave. He circumambulated the water and threw some pebbles in it and left. Drogon Rechen became one of the most important heart disciples of the First Karmapa. He simply wished to pay Düsum Khyenpa his respects. 35 . Drogön Rechen stayed behind in the Kham region and continued the activities of the Karmapa and the lineage at the seats of Karma Gön and Kampo Nenang. he thought "if the students are like this. Deuchung told him to go back again and when he did. Drogön Rechen decided to meet him. but had no intention of studying with the Karmapa. he passed into parinirvana on the 25th day and many relics arose from the cremation. he practiced under their direction for seven years and completely settled his practice and realization. he saw a huge tiger sleeping there and he ran back with great fear. and a little bit of pride in his accomplishment developed. He was fully ordained as a monastic at the age of thirty-seven and received the name Sönam Drakpa. He received the full Kagyu transmission from the First Karmapa for three more years. you can go and study with my students.
May this be virtuous! Pomdrakpa (1170 . a special meditative experience arose within him and he had a vision of red dakinis who prophesized Drogon Rechen as his teacher. He practiced with great diligence for many years. Upon hearing his name. Pomdrakpa had many visions of the wisdom deities during abhishekas and practice sessions.1249) Pomdrakpa Sonam Dorje was born Dri Dampa Chöchuk in Central Tibet. he started his education. and became a gifted master. Before the passing away. vol. At the age of five. he heard the fame of the great master. he followed Drogon Rechen as his principal teacher. Within ten days. from whom he received many abhishekas. he went to visit Drogön Rechen and received the full monastic ordination and was named Sönam Dorje. he received the mother Tantra transmissions from Nyen Lhakhang Gangpo.His principal disciple and the Kagyu lineage holder was Pomdrakpa Sönam Dorje. When he was fourteen. These details about Drogon Rechen are compiled from Pawo Tsuklak Trengwa's Feast For Scholars (chos 'byung mkhas pa'i dg'a ston). 873-877. 2. Beijing edition. pp. From Drogön Rechen. Holding The Kagyu Lineage Pomdrakpa received the full Kagyu teachings. he received the full Kagyu transmission and became the lineageholder. Drogön Rechen. who could 36 . as well as a vision of the First Karmapa who gave him important instructions. Drogon Rechen told Pomdrakpa and Lodrö Rinchen that they were the masters of the teachings. From that moment. and at the age of nine.
Pomdrakpa saw his teacher as the Buddha Shakyamuni surrounded by countless Buddhas. During that time.each hold this lineage. vol. These details about Pomdrakpa are compiled from Pawo Tsuklak Trengwa's Feast For Scholars (chos 'byung mkhas pa'i dg'a ston). Beijing edition. 877-880. 2. pp. This is said to be the auspicious sign of becoming the main lineage holder. and the lineage would prosper even more during the time of his disciples and afterwards in the future. He also predicted that Pomdrakpa's activities would flourish. Pomdrakpa Sönam Dorje's activities of benefiting beings flourished as predicted. and he passed on the lineage transmission to the Second Karmapa. May this be virtuous! 37 . Karma Pakshi.
weaponry and demons.1283) “Mastering the yidam. water. meditator extraordinaire and miracle worker A Child Prodigy 38 . And conquered the energy of fire.CHAPTER FOUR THE TULKUS ARE CREATED The Second Karmapa Karma Pakshi (1204 . you gained control over the world of appearance.” —from Supplication To The Karmapas Karma Pakshi. we supplicate at your feet. You tamed the haughtiness of the tirthika emperor of Mongolia. poison. Karma Pakshi. the Second Karmapa.
The Court of Kublai Khan At the age of 47 (1252). Chinese and Tibetan histories. despite his pre-existing knowledge and accomplishment of the teachings. the Karmapa declined to stay permanently in the court. which caused Kublai Khan's displeasure.Born in Kyil-le Tsakto in eastern Tibet to a noble family of yogins. at the invitation of Kublai. record that the Karmapa was said to have performed many spectacular miracles at the court. who had received the full Kagyu transmission from Drogön Rechen. Ever since this time. formally receives all the transmissions of the teachings from a lineage holder. He also visited and restored the monasteries established by the first Karmapa. that the child he met was the reincarnation of Düsum Khyenpa. On his way to Central Tibet for further education. the mantra of compassion. 39 . as indicated in the letter given to Drogon Rechen. the first Karmapa's spiritual heir. he encountered Pomdrakpa. He also played an important role as a peacemaker. Pomdrakpa conferred on the young Karma Pakshi all the teachings through traditional empowerments and formally passed on the lineage in full. through certain very clear visions. he set out on a three-year journey to China. the young boy was named Chözin by Khache Panchen. to the Tibetan people. Pomdrakpa realized. While there. He is famous for having introduced the melodious chanting of the Om Mani Padme Hung. each young Karmapa. He was a child prodigy who already had a broad understanding of Buddhist philosophy and practice before the age of ten. The second Karmapa spent much of the first half of his life in meditation retreat. grandson of Ghengis Khan. as well as statements of European visitors. However.
Karma Pakshi was said to have straightened the statue by assuming the same tilted posture as the statue. However. Kublai Khan eventually had a change of heart. Kublai became the Khan and ruled a vast empire. and straightening himself. Kublai Kahn ordered the apprehension of the Second Karmapa. As time passed. 40 . despite the overwhelming forces sent against him. harboring resentment against the Karmapa for his refusal to stay in the court of Kublai and due to his perception that the Karmapa had paid more attention to the Munga Kahn many years before. gradually Kublai Khan came to regret his actions against the Karmapa. In one of the most well-known miraculous stories of the Karmapas. The finished statue was slightly tilted. His Holiness returned to Tibet and directed the building of a Buddha statue at Tsurphu. Mongolia and Tibet and became a teacher of the greatest renown. the Mongol ruler at that time. The Karmapa was presented the Great Golden Seal of "Ti shro. which once were enshrined at the monastic library of Tshurphu monastery in Central Tibet. or even kill him. confessing his misdeeds. and eventually approached him. The statue simultaneously righted itself. and requesting Karma Pakshi to teach him. The Karmapa thwarted each attempt to capture. The histories record that the Second Karmapa composed over one hundred volumes of texts. Miracles of Meditation And Scholarship In fulfillment of a long-standing vision. He was particularly honored by Munga Khan. As the Karmapa continually responded to force with compassion." After Munga's death.Over the next ten years the Karmapa traveled widely in China. well over fifty feet in height. Kublai's brother.
When he was sixteen. Vinaya. Jalandara. Karma Pakshi told details concerning the next Karmapa's birth to his main disciple. He was naturally inclined to meditation practices but decided that he should first study philosophy before beginning serious meditation practice. Madhyamaka. he attained high realization and they became inseparable. After he received the key instructions. Mount Kailash. At fifty-three. he started studying various philosophical texts such as Abhidharma. and received the full Kagyu lineage teachings and transmissions. He traveled to Nepal. Orgyenpa (1230-1312) Orgyenpa was born in Latö. in Northern Tibet. China. Orgyenpa's activities of benefiting beings flourished throughout Tibet and he focused mainly instructing disciples through Gampopa's tradition of Mahamudra teachings. which was famous for the quality of its teaching. 41 . and other topics of sciences at a monastery in Tsang province. Karma Pakshi. At an early age. he met the Second Karmapa. Tsari. Pakistan. He achieved great accomplishments in his practice and became a realized tantric master. From the age of seven. he mastered Vajrakilaya and other teachings and practices of his father's lineage. he applied himself to basic studies.Before passing away into parinirvana. He excelled among his contemporaries and mastered all subjects. and Odiyana to learn and practice further at these sacred places. He was ordained as upasaka by Lord Götsangpa. India. Orgyenpa. to a family of tantric practioners. He also received and practiced the Kalachakra tantra in full from Golungpa Namkha Gyaltsen and later clarified those teachings further with Lord Götsangpa. in the year of Earth Tiger.
Beijing edition. his main disciple and lineage holder was the Third Karmapa. as well as eight close sons. These details about are compiled from Pawo Tsuklak Trengwa's Feast For Scholars (chos 'byung mkhas pa'i dg'a ston). However. four supreme ones. 913-918. vol. May this be virtuous! 42 . and many other scholars and yogis of Tibet and India. pp. Rangjung Dorje. he had four renowned sons — two brothers of Nyedowa. Chöje Kharchuwa of Yazang.Among countless students. 2. and Jamyang Sönam Öser of Langkhor.
” —from Supplication To The Karmapas (full text) Rangjung Dorje. Rangjung Dorje. Vastly propagating the teachings of the great siddhas. learnt and mastered nearly all of the Buddhist teachings brought to Tibet from India Born to a family of a tantric practitioners of the Nyingma lineage in Dingri Langkor. who had 43 . You reveal the heart meaning to the diverse host of beings.1339) “Through your miraculous ability in commenting on the many sutras and tantras. he went to see Orgyenpa. Rangjung Dorje sat up straight at the age of three and proclaimed that he was the Karmapa. we supplicate at your feet. At the age of five. in the Tsang region of Central Tibet.The Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje (1284 . the Third Karmapa.
By the end of his studies. receiving the full transmissions of both the Kagyu and Nyingma tradition. At that moment. Founder Of The Karma Nyingthik In particular. At the age of 35 (1318). he received the preliminary monastic ordination. who dissolved into him at a point between his eyebrows. he realized and received all the teachings and transmissions of the dzogchen tantras of the Nyingma lineage. and further broadened his studies at a great seat of the Khadampa lineage. He wrote many volumes of teachings on dzogchen and founded the Karma Nyingtik lineage. Not content with this. Orgyenpa recognized the child as the reincarnation of Karma Pakshi. which continues to this day called the "Tsur-tsi" or the Tsurphu 44 . Through his mastery of the profound Nyingmapa teachings of Vimalamitra. After a retreat on the slopes of Mt. he introduced a revised system of astrology. he took full ordination. At the age of 18 (1301). he unified the Kagyu mahamudra and the Nyingma dzogchen. and gave him the Vajra Black Crown and all the possessions of the second Karmapa. Rangjung Dorje sought out and studied with the greatest scholars and experts of different traditions of knowledge. learning from all Buddhist traditions of the time. he had learnt and mastered nearly all of the Buddhist teachings brought to Tibet from India. Everest. through visions he received of the "Wheel of Time" (Kalacakra) teachings. Master Of All Buddhist Traditions Of Knowledge Rangjung Dorje grew up in Tsurphu. during a retreat in his early twenties he had the vision at sunrise of Vimalamitra and then Padmasambhava.prepared for his visit on the basis of a prescient dream.
He was named Dorje Bûm. in the Wood Snake year. and which forms the basis for the calculation of the Tibetan calendar in the Tsurphu system. and Atiyoga of Dzogchen from Zur Champa Senge. teachings on Mahayoga. Rangjung Dorje later passed away into parinirvana in China. Dolpopa. and in particular the one who was to become the next lineage holder.Tradition of Astrology. including the universally renowned Profound Inner Meaning (Zab mo nang don). where he enthroned his disciple. Toghon Temur. Yakde Panchen. one of the most famous Tibetan treatises on Vajrayana. which is in part related to astrological studies in the Tibetan system. the new emperor. Over the course of his life. Anuyoga. and many others. It is said his image appeared in the moon on the night of his passing. Rangjung Dorje also wrote many treatises. Most of his studies were at Shalu. He then received the Yamantaka cycle of teachings and abhisheka from Shangpa Shakbum. was born into a family of Nyingma tantric practitioners at Tsongdu Gurmo. He received the Do-gyusem-sum. he started to study the five sciences and developed incomparable knowledge in sutra and tantra. The Karmapa established many monasteries in Tibet and China. some of the main ones were Khedrup Drakpa Senge. Among his many disciples. He studied and practiced hard under many masters and became one of the most respected and renowned teachers of the time. From an early age. He also studied and mastered medicine. in Southern Tibet. He visited China in 1332. Gyalwa Yungtonpa. Gyalwa Yungtönpa (1296-1376) Gyalwa Yungtön Dorje Pal. 45 .
He manifested as a hidden yogi and benefited many sentient beings. Rolpe Dorje. pp. he passed into parinirvana with many great signs of realization. in the Wood Snake Year. Shalu. 2. He was named Dorje Pal. Beijing edition. he accepted a consort and when the first child was born he asked permission from the family and received monastic ordination. May this be virtuous! 46 . He composed a text differentiating the views of Buddhahood in Sutra and Tantra and impressed and outshined many great scholars of the time. who became his students. such as Yakde Panchen. At the age of eightytwo. Bhutan for years. Pawo Rinpoche said that there are short and longer versions of autobiographies of this master. 948-950. vol. Among countless students. He practiced in Tibet and also in Paro.Gyalwa Yungtönpa made great contributions of material offerings to Sakya. Trophu. and Sangphu. These details about Gyalwa Yungtönpa are compiled from Pawo Tsuklak Trengwa's Feast For Scholars (chos 'byung mkhas pa'i dg'a ston). He then met the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje and received all the key instructions and transmissions of the lineage in full and attained highest realization. his main disciple and lineage holder was the Fourth Karmapa. At the request of his mother.
engineered a 300 foot painting (thangka) of the Buddha by tracing the design of the Buddha's outline with the hoofprints of a horse he was riding. you dispel all wrong assertions. in central Tibet. and that the baby said 47 . the Fourth Karmapa. ” —from Supplication To The Karmapas Rolpe Dorje. his mother could hear the sound of the mantra Om Mani Padme Hung coming from her womb. Rölpay Dorje.1383) “In various languages. And with perfect speech reveal the true state of things. It is said that while pregnant. The fourth Karmapa was born in Kongpo province. you tame many types of beings. we supplicate at your feet.The Fourth Karmapa Rolpe Dorje (1340 . Through reasoning that is free of the extremes.
The subsequent emperor of the Ming dynasty later invited the Karmapa to China. An accomplished poet. The design was measured and traced 48 . Rolpe Dorje predicted that this child. stopping many places along the way to give teachings. he received the formal transmissions of both the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages from the great Nyingma guru Yungtönpa. It is said the Karmapa traced the design of the Buddha's outline with the hoofprints of a horse he was riding. the third Karmapa's spiritual heir. the fourth Karmapa engineered a huge painting (thangka) of the Buddha. the founder of the Gelugpa school.the mantra as soon as he was born. As a teenager. to a very special child whom he named Kunga Nyingpo. would play an important role in the Buddhism of Tibet. After one of his students had a vision of a Buddha image over 300 feet tall. At age nineteen. Rolpe Dorje gave upasaka. a form of composition for which the Kagyü lineage is famous. but Rolpe Dorje sent a lama in his place. At the age of three. An Auspicious Meeting During his return to Tibet from China. Rolpe Dorje was fond of Indian poetics. from the Tsongka region. He accepted and began an extended journey. The child was to become known as the great master Tsongkhapa. At a young age. establishing many temples and monasteries there. He taught for three years in China. Temur was the last Mongol emperor of China. lay ordination. and composed many wonderful dohas. as spontaneously reading books and receiving many profound teachings in his dreams. he manifested the ability of the Karmapas to perform extraordinary activities. he announced that he was the Karmapa. Emporer Toghon Temur invited the Karmapa to return to China. or songs of realization.
and five hundred workers completed the cloth painting of the Buddha and founders of the mahayana after laboring for over a year. The Six Dharmas of Naropa. his main disciple who became the next lineage holder was the second Shamar Rinpoche. Khachö Wangpo (1350-1405) Khachö Wangpo was recognized as the reincarnation of Khaydrup Dragpa Senge. He was born in Chema-lung of Namshung. 49 .on cloth. Khachö Wangpo continued the lineage activities and enthroned the 5th Karmapa. The Fourth Karmapa. Among many disciples. and the ear-whispered lineage transmissions of the Kagyu Lineage. From an early age. The Karmapa gave him the Authentic Vajrayana Empowerments. Rolpe Dorje. Khachö Wangpo. When the Fourth Karmapa passed into parinirvana. the first Shamar Rinpoche (1283-1349) by the fourth Karmapa. At the age of seven. he had numerous visions. His collected works were recorded as having eight volumes. in the Iron Tiger year. Khachö Wangpo was one of the first lineage teachers to record some of the key instructions put into writing. Khachö Wangpo also studied the sutras and the tantras with numerous great masters of Kagyu and Nyingma. Mahamudra transmissions. granted the ceremonial ruby Red Crown to the Second Shamar Khachö Wangpo. He passed into parinirvana in eastern Tibet. he met the Fourth Karmapa Rolpe Dorje and received upasaka and bodhisattva vows. northern Tibet.
Among many students. Sokwön Rikpe Raldri became an important disciple who later became the principal teacher of the 6th Karmapa Thongwa Dhönden. Deshin Shekpa. he passed away into parinirvana with many wondrous signs of realizations.At the age of Fifty six. He transmitted the full Kagyu lineage to the Fifth Karmapa. Wood Rooster Year. 50 .
You are the tathagata who is guru to the beings of the three realms.Deshin Shekpa (1384 . according to Chinese records. Deshin Shekpa. the Fifth Karmapa. we supplicate at your feet. Fulfilling the needs of fortunate ones through supreme siddhi. is said to have manifested 100 days of miracles in response to the extraordinary devotion of the Emperor of China.1415) “By showing your major and minor marks. you instill in us lucid faith. 51 . ” The Fifth Karmapa —from Supplication To The Karmapas Deshin Shekpa .
The fifth Karmapa was born in the Nyang Dam region of southern Tibet to yogin parents. During the pregnancy, they heard the recitation of the Sanskrit alphabet and the Om Ah Ham mantra. Soon after birth, the infant sat upright, wiped his face, and said: "I am the Karmapa - Om Mani Padme Hung Hri." When the child was brought to Tsawa Phu in Kongpo, Khacho Wangpo immediately recognized him as the incarnation of Rolpe Dorje, and presented him with the Black Hat and other possessions of the fourth Karmapa. He went on to give the Karmapa the full cycle of Kagyu teachings, and the Karmapa soon completed his traditional training. During the lifetime of the fourth Karmapa, Emperor Yung Lo (also known as Ch'eng-Tsu) of China had a vision of the Karmapa as Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion; subsequently he invited the fourth Karmapa to visit him in China. The visit had never took place; instead, Rolpe Dorje sent a lama as his emissary. Later, the fifth Karmapa, at the age of 23 (1406), made a three-year journey to reach the imperial palace. Yung Lo became an extraordinarily devoted student of the Karmapa, whom he took as his guru. Chinese records speak of the Karmapa's manifestation in response to such devotion as a hundred days of miracles. The emperor recorded these events for posterity in silk paintings with a multi-lingual commentary. Following in the footsteps of the two previous Karmapas, Deshin Shekpa subsequently made a pilgrimage to the famous Wu-tai Shan sacred mountains, to visit his monasteries there. The emperor achieved some realization, and had a vision in which he saw the wisdom Vajra Crown above Karmapa's head. So that all beings might benefit from seeing something of this transcendent aspect of the Karmapa, the emperor commissioned the creation of a physical replica of
the wisdom Vajra Crown, which he saw as a black hat. He presented it to his guru, requesting him to liberate those who saw it by wearing the crown on special occasions. This was the beginning of the Vajra Crown (or Black Crown) ceremony. The emperor also offered Karmapa the highest-ranking title: "Ta Bao Fa Wang," (Great Precious Dharma King) with a golden seal. In 1410, Deshin Shekpa returned to Tsurphu to oversee the reconstruction of Tsurphu, which had been damaged by an earthquake. He recognized the Shamar reincarnation of Chopal Yeshe and spent three years in contemplative retreat. The next lineage holder, however, was the Karmapa's student Ratnabhadra. Realizing that he would die at a young age, he left indications of his future rebirth and passed away into parinirvana at the age of 31. In the ashes of his cremation fire were found relics, naturally-formed images of many Buddhas.
Ratnabhadra or Rikpe Raltri (Sokwön Rinchen Sangpo, 15th century)
Ratnabadra was born into the well-known family of Soksam-khar Drongbu Goshir, in Soksam. From a young age, he was ordained as a monastic. He received the higher training in Buddhist philosophy, logic, and other fields of knowledge at Palden Sangphu. He then went on a tour to great monastic institutions in Tibet, engaging in debate and discussion on four main topics - Madhyamaka, Prajnaparamita, Vinaya, and Abhidharma-Kosha. He became one of the greatest scholars of sutra and tantra and thus was called "Rikpe Raltri" (sword of philosophy and logic). He received the full transmission of the Kagyu lineage from the Fifth Karmapa Deshin Shekpa, through which he attained complete
realization of the absolute reality and became one of the supreme meditation masters of the time. Ratnabhadra passed on the full transmission of the Kagyu lineage to the Sixth Karmapa, Thongwa Dhönden.
Pawo Rinpoche said that the Sixth Karmapa Thongwa Dhonden wrote Ratnabhadra's biography but it was not available at the time of Pawo Rinpoche. So, here is the brief version as recorded by Pawo Rinpoche.
These details about Ratnabhadra are compiled from Pawo Tsuklak Trengwa's Feast For Scholars (chos 'byung mkhas pa'i dg'a ston), Beijing edition, vol. 2, pp. 1022-03. May this be virtuous!
Protector of gods and humans. 55 . Thongwa Dönden. Thongwa Donden.” The Sixth Karmapa —from Supplication To The Karmapas The Sixth Karmapa. is well-known for the body of liturgies he composed for the Kamtsang lineage."cutting through egotism") into the main Kagyu lineage transmissions.Thongwa Dönden (1416 . we supplicate at your feet. your power vanquishes arrogance. yidams and Dakinis. You display numerous miraculous abilities in yogic conduct. He also joined the lineages of the Shangpa Kagyu and the Shijay (Chöd .1453) “Through receiving prophecies from great siddhas.
in the Karma Kagyu lineage. while his mother was carrying the young child. He also joined the lineages of the Shangpa Kagyu and the Shijay (Chöd . Goshir Paljor Döndrup. printing books and strengthening the sangha. author of the "Mahamudra Lineage Supplication. He dedicated his activity to composition. and Khenchen Nyephuwa. Shortly after his birth.The sixth Karmapa was born in Ngomtö Shakyam. a student of the fifth Karmapa. Ngompa Chadral asked the name of the child. he began to compose many tantric rituals. Thongwa Dönden received teachings and Kagyu transmission from Shamar Chopal Yeshe. In particular. teaching. he suddenly became very excited when their path crossed that of Ngompa Chadral. Jamyang Drakpa. Shamar Chopal Yeshe came to Karma Gön during this period to crown the Karmapa. near Karma Gön in eastern Tibet. indicating where he would next take birth. 56 . to a family of devoted yogins. he entered retreat. who smiled and replied "I'm the Karmapa."cutting through egotism") into the main Kagyu lineage transmissions. The sixth Karmapa's main spiritual heir was Pengar Jampal Zangpo. eventually establishing a body of liturgies for the Kamtsang lineage. Realizing that he would die at an early age. At a young age. He began to develop the shedra system. he received the full lineage transmission from Ratnabhadra. and conferred a regency on the First Gyaltsab." Ngompa Chadral cared for the infant for seven months and then took him to Karma Gön. restoring many monasteries within Tibet. The young Thongwa Dönden immediately began to teach. who was his principal lineage teacher." This renowned prayer of the Kagyü lineage represents his spontaneous utterance upon realizing mahamudra. the monastic university.
1489) Goshir Paljor Dhöndrup was born at Nyemo in Central Tibet. Thongwa Dhönden and followed his instructions one-pointedly. 2. Bengar Jampal Sangpo became the principal teacher of the Seventh Karmapa. 1032. pp. disciplined. just like Bengarwa himself. as well as by 57 . he received transmissions of the Kagyur. and many others. vol. May this be virtuous! Goshir Paljor Dhöndrup (1427 . and with noble heart. Beijing edition. siddhas in Damshang (most likely located in eastern Tibet). At the age of twenty. He began study and practice at a very young age. He became a highly realized master of the lineage. Bengar Jampal Sangpo (15th . Under the guidance of the Sixth Karmapa Thongwa Dhönden.Thongwa Dönden passed into parinirvana at the age of thirty eight (1453). He gave the full transmission and training of the Kagyu lineage to the young Karmapa. who became learned.16th century) Bengar Jampal Zangpo was born to the family of Nyemo Dzongpa. Later. Tengyur. he received the Kagyu lineage transmissions and teachings such as the Six Dharmas of Naropa from the Sixth Karmapa. He was fully trained in buddhist philosophy and meditation by Karmapa. These details about Bengar Jampal Sangpo are compiled from Pawo Tsuklak Trengwa's Feast For Scholars (chos 'byung mkhas pa'i dg'a ston). he began studying Sutrayana and Vajrayana scriptures with the maha-pandita Rongton.
pp. He received the full lineage transmission from the Sixth Karmapa. which he fully passed on to the Seventh Karmapa. Later. 2. he was appointed as the General Secretary of the Karmapa. May this be virtuous! 58 . 1031. He offered his service to the activities of Karmapa and the lineage. He passed into parinirvana when the Seventh Karmapa reached twentyfive-years. vol. Beijing edition. with many wondrous signs of accomplishments. vol.Bengar Jampal Sangpo and other lineage masters. 2. May this be virtuous! These details about Khachö Wangpo are compiled from Pawo Tsuklak Trengwa's Feast For Scholars (chos 'byung mkhas pa'i dg'a ston). These details about Goshir Paljor Dhöndrup are compiled from Pawo Tsuklak Trengwa's Feast For Scholars (chos 'byung mkhas pa'i dg'a ston). pp. Chödrak Gyatso. Paljor Dhöndrup is the first incarnation of Gyaltsab Rinpoche. Beijing edition. 980-900.
Chödrak Gyatso (1454 . Your disciples' attainment of siddhi spreads your fame in all lands. Born to a family of tantric practitioners in Chida in northern Tibet. while he was being 59 . Chödrak Gyatso. You made vast numbers of representations of the three jewels. while in his mother's womb. we supplicate at your feet. and "there is nothing in the world but emptiness" at five months of age. the seventh Karmapa was heard to say Ama-la (mother).1506) “Tamer of deceptive one's negative friends. was heard to say Ama-la (mother). ” The Seventh Karmapa —from Supplication To The Karmapas The Seventh Karmapa. Chödrak Gyatso.
he was given a series of empowerments by Goshir Paljor Döndrub. At birth he spoke the Sanskrit mantra "AH HUNG. he settled disputes. At five months of age. The Karmapa formally established monastic universities at Tsurphu and other places. Thongwa Dönden. emptiness-luminosity. Before passing into parinirvna at the age of 53. His most famous text is The Ocean Of Reasoning. He also convinced numerous people to recite millions of Om Mani Padme Hum mantras as a universal cure for all ills. such as a commentary on Abhisamayalamkara called The Lamp Of The Three Worlds. At four. 60 . who authored many texts." At nine months of age. initiated bridge construction." a sanskrit mantra. which symbolizes the ultimate nature. he said "There is nothing in the world but emptiness. his parents took him to Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche. Something of an activist. Chödrak Gyatso dedicated much of his life to retreat. worked to protect animals.carried in the womb. and at eight. He also restored the large Buddha statue commissioned by Karma Pakshi at Tsurphu. who recognized him as the seventh Karmapa. his commentary on pramana (logic and reasoning) literature. He was also an extremely accomplished scholar. in accordance with the instruction letter of the Sixth Karmapa. he provided details of his next incarnation and passed on the lineage to Tashi Paljor. he was given the Kagyu teachings from Pengar Jampal Zangpo and Goshir Paljor Döndrub at Karma Gön. and sent gold to Bodhgaya for the gilding of the statue of the Buddha at the place of the Buddha's enlightenment.
Mikyö Dorje. He studied in Denma with the scholar Sangye Pal. upon hearing only the name "Karmapa. and for the next seven years he studied with the Karmapa and received the full transmission of the Kagyu lineage. who bestowed upon him the name Tashi Paljor. and became known as the first Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche. Tashi Paljor decided to follow the Karmapa. in eastern Tibet. he attained full realisation." he showed great devotion.Tashi Paljor (1457 . he met the Seventh Karmapa. Afterwards. When he was five. and passed on the full lineage transmissions to. At sixteen. These details about Tashi Paljor are compiled from Pawo Tsuklak Trengwa's Feast For Scholars (chos 'byung mkhas pa'i dg'a ston). under the guidance of the Karmapa. following the example of Milarepa's life. 2. A year later. he went to the mountains of Kham and Central Tibet to practice. After practicing twenty years in solitary retreat. vol. the Eighth Karmapa. He became the principal teacher of. Beijing edition. 12001205. May this be virtuous! 61 . pp.1525) Denma Drubchen was born in the Denma area of Derge.
we supplicate at your feet. you are free of hesitation when elucidating the intended meaning of the scriptures. realized the activity of the Karmapas and Guru Rinpoche as the activity-aspect of all thousand Buddhas of our universe. distractions had not the slightest chance.1554) “Your intelligence in regard to the modes of knowable objects is unobstructed.CHAPTER FIVE THE TULKU SPEAKS The Eighth Karmapa Mikyö Dorje (1507 . Of interfering with this conduct. Mikyö Dorje. Thus. Mikyö Dorje.” —from Supplication To The Karmapas The Eighth Karmapa. 62 .
and Karma Trinleypa. to whom we owe the Karma Gadri style of thangka painting. a great meditation master as well as a prolific and learned scholar.Born in a small village called Satam. author of over thirty volumes of work. Gyaltsab Rinpoche. Tai Situ Rinpoche. I am the Karmapa. to a family of devoted yogins. in the region of Kartiphuk of Ngomchu. devised a test. along with Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche and other students of the previous Karmapa. He took the essential Kagyu teachings from Sangye Nyenpa. which the child not only passed but to which he was heard to say "E ma ho! Have no doubts. Tashi Paljor. Dakpo Tashi Namgyal. The Karmapa received an invitation to China when quite young. When he was five. Upon hearing this report. a prediction that turned out to be true. Dulmo Tashi Öser. he found himself spontaneously prostrating and knew that he was the real Karmapa. a child in Amdo was put forward as the Karmapa. Mikyo Dorje studied with Sangye Nyenpa Tashi Paljor." Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche enthroned him the following year when he was six. but declined on the ground that the Emperor would pass away before he could arrive. The eighth Karmapa was also a visionary artist.one of the major schools of thangka 63 . on meeting Mikyö Dorje. The Karmapa's regent. Mikyö Dorje was one of the most renowned of the Karmapas. Tai Situpa confirmed the child to be the new Karmapa. in eastern Tibet. He spent the next years at Karma Gön. set out from Tsurphu to investigate the two children. the eighth Karmapa was said to have spoken the words "I am the Karmapa" at birth. including very significant commentaries on the sutrayana treatises and pithy instructions on tantras. However.
it is said there are to be 1000 such Buddhas. The eighth Karmapa had many visions of the inseparability of his own manifestations and those of Guru Rinpoche.composition. Among his many disciples." Könchok Yenlak (1526-1583) Könchok Yenlak was born in upper part of Kongpo called Kyen. in the Wood Rooster year. I will be born as the glorious. he entrusted a letter of prediction to the Shamar Konchok Yenlak and entered parinirvana at the age of 47. Foreseeing his imminent passing. He studied with the Eighth 64 . and hence the Karmapa and Guru Rinpoche can both be said to be the activity-aspect of all thousand Buddhas of our universe. The Eighth Karmapa. self-arisen lord (Wangchuk) of the world. I have seen the signs that it will not be long before I am born in there. the main ones were Shamar Konchok Yenlak and Pawo Tsuklak Trengwa. practice liturgies. Dipamkara. Guru Rinpoche carries out the activity of the Buddha himself. and other devotional practices for the Karma Kagyu school. who according to Buddhist cosmology preceded Buddha Shakyamuni in an era prior to the history of the current era. The eighth Karmapa realized his prior manifestation was coincident with the Guru Rinpoche manifestation activity of another historical Buddha. Mikyo Dorje also composed many sadhanas. In Buddhist cosmology. His prediction letter said: "In the life following this one. recognized him as the fifth Shamar incarnation. Mikyö Dorje. a place where there is the sound of water and the dharma is heard. and is considered one of the ways in which the Buddha accomplishes his enlightened activity. In the upper regions of the snowy region of Tre-shö to the east.
and became a great scholar and meditation master. He passed on the full lineage transmission to the ninth Karmapa. He received the full transmission of the Kagyu lineage and the Karmapa empowered him as the lineage holder. Könchok Yenlak's collected writings number many volumes. Pawo Tsuklak Trengwa. Wangchuk Dorje. he passed into parinirvana with many great signs of realization. May this be virtuous! 65 . 134. Shamar Könchok Yenlak recognized the Ninth Karmapa and became his principal teacher. At the age of fifty nine. p. These details about Könchok Yenlak are compiled from Karma Gyaltsen's book called kam tshang yab sras dang dpal spungs dgon pa.Karmapa as well as with his student. Szechwan edition.
Wangchuk Dorje (1556 - 1603)
“Once again, as lord of limitless compassion, You manifested as changeless vajra body, speech and mind And came to this realm as its guide. Wangchuk Dorje, we supplicate at your feet.”
The Ninth Karmapa
—from Supplication To The Karmapas
The Ninth Karmapa, Wangchuk Dorje, wrote three mahamudra treatises which have played a major role in Tibet on the teaching and transmission of mahamudra. As predicted by the eighth Karmapa, the ninth was born in the Treshö region of eastern Tibet. He was heard reciting mantras in the womb during pregnancy and he,
too, sat cross-legged for three days soon after birth and declared he was the Karmapa.
In accordance to the prediction letter left by the eighth Karmapa, he was soon recognized by the Tai Situpa Chökyi Gocha, who was staying not far away, and by the Sharmapa Konchok Yenlak. A year later, Shamarpa enthroned him at the age of six and gave him extensive teachings. Once Wangchuk Dorje had received the complete Kagyu transmission, he began to teach throughout Tibet, traveling in a monastic camp, which strictly emphasized meditation practice. Wangchuk Dorje did not visit China but made important trips to Mongolia and Bhutan. He gave many teachings and restored monasteries and temples wherever he went. The ninth Karmapa also received an invitation to visit Sikkim and under his guidance, established three monasteries in Sikkim: Rumtek, Phodong, and Ralang. The Karmapa blessed and consecrated them from Tibet. Rumtek subsequently became the seat of the Karmapas in India in the early 1960's. Like the eighth Karmapa, Wangchuk Dorje was also a creative author and wrote many condensed commentaries on sutras and tantras, including three mahamudra treatises: The Ocean Of Definitive Meaning, Dispelling The Darkness Of Ignorance, and Pointing Out The Dharmakaya. These treatises have played a major role in Tibet for the teaching and transmission of mahamudra. At the age of 48 he passed into parinirvana, leaving his prediction letter along with instructions about the next incarnation to the sixth Shamarpa Chökyi Wangchuk.
Chökyi Wangchuk (1584-1629)
Chökyi Wangchuk was born in Drikhung area of Central Tibet and the Ninth Karmapa enthroned him as the Sixth Shamar incarnation. From an early age, he followed and studied with the Ninth Karmapa and received the full transmission of the Kagyu lineage. He became one the most renowned Panditas of the time, in Sutra and Tantra, composing many commentaries. He was the teacher of Desi Tsangpa, who ruled Central Tibet at that time. He rebuilt the monastery in Kampo Neynang. He also traveled extensively to China and Nepal. He taught Buddhism in the original Sanskrit to the king, Laxman Naran Singh, in Nepal and to other devotees. He eventually passed away in the mountains of Helambu, Nepal. He passed on the lineage teachings to the Tenth Karmapa. He traveled to Kham, in eastern Tibet, and recognized and became the principal teacher of the Tenth Karmapa Chöying Dorje.
These details about Chökyi Wangchuk are compiled from Karma Gyaltsen's book called kam tshang yab sras dang dpal spungs dgon pa, Szechwan edition, p. 135. May this be virtuous!
” The Tenth Karmapa —from Supplication To The Karmapas The Tenth Karmapa. and then going to what is today northern Yunnan. you reveal the array of the great nirmanakaya To supreme.Chöying Dorje (1604 . Chöying Dorje. Burma and Nepal. 69 . Insuring that all connections you make through being seen and heard are meaningful. spending more than three years living in the wilds of Bhutan. Chöying Dorje.1674) “As that same being. anticipated the disturbances in central Tibet and traveled with an attendant. we supplicate at your feet. middling and common disciples.
70 . Chöying Dorje anticipated the wars and political strife that were soon to come. and gave the transmission of the Kagyu teachings. Chöying Dorje was forced to leave the area. wherever the Karmapa went. Burma and Nepal. the tenth Karmapa gave away most of his wealth to the poor and appointed Goshir Gyaltsab his regent. he traveled throughout Tibet and then spent more than three years living in the wilds of Bhutan. Gushri Khan's Mongol armies attacked Shigatse and then continued the attack through much of Tibet. he was a better painter than his teachers. By the age of six. Shamarpa became his main spiritual heir. At the age of 71. Goshir Gyaltsab Norbu Sangpo became the regent at Tsurphu. With an attendant. realizing that certain political interests in Tibet would enlist the Mongol armies in the Gelugpa cause. causing considerable destruction throughout the land. in the far northeast of Tibet. he fostered the dharma and he was able to establish some monasteries along his route.As predicted. Knowing he would be forced out of central Tibet by the political strife. Goshir Gyaltsab. He was recognized and enthroned by Shamar Chokyi Wangchuk. and Pawo Rinpoche. and eventually overrunning the Karmapa's camp. They later traveled to what is today northern Yunnan. Twenty some years passed before he could return to his homeland. from whom he received the full Kagyu transmission. As always. leaving instructions and a prediction letter. the tenth Karmapa was born in the Golok region. as well as a gifted sculptor. He recognized the next incarnations of Shamar Yeshe Nyingpo. Chöying Dorjé passed into parinirvana.
1694) Yeshe Nyingpo was born in Golok region of east Tibet and the Tenth Karmapa recognized him as the Seventh Shamar incarnation. 136. the Wood Dog year. Yeshe Dorje. He was extremely devoted to and followed the instructions of the Tenth Karmapa Chöying Dorje. Yeshe Nyingpo (1631 . These details about Yeshe Nyingpo are compiled from Karma Gyaltsen's book called kam tshang yab sras dang dpal spungs dgon pa. p. Yeshe Nyingpo recognize and became his principal teacher of the Eleventh Karmapa. had become the official ruler of Tibet. the fifth Dalai Lama. and this role of the Dalai Lamas would continue to be filled by his successive incarnations. Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso. Szechwan edition. May this be virtuous! 71 .By this time the political landscape in Tibet had changed for good. Yeshe Nyingpo passed into parinirvana at the age of sixty-four. He received the full transmission of the Kagyu lineage and had many signs of accomplishment in both Mahamudra and Dzogchen meditation.
you manifest your kaya out of compassion For as many eons as there exist beings to be tamed like us. Shamar Yeshe Nyingpo and Gyaltsab Norbu Sangpo 72 . Yeshe Dorje. And bestow supreme great bliss the very instant you are recalled.1702) “As that same being. ” The Eleventh Karmapa —from Supplication To The Karmapas The Eleventh Karmapa. Yeshe Dorje was born in the Mayshö region in east Tibet to a devoted Buddhist family. we supplicate at your feet. Yeshe Dorje.Yeshe Dorje (1676 . blended both the Kagyu and Nyingma teachings.
He also received the Terma teachings. However. Yeshe Dorje went to central Tibet and was enthroned at Tsurphu monastery. The Eleventh Karmapa Yeshe Dorje sent an envoy with precise instructions on how to find this boy. who became his close student and next lineage holder. Goshir Dhönyö Nyingpo and other masters. He passed into parinirvana. which are the hidden teachings of Padmasambhava. During his precious but brief existence. He received the full transmission of the lineage from the Karmapa and he also studied with the third Treho Tendzin Dhargye. Yeshe Dorje was a great visionary who performed many miracles. he blended both the Kagyu and Nyingma teachings. Yeshe Dorje received teachings and the mahamudra lineage transmissions from Shamarpa. Yeshe Dorje also located and identified the eighth Shamarpa.recognized him as the next Karmapa in accordance with the instructions of the previous Karmapa. Palchen Chökyi Dhondrup (1695 . from Yong-ge Mingur Dorje and Taksham Nüden Dorje. in the Kingdom of Nepal.1732) Chökyi Dhöndrup was born to a Nepalese family in Yolmo (Helambu). Paichen Chokyi Dondrub. He traveled to China and Nepal and 73 . and enthroned by the Karmapa as the eighth Shamar incarnation. he was taken to Tibet at the age of seven. leaving a detailed letter concerning his next incarnation with Shamar Palchen Chökyi Döndrup. he was to be the shortest lived of the Karmapas. With the permission of his parents. This fulfilled a prophecy of Padmasambhava that the eleventh Karmapa would hold certain terma lineages.
Changchup Dorje. These details about Palchen Chökyi Dhondrup are compiled from Karma Gyaltsen's book called kam tshang yab sras dang dpal spungs dgon pa. May this be virtuous! 74 . 136-7. He passed away at the age of thirty eight. in the Water Mouse year. Szechwan edition. p. He passed on the full Kagyu lineage to the Twelfth Karmapa.benefited many beings through his teachings.
sole friend of all beings. And expand the wisdom that knows the profound and luminous non-dual nature. made pilgrimage to the sacred places of the Buddha in India and Nepal accompanied by the Shamar. and Gyaltsap Rinpoches. As predicted by the previous Karmapa.1732) “You embody the nonconceptual. we supplicate at your feet. Dispeller of the darkness of ignorance. Situ. great bliss dharmadhatu.” The Twelfth Karmapa —from Supplication To The Karmapas The Twelfth Karmapa. Changchub Dorje. the twelfth Karmapa was born at Kyile Tsaktor in Derge province of eastern Tibet. Chökyi Dhöndrup sent a search party and his envoys brought the child to Karma Gön 75 .Changchub Dorje (1703 .
He gave profound Kagyu teachings to the famous Nyingma master of Katok monastery. However. Chökyi Jungney went to see the Karmapa and Shamar Chökyi Dhöndrup when they were on the journey to China sometime around 76 . accompanied by the Shamar. The young Karmapa studied under many illustrious masters. Upon reaching Nepal. he was greatly honored by the King of Nepal. they visited the sacred places of Lord Buddha. who credited him for stopping a raging epidemic and for making rain that ended a serious drought. and Gyaltsap Rinpoches. He studied and received the full transmissions from the 8th Shamar Chökyi Dhöndrup and the Twelfth Karmapa Changchup Dorje. Tai Situpa became his spiritual heir. In India. as did the Sharmapa two days later. Chokyi Jungney (1699 or 1700 . He also studied extensively with many other teachers such as Rikdzin Tsewang Norbu.1774) The Eighth Situ incarnation. foreseeing difficult political times ahead and realizing the need to leave his body. who in turn shared his Nyingma teachings. Situ. was born in Derge. Kham. otherwise known as the Situ Panchen.where Shamarpa met with the young child and recognized him in accordance with the previous Karmapa's prediction and instructions. in the Earth Hare year. the Karmapa sent the eighth Tai Situpa a letter with details of his next incarnation and then succumbed to smallpox. he accepted an invitation to China. Chokyi Jungney. Changchup Dorje left troubled Tibet in order to make pilgrimage to India and Nepal. After the Karmapa returned to Tibet. and set out accompanied by the Shamarpa.
He gave the full transmission of the Kagyu lineage to the Thirteenth Karmapa. 85 . retreats.1735. This production is now well-known around the world as the Derge edition.214. Düdul Dorje. These details about Chokyi Jungney are compiled from Karma Gyaltsen's book called kam tshang yab sras dang dpal spungs dgon pa. May this be virtuous! 77 . which is considered as one of the best original prints of these central texts of the Tibetan tradition. pp.88 / 167 . Szechwan edition. and study centers all over Tibet and Jang. One of his major activities was editing and seeing to the printing of the woodblock editions of the Kagyur and Tengyur project of the King of Derge. Situ Panchen recognized and enthroned the 13th Karmapa and the next incarnation of Shamar Rinpoche. He was one of the most renowned scholars and meditation masters of Tibet. The activities of Situ Panchen flourished widely and he restored or established monasteries.
1797) “With the great sun of vajra wisdom. from Tsurphu by throwing blessing grains in the air at the time of the 78 . you vanquish without remainder The darkness of agitated mind. Dudul Dorje.” The Thirteenth Karmapa —from Supplication To The Karmapas The Thirteenth Karmapa. we supplicate at your feet. Düdül Dorje. consecrated a distant monastery.CHAPTER SIX TIBET IN CONFLICT Dudul Dorje (1733 . Those forces that are the expressions of the degenerate age.
the thirteenth Karmapa offered a white scarf (kata) to the Jowo image. was threatened by rising flood waters. At one point the famous Jo-kang temple. he resolved the problem by writing a special letter of blessing and invoking the compassion of Avalokitesvara. It is said that they were seen to shower down from the heavens at the monastery in question 79 . Kagyu Trinley Shingta. Pawo Tsuklak Gawa. Karmapa received full transmission and teachings of the Kagyu lineage from his main guru. Later. He was recognized at the age of four and enthroned by Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche. the 13th Karmapa was born in Nyen Chawatrong in southern Tibet. he threw blessing grains in the air at the appropriate moment of the consecration ceremony. Aware of the prophecy.consecration ceremony there. Remaining at Tsurphu. Found by Tai Situpa Chökyi Jungney. the child was brought to Tsurphu. and others. when he was able to come to Lhasa. From the age of eight. home of the Jo-wo image. and it is said that the arms of the statue changed position to accept it and have been that way ever since. In accordance with the prediction. He also studied with many great masters of the Nyingma and Kagyu lineages of the time. It is said the grains were seen to shower down from the heavens at the monastery though located hundreds of kilometres away. Tai Situpa. the Lhasa authorities requested him to come. A prophecy from Guru Rinpoche had foreseen this and predicted that only the Karmapa could do something to stop it. Unable to leave Tsurphu immediately. such as Kathok Rigdzin Tsewang Norbu. Dudul Dorjé was also asked to consecrate a distant monastery.
137-40. He left behind the detailed prediction letter and instructions on his next incarnation. He went to Nepal in the 1780s. and benefited many students in Nepal and Tibet. Düdul Dorje and Tai Situpa with Kathok Rigdzin Tsewang Norbu recognized the Shamarpa's reincarnation. a renowned pilgrimage site. He studied many years with Situ Chökyi Jungney as well as with Pawo Tsuklak Gawa and Rikdzin Tsewang Norbu and thus developed into a great scholar and meditation master. Pema Nyinje Wangpo. He gave the full transmission of the full Kagyu lineage to the Ninth Situ incarnation. He passed away in Nepal. Palden Yeshe. Szechwan edition. Chödrup Gyatso.hundreds of kilometres away. He passed into parinirvana and Situpa Pema Nyinchey became his spiritual heir. Mipham Chödrup Gyatso (1742-1793) Mipam Chödrub Gyatso was born in Tashi Tse in Tsang region of Central Tibet as a younger brother of 6th Panchen Lama. pp. These details about Mipham Chödrup Gyatso are compiled from Karma Gyaltsen's book called kam tshang yab sras dang dpal spungs dgon pa. May this be virtuous! 80 . Lobsang Palden Yeshe of Tashi Lhunpo. where he continued his bodhisattva activities of restoring the Swayambhu Stupa. the younger brother of the fourth Panchen Lama. He was recognized and enthroned by the 13th Karmapa and the Situ Chökyi Jungne. near the Boudhanath Stupa.
The Indian master Padmasambhava predicted this incarnation of Situpa. where he taught and greatly inspired many to practice and teach the Kagyu meditation practices. It is recorded that he his collected writings filled three volumes. These details about Pema Nyinje Wangpo are compiled from Karma Gyaltsen's book called kam tshang yab sras dang dpal spungs dgon pa. May this be virtuous! 81 . and Pawo Tsuklak Gawa. 88-89. with assistance of Shamar Chödrup Gyatso. pp.Pema Nyinje Wangpo (1774-1853) Pema Nyinche Wangpo was born in Yilhung in east Tibet in the Wood Horse year. He became a great scholar and meditation master and his dharma activities flourished throughout the land. The thirteenth Karmapa recognized him as the ninth incarnation of Situ Rinpoche. the 13th Karmapa and the 10th Shamar. He became the principal guru of the Fourteenth Karmapa and also Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye and gave full lineage transmission to the Fourteenth Karmapa. Thekchok Dorje. He established many retreat centers. Szechwan edition. He studied and practiced with many masters and especially with his two principal teachers.
And indestructible vajra-like samadhi. Thekchok Dorje.” The Fourteenth Karmapa —from Supplication To The Karmapas The Fourteenth Karmapa. Thekchok Dorje. we supplicate at your feet. the holder of the thirteenth Karmapa's letter 82 . lived very simply and exemplified the ideal monk. Protector of the world who personifies effortless compassion. He was born in mid-winter.1868) “Endowed with inconceivable knowledge. activity and skillful means. He was recognized by Drukchen Kunzig Chokyi Nangwa. The baby recited the Sanskrit alphabet. Theckchok Dorje was born in the village of Danang in the Kham region of eastern Tibet. and the histories say that flowers spontaneously blossomed and many rainbows appeared.Thekchok Dorje (1798 .
Pema Kunzang. with the Karmapa passing on teachings to Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche. The Karmapa received teachings and the lineage transmissions from Situ Pema Nyinche Wangpo and Drukchen Kunzig Chokyi Nangwa. Chogyur Lingpa had important visions of future Karmapas. Thekchok Dorje passed into parinirvana at the age of 71. Theckchok Dorje lived very simply and exemplified the ideal monk. He was gifted in poetry and dialectics and participated in the ri-me (nonsectarian) movement. in many of his 83 . Lodrö Thaye (1813-1899) Jamgon Kongtrul the Great. leaving detailed instructions on his next incarnation. a Tibetan form of sacred painting. Lodrö Thaye. in east Tibet. Thekchok Dorje received some tantras from the Nyingma visionary treasure-revealer Chogyur Lingpa and those rituals were subsequently introduced into the Tsurphu calendar. Thekchok Dorje taught widely in Tibet and recognized the tenth Situpa. as well as by the Great Indian Vajra Master. up to the twenty-first. These were noted down and memorialized in a thangka. in the Samadhiraja-sutra. Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye. was born in the village of Rong-gyap in Derge. The fourteenth Karmapa's spiritual heir was the great ri-mé (nonsectarian) master and prolific author. This exchange was particularly intense between the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions. He was enthroned and later ordained by the ninth Tai Situpa.giving the details of his forthcoming reincarnation. Padmasambhava. whereby many noted scholars showed great interest in each others' traditions and teachings. The coming of this great master was prophesized by the Buddha Shakyamuni.
100-118. Lodrö Thaye co-founded the non-sectarian movement in Tibet with the Great Khyentse in 19th century. He became the teacher of the fifteenth Karmapa Khakhyap Dorje. the Great Khyentse. He is renowned as an accomplished master. scholar. Khakhyab Dorje. the best known is the Five Treasuries. giving him the full Kagyu teachings. He not only became one of the greatest masters and the lineage holder of Kagyu School but of all four Schools of Tibetan Buddhism as well as the Bön religion. Among these. and authored and compiled more than 100 volumes of scriptures. writer. his primary teachers were the Fourteenth Karmapa. He became the principal teacher of and gave the full transmission of the lineage to the Fifteenth Karmapa. Treasury of Vast Teachings. made up of The Treasury of Kagyu Mantras. Treasury of Precious Termas. and many other masters of the time. These details about Lodrö Thaye are compiled from Karma Gyaltsen's book called kam tshang yab sras dang dpal spungs dgon pa. Among his many teachers. and artist. poet. and the Treasury of Knowledge. for later revelation). Situ Pema Nyinje Wangpo. Treasury of Key Instructions. pp. May this be virtuous! 84 . He studied and mastered the teachings of the Buddha in general and tantrayana in specific including the Bön religion of Tibet.termas (hidden teachings. Szechwan edition.
Protector of the Land of Snows.Khakyab Dorje (1871 . qualities and activity Of all infinite victorious ones combined. Gyalwang Karmapa.1922) “You are the single embodiment of all the life examples. Blissful Khakhyab Dorje.” The Fifteenth Karmapa —from Supplication To The Karmapas The Fifteenth Karmapa. Khakyab Dorje. we supplicate you. Born with the very auspicious circle of hair between the eyebrows (found on the young Sakyamuni and known as one of the 32 marks of an enlightened being). was born with the very auspicious circle of hair between the eyebrows (found on the young Sakyamuni and known as one of the 32 marks of an enlightened being). Khakyab Dorje spoke the mantra of Avalokiteshvara 85 .
Terchen Chokgyur Lingpa. who also passed on to him the essence of his hundred compositions embracing the profound teachings of all Tibetan Buddhist traditions. He studied with many great masters such as Khenchen Tashi Ozer. He continued his activities of teaching and giving empowerments throughout Tibet. Migyur Wanggi Gyalpo along with Jamgon Kongtrul. linguistics and general Buddhist studies. and Pawo Tsuklak Nyinchey. his closest students were Tai Situ Pema Wangchok Gyalpo. he entrusted a prediction letter to his closest attendant 86 . and had three sons. He grew up receiving a very thorough education from very famous scholars and eventually received the Kagyu transmission from Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye. as well as the fields of medicine. one of whom was recognized as the second Jamgon Kongtrul Palden Khyentse Öser. He was recognized and enthroned by the Kyabgon Drukchen. Khakyab Dorje is the first in the line of Karmapas to get married.at his birth in Sheikor village of the Tsang province in central Tibet. and preserved many rare texts by having them reprinted. art. and Beru Khyentse Lodro Mize Jampe Gocha. Some years before his passing into parinirvana. Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. Jamgon Kongtrul Palden Khyentse Öser. His life was a brilliant example of the bodhisattva with an insatiable desire for learning in order to help other beings. Among many disciples.
He received the extraordinary Kagyu lineage transmissions from the Fifteenth Karmapa and regarded him as the principal teacher. He studied with many great masters of the time including Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye and Khenchen Shenga Rinpoche. Rangjung Rikpe Dorje. he was recognized as the second incarnation of Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye and enthroned at Tsurphu by the 15th Karmapa. educated. and held the ultimate lineage. He was recognized as the eleventh incarnation of Situ Rinpoche and enthroned by the Fifteenth Karmapa. pp. 91-97. These details about Pema Wangchok Gyalpo are compiled from Karma Gyaltsen's book called kam tshang yab sras dang dpal spungs dgon pa. Situ Pema Wangchok later found. east Tibet. and he became accomplished scholar of sutras and tantras. He expanded his teaching activities throughout Tibet and benefited many beings in Tibet and China. At the age of twelve.1953) Pema Wangchog Gyalpo was born in Lithang. Szechwan edition. May this be virtuous! Palden Khyentse Öser (1904 .Pema Wangchok Gyalpo (1886 . the seat of the First Jamgon Kongtrul and studied with excellent masters. and offered the full transmission of the Kagyu lineage to the Sixteenth Gyalwang Karmapa. He spent many years at Tsadra Rinchen Trak. Palden Khyentse Öser was one of the most renowned Mahamudra masters.1953) Palden Khyentse Öser was born at Tsurphu as a son of the 15th Karmapa. He received the full education and lineage transmission from the Karmapa. enthroned. 87 .
Rangjung Rikpe Dorje.He passed the innermost lineage of Mahamudra to the Sixteenth Karmapa. pp. Szechwan edition. 88 . May this be virtuous. 118-26.. These details about Palden Khyentse Öser are compiled from Karma Gyaltsen's book called kam tshang yab sras dang dpal spungs dgon pa.
” The Sixteenth Karmapa —from Supplication To The Karmapas The Sixteenth Karmapa. a place of 89 . You expand the wisdom of omniscience And give glorious bliss to the minds of all beings.1981) “Unerringly seeing the nature of dharmas and dharmata just as it is. Rikpe Dorje. oversaw the establishment of his exile seat in Rumtek. we supplicate at your feet.CHAPTER SEVEN THE DIASPADORA OF TIBET Rangjung Rigpe Dorje (1924 . Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. which he named "The Dharmachakra Center.
his mother had gone to stay in a holy cave. once used by Guru Rinpoche. was born in Denkhok of the Derge province in east Tibet. 90 . the Dalai Lama gave his acknowledgement. The details of the birth coincided precisely with those of a prediction letter given by the Fifteenth Karmapa to his attendant. who then asked Tai Situpa. Rangjung Khyapdak Rigpe Dorje. which set forth the circumstances of this new incarnation. Jampal Tsultrim handed the letter to the authorities at Tsurphu monastery. his mother returned to normal pregnancy size and soon gave birth to this great bodhisattva. Eventually. Jampal Tsultrim. the future Karmapa disappeared entirely from his mother's womb for a whole day. the two foremost disciples of the Fifteenth Karmapa. Those present heard him say to his mother that he would be leaving soon . The day of his birth. The Karmapa received first ordination and then bodhisattva vows from the Tai Situpa and Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche.erudition and spiritual accomplishment. where she waited to give birth. It is said that. at one point at the very end of the pregnancy. and Jamgon Kontrul to clarify certain points. Having received instructions from different masters in Derge that she would bear a great bodhisattva son. Beru Khyentse. the son of a noble family called Athup. The Eleventh Tai Situpa soon recognized the child as being the new reincarnation of the Gyalwang Karmapa and sought confirmation from HH the Dalai Lama. A search party subsequently located the incarnation." YOUTH The sixteenth Gyalwang Karmapa. the seat of the glorious Karmapa. She was accompanied by a Khenpo who instructed her on the cleansing ceremony.
the sixteenth Karmapa was received by the Thirteenth Dalai Lama who performed the "hair-cutting" ceremony. when he was eight years old he received the Vajra Crown and ceremonial robes of the Karmapa brought to him from Tsurphu. by Tai Situpa. the seat of the Karmapas in central Tibet. The Sixteenth Karmapa then studied many sutrayana texts with Gangkar Rinpoche and tantric teachings with Khyentse Rinpoche. On the way to Palpupng Monastery. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and Nenang Pawo Rinpoche. Tai Situpa then accompanied him on the long journey to Tsurphu. After this ceremony the Karmapa was officially enthroned at his main seat of Tsurphu. and many other great masters of the time.While still residing in Derge. by Tai Situpa and the Head of the Drukpa Kagyu school. he is said to have left footprints in solid rock. foreshadowing his publication of the Buddhist cannon in India. T'ai Situ Rinpcohe enthroned him as the Sixteenth Karmapa. where. He received the mahamudra transmission from Jamgon Kongtrul Palden Khyentse Öser. he stopped to visit and bless the Derge Monastic Publishing House. the Dalai Lama had a vision of the everpresent wisdom-crown on the Karmapa's head. He received the full Kagyu lineage transmissions from Tai Situpa Pema Wangchok Gyalpo and Jamgon Kongtrul Palden Khyentse Öser. Soon after his arrival at Tsurphu. in the tradition of the Karmapas and their inconceivable activity.1944 91 . Karmapa then visited the Lithang Pangphuk monastery. 1941 . While so doing. Rangjung Khyabdak Rigpe Dorje. where the new incarnation was greeted by Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche.
the King of Bhutan. During a pilgrimage in southern Tibet. The Sixteenth Karmapa 92 . His Holiness returned to Tsurphu Monastery in Tibet. engaging in many spiritual activities. the Sixteenth Karmapa and other high lamas of Tibet visited China. H. the sixteenth Karmapa accepted an invitation from His Highness Jigme Dorje Wangchuk. 1948 After travelling through Kinnaur (Himachal Pradesh in northern India) and Purang to visit Mount Kailash. and Bodhgaya. The Karmapa and his party then visited Bumthang (in northern Bhutan) and other areas in Bhutan. just inside Nepal where the Buddha was born. the place of Buddha's enlightenment. as well as with India. Tsurphu monastery was extended in size during this period. Benares (Varanasi) where he first taught. 1947 The Karmapa and his party continued their pilgrimage to Nepal. 1954 With His Holiness the Dalai Lama.The 18-year old Karmapa returned to Tsurphu and between 1941 and 1944 spent much time in retreat. India.H. visiting the major places of the Buddha's life: Lumbini. and Sikkim (India). 1944 Beginning in 1944. His Holiness began to strengthen relationships with neighboring Buddhist states in the Himalayan region.
the Karmapa and his party revisited the holy sites of India as pilgrims. the Karmapa visited India. The timing and organization of the departure made for a relatively easy journey to Bhutan. the Bhutanese Buddhist princess. and other precious items of the lineage of the Karmapas. and Ashi Wangmo.500th anniversary of Buddhism.H. His Holiness was unable to accept his invitation at that time but said that he would go there in the future. the General Secretary for His Holiness. the Karmapa strengthened his ties to his disciples Tashi Namgyal. After three 93 . H. a monastery in Sikkim that the ninth Karmapa had founded at the end of the 16th century.H. the King of Sikkim. the Karmapa informed the Dalai Lama of his intention to leave his homeland in the spring of 1959.subsequently returned to Tibet. 1959 Foreseeing the communist Chinese invasion of Tibet. During this visit. and the inevitable destruction of Buddhist institutions in Tibet. The party also carried with them the sacred statues. paintings. reliquaries. left Tsurphu. 1956 The Karmapa and party traveled to Sikkim and from there continued on pilgrimage. the Dalai Lama. when it would be needed. and fled Tibet. the Panchen Lama. The Sixteenth Karmapa. stopping along the way at many monasteries in eastern Tibet. at the invitation of the Mahabodhi Society of India. During this trip. The King of Sikkim invited him to visit Rumtek. to join in the celebration of the 2. The escape was organized by Dhamchoe Yondu. H. and H.H. accompanied by a large entourage.
by 1959 it lay almost in ruins.weeks. although he hoped one day to return to Tibet. the latter occurring after the Karmapa's meeting with Pandit Nehru. Sikkim. Of the several sites proposed by Choegyal Tashi Namgyal. 94 . The Choegyal (King) of Sikkim extended a formal invitation to His Holiness to set up his seat in Sikkim. The Karmapa. The area around Rumtek was also undeveloped and had no facilities for supporting the Karmapa and his party. Although Rumtek monastery had been established many centuries earlier by the ninth Karmapa. The foundation stone of the new monastic center was laid by the new King of Sikkim. teachers and community lived in temporary quarters for many years. who had assumed responsibility for the kingdom after the previous Choegyal had passed away. Dhamchoe Yongdu. The Karmapa stated that Rumtek could be his seat outside Tibet. It was funded primarily through the generosity of the Sikkimese royal family and of the Indian government. The Karmapa and his party left Gangtok for Rumtek shortly after the Choegyal extended his offer to settle in Rumtek. and two months after entering Bhutan the party arrived in Gangtok. the party arrived safely in northern Bhutan. while His Holiness gathered resources to begin construction of new facilities to support his monastic seat and the lay people surrounding the monastery. 1962 Construction of a new monastery and other facilities for the Karmapa's monastic seat in Rumtek began in earnest three years later. Construction was led by the General Secretary for His Holiness. where the most senior Bhutanese government officials received them. the Karmapa chose to settle at Rumtek.
elders of many traditions and people from the world of arts. 1976-77 His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa again traveled to the West for a more extended visit. and Europe. 1960's . follwed by a wide-ranging world tour. gave empowerments. the Sixteenth Karmapa set out on his first world tour. visiting the United States. the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa officially inaugurated the new seat called "The Dharmachakra Center. heads of religion. he performed the Vajra Crown ceremony in the Western hemisphere for the first time. Canada. and dispensed dharma advice.H.H. On Tibetan New Year's day (losar) H. H.H. He visited religious centers in four continents and met heads of state." 1974 H.1966 Construction of the monastery was completed in four years and the sacred items and relics brought out from Tsurphu were installed there. the seat of the glorious Karmapa. Accompanied by other teachers. the Sixteenth Karmapa flew to Rome and met with His Holiness the Pope Paul VI.1970's 95 . a full entourage of monks and other staff. a place of erudition and spiritual accomplishment. 1975 In mid-January.
His Holiness' kudung (body) was flown back to India.H. the Sixteenth Karmapa passed away into parinirvana at the American International Clinic in Zion. His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa began his last world tour.H. H. and Southeast Asia. 96 . 20. The Centre was envisioned as a study. and engaged in many beneficent activities. The Karmapa strengthened his ties with Bhutan over these early decades. audiences. USA. Vajra Crown Ceremonies. 1980-81 In May 1980. Dec. 1979 On November 28th. travelling through Greece. H. gave teachings. near Chicago.The Karmapa was given a palace and a large piece of land upon which to establish a major monastery by the royal family of Bhutan. interviews. England. the Sixteenth Karmapa laid the ground for the construction of Karmae Dharma Chakra Centre southeast of New Delhi. 5th 1981 H.H. Indian dignitaries and several thousand of his disciples from all over the world attended the services. 1981 Karmapa's cremation ceremony took place in Rumtek monastery. the United States. During this tour. at a ceremony attended by the President and Prime Minister of India. and translation center . Nov. empowerments. Illinois. meditation.
Ogyen Trinley Dorje 97 . Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche. Dhamchoe Yongdu. He requested Shamar Rinpoche. 1981 The reliquary box ("Jangchub Chorten") for the sacred relics of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa A general Karma Kagyu meeting was held in Rumtek at the request of Mr. the General Secretary to the 16th Karmapa. Tai Situ Rinpoche. He also asked them to locate Karmapa's instructions concerning his next rebirth and thus bring forward his next incarnation. The four Rinpoches accepted the task and expressed their sincere desire to fulfil the wishes of the Sixteenth Karmapa. 21.Dec. The Seventeenth Karmapa. and Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche to form a council of regents to take joint responsibility for the spiritual affairs of the Karma Kagyu lineage.
Throughout the centuries. Karmapas have been the central figure in the continuation of the vajrayana lineage in general and Kagyu lineage in particular. Pursuant to this tradition. the arrival of a Buddhist master who would be known as the Karmapa had been prophesied by the historic Buddha Shakyamuni and the great tantric master of India. Guru Padmasambhava. Prior to the birth of the first Karmapa." In the Tibetan tradition. great enlightened teachers are said to be able to consciously arrange to be reborn as a teacher who can carry on the teachings of a predecessor in a prior life. as of the present. and all have played the most important role in preserving and propagating the Buddhist teachings of Tibet.Ogyen Trinley Dorje (1985 - The Seventeenth Karmapa ) Karmapa means "the one who carries out buddha-activity" or "the embodiment of all the activities of the Buddhas. nirmanakaya). this form of manifestation body (Skt. for seventeen 98 . the Karmapas have incarnated in lifetimes. and have played a very important role in the preservation of the study and practice lineages of Buddhism.
Apo Gaga did not talk of any connection to the Karmapas. In Tibet. Apo Gaga was discovered to be the Seventeenth Karmapa. and a mysterious conch-like sound was heard by many throughout the valley in which the family of the infant lived. and for the 17th. In the months prior to his birth. While his early years seemed. full of blessing. he would soon return to Tsurphu again. it became clear that these predictions applied to his successor. Tibet. the Sixteenth Karmapa wrote many poems. The young nomad was called Apo Gaga. to his family. The birth and the other details of Apo Gaga's life matched the predictions of the letter. predicting that though he would leave his traditional main seat in Tsurphu. On the day of his birth. in 1992. After the death of the 16th Karmapa. the 19th Century master Chogyur Lingpa made a number of predictions about the lives of the Karmapas. Ogyen Drodul Trinley Dorje. that his root teacher would be HE Situ Rinpoche. a cuckoo landed on the tent in which he was born. his mother had wonderful dreams during her pregnancy. or songs. followers of the Sixteenth Karmapa came to that valley pursuant to the secret instructions of the Sixteenth Karmapa. contained in his letter of prediction. he asked his family to move the location of their nomadic home to another valley. Soon after setting up their home in the new location. and told them to expect a visit from traveling monks. In addition to his letter of prediction. Furthermore. and that he would study in India.Birth and Early Years of the 17th Karmapa In 1985 a male infant was born into a nomad family in the Lhatok region of Eastern Tibet. such events are considered auspicious portents of the birth of an enlightened teacher. However. Chogyur Lingpa's predictions matched 99 .
Since these predictions were to be fulfilled in themselves without recognition by any other master. learned ritual.000 supplicants assembled to witness the return of His Holiness Karmapa. 1992. over 20. some 25.the details of His Holiness's birth. He eventually began to offer empowerments and participated in various rituals at the monastery. it is traditionally said that the Karmapa is "self-recognized.000 people filed before His Holiness to receive a personal blessing. At the age of about 10. At Tsurphu. Tibet in June 1992. the Karmapa studied the Buddhist sciences of mind. such as dance. he donned ritual clothing and approached on horseback The Seventeenth Karmapa did in fact return to Tolung Tsurphu Monastery in Central Tibet in 1992. The following morning. His Holiness 100 . and practiced sacred arts. with the permission of the Chinese government." The Karmapa's Return To Tsurphu In Tibet. where he was enthroned on September 27. The Historic Seat Of The Karmapas In His Holiness's historic return to Tsurphu Monastery. Each day he received hundreds of visitors from throughout Tibet and around the world. At Tsurphu.
While His Holiness was at Tsurphu. train and taxi. 2000 101 . and residences that had severely decayed and been neglected over the years.recognized the rebirth of reincarnate teachers. including such eminent teachers as Pawo Rinpoche. the monastery underwent extensive rebuilding to restore the temples. helicopter. 2000 After months of careful planning. he and a handful of attendants left Tibet for India. To fulfill his spiritual duty. but was unable to do so fully because many of the Kagyu lineage teachers remained in India. however. Leaving Tsurphu Monastery with a handful of attendants. shrines. Karmapa's Journey to India His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa meets His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the first time upon his arrival in Dharamsala on January 5. instead donned civilian garb. the fourteen-yearold Karmapa pretended to enter into a solitary retreat. On January 5. and slipped out a window. a heroic journey which was to become the stuff of headlines throughout the world. a shedra. fulfilling one of the main duties of a Karmapa. As the years went by. on December 28. horseback. His Holiness sought to receive the empowerments and transmissions of the lineage. stupas. he began a daring journey by car. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and the Dabzang Rinpoche. foot.
In 2008. India.org. He has been permitted by Indian governmental authorities to engage in tours to Buddhist sites in India. His Holiness continued to live near Dharamsala. Tibetan settlements in southern India. to the great surprise and overwhelming joy of the world. His Holiness received permission to travel to the United States to teach the dharma for his first time in the West. and annually traveled to Bodhgaya and Sarnath for important Kagyu ceremonies over which he presides. He received refugee status from the government of India in 2001. From 2000 through 2007. His Holiness still awaits permission from the Indian authorities to leave Dharamsala and return to Rumtek Monastery. where he was met by His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. He has also travelled to Ladakh. Information about His Holiness's extensive activities since his arrival and his current schedule are also available at www. 102 . in Dharamsala. An index of activities in India provides chronological links to detailed information about His Holiness's travels.org.kagyu.he arrived. the traditional seat of the Karmapas in India. Information about His Holiness historic first visit to the West is at www.karmapavisit. Calcutta and elsewhere in Himachal area.
India. the practitioner would head of for retreat 103 . traditions and practices. In Tibetan Buddhism. the novice practitioner will study the teachings or sutras for up to twenty years before gaining instruction into the esoteric practices of tantra. or non-referential teachings. or ultimate bodhichitta. That is why it is considered so important to compliment the sutras (written words of The Buddha) with the esoteric instructions of tantra (continuity of transmission from teacher to student). Then with these pointing out instructions. And as the written word can be translated in many different ways. Typically.CONCLUSION Buddhism has many faces. Shakyamuni. and they are both legitimate practices. But ultimately. there are two approaches to gaining insight. over time. One trandition stresses theory before practice. they all stretch back to the teachings or words of the historical Buddha. and the writings and practices of tantra being largely mysterious. That is why it is so important to have the direct experience of a realized master who has a conceptual understanding of these non-conceptual. and the realizations that he experienced 2560 years ago in Bodgaya. for an adequate level of transmission to withstand the ravages of 2560 years is next to impossible without oral commentary to supplicate the written word. meanings can be distorted and erroneous practices can arise. and each word can have many literal translations. With the history of Vajrayana Buddhism being mostly esoteric.
having gained insight into the unltimate nature of reality and mind.and practice what was introduced for the next 12 years. and allow for profound realizations on the ultimate nature of mind and reality to be realized much quicker. there exists many practices. This approach is direct and ideal for people who don’t have years to spend in study or in solitude. The lineage of understanding that arises in this tradition is supported by just enough theory to push deeper while maintaining experience as the leading edge. The realizations gained in experiential learning are then translated into a direct experience of the unborn qualities of mind that lay at the heart of esoteric Buddhist philosophy. Then. This approach is also ideal for practitioners of higher capacity for dharmic understanding. where theory arises from experience itself. to the Mahayana paths of Central Asia that stress the more altruistic approach to Buddhist learning and the ultimate emptiness of all phenomina. paths and views of Buddhism in the world today. The time spent on solitary retreat becomes a vehicle to deepen the realizations attained in the practice. The other tradition stresses practice before theory. Fortunately. This then leads the practitioner to begin teaching earlier than in the previous model. 104 . the practitioner would return from solitary retreat and begin to teach. From the Theravadin paths of Southeast Asia that stress the more rigid practices of renunciation and monastic vows.
may the merit generated by this book free all beings.When we reach the high plateau of Asia. we find the practices of the more esoteric level of Buddhism. or Vajrayana. old age. Tantra) of instruction from one generation to the next. These teachings and practices are only around today because of the intense dedication of the practioners to the strict discipline of practice and maintaining the continuity (skt. Then from the stormy seas of birth. solidly in place. I for one. in Tibet and Mongolia. sickness and death and the rocky existence of samsarice suffering. Tashi Dalek!! 105 . and humbly supplicate them all to continue teaching so that all sentient beings may benefit from their wisdom. wrong actions that arise from our deludedminds. am in gratitude for those who came before me and those who currently hold the lineage stream of such profound philosophical and spititual realizations. Additionally. I would like to dedicate the merit so that all may obtain omniscience and learn to defeat the enemy.
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