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The History of Karrnapas the Sixteen of Tibet

The Fourth Karma Thinleypa Edited with on essot, David Stotr b1, Illustrated b)' Namkha Tashi Foreworcl by Chogl,ant Trungpa Introduction by Reginald A. Rat,

re8o Prajfrd Press BouLDER

PusrrcnrIoNs, INc. SHnr"rnuer-e Honiculrural Fla.ll Avenue 300 Massachusetts 021 Boston,Massachusetts l 5 @ 1980by Norbu Publications All rights reserved. pan of rlis book may be reproducedin any form or by any No including photocopying,recording,or by any nreans, electronicor mechanical, system, information st(,rage and rerrieval without permissionin writing from the publisher. Printed in the United States America of Distributed in the United Sntes by Random House, Inc., and in Canadaby Random House of CanadaLtd


Karma Thinley, l-ama \?'angchhim. 'fhe histoqy of the sixteen Karmapas of Tibet. l. Kar-ma-pa lamas-Tibet-Biography. I. Ston, David. II. Tide. 2. Kar-ma-pa (Sect)-History.

BQ/682.9.MK285 294.3',61',0922 ISBN t-s7062-644-8 I l v ( i0 l


Foreword Preface I ntroduction The Historicaland TheoreticalBackground l. KarmapaDusum Khyenpa 2. Karmapa Karma Pakshi 3. Karmapa RangjungDorje 4. Karmapa Rolpe Dorje 5. Karmapa Dezhin Shegpa 6. Karmapa Thongwa Donden 7. Karmapa Chodrag Gyatsho 8. KarmapaMikyo Dorje 9. Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje 10. Karmapa Choying Dorje I l. KarmapaYesheDorje 12. Karmapa ChangchubDorje 13. KarmapaDudul Dorje 14. KarnrapaThegchogDorje 15. Karmapa Khakhyab Dorje 16. Karmapa RangjungRigpe Dorje Notes Glossury Bibliography


viii I 2l 4l 47 55 6l 7l 79 83 89 97 103 109

lt7 t2l t25 t29 137 t43 r50


t TH E pRACTI CI NG LI NEAG E of t he Kagyu t r adit ionr em ains hecr own Buddhistwor ld. The exam ples and lif e st yles of j ew el of t he cont em plat ive pr such of t his t r adit ion haveinspir edcount less act it ioner s, greatte acher s that their lives could be further devoted to meditative disciplines.The Karmapas are particularly the great pillars of the Kagyu tradition, who t haveenabledt he pr act icinglineage o cont inuein spit eof polit ical,social and eco nom icobst acles. is K ar m a Thinley,Rinpoche, a ver y closeir iend ant !st udentof m ine.I t his appreciat e insightand wisdom in r evealing o us t he t r ue st or ies t he of o l i neage f t he Kar m apas.No doubt t his book will benef itit s r eader s;hey t shoul d read it wit h inspir at ionand devot ion. I remain a servantand propagator of the Kagyu tradition,


Y ajracaryathe Venerable Chcigl'am1-rungpa,Rinpoche Boulder, Colorado 2 l F e b r u a r v1 9 8 0


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"The teachings of the Karmapas will last as long as the teachingsof a thousand Buddhos." -Karma Pakshi

THE GREAT TERTON, Choryur Lingpa, predicted that the sixteenth or Karmapa would one day crossthe ocean.True to his predictionthe seventeenth teachingsof the sixteenth Karmapa have spread to reach the Western continent. In fact, Gyalwa Karmapa has now traveled twice around the world and numerous given teachingsand initiations to many followers and established Kagyu centers. In Tibet there were nine Buddhist sectsthat followed the teachingsof the hln aydna, mahdyfuru and voir ay futa: G elugpa,founded by the M afrjuSriemanation, Tsongkhapa; Nyingmapa, founded by Vajracirya Padmasambhava, King Trisong Detsun and Abbot Sdntaraksita;Kadampa, founded by At-ria and Gyalwa Dromtonpa; Sakyapa,founded by Drogmi Lotsawaand Konchog Gyalpo; Kagyupa, founded by Ndropa and Marpa Lotsawa; Chod ("Cutting Through Ego"), founded by the lady siddhd, Machig l-abkyi Dronma; Shijay ("Pacifying Suffering"), founded by Dampa Sanrye; ShangpaKagyu, founded by Khyungpo Naljor; and the Urgyen Nyendrup, founded by the mahdsiddha and pa4lita, Urgyenpa Rinchen Pal. At presentsurviving in strengthare the Gelugpa,Sakyapa,Kagyupa and Nyingmapa. All follow the same basic teachingsof Buddhism brought from India to Tibet at the price of great material and human resourcesover the centuries. are holders of vajrayfutatransmissionsfrom Basically all of these sec'ts down to the guru. The loma is in fact a manifestationof Vajradhara and passed Vajradhara and, therefore, of very great importance. That is why in the past Tibetan Buddhism has beenreferredto by someas "lamaism.'The term refers to this aspectof Tibetan Buddhism. lf you study one sect then you will understand all sects.There are no A in important differences their teachings. Tibetan proverb saysthat when you

yours. Similarly whichthe casta flower into the ma4tqlala, deity it landson is from becomes most imporlant to teachings you first meetand take everlineage of the correctlyand receive transmission the you. you must learnits teachings It is also important to know the history of the lineage. There are many books on the lives of the Karmapaswritten in Tibetan. I of askedme to retellthe life stories the Karmapas. am euite ofterrpeoplehave but new that would be betterthan existinghistories not ableto do something Out of several ago and are not complete. rverewritten centuries someof these them into Englishwith storiesfrom eachlife and translated books I collecred was then McCann. The manuscript the help of StanleyFeffermanand John at in editedby Jampa Thaye (David Stott;, who is engaged Ph.D. research the University of Manchester.Namkha Tashi (Christopher Banigan) did the the of afterthe mostfamouspaintings the Kagyulineage, work of illustrations, brought by SangyeNyenpa Rinpochefrom Kham as a Karshu Gonpo Dorje, gift to the sixteenthKarmaPa. As In the Wesrthereare many Kagyu lamasand students. a gift to those in interested the Karma Kagyu lineageand devotedto Gyalwa Karmapa we I stories the first sixteenKarmapaincarnations. of and translated havecollected of an to thisbook helps introduce understanding thestudyand trainingof hope thebodhisattvaand of how the lineagehasbeentransmittcdfrom the beginning up to now. EachKarmapa hashad a slightlydifferentelfectasa bodhisattvain order to help sentientbeings.Whatevermerit gainedfrom havingdone this is dedicated our world family-that it might havepeace, to freedom happiness, from sickness, and starvationand the completeachievement enlightenwar of ment and the bodhisattvastate.


THE BIOGRAPHIES contained in this volume may strike the reader as impenetrable to They comefrom the alienand seemingly strange, saythe least. and literary idiom of world of medievatTibet. They are castin the psychological a country and culture which, more than any other, have symbolizedfor the bizarreand fantastic.In Westernworld everythingthat is incomprehensible, modern times, Tibet has come to representthe mirror opposite of the experiencewe as Westernershave of our world. In approachingthesestoriesthen, one may well ask, why bother?What possiblevalue can such taleshave for us Westerners? The answerwould seemto dependa greatdealon the reader.Certainly,on the most superficiallevel,we can read thesestoriesas fanciful tales.As we have with the religious literature of other non-Westernpeoples,we can read these biographiesfor the play of imagination they alliw. We can look to them for intimations of another world and for the entry they provide into realmsof magic and mysterythat ordinarily eludeus in our day to day lives.As psychologistsand students culture havesuggested, is no insignificantfunction. Far of this from being pure entertainment,storiesof this kind can provide neededrelief from theclaustrophobia the completely of familiar and unextraordinary world we too often experience. If we want to go further, we may find somethingmore in thesestories.As cultural anthropologistsin this century have shown, storiessuchas thesefrom non-Westernspiritual traditions are more than expressions fantasy. They of embody forms of experienceand expressionof the culture from which they come. In this volume we are confronted-in some very real sense-with what the world of the traditional Tibetan was like. We may find the atmosphere, eventsand people depicted in thesebiographiesrather singular and unlikely, but in fact they representthe natural state of affairs in medievalTibet. These storiesprovide a window into this medievalworld with its peculiarly Tibetan idioms, valuesand interests.Of course,to gain some intuition into this world

Tsn HrsroRy oF rnr SrxrErN KnnuApAS


and to begin to appreciateit, we needto put asidefor a moment our Western canonsof what is realand what is not. But in this day and age,sucha suspension of judgment is not as hard as it used to be. And, the reward of seeing how in differently the world can be experienced other cultural contextswould seem to be well worth the effort. Cultural anthropology stopsat this point of appreciation,but one can go The oft quoted line further, and this leavesus with the most difficult of issues. *East is East and West is West and neverthe twain shall from Rudyard Kipling, meet,'l is more than an aphorism. It is a fundamentalassumptionand presuF position that is deeplyrooted in Westernconsciousness. Anyone who works in the field of non-Western religion as anthropologist or orientalist is acutely aware of the general paranoia existing in our culture of non-Western peoples and traditions. In looking at non-Western traditions this is bestexemplified by the scholarly attempt to maintain objectivity by *not getting too close' or compromising one's identity as a Westerner.Even C. G. Jung, for all of his his appreciationof non-Westernspirituality, frequentlyexpressed fear that too intimate a contact with non-Western traditions would lead to an unhealthy and inaccuraciesof rejection of our identity as Westerners.The excesses pseudo-Asiancultists in this culture would seemto justify this Western paranoia of Asian spirituality. However, thesetwo approaches-that of the scepticalscholar who rejects such intimacy out of hand or that of the cultist who thinks he can becomea Hindu or a Tibetan-both fail to explore the really interestingand significant question. Does the kind of spiritual world described in, for example, the Tibetan religion of these biographiesexist solely and exclusivelywithin the Tibetan frame of reference?Or does it have some implication beyond that, In which teststhe boundariesof our Westernexperience? other words, do the in psychological and spiritual limits of our Westernreality inhere necessarily the very make-up of ounelves and our culture or are they to some extent self imposed? This is the most hasic and fundamental of questions, and how we answer it will determine the way in which we read these stories, and what we find in them.

of the word. All biographies are not biographiesin our modern Westernsense particular view of what is significant.Unlike most basedon a are serective, the which depictprimarily secularevents, biograWesternbiographies modern of Tibetan phiesof the Karmapasconcerna certain fundamentaldimension relationship, life, namely the connectionbetweenman and the divine-their To say this is not to saymuch, unless and their communication. their tensions which the life was realizethat these stories actually recount the way in we as the Karmapas. in experienced traditionalTibet, particularlyby figuressuch individuals,the main thread running through their lives,was their For these with the spiritualworld. And the centralmomentsin thisinteraction interaction were their visions.One could well say that to tell the story of the significant with the understandin events the life of a Karmapa is to recountthosevisions, ing they embody and the activity they produce.In fact, it is thosevisionsthat form the main subjectmatter of thesebiographies' spiritualexperiences This beingso, somethingshouldbe saidabout these the Karmapabiographies. and the way in which theyprovidethe foundationof According to the t,ajrayfutatradition-the form of Buddhism which the to Karmapasrepresent-the subjecthas two aspects it: first, the preparation to that must take placein order for an individual to be receptive such expein Buddhistmeditationthroughwhich progressive the training riences; second, training one's insight and intuition are actually developed. This progressive occursin threestages, conventionallylabeledin Buddhistterminologyhinayuta (the lesser vehicle),nrahdT,futa greatervehicle)and vajral,futa(thediamond (the vehicle). order to properlyunderstand visionsof the Karmapaswe need In the to look briefly at this preparation and \hree-yuta" meditation training. The first point that needsto be made is that the '\,isions" that play so central a role in thesebiographies in a way quite ordinary and down to are earth.Unlike the experience the Westernmysticwho is sweptinto unearthly of realms,the spiritualinsights the Karmapasconcernthe mundanerealities of of human life. In fact, they represent overtonesof ordinary experience the that are usually hidden from the eye.This point is important, because is consistent it with the generalBuddhistview that there is no other reality than that which presents itselfimmediately experience. to Evendescriptions deities discusof or sions of buddha-realmsare nothing other than ways of talking about the subletiesof actual, literal experience it is always at hand. as At the same time, much of the teaching of the Karmapas' vajraydna Buddhist tradition is described as'self-secret.'This refersto the fact that while peopleoutsideof the tradition may readits texts,generally their literal import

Tltc Visiotts of the Kumryos The biographies that follow are not easyto read, and a few guidelinesare necessary orient the reader to their style and contents.To begin with, these to


INrnonucrtou that vipaSyand' begin to occur. Thesegapsbring a clarity.of insight, processes or expectatlons' by is not contaminated preconceptions Simply the ordinary experience? in is it that appears the vipo|.y,and What complexity and its unending world, in its infinite detail, its multitudinous thoughts,the nature of situations' sights,sensations, interrelation.Sounds, free all show themselves, from one'shopes one,sown and others'motivations, to stand out starkly in one's begins and fears.The world in its many facets cutsthrough In Buddhisttradition,it is said that this experience experience. the it reveals world as it actuallyis, not as onethinks or wantsit to .go br.uuse versionol thingsis shownup one'sown personal light of this experience, and unconinsubstantial, one'sown erroneous, for what it is: not reality,but enlightenment, because vincing thought. It is also said to be the first tasteof what is seen has nothing to do with ego. When the following biographies mention the hlnayfutatraining of Dusum Khyenpa, RangiungDorje and the in of other Karmapas,they are referringto this first stage the development the 'aision.' Karmapas' When liinaydna training is firmly rooted and vipaiyand has begun to that of the patterns, next levelof trainingbegins, the ordinary,egoistic challenge or "great vehicle." Whereas in vipaiyond the world is seenin its ntahdydna the detail and complexity, in the mahayanavision of iftn.tatri (emptiness), groundlessness experience of beginsto stand out. For all of its sharpness and clarity, hinaydna vipaiyand has its limitations. The practicesleading to it are carried out for one's own sake, one's individual salvation.It also conveys implicitly the impressionthat somethingdefinite has been achieved,and it providesa restingplace-albeit refinedand subtle--for one to cling to. In short, hinaydnacarrieswith it a subtleversionof ego. It replaces grossegotismwith a more spiritualversionof ego'sterritory.And it lrasits orvn kind of hope and fear-hope of further vipai.yandexpenence and fear of falling back into the ignoranceof sarVsdric neurosis. The next levelof training, that of the mahdyfuta, seeksto work through the subtle spiritual clinging of the hrnavana.How can such an aim be accomplished? The answeris through further renunciation. Here,the goal of freeingoneself msarpsdra,of fro attainingcertainexperiences, and of finding a reference point in vipai.yand must alr be abandoned.And, again,suchan aim cannot be accomplished simply through recognitionof the problem, but must be achievedbit by bit through meditation practice. The mahaydna practiceis called lojong (Tib.: blo.sbyong), "mind training," and it hastwo aspects, absoluteand the other relative. one The absolute practiceinvolvescontinuing with the sitting practiceof meditation.Through

remains well-hidden. One might think that this self-secrecy exists because a of technical reason such as, for example, a lack of familiarity with traditional idioms or vocabulary. But, actually, the reasonlies in quite another direction. The K '",napas'tradition existsto provide access a direct insight into reality, to into *t;ungs as they are" (yathdbhiltom), as it is technically phrased.And, as we have noted, this *reality" is not the abstract reality of another sphere,but rather the concrete reality that continually presentsitself asexperience.Why, one may ask, should something seemingly so natural and so ordinary be secret?The answeris simple. Reality, accordingto Buddhism, is notgraspedby thought. It is ratherseen only by a mind that is clear, open and without preoccupation. But where is such a mind found? In fact, it is the habitual tendency of the human mind to be taken up with plans, views and projects.Driven on by the hope of gaining and the fear of losing, the mind is never still, but always on the move. This ceaseless activity never gves intuition room to develop,and intuition is itself the gateway to the world *as it is." The raison detre of the Karmapas' tradition is to provide peoplewith a path to transcending self-absorptionof the preconceptionsand preoccupations,so that intuition may unfold and the world as it is may show itself without stain. Until that path is entered,the world "as it is'remains secret. The fint step in the development of insight-and a theme that runs throughout the Karmapa biographies-is renunciation. Renunciation is based on the awarenessthat human beingsconstantly avoid seeingthings as they are, preferring instead to strike for comfort, security and confirmation. Growing recognition of the incessantself-seekingmachinationsof ego leadsto increasing disgust with the whole process,and a longing to let it go. Renunciation is the initial inspiration for working on oneself to eliminate selfdeception. In the Buddhist tradition, it is said that simply recognizing the problem is not enough to achievethe goal. One must work on oneselfthrough practicesthat train the mind. For Buddhism, this work is carried out through the practice of meditation. It is this practice that develops the increasing clarity of vision that is describedin the training of the threeydnas. And it is this practice that forms the heart of the Karmapas' own journey and of what they have to teach others. The first level of vision or insight is called vipaiyand or 'tlear seeing,' developed through the meditative practices of the h'mayota. The practice of htnaydnais to sit cross-legged, and to rest one'sattention lightly on on'sbreath, with awareness of one's environment. Through this simple practice, one's thought processes-which in the beginning are incessantand without breaksbegn to slow down. After a great deal of practice, gaps in one's thought

Tsn HrsroRy oF rHE SrxrEnNKenuepes this practice, one begins to gain more familiarity with the unconditioned, non-egodimension of the mind, termed absolutebodhicitta(entightened mind). This leadsto lessfear of agitatedand anxious statesof mind, and one beginsto sense unconditioned quality presentthroughout one'sexperience, the whether otherwise. This undercuts the apparent duality between sarytsdra saryrsdric or and nirvdna, and gives rise to the experience of groundlessness, without any referencepoints at all. Inseparablefrom the absolute practice is the relative practice,called relative bodhicitta, in which-through *meditation in action'the practitioner works with other people. The relative practice is grounded in the trust and insight that is developedin the absolutepracticeand, moving into the sphereof activity, is aimed at trying to help others. The practiceinvolves continually giving up personalterritory and assistingothers in whateverway one can. Insteadof blaming others,one takesthe blameof situationson oneself. Instead of avoiding their problems,one takes on their pain. Insteadof seeking good for oneself,one seeks gain of others,in particular, and most especially, the their liberation from sorsdra. Through this demandingpractice,one beginsto realize that the instinct for sellsurvival can be transcendedin favor of something much broader and more expansive. Having abandoned the reference point evenof one'sown spiritual survival and advancementby working for the in salvation of others, one attains the same groundlessness action that one practice, with no referencepoints whatever. When the attained in sitting following biographies speak of the mahdyfuta training of the Karmapas, they are referring to this training. In the Buddhist tradition of the Karmapas, the hinayfuta and mahdyfuta training provide foundation and preparation for the vajrayfura or tantric vehicle itself. From the viewpoint of this highest Buddhist teaching,just as the hrnaydno had its limitations and required further renunciation, so the same thingcan be said of the mahityma. The strength of the mahaymais its discovery of groundlessness and absolute nonreferencepoint. But, according to the vajrayfura, this discovery in itself becomesa preoccupation. In a tremendously subtle way, a processof discrimination, selection and distortion is still taking place. Experienceis evaluatedaccording to whether or not it is without ground. If it is not, then according to the mahdyfura,it is lacking in spirituality, and must be corrected by the viewpoint of itmyotd. Here, according to the vajraybta, is the samedualism that was frrund in the hinayfuta,albeit on a much more subtle level: tfus vajraybta criticism is framed in an analogy by the great tantric poet Saraha:

INrnopucrtoN purified He who doesnot enjoythesenses onlYtheVoid' And Practices Is likea bird thatfliesup from a ship Anclt henwheelsr oundandlandsbackt her eagain. z take place as one enters the Further renunciation must to the mahdywtaadherence iinyataand bewilling must seerhestickingpoint of the duality of spiritual and unspiritual.Even the to abandon atrachmentto point must be given up. If this is done,what is ,.r.r.n". point of no reference no preconceptions, expectations, as left?Simply experience it is in itself,with no simply showsitself for what it is, with its particular no evaluations.Experience textures ancl overtones.As the vairayfutatradition says, shapeand contours, emptithe rightly seenpossesses qualitiesof nowness, the world ol'experience The nownesscomesfrom hrnayfuratrainness,luminosity ancl resplendency. and ing, still in full force. Having seenthe distinction betweenexperience and no longer back to the present, knows how to bring oneself thoughts,one lives in past memory or future expectation.The emptinesscomes from mahiydna training, whereone haslearnedhow to overcomelongingfor solid refersspecificallyto the vajrayfota. ground. The luminosity and resplendency whenone no longerhasthoughtsabout things, The world is luminousbecause, it because is sacred, The they appearwith greatvividness. world is resplendent and and is filled with awesomeness power. As in the previousydnas, the full realization of the vajraydnois not accomplishedwithout thorough and arduous training. As in the mahfo,futa, vajraltfutapracticehas both an absoluteor'Tormless'and a relativeor'Torm" aspect. The formlesspracticeinvolvescontinued'Tormless'meditation ofjust sitting, and exploring emptiness more completely.The form aspecthas two relatedtypesof practice, one a kind of sittingmeditation,the other meditation in action. Both of thesehave to do with the vajral,futadevotis or deities,and this topic requires explanation. In the vajrayfota, one'sown unconditioned intelligence--discovered the mahdydna-isgiven a visual and iconographic in form. This is doneto enableoneto relatedirectlywith this intelligence, beyond the trammels of ego. This is known as visualizingoneselfas the devatd. Secondly,the external world is figured also in the form of a devar4 to underline and embodyits sacredness. devatdthatis oneself and the devatdas the The externalworld are,moreover,the samedeity, and this brinp up a point we shall explore further below: that one's innermost world and that of external

TUE HrsroRy oF rHn SlxrnrN KenruApAs phenomenaarenot two, but rather two expressions one reality. In the form of practice of the vajrayfuta, both sitting meditation and meditation in action, oneselfand the external world are seenas the devata Formlessand form practice are bound together in the understanding that the devatd has two aspects: one of form, the other formless.The path of the vojrayfuta involves developing more and more complete trust in experience-form and formless-as the reality of the devatd-in other words as complete, perfect and without stain. The biographies that follow are, as noted above, filled with accounts of 'visions'of deities.The foregoingshould suggestwhatkind of visionstheseare. They are embodiments of the individual's own deepest,unconditioned intelligenceand of the sacredness the world itself. To seethe devatdsisto encounter of these elemental aspectsof existenoe.When selfdoubt arises, the devatds pro. vide some more profound understanding. When confusion about the world holds sway, the devatdsspeakfor the simplicity and dignity of things asthey are. The reason that each Karmapa has so much to do with the vajrayfuta deitiesis that he speaksfor the basicand unimpeachabledignity of human beingsand for the goodnessof the world. In the stories that follow, we seethe Karmapas engagedin teaching their studentsthe path to the realization of thesefacts. And we seethem working with situations of social and political chaosand suffering, to restoreharmony, mutual respectand happiness. one readsthrough these As stories with their play back and forth between Hisions'and activity, it is essential keep in mind the intimate relation existing betweenthe two: because to the Karmapas seethe good of peopleand of the world, they havea vision to be actualizedin social and political realms. Because their relation to the devatds, of as expressions of unconditioned, egolessintelligence and the "isness' of the world, they have the penonal resourcesto actualize that vision. Vision, then, in the sense usedin thesestories,hasquite a different meaning from the common usagein the history of religions. The vision of the Karmapas, based on their lfinaybta, mahdydna and vojrayfuta training, is actually profound insight into what is, rather than into what could or should be. It is this 'isness,' of the egoless intelligene of people and the sacredness the world, of that givesthe Karmapas'vision so much significanceand so much power. Their mission is to bring out in the world what is already there-to teach people their basicgoodnessand to teach respectfor the sacredness what is. It is this vision, of along with the practice to realizeit, that make the Karmapas such singular and exceptional people, and make their biographies worthy of study. Mogic


of the earthy and realisticnature of the visions The precedingelucidarion quite resolveall of our major difficultiesin attemptof the Karmapasdoesnot That point havingbeenmade'a question ing to undrrsiandthcsebiographies' itself.If the realizationand teachingof the Karmapasis presents immediatery in tune with "things as they are,'then what possible really so ordinary and so for the prominent role played by magic in these explanationcan there be showsthemto befilled with accounts of these For stories? evencursoryreading displays.According to the biographies,Dusum Khyenpa all kinds of magScal miraculously traveled to Ceylon where he receivedteachingfrom the MahdH. siddha Vajraghaqrla. was also known for his extraordinary healingpowers. Karma pakshi wasableto movea hugestatuemerelythrough the power of his meditation.RangjungDorje wasableto speakon the day of his birth. He also gainedmasteryof the field of astrologyand wrotr: a classic,rn the subjectafter containedwithin his body. As well,he is remembered the seeing entireuniverse climatic conditions.Rolpe Dorje for having the ability to changedeleterious .clear,detailed, and accuratememories of his life in his previous manifested merelyby meditating incarnation.He wasalsoableto healhimselfof sickness the on Bhaisajyaguru, medicinebuddha. Dezhin Shegpaexhibited the power of reading others'thoughts.When he visited the Ming emperor, Yung Lo, material objects appearedin space,apparitions of arhats were seenwalking through the streets, monk was observedflying through the sky, a rain of a flowers fell on the emperor'spalace,and the clouds took on the form of vajraydnadeities.Thongwa Donden knew the date of his death well beforeits occurrence. Chodrag Gyatsho through his vision was able to locate certain hidden valleysasa refugee during political conflict. Mikyo Dorje left footprints in the rock floors of various meditation cavesat Kampo Gangra, as well as carving a stone statuethat was able to speak.Through his magical power, he brought an end to an epidemicof leprosyin southernTibet. YesheDorje once emanatedseveral forms of himself,eachof which gaveteachings the individto uals present.Dudul Dorje was able to createat long distancea rain of barley from the sky over a monasteryat powo in neetl of blessing. The accounts magicalevents of in and activities the Karmapabiographies reaches culmination in the story of the presentKarmapa, Rangjung Rigpe a Dorje, born in 1923 and currently residingat Rumtek monasterynearGangtok, Sikkim, India. Beforehis birth, it is saidthat hedisappeared a time from his for


J'sn HrsroRy oF rur SrxtrEN Kenuepes



mother's womb. On the day of his birth, all kinds of unusualnatural phenomena occured. While studying with his gun/, he recountedto him the storiesof his previous incarnations. At Drong Tup he left footprints in the water which, it is said, can still be seen,winter or summer. As he performed a Padmasambhava ceremony,the lormat on the shrine appearedto burst into flame. He brought an end to a severe drought afflicting a monastery in Nangchen.At Pangphug monastery,he left footprints in stone. His dog and horsealso left footprints in the rock. At Benchen monastery, he causedthe statue of a horse to neigh. Through his vision, when escapingfrom Tibet, he enabledhis party to escape from closely pursuing Chinese forces. The preceding examplesare only a few of the many that might be cited to illustrate the prominent role played by magic in these biographies.These and the other similar occurrencesleavethe Western reader with a crucial question. What sensecan be made of all of these examples of magic in the Karmapa biographies? Do they represent exceptions of the reality-orientation of the in stories? Are they lapses the integrity of the accountsand must they beexcised for the stories to trc properly understood?Is the incidenceof magic due, for example, to the entry of "popular" elementsinto the lives?Or is it a literary device,perhapsaddedlater, to enhancethe prestigeof the centralfigure?These questionsresolvethemselves into a single,central issue.Are theseoccurrences of magic integral to the biographies,or are they not? Are they or are they not essentialto an understanding of who the Karmapas are and what they do? For a long time, Western scholars have judged that occurrencesof this kind in the history of religions are marks of a pre-logical, pre-scierrtific, or otherwise inferior mentality. The ground for such a viewpoint obviously lies deeply rooted in Western Christendom where magic has often traditionally been classiliedas a 'Vork of darkness.' A more secularmanifestationof the sameapproach is the enlightenmentview that magic in religion is proof of its infantile or demented character. Nineteenth and early twentieth-century scholars followed in the same track. Frazer saw magic as an early stage of religion that was based on an inadequateunderstandingof reality. And Malinowski found it accompanied by a lower level of intelligence.Closer to home, contemporary scholars of Tibetan religion have renderedsimilar judgments on the occulrence of magic in the Indian and Tibetan vajrayfuta. It seemsgenerally agreedthat the incidenceof magic in tantric biographiesof the Karmapa type render them largely unworthy of historical credence.So far, then, the Western readerseemsto be left with two choices.On the one hand, he may decidethat the incidenceof magic in the biographiesis not essential. this case,he may In

then take the biographiesseriousryas of magtrc.and remove the examples of On the other hand' he may decidethe incidence accountsof the Karmapas. If this beso,thenthe natureof theaccounts the essentialto biographies' magscs is thrown into doubt' u, Iuf storiesof real people about Tibetan Buddhism, it is becomingincreasingly As more is learned On two viewpointsis adequate' the one hand' magic clearthat neitherof these on Karmapa biographies. the other, these the to be quite integral to ;;, of the word. They are historicalin the most basicsense storiesalsoseemto be of experience their livesand their world. How can both of chronicles people's must beginwith simple point of our understanding pri"r, betrue?The starting of biographiesis an accuraterepresentation iact. The world pictured in these invasionof the 1950s. in how life was experienced Tibet, up to the Chinese of the type describedin thesebiographieswere regular if Magical occurrences of extraordinary experiencs the peopleof Tibetan culture, from the lowliest, most highly educated peasant,to the most sophisticated, most uneducated haphazard occurrences.They proceededin an Iamas. And these were not by organicwayfrom the very nature of reality asexperienced the Tibetans.Furon wasdependent an inthermore,the ability to producemagicalphenomena We and spiritualdevelopment. know all of this to be psychological dividual's the case,not only from traditional literature,but also from contemporaries, both Westernand T'ibetan.Western observershave chronicled the extent to of which magicaloccurrences the kind citedabovewereregularpartsof life for in for the Tibetansand, in somecases, themselves, Tibet. And one knows contemporary lamas of scrupulousand profound integrity who talk quite simply about suchoccurrences a natural part of their livesin Tibet and after. From as are all of this it would appearthat the Karmapa biographies quite faithl'uland This accurate when they represent magicasa basicpart of the Karmapas'lives. having beensaid, can we say more? In the past, Westernscholars have randomly lumped togetherexamples such as those cited above under the generalcategoryof "magic." We must remember that "magiC'isa Western and, in fact,is concept term and a Western usedto cover a wide range of heterogeneous phenomena occurringin world religions. What is it, then,that hasled scholars group suchphenomena under to the singlerubric of "magic"?The one common featureof thesephenomena seerns be that the Westernscientificworld view has had no explanation for to these occurrences. it turns out in fact,the phenomena As that we havegrouped underthe term "magic"are very diverse. orderto gainfurtherinsightinto the In role of magic in the Karmapa'slives,it will be usefulto briefly elucidatethis


Tsr HlsroRy oF rHE SrxrEENKenuApAs



diversity. weshallsee, closer As look at these phenomena a shows theyfafl that into a fewfairly clearanddiscrete categories. Moreover, these categories not are peculiar thelivespresented thisvolume, areentirely to in going but traditional, all the way backto the biographies the Indianmahasiddhan, vajroyfutist of the antecedents prototypesof the Karmapas,and in many cases and back to BuddhaSekyamuni himself. The phenomena wehavebeen that labeling pages "magtc'in thepreceding fall into two largedivisions, eachwith sub-categories. the onehand,there On are extraordinaryphenomena that are mainly psychological nature.This in categoryincludesability to seedeities,prescience, various types of yogic powers, abilityto experienoe others'thoughts, thetulku's(Tib.:sprul.sku) and remembrance former lives.The second of phenomena largecategory contains that express inherentconnection an between mind and externalworld. This groupingincludes psychosomatic powers, abilityto movematter,divination, some phenomena synchronicity, of and the ability to affectclimate.It is importantto notethat these broadclassifications extraordinary two of abilities are not Tibetan or evenvajroyfura origin, but go back throughmohdydna in timesto the earliest daysof Buddhism. Extraordinary Phenomeno Mainly Psychologicol Nature in The first largegroupof extraordinary phenomena mainlypsychologiare cal in nature.They are all bound together the fact that they all haveto do by with waysof experiencing reality.In that sense, referbackto thepreceding they section thisintroduction \isions.'This groupof phenomena proceed of on all from anextraordinary openness subtlety experience, and of developed through the process meditation.By havinggivenup norrnalmentalpreoccupations, of experience begins appearwith increasing to clarity and subtlety. that stage As reaches high degree development, a of someof the phenomena that we have labeled as'magic'beginto comeinto play. Reading minds.It is saidin the biographies DezhinShegpa the that had ability to seeothers'thoughts. This poweris one mentioned throughout the history of Buddhismfrom earliesttimes.It is one of the classical siddhisor mentalabilitiesthat arisesfrom attaininga high levelof egolessness. Experience, according Buddhism, not purelyindividual,but environmental to is in character. Whena highdegree openness receptivity attained, can of and is one pick up the experience others. of hescience. ThongwaDonden's biography tellsusthat heforesaw own his death.Again,thismotif is lirst foundin the biography Sdkyamuni of Buddha

a n d r e a p p e a r s o v e r a n d o v e r t h r o u g h o u t t h e h i s t o r y o f B u d dpredictIthe i b e t a n hism. nT tradition that ramaswould often Buddhism,it was a rongstanding This abilityis in monthsor evenye;rrs adr':,nce' tir. of their death,sometimes throughoutBuddhist that of prescience is described one exampteof the power as is Buddhistviewpoint,the powerof prescience explained tradition. From the and future.Eventsand trendsthat will of present basedon the interconnection already contained in the presentas karmrc seeds. arise in the future are on will unfold is dependent the that theseseeds Moreover,the particularway It out context,as that alsodevelops of the present. is said causal surrounding peoplehavesuchan immensebreadthof visionthat they can that enlightened in seefuture develoPments a flash' The Ahitity ro SeeDeities.The Karmapasin generalare creditedwith the but not This powerextends only to Buddhistdeities, alsoto deities. ability to see which are not. According to Buddhism,the world is filled with various those which interactwith humansand humansituations. kindsof nonphysicalbeings, generally not seen owing to the heavinessof people's self1'hey are Onceagain,the ability and preoccupation the narrow limits of their perception. dependson extraordinary presence that deities represent to see the subtle and clarity. This power. like the found openness psychological recountedthroughout Buddhist history, beginningwith SrikyamuniBuddha view r'[ nonmai:rial beingsin the who is said to have had an untrammeled in variousnonhumanrealms.Because deities oftencriticalelements human are the situations, abilityto see with them giveslamassuchasthe and communicate Karmapasability to act creativelyin situationsof distress. Yogic Pow,ers.In the Karmapa biographies, a number of additional abilities mentioned are practices of that areconnected intimatelywith advanced meditation.When RangfungDorje sees universe his body, this reflects in the practices prdrya,naS and bindu, wherein the practitionerexploressubtle of aspects his psychosomatic of being.When Dusum Khyenpatravelsto Ceylon to receive teachingfromthe Mahdsiddha flight Vajraghaqr@, is practicingthe he of the subtlebody, a technique attested throughout the Indian and f ibetan to vairaydna. When Yeshe Dorje emanates many bodiesto teach,he is exemplifying the duplicationof forms enumerated the nrahdyfrnsas of the powers one in of a bodhisattva. of these All practices descriptions experiences arise that are of as fruits of long termed and highly developed meditationpractice.They are connected with seeing through and abandoningthe assumed identificationof psychologicallimit with physical rimit. Again, they becomepossibrewhen self-preoccupation, rigid assumption and firm mentalfixation becomediminishedthrough meditation.


THn HrsroRy oF rHr SlxrenN Knnrrtnpes



The Tulku Plrcnomenon. The last primarily psychological ability is the group of powers connectedwith the tulku phenomenon.As is well-known, in Tibetan Buddhism thereexist lineages figuressuchasthe Karmapaswho are of linked together in one unbroken seriesof incarnations:when one Karmapa dies,he is reborn shortly thereafter,is discovered through various procedures, and continues the line until he, in turn, dies and is subsequentlyreborn. Connected with this phenomenon of the tulku or reincarnated lama, are a whole seriesof extraordinary abilities.Thus, throughout the Karmapa biographies,tulkus speakon the day of their birth, owing to the memory of training in their previous life; they regularly show at an early age sophisticatedknowledge of Buddhist theory and practice;they can identify possessions friends of and their previous incarnation; and they possess detailedand accuratememoriesof their former lives. Such abilities are understoodto arisequite naturally out of two causes: first, the identity of the previous and presentincarnation; second, the tulku's extraordinary mental clarity which allows previous experienceto arise without confusion. Again, this power like the others is not something peculiarto thesebiographies,but hasa long history extendingback into Indian Buddhism, to the time of the Buddha himself. Extraordinary Phenomeno Based on the Connection of Mind and External World Although the preceding"magical'abilities are certainly not familiar parts of our Westernexperience,because they are all psychologicalin nature, perhaps the Western readerwill be willing to allow for their possibility.Our notions of reality do not ipsofacto exclude such experiences and, the reader may say, perhapsthey are legitimatelyincluded in the biographiesof the Karmapas.But now we come to a second,much more resistent type of *magical"powers.These are apparently much further removed from our notions of what is possible. Thesepowers have to do with the inherent connection betweenoneselfand the external world, betweenthe way one is and acts and that which occurs in the external world. The ground of this second type of ability is the Tibetan Buddhist notion that reality, both internal and external, is fundamentally spiritual in nature. This means that the world constantly speaks.The large and small eventsof one's life, even apparently random accidentsand blessings, have inherent all sense and significance. One'ssickness and health, the stateof one'sfamily and business,the progress of undertakings, even the apparent insignificanceof

one's routines,all havetheir meaning'What happensin mundane,day to day is a'd what one is doing,from a spiritual with who one life is very much in tune clarity and the generallevel, the more one resistsinsight' viewpoint. On a claustrophobia. world hellish themoreonefrndsin one's of insecurity op.n,, and intuitions readsto spaciousness perceptions one's conversely,accepting itserfas an accuFrom the Tibetan viewpoint, reality presents and harmony. and encouragement critic. one challenge' and as a ,^,,, ^,,and timely mirror, and rigidity from everything rearnabout one'sblindness n"lin. opportunityto that haPPens' that we rigid separation to Thereare corollaries this viewpoint.First, the inner and outer, betweenself and externalworld, makein the west between and externalrealityaretwo poles doesnot hold in theTibetanview. In fact,self for our we of a constantand ongoingdialogue.Second, areentirelyresponsible in our world has to do with us, and we must world. Everything that arises moral for responsibility it. This holds whetherfrom the conventional assume or viewpointwe are held responsible not. Whateverentersour "life stream,"as of manifestation our life, and we are bound to a put it, becomes the Buddhists it communicatewith it. We cannot rejec:t as someoneelse'sfault or as an Third, we actually affect and bring about or irrelevant occurrence. accidental our world by who we are and what we do. The more we sink into darkness, ignoranceancl neurosis,the more we provoke confusion and suffering in our lives.Equally, we can take the oppositetack, and provoke clarity, easeand sanity. The Tibetans, then,experienced realityasspiritualand this meantthat for and them,the externalworld wasalivewith meaning. Timesof spiritualdistress sufferinghad their physicalportents.The birth of a greatlama or the moment of a spiritual discovery would be accompanied by extraordinary climatic and atmosphericphenomena.In general,the environment was experienced as extraordinarilyresponsive the human presence within it. When a high lama to would appearin a region,hisvisit might well be heralded unusualphenomeby na. His mere presence might affect deleterious situationsfor the good. And, in times of plague, famine or war, his activity might well changethe course of events. Significantly, activitywascarriedout not throughtechnology the this in Westernsense, through the power of his spirituality. It wasexperienced but that around peopleof greatsanity,the world would literallylistenand respond. is It this kind of generallogic, further elaboratedin various traditional techniques and procedures,that underlies the second type of magical phenomena.


Tsr HrsroRyoFrHr Srxrrnn Kenunp.ns



HealingPowers. The Karmapas werewell known for their ability to heal sickncss plague, and both of individuals of wholeregions. and DusumKhyenpa is remembered curing disease, for blindness and paralysis. Rolpe Dorje and Mikyo Dorje wereboth ableto bring to an end,respectively, smallpoxand leprosy epidemics theirtimes. in Thishealing abilityagaingoes backto theearly timesof Buddhism, and is recounted the Buddhist in traditionasa constant activity of buddhasandbodhisattvas. Traditionaltheoryhasit that the healer affectsthe kurmic stleam of strickenindividualsby taking their karmo on himself. This is literallyevidenced their biographies Mikyo Dorje who in by himselfdied of leprosyafter curingthe leprosyepidemic. Moving or Affecting Material objects. Karma pakshi moved a huge statuethroughthe powerof his meditation and Mikyo Dorje left footprintsin stoneaswell ascausing stonecarvingto speak. a This kind of ability to affect materialobjects found in Buddhism is since earliest the times,and is described in the Pili C-anon mostprominentlyin thesiddhisor magical powers resulting from meditation. later duringmohiyfuratimes,theBodhis ttvab a hilmi credits the bodhisattvaviththe powerto shake monastery even town,to increase a or a or decrease sizeof materialobjects to transformthe four elements the and into oneanother. thevojrayfutatradition theKarmapas issaidthattheyogin In of it haspoweroverthefour elements. possibility such The of powers provided is by the fact that what peopleregardas natural limits is basedon unquestioned psychological assumptions fixationsratherthan on the natureof reality and itself. Divination. Divination is another abitity commonly attributed to the Karmapas this biography.Both ChodragGyatshoand RigpeDorje make in use it in timesof politicaldanger. of And Rangjung Dorjediscovered death the of the Chineseemperorlong beforethe newsreached him. Divination was common throughout Tibetan history, drawing onvajrayfuta Buddhism, cntral Asian shamanic practices, purelyindigenous and Tibetantraditions,and was carriedout througha varietyof traditionaltechniques methods. and Divination is basedon the indivisibility of mind and the external world in that the practitioner, through"reading" experiences ritual objects, gainknowland can edgeof the largersituation. Synchronicity. Oneof themostinteresting alsowelldocumented and type of 'magical' or miraculousphenomena Tibetan Buddhismis one we call in synchronicity, want of a betterterm. It involves of thoseenvironmental for all andatmospheric phenomena aresofrequently to accompany that said lamas of high attainment.The bestexampleof this in our biographies occursduring

visit to Yung Lo, the emperor of china during the Ming Dezhin Shegpa's a magicaltempleapilearedin i.hesky, the clouds nynur,y. on that occasion, the rain was perfumed, lights emanated from took on the shape of arhats, emshrine,and many other similar wondersoccurred'The Dezhin Shegpa's a that he commissioned painter to depict them in a p..o, was so impressed goesback to the time of Sdkyam'ni phenomena of mural. Again, this kind and by rife,it is said,wascontinuallyaccompanied suchportents nJtror, il;;" and ribet where over and over in the Buddhism of India signs.It reappears of the to accompany births,livesand activities accomplished *"ona.r, are said is this type of eventis simple.The universe fundamentally for f*pt". The logic is heralded and of ,pirituat in nature and anyoccurrence spiritualsignificance inanimate' by celebrated reality,both animateand Ability rc Transform Weather.RangiungRigpe Dorje's biographytellsus areathat was that the presentKarmapa visiteda monasteryin the Nangchen to While there,he was requested bring an end to the afflictedwith a drought. he with traditionalpractice, askedfor waterand began drought. In accordance to bathe himself whereuponit beganto rain and a spring arose under the in elsewhere the washtubhe was using.Other similar incidentsare recounted suchabilitiesare well-knownand docuand, in general, biographies Karmapa wereknown mentedthroughoutTibetanBuddhisthistory.Ag;rin,suchpowers in Indian Buddhism the mahayanabodhisattvocould changeearth into water and the tantric mahasiddhahadpower over the elements. According to Tibetan tradition, rain can be producedby establishing communicationwith the spirir ual presence calledndgas, of which are connected with the phenomenon rain. The above examples and commentary certainly do not "explain' the magicalphenomenaoccurring in the biographiesof the Karmapas.What they do suggest the presuppositions conditionsunderwhich magiccomesinto is and questionwithin the Tibetancontext.In fact, from what we havesaid,it should appearquestionable whether magic can ever be "explained'in the sameway one might explain the operation cf, for example, a wrist watch. This is so because, we havenoted,magicin Tibet-in the Buddhistcontext-was not as merely produced by certain activities but was in some sensedependent on psychological spiritualdevelopment. and The conditionsunder which the magicaland miraculouscome into play are,to summarize, and simple.The extraordinaryphenomena few in described thesebiographiescannot occur as long and as ego, self-preocctrpation conceptual mind hold sway.When, through meditation, one'sminrJceases be filled to with thoughtsof security,p..ronul territory and self-aggrandizement, a then


fHn Hlsr r)Ry oF THE SrxrEEN Kanuepes



largerworld beginsto show itself.This is the world of insight,self-abandonment to other's welfare, and the sacredness the world, describedin the previous of sectionof this introduction. And this is the world where all sorts of extraordinary possibilities can come into view, which we in the West call magic. Egolessness, the Buddhist sense,is thus a precondition of magic as it is in describedin these biographies.This being so, such phenomenamay perform severalfunctions. They help sentient beingsto the health, peace,and welfare they need to develop spiritually. They startle unbelievers with the reality and power of enlightenment.And they set apart, punctuate,and glorify the lamos who carry the tradition of Buddhism for their generation.Magic is then, in libetan Buddhist tradition, the handmaidenof enlightenment.

Conchsion For a long time in the study of non-Westernreligions,it was thought that material such as tire presentbiographieswere little more than tales basedon mistaken notions about reality. In Western academic theory, stories such as thesehave frequently beenunderstood to be basedon intellectualbeliefswith no experientialfoundation in actual life. As we havesuggested this introducin tion, nothing could be further from the case.In fact, as the readerapproaches thesestories,it is critical that he keepsone fact in mind: the world that opensup in thesebiographiesis a traditional world and a real world. Probably, in some ways lessthan our *modern world," it was basedon superstition,illusion and mental fixation. We say this because the prominent role played by meditaof tion in Tibetan Buddhism. More than we, the traditional Tibetan masrers developedprofound self knowledge and aimed to empty themselves presup of positions and illusion, so that they might seethe world freshly and clearly. We should also keep in mind that the traditional world of the Tibetans, with its visions, its magic and its view of life, was not untested,nor was it fixed and rigid. The variety of techniques,traditions and experiencesof the Tibetan Buddhist were continually subjected to the critical and discerning eye of meditation. The various dimensions of Buddhist tradition were explored, tested,confirmed, refined,improved. And this continual evaluation was done by intelligent, educatedand sophisticatedpeople. In this way, the profound heart of the tradition and that which was of no-accountcould be differentiated. Basedon the intelligenceand experience the meditativetradition, what was of

and the could be discarded' what was unnecessary valuablecould be retained, identity. rosingits essentiar and developwithout evorve tradition could gro*, look at the world of the traditionalTibetan,we When we, as Westerners, and sophistication its material its rackof technological areusuallyfirst struckby we sucha traditionalworld because see d.ismiss we tendto simplicity.Generally, would people industry'Why else or nce,open-mindedness in it a lack of intellige with their culture,their religionand r.muined satisfied like the Tibetanshav. in comereadityto our minds' but perhaps them ,fr.i, *uV of life?Suchthoughts whether day and age,we shouldcarefullyconsider *. ur. r.r_d...iued. In this for unchanged why traditionalribet remained theremay not beanotherreason of life worth Tibetansfound a way so long. perhapswithin that culture,the preserving,away of life which enabledthem to somemore basic keepingand that beyond material comfort and security, satiifaction. And this suggests fortune, there may be somethingelse more beyond ease,recognitionand it to needed make life worth living. Perhaps wasthis additional fundamentally and accepfactor that was providedby Tibetan Buddhism-some experience who one actuallyis, a feelingof contactwith reality beyondneurosis tanceof and appreciationof life in its eleand some experience and self-absorption, the traditionenabled Tibetans the Perhaps Buddhistmeditative mentalaspects. is, what human life fundamentally and to to live their livesfully, to experience know what it meansto be human. Perhapsit is this that liesat the basisof the Tibetans'contentmentwith their way of life. Beforewe dismissthesebiographies too quickly, we should stop our minds and take such a possibility seriously. ReginaldA. Ray Naropa Institute Boulder,Colorado December,1979

The Historical and

Theoretical Background

VN,Y;: z;>Z/,
;t/'t >/r--

T'HIS BooK CONTAINS the biographiesof the sixteen successive incarnations of the GyarwaKarmapa l-amaof Tibet, headof the Karma xugyu rineage of Buddhism'The activity and teachingof this greatincarnation line hasbeenof the utmost importancein the history of vajraybta Buddhism to this day. The presentKarmapa,RangiungRigpe Dorje (rg23-),is the sixteenth of the rine which beganwith the first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa(r I I0_r I93). The Gyarwa Karmapa ramas have continuaty embodied and guided the Karma Kagyu transmission the message of of Sat yu,nuni Buddha.They trave displayedtheir masteryof dharmavariousry as schor"., yogin,artist and poet and their livesare flawles.s examplesof renunciation,compassion and the view of wisdom. From the point of view of spirituality,the Karmapa lamas embody the activity(Skt.:karma,Tib.: phrin.iog,of buddhah'od, and assuchwereproph_ esied SekyamuniBuddha by in the samadhirajosrtrra.lnaddition, theiractivity wasalsoprophesiedby the eighth-century India n rtnhdguru, padmasambhava.

The Nofion ol Lineage

out of these earry;;;il"'lr'tooor^a hina)'ana


j[,i::,::,Tff.::'****t ff.ff:,Ti :::,ff to stuoJ:ifi:ffi"ffffi1i:x*j",# "#trtr his en ts,

forowers emerged eighteen rhe sects'Later th, moia.l.,ona traditionsof the Madhyamaka and yog'2l

utmosr imporrance undersranding foran ,n. ill:;:lilnlt"ttage isofthe of


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I rtn Hlsr(;RYoF rsr Slxrnrru KenprApAs

TtteHtsroRICALlNpTltroRETICALBecrcnourvo23 w h o s e l i f e w a s p r e d i c t e d b y L o r d S e k y a thatn i .thee B u d d h wouldo n e o f h i s m u in l l r future he a t o l d again Kum6ra' u followers, pfty'itiu n bhik;unamed only this time in a northerncountry by the side of the be a physi cian bhik:;u, a estabrish meditation schoor.Gampopa, a skilled river Lohita and ,*,outd from Jayondag' teachings received a wasfirsta Kaclamp bhik;uwho physician, s.l-o*o Gangpaand Geshechakregongkhapa. ;;;;i*^, GesheNyugrumpu, of ..graded path" (Tib.: ram.rim) teachings AtiSaand the teachHe studiedthe and wrote the a horderof the Kadampalineage ingsof Dromtonpa. Hebecame on commentaries Kadampa teaching. andother Jewel ornament of l.iberarion tne Kagyupateachingon mahdmudrd and the "six yogasof ir"rhe receivca 'two streamsbecomeone" he was called Narop"" from Milarepa. After that into theselineages Gampopa orgaruz.ed Oib.; bka''dres). Lharje (Tib.: dwagLp0lho'rie)'1the an organicwhole,givinghis name,Dakpo known asthe doctor from Dakpo" to the schoolhe formed,which thusbecame deaththe'Tour greatand eightminor (sects)" After Gampopa's Dakpo Kapryu. the comprising Dakpo Kagyutradition,emerged. (Tib.: che.zhi.chung.brg.t'ad) bka'.brgyud) derivesfrom a longerphrasemeaning The rerm Kagyu (Tib.: or "lineagesof the four commissionedones' (Tib.: bka'.babs.bzhi'i.brgyud'pa (l) that of referredto being: The lineages bks'.bzhi' sometimes Guhyasamija, Catufrpithaand the yogas of the "illusory body" and "transference"handedclownthrough Dharmakdya Buddha Vajradhara, IndrabhDti, Yogini, Vii;ukalpa,Saraha,Ndgdrjunaand Tilopa; (2) that of Mahimiyd and the "dream" :t,oga handeddown through Dharmakiya Buddha Vajradhara, and Jfidna pikini, Kukuripa, Carydpaand Tilopa; (3) that of Cakrasar.nvara the other mother tantres, and the "luminosity" )'oga handed down by ra, Dharmakdya Buddha Vajradhara, Y ajrapini, pom bipa, Vinasavaj Lav apa and Tilopa; and finally (4) that of Ilevajra and the "heat" yogo handed down through Dharmakaya Buddha Vajradh ara, Y ajraoipi, Kim adevavajra,Padmavajra,Dakini Kalpa Bhadreand Tilopa. The term Kagyuis often translated simply as "oral transmission'but this is only an attempt at literal translation and overlooksthe origin of the term and its original meaning.The alternate renderingof the term as Kargyu (Tib.: dkar.brgyud) is a late Drukpa Kagyu custom referringto the wearing of a 'Vhite" (Tib.: dkar) cotton robe by the voginsof the tradition. Gampopa's principal teacher,the famed yogin and poet, Milarepa, had himselfreceived 'transmission"of the lineage the from Marpa the translator, studentof Niropa and Maitripa. He thus became holderof the Kagyu tinethe age.The "direct lineage-(Tib.: nye.brgl,ud)of the Dakpo Kagyu is described as:

cdra flourished as a result of the inspiration of the two supreme masters, Ndgdrjuna and Asanga.Subsequently from the frfth century C.E. onward, the various linesof thevajrayfotaor *secretmsntran emerged. Therefore,when the buddhadhorma was transmitted to Tibet, the Tibetan lineagesdevelopedto a large extent on the basis of this pre-existing pattern. A "lineage" (Tib.: brgyud) or "tradition of dharmo" (Tib.: chos.lugs) possesses certain recognizable characteristics,including a central spiritual themeor'liewpoint" (Tib.: suchas the Kagyu mahdmudrd-This view is itself associatedwith specific practicesand symbolic deities. Moreover, thc particular teachingsare preservedby and passedon through a line of accomplished spiritual masters,who themselves embody the actual qualities of the teaching.The major lineages dharmain Tibet possessed relativelysophistiof a cated degreeof organization, with many monasteries, convents,collegesand meditation centersin which studentsweretrained in a rangeof studiesincluding philosophy, meditation, ritual, art and astrology. In addition to the line of transmissionfrom teacherto studentwithin the lineage, there are also the lines of tulkus Oib.: sprul.sku) or "incarnate teachers."Incarnate teachers spiritually advancedpractitioners,who, havare ing transcendedthe network of ego, nevertheless return in successive lives to carry out their vow to work for sentientbeings.The secondKarmapa, Karma Pakshi was in fact the first recognized Tibetan tulku. Although incarnate teachershad been recognizedin India, the existencein Tibet of developed traditions with great cultural and social influence enabled tulkus to be recognized and trained in a way which had not been possiblein India. Within the Tibetan lineages,the incarnate teachershave been regardedas thejewels of the tradition and have generally been the senior teachers,yogiru and scholars. In the thousand year history of buddhadhorma in Tibet four major traditions, Nyingma, Sakya, Gelug and Kagyu have developed.Numerous small linesand subsectshavealsoarisen,most of which havesincedisappeared as independentschools.

The Kagtu Tradition The Karma Kagyu lineagehas beenthe most extensive the original four of great branches of the Dakptl Kagyu tradition, which is the name glven to the systematizationof the lineagesof teaching transmitted through Gampopa (Tib.: sgam.po.po) (1079-1153),the profound scholar and spiritual master


THE HrsroRy oF rHn SlxrEnN KnnrvrApAs Dharmakiya BuddhaVajradhara Tilopa Niropa Marpa Lotsawa [4rlarepa Gampopa



The Othq Lineaga in cannot be considered isolationfrom the The Karm a Kagyutradition in Tibet upon which it exerted considerable other traditions of Buddhism The first in return, it receivedmany teachings. influenceand from which, was the Nyingma (Tib.: rn)' "Ancient tradition to appearin Tibet of the missionary work of the eighth-century ones,' which emerged out padmasambhava, King Trisong Detsun and the bodhisattva masters,Guru practitioners wereboth lay and monastic earlyNyingmapas The S6ntarakshita. of mantra teachings the period of early translations. who followed the siltraand or The key Nyingma precept is maha ati ('chen.po) "Great perfection,'whichwasintroducedinto Tibet in the eighthcentury by the Indian scholarandyogin, Vimalamitra.The teachingof mahdali pointsdirectlyto the and as natural perfectionof awareness, it may be regarded the supremeteaching of the Buddha'sway. The main tontra of the Nyingma tradition is the Guhyaor Threedistinct linescan be garbha(Tib.: SecretEssence. distinguishedwithin the Nyingma school: the "indirect lineage" (Tib; ring. (Tib.: bka'.ma),the "direct lineage'(Tib.: hrgl,ud) of the "oral transmission" 'the treasures' or "concealedtexts" (Tib.: and the n.t,e.brgyu{ of lineageof "profound visions" (Tib.: The greatestmasters of the Nyingma tradition included the omniscient Longchen Rabjampa (1308-1363), Jigme Lingpa (1729-1797) and Ju Mipham (1848-1914). The present heads the Nyingmaschoolare Minling Trichenand Dudjom Jigdral of YesheDorje. The later schoolsin Tibet collectivelybelong to the period of the "new translations" (Tib.: ngo.'g1,'),which in the tenth centurywhen began RinchenZangpo(958-t 051)and otherscholars devised newcanonsof translation technique, emphasizing etymological precision ratherthan the freerstyleof the "old translation' school.The Sakya and Kagyu traditions,both of which arosein the eleventh century.werebased the "lisw' tantrtccvcles on whichwere iritroduced this time. at The monastery of Sakya, which later became the central seat of the Sakyapa(Tib.: school,wasfoundedin 1073 KonchogGyalpoof by the Khon family. This influential famity had previously beenNyingmapa but KonchogGyalpostudiedthe new tantraswith Drogmi Lotsawaand the Indian paryQila, Gayadhara.The sakya tradition wasgivendefiniteshapeby Konchog Gyalpo'sson, SachenKunga Nyingpo (l0gz-ll5g) and the other four of the "five great masters,' Sonam tsemo (1142-ttg2), Jetsun Drakpa Gyaltsen

The *indirectlineage'(Tib.: ring.brgyud), which is expressly concerned with the transmission mahfunudrd, described of is as:
Dharmakiya Buddha Vajradhara

Ratnamati Saraha Nigerjuna Savaripa Maitripa Marpa Lotsawa Milarepa Gampopa

Indian siddhas I

The'Tour great' (Tib.: che.bzhi) lineagesof the Dakpo Kagyu originated with pupils of Gampopa or his nephew,Dakpo Gomtsul (l I IGI 169):(l) The Kar.ntshangor Karma Kagyu was founded by Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa (l I lO-f 193), who studied under Gampopa. (2) The Tsalpa (rib.: Kag5ru u';rs founded by zhang Yudrakpa Tsondru Drakpa (1123-1193), a disciple of Dakpo Gomtsul. (3) The Baram (tib.: 'ba'.ram)Kagyu was founded by Baram Darma wangchuk, a disciple of Gampopa. (a) The phagmo Drupa (Tib.: Kagyu was founded by Gampopa's student, phagmo Dru Dorje Gyalpo (l t lrl t70). The phagmo Drupa Kagyu subaequently spawned'eight minof (tib. : chung.brgyad) subsects: Drigung Taglung Trophu Drukpa Martshang Yelpa Shupeb Yamzang (tib.:'bri.gung) CIib.:stag.lung) CIib.: khro.phu) ftib.:' Oib.: smar.tshang) Oib.: CIib.: shug.seb) CIib.:gya'.zotg)




The Drukpa, Drigung and raglung have survived to the presentday, with the Drukpa being the largest, followed by the Drigung.

(1147-1216), Paq{ita sakva phakpa (r r82-r2sr)and (r235-r280). Chogyar


TnE HrsroRy oF rHr Srxrrrn KnnvApAS



The Sakya school has specialized the combined siltra and mantra teaching in of the lam dre (Tib.: lam.'bras) or "path and fruit' cycle, developedby the Indian siddha, Virtpa. Their principal Sakya tantrahas beenHevajraand their main deities are Hevajra and Vajrayogini. Three subsects have appeared: Sakyapa, Ngorpa and Tsharpa, which, however,have differed only in ritual. The present head of the Sakya tradition is H. H. Sakya Tridzin (194!-), an emanation of Maffjubri the bodhisattva of wisdom. The Kadampa (Tib.: bka' also beganin the eleventh century but it has not survived as an independent, school, its teachinghaving beenabsorbedinto the other schools.The Kadam school developedfrom the activity and teachings of the Indian master At-ri;a Dipankara Srijffana (979-1053),who spent the last twelve yearsof his life in Tibet. Ati3a laid great emphasis the'graded path" of both sittra and, on tontro asanessential prerequisite for authentic spirituality. To a few gfted disciples he transmitted the especially profound precptsof *thought transformation. (tib.: bto.sbyong). It was his student Dromton (Tib.: ''i.byung.nas) who actually organizedthe Kadam asa school.The Kadampasgenerallyuphetdthe philosophy of the Prasangika Madhyamaka teaching of *emptiness' (Skt.: ibtyatd, Tib.: as a negation of all predicates. The Gelug tradition was founded by the great Tibetan pary$ta Tsongkhapa Lozang Dragpa (Tib.:,blo.bzang.'grags.po) (1367-t4lg). In early life Tsongkhapa studied with mastersof all the major lineagesanrJ displayedsuperbqualities of scholarship.He gatheredmany disciplesand out of them grew the Gelug tradition. The central concernsof the Gelug tradition are its insistence on the vinaya monastic rules and the ..graded path- to enlightenmentinherited from Ati3a'steachings. This emphasis the teachings on of At-ria has led to the Gelug sometimes being referred to as the new Kadam (Tib.: bka'.gdam.s.sar). Their particular philosophicalviewpoint is that of the Prdsangika Madhyamaka as elaborated by Tsongkhapa. ln tantra, they haveplacedtheir main emphasis the tontrasof Guhyasamdja, on Vajrabhairava and Cakrasalnvara.The Gelugpatradition has beenornamentedby the work of many brilliant scholars such as Khedrupje (Tib.: mkhas.grub.rje) (13g5: 1438) and Konchog Jigme wangpo (Tib.: dkon.chog.' (1728-1781). The presentheadof the schoolis H. H. Ling Rinpoche,tutor to the fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatsho (1935-), embodiment of the compassionof Avalokitebvara. In addition to these major traditions a great contribution to buddhadhorma in Tibet has been made by the various smaller lineages.Important ones include the Shijay (Tib.: shi.byas)and chod yul (Tib.: gcod.yut)

sicldha, Dampa Sangye (Tib.:'rgyas) lineagesof the Indian yogini, Machig labdronma (Tib.: ma.gcig.rabs. and his student, the famed the urgyen Nyendrup (Tib': o'rgyan'snyen'sgrub) (1055-ll45); Urgyenpa Rinchen Pal (Tib': u'rgyan'pa'rin'chen' lineage of the siddha, was very influential for the Drugpa and Karydpaf (T0-1309), which into which it was eventually absorbed; and the tsrrang'Kagyu lineages founded by Khyungpo Naljor (Tib': khyung' Shangpa (Tib.: shangs,pa), (990-1140),who inherited the mahdmudrd transmissionof ir rri"t'b),r,r) 'the (fikinls, Niguma (consortof Niropa) and Sukhasiddhi. One of the most controversialsectsin Tibet was the Jonang school (Tib.: founded by the learned philosopher, Dolpopa Sherab (1292-1361).The JoGyaltshan (Tib.:'al.mtshan) held the influential doctrine of "empty of somethingelse" nang tradition (Tib.: gzhan.stong). This view, which is derived from the Uttarotantra of (Tib.: rg1, Maitreya, statesthat ultimate reality, while being empty of any relative blemishes,is intrinsically positive. The Jonangpas subsequentlywere attacked by many Prisangika scholars, especially the and sincethis at Gelugpas the time of the fifth Dalai [-ama (1615-1680) timc have not existed as an independentsecl. However, their teachings have been maintainedand propagatedby certain figureswithin the Kagyu, Nyingma and Sakya traditions, such as Karmapa Rangjung Dorje, Longchenpaand Sikya Chokden.

The Lineoge oJ the Kormopas The Karma Kagyu school has had a long and glorious history in which it has established itself as the supremeKagyr sect under the leadershipof the Gyalwa Karmapas.It has spreadfrom Ladakh to China, and now to the west. The Black Hat (Tib.: zhv,a.nag)rine of the Karmapashas beenaided and supportedby the rhree chief incarnationlines of the sect:the Red Hat Shamar (Tib.: zhwa.dmar), Situ (Tib.: si.tu) and Gyaltshab (Tib.: rgyar. tshab) tulkus. In addition, numerous other scholars, yogins and visionaries have contributed to the splendor of the tradition. Notable among these have been the Jamgon Kongtrul (Tib.: ,jam.mgon.kong.sprul),and pawo (Tib.: dpa'.bo) ntlkus. The Kamtshang Kagyu tradition was established the first Karmaby pa' Dusum Khyenpa, who inheritedthe Kagyu transmission from Gampopa' After he attained enlightenment he was recognized by eminent


THEHrsroRyoF tHe SrxtneNKenN,rApAs



contemporaries be 'the Man of Buddha Activity- Ctib.: to prophesied the Buddhain the Samddhirdjasiltra, also to be an emby and bodiment of Avalokitebvara,the compassionate form of buddhahood. Dusum Khyenpa later founded the three main centersof Karma Kagyu tradition at Todlung Tsurphu (Iib.: stod.lung.mtshur.phu) near Lhasa, Karma Gon (Tib.: karma,dgon)in Kham provinceand Kampo Nenang (Tib.: kam.po.gnas.nang) also in Kham, and thus organizedthe Karma Kagyuasa distinctschool. It was during the lifetime of the second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi (12{.x-.-1283) the expansionof the Kar.ntshang that began.Famed as a siddha,Karma Pakshiwas invited to Mongolia by PrinceKublai wherehe becameguru to Mongka Khan and subsequently, though not without initial problems,to his su@essor, Kublai Khan. While in China, Karma Pakshi on severaloccasions displayedmiraculouspowersin order to assist his work of spreadingbuddhadharma. The display of miraculousactivity by Karma Pakshi and the other Karmapashas functionedas a meansof manifestingthe utter freedom of enlightenment. Being beyondthe limitations of dualisticperception,suchenlightened activity takeson the garb of miraculouspower. Its apparentlymiraculousnaturederivesfrom its absolutely spontaneous responseto the needs of beings and the particular situationwhich it confronts. The third Karmapa,RangiungDorje (1284-1339), who was a consummatemaster of theory and practice is particularly important for his bringing together of the hitherto separate strtams of Kagyu mahfonudrd and Nyingma mahd oti. He receivedthe teachingsof the 'innermost essence' (Tib.: mahd ati from Rigdzin Kumirardja (126-1343), who was also the guru of Longchenpa. addition Rangiung In Dorje composedthe extremely important and inlluential texts Zabmo Nangdon (Tib.:, which dealt with the subtle teachings of the onuttarayogatantra. Like his two predecessors his successors to the tenth Karmapa, and up (1384-1415) the guru of the emperor the fifth KarmapaDezhinShegpa was of China. During one particular ceremonyperformedby Dezhin Shegpa, the Emperor Yung Lo perceived spiritualform of the black vajra crown the above Karmapa'shead. The vajra crown, which is the symbol of AvalokiteSvara'scompassion,is prcent above the heads of all Karmapa incarnations.The first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, had been presented with the crown by (nkina at the moment of his attainmentof enlightenment.The spiritualform of the crown wassaidto be wovenfrom the hair of

dakin-s. When, through his devotion to Dezhin one hundred thous and vaira crown' he determined to have a p"*ived. .the Shegpa, Yung l-o with preciousjewels and gold, so that all might replica made, ornam.nted his receipt true nature of Karmapa's spirituatity. on be inspired to seethe o f Y u n g L o , s r e p l i t c a , D e z h i n S h e g p a d e v e l o p e d t h e c eAvalokitesvara' i n h e remonywhere while embodying the compassionof wore the voira crown have follolved this custom and the ceremony' n'- ,urr"eding Karmapas of communicating the unending inspiration of the which has the power become one of the most sacred and characteristic Karmapa lineage, has Karmapas' featuresof the aaivity of the was a brilliant scholKarmapa, Mikyo Dorje (1507-1554), The eighth over thirty texts, including works on ar and prolific author. He composed Madhyamaka philosophy, the Praifiaparamitd, abhidharma psychology, grammar' art and poetry' the vinaya, logic, mahdmudrd, tantras, Sanskrit (160+1674), During the lifetime of the tenth Karmapa, Choying Dorje politicszbecause the of the Karma Kagyu lineagewas drawn inevitably into suchas Desi sectfelt by influential lay supporters antipathyto the Gelugpa the Karma Tenkyong (Tib.: de.srid.karma.bstan.'rkong), king of Tsang (Tib.: gtsang) province at the time of Choying Dorje. The fourteenth Karmapa, Thegchog Dorje (1798-1868),played a religious and cultural renaissance major role in the nineteenth-century Rime (Tib.: ('boundaryless") movement. His associatedwith the studentsincluded the three principal Rime figures: Chogyur Dechen Ling(1829-1870),Jamyang Khyentse pa (Tib.: mchog.' (1820-1892) and Wangpo (Tib.:'jam.db.yangs.mkhyen.brtse.dbang.po) Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye (Tib.: jam.mgon.kong.sprul.blo.gros. mtha'.yas) l8 I l- I 899). ( The present Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje (1923-) is the sixteenth of the line. His Holiness has presidedover the Karma Kagyu school during this period of great change both for the school itself and also for Tibet as a whole' Trained by the leading mastersof the Kagyu and other traditions, His Holiness has manifestedthe tremendous quatities of compassion and natural wisdom of the Gyalwa Karmapas. After the abolition of Buddhist culture in Tibet in 1959, His Holiness brought his foltowers into exile in Sikkim where he established new monasticseatat Rumtek. tlis Holiness a has striven unceasinglyto maintain the lamp of Kagyu dharma and in recentyears has twice visited the West at the invitation of his own emissary disciples'Under the enlightened inspiration of this, the sixteenth Gyalwa


Ttrg HrsroRy oF rHn SlxrnsN K.AnraApAS



Karmapa, the Karma Kagyu tradition is now establishingitself throughout the world.

Tlw Teachhg ol the Ksma Kagtu Tro&ion The essential theme of Karyu teaching is mohdrnudrd, the realization of the true nature of mind and its radiation in wisdom and compassion.It is the foundation, path and goal of spirituality. Dingo Khyentse Rinpoche compared mohdmudrd to a king who affixes his seal to documents and so forth to signify his confirmation. Similarly, the mahdrtudrd (-great seal') yogin realizes that as -buddha-nature' (Skt.: tathdgatagarbha, Tib.: de. gsheg.snying.po) is the underlying reality of atl phenomena, whatever arises is *sealed' (skt.: mudrd\ with *coemergent" (skt.: sahaja, Tib.: lhan.gcig. perfection. The actual instructions and methods of the Kagyu spiritual path derive from Gampopa's unification of the Kadam 'graded path' dharmo and the tontric precepts of the mahasiddhas. Its chief philosophical base is thc uuoratantra of Maitreya and its commentary by Asafiga. The mahbnudrd theme embraes all the apparent multiplicity of these precepts and practices. Within sarpsdra, as sentient beings are alienated from the true nature of reality, 'buddha-nature' exists only as an indwelling potential obscured by unawarenessand various defilements (Skt.: kleia). The spiritual path is the liberation of "buddha-nature' and its fulfillment as dharmakdya. As Gampopa says in The Jewel ornament of Liberation, "The motive is buddha-nature.' This transforming path has three main stagesor'lehicles' (Skt.: ybta, Tib.: theg.po) of development: h'mayfuta, mahaybta and vajrayfuta. Mahonudra is itself the crown or climax of the path. Ifnayfura The starting point of the spiritual path is the hnayfuta (..narrow vehicle') way. In its exclusive approach the hinayou focuses on the frustration that permeates all aspects of our experience, due to clinging to the illusory notion of a permanent, independent self. This recognition derives from Buddha's enunciation of the "four truths": (l) suffering, (2) its cause, self-clinging, (3) liberation, (4) its cause, the eightfold path of right view, intention, action, speech, livelihood, effort, mindfulness and meditative

c o n c e n t r a t i o n . T h i s t e a c h i n g p r o v i d eofaattaining health' Byl lapplying d i t s s diagnosisofouri nessan method of .the causeand the prrr..iption and everyand dignity of the htnoyona in meditation the simple precision that conditionedrearity developsan understanding day rife the practirioner i s i m p e r m a n e n t , s o r r o w f u l a n d e g o l e s s ' F r o m t h i s u n dofr s t a n d i n g c o m e s a e the hinoyana This is the key concept natural, unfeigned renunciation. path. a seriesof preceptsknown as "the four within the Kagyu tradition mind (to dharnta)" (Tib.: blo.ldog.nam.bzhi) are thoughts that turn the 'Tour truths." means of realizing the utilized as a particularly effective human life (Tib.: mi.lus.rin.po.che), The four thoughts are: (l) precious ', (3) action and (2) death and impermanence(Tib.: '' (4) defects of sarysdra (Tib.: result (Tib.: Ias.'bras), by They have been inherited from the tradition of Ati5a and elaborated Kagyu masters' Gampopa and successive The first thought is the reflectionon the uniquely positivesituation of precioushuman life with its freedomand ability. Within the varied forms of embodied life, human birth, which is free from situations of entrapment and limitations, is extremely rare. In addition, human life becomes precious through contact with the buddhadharmo. Such unique "opportunity' and 'Juncture' (Tib.: dal.'byor) constitute precious human li[e, the sole basisof spiritual endeavor. The second thought is the reflection on the impermanence of all phenomena. Buddha has said,"the end of everymeetingis parting.' Ego As derivesits sense securityfrom the notion of its own permanence and that of of its relationshipsand possessions. Realization of impermanencein meditation and everyday life cuts through the lazinessand self-satisfactionof neurotic rnind and preparesthe practitioner for evolution on the path. Thirdty comes the reflection on actions and results.Past actions by body, speechand mind have brought about the particular characteristics of the present.The present situation itself provides a variety of choicesfor action out of which the future situation will develop.Generally action is divided into the three categoriesof virtuous, nonvirtuous and neutral, which have their corresponding results in positive, negative or neutral situations and environments. This third thought thus enables the practitioner to acknowledge responsibility all aspects his life and developa of for spaciousness mind suitable of for spiritualgrowth.


THEHrsroRyoFrne SrxrErN KanuApAs

THBHlsroRIcALenpTHSoRETICALBacrcRoutlo33 v a j r a ! , f r n a p e r c p t i o n o f t h e u n i v e r s e a s t h e andymindt e r wtransformedh a p l a o f i n are o v e n B u d d of Mnt-ra'-3odt' speech energies,so at tn'ltu'f The key conceptof vajravdnais mina of buddha. into the body, ,o;;;;J sonlaya,whichi"f")'ogin'scommitmenttotheperfectpurityofthe vision' - r t ,w^^A io rtirer.tlvmanrfestedin the 'three roots" vajrayfuta manrfeste ln vairaydna' buddahood -is...directly bla'ma)' devotd (Tib': yi'dam) and (Tib': ** (Tib.: ,,ro'bo'g'u^;';f which are, and rlhymanala (-tib.: chos.skyong), ttakini (Tib.: ^*io:.grol jewels. The guru is the root of of the three in effect, ne tan'iic'aspect he is the one who adilthana' Tib': sbyin'brlobs) as "inspiration" (SXt'' devata ("deity') is ce the Buddha within our mind. The revealsthe presen of Tib.: dngos.grub), as buddhahood ..attainrnent,,(Skt.: sidclhi, the root of of forms to benefit different aptitudes and manifests in a multiplicity performs the spiritual practice of the deity or dispositions.So the yogin transformation of his own particurar deities which embody the awakened and dharmapdlas ('dharma-prodisposition. The Qnkinb (*sky-goers') 'activity" (Skt': karma' Tib': phrin' tectors") together comprise the root of of enlightenment as it aptas). The (nkinb emUoOythe feminine energy of balance'The pearsin situationsto guide and restorethe yogin to a sense function in an analogous dharmapdlas, both male and female aspects, accumulated manner to gUard the yoginb spiritual development and the of of blessings the various lineages buddhadharnto' principal gUru is Gyalwa Karmapa, who is insep In our tradition the arabfe from Vajradhara. The principal devara is Vajravdrihi (Tib': rdo', mother of all Buddhas, and the principal dharmapdlas are and the Vajra Black-Cloaked Mahlkdla (Tib.: gon.po.rdo.rie.ber.nag.can) Mahnkili the Setf-ArisenQueen(Tib.: rang.' As the practiceof tantrq revolvesaround the transformationof body, speech and mind into the three kdyas of buddhahood, dharmakdya, sambhogakdya and nirnrQtakdya, the tontros include practices relating to each of these three aspects.Bodily practices include prostrations, offerings, walking meditations and yogc postures. Speech practice revolves around mantro and liturry. Mind practice involves yi5ualization in which the dualistic perception of subject and object is purified bv the creation of the devatc and his environment. Its other aspect is formless meditation, which is mahbnudrd meditation. In the Kagyu, Gelug and Sakya schools, which collectively belong to the "new funtra- tradition, there are four orders of tontra, whereas in the

The fourth and linal thought is the reflectionon the defeasof sarysdra. All sentientbeingsare trapped within the sufferingsof conditionedexistence. Sarysfuais variously hostile, fascinatingand bewilderingbut in it there is no ultimate satisfaction securityfor ego. Understanding this or of producesa true turning away from sorysfua and a longingfor the path of liberation, symbolizedby the threejewelsof buddha,dharma and,sartgha. Mahayou As the practiceof htnayma brings about a detachment from the fxation on ego,a naturalspaciousness openness and develops. This is the dawn of the mahayfuiapath. Its key conceptis bodhicitta, the union of projfia and compassion which arises out of the all-encompassing space of "buddha-nature.'Its prajfia consists its direct penetration the 'emptiin of ness' of ego and phenomena. compassion Its consists its responsiveness in to the needs others. of Within our tradition many prcceptsexist for both relative and ultimate bodhicitta. In particular we haveinheritedprecepts relativebodhiof citta from the Kadamschool,suchas the famous*seven stages thought of t, r;:sfrrrmation" (Tib.: ttvough which one devcrups fearlessness bodhicittain exchanging the of oneself another. for Ultimate bodhicitta practice is meditation on *emptiness,'in which the practitioner seesthe space-like*emptiness'of reality, free from the extremesof existenceand nonexistence. From the Madhyamakateachings, of pary{ita Ndgirjuna and the teachingsof the siddhos,Gampopa brought together many pre@ptsfor ultimate bodhicitta meditation. He termed ilris approach"stttra tradition mahbnudrd' Oib.: mdo.lugs.phyag. rgya.chen.po). The all-powerful inspiration of bodhicitta extendsoutward into all aspectsof life as the activity of the six 'perfections' (Skt.: pfuamitd, Tib.;;sving, morality, patience,energy, meditation andprajfrd Vajrayfuta The vajraydnaor tantrayfutais the highestlevel of Buddha'sway. In the lower yfurasthe practitionerfollows a path which will leadto enlightenment in the future. However,in the vajrayfutathe practitioneradopts the goal itself as the path. The spaciousness mahdybta gives birth to the of


Tue HtsroRy oF rHr StxrnsN KnRlvrApAs

THrHtsroRICALeNnTgroRETICALBecrcnouxp35 (,rneditation(Tib.:bsgom'pa)andaction( H o w e v e r , . n . n t h " , e t h r e e c of'theomahunudra realization'n t d i s t i n c t i o n s a s i n ateg riesareonlyappare fact they spring f';;;; "nity mind is the primordial union of "luminosity" of view.rn. ,rir'nu,u* and undying' However'through the il t*n it is unborn "emPtiness'" and

*old tradition" (Tib.: there are six. The four orders are respeG tively kriyd, upa (caryd), yoga and anuttarayoga. The various cycles of tantras, commentaries and sMhanas are assigned to the appropriate one of thesefour orders, in respectof their level of spiritual power. The kriya toiltra is the initial stage of vajrayfu'rawherein the emphasis lies on the external, awe-inspiring purity of buddhanergy. The yogin relatesto the deity as a servant to a master and pays great attention to ritual activity and purity. Avalokite3varais an example of a kriyd tanra deity. The second order of. tantra is upa or caryd. Here the yogin perceives as the buddha-nerg-y both external and internal. This is comparable to the relation between friends. lrss stress is placed upon ritual activity at this level. An example of an upa tantra deity is Vairocana. Yoga tantra is the culmination of the kriya and upa tantros. Here the yogin is consubstantiated with the buddha-enrgy, so he meditates on himself as identical with the deity. Ritual aaivity is only little emphasized. The cycle of Sarvavld (Tib.: kun.rig) is an example of a yoga tantra. The highest order of tantra is the anuttorayoga, which is radicalty distinct from the three lower orders in its emphasis on the unsurpassable, all-pervading nature of buddha-nerry. Anuttarayoga is divided into a *development' (Tib.: bskye.rim) and *fulfillment" stage (Tib.: rdzogs.rim). In the fnst stage the yogin identifies himself and his environment with the divine appearance of the devatd and his palace. The fulfillment stage completes the transformation and itself possesses twofold aspect, one based a on form and one on formlessness.The former aspect is the yoga of the 'channels' (Skt.: ndli, Tib.: rtsa),'breath' (Skt.: prQ-ro, Tib.: rlung) and "seed' (Skt.: bindu, Tib.: thig./e). The latter aspect is meditation on the 'coincident luminosity and emptiness' (Tib.: gsol.stong.zung.'jug) of natural awareness. In the Kagyu tradition the principal anuttarayoga deities are Vajravirihi and the goup of 'five deities" (Tib.: lha.lnga): Cakrasamvara, vajrabhairava, Hevajra, Mahi.mdyd and Guhyasamdja. These five constitute the fivefold heruka marydola of onuttarayoga. Yajravirihi is hersbtf both the mother and consort of all the herukas. Mahfunudrd Mahbnudra is simultaneously the climax of vajrayfuta and the thread running through the entire Kagyu spiritual path. Although essentiallyit eludes formulation, one may consider that it possesses three aspects:view

; ;i **x ;?ffi: ;':'tr11 il",;;; T'::i H:' fi:?":.;ffi 1i .

:;i: ff " l' Hl11 :T" :il.::ff:i'*'"1*::;:':: i" \:::^::f ;'.,

which is termed "buddha-narure." fi,noraiui pu.i,y, the thread "f ,i;;; Asthegreatsiddhasarahasaysinh\sPeopleDohds,..Minditselfistheone see< l o f ever yt hing. Fr om it t hewor ldof becom ingandnir vqwar ise. " is self-liberated nature of this view whatever arises In the duality of "^, "p* sealedwith "coemergence''The apparent since whatever arisesis s u b j e c t a n d o b j e c t i s r e c o n c i l e d i n t h e u n b o r n a n d u n dthe extremes o f yingnature way between The dharmatd of mind is the middte awareness. Tilopa declares,"mahdmudra mind dwells of assertionand n.gution. As fade in the spaceof mind' which itself nowhere.,'All arise and is naturallyempty. Medirarion.Theheartofmahdmudra'tstheeffortless,uncontrived are dispersed'the experienceof mind. When the cloudJike obscurations Rangiung Dorje unborn and undy ing dharmakaya is revealed. Karmapa says, and luminosity enrptiness' is groundof purification thecoincident 1-he I'he purifieris the vajra vogaof mahbnudra' and delusions impurities. The purifiedarethe momentary dharnrakil'Lbe realized' May the purifiedfnrit of the immaculate This ultim ate realizationis generallyattained, unlessone is especially gifted, as the outcome of the training in both ordinary [ib.: thun'mong) mahdmudrd' and extraordinary(Tib.: As with all cycles of teaching, to begin mahonudrd praeticethe yogin must receivethe appropriate empowerments(Tib.: dbang), textual transmissions (Tib.: Iung) and instructions (Tib.: khrid) from the guru' In known as particular the practitioner must receivethe fourth empowerrnent the "awareness empowerment' in which the meeting of the two minds of the guru and student takes place and the nature of mind is clearly pointed out. The preparation for both the ordinary and extraordinary mahfunudra is the practiceof the four prelirninaries The four sec"tions (Tib.: sngon,'gro).


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and meditation,it goesbeyondthe notion of an imposed discipline. Hence the mohdtnudrd yogin may sometimes behave a way which is apparentry in shocking'This kind of action is referredto as the behaviorof the,,crazy yogtn" (tib.: Sarahasays, If I amtikea pig Thatcovets worldlymire Tellmewhatfault Liesin a stainless mind. The practiceof chod oib.: gchod.,.cutting off ego-) is associated with the action of the Kagyu yogin. It emphasizes direa openness both to internal and external hindranes. chod enteredthe Kagyu tradition from the lineageof the eleventhcentury yogini, Machig l_aMronma, and has

meditations such as Vajrayogrni and C-akrasarpvara * -i and the ensuing 'Tulfillment-stage' yogas such as the ..six doctrines oi Niropa' (Tib.: naro.chos.drug): inner heat (Tib .:, illusory body (Tib.:, dream (Tib.: mi.rom), luminosity (Tib.: ,od.grori, transference (Tib.: ' and intermediate state (Tib.: Their leads to the production of the union of *bliss and empti"t11p'r'lrshment ness* ' :b': bde-stong.zung.'jug), from which the mahunudrd realjzation spontaneously develops. Action' The characteristic feature of mahfunudrd action is effortlessness' As it results from the complete emptiness and compassion of the view

of the preliminariesare: (t) refuge and bodhicitto combined with prostrations, (2) vajrasattva meditationsand recitation, (3) mo.nlala oiferings, (4) glru yogo. By the accomplishmentof each section one hundred thousand times,the practitioneris ripenedfor the main practice. In the Karma Kagyu,garu yogos,particularlyof the eighth Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje, and the secondKarmapa, Karma pakshi, are performed to receive particularinspirationof the Karmapalineage. the The ordinary practiceof mahdrnudfi is actually formless meditation itseff. In the first stageof tranquillity (Tib.: zhi.gnas.l practitioner the res1, in effortless one-pointedness mind. When this tranquillity is achieved of the garu introducesthe student to the nature of his own mind (Tib.: sprod'pa)' Insight ariseswherein the nature of awareness is revealedas nondual*luminosityand emptiness.'Thought the body is of dharmakaya itself.This is the ultimatereatization mahbnudrd. of The extraordinarypracticeof mahdmudrdis comprised of the various *development-stage'

KarmaPa lineage, especiallythe third, Rangjung been prop agatedby the Kunga Namgyal' Dorje, and Surm angTrungpa AsonestudiesthesebiographiesoftheGyalwaKarmapasitisvitalto They are not merely historical accountsbut their true significance. realize they are the records of the liberation Essentiatly also spiritual doctrines. Their multifacetedquality of the Karmapa lineage. 1ii-o.,' nature of buddhadharmo itself, comprised )rn..r, the Lqually many-sided with their multiplicity of spirituarinstruclions. of the threeyfutas The aspectsof the biographies which relate the actual history of the Karmapa lineage together with their examplr as acc(i'nplishedstudents and practitioners may be characterized as their hinaydna asped. In the hinaydna the student grounds himself in the basic truths of dharma, thus All building a foundation for spiritual development. the Gyalwa Karmapas in meditationpracticeand scholarlystudy. It have displayed greatassiduity is said of the first Karmapa, f)usum Khyenpa, that while in meditation retreat,he never unfolded his hands long enough for the sweaton them to

The particular featuresof the biographieswhich deal with the compassionate activity of the Karmapas may be consideredas their rnahdydna aspect. In the mahayma the student radiates a warmth and openness emanatingfrom the absence emphasison self. As the biographies of show, each of the Gyalwa Karmapas has worked unceasinglyfor sentient beings by teaching, healing and establishingthe Karma Kagyu lineage itself. This compassionate activity has not been confined merely to practitionersbut also extendedto the ordinary peopleof Tibet, China, Mongolia and so on. Like the other Gyalwa Karmapas, Mikyo Dorje did not remain constantly at the monastery of Tsurphu, but journeyed throughout Tibet with his monasticcamp and gave teachingsand aid to all who r,:quested while it. traveling, Mikyo Dorje composed many texts in which he set forth his profound understanding of dharma. His death came as a result of clearing an epidemicof leprosy,which he subsequentry contractedhimsetf. The vairaydna aspectsof the biographies may be seen as the varied accounts of visions and miracles. In the vajraydna the practitioner experiencesand acts from the standpoint of primordialry pure energy of enlightenment itself. As the network of conceptuarization is totaily transcended, is the level it of visions and miraculous activity. As we see from the biographies, the successive Gyalwa Karmapas have rediscovered


THg HrsroRy oF run StxrerN KenprAPAs

Furtheir own natural spirituality largely through visionary experience. thermore,each has had affinities with particular symbolicdeitiesthrough which agencythey have received visionary inspiration.One famousexample of this process the vision of the third Karmapa,RangjungDorje, in is that the eighth{entury ati yoga masterVimalamitra which he envisaged was absorbed into his forehead. a resultof this, RangjungDorje unified As ol the two streams ati yogo andmahbnudrd" of In this history the underlying clarity and intelligence the biographieshave beenstressed. the presentation Buddhismin the West the of In naivetehave too two extremesof arrogant dismissalor over-sentimental often obscured actual natureof the material.In contrasthereis a clear the and profound account of the lives of the Gyalwa Karmapas,from a of representative the Karma Kagyu tradition, the fourth Karma Thinley tulku. in Karma Thinley,Rinpoche wasborn in Nangchen Kham in l93l and at by wasrecognized, the ageof two and a half years, SakyaTridzin, Dakshul Thinle Rinchenas tulku of Beru Shaiyakl.ama Kunrik, thought to be a Vairocana incarnation. thattimehereceived thesymbols titlesof his At all and by rank and authority. He was subsequently recognized His Holinessthe sixteenth GyalwaKarmapaasthe fourth KarmaThinleypa. Rinpoche studied with many leadingcontemporary teachers includingZechenKongtrul and DingoKhyentse, Rinpoche, Ling Rinpoche. addition hisposition a and In to as of master the KagyuandSakya schools, Rinpoche alsowidelylearned the is in Nyingmaand Gelugtraditions.ln 1974, Holiness GyalwaKarmapa His the appointed a *l.ord of Dharma"of the KarmaKagyulineage. a leading him As scholar andclose disciple His Holiness, of Rinpoche thusuniquely is fittedto compose history of the lineage the Karmapas. this of Thebiographies themselves been have compil,ed thetraditional in manner from various Tibetan historical texts and the oral tradition. Sub sequentlytheir signifrcance has been illuminated by Rinpochds understandingof such sacredhistory. Throughout,the intention has been to reflectthe patternof spiritualityrevealed the livesof the Karmapa, by while alsorendering accurate an historicaloutlineof the lineage.
David Stott SpiritualRepresentative of KarmbThinley,Rinpoche at dharma centres the U.K. in Manchester, U.K. October.1978

Karm a1aDusum KhYenPa


in t he snow r ange of r r ay Shu in Do D U S U M KI {YENPA was bor n who wer e ( I | C'E') ' Fr om his par ent s, K ham i n t he yearof t he lr on Tiger I 0 instrucDusurn Khyenpa received practitioners, accomplished themserves erevenhe had a vision of Mahakili, the tion in dharma. At the age of fcminine energy aspectof the dhormapdla, ttrus manilcsting his natural spi ri tualit y. Five yearslater Dusum Khyenpaenteredthe monasticcommunity as studied the Ycgdcdra mahaydnatexts of the a novice, and subsequently great philosopherAsafiga from GesheJamarwa Chapa Cho Kyi Senge. During this period Dusum Khyenpa also studied Ndgdrjuna and Candrakirti's Madhyamaka texts from Lotsawa Patsap Nyima Drak. In addition he receivedthe tantric teachingsof the Kadampa lineagefrom GesheShawarapa. At the age of twenty Dusum Khyenpa was ordainedas a monk by the abbot, Mal Duldzin. He remainedwith the abbot to study the vinoyortexts. From the great Ga Lotsawa, Dusum Khyenpa receivedKdlacakra teachings and the "path and fruit" (Tib.: lam.'bras) teachingsof the Indian tantric saint, Virtpa.z Now thirty yearsold, Dusum Khyenpatraveledto Dak Lha Gampo to meet his teacherGampopa,the holder of the Kagyupa lineage. When they met, Gampopa instructedhim in the'.graduatedpath" (Tib.: lam.rim) of the Kadampa tradition as preliminary practicc. He told Dusum Khyenpa that he should pr act iceit as he him self had done. 3Following t his basic training in the siltraapproach, Gampopa empoweredDusum Khyenpa to perform the spiritual practice of Hevajra. During this empowermentDusum Khyenpa saw that Gampopa becamethe body of light of Hevajra. 4l


T s E H l s ro R y oF rse S rxrnrN K enuA pA s

Dusuv Kt lYeNPn KeRvt aPn


A little later, Dusum Khyenpa went into a iamarha ("tranquillity") meditation retreat for nine months on the advice of his teacher. Throughout this period he never unfolded his hands long enough for the perspirationon them to dry. Gampopa recognized him as his most gifted student and instructed him in vipaiyand ("insight") meditation. He prac_ ticed this for threeyearsuntil his development insightwascomparableto of th e s u n d i s p e l l i n gc l o u d s . At thi s ti me Gampopa tol d hi m, have your bond with phenomenalexistence. severed Now you will not return to sorpsdra." He gar u Dusum Khyenpa the oral instructions of mahomudrd and teachingson the symbolic deity, vajrayogini. Gampopa told him to practicethis at Kampo Gangra in Kham, and prophesiedhe would attain enlightenmentat that place. Dusum Khyenpa traveledfirst to Shau Tago, where he constructeda small retreat hut called Drub Zhi Densa ("square seat"), in which he practiced mahamudrd. He attained the realization that sarysdrq and nirv d4a are inseparablynondual (Ti b. :' k ho r.' das. n 1,ey. ed). W ordreached him that his teacherhad died, so he returned to Dak Lha Gampo monastery, where in a visionary experience saw his teacherin the sky. he Dusum Khyenpa recalledhis teacher's instructionsfor practicein the Kampo Gangra area.The mountain deity, Kampo Dorje paltseg,symbolic embodiment of the area'selementalenergy,invited him in a vision. phagmo Drupa, anotherstudentof Gampopa,from whom camethe eight minor lineages the Dakpo Kagyu, entreatedhim not to go, saying,..If you go of ro Kham you wilt have to give many empowerments. This will shortenyour life." Dusum Khyenpa said in reply, ..Thankyou for your kind advice, but regardless what I do, I shall live until I am eighty-four." of At the age o{-fifty, he journeyed to Kampo Nenang where he immediately attainedenlightenment through the practiceof dream yoga.Dusum Khyenpa realizedthe essential sameness day and night, dreamsand the of waking state,meditation and everydaylife. His realizationcorresponded to the fourth level of mohdmudrd, which is known as ..beyondmiditation" (Tib.: Spiritually, the moment of his enlightenmentwas symbolizedin the visionary offering by Qakinisof a black vajracrown woven out of their hair. This crown is said to be symbolically presentabove the heads of alt the Karmapa incarnations signifying their realization of the true nature of reality. At this time, the nine deity mary(ata of Hevajra and the fifteen deity mary(ala of his wisdom consort, Nairdtmyd, as well as many other yicloms

of 1-hroughhis accomplishment to Dusum Khyenpa' a appearedin vision where the tantric saint' Yaira' to ceylon' "dream yogo"s;;':;;;tled" g h a 4 t 6 , 6 , ' o o * . ' , e d h i m i n t h e s p i rspiritualaenvironment of thel ifuture y , 'fupita' the i t u a t p r c t i c e o f t h e s y m b o c d e i t t" vara, Cakrasam ""0 instructeghim in bodhisattvdvows' Buddha, Maitreya'who years, remained in Kampo Nenang for eighteen Dusum rny":npu duringwhichtimehebuiltamonasteryandaretreatcenter.Thefameofhis s p i r i t u a l r e a | i z a t i o n s p r e a d a n d h e b (Tib.: dus,gsum.mkhyen.pc), r o f t h e e c a m e k n o w n a s . . t h e k n o w ine presentand future'' three times-past, of understanding the unborn transcrnaingof time through his dicatinghis natureof m ind' who had been invited to Tibet to T.he Kash miri pary(ira, Sakyasri,T for the monasticcommunity, declared establisha new ordination lineage "one of buddha-activity" or Karmapa, prophDusum Khyenpa was the Lama Zhang' esied Uy Satyamuni Buddha in the Samddhirdjosfttra. this. The two teachers founder of the Tsalpa Kagyu lineageconfirmed furthe r said t hat Dusum Khyenpa em bodiedt he pr inciple of awakened compassion(Skt.: avolokiteit'ara)and that following the age of Buddha Maitreya, the Karm apa Lama would be reborn as the Buddha Sir.nha' to Karmapa Dusum Khyenpajourneyed the At the ageof seventy-four pacified Drelong area of Kham, which was troubled by disputes. He factional feuding and brought a time of peace. Moreover, he worked including blindnessand extensivelyfor the sick, curing many diseases was ext r em elypot ent .He paral ysis. power of his com passion The heat ing al soest abt ished onast er ies M ar Kham and Kar m a G on, wher ehe m et m at Drogon Rechen,his principal student and holder of the lineage. To war d t he end of his lif e, Dusum Khyenpa r et ur ned t o Dak Lha Gampo ashe had beeninstructedto do by Gampopa.He made offeringsto the monastery, to repairedsomeof the buildings,and gavemany teachings the community there. SubsequentlyKarmapa establishedhis principal mona st ic seatat Tsur phu,which r em ainedt he seatof t he Kar m apasunt il 1959. The abbot of Bodhgayem onast er yin I ndia senta conch- shell n hor to Tsurphu as a gift and as an acknowledgementof Dusum Khyenpa's powerful expressio of dharma. n While he was at Tsur phu, Dusum Khyenpa br ought t o an end t he disputeswhich Lama Zhangof the Tsala Kagyu lineagewas engagedin. [-ama Zhangwasa great sidtlhaand the ruler of the kingdom of Tsalpa,but had a rather aggressive nature which Karmapa alone was able to pacify.


Tus HrsroRyoF rHr StxrnrN KenuApAs

KHYr nPl KenunPn Dusur *'r were ensht::td Karmapa's ashes

45 a

One night while he was practicing dream yoga, Dusum Khyenpa received spiritual practiceof the four-facedtwelve-armed Vajrayogini the from thetantricsaintIndrabhfiti.rSubsequently, duringanother visionary he from Vajrayogini.Karmapainstructed experience received teachings his own students these in teachings, a little while laterhedreamtthat five but girlsdressed redandadorned appeared him andsaid,"Do in with jewels to not give secretvajraydnateachings everybody to who asksfor them." A few dayslater Dusum Khyenpaagaingavethe teachings that and very night the five girls appeared him againin hisdreams to saying, "We are vajraydnateachmessengers Princess of Lakgmirikard.e not givesecret Do ingsto everybody who asksfor them."ThreedayslaterKarmapagavethe teachings Lama KhampaKungba,and that night in his dreams girls to the appeared theskyridingwhiteclouds in saying, "We told you not to givethis who askedfor it, but you did not secretvajraydnateachingto everyone listen." In the threemonthsbeforeKarmapaDusum Khyenpa's deaththere were an unusuallylarge number of rainbows,slight earth tremorsand rumblingnoises whichpeople saidwerethe drumsof theSakinis. Theplay seemed be heraldingsomemomentous to of the elements event.At the age of eighty-four,on the first day of the year of the Water Ox (l194 C.E.) f)usum Khyenpaplaced Tsurphumonastery, together with his booksand relics, thecareof hisprincipalstudent, in Drogon Rechen. alsoentrustHe ed him with the letter in which he had predicted circumstances the into which the next Karmapa would be born. He distributedall his other possessions amongthe Kagyucommunities. In the morning of the third day of the new year, Dusum Khyenpa instructedhis students dharma for the last time. Then, sitting up, he in gazedinto the sky and enteredinto meditation.At noon he passed aw4y. During his death rites a weeklater many peoplehad visionaryexperiences; someseeing bodyin the smokethat rosefrom the funeralpyre, his othersseeing many sunsin the sky and(akas and (akinis dancingamong them. When the flames of the pyre died away, Dusum Khyenpa'sheart, signifyinghis love,and his tongue,symbolizing teaching, his werefound intact among the ashes. His students also recovered someof his bones, (Skt.: bija\ markedon them and which appeared haveseed-syllables to othersymbolicrelics.

the had satvamuniBuddha given monastery. at desposited Tsurphu Dhinyak ataka'":;*:1|11?:ltere This srupawas whomhis rar",Jr.,u. through or students teachings r'udtlll accomptished nye-'lpa ashis own Karytshang Dusumf as othertraditions well ,"n"uui."ointo influence Kagyu.TheholOe'offti'lineage*"'DtogonRechen'whosubsequently

the one in a stilpa modeled after

:::llf:il:1ll"ff; ffi a"'"l:to;:#ffi ;x:i;::1il';:J"-ff

lour t upt : ^- : Four i m por t ant ; ; ; , , , , o r i"nena. f ounder of t he Taglung Thangpa' fc fnY*p" were laelun8 frorn Dusum K a g y u ; L i n g i e R , p u , - t h e g r e a t m a h a m u d r a pthe actuale r a n d s p iofi tthel a n . t a c t i t i o n founder r u a fa!yu1-l-sangpa Gyare' cestor of the D';;;; who fr unded the Katok DesheS'' f-"tu fuO"tla Drukpa Kagyu;l"J who had developed addition' therewere five students Nyingma fin'ugt' in the area of telepathic were Dechung Sangiay in' special powers' ilt;

a b i l i t y , D a g d e n B a t s a i n t h e a r e a o f p e r f o r m i n g mRechenin ta w a Kea of m p a i r a c l e s , T he ar a d a po*. r s, Dr ogon of i n the ar ea specialbodhisat t , o of profound realization' and Ge Chutsun in the area blessing

Karma Pakshi Karm apa


was bor n in 1206 E. int o a c. TH E SECO ND KARM APA, Kar m a Pakshi, eighth-centurydharma-king,Trisong Detsun. from the family descended His parents, who were devout religious practitioners, named their son C hodzin. child and by the ageof six he could readand Chodzin wasa precocious perfectly.By the time he was ten yearsold he had alreadygraspedthe write of essence Buddhistdoctrine.In addition to his intellectualability, ChodAs an zi n al s o possessed int uit iveapt it udet o r est t he m ind in st illness. a result of this natural facility, when his meditation teacher,Pomdrakpa, i ntrodu cedhim t o t he nat ur e of his own m ind, he was able t o develop spontaneous insight. Pomdrakpa had himself receivedthe teachingsof the Karma Kagyu lineage from Drogon Rechen,the heir to Dusum Khyenpa'stransmission. When he first bestowed empowerment on Chodzin, he explainedthat in an a vision he had seenDusum Khyenpa and other teachersof the lineage surroundinghis young student'sresidence, illustrating the latter's importance. In a further vision, Dusum Khyenpa revealedto Pomdrakpa that chodzin was in fact his incarnation. From this time on, Pomdrakpa recogniz.ed Chodzin as the secondKarmapa Lama and entitled him dharrna master(Tib.: he ordained Karma Pakshi as a novice. For eleven yearsKarma Pakshistudiedwith Pomdrakpa,specializing . in the mahdntudrdteachings of saraha and Gampopa. with his natural ability he was able to accomplish the teachingsas quickly as he received them' At the conclusion of this period of study Pomdrakpatold him that he had developedhis own understandingsufficientlybut that he also needed to havea lineageof empowerments, and instructions textual transmissions



Tsr HlsroRy oF rHr Srxrrnn KenuApAS

KenuePe Knnun Pnr sHt


from Sekyamunior vajradharain order to teach others.He gaveKarrpq Pakshithe complete series Kagyuteachings, thusbecame of and hisspiritual father' when Karma Pakshireceived empowerment the of Mah6kila he expcrienced actuarpresence the dharmapara. the of At the age of twenty-two Karma pakshi was ordaineda monk by LamaJampaBum,abbotof the Katok Nyingmapa monastery, established by KadampaDesheg, student thefirst Karmapa. the of In hisown spiritual practiceat this time, Karma pakshi concentrated upon ..inner heafi yoga,, combinedwith mahdmudrditself. this way he In developed both the form and formlessaspects tantric practice. of This wasa period of civil disturbances Kham in and Karma pakshi responded the needs the peopre touring to of by the areain an attemprto bring about peace. The wholeareawith its fields,mountains and valeys appeared him as an environmentof comprete to happiness (Tib.: bde. mchog) which containedthe potentialfor the spread of dharma.This was symbolized his visionof Mahdsukha in Cakrasar.nvara surrounded the by danceof {dkas andQdkinis.Later, inspired by the vajra Black-croaked Mahikdla (Tib.: rdo.rj e.ber.nog. can),who subsequently became main the dharmoprotectorof the Karma Kagyurineage, Karma pakshi buirt a new monastery the areaof Sharchokpungri in in Kham. In anothervision,Karma pakshiwasinstructed by a (akinito deverop communalsingingof the six-syllable mantraof Avalokitesvara, embodiment of enlightened I compassion.Karma pakshiand his monks chanted the mantra as they traveled.From this time onward communarsinging of the six-syllable mantra became important part of popular an religious practicein Tibet. Karma pakshi stayedat his new monastery for eleven years,engaged in intensive meditationpractice.Thefameof his spiritual powerreached as far as Jang and china. Through his mastery oi tt, energyof the four elements, Karma pakshi pacifiedhis environment. This wasconfirmedby thesymboliccommitment themountain of deity,Dorje partseg, protect to the Karma Kagyu lineage. subsequentry, Karma pakshi visited Karma Gon monastery, which had fallen into a stateof disrepair.He restored it to its former condition. Then, inspired by Mahikili Karma pakshi journeyed to Tsurphu and again carried out restorationwork. six years later, he went to ,h, Tsang areaof western Tibet via Lake Namtsho,whereheobtained treasure which was usedfor the debtsincurredduring the restorationof the monastery.

| n | 2 5 | K a r m a P a k s h i r e c e i v e d a n i n vregions.In m P r i n c e K u b l a i w h o i t a t i o n f r o response, Karma border time rutedii, sino-Tibetan at that in the year I 254,after reachingthere palace, pakshi rraveled,; ;; wu-tok army at Serta on the way' a latge being welcomed by for the future of of was,Nvare the importance of his visit Karmap"trli K a g y u p a t e a c h i n g s a n d h a d ' l l y v i s i ohonoredpby i Kublai i Khan' twhot h i s naryex er ences ndica ing court. He was ii, ur.iuut it tttt ,# power to the other religiousteachers' him to displayhis spiritual requested with this requestand also conductedhimselfwith iu'rru pakshicomplied The khan askedhim to his greatness' ,urf, ,ourtesy that all acknowledged forseeing the Pakshideclined, but Karma remainat his court permanently, at the court' potential for trouble in the factional interests the restof china was under the control of Mongka Khan, At this time, a grandsonof GenghisKhan, who had deposedhis own cousin, Godin. a Mongka Khan exercised rather tenuouscontrol of his younger brother Kublai. During this period the Sakyapa school had sprcad its teachings throughout China, due largelyto the work of Sakya Pa4{ita ( I 182-l25l) and his nephew,Phakpa (1235-1284). Inspiredby Avalokitesvaraand Mahikila, Karma Pakshidecidedto travel to northernTibet. DespiteKublai Khan's angerat his refusalto stay, he journeyed to the Sino-Tibetan border region of Minyak. When he arrived the country was rocked by a tornado, which Karma Pakshi envisagedas the manifestation the Vajra Black-CloakedMahdkila. He also of had a vision of Vai3ravaqa, protector of wealth, who requested him to remain in Minyak in order to constructa new temple there. By 1256 Karma Pakshi had reached Amdo in northeasternTibet, where he learned that Mongka Khan had suppressed the power of his youngerbrother, Kublai, and was now the supremeruler of Mongolia and a largepart of China. At this point, Mongka Khan invited him to return to China to teach dhormo. The invitation was acceptedand Karma Pakshi traveledslowly back to china, passing through the Minyak region once again' In a visionary experience, he was inspired by the red rdrd to go to Mongka Khan's palacein Liang chou. By this time the far-rangingimportance of Karma Pakshi's dharmaactivity had becomevery clear. on the journey to Mongka Khan's court he removed both environmental and socialimbalances by his compassionate activiry. Karma Pakshi arrived at the court at the beginningof the winter. The khan marked his arrival by freeing prisoners in his honor and Karma


THB HrsroRy oF rnn SlxrrrN KenuApAs

KenuaPe Kenun Plr csst


Pakshimanifesterf enlightened the compassion Avalokitesvara givi of by many empowernrents, textual transmissionsand instructions.The k becamehis devotedstudentand Karma pakshi revealed that he had in studied with the first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, in his previouslife, indeed had achieved the same mahdmudrd realization as Karma paks himself. In order to display the superb skillful means of the dharma, Karrxq Pakshi invited manyjealous Taoist mastersfrom shen Shing, Tao Shi, and Er Kao to join him in debate.However, none were equal to it and they ail acceptedhis teaching. At the Alaka palace,Karma Pakshi empoweredthe khan and his other students in the spiritual practice of cakrasamvara. Mongka Khan practiced his instruction so preciselythat he was able to visualize theyidam in perfect detail. Later, through the power of Karma pakshi's meditation, a vision of Saraha and the other eighty-fovr tantric saints appeared in the sky, where they remained for three days. The power of his teaching cut through the khan's involvement with politics, enablinghim to developan intuitive realization of mahdmudrd. Karma Pakshi's influence extended far beyond the royal court and indeed had a profound effect on Sino-Mongol culture. He continued the process begunby sakya pandita. As an exampleof this, Karma pakshiad_ vised that all Mongol Buddhists should avoid meat-eatingon the days of the moon's phases.Similarly, non-Buddhistswere advised to keep their own religious precepts on these days. 'fhe ten virtues2enunciat"d by Sdkyamuni Buddha were emphasized the basisof individual as and social morality. Karma Pakshi's work for the welfare of the people was very extensive.For example, on thirteen separateoccasions groups of prisoners were freed from confinement on his urging. Despite his own personal prestige,Karma Pakshi did not seekto advancethe Karma Kagyu school at the expenseof the other Buddhist traditions, but urged the khan to support them as well.

The khan im per m anentnat ur eof all sit uat ions' point ing t o t he decl i ned , but gr ant edhim a saf econductpasst hr ough , ; i; r ; ; ; him di d not at t er npr

'" ";:3".[::T:T:].1'oi,th"

to returned Pakshi Ironriger' asKarma

Subsequently khaninvited guruto accompany on a the his him tour of his empire.At Karakorum,the Mongol'scapitalcity, Karma pakshi entered into a friendlydialogue with the representatives otherreligious of traditions.The party travered to the Sino-Mongolian on borderregions and thenjourneyed Minyak. Here,inspired the memory to by of Dusum Khyenpa,Karma pakshidecided return to Tibet. Mongka to Khan had wantedhis guru to accompany him to Manchuria,but Karma pakshi

of M ongka Khan' At f ir st out in Chinaupon t he deat h tro ubleUr oke Ti bet, A | a p a g a , t h e | a t e k h a n , s s o n , e rival claim ofhhisruncle' s p i t e o Khan'a c t t h a t s t a b l i s h e d i s u l e i n Kublai f t h e f supportedthe some Mongol tnitit S o o n , h o w e v e r , K u b | a i K h a n w a s aof la studente c o n t r o zhang of theg a w a s b e t o s e i z of Lama l a n d A | a p a ttr. magicalpower killed, reputedly'iy TsalPaKagYulineage' whosejourney had beendelayedby local Ar this time KJrma Pakshi, a lar gest at ueof t he Buddha' wasinspir edby a visiont o const r uct w arfare , was acutelyaware of the difficultiesin he on his return to Tibet. Ho*ru.t, wasrevealed a project.The way through theseobstructions the way of such rescuedhim from danger' He which to him in a dream oi a white horse "This Supr em e t a song t o celebr at ehis in which he declar ed, composed supr em e m an' as was horse i s like a golden bir d. I , m yself , am t he t danger ousim es'" we Ther ef or e will cr ossovert hese G S i ddhdrt ha uat am a. by Word reachedKarma Pakshithat Kublai Khan, encouraged court a gr udgeagainsthim . The khan f elt t hat he had i ntri gue,had developed his by beensl i ghr ed Kar m a Pakshiand t hat t he lat t erhad encour aged r ival he decidedt o or der his assassinat ion' and brother ,M ongka Khan, so him t o det The new khan'ssoldier s ainedKar m a Pakshiand subject ed poisoning and being various indignities and tortures such as burning. t throw n o f f a clif f , but in t he f aceof t his br ut alt r eat m enthe m anif est edhe conrpassion Aval<lkite3vara of and the natural freedom of a ntahdsiddha. K arma Pakshi'sr ealizat ionof t he unbor n and undying nat ur e of m ind meantthat his capt or swer e unablet o har m him . Event uallyhe expr essed greatpi ty f or t heir conf usion. The se his event s or cedKublai Khan t o r econsider at t it udet o Kar m a f P akshi . I nst ead of assassinat ion, appr opr iat e.The khan exile seem ed attempted o dam ageKar m a Pakshi's him t o a deser t ed t healt hby sending area near the oceanwhere there were few people to receivethe dharma. H<lwever, within the next few yearsKarma Pakshi spenthis time composi ng text s and slowly r ecover ed.Event ually Kublai Khan r elent edand apol ogized, askingKar m a Pakshit o st ay wit h him . When Kar m a Pakshi repl i ed that he had t o r et ur n t o Tibet , t he khan allowed him t o depar t saying,"Pleaseremember me and pray for me and blessme. You are freeto go and teach tlharma whereveryou wish."


THn Htsrony

oF rHn SrxrEnN KlRrvrApAS

KarmaPakshiarrivedbackat Tsurphuaftera longjourneyandsetto work constructing the statueof Buddha.The cast brassstatue,named of "GreatSage, Ornament the World" (Tib.:thub.chen dzom.gling.rgyan\, relics theBuddha of andhisdisciples. stoodfifty-fivefeettall andcontained to On completionthe statueappeared tilt to oneside.Seeing this, Karma into meditation,tilting his body in the sameway, As he Pakshientered up, straigthened the statuerighteditself. Beforehis deathin 1283, Karma Pakshitransmitted lineage his his to greatstudent,Urgyenpa.He informed Urgyenpa that his next incarnation would comefrom western Tibet. Karma Pakshiwas both a profound tontric saint and scholar.The of inspired energy histeachings manypeople travelthespiritualpath.In to his addition to Urgyenpa, other famousstudents includedMaja ChangchubTsondru,NyenreGendunBum and Mongka Khan.

Karm apaRangjung Dorje


f ir st m ont h of t he year of t he Wood ON TI {E EI G HTr I DAY of t he RangiungDor je, was t he t hir d Kar m apaincar nat ion, Monkey( 1284C. 8. ) It is said that as his mother gave born in the Tingri area of westernTibet. saying, birth to him, the moon was rising and the baby immediatelysat up hasr isen. " " The moon The young Rangiung Dorje displayedextraordinary precocity.One day, attheageof three,while playing with friends,he suddenlyaskedthem to make him a throne. When the imitation throne was constructed,he sat upon it, put on a black hat and announcedthat he wasthe Karmapa Lama. Soonnewsof this remarkablechild traveledfar and wide, reachingthe that attentionof Lama Urgyenpa.This Drukpa Kagyupa lama requested the now five year old Rangjung Dorje be brought to seehim. The spiritual qualities the young child led Urgyenpato reabze that this was indeedthe of incarnation of the Karmapa. To renew the relationship betweenthem, and Lama Urgyenpathen bestowedthe empowerments Cakrasar.nvara of Flevajra upon Rangfung Dorje. The eclucation and training of the new Karmapa beganat the age of seven, whenhe received noviceordination from Lama Kunden Sherab. the Following this he was formally enthronedas the Karmapa Lama at Tsurphu. His training continuedat Tsurphu, wherefor elevenyearshe studied the completeteachings the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions from Lama of NyenreGendun Bum and Lama Namtshowa. The former saw Rangjung Dorje as an embodiment of Saraha, the great Indian tantric saint. He completedthis intensiveperiod of study with a meditation retreat in the vicinity of the great "Lady of the White Snows," Jomo Gangkar, known elsewhere as Mount Everest.



Tun HrsroRy oF rsE SIxrEnN K.lnuApAS

KeRuaPn Rnr qcr uNcDon- r n


At the ageof eighteen,Rangiung Dorje traveled to the great Kadampa monastery of Sangphu, where he received the full ordination from the abbot, Sakya Zhonnu. He remained for some time at the monastery, engagedin a wide study of philosophy, logic and religious law. His studies included the vinaya, thought transformation (Tib.: blo.sbyong'1,The Five Tex ts of M ai t reya (Tib. :' by ams.chos.lde.lnga) | Mad hyamaka philosophy, abhidharma,2 and the Prajfiapdramitd siltra and idstra commentaries. The third Karmapa was an omnivorous student.Although he retained understanding from his previous lives, he researched all aspects of both contemporary and traditional learning. He received teachings from the most profound scholars of his day. As an example of this, some of the teachings he received from Lama Kunga Dondrup are particularly noteworthy, viz: Kilacokra Tantra:root text and commentary GuhyasomdiaTantra CakrosarylaroTantra.'root text and commentary Yamintaka teachings.r Vajramili teachings Hevajra Tanra and commentaries Sarppulikd teachings Guhyagarbha and wrathful deities"teachingl "The peaceful Shi Jaypateachings Dampa Sangiay of Machig Labdron'schod teaching Sakyapapath and fruit teachings The sadaiga yoga of Kilacakra6 Kanjur and Tanjur textual transmissionT A comparative study of Hindu philosophy When Rangjung Dorje receivedthe empowerment of Kdlacakra, he had a visionary experienceof the entire universe as contained within the body itself. Inspired by this, hc composed a very influential text on astrology. When this period of study with Lama Kunga Dondrup was completed, Rangiung Dorje entered into intensive meditation at the Garu{a Castle retreat center near Tsurphu. During this retreat he had a dream in which the teachings of the philosopher Nigdrjuna were conveyed to him by his late guru, Urgyenpa. Rangiung Dorje's studies extended into the medical field. From Lama Bare he received the Sowa Rikpa medical education. Subsequently,the


rom lffi l"chen'f lT*:T:ffi Karrnapa*^,^::",;i:^,xl[,:,jl*'Jffi he recetvec

Tantra Guh't'asdntaia P Madhyamaka hilosoPhY

Tantras Yarninrcka ora TanIr os' Cokrasantv'

rsonpos chodorandMeton of therineage Ngok

Later,RangjungDorjestudiedwithRigdzinKumirardja,themost importantcontemporaryexponentoftheinnermostessence(Tib.:snying' tttig,lteacningsoftheNyingmapatradition..[.heseteachings,whichhad beenintroducedintoTibetintheeighthcenturybytheparl(ita,Vimalamitra,revealttreoirectexperienceofbuddhahootlthrouglrthenakednessof awareness.TheyhadalastinginfluenceonRangjungDorje.Inmeditation hehadavisioninwhichVimalamitrawasactua|lyabsorbedintohis forehead.TheeffectofthisteachingonRangjungDorjeledtohisbringing togetherthetwoteachingsofKagyupa,,greatseal.'andNyingmapa..great int perfection" o one st r eam ' R a n g i u n g D o r j e , s d e p t h a n d b r e a d t h o f s c h o l a r s h i p w a s o fwith g r e e ade man"'and in Tibet with the European"renaissance associated usually most of the movement.Having assimilated the laterRime("boundaryless") which had and t ext ual t r ansm issions' em t B uddhi st eachir r gs, power m ent s m any im por t ant vision in beenbro ught t o Tibet , he com m unicat edhis foremost for the Kagyu sectis the Deep texts.of the onessurviving, the commentary on Irtner Meaning (Tib. :'snang'don)'an invaluable the natureof tantra. began to travel on the completion of his studies, Rangiung Dorje em and best owing power m ent s' throughsout her nTibet . giving t eachings were of thiee years.*.unt Peoqle He stayed the Kongpo areafor a period in arrdreputatlon as a inspired study dharma by the power of his prcsenc to dharmamaster. Emperor In time, RangiungDorje's fame spreadas far as the Mongol the invitation and set Togh Temur, who invited him to visit. He accepted out for China, but on the way his party was held up by unseasonable the way weather. The following spring the party againsetout for China. On certainomensoccurredwhich indicated to Rangiung Dorje that the emperor had died. Beforecontinuing Karmapa performedthe death rites for the emperor. The party finatly arrived at the palaceof Tai-ya Tu on the


Tnr HrsroRy oF rHr SIxrenruKenuApAs

eighteenth day of the tenth month of the year of the Water Mon (1332C.E.).Thereit was learnedthat the Emperor Togh Temur had i died on the day of the omens. However, the royal family and court were able to welcome Rangiung Dorje. Karmapa advisedthe late emperor'syounger brother, Toghon Temur to wait for six months before ascendingthe throne and he predicted Toghon Temur would prove to be a great monarch. On the fifteenth day the first month of the Water Bird year the new emperor was enthroned Rangjung Dorje in a grand ceremony. In the year of the Wood Dog, Karmapa set out on the return jo to Tibet to procure, as a gift for the emperor,some long life nectar,tse (Tib.: tse.chu),left near Samye by Padmasambhava.On the way he es lished many monasteriesdedicated to Kagyu dharma. Of especialimportance is the temple that he establishedat Wu-tai Shan, the Five Peaks Mafijuiiri mountain in China. On his return to Tibet, Rangiung Dorje was involved in teachingand resolving political problems. Subsequently, Karmapa receivedan invitation from Toghon Temur to revisit China. So in the year of the Fire Rat, Karmapa set out once again for China. Throughout the long journey Rangjung Dorje continually taught dharma. Upon his arrival, the emperor welcomed him joyfully and receivedthe gift of the tse chu from Karmapa which enabled him to live the longest of the Mongol emperors.During his stay Rangjung Dorje estalrlished new Kagyupa monastery.He was also a able to end the climatic difficulties which were harming the crops in China at that time. On the fourteenth day of the sixth month of the year of the Earth Rabbit ( I339 C.E.), Rangjung Dorje told the emperorof his presentiments of his own imminent death. He withdrew into the Cakrasar.nvara shrine, passed where he meditated on the herukaand away in meditation. The next day, as his final teaching to the emperor and empress,Karmapa appeared to manifest his face in the full moon. Rangiung Dorje's influence on vajraydnaBuddhism was incalculable. As well as his invaluable texts, his teaching was spread through his many accomplishedstudents.Rangjung Dorje taught the famous Sakya scholar, Yagde Paq{ita,s and also the most profound Nyingmapa guru, Longchen Rabjampa. In addition, Rangjung Dorje's otherstudents included Shamar Rinpoche, Drakpa Sengeand Toghon Temur.

[ (-hYt

Karm apaRolpe Dorje

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D U R IN G TH E PREG NANCY of Rolpe Dor je'sm ot herm any auspicious symbolsoccurredin her dreams,indicatingthe birth of an incarnateguru. On the eighth dayof the third month of the year of the lron Dragon (1340 C.E.) Karmapa Rolpe Dorje was born. The sounds of the six-syllable fragranceissued montra wereheardon the lips of the baby and a beautifrrl the bodY. from As a young child Rolpe Dorje frequently displayed his remarkable "I At abi l i ti es. t heageof t hr eehe declar ed am Kar m a Pakshi.M any of m y students hereand so I havecome." He spontaneously in the position are sat of Amitibha and told his mother that the position was one in which he had beenseated her womb. in A t t he age of six t he young pr odigy, on being quest ioned about his previouslives,replied,"r am Dusum Khyenpa and Karma Pakshi. I went to Chinaand began pacify the Mongol armies.I am the one who watched to from the clouds. My guru is emptiness and I myself am your guru. Now I possess three emanations.One is with the bodhisattva Ratnamati. One dw el l si n t he spir it ual envir onm entof Buddha Aksobhya and I am t he thi rd. A t t he m om ent you m ay doubt m e but soon t his will pass.You Yourself my student." are Subsequently Gon Gyalwa, who actedas one of Rolpe Dorje's tutors, questionedthe boy about his incarnation as Rangiung Dorje, saying, said he would live to be the age of eighty-four but he died at Itliy-five. ",IttT"oa what happened?" Rolpe Dorje repli:d, "Fewer peoplewere religiousand their way of life was very negative.'l'his upset Rangjung Dorje and causedhim to lose his wish to remain lrere." Gon Gyalwa further qu,estioned the young incarnationabout why peoplehad seen facein the his l ul l moon on t he night f ollowing his deat h. The young boy answer ed by



Tse HlsroRy oF rHr SlxrEENKeRuepns

KnnunPn RolPr Donr E


saying, "Rangiung Dorje had limitless compassionand his students strongdevotion.Thesetwo causes coincidedand producedthe vision of appearance the moon." in The young Rolpe Dorje had many spontaneous visionary experiences, which symbolizedthe natural unfoldment of his own spirituality. At one time when he fell ill with influ enza, he entered into meditation upon Bhai$ajyaguru buddha-embodiment medicine.In this meditation the of he drank from the crystal water bowl which Bhaigajyaguruextended to him. Immediately his sicknesspassed.Rolpe Dorje experiencedthe omnipresenceof the buddha-naturethroughout being. It is said that he was able to seethe different buddha "families"r in his own veinsand to seethe spiritual environments of buddhas in one atom. On one occasionhe manifert.d t.n different forms in which he listenedto ten different teachingsin ten different spiritual environments.Theseexperiences roflectedRolpe Dorje's realization of the interpretation of buddha-nature in all experience and phenomena. The awakening of the young Karmapa's innate compassionwas sym_ bolized by his visionary descentto hell in the form of Avalokitebvara. There he controlled the sufferingsbrought about by intenseaggression, With the rain of his compassion he was able to extinguish the fires of hatred and restore all the beings trapped in their environment to basic sanity. The Karmapa child was like a garu(a,the mythical bird which hatches from the egg complete full-grown. In his dreams he visited Uddiyina, land of the Qdkinis,where vajrayoginigave him profound teachingsinwhich she told him, "Yours is a naturally unborn mind. Let meditation, visualization and recitation arise. Make offering prayers andtormos. Byperforming this practice for eight tlays, you will obtain the spiritual power of vajrayogini.,, In other dreams Rorpe Dorje journeyed to the potala ,firiiu"t .nvironment. Here he perceived the marl(ala of Avalokitesvara in its pure immediacy, which produced in him the realization of mahdmudrd. To expresshis understanding, Rolpe Dorje composed songs relating his visionary experiences. the ageof nine he began At to study the teachings of the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions. During this period it is said that Rolpe Dorje accomplishedhis studieswith great ease, apparently having to exert very little effort, due to his inherent ability.

placet o expr ess a saint s.He com posed songin pr aiseof t he hi sattvasancl his delight' A t P h a g m o D r u m o n a s t e r y R o l p e D o r j e w a s w e l c ohee d b y T a i s i t u m there continued Gyaltsen,who becameruler of Tibet' From runrtscht)b on his arrival tt. prin.ipal monasteryof the Karmapa Lamas. ::J;;il,

tn-0.':.L1'"::"::::,T: ofVajralosili ;: ili"'pi,.a tv lision T:1""'' the vinaya texts' concerning religious Dorje studied

Rolpe "r6t"",t"" Then, at the ageof fourteen he receivedordination as a novice IiJ"ipf in.. par Rinpoche. He was named Dharmakirti to confirm his ;;;;;""drup -rjtntrunce into the monastic life' of of pal Rinpocheevokedin Kar m apaasense t he r ichness D ondr up m edit at ionhe saw as m any Dusum In D usum Khyenpa'st r ansm ission. as stars in the sky. Following this, Rolpe Dorje's spiritual Khyenpas He of deathlessness. enpracticeconcernedAmitdbha, the embodiment became of the significance Amitdbha teachings trr..l into a retreatin which clear to him, both through his meditation and his dreams. completely Rolpe Dorje invited the Nyingmapa scholar Gyalwa Subsequently of yongtonpato visit him. This teacherwas the living lineage-holder the from Rangwhich he himself had received Karma Kagyu "transmission," of under st anding t he j ung Dor je. O n m eet ingYongt onpa,a spont aneous in Rolpe Dorje' The old manjala of peaceful and wrathful deities arose in schol ar said,"I am ver y old but RangiungDor je showedsuchkindness you teach ing e t hat I have com e f r om af ar . Now pleaset ell m e what m remember your previouslives." of Karmapa Rolpe Dorje repliedthat he was not able to recall his life as Dusum Khyenpa very clearly and that he could gnly remembera little of his that he recalledhis life as life as RangjungDorje. However,he emphasized Karma Pakshi perfectly.When he heard this, Yonglonpa was overcome with emotion and prostratedat his young student'sfeet. Rolpe Dorje receivedan exhaustiverange of teachings,especially Kagyu and Nyingma instructionsfrom Lama Yongtonpa. At the age of ei ghteen was or daineda m onk by t he Abbot Dondr up Pal Rinpoche' he During the same year Rolpe Dorje met the famous Sakya lama, Sonam Gyaltscn,from whom he receivedthe empowermentof the red Avalokitesvara.Each lama recognizedthe other's spiritual authority on their meeting. The following year the Mongol Emperor Toghon Temur, who was anxi o us o r est or e links wit h t he Kar m apaincar nat ions, invit ed Rolpe t his

When Rolpe Dorje reachedthe age of thirteenhe went to central Tibet.on the wayhepassed Dak Lha Gampo,themonastery Gampopa, of which he saw as a stilpa madeof jewels,surrounded by buddhas, bod-


Tur HrsroRy oF rHr SrxrnEN KenvApAs

KnRvapn Rolpn Don: r


Dorje to his court. However, at that time Karmapa was engaged in I teaching tour of Tibet and was unable to go. When he returned to Tsurphu a secondinvitation arrived from Toghon Temur in which the emperor said, I am the emperor,the king of heaven.I have heard that you, KarmapaRolpe Dorje havebeenreborn for us and you now dwell in Tsurphu. Therefore,with deep respectI ask you to remember your previousactions.Theseare degenerate times, full of many sufferings. Considerthesesufferingsand also the innate goodness the people. of Pleasebestowon us the nectarof the dharma to make us joyfui. Now many beingsare acting in the wrong way, so please point to the right directionfor them. Please forth from home. Do not considerthe set dif{icultiesof the journey nor your health but pleasecome quickly. Buddha himselfdid not think of his own sufferings when he wishedto benefitsentientbeings.Please come immediately.When you arrive we must both encourage progress buddhadharma the of and the welfareof the people.Please listen,greatl,ama Rolpe Dorje.
As an offering I am sending you shrine implements, one ingot of gold, three ingots of silver and eighteen rolls of silk brocade. Sent from Tai-ya Tu, the residenceof the emperor, on the tenth day of the tenth month in the year of the Earth Monkey.

month of the Earth Dog year,at the ageof nineteen. usedmuchof his He time on thejourneyin composing texts.when the partyarrivedin shawo, the Mongol envoys suggested freshhorses, that yaksand bearers requisibe tionedfrom thelocalpopulace. However, RorpeDorjesaid,..prease not do ask the peoplefor anything.I shallsendand providefor all. One should neverburdcn the people."Despitethis, peopleresponded to Karmapa,s compassionate concern and many offerings were made to him. Rolpe Dorje instructed people nonviolence thedevelopment the in and of a loving attitude.To thosewho werealreadyengaged meditationpractice in Rolpe Dorje gavethe explanations mahdmudrdand six doctrines. of the At this time Rolpe Dorje himserfattainedthe realization atiyoga, of the most sublimeof Nyingmateachings. journeylay throughthe areaof Wu-t'aiShan Rolpe Dorje's wherehe made a pilgrimageto the peaks of Mafrjubri.There he met five Indian yogins who presented with a buddharilpa cawedby him N6gnrjuna.Dur_ ing this period Rolpe Dorje composed seriesof songs a dedicatedto Maffjui;ri. Continuingwith thejourney,Karmapa wasinvitedto visitthedomain of PrinceSarigha sri. He herda shortseminary theredurihg which he in_

Karmapa began the long and difficult journey to Peking in the ninth

public. Rolpe Dor ie was also bot h cour t ier sand m em ber sof t he structed people by ending an invasion of locust s,which ^r.tero h elp t ne local through various tinv kingartt.oy the crops. As he passed ?:::^'r;":.J io '"'- J rrtrv-t f act ional f euding and wit nessed he signing of m any dornshe Pact t t ec peaceand condonated a great deal of his wealth to restore ;r;;;r, I{e In his dharnra activity at this time Rolpe Dorje was ,rrrrt monasteries. yamdntaka, who embodiesthe indestructibilityof buddha,roirro by to yamdntaka removedthe obstructinghindrances Karmapa'scomil;. of t Rolpe Dor je subdued he em bodim ent s wor k. subsequent ly, n]Jonu,r in this way turned the area to Kagyu dharma' ,h. u..u', energyand eventf r om t hejour ney was Rolpe Dor je'svisit t o t he A not her not able .. m agical" em pleof Sakya Paq{it a. I n M inyak Kar m apa spr ead t famous dhornta andalsoarrangeda pardon for a ruler who had rebelledagainst th.e f or t he nonviolent a inst thekhan .His pr esence illedin t he people r ever ence of life' way day of t he t welf t h m ont h of t he year of t he Fi n allyon t he eight eent h 'fu, where Rolpe Mouse, the party arrived at the palace of Tai-ya Iron Happily enought he em pr ess f et edby t he em per orand em pr ess. D orj ewas bi gave rth t o a baby,a SonM ait r lpdla, lat ert he sam em ont h. The com m it ment of the emperor to Kagyu dharnta was evident and sincereand so Karmapawas able to instruct him in the vital triad of Kagyu teachings, namely Vajrayoginl, the six doctrines of Ndropa, and the mohdmudrd a of Tilopa. Rolpe Dorje alsogavethe royal chilciren grorrndingin the basic preceptsof Buddha and generally instructerlthe Chi reseand Mongol peopl es nd t he ot her et hnic m inor it iesof t he em pir e in t he r eligionand a nonviolence. a presentto his guru the emperor freed all prisonersand As excused his m onks f r om cour t et iquet t e.Dur ing his st ay in China t he compassionatact ivit y of Rolpe Dor je ext endedt o cur ing t he sick and e combatingharsh climatic conditions. in A fte r t hr eeyear swor k in China, it was r evealed a dr eam t o Rolpe D orj e that t he em per or 'slif e would be shor t . This m ade him decidet o returnto Tibet. Toghon Temur was upsetby this newsand pleadedwith his guru to stay,saying,"Before you came everythingwas costly. Now things are easilyobtained. Pleaseremain here so that we may spreaddharnro in theman nerof Kublai Khan and SakyaPhakpa.Pleasehink car ef ully. All t the factionswho opposedthe emperorare now peaceful. havea new son. I You are a fortunate teacher." R olpeDor je r eplied, m yselfdo not possess I enoughknowledge. t is "l , Detter cease to pretending.What I can do is to blessemperorsby invoking


THr HrsroRy oF rsr SrxrErN KnRuepas

KenMap.q Ror,pr DonrE


the principle of the threejewersand by teaching them. Ail my worcrshave beenwritten down. Now I must return to Tibet. Monks must go wherever they can benefit sentient beings. It is best not to be attached to any country." So, reluctantlythe emperor let Rolpe Dorje go. Karmapa departed in the first month of the wood riger year. Again his journey was spent working for the welfare of the inhabitants of the various areas through which he passed.Together with the Sakya lama, Lhachen Sonam Solo, he savedthe lives of condemnedprisoners. Then he traveled through Minyak where he built a new monastery at Kora and spread the dharmo. Rolpe Dorje's timetable on the journey revolved around meditation, teaching and welfare work. All the gifts that he himself received gave he to needyindividuals or institutions.When the party reachedthe Kongio area in northeasternTibet, it came acrossa smallpox epidemic. on ttre night following Karmapa'sarrival, peoplesaidthat they could hearnoises on the roof of his house.In the morning Rolpe Dorje said that he had brought the epidemic to an end by manifesting as a garu(a to destroy the imbalances producingthe smallpox. Karmapa expressed surprise people,s his at claims to have heard the noisesof the garu(a, because said he in actuality it was simply the activity of formlessmind. Rolpe Dorje had long beeninterested Indian poetics. in In Kongjo he had a dream in which Sarasvati, symbolic consort of Maffjusri and embodiment of artistic energy,appearedto him. sarasvatigave him a pot of yoghurt and told him to drink it. The morning folrowing this dream Rorpe Dorje discoveredhe had a new-found ability to understand poetics. Arriving in the Tsongkha area near Lake Kokonor, Karmapa,sparty was honored by t irelocal rulers. Rolpe Dorje gave teachings and distributed aid to the local inhabitants. At Lake Kokonor he composedhis text, Removing Erroneous views (Tib.: was in this area that Rolpe Dorje met a young boy who was destined to have a profound effect on Buddhism, Tsongkhapa.He gave the boy ray ordination and the name Kunga Nyingpo. Karmapa prcdictedabout ihe chird that, ..Thisis a holy child who wil be of great benefit to peopre. Therefore, he is like a secondBuddha come to Tibet."

punyadhariof Minyak, At this time princess one of RorpeDorje,s students, dreamt of a huge thangkaof seky;muni Buddha, measuring eleven arm-spans from ear to ear. on hearingof this Karmapa devised a methodto rearize dream.He rode over a certain her ur." oi ground on

The hoof pr int s. backtr acingt he pat t er nof t his im agewit h his hor se's horse of Buddha'sfigure traced in this manner were found to be rneasurements pieceof silk. In all it took the perfect.Then imagewas transferredto a huge months to completethe thangka,which also fi'e hundred peoptethirteen Sekyam uni. n com O ,.prrr.n,.d M af ijuSr iand M ait r eya on eit hersideof the thangka vtasblessedby Rolpe Dorje. During the ceremony pfetion auspiciousevents occurred. Afterwards PrincessPunyadhari gave the requested Karmapa'scounselwhen ftangka to her guru. Later the princess her regi onwas about t o be invadedby a M ongol ar m y. Rolpe Dor je, who had the perfectcourageof nonviolence,invoked the principle of wisdom and the invading army moved awayfrom the region.The and compassion Rolpe Dor je st ayedf or t hr eem ont hsdur ing which w ereover joyed. peopl e was per vadedby love and kindness ong m ankind am ti ntethe atm ospher e and al l othe r cr eat ur es. Karmapa's extensiveactivity in both dharma and social welfare atwe tractedjealousy from certain quarters.Conspiracies re plotted to harm RotpeDorje, but nothing significantevercameof them. Karmapa himself fol l ow ed as st r ict a r egim enin t he cam p ( Tib. : gar . chen)as in a set t led monastery.Fr om t he t im e he awoke unt il nine in t he m or ning, he per in Fr formedhi s s pir it ualpr act ices. om t hen unt il noon hegaveinst r uct ions performed prostrations and walking meditation. dharma. At noon he meditation,and in Throughout the afternoon he practicedAvalokiteSvara in the eveni nghe st udied or com posedt ext s. His night s wer e passed t he practi ce dr eam) , oga. RolpeDor je was,in f act , a veget ar ian and est abof lishedthis as the basicdiet of his camp. A l though sur r oundedby int r igueand gossiphe r em ainedunaf f ect ed and i mpartial.I n cont r astt o m any r eligiouslum inar ies, Rolpe Dor je did not display greatpleasureto financial sponsors, reservingthis insteadfor good meditators.Whereverhe went he worked assiduously the welfare for of others i n any way possible,f r om building br idgest o inst r uct ion in metaphysics. careerexemplifiedthe qualitiesof a true bodhisattvaand His masterof all facetsof Buddha'steaching. W hen Kar m apa's par t y ar r ived in t he Nangchenpr incipalit y, his indispositioncausedmuch concern.However, he informed peoplethat it wasnot yet time for him to die. [Ie further said that he would die in a very openl and wit h m any deerand wild hor ses. I becom e in sucha count r y ill "lf I w i l l tl i e," Rolpe Dor je declar ed. "So, do not loseany of m y books. "Then the party tra veledt o Kar m a G on m onast er y, wher ehe gavet eaching o t he t monks.


Tse HrsroRy oF rHr StxtrEn K.lnuApAs

Karmapa askedhis studentsto bring somejuniper wood on the next stagesof the journey. He told them that it was the custom in China to use sandalwood or agaru on a funeral pyre for a respectedperson, but since Tibet did not have this kind of wood, they would have to usejuniper wood. When the party reachedNakchu, one of the monks broke his hand. This was consideredvery inauspicious. During this period Rolpe Dorje spoke to his studentsand attendants and the widespreadinability of people to of about the viciousness saqnsdra follow dharma. He said, "Perhaps it is better to demonstratethe real nature of sarpsdra,which is that everything is impermanent." One of his students, Rekarwa, realizedthat Karmapa was referring to his own imminent demise and pleaded with him not to pass away. However, everybody else in the camp laughed at Rekarwa. Subsequentlythe Karmapa's party set up camp in the barren northern plains of Tibet. Inauspicioussignswere observedin the camp and Karmapa himself made oblique commentsupon them. On the night of the full moon in the seventh month of the year of the Female Water Pig (1383 C.E.), Rolpe Dorje becamesick. He gazedinto spaceand recited the "Prayer of Samantabhadra." 2 Then he meditated until just before sunrise, when he passedaway. The moments of his passingwere marked by strangeatmospheric occurrences, which symbolized to people the (dkas and dakinis preeting Rolpe Dorje. Many people throughout Tibet, who had personal connectionswith him, envisagedhim in various personalmanifestationsat this time. Rolpe Dorje's ashes were brought to Tsurphu monastery and enshrined as relics. Among Karmapa Rolpe Dorje's principal students were Shamar Kachod Wangpo, Drigung Chokyi Drakpa and Lobzang Drakpa Tsongkhapa.

KarmapaDezhin Shegpa

on D E ZH IN SHEG PA was bor n at sunr ise t he eight eent h day of t he sixt h month of t he year of t he Wood M ouse ( 1384 C. E. ) t o t he yogin G ur u Rinchenand his wife, Lhamo Kyi. His mother'spregnancy had beenrich in auspiciousevents and immediately after his birth, Dezhin Shegpa was heardto exclaim,"I bow down to all the buddhas.I am Karma Pakshi.Om ma4i padme hilrp." When he reached the age of five, Dezhin Shegpa was invited to Kongpo Ngakphu, wherea greatmeditator calledShao had slippedon the ice and broken three of his ribs. The young incarnation massaged ribs his and Shao'sinjuries healed,causinghim no further pain. During this period Dezhin Shegpa receivedseveralempowerments and textual transmissions for later practice.Theseincluded the six doctrines of Ndropa and the mahdmudrd of Tilopa, the principal Kagyu instructions.At the age of sevenhe receivednovice ordination from the greatabbot, Ngakphu Sonam Zangpo, with whom he went on to study the full range of hinaydno and mahdydna teachings.Then he was formally enthronedat Tsurphu monastery.He continued his educationthere with his tutor, until being ordained a monk at the age of nineteenin the largest ordination ceremony(eighty monks) ever held in Tibet. Once his basic education was completed,Dezhin Shegpa began to tour. On his travels he met the Nyingma terton ("finder of hidden texts"), Sangye Lingpa, whom he had known in his previous incarnation. The Ierlon presented him with a scarf and somegold, and Karmapa reminded him that he still possessed previous Karmapa'swalking stick. Sangye the Lingpa was astonishedby the power of Dezhin Shegpa's awareness and became very devotedto him. Travelingon, Karmapa received empowthe




THr HlsroRy oF rHE SlxrprN KaRnaApAs

Kenunpe DrzHlN SHrcPl of t he r ed em per or and em pr esst he em power m ent s stow ed on th e Vajradhdtu' HeVajrakilaya, Guhyasamdja' Maitreya' iuuto*i,.3vara, 'uu:ru, the thousand-armedAvaloTdr6.,Vairocana, Bhaigajyaguruand these weeks Dezhin Shegpa revealedthe miraculous ;;;;;^r^. During energy,awakenedby the accomplishmentof these nururc of enlightened r r,,sjaY6na teachings' offeringsof robesto his guru and On the first day as the emperormade to seemed be presentin space. the monks, a magical temple of reminiscent a beggingbowl appeared, on the r..ond day arainbow groups of arhats'l resembling followed by cloud formations was filled with fragranceand a sweet the third day the atmosphere On and gentlerain fell' over Dezhin bn the fourth day abrightly colored rainbow appeared house. ShegPa's symbolsand bn the fifth day spaceappearedto be full of auspicious in the city streets' peoplewere convincedthat they could seearhats Shegpa's to On the sixth day many lights seemed issuefrom Dezhin shri ne. the buddharttpa On the seventhday an unearthly red glow came from on the main temple and illuminated the grounds' one hoveredover the On the eighih day two lights appearedin space: palace. royal burial ground and one hung over the emperor's an peopleclaimedthat they had observed on the ninth day acrowd of at t hen disappear ed t he door of t he ol d monk w h o f lew t hr ought he air and templ e. garula flew together On the tenth day a crane and a bird like a blue i n the sky. to the eastfrom to On the eleventhday luminous rays seemed stream Karmapa'stemple and the housein which he was staying. the emperor's on the twelfth day there was a rain of {lowers ortto palace. severalmonks On the thirteenth day peopleswore that they had seen in the sky, who were sayingprayersand making prostrationsin the direction of Karmapa's residence. flock of On the fourteenth day the ceremonieswere completed' A cranesdanced in the sky and clouds appearedin the shape of symbolic stilpast and dragons' deities, garu(as,2lions, elephants, gave on the next day the Karmapa was honored by the emperor,who was given him an honorific Chinese name.On the following day areception

erment of Vajramild and other teachingsfrom the saintly meditator, Yeshe Pal. Subsequently,Dezhin Shegpawas invited to visit Kham. During this tour he was engagedin giving many teachingsto both religious and lay people. The instructions he gave varied to suit his audience,covering all aspectsof dhorma from basic mahaydna preceptsto the tantric yoga of the six doctrines. At the conclusion of the visit, Dezhin Shegpa returned to Tsurphu. 'l he filrh Karmapa concerned himself greatly with the reconciliation of divided communities and attempted to establish nonviolence as the norm of social and political behavior. He created protected reservesfor wild animals, and also put an end to toll roads. Thus, his compassion expresseditself in both the social and religious spheres. An important aspect of Dezhin Shegpa'scareer was his relationship with the Ming Emperor Yung Lo. The latter, inspired by a dream of Avalokite3vara and also at the prompting of his wife, invited Karmapa to China in 1406C.E. The letter of invitation read,"My father and both "isit i:arents of the queen are now dead. You are my only hope, essence of buddhahood. Pleasecome quickly. I am sendingas offering a large ingot of silver, one hundred fifty silver coins, twenty rolls of silk, a block of sandalwood, one hundred fifty bricks of tea and ten pounds of incense." on Dezhin shegpa's arrival in Nanking three years later, he was welcomed by ten thousand monks. At the palacethe emperor greetedhim with a scarf and a preciousshell,the spiral of which turned to the right. The emperor thought that if Karmapa really did have telepathic powers as people claimed, he would know his own wish that he should be given the same gifts in return. As the emperor was thinking this, Dezhin Shegpa pulled a scarf and a conch shell, spiralling to the right, out of his pocket and gave them to Yung Lo. The emperor feted his new-found guru, giving him the place of honor on his left. As an indication of his devotion he gave Dezhin Shegpaa higher throne than his own. The reception room was full of offerings and food and entertainment were presentedin abundance.Throughout the next month, while Karmapa rested after his long journey, the emperor and his court continued to shower him with presents.In this manner an atmosphereof surrender and devotion to the teachingswas developed. Finally, on the fifth day of the secondmonth of the year of the Earth Mouse, Dezhin Shegpa began to teach. For the next two weeks he be-


Tnn HrsroRy oF tgr SrxrBrN KnnuApAS

Kenvlpe I ) r zslr u Snr cPa


for Dezhin Shegpain the royal palace.To complete the honor a final feast was held in Karmapa's residence. During thesecelebrations display of the vajraydna energy invoked by Dezhin Shegpacontinued. Emperor Yung Lo decided that the apparently miraculous events which he had witnessed due to his devotion, should be recorded for posterity. He commissioned talentedartists to represent them in painting on large rolls of silk, one of which was kept at Tsurphu. The emperor himselfcomposeda literar5'account the miracles, of which wastranscribed onto the paintingsin five languages: Tibetan, chinese,Mongol, yugor and Turkic. After the conclusion of the ceremonies and teachings,Dezhin Shegpa set out on a pilgrimage to Wu-tai Shan, the Five peaks of Mafrju3ri. However, despite this separation from his guru, the emperor continued to experience direct inspiration of his teachingas a result of his unshakethe able devotion. When Dezhin Shegpareturned from his pilgrimage he discoveredthat the emperor was busy with plans for an invasion of Tibet. yung Lo attemptedto rationalizehis plansto his guru, saying,"I only want to senda smalf cavaky army to Tibet, becausethere are many different sectswho might fight among themselves the future. It would be better if they were in all part of your sect. Then every year there could be a Tibetan religious council meeting in a different part of Tibet." Karmapa was not seducedby the emperor'sambitious project and discouraged him by saying,"One sectcannot bring order to the livesof all typesof people.It is not bcneficialto think of converting all sects into one. Each individual sectis espccially constitutedso as to accomplisha particular aspectof good activity. So please not sendyour army.,,yung do Lo was convincedby thesewords and acquiesced his guru,swishes. to In fact Dezhin Shegpa had subsequentlyto dissuadethe emperor a secondtime from an invasion.This occurredwhen a Chinese ambassadorial mission in Tibet was attacked and destroyed by bandits near the Drigung monastery. when the emperor was informed of this, he prepared a punitive expedition but Karmapa was again able to convince him not to respondwith counter-terror. In this manner Karmapa devoted himself to spreading the way of nonviolence and tolerance. The emperor'srerationshipwith Karmapa was one of deep sincerity and confidence. As a result of his devotion one day during a ceremony, Yung Lo perceivedthe boundlessnature of Karmapa'sspirituality, symbol-

emperor realizedthat it was due to his by iz,ed the black vaira crown. The had beenableto seethe black vajra crown' own druotion to theguruthat he the headsof all the Karmapaincarna' ,unirn is symbolicallypresentabove have a r eplica m ade, or nam ent edwit h pr ecious i ,on, S o h e decidedt o t developed he gold, which he gavet o his gur u. Dezhin Shegpa' and t whileem bodying he people, t in which he displayed his r eplicat o t he inspir aI t his way he com m unicat ed ,urpurri on of Avalokit ebvar a.n of " rr..ony s own spir it ualit y.Fr om t his t im e on, t he cer em ony t he black ti on of hi integral feature of the dharma activity of the va.jracrownhas becomean K armaP a s' t inf C. In 1408 E. , Dezhin Shegpa or m edt he em per orof his decision o ar e ver y return to Tibet . Yung Lo, who was upsetby t he news'said,"You long. I n f or m er t im esan ki nd to hav ecom e her ebut your st ayhasnot been guru, are more emperor was more powerful than his qltru, but you, my pow erfulthan I am . I cannot pr eventyou f r om leavingnow t hat you wish to go, but you m ust r et ur n when I r equest . " A fter a long jour ney, Dezhin Shegpaf inally r eachedTsur phu. He and so by had beendam aged an ear t hquake t di scoveredhat t he m onast er y of t he t he carri edout r epairwor k. I n addit ion he dir ect ed he t r anscr ipt ion among Tripitaka in silver and gold. He then distributed wealth and food cent r alTibet . the monks and peopleof Je by Karmapa was highly venerated his contemporaries. Tsongkhapa "You ar e like a second senta l ett er t o Dezhin Shegpain whiChhe wr ot e, I am B uddha.I would like t o seeyou but I am in a t hr eeyear r et r eat .so sendingyou a statueof Maitreya which belongedto Ati'sa." D esp it e t he enor m ous r esponsibilit yof guiding t he Kar m a Kagyu and school ,D e zhin Shegpaneverwaver edf r om his at t it udeof gent leness of m onasl ove.Trung M aseTogden,t he f ounderof t he Sur m angcom plex teries, onceaskedKarmapa to reprovehis Karma Garchenpeoplewho had I broken th eir com m it m ent s.Dezhin Shegpat old him , "ln m y whole lif e story about Dezhin have never been angry. I could never be angry." One Shegpatells of alazystudentwho preferredsleepto meditation' However' the whole upper and sometimes during his sleepthe smiling countenance appeart o him . Shockslike t his inst illeda body of Dezhin Shegpawould new sens eof ur gency in t he lazy st udent and he becam ean assiduous medi tator . In l 4 l5 Dezhin Shegpawas invit ed t o visit Kham , but he declined Lat sayi ngthat he would m eett he Kham pa peoplesoonin any case. er t hat


THr HrsroRyoF rne SrxrnEnKenuApAs

yearKarmapa contracted smallpox, whichproved fatal.Havinginstructed his monksto guardhis booksand hisreligious artifacts, passed he awayon the day of the full moon, in his thirty-first year. After his body was cremated,many different imagesof deitiessuch as Guhyasamija and Hevajraappeared his bones. on Theprincipalstudents thefifth KarmapawereTrung MaseTogden, of Emperor Yung Lo and shamar chophel yeshe,as well as the Drigung Kagyu,Chen-Nga Dondrup Gyalpoand Minyak Tokden.

S--l l / 2
I rr:rr'-""1

Karm apaThongwa Donden


ThongwaDonden,wasbor n IN l 4l 6 C . E. t he sixt h Kar m apaincar nat ion, in i n N gom near Kar m a G on m onast er y Kham . Thus t he pr edict ibnof t he previous Karmapa to the Khampa people was fulfilled. His parentswere both faithfully religious. During the mother's pregnancy they had had their baby to be a very excepsignificantdreams and at birth recognized ti onal chi l d. W hen he was only a f ew m ont hs old, ThongwaDonden was t aken by hi s parentst o Lam a Ngom pa Jadr al, a st udentof t he f if t h Kar m apa.The young child was very affected by this meeting and began to recite the Ngom pa Jadr al t hen askedt he inf ant his t r ue ident it y.I n r eply al phabet. and I places, Donden said,"I am the unborn, freefrom all names, 1-hongwa am the gl or y of all t hat lives.I shall lead m any t o liber at ion. " t S ubsequent ly,he t hir d Sham ar Rinpoche,Chopel Yeshe,of f icially recognizedhim as the sixth Karmapa Lama and ceremoniallyenthroned hi m. D uri ng his inf ancyKar m apaThongwaDondenwast akenon a t our of qualit ies adea vivid im pr esm wher ehis pr ecocious K agyupam onast er ies, gpa tulku, Kunga Gyaltsen,at sion on people. He met with the first Trun Surmang monasteryand astoundedhim by asking,"Where is the protection cord I gaveyou in my last incarnation?"Lama Trungpa was overcome with emotion as he producedthe cord and bowed down to his guru. hrs I-he young Thongwa Donden rediscovered own natural spiritualiat ty through visionary experie ncesof many symbolicdeities.ln 1424, the age of ei ght , Thongwa Donden was or dained as a novice by t he abbot Sonam Zangpo, and receivedthe bodhisattvavows. He began to receive instruction in the actual texts and practices dlrarmo from the greatsaint of Fr R atnabhadr a. incar nat ionof Rechungpa. om t his / aza t he who was an young K arm apa r eceivedhe em power m ent s of and t ext ualt r ansm issions t



THr HlsroRy oF rHu SlxrrnN KlnuApAS

Kenunpn Tsoxcwa DoNPTN


Vajrayogini,Hevajraand the mahdmudrd. shamar Rinpoche communicatedthe doctrinesof Tilopa to him in addition to other Karma Kagyu teachings. ThongwaDonden's religious education not confined the Kat.nwas to tsh " ,g tradition,but also included the fle tantrasand six doctrines of Nrgurrra,t both derivingfrom the shangpaKagyu,and alsothe Duk Ngat Shijay2 doctrine of the Indian preceptorphadampaSangye. During his teenage yearsthe sixth Karmapaconcentrated heavilyon developing consistent a Kar.ntshang liturgicalsystem. Sincethe primary emphasis the Karma Kagyu had beenon meditationitself, henceits of alternate stylingasthe"Meditative Tradition"(Tib.:sgrub.brgyud),liturgy and ritual had tendedto be neglected. what liturgy was employedby Karma Kagyupas waslargelyborrowedfrom other traditions.Thongwi Donden sought to establisha firm basisfor a specificallyKar.ntshang liturgy,and wrote many Kar.ntshang sddhana rituals. He composed spiritualpractices the two highly importantKagyu of yidoms,Vajrayoginiand Cakrasarpvara, alsowrotea long versionof and the Preliminaryhactices (Tib.: sngon.'gro).ThongwaDondenevolveda new style of recitationand chanting.In addition he composed large a treatise Mah6kila danceand liturgy. The sixth Karmapa's on visionary qualities addeda special powerand depthto his endeavors this field. in At thecompletion thisperiodof literaryactivity,Karmapa of received the full ordinationand thensetout on a tour of centralTibetanmonasteries.on this journey ThongwaDonden was inspiredby many visionary experiences. onevisionhesawMahikila together In with hiswisdomconsort and received from them specialteachings the sixyogasof Niropa on and the mahdmudrri of Titopa. At another place he envisaged Tilopa, Milarepa and Vimalamitrain a vision which thus unitedthe streams of mahdmudrd and mahd ati. Later vajradhara, accompanied the first by Karmapa,Dusum Khyenpa,appeared him, symbolizing powerof to the the Kagyutradition. In anothervision,ThongwaDondensawthe Indian tanftic saintpombhi Heruka.iand his consort, riding on a tiger.pombhi Henrka revealed him that he wasperfectlypure and freeof all obscurato tions. In Lhasathe sixth Karmapamet the famousSakyaabbot,Kunchen Rongtonpa,a who bestowed upon him a greatnumberof doctrines. Rongtonpawasdelightedby ThongwaDonden'sbrillianceanddeclared, have ..I Buddhaas my student." Around this time Karmaparepaired damage the

Then he traveled to monasteriesand decayat Sangphu and Ngakphu pur it y of per cepThongwaDonden's t i rurpr,u and t hence o Kham . Due t o t o him ; isa visionar yr ealm ' I n one ti on, the whole envir onm entappear ed "plac:ehe saw Vajrayogini and then at Surmang monastery,which was the from lilopa, he saw the lineagedescended irut of a specialCakrasar.nvara and at Dolma l-hakhang,Tdrd appeared symbolicdeity, Cakrasar.nvara, prayers in her honor. SachenKunga and inspired Karmapa to compose appearedto Thongwa Nyingpo, one of the "great five" Sakya lanras, local chiefswho Dtnden in a vision, thereby bringing peaceto the many in fighting. werecaught uP editionsof the Kaniur and Taniur, which he Karmapa commissioned on paid for with the many offeringshe had received his tours. Throughout through visionsof Nagirjuna, time he continued to receiveteachings this the great philosopher,Milarepa and Padmasambhava. s Thongwa Donden had pr esent im entof his im m inentdeat h. l n 14 52 Lama SangyeSengeoffered supplicationsfor his long life and Karmapa .,Thi s yearnot hingwit l happent o m e. For t he next ninem ont hsI shall sai d, take responsibilityfor my life." He went into retreatin the Kongpo areaof f southern'I ibetin pr epar at ion or his deat h. Karmapa entrusted his books and ceremonialobjectsto Gyaltshap Gushri P a ljor , t oget her wit h a let t er pr edict ing t he bir t h of t he next K armapa incar nat ion.He said t o G yalt shap Rinpoch", "Unt il I r et ur n, and Meccaare at war' please care for the Kagyu lineage.Now Sambhalas I must go t o help Sam bhala. " At his Karmapa passed last months composingsongs. the beginningof "l he 1453, th e age of t hir t y- seven, said t o his at t endant s, ar n going t o at 'I lineage.Learn to recite this supplication: meet the lomos of the Kagyu regard one, Thongwa Donden. Please supplicatethe great compassionate embodimentof all the buddhas."' me with the eye of compassion, in passed away in meditation.Many relicswerediscovered the He then ashesof the funeral pyre. wereGyaltshapGushri Among the sixth Karmapa'sprincipalstudents Zangpo,t o whom P al j orD o ndup, Sit u TashiNam gyalandBengar Jam pal he entrustedthe lineage.


KarmapaChodr ag Gyatsho
\ \
IN TH E FI RST M O NTH of 1454 t he sevent hKar m apa incar nat ion, chodrag Gyatsho, was born in northern Tibet. [Iis father was named Drakpa Paldrup and his mother Lhamo Kyi. As a young infant he was to recognized be an incarnation of a spiritual teacher.In his first year he an displayed extraordinaryprecocity,which confirmedpeoplein this view. utteredthe seed syllables h[trp,and declared, aft, Oneday he spontaneously " There i s not hing in t he wor ld but em pt iness. Peoplem ay t hink t her e is substant ialit y,but t hey ar e in er r or . For m e t her e is neit her bir t h nor death." The child was taken to the camp of Gyaltshap Paljor Dondrup, the holderof the lineage.GyaltshapRinpoche recognized infant as the new the Karmapa incarnation and ceremoniallyenthroned him. It is said that on this occasionhe declared,"I am Vajradhara." 1'heyoung Karmapa remainedwith GyaltshapRinpocheand in 1458 at the age of four, made a tour of southern Tibet. As is the casewith the Karmapa Lamas,his natural spirituality unfoldedthrough visionaryexperiences. The young child's innatedignity and presence communicated itself to everyonewith whom he came into contact. As the monasticcamp moved through southernTibet, Chodrag Gyatsho used his influenceto stop fighting among Naga and Bhutanese tribes. He also arranged for the freeing of hostages and political prisoners.The young Karmapa was a vegetarianand persuaded many peopleto give up fi shi ngand hunt ing. He pr ot ect eddom est icanim als,yaks and sheep, and institutedthe marking with ribbons to show they wereexemptfrom slaughter. Another aspectof Chodrag Gyatsho'swelfarepolicy was his work to el i mi nate oll br idgesand his const r uct ion ir on br idges. of t



Trru HlsroRy oF rur SrxrenN K.rnuApAS Kanr unpaCHopnnc G vnr st lo



From southern Tibet the camp journeyed slowly into Kham. At !";lrmamonastery, Gyaltshap Rinpoche gaveihelay ordinatio andbod_ n hisauvavows to the eight year ord Karmapa.The young incarnation,s studies continuedthereand he wassubsequently ordained a noviceby as LamaJampal Zangpo,aholderof the lineage student the previous and of Karmapa.His educationduring this periodfocused the uiniyarexts, on dealingwith both the general principles the minutiaeof monastic and life. Anotherof the youngKarmapa's tutorsat this time wasSitu Rinpoche, Tashi Namgyal,from whom he received many oral instructions the of Kamtshang lineage. In 1465 chodrag Gyatshodeparted from Karma monastery tra_ and veledto the borderlands northeastern of Tibet.Therehebroughtto an end the feudingof the local Buddhists and Bonpos. additionto this work in In the political sphere, young Karmapaenunciated basicmessage the the of Buddhismto the local inhabitants. Whatever offerings weremadeto him on hisjourney he distributed the poor and to the monasteries. to simultaneous with activityfor thebenefit others, of chodragGyatsho continued own training.Oneof the mostsignificant his spiritualpractices in his careerwas the chod practicefrom the lineageof the famedyogini, MachigLab Dronma.while engaged thismeditation young in the Karmapa actuallysawhis own skeleton. chodrag Gyatshowasa consummate scholardespite youngage. his At RawaGangmonastery entered he into symposiums seminars and with the five seniorscholars. During theseseminars Karmapacorrected any inconsistencies their philosophical in viewpoints. the Surmang At monastery of the Trungpa tulku.r, chodrag Gyatshocomposed severalbooks dealingwith variousaspects dharma. of ln 147 at the ageof seventeen, seventh | the Karmapa traveled with his monacticcamp to Kawa Karpo, the placeof pilgrimage sacredto cakrasanlvara. entered He into intensive meditationfor seven yearstherein orderto complete training. his In commonwith all other Karmapaincarnations, chodrag Gyatsho had a natural affinity with Guru Padmasambhava. a certain In respect ttre KarmapaLama may be considered an emanation padmasambhava. as of l{aving returnedafterhis long retreatto KarmaGon monastery, chodrag Gyatsho had a visionary experience Guru padma surrounded of by Nyingmasymbolicdeities,SdkyamuniBuddhaand lamas of the Kagyu Iineage.Karmapa was prompted by this vision to find certain hidden

he foresawas which would afford safetyduring the coming conflict valleys i nevi tabl e ' "'southern Tibet, where he SubsequentlyChodrag Gyatsho revisited and improvedtheir administration. Kagyupa monasteries, ,,pun"ds.u.,al t o Tsur phu,his pr incipalm onast I ! ,wher ehe r est or ed Thenhej our neyed of Sakyamuni, fashioned by Karma Pakshi' Chodrag the large statue an important priority. In keepingwith this ivu,rrro had made scholarship at large seminary (T'ib.: shes''gra) Tsurphu' oij..tiu., he establisheda which becameverYfamous' t he Japa Tr ipon K armapawas invit edt o t he cour t of Taslir 'f har gyt , Chodrag Gyatsho Tibet' (religio-politicalruler) of a province in southern range of Kagyu teachingsthere and in return Tashi Thargye g^u, uwide inand monasteries, Iompletely offered his province, fortunes, buildings to Karmapa' At the court cludinghis own monasteryof Chokhor Lhunpo, Thinleypa,Choof Tashi Thargye,Chodrag Gyatsho met the first Karma t lay NamgYal' Karma Thinleypa requestedKarmapa, whom he regardedas an emthe Kagyu bodiment of Satyamuni Buddha, for the secretteachingsof hold my lineageI will Chodrag Gyatshoreplied,"If you promiseto lineage. t gi ve my t eachings o you. " For t he next f ive m ont hs Kar m a Thinleypa studied and practiced the six yogas of Niropa and the mahdmudra until the inner meaning of theseteachingswas born in him. Chodrag Gyatsho then installedhis studentas abbot of Chokhor Lhunpo monastery,where a he had established seminarY. The seminary offered a complete course of studies in philosophy, psychology,ritual and religious law. There \l'ere three levelsof degrees t awardedto graduates. the highestlevelof prctficiencyhs khenpo degree At The seminary, wasawarded,followed by that of lopon and a passdegree. underthe direction of Lama Karma Thinleypa playeda vital role in the full transmission Buddhist teaching. of The fame of Chodrag Gyatsho spreadas far as India and China' He noted Indian scholreceived offeringsfrom the abbot of Bodhgay6.Several cameto seeKarmapa. From ars,including Rdhula Kilaya and Sila Sdgara, the emperor of China came an invitation to visit. However,Karmapa was unableto go at that time. In 1498Chodrag Gyatshotoured the Kongpo area,wherehe founded a hermitage and recognizedthe third Situ tulku, Tashi Paljor. Following by this he returnedto Lhasa to hold a religiousconference. was greeted He



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KeRvePa CuoPn'ac GYerstto


monks from the Gelugpa monastery of Drepung and Gaden. At Rinpung, Karmapa taught many monks including the greatp ary(ita Sakya Chokden. His teachingsincluded the siltras and the works of Asanga and Ndgdrjuna. Chodrag Gyatsho's breadth of scholarship was recognizedby membersof all the various spiritual traditions. nth Karmapa was a prolific author who composedmany texts The seve on vinaya, Madhyamaka philosophy, and tantra. His assistant, Dakpo Rabjampa Chogyal Tenpa, recorded that when Chodrag Gyatsho worked on a text concerning logic, Rigjung Jatso, a commentary of sevenbooks on logic by Digniga and Dharmakirti, he dictated it without previous of research.He relicd on his rnemory for the sequence his argumentsand to for references the scriptures and commentaries.His stream of thought was unbroken. If his dictation was interrupted he was able to tesumeit later at the exact point where he had left off. Sometimeshis assistantwould ask for explanation of an abstrusepoint, but Karmapa would brush asidethe question and it would soon arise naturally in the course of dictation. Occasionally, Chodrag Gyatsho might add, "You should have confidence in what your guru says.Explanationswill arise later on their own." Karmapa was very austere and simple in his life-style. Even while traveling he remained silent and mindful. Occasonallyhe emergedfrom his seclusion to receive visitors, but when he did so, he never indulged in worldly conversation. In contrast to his own personalausterity Karmapa's monastic camp was richly endowed and beautifully decorated.The shrine tent had a golden roof and was decorated with his most precious relics, above which hung thirteen ornate umbrellas. Chodrag Gyatsho's thronc was coveredin pearlsand behind it was an immensehangingencrustedwith pearls. At the age of fifty-two Karmapa had presentimentsof his own imminent death. He advisedthe Kongpo peopleto practicedharmaand then he withdrew into retreat. So rnany people came to seekan audiencewith him that Chodrag Gyatsho emergedfrom retreat and ascended throne in the his shrine tent. He appearedto the people to be garbed in the spiritual apparel of the sombhogakdyo form. At this time Karmapa transmitted the lineage to Situ Rinpoche and indicated that his next incarnation would be born in Kham and gave the names of his future parents. The next morning Cho' drag Gyatsho passedaway in meditation. Karmapa's wealth was divided among Kagyu monasteries.His body was taken to Tsurphu, where it was cremated. Relics, including certain of his bones, were recoveredfrom the pyre and placed in a sfipo.

TlrestudentsoftheseventhKarmapawerenumerousandincluded the fourth Shamar Rinpoche' Tulku' Lama Tashi N;;gt^i' Karma fiyaltshap CtioO'n' Karma Thinleypa' Sangye Nyenpa' Sakya Lama Kachodpa,tkretogicianWang.t,.,tGyaltsen,sakyaWangchukandthe Sam t enLingPa' ttyi ngma l er t on,

KarmapaMikyo Dorje
-tss4) (tsoz


\ 'Yt'. ,





S H OR TL Y BEFO RE HI S DEATH t he sevent h Kar m apa, Chodr ag Gyatsho had a visionary experienceof Maitreya' the next Buddha, who said,"We are approachingthe end of the age of Buddha Sdkyamuniand many people are going to lower realms. Sc' you mtirt emanate many incarnationsof yourself." In addition, Chodrag Gyatsho foresawthe cirof cumstances his next birth. On waking the next morning he wrote down the details,which he eventuallyentrustedto his regent. t On thef our t h day of t heelevent h ont h of 1507,heeight hKar m apa, m Mikyo Dorje was born in Damchu in easternTibet. The new born child openedhis eyesand said, "Karmapa." News of the remarkablechild spreadquickly and reachedthe earsof the third Situ Rinpoche,Tashi Paljor, who realized that the child'splaceof birth agreedwith the details left in Chodrag Gyatsho'sprediction letter. Situ Rinpochedecidedto investigate child and interviewed parents. the the He was satisfiedby the similarity betweenthe actual namesof Karmapa's parentsand thosenamesleft in the letter of prediction.In addition, all the other detailsmatched.Situ Rinpocheconfirmed that the child was indeed the new incarnation of Karmapa, but askedthe parentsto maintain absolute secrecy three months in order to protect the child from unwholefor some intrique. He gave the parents some blessingpills, some tea, some butter,and somefrankincense and saidto thern,"Give butter tea to the boy and burn this incense beforehim, sayingthat ir wassent by Situ Rinpoche. Thengive him the blessing pills. If he really is the Karmapa incarnation,he will utter a few words. Tell me what he says." The father followed theseinstructions and the infant Karmapa uttered the.sytlables, e, mo, ho, and declared,"Do not doubt me, I am Karmapa." t tl l Sw ?Sr epor t ed t o Sit u Rinpoche,and at t he age of t hr ee m ont hs t he




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young incarnation accompaniedhim to Karma monastery.Subsequently the child was visited by the great meditation master, Ser Phowa, who had been a close student of the seventh Karmapa. When an offering piljd was performed, the tiny Karmapa played the hand-drum and bell perfectly.Ser Phowa askedhim, "lf you are Karmapa, do you rememberwhat you taught me in Tse Lhakhang?"The boy replied,"I gaveyoumahdmudrdand thesix doctrinesof Ndropa." In l5 12,at the age of five, Mikyo Dorje journeyedto Riwoche.There he was asked by Lama Sonam Rinchen to say who he really was. The boy laughed and declared, "Sometimes I am Padmasambhava,sometimes Saraha and at other times I am Karmapa. I have many emanations.In Tsang province there are sixteen,and west of Tibet there is a chieftain who is my emanation." In the same year a young boy from the region of Amdo was put. forward as a rival claimant to be the new Karmapa incarnation.Gyaltshap Rinpoche set out to investrgatethe rival's claims but when he met Mikyo felt Dorje, he spontaneously compelledto bow down to him. Realizingthis boy was the Karmapa incarnation, Gyaltshap Rinpoche sent letters of authority to all Karma Kagyu monasteries in which he declared that, according to a prediction by Padmasambhava,the name of the eighth Karmapa was Mikyo Dorje. In the following year, Gyaltshap Rinpoche ceremonially enthroned the young boy as the eighth Karmapa at Tse Lhakhang. The education of the eighth Karmapa commencedwhen he reached the age of seven.His first tutor was Situ Rinpoche, from whom he receivcd the eight moral preceptst and some elementary Kagyu teachings.Then Mikyo Dorje set out on a tour of monasteries. Surmang monasterya At vision of the Kagyu lineageevoked in him arealizationof the richness his of inheritance. A little later the young Karmapa met with the meditation master Sangye Nyenpa, whom Chodrag Gyatsho had appointed as the transmitter of the lineage to his next incarnation. Following this initial meeting, Mikyo Dorje and his camp traveled into far Kham. T he unfoldment of his inner potential was continued by a visionary experience in which he received teachings from Sikyamuni Buddha accompaniedby his two chief students,Sdriputra and Mahdmaud' galydyana. While in this area,the young Karmapa incarnation had avery significant dream in which a (akinitold him, "You are the activity aspectof the buddhas of the three times."

briefly to Riwoche' where he Mikyo Dorje and his party returned Karmapa revisited both religiousand welfarework' Afterward carriedout There he had a profound his^birth in Damchu province' the area of to revealed him his expenencein which Guru Padmasambhava visionary and you ar e m y pr incipal saylng,"l am Padm asam bhava true natu r e, naturesis Vajradhara'" Ct'oyung'2The unity of our two srudent,Gyalwa Dor je, inspir ed by t he m em or y of A sh or t t im e af ie, ihir , M ikyo I t is saidt hat he m ade a pilgr im aget o Kam po G angr a' D usum Khyenpa, various meditation cavesthere' ili-too,Orints in the an r eceived invit at ion f r om t he In l 5l6 t he nine year old Kar m apa invitation was accepted,and Mikyo Dorje' The king of Jang Sa-tham. with great by his camp, set out. The party was welcomed accompanied and offeringson the the king lavishedhonor ceremonyon its arrival and youngKarmapa.TheuncontriveddignityofMikyoDorjemadeadeep impactontheking,whohadpreviouslynotbeenwelldisposedtoBudsupport of the clharmain his territories dhism. [Ie made plovision for the in of nonaggression political matters' and alsoundertook to adopt a policy Beforeleaving,MikyoDorjepromisedtoreturninsevenyears. of m ost im por t ant phase int In l 5 l7 t he young Kar m apaent er ed o t he from Lama Sangye he received, his education.Durinitnt next threeyears range of Buddhist Nyenpa, a thorough grounding in a comprehensive of the Karma Kagyu in teachings, addition to the completetransmission a perfect example of lineage.Despite his wealth, Sangye Nyenpa was year period of teachinghe At Kagyuasceticism. the conclusionof this three had absorbedhis died, without regret,in the knowledgethat Mikyo Dorje experiencedthe instructions. During the funeral ceremonies,Karmapa guru and receivedabsolute clarification of his presence his deceased of teachings. in his appetite for Mikyo Dorje was similar to the third Karmapa mastered learning and scholarship.He was a very talented linguist and Tashi' The Sanskrit grammar under the direction of Lotsawa Richen and eighth Karmapa also ventured into the fields of poetry, painting As success. a monk Mikyo Dorje sculpture, wherehe met with considerable wasan exampleof austerityand simplicity. As a masterof mahdmudrahe lived in the realizationthat whateverarisesis self-liberated' announcing t In one of his visions,a m onk appear ed o M ikyo Dor je of the previousBuddha, during the age rhat he had been padmasambhava "lf wit D i pamkar a.M ikyo Dor je r esponded h a quest ion, t his is so, wher e


THBHrsroRyoF rne SrxrnrNKe,nprApAs

Kanuepe M r xvo Donr p


wasyour'lotus birth'and wheredid you stay?'The ..where monk replied, did space comefrom?'He thendisappear"j.R.flr.ting on this, Karmapq realized that eachof the thousandbuddhas accompanied a padmais by sambhava a naturalexpression the teaching enlightenment. as of of Subsequently Mikyo Dorje and his great camp traveled slowly throughKham,wherehegaveteachings morethantenthousand to people. During this tour he recognized third Gyaltshaptulku, Drakpa paljor, the and the fifth shamar Rinpoche, Konchogyenlag.At Mar Kham, Mikvo I)orje carveda statueof himselfout of stone.It is recorded that he placed thestatue front of him andasked "Are you a goodlikeness me?'The in it, of statuereplied,"Yes, I am." Then Karmapasqueezed chunk of left-over a stonelike a piece butter,leaving imprint of hispalmandfingers of the in it. Both the statue and the stone have beenpreserved and are now at the residence the present of Karmapaat Rumtekmonastery Sikkim. in On hisarrivalat Karmamonastery, Mikyo Dorjemetemissaries the of chineseEmperor wu Tsung,who presented him with many invitation offeringsand on behalfof the emperor,invited him to China. However, Karmapaforesawthe emperor's imminentdeathand declined invitathe tion' The Chinese envoys took offence thisand repacking emperor,s at the offeringsto Karmapa,returnedto china, wherethey discovered that the empress emperorhadjust died. lrnd Fr'm Kham, Mikyo Dorje traveled centralribet. At samding, to the Dorje Phagmotulku madethe offeringof a monastery him. to on reaching Tsurphu,hefound it wasin a stateof disrepairandarranged for restoration , work to be carriedout. Karmapawasvisitedby surmangTrungpa Tulku, who sawhim as the embodiment Cakrasarpvara. of AfteraperiodofadministrativeworkMikyoDorjesetoutagainwith his retinue.He visitedthe Kadampamonastery Radeng. of Fromtherehc went on to Gangri Thokar, the retreatof the greatNyingmasaint, Longchenpa, wherehe left his footprintsand the hoofprintsof his horsein the rock. From there Mikyo Dorje journeyedto wherethe agedLama Karma Thinley was in retreat. Karma Thinleypa gave Karmapa the empowermentsof Kurukulld, Mahdkila and vaisrava$a. Thentogether thry went to Karma Thinleypa'sdoctrinal school(Tib.: shes.'gra) atlekshay Ling, whereMikyo Dorje gavemany teachings. Later in the followingyear KarmapametLama Karma Thinley again. Thistime thevenerable scholar instructed Mikyo Dorje in thesix doctrines

of twenty-one,Karmapa rvasordaineda monk by the of N6ropa.At the age who was an incarnationof the Kashmiri scholar, irro,, Chodrup Senge, at was assisted the cerffiotr!by Larr a Karma Thinley. Te1yutri.The abbot gaveMikyo Dorje very detailedteachings this time Chodrup Senge At He elseview" (Tib.: gzhan.stong.lta-ba). asked on the "empty of something this vitally important philosophicalconcept, Mikyo Dorje to promulgate which had gainedwide currencyin the Jonangpaand Nyingma traditions. held the It had beenattacked by adherentsof the Gelugpatradition, who The of selfnessview" (Tib.: opposing view, "empty ..emptyof somethingelseview" was passed down through the lineageand the reached fifteenth Karmapa through Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye. Kongtrul Rinpoche made this view the cornerstoneof his Rime ("boundaryless")approach. Thus, Mikyo Dorje may be sen as an important precursorof this nineteenthcentury Buddhist renaissance. Mikyo Dorje's relationship with Je Karma Thinleypa was of great importance in his training. He stayed with him, in all, for three years. During this period he studied the Five Books of Maitre-va,Digndga and Dharmakirti's texts on logic, the abhidharmo (Skt.: Abhidhormosamuc' caya) of Asanga and the abhidharma (Skt.: Abhidharmokoia) of Vasubandhu, the vinayo texts, the six principal texts of Ndgdrjuna, Candrakirti's Entering into the Middle Way (likt.: Malhyamakdvatdra), the Hevajra Tantra, astrology and many other Indian works on the ma' hayana and vajraydna approachesto Buddhism. In addition to the wide rangingstudy of Indian Buddhism, Karma Thinleypa introduced Mikyo Dorje to the collected works of Ngok Lotsawaaand Sakya Pa4dita. Mikyo Dorje was an exemplarystudent,maintainingcompletemindfulnessthroughout this long and intenseperiod of study. He constantly reflected the meaningof the textsand whateverpoints arosefrom them. on He questionedand debatedall abstrusepoints and in this manner developed a perfectrealization.Karmapa studied so much he had little time to eat, and as a result his physical strength weakened.Thinleypa praised Karmapa as a great scholar. In return Mikyo Dorje praised his tutor, saying,"You are on the first bodhisottva level, the border of sarytsdra and nirvdna. As far as sarytsdra concerned, you are a nonreturner and you is havethe power of incarnation." At the conclusion of his intellectual studies Mikyo Dorje devoted more of his time to meditation. In a visionary experien,:e, ddkinis carried him into the presence the mahdsiddha,Sararipa,who had transmitted of


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themshomudrdto Maitripa. Savaripa then introduced Mikyo Dorjetothe nature of his own mind, saying, "Both sarpsdra and nirvdna come from mind. Your own mind is itself wisdom. So there are no different levels. Everything comes from mind." Then the mahdsiddha disappeared. Mikyo Dorje himself becamea very prolific author whoseworks were both controversial and influential. At the age of twenty-three he wrote a commentary on the Abhisamoydlahkdra entitled, Authentic Relaxafion of the Noble One (Tib.: He then invited the Gelugpa scholar, Sera Jetsun, to a critical debate on the text. T'histalented scholar responded by composing a commentary of his own in which he wrote, "Karmapa is a high incarnation and scholar. Therefore, I am unable to criticize him. However, at his invitation I am following his commentary with my own book entitled, A Reply to Karmapa." ln this way a famous literary debate took place between the brilliant Karmapa and the famous Gelugpa scholar. Mikyo Dorje authored over thirty volumes in all, fourteen more than 'l Karma Pakshi. hese included texts on linguistics, religious law, abhidharma, tontra, Madhyamaka philosophy, art and poetry. He composed important texts on mahdmudra and inspired the Karma Gadri movement in art through his work in this field. In addition he composedthe spiritual practice known as The Guru Yoga of the Four,Sessloirs (Tib.: thun.bzhi.'i.rnal.'byor) in honor of his guru SangyeNyenpa. This has become one of the most impofiant practices of the Kar.ntshanglineage. In 1546 Mikyo Dorje had a premonition of his imminent death. However, Shamar Rinpoche and Pawo Rinpoche entreatedtheir guruto remain and continue his work. Responding to their request Karmapa agreedto extend his life span for severalyears.He set out with his monastic camp on a long final tour of Karma Kagyupa monasteriesand dharmo centers.On this tour Mikyo Dorje told his officials to relax the normally strict protocol that surrounded him. It was his wish that it be as easyas possiblefor people to have an audiencewith him. While traveling, Mikyo Dorje wrote many poetic accounts of his visionary experiences.One of the most significant was one in which hc seatedabove the head of Vajrayogini. From thc envisagedCakrasar.nvara guru, in the form of Cakrasarpvara, came the nectar of wisdom, which transformed the concepts of sarpsdra and nirvdya into wisdom of enlight' enment. A vajra hook made the wisdom unshakeable.Then in the safltc vision he saw sarnsdroburned away in a cooking pot, which rested on I

Mikyo Dorje saw eight Padvisionary experience In v,o.jratrivet. another and eight Karmapascombine to producea secretteaching' rrrasambhavas but despit et his he In h is f inal year sM ikyo Dor je's healt h declined, wor k unabat ed.I n 1554t her ewas an out br eakof conti nuedhis ar duous Karmapa traveledtherein an effort to bring the Lprory in southernTibet. a black stupa surrounded by four smaller .pia.mi. to an end. He had of the atea.The centralstupa was a symin stupasconstructed the center ("snakespirit"), which in myth was said to of Uoiicrepresentation a ndga surround ing stupassymbolizedits arms and legs. ,uur. leprosy.The four ar eaand wit h t he power of Then Mikyo Dor je went int o t he cent erof t he into causingthe disease his compassionabsorbedthe imbalancethat was returned to the himself.The epidemic quickly clearedand Mikyo Dorje of Shamar Rinpoche' Dakpo Shedrup Ling monastery H owever ,a lit t le while lat er , Kar m apa him selfbegant o exhibit signs of his t of l epro syand was soon unablet o walk. He r ealized he im m inence own death and so he arrayed himself in the dressand ornamentsof the sambhogakdl,s,the communicative form of buddhahood, and showed M Subsequent ly ikyo Dor je ent r ust hi msel fin t his m annert o his st udent s. pr edict ions his next of t ed S ham arRinpochewit h t he let t er s cont aining he was cremated His away at the ageof forty-seven. corpse rebirth,and passed enshrinedhis relicsin a silverstitpa' at Tsurphu. Shamar Rinpoche and scholarlystudents' The eighth Karmapa had many accomplished Among the most outstandingwere Shamar Konchog Yenlag, Pawo Tsuglak Tengwa, Gyaltshap Drakpa Paljor, Situ Chokyi Gocha and Karma 1' hi nl eyl- egdr up.He also num ber edar t ist s,doct or sand poet sam ong his disciples, whom he exerteda profound influence. on

Karm apaWangchtrk Dorje

(rsss-r oos)

TIIE N IN TH KARM APA, Wangchuk Dor je, was bor n in t he sevent h af t I monrh of 1 555. t is r ecor ded hat im m ediat ely t er his bir t h he wiped his "l facethreetimes and declared, am Karm apa."The infant quickly became famous and reports of him reachedSitu Rinpoche at Karma monastery. of Sincethe circumstances the birth coincidedwith the detailscontainedin a predictionwritten down by Mikyo Dorje in his twenty-eighthyear, Situ to the two assistants investigate infant. The assistants Rinpochedispatched reportedthat they weresatisfiedthat the child was indeed Karmapa. Situ Rinpochethen informed the officials of Tsurphu monasterythat the new (armapa incarnation had beendiscovered. of The smallblack hat , t he seal, he r obesand som er it ualim plem ent s t the Karmapas were sent from 1'surphu to Karma monastery.The boy correctly identified a bell, which had belonge{lto Chorlrag Gyatsho,the seventh Karmapa. The following year,Shamar Konchog Yenlagconveyed the ritual objectsentrusted him by Mikyo Dorje. At about the sametime, to the political authoritiesin centralTibet sentlettersof authority recognizing the nervKarmapa incarnation.This last move reflected secularpower's the awareness the political importanceof the Karmapa at this time. Increasof ingly the various schoolswere being brought willingly or unwillingty into the political arena. This was an important trend during the troubled life-timesof the next three Karmapas. At the age of six, Wangchuk Dorje was ceremoniallyenthroned by Shamar Rinpoche. He also receivedrefuge and bodhisatrvo vows and the empowermentof Amitdyus as well as many other textual transmissions, empowerments and teachings.Shamarpa continued to teach the young Karmapa,giving him the textual transmissionof texts from the Tripiraka and certain Kagyupa texts. During this time Karmapa's monastic camp



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journeyed srowry Tsurphu. the way wangchuk to on I Dorje accompanied shamarRinpoclic pilgrimage KampoNenang, in to where Dusuminr.npa had meditated.
The journey continued through Surmang and Nangchen, arriving s1 Tsurphu in the new year period of 156r. In his first pubtic teaching, wangchuk Dorje taught the four dhormos of Gampopar to eighteen hundred monks and many political representatives central of ribet. Then, accompanied by Shamarpa and pawo Rinpoche, the young Karmapa undertook a pilgrimageto southernTibet. The camp stoppedat Lekshay Ling monastery,where Wangchuk Dorje honored the enshrinedremains of the first Karma Thinleypa. From there they traveled into Lhodrak, the home of Marpa, the father of the Kagyu lineage.pawo Rinpoche assisted shamar Rinpoche in performing the novice ordination for the young Karmapa. His two tutors also began to instruct him in the teachingsof mohdmudrd and the six doctrines of Ndropa. The greater part of Wangchuk Dorje's childhood was spent traveling with his camp. This nomadic monastery was very strict in its disciplineand the intensity of practice.The scholarsamong Karmapa's entourage concentrated upon the study of the Hevajra Tantra and the Cakrasiryrvoro Tantra, the uttaratantra Sdsto of Maitreya, and the zabmo Nangdon of Rangiung Dorje. The advanced tantric practitioners of the monastic camp practiced the six yogas of Niropa, mahdmudrd and chotl. fhe camp,s ordinary practitioners and monks meditated upon vajrayogini, Avalokitebvara and Hayagriva. In order to be fully accepted into Karmapa,s entourageat this time, a follower had to have accomplished a great amount of spiritual practice. At Shamar Rinpoche's monastery of yangbachen, wangchuk Dorjc instructed the monks in various teachings.He spent three months at the court of the local prince in Rinpung, Ngawang Jigten wangchuk. He received a visit there from Lama Sonam Gyatsho, the then head of the Gelugpa sect. Sonam Gyatsho later received the title of Dalai Lama ("Ocean Guru") from the Mongol, Aarten Khan.

wangchuk Dorje next journeyedthrough the Kongpo provincein . southern Tibet,whichhadalways been stronghold the Kar.ntshan a of gandi,, Drukpa Kagyu.Shamarpa instructed him in the teachings Ranfiun!: of Dorje and Mikyo Dorje as they traveled. In additionto his studies, wangchukDorje wascalleduponto rncdiateand arbitrate localdrsputes. Having.ou"d the campsouthto Tsari,

him a (,armapareceived secondvisit from Sonam Gyatsho,who requested Together,the two principality. a to rnediate political disputein the Yarlung brought about a three year treaty and then parted after an exchange lanas of gifts. t In 1580Wangchuk Dor je r eceived he f inal or dinat ionf r om Sham ar he Subsequently, studiedthe vina)'aand then the teachingof the Rinpoche. sixth and seventh Karmapas. As well as these Kamtshang Kagyu fifth, of Karmapa also receivedtextual transmissions texts from the teachings, from Shamar Rinpoche. Kagyu and Kadampa lineages Drigung away. Wangchuk Dorje enshrined In 1583Sharnar Rinpoche passed hisguru's remainsin a stttpa at Yangbachenmonastery.He undertook to property among the monasteries U and Tsang,giving at divideShamarpa's and tea to poor people and a gold mary(ala to the great temple at gifts Lhasa.After a pilgrimage to sacredplacesin northern Tibet, Wangchuk Dorje returnedto Tsurphu, wherehe transmittedthe texts of Mikyo Dorje and the Drigung Kagyu tradition to Pawo tulku. He also ordained many monks at t his t im e and or der ed t he com plet ion of an enor m ous silk appl i quet hangkaof Buddha Sdkyam uni. for It wasthen necessary Wangchuk Dorje to travel to Rinpung,where he settledsome political difficulties.Karmapa was saddened the politiby cal troublesof his t im e. He f elt t hat t he m em or y of t he ear ly per iod of Buddhism in Tibet would inspire a reneweddedication to the civilizing messages dharnta. ln pursuit of this aim he arrangedfor the repair of of tentpl es built by t he ear lierBuddhistkings,Sr ongt sen am po and Tr isong G D etsun. After ordaining the third Pawo tulku, Tsuglak Gyatsho, Karmapa enteredinto retreat for a year at Tsurphu. Then he set out on a tour of northern Tibet. whereit was said that the king of the Ndgasmade an offeri ng to hi m , sym bolizingt he dedicat ionof t he ar ea of Kar m apa. People attributed that year'sgood weatherand harvests this offering. to Although not as prolific an author as the previous Karmapa, Wangchuk Dorje composedsome important texts, including a commentaryon the Drigung "one thought" viewpoint. His most important book was The Oceanof Certainly (Tib.: nges.don.rgya.mtsho), from which has come the liturgy of the preliminary practicesof mahdmudrri. Another important work of the ninth Karmapa was entitled, Eliminating the Darkness of Ignorance(Tib.: ma.rigs.dmun.bsal)and this was also concernedwith ntohdntudra. Both are in current usetodav.


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Knnuepe Wnr uccsux DoRr r


WangchukDorje engaged extensively work in both the religious in heordained At manymonksamongthelocal andsocialspheres. Ngakphu people.He alsostoppedhunting and fishingand tried to inculcate the in towardanimals. addition,KarmaIn an localpeople attitudeof reverence of in pa arranged the construction bridges the area. for WangchukDorje that the new Shamar later, word reached A little the iii, ;;rnationhadbeenborn in a Drigungfamily. He recognized childas i.lrcincarnationand, at about this time, also ordaineda largenumberof backto Drigungpamonks.In 1594Karmapatook the infant Shamarpa tradition. to Tsurphuwherehe began instructhim in the Kar.ntshang WangchukDorje next journeyedwith his monasticcamp to Tsari. who were Therehe taught Vajrayoginimeditationto thosepractitioners, of collected on retreat.He alsogavethe textualtransmission Gampopa's works and ordainedmany monks. Gampopa's camptraveled Kongpo,passingthrough to old Karmapa's Dorje distributed of Dak [,ha Gampo.In Kongpo,Wangchuk monastery of fundsfor theupkeep thc temples. andcontributed aid to the localpeople His stay in the Kongpo area lastedfor eight years,alternatingbetween of importantaspect Karmaperiodsof activityand retreat.An especially Wangpa'spracticein retreatwasmeditationon Mahdkila. In teaching, the chuk Dorje emphasized texts of the eightKarmapas.
Wangchuk Dorje established a new retreat center at Tashi Gungtang, ' where the third Karmapa, Rangiung Dorje, had meditated. While he was there, Wangchuk Dorje composed commentaries on the Kdlacakra Tantro and the four grades of tantra. He also wrote a sddhana of Vairocana. He ' completed the textual transmission of the texts of the eight Karmapas' which he had begun earlier, and then led a "wish-prayer festival." Finally, W after bestowing the empowerment of Kdlacakra on his camp, Karmapa q'. went back into retreat.

ten thousand people.tle then ordainedthe fifth Situ Rinpoche' rnonyfor 'iioU.iGyalrsen, and instructedhim in Kagyupa doctrine. invitationsfrom the Mongol authorities The ninth Karmapa received t t hem . However ,he did consent o visit U and Tsang. i n C hi na b ut declined traveled to the head Drukpa Kagyu monastery,Sang Wungrtruk Dorje he gave teachings.Before returning to Tsurphu, Nrrt Choling, where 'firiupuvisited many placesin Tsang and the Rinpung area.Wangchuk year "wish-prayer" festival with his camp and iori, celebratedthe new Shamar tulku, Chokyi Wangchuk, at that time' orauin.a the sixth Karmapatook alarge interestin the restorationand improvementof Karma Thinleypato the He Kagyupamonasteries. requested secondLama fulfill ,rp^i, the Shedrup Ling monastery. Karma Thinley was able to Dorje's wishes. Wangchuk Karmapa traveled to Outer Mongolia at the request of the King the message' king Hortu. In honor of Wangchuk Dorje's compassionate Karmanortviolence. freedall condemnedprisonersand vowed to olrserve the pa performedthe ceremonyof the vajracrownand instrrrcted court and through the medithepeoplein the developmentof awakenedcornpassion tation of Avalokite3vara. was the prolific One of the ninth Karmapa'smost influential students Jonangpascholar and translator, Tirandtha, who wrote the History of Dharma in India. Wangchuk Dorje gave him all the empowerments, and instructionsof the Karma Kagyu lineage.Durtextual transmissions ing his teaching,Karmapa took a bowl of barley,stirredit with a whip, and placed on Tdrandtha'shead,saying,"As Karma Pakshidid to Urgyenpa, it of so do I to you. I give you the whole transmission the Kagyu lineage." year's festival of 1603, Karmapa began to feel Just after the new unwell.He realizeddeath was imminent and gaveletterspredictinghis new rebirth in Kham. He died the following morning. His remains were enshrinedat Tsurphu. The principal students of Wangchuk Dorje were, Shamar Chokyi Wangchuk, Lotsawa Tdrandtha, Situ Chokyi Gyaltsen, Pawo Tsuglak Gyatsho,Drigung Kagyupa Chokyi Rinchen Namgyal and Taglung KagYupa Chokyi Kunga Tashi.

At the conclusionof this period of intensivepractice,Wangchuki' He Kagyupa teachings. g in his Dorje instructed students the quintessential Jewel Ornamentof Liberation,in whichis 'i beganby teachingGampopa's "i; set out the graduatedpath by which the studententersinto dharma and progresses through the hinaydna andmahdydnalevelsto enlightenrnent' emphasizin9 on teachings the vairaydnolevel, ThenWangchukDorjegave to Subsequently, transrnit the six doctrinesof Ndropaandthe mahdmudrd. the Karmapaperformed black crowncercthe inspirationof his lineage,


KarmapaChoying Dorje

TH E TENTH KARM APA, Choying Dor je, wasbor n on t he eight hday of the thi rd m ont h of Wood Dr agon year ( 1604C. E. ) in t he G olok ar eaof dr Tibet . His m ot her had had auspicious eam sof G ur u Padm aeastern during her pregnancyand so shenamedher baby Urgyen Khyab sambhava ("protectedby the one from Urgyen"). It is recordedthat at birth the infant stood up and took one stepin each di recti onas Sdkyam uniBuddha had done at his bir t h. He t hen sat down and was heard to recite the mantra of Avalokite3vara and crossed-legged that of the "per f ect ionof wisdom . "l Choying Dorje spent his early childhood in the palace of the local prince, Chang Mowa, at Machu, where he was feted as a remarkable prodigy. He showedan exceptionalability in art, an ability which cameto fruition in later life. The young Karmapa demonstrateda great natural tenderness toward animals.The sight,one day, of sheep beingshorn caused the young child to burst into tearsand beg the shearers to harm them. not On another occasionhe gave protection to a hunted deer and then tamed the hunt ing dog t hat was pur suingit . When t he hunt er ar r ived,Kar m apa providedhim with funds to start a new livelihoodand asa resultthe hunter renounced killing. The young Karmapa had a lively and playful sense humor. On one of occasionhe was seatedon a horse in front of his father held betweenhis father'sarms. He asked his father to give him the reins so that he could directthe horse.The young boy spontaneously madeup a little songsaying that people should not travel lazily but that everyoneshould lead themselves enlightenment. to At the age of eight Choying Dorie was officiallv recoenizedas the Karmapa incarnation by the sixth Shamar Rinpoche.Subsequently Sha-



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Knnuepe CHoyr Nc Donr e


their hellishsuffering,Choying Dorje recitedAvalokitesvara's mantra. : 'I'hey graduallybecame and passed still awaypeacefully. :b._A little laterChoyingDorjejourneyed Tsurphu. to After hisarrivalin , Tsurphu,KarmapametPawoTsuglakGyatsho,fromwhomhereceived '.: lay ordinationand the empowerments, textualtransmissions instrucand tions of Karma Pakshi,RangjungDorje and chodrag Gyatsho. The political climateduring the boyhoodof the tenth Karmapawas steadilyworsening. After his periodof studywith pawo Rinpoche, Karmapa was invited to the court of the princeof Tsang,Karma phuntsog Namgyal,who subsequently extended rule throughoutTibet afterthe his . fall of the Rinpungdynasty. This prince was a patron of the KarytshangKagyu and Drukpa Kagyu.He askedchoying Dorje to pray for peace because wasthreathe enedby a maraudingMongol chief.This time the invasion wasaverted. choying Dorje's educationresumed Tsurphu,wherepawo Rinat \ poche gavehim thecomplete transmission Kagyudharma. theageof I of At twenty-one wasordained monk. He thenentered he a into intensive medi'ii, tation on the teaching had received. he Later, travelingwith ShamarRinpoche,situ Rinpoche, and pawo i Rinpoche, ChoyingDorje visitedLhodrag,wherehe wasinformedof the a'" deathof the princeof Tsang. Thedeceased prince's wifeasked Karmapato y: performthe deathritesfor her husband. For that purpose party then ,i' the traveledto Lhasaand the palaceof SamdrupLing. At the conclusion this period Karmapar"o. a pilgrimage ttrc .4 of to original Nyingmamonastery Samye, of whereshamar Rinpoche Eavehimfl the bodhisattvavows. From there choying Dorje continuedon his pilgrimage visitingthe caves padmasambhava Milarepaand Mount of and Kailisa. At Chuwar,thescene Milarepa's of decease, Karmapa established a meditation center.Subsequently, traveledon to Daklha Gampo he .

marpa ceremonially enthroned choying Dorje at Nyingche Ling monas_ tery. Karmapa envisaged the glorious dharmapdla, Mahakdla, at this cerp'nony, which was a very joyous and auspicious event. A few days alterwards Choying Dorje was walking with some monks on the banksof the Dzachu River, when he remarked on a large rock in midstrearx. 'g asked some of the monks to bring it out and split it in half. The rock was very difficult to move but Karmapa said that it must be done for the benefit of sentientbeings.When the rock was finally broken in half, it was found to contain many green worms wriggling in agony. with great tenderness for

There he painted alargegoldenmuralof the sixteenarhats and 6onastery. At about this time, Shamar Rinpoche became ill and inrir fotlowers. u*uY:. passed . The polit ical t r ouble t hat had er upt ed in Tsang as a r esult of t he of SeraI'nd Dreprrngby the king of snimosityfelt toward the monasteries Tsang,Desi Karma Tenkyong Wangpo, precipitateda Mongol invasion whichspreadrapidly throughout Tibet. Choying Dorje moved aheadof it to JangSa- t ham , t he Sino- Tibet anbor der r egion, wher e King Kar m a him wit h honor . I n vir t ual exile, C hi medLawang and his cour t r eceived Karmapa devoted his time to instructing the people in Karma Kagyu helpingt he poor and aiding t he t em plesof t he localit y. B uddhi sm , While Choying Dorje wasoccupiedin this way the armv of Jang won a victory over a maraudingsplinter force of threehundredthousandsoldiers and prepar edt o sendt hem againstt he m ain M ongol ar m y in Tibet it self , led by Gushri Khan, a supporter of the Gelugpaschool. When Choying in D orj e w a s inf or m ed of t his plan, he t old t he king t hat t o engage sucha military venture was contrary to the nonviolent ethic of dharma. He di ssuade t he king f r om t his cour se act ion,saying, am com m it t ednot d of "I to arm eventiny insects, do not sendan army." Karmapa was successful so and the king called off the mobilization. Having resolvedthis political difficulty, Choying Dorje continuedhis dharma activity by establishing new monast(rry a named Ogmin Ling. He al so orda ined m any m onks and gave a t ext ual t r ansm issionof t he Tripitakatexts.while teachingat this time, Karmapa had a premonitionof the rebirth of Shamar Rinpoche. Immediatelyhe set out by himself from Jang Sa-tham to searchfor the new Sham arpa. He disguised himself as a beggar, that he would be able to travel unhinderedthrough the troubled so land. Finally, on arrival in the Golok region, Choying Dorje met a child whom he recognizedto be the new incarnation of Shamar Rinpoche.It is recorded that the young incarnation had no difficulty in recognizingKarmapa despitethe latter'sdisguise.At Suchu Karpo, Choying Dorje gave refugeand some preliminary teachingsof the Kagyupa tradition to the YoungShamar yeshe Nyingpo. while traveling in Golok, choying Dorje recognized and enthroned n.* incarnation of the Gyaltshaptulku. Subsequently met the new he lht tncarnations the of Situ and Pawo Rinpochesin Kham. After giving the young incarnations some preliminary teachings,Karmapa, together with his party, left Jang for Lhasa after having been away for thirty years.


Tsn HrsroRy oF rHE SrxrErN KnnuApAS

During this timc he met Tulku Minjur Dorje, who was a student of Chagmed Rdga-asiRinpoche,an emanation of Mikyo Dorje and founder of the Nedo subsectof the Karma Kagyu. Karmapa recognizedMinjur Dorje's termo ("treasure text") teaching,2which derived from the inspiration of Guru Padmasambhava,as authentic. In responseMinjur Dorje offered his termas to Choying Dorje. In the Karma Kagyu sect, Minjur Dorje's most renowned teaching has been his sadhuno of Karma Pakshi. In the Water Ox year Choying Dorje arrived in [,hasa.Immediately upon his arrival, he extended an in.vitation to the lifth Dalai Lama, Ngahis wang Lobzang Gyatsho, who welcomed him and expressed appreciation that the Jang army was not going to invade Tibet. During their meeting, Ngawang Lobzang Gyatsho and Choying Dorje discussed mahdmudrd, and Karmapa was assuredthat Tsurphu would be given protection in caseof need. From Lhasa, Karmapa visited the birthplace of YesheTsogyal, the consort of Guru Padmasambhava. His party visited the famous lake that was said to have appeared at the time of her birth, and also some of Padmasambhava'smeditation caves. Finally Choying Dorjc returned to Tsurphu, after his yearsof wanderintimations of his approachingdeath in a vision of ing. In I 673 he received Mahdkdli. He entrusted the details of his next rebirth with his servant Kuntu Zangpo, with Shamar Rinpoche and with Gyaltshap Rinpoche. At dawn on the full moon day of the secondmonth of the Wood Tiger year, Choying Dorje passed away at the age of seventy. His remains were enshrined in a stilpa. which was placed with those of the previous Karmapas in Tsurphu. The tenth Karmapa'sprincipal studentswere Shamar YesheNyingpo, Gyaltshap Drakpa Choying, Kuntu Zangpo, Situ Mipham Thinley Rabten, Pawo Thinley Gyatsho, Karma Chagmed Rdga-asi Rinpoche, the famous Nyingma terton Jatson Nyingpo, the king of Jang Sa-tharn, Karma Tsewang Rinchen, Prince Karma Rinchen who achievedthe path of vision and thejoyful stage,Prince Karma Phuntsok,the Prime Minister Karma Tenkyong, treasurer Karma Samdrup, Taklung Ngawang Tashi Paldrup, Surmang Garwang Rinchen Nyingpo and the fourth Surmang I Trungpa Tulku. :1


Karm apaYesheDorje

TtIE E LEVENTH KARM APA, YesheDor je, was bor n in M ar Kham in the year of t he Fir e Dr agon ( 1676 C. E. ) . The young child had m any that he liked to relateto his relatives, much to their visionaryexperiences gr t amusementThis am usem ent aduallyt ur ned t o awe as t hey r ealized he . natural dignity of thesestoriesand the spirituality of the infant. The famed terton, Minjur Dorje, who was a masterof both Kagyu and Nyingmasectsrecognizedthe child as the Karmapa incarnation.News of thi s trave ledand Sham ar Rinpocheand G yalt shapRinpochesent t heir who confirmed that the details of Yeshe Dorje's birth representatives, corresponded thosein the lettersof prediction.At DechenYangbachen, to the monasteryof Shamar Rinpoche,the new Karmapa was given a great ceremonialwelcome. Then he was taken to Tsurphu, where he was enthronedby Sham ar YesheNyingpo. After receivinglay ordinationr from Shamar Rinpoche,YesheDorje commenced studies.His tutors includedShamar Rinpoche,Gyaltshap his Rinpocheand the third Karma Thinleypa. YesheDorje received comthe pl etel i nea ge r ansm ission t he Kagyupat r adit ion.I t wnsat t his t im e t hat t of he was given the name Yeshef)orje by Terton Minjur lJorje, who related Padmasambhava's prediction concerningthe eleventhKarmapa. On the death of Shamar YesheNyingpo, the young Karmapa went to studywith'I'erton Minjur Dorje and Taksham Nuden Dorje, a Nyingmapa terton. These two meditation masters instructed Yeshe Dorje in their "treasure texts." During YesheDorje's youth in the year of the Water Dog, the fifth Dalai Lama died. Rule was assumedby Desi SangyeGyatsho,the Dalai Lama'sregent,who continuedthe policy of reconciliation. One of the most influential figures in the exchangebetweenthe Gelugpasand the Karma


I l0

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Kagyupas at this time was fewo Rinpoche, Karma Tendzin Thargye, whq had served the fifth Dalai Lama and was one of the principal students s1 Karmapa YesheDorje. In the year of the Wooden Pig, YesheDorje had a vision that indicated that the eighth Shamar Rinpoche had been born in Nepal near Jomo located the child and reGangkar mountain. Karmapa's representatives turned with him to Tsurphu. The party passedthrough Lhasa with the permission of Desi SangyeGyatsho. After the young incarnation's arrival the red crown of at Tsurphu, he was enthroned by Karmapa and received the Shamarpa incarnation lineage.Subsequently,YesheDorje recognized the new incarnations of the Situ and Pawo Rinpoches,respectively, Tenpi Nyinche and Chokyi Dondrup. Yeshe Dorje's consummate spirituality communicated itself both through his teaching and the apparently miraculous quality of his activity. On one occasion Karmapa demonstratedthe power of his teachingby emanating severalforms of himself, each of which gave instruction to the individuals present. The eleventh Karmapa was the shortestlived of the Karmapa incarnations. In 1702 he entrustcd a letter containing a prediction of his next rebirth to Shamar Rinpoche, whom he appointed his regent.A little later, YesheDorje passed away at agetwenty-six. At the time of Karmapa'sdeath many of his studentssaw his form appear in front of the sun, accompanied by the figures of two other gurus. YesheDorje's remainswere enshrinedin a stfrpa at Tsurphu monastery. The eleventh Karmapa's principal students were the eighth Shamar, PalchenChokyi Dondrup, and Tewo Rinpoche, Karma Tendzin Thargye.


Dorje Karm apaChangchub

, _,/'4r


TI{ E TWELFTH KARM APA, ChangchubDor je, was bor n in t he Dege of area Kham in t he year of t he Wat er Sheep( 1703C. E. ) . I n accor dance with the letter of prediction left by the pervious Karmapa, his birthplace the Golden River (Yangtse). Shortlv beforehis birth his father, wasbeside had beentold by Terton Minjur who was the owner of a pottery business, an auspiciousevent was about to occur in his family. ChangDorje that from that of King Trisong chub Dorje's family was, in fact, descended D etsun. When he wastwo months old, ChangchubDorje washeardto declare, "l am the Karmapa." News of this and of Minjur Dorje's conviction that the infant was the new Karmapa incarnation,prompted the eighth Shamar Rinpocheto send a searchparty to find and test the boy. The party was conducted the houseby Terton Minjur Dorje himself.ChangchubDorje to satisfiedShamarpa's representatives that he was indeed the Karmapa incarnation.Subsequently, was named Changchub Dorje by Shamar he Rinpoche. During his early years he was instructed by several noted medi tation ast er s m and scholar s, includingSit u ChokyiJungnay,Tsuglak Tenpi Nyingieand NyenpaTulku. At the ageof seven, arrived at Karma he Gon. A little later ChangchubDorje journeyedto Kampo Gangrawhere he did some intensivemeditation. From there he traveledto the Nangchen pri nci pa lit y. On the way to Tsurphu, the young Karmapa madea pilgrimageto the cavesat Baram, where Baram Darma Wangchuk hatl been in retreat. Barampa had been a close disciple of Gampopa and had founded the Baram Kagyu lineage. . Finally, Changchub Dorje's party reachedTsurphu, where he conttnued his st udies.Kar m apa's innat e spir it ualit y unf olded it self in his il3


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I 15

dreams. He had a natural affinity for the teachingsof the Kdlocakra Tantro and in one night he dreamt that he visitedSambhala,wherehe received the empowerment anrl textual rransmissionof Ki.lacakra.from King Rigden c oi Sambhala,who was the holder of the Kllacakra The lifetime of the twelfth Karmapa was again a troubled period.The Dzungarian Mongols attacked central ribet, killing Lapzang Khan, Minling Lotsawa Dharma Sri, Padma Gyurme Gyatsho and many other great Nyingma masters.During four years of conflict, many monasteries were destroyed, including Mindroling and Dorje Drag. Relics and treasures were stolen and the entrances to the Padmasambhava caves were obstructed. when the seventh Dalai Lama, Kalzang Gyatsho returned from Kham, the invaders retreated.Changchub Dorje went to visit Kalzang Gyatsho to whom he made appropriate offerings and receivedthe latter's blessing. When Karmapa had arrived back at Tsurphu he was visitedby Katok Tsewang Norbu, to whom he gave teachings on the six yogas of Niropa and mahamudrd.This lama was a famed meditation master and terton ot the Katok Nyingma lineage.He in turn instructed Changchub Dorje in some Nyingma doctrine. Karmapa se't out on a pilgrimage to the sacred places of Nepal. Included in his party were Shamar Rinpoche, Situ Rinpoche and the seventJr GyaltshapRinpoche.They werewelcomedin Kathmandu by King Jagajayamalla, who feted them with a greatceremony. During his stay in Nepal, changchub Dorje visited Yanglayshod, where Guru padmasambhava accomplished the meditation on Vajrakilaya in order to destroy all hindrancesto his compassionate activity. There, Karmapa and his parly performed spiritual practicesof Padmasambhavain wrathful aspect, and thus, renewedthe link with the inspiration of the "Lotus Born" guru. An influenza epidemic had broken out in the Kathmandu valley and Changchub Dorje's aid was required. Karmapa performed the spiritual practice of AvalokiteSvara first, and then having symbolically purified an amount of water with the compassion of Avalokitebvara, he, together with the other lamas in his party, blessedthe area in a water purification ceremony. The epidemic was stopped and the king arranged a festive

Thr decease. oughout t he jour ney, Sit u Rinpoche's S A kyam uniBuddha's the Hindu panditas whom he greatly impressed Iopiirri.uted scholarship as his st udent s a r esultof his m ast er yof becam e M ,r, i n discussion. any and linguist ics' phi l oso PhY the returnjourney to Tibet, Karmapa and his party visiteda cavein On m ount ain, wher e Lesom G endun Bum , the vi cinit y of Jom o G angkar principal fenralestudent, had practiced intensivemeditation. Ir,lilarepa's as which wasr enowned t he spir it ual Thepar t y t hen visit edM ount Kaildsa, vara.About this time ChangchubDorje received ,nviionment of Cakrasar.n t t o visit China f r om t he em per or ,Yung Ching. He decided o an i nvi tat ion Sit t oget herwit h Sham ar pa, upaand G yalt shabth accept e invit at ionand pa, he slowly traveledback to Tsurphu. gaving ar r ivedback at Tsur phu,Kar m apadid not setout im m ediat ely for China. He went into retreat and then visited Lhasa and traveledto southernTibet, giving teachingsto many people. Changchub Dorje met the mahdmudrd and SurmangTrungpa Rinpoche,ott whom he bestowed the six );ogasof NdroPa. of Sit K ar m apaent r ust ed u ChokyiJungnaywit h t he guar dianship t he school,dur ing his visit t o China.I n addit ion,Sit u Rinpoche K arma Kagyu w as asked t o com plet e all t he t ext s t hat Kar m apa and Sham ar pa had started. In 1725,after giving Situpa some empowerments,Changchub Dorje and Shamar Rinpoche set out for China. When the party reached Amdo province,Karmapa performeda specialceremonyfor world peace. l.ater ChangchubDorje performed another ceremonyat Lake Kokonor. and em power A s he t r aveledon int o China, Kar m apagavet eachings ments, especiallyhat of Vajr apini, em bodim entof t he power of buddhat t hood.ChangchubDor je m et wit h t he r uler sof t he dist r ict s hr ough which hepassed dharmawiththem. The party finally arrivedat Lan and discussed C hu i n l732, wher eChangchubDor je visit edt he Tdr d and Avalokit e5var a templ es,as well as t he Taoist t em ples. While in Lan Chu, Kar m apa contract ed allpox.He senta let t ercont ainingdet ailsof his next r ebir t h sm to S i tu Rinpoche.O n t he t hir t iet hday of t he t ent h m ont h of t he yearof t he Water Rat ( 1732)he passed away. The pr incipal st udent s ChangchubDor je wer e Sit u Chokyi Jungof nay, Pawo Tsuglak Dondrup and his reincarnation, Drukchen Kagyu Thinley Zhingta.

celebration Karmapa's in honor. Subsequently, Changchub Dorje, together with Shamarpa Situ and Rinpoche,traveledon to Kusinagara northern India, the placeof ;! in


Dudul Dorje Karmapa


TH E THI RTEENTH KARM APA, Dudul Dor je, was bor n in Chaba Drong, a villagefour daysjourney from Lhasa,in the eighth month of the yearof t he Wat er O x ( 1733 C. E. ) . Shor t ly af t er t his, Lam a Kat ok TsewangNorbu had a vision,in which he sawthe exactbirthplaceof Karmapa. The infant had a birthmark on his tongue in the shapeof the Tibetan lettera, and as he grew, he displayedremarkablenatural spirituality. The young Karmapa was said to be able to recalleventsfrom his past lives.On one early occasion Dudul Dorje had a highly significant vision of the dharma protector, the Vajra Black-CloakedOne, in the form of a young boy dressed a white silk robe and holding a crystal pl"rtefull of flowers. in Dudul Dorje askedthe apparition, "Who are you?" Immediatelythe dharma protector assumedhis completely overwhelming wrathful form and declared, am the glorious roaring Vajra Black-CloakedOne. I arise in "I wrathful form from the spaceof transcendent wisdom. I perform the four t activitiesof pacifying, enriching,integrating and destroying. This is the ultimateview." In this way the dharma protector symbolicallypointed to the mahdmudrd teaching that there is nothing separatefrom mind. Then the vision disappearedinto space.The power of this experiencewas so strongthat it communicateditself to everyonearound Dudul Dorje. By the time he reached ageof four the young boy'sfame had spread the far and wide. Gyaltshap Rinpoche sent a search party who located the child,who was then taken to Tsurphu, where Gyaltshabpa officially recognized and enthroned him as the thirteenth Karmapa. In this elaborate ceremony Dalai Lama, Dudul Dorje received black crown. The seventh his KalzangGyatsho, and his prime minister, Pholha Sonam Thobjay, sent their greetings the to new Karmapa.



THr HrsroRy oF rHE SrxrreruKeRuApAs

Dupt ; l Don; a KenM . cpe


A little while after his enthronement, Dudul Dorje was visited in Tsurphu by the most scholarly eighth Situ, chokyi Jungnay. situpa was delighted to see the incarnation of Changchub Dorje, his own spirituai father, and gave the young boy a comprehensiverange of Karma K.gyu teachings.At the age of fourtecn, Dudul Dorje was ordained a novice Ly Situ Rinpoche in Tsurphu. The ceremony took place before the famous statueof the Buddha constructedby Karma Pakshi. The thirteenth Karmapa's education continued after his ordination and mainly followed the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions. He receivedthe empowermentsof the Kalacakra Tantra together with its associated teachings. His studies and practice also included the teachings of Dusum Khye npa and the teachingsof the six volumes composedby Rigdzin Jatson Nyingpo, the famous Nyingma terton and student of the tenth Karmapa, who introduced the Konchog Chidu2 cycle. In addition, Dudul Dorje mastered the Hevajra Tantra, the Ocean of pakinis (Tib.: mkha.'gro.rgya. mtsho), Madhyamaka philosophy, abhidhqrma, vinaya, and the srTlras. In this fashion he received most important streamsof spiritual practice the current in his day. At the ageof thirty-one,the thirteenth Karmapa was ordaineda monk by Situ Rinpoche. Subsequently,he perfectedhis practice of the six yogas of Ndropa and mohdmudrd and receivedthe complete transmissionof the lineagefrom Situ Rinpoche. Dudul Dorje blended together the two lifestylesof scholar and"crazy-wisdom"yogin, and he embodiedthe compasity sionate spontane of au,akenedenergy. His love for animals became legendary.It is said that he communicated the essence dharma to birds, of mice, cats, rabbits and bees. Each day he spent much time with the creatures,who flocked to him, as well as with his human students. Dudul Dorje was himself the subject of one of Padmasambhava's prophecies.At one time Lhasa was threatenedby the flooding watersof the Tsangpo or Chichu, Happy River, or as it is known in India, the Brahmaputra River. It was recalledthat in a book of prophecy by Guru Padma,it was said that if Lhasa was ever in danger of being flooded, Karmapa's blessingshould be requested.In accordancewith'this, the capital'sauthorir ties asked him to come as quickly as possible.Dudul Dorje arrived in Lhasa a and avertedthe danger by invoking the inspiration of AvalokiteSvar and S ik ya mu n i .

M Rinpoche, ipham Chodr upG yat sho'3 i ng.H em etwit h t he t ent h Sham ar f cer per f or m eda special em ony or Kar m a ei nunun g in Kham , Kar m apa noble family, who by the Danang monurtrry. The ceremonywassponsored Dudul Dor je wit h a gold and silver vase. Dur ing his st ay, fr.r.nt.d that he would return to them in the Kur*upu remarked to the family m eet again. When it happensyou will future, s aying "Soon we shall it understa nd in det ail. Keep t his in m ind'" Dorje lived in a very simple fashionand distributedhis wealth Dudul of both to the needyand to religiousprojects.He financedthe construction the printing of texts. many dharma centersand also In his later yearsa famous demonstrationof apparently miraculous r energyof t he Kar m apat ook place.M essengerfs om Powo G yaldzongin Tibet arrived at Tsurphu and invited Karmapa to blesstheir southeastern Dudul Dorje wasunableto go but on the appointedday he gave monastery. cr t while st ill in Tsur phu. Sim ult aneously,he assem bled owds the bl essing barley from the sky. a at Powo Gyaldzongwitnessed rain of blessed ln 1774Karmapa had a vision indicatingthe location of the new Situ incarnation.He sent a party to the place indicated,where they found the and enthronedthe Dudul Dorje officially recognized infant. Subsequently, new Situ, Padma Nyingche WangPo. his ln l797,at the ageof sixty-four, havingentrusted incarnationletter away. His remainswere enshrined Dudul Dorje passed to Situ Rinpoche, i n a one st or y high silverst ilpa in Tsur phu. [ I is m onks also m ade a silver statueof Kar m apa. s A nro ngt he t hir t eent hKar m apa'spr incipalst udent wer eSit u Padm a N yi ngche Wangpo,t he Dr ukchen Kunzig Chokyi Nangwa,Pawo Tsuglak and Chogyal,the Ladakhi prince, Hemi Gyalsay,Khamtrul Jigme Senge, SangyeNyenpa Tulku.

In 1772Karmapatraveled Degeto seethe agedSitu Rinpoche' to Dudul Dorjejourneyed throughKham, teaching and bestowing his bless' :


Dorje Karm apaThegchog


TH E ,FOURTEENTH KARM APA, ThegchogDor je, was bor n in Salm o Gang i n Kham , t he villageof t he Danang f am ily, in t he year of t he Fir e S nake(17 98 C. E. ) . Dur ing her pr egnancy,his m ot her had had sever al gur indicat ingt he bir t h of an incar nat e u. I t is r ecor ded dr auspi ci o us eam s, and flowersbloomed,even that, on the day of his birth, rainbowsappeared thoughit was in the depths of the winter. The newborn child was heard to the Sanskr italphabet . reci te News of the prodigy traveled quickly and a search party was dispatchedby Drukchen Chokyi Nangwa to find the incarnationof his guru. This party, having reachedSalmo Gang, met with two other partiesfrom Situ Rinpoche and Gyaltshap Rinpoche. Together they conducted the chi l d to Ogm in m onast er y, wher e t hey det er m ined hat t he det ailsof his t birth matched exactly those set out in the previous Karmapa's letter of prediction.The ninth Situ, Padma Nyinche Wangpo,formally recognized ThegchogDorje as the new Karmapa. He alsrrordainr:ilhim as a novice. For the next few years at Ogmin Ling, ThegchogDorje studied the doctrinesof the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions. After being enthronedand receivingthe vajra crown, the fourteenth Karmapawent to Tsurphu, where he continued his studies.At the age of ni neteen e wasor daineda m onk by Sit u Rinpocheand Dr ukchenChokyi h Nangwa.During this period he engaged the rebuildingand repair of the in monasteryitself and many of the stfipasand templesin the surrounding area.ThegchogDorje was himself highly expert in variousarts and crafts, tncludingsculptureand metal work. The fourteenth Karmapa was an accomplishedscholar and linguist. Hedevotedmuch of his time to poetry and wasespecially skilledin rhetoric and poeti cs. Dur ing his lif et im et her eoccur r edt he gr eat Buddhistr enais-



THr HrsroRy oF rHr SrxrrrN KnnuApAS

sancein Tibet, due largely to the Rime movement. This movement, which originated in Kham, was led by many teachersfrom the various traditions such as Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, Khyentse Wangpo and Terton Chogyur Lingpa. It was not an attempt to form a new school or organization, but rather it sought to bring together and make available the richness of each tradition to everytrody.Those involved in the movement were not but werealso talentedartists,poets, just religiousscholars and rneditators, doctors and even scientists,as was Mipham Rinpoche. Thegchog Dorje both influenced and was himself influenced by this trend. He gave lineage teachings to Jamgon Kongtrul and Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo as well as certain specificteachingsto the former. From the great terton, Chogyur Lingpa, he received the great sddhana of Vajra. kilaya. Subsequently he instituted the yearly performance of this ritual, alternating with the tsechu dance ritual of Padmasambhava,at Tsurphu. The fourteenth Karmapa was renowned for his personalausterityand his strictnessas a monk. Although he was himself the embodiment of compassion,Thegchog Dorje demanded complete observanceof the monastic rules from those around him. In the 1860sKarmapa traveled throughout Kham, working continu. ally for the the benefit of the people.He recognizedand enthroned the tenth Situ, Padma Kunzang, at Palpung monastery. During his stay there hc gave teachings to Konglrul Lodro Thaye, the profound Rime scholar. After his guru had returned to Tsurphu, Kongtrul Lodro Thaye followed to continue studying with him. Shortly before Karmapa's death Lodro Thaye receivedthe transmission of the lineage from him. Thegchog Dorje passed away in t868 at the age of seventy. His principal students were Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, Drukchen Mipham Cho' kyi Gyatsho, Dechen Chogyur Lingpa, Pawo Tsuglak Nyingche and Jam' yang Khyentse Wangpo.

/ (


Karm apaKhakhyabDorje

TH E FIFTE ENTH KARM APA, Khakhyab Dor je, was bor n in Shelkar ( i n Tsangprovincein t he yearof t he I r on Sheep l87l C. E. ) .The inf ant was just asa his markedby a tiny tuft of white hair that grew berween cyebrows, t si mi l artuft i s saidt o havedist inguishedhe body of t he baby Sdkyam uni. at Khakhyab Dorje displayedremarkableintelligence a tenderageand by he was four, he was composingprayers. the time At the age of six the child was recognizedas the new Karmapa incarnation, accordance in with the detailscontainedin the letter of prediction left by the fourteenth Karmapa. He was officially recognizedby Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, Jamyang Khyentseand Drukchen Minjur WangkyiGyalpo and wascrowned in the "golden throne ceremony"at Tsurphu. He was also ordained as a novice by Drukchen Rinpoche. K hakhyab Dor je wasan assiduous udent .Evenwhenver y young he st wastaught basicmahdydnadharmo. logic and astrology.At the ageof eight he constructed a Mahdkdla shrine and also composed a prayer to the dharmapala. In l 88l Kar m apa andhis ent our age paid a visitt o t he t hir t eent hDalai Lama, Thubten Gyatsho and his court. On his return to Tsurphu he began to study with the very scholarly abbot of Palyrung monastery,Khanchen Tashi Ozer,from whom he receivedthe textual transmissionof the entire Tiipitoka. He also studiedwith the ninth Pawtr Rinpoche,who instructed him in the six volumesof Rigdzin JatsonNyingpo'sterma(Tib.: gter.chos). In l 886, Khakhyab Dor je went t o seeKongr ul Rinpochein Palpung rnonastery. The aged scholar gaveKarmapa the empowerments, textual transmissionsand instructions of his own Five Treasures(Tib. : mdzod. lng4'This series containsover one hundred volumescompiled,annotated andcommented upon by Kongtrul Lodro Thaye. It presents major and the






TnE HtsroRy oF rHr StxrEnNKInUAPAS

KenlteP,nKsarHYes Donrr


minor traditions of religious thought and practice from the Rime perspecdevelopmentof tive and had had a profound influenceupon the subsequent Rinpoche also gave Khakhyab Dorje the bodhisatya dharma. Kongtrul vows and the empowermentsand teaching of Kdlacakra. From Palpung, Karmapa and his party traveled on to Dzongsar, 1 great Sakya monastery, where he received teachings from Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche. At that time memories of his past lives were reawakened in Khakhyab Dorje and he composedpoetry concerningthe training of a bodhisattva. Somewhat later, Karmapa visited the famous head of the Drukpa Kagyu monastery of Sang Ngag Choling. He recognizedthe new Drukchen incarnation and gave him the five precepts' In 1888,Khakhyab Dorje returned to study with Konglrul Rinpoche. The contents of his studiesranged over Sanskrit, astrology, medicine,art, Madhyam aka, Praifiipdramitd, vinaya, abhidharma and the Five Dharmas of Maitreya. Subsequently,Karmapa revisited Dzongsar monastery, where he received the empowerments of the Collected Sddhonas (Tib.: sgrub.rhab.kun.'dus) of the Sakya tradition from Khyentse Rinpoche. After his return to Palpung, Kongtrul Rinpoche bestowed on him the teachings of the Shangpa Kagyu tradition. Throughout this period Khakhyab Dorje studied throughout the day and into the night. In 1890 Karmapa recognizedand enthroned the eleventh Situ Rin' poche, Padma Wangchuk Gyalpo. He also revisited Sang Ngag Choling' Lhasa and Samye as well as the pilgrimage place of Tsari where he disco' vered some termu$ and was protected by Qakas and (akinis. On his arrival back at Tsurphu, Khakhyab Dorje establisheda new seminary and repairedthe main shrine. He also constructeda new templein It Lhasa for the "five sistersof long life" (Tib. : tshe.ring.mched.lnga).t was at dedicated to the peaceand happinessof Tibet and the rest of the world the request of the Dalai Lama. at A little later, Karmapa returned to his guru, Kongtrul Rinpoche, Palpung monastery and receivedthe empowerments,teachingsand textilAl transmissions of the Lama Gongdu cycle. Returning to Tsurphu, Kha' of khyab Dorje designednew ornamentsand costumesfor the ritual dances the dharmapdla, Vajra Black-Cloaked One. He also commissionedKonS' trul Rinpoche's sixty-three volume Precious Treasury (Tib.: rin-chen'g0t'of mdzod)and his own works, the only completecollectionsof the works Kagyu scholars to come out of Tibet.

Inlsg8KhakhyabDorjepaidabriefvisittoBhutanontheinvitation oftheking,UrgyenWangchuk.Karmapawasextensivelyhonoredandhe instructionsin dharma teachings' ta". tna k-ing rL ceveralconsot o n h i s r e t u r n t o T i b e t , K h a k h y a b D o r j e t o o k s e v e r a l c o theonewl n ns rts later he recognized of his gu,u,, prediction. A little fulfillment son, and Pawo Rinpoche' He of rJngtrut Rinpoche,his own irrcarnations He transmittedthe and3itu Rinpoche in Kagyu dharma. instructedthem KagyulineagetoSitupa,KongtrulRinpocheandPalpungKhyentseRinten years' and then went into retreatfor ;;. Karmapa Khakhyab Dorje passed In his fifty-first year, in 1g22, his next incarnayearsearlierhe had entrustedthe detailsof away.Several yearsearlier'in l9 [ 2' he his favoriteattendant'Ten tion to Jampal Tsultim, east new year trumpets be blown toward the had also insistedthat the customary' insteadof the south as was Padma Wangchuk Dorje,s principal studentswere Situ Khakhyab Gyalpo,JamgonKongtrulKhyentseOzer'PalpungKhyentseTulku'and RinPoche' Gyal tsh aP

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Karm apaRangjung Rigpe Dorje


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THE SIXTEENTH KARMAPA, Rangiung Rigpe Dorje, was born at Denkhok in the Dege region of Kham near the river Yanglse,on the full moon day of t he sixt h m ont h of t he year of t hu Wood I \ louse( 1923C. E. ) . He was born into an aristocraticfamily named Athub. His father'sname wasTsewangNorbu and his mother's KalzangChoden.The birth of a great bodhisattvain the Athub family had been previouslypredictedby Dzok Chen Tulku, Chokyi Dorje, head of the famous Nyingma monastery of Dzok Chen. Acting on his advice,the mother had given birth in the nearby called the Lion Sky Castle. caveof Padmasambhava, entirely from the womb for one Beforethe child's birth he disappeared wholeday and then returnedthe next. On the actual night of his birth, the atmospherewas charged with portents, which everyonein the locality could sense. Shortly afterwards,Situ Padma Wangchuk Gyalpo openedthe previous Karmapa's letter of prediction and discoveredtherein a detailed description the housein which RangjungRigpe Dorje'sparentsdwelt. A of searchparty was sent, and the child was speedilyrecognizedto be the sixteenthKarmapa incarnation. When he was sevenyearsold he receivedthe novice ordination from Situ Rinpoche and Jamgon Kongtrul of Palpung. A year later the vajra crown and the robesof the Karmapa were brorrghtfrom fsurphu to Kham for him. Situ Rinpoche then invited him to visit Palpung monastery. On the way there, Karmapa's party was met by the prince of Dege, TsewangDudul, who requested Karmapa to visit his palace.This palace, Dege Lhundrup Teng, which was built by the fifteenth century Nyingma saint,Thangtong Gyalpo, was near DegeGonchen,the main monasteryof the Sakya Ngorpa lineage.While in Dege, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje visited



Tur HrsroRy oF rHr SrxrrrN KenuApAS

Kenuepl RnNc. luNcRlcPe Donr n


and blessed monastery's the hugeprinting press.A little later thr traveledon to Palpung,where the young Karmapa was given ; :Xll welcome. Four dayslatertrewasenthroned Situ Rinpoche the by in main shrineof the monastery. on the twenty-thirdday of the fourth month of the Iron Sheep year, RangjungRigpe Dorje and Situ Rinpoche, accompanied a monastic by peoplecalledKarmapa gorchen, out for Tsurphu. campof a thousand set performed vajro crown cereAlong the way, RangjungRigpe Dorje the mony for the first time in his lifetimeat GyinaGompain Nangchen. After this auspicious event,the party visitedNyenchen Thanglha, environan mentsymbolically dedicated the energy the Karma Kagyutradition. to of on hissubsequent arrivalat Tsurphu,Karmapa waswelcomed palpung by Kongtrul Rinpoche, Pawo Rinpoche and Gyaltshap Rinpoche. After a short periodof time RangjungRigpeDorje visitedthe thirteenthDalai Lama in Lhasa,from whom he received "hair cutting, the ceremony.During this ceremony, the Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatsho, perceived vojracrown,wovenfrom the hair of onehundredthousand the Qdkinis,above the head of RangjungRigpe Dorje. After his return to Tsurphu,Karmapawasgivena second "goldenthroneceremony" Situ by Rinpoche and DrukchenRinpoche, Miphamchokyi wangpo,headof thc Drukpa Kagyust:ct. For the next four yearsRangjungRigpe Dorje studiedwith Beru Khyentse Rinpoche Bo KangkarMahapa!{ita,whowasacclaimedas and the last great Kar.ntshang Kagyuscholarof the time. KangkarRinpochc had memorized entirecontents the Tripilakaandnumbered the of among his students the profound contemporary Sakya scholar, Dezhung Rinpoche,as well as the eminenttranslator,Garmac. c. Chang.While studyingwith KangkarRinpoche,Karmaparelatedthe stories hisprcof viouslivesto his guru. rn 1937 RangiungRigpeDorje and hisentourage out on ajourney set to Dege in Kham, to visit situ Rinpoche.on the journey many highly symbolicevents took placewhich conveyed inspiration Karmapa's the of energy.Karmapawas invitedto visit the king of Nangchen's and palace Tsechu Gompa,the Drukpa Kagyumonastery of underthe patronage thc king. He alsovisitedKaychaGompa,a Drukpa Kagyuconventin NanF chenhousingninehundrednuns,the largest conventin Tibet. In the areaof Drong Tup thereis a smalllakein which it is saidthat by RangiungRigpeDorje left footprintsin the water,whichmay be seen

is frozen.At Riwa Parma monastery in anyone,even winter when the lake performed the rituals of the wrathful Padmasambhavafestiu,, fur^upa ("offering cakes")' val, frre flamed from the tormas century A little later Karmapa visitedthe monasteryof the nineteenth great terton. There Lama Samten Gyarnaster,Chogyur Lingpa, the last Karmapa to bring an end to the drought that was afflicting tsho requested Rangiung Rigpe Dorje askedfor some water the monastery.In response, in which ro wash himself. As he bathedit startedto rain and a spring came up under t he washt ub. When Karmapa finally arrived at Palpung monastery he was welSit comed by Sit u Rinpoche.Subsequent ly, upa inst r uct edhis st udentin Kongtrul Lodro Thaye's profound works, the Kagyu Ngagdzod, which containsthe advancedtantric teachingsof Marpa Lotsawa, and the Dam of containingthe advancedteachings the eight original Tibetan Ngagdzod, sects.On a visit to Pangphug monastery, Karmapa and Situ Buddhist Rinpocheleft their footprints in stone. While outside the temple, Rigpe Dorje'sdog and horsealso left clear footprints in the rock. After a short meditationretreat,Karmapaand Situ Rinpochereceived an i nvi tat ion t o visit China f r om G ener al Chang Kai Shek. However , choosinginsteadto send Karmapadid not acceptthe invitation personally, Beru KhyentseRinpoche as his representative. At the Dzongsar monastery of Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, the great Khyentse Rimescholar,RigpeDorje performedthe vairacrown ceremony. form of the vajra crown floating about Rinpocheenvisaged the spiritual eighteen inchesabove Karmapa'shead.In addition, he saw Karmapa in the form of Dusum Khyenpa. On his return to Palpung, Rigpe Dorje received the empowerments, and instructionsof the collected textual transmissions spiritual practicesof the Sakya tradition (Tib.: sgrub.thabs.kun.btus). In th e nint h m ont h of t he year of t he lr on Dr agon ( 1940) ,Kar m apa began the journey back to Tsurphu. On the way, he visited Benchen monastery, where, on his arrival, a statue of the horse on which the dharmapdta Zhingchong (Tib. : zhing.skyong.) was seatedbeganto neigh. After a journey lasting eleven months, Rigpe Dorje and his entourage reached'fsurphu. For the next threeyears,Karmapa enteredinto intensive practice, In while new constructionwork wascarriedout on the monastery. 1944he went on a pilgrimage,first to Samye monasteryand then on to Lhodrak, the home of Marpa Lotsawa. That sameyear Rigpe Dorje was i nvi tedto visit Bhut anat t he r equest t he second king,Jigm e Wangchuk. of


Tun HrsroRy oF rsn SrxrrEN KenuApAs

Ke, nuapnRnNc- lut t cRt cPEDonr r


During his stay he performedthe vairacrown ceremony several timesand gavemanyempowerments. In the followingyearthe agedsitu Rinpoche traveled Tsurphuto to givefurther teachings his spiritualson.The twenty-twoyearold Rigp. to full Dorje received ordinationasa monk from Situpa.In addition,hisguru of Kadzodcollection Kongtrul LodroThaye instructed him in the Gyachen and the ChigsheKundrol. From Urgen Rinpoche,Karmapareceived the of and completeempowerments textual transmissions Terton Chogyur Lingpa'steaching. In the fourth month of the year of the Fire Pig ( 1947)Karmapa journeyedto westernTibet and from thereon to India and Sikkim. In Nepalheperformedthe vajracrownceremony gavehisblessings the and to people. RigpeDorje thentraveled Lumbini,the birthplace Sekamuni to of Buddha.He alsovisitedVirdqasi, the siteof Sdkyamuni's sermon first and Bodhgayd, placeof his enlightenment. the invitationof the mahdthe At rdja of Sikkim, TashiNamgyal,KarmapavisitedGangtok,whcreheperformed the black crown ceremony and gaveempowerments. RigpeDorje thentraveled Rewalsar ( India, to in which is sacred Padmasambhava. to Many whitesnakes appeared the on surface the lakethereand this wasregarded a veryauspicious of as event. During the long journey back to Tsurphuhe passed throughthe areaof Mount Kailisa and Lake Manasarowar. Finally Karmapaand his party arrived back in Tsurphu in the eleventhmonth of the year of the Earth Rat (1948). RigpeDorje invitedJamgonKongtrulof Palpung cometo Tsurphu to and give him further teachings. Konglrul Rinpochegavehim the Rinchen Terdzod,and, in addition, instructionsin mahdmudrdand the six yogos thc of Niropa. At the completionof his studies,Rigpe Dorje received textual transmission the lineagefrom Kongtrul Rinpocheand Situ of Rinpoche.To celebrateKarmapa'smasteryof mahdmudrd,Palpung Kongtrul composed poem in which he praisedhim as beinga perfed a holderof the mahdmudnilineage. During this periodan outbreakof srnallpox reachedepidemicproportions but was brought under control as a resultof a Vajrakilayaexorcismperformedby Karmapa. and In the earlyyearsof the 1950s Karmapacarriedon his teaching administrative dutiesboth in Tsurphuand in otherpartsof thecountry.In of 1953,Rigpe Dorje gavethe empowerments textualtransmissions and DechenChogyur Lingpa's terma teachingto Mindrol Ling Chong Rin-

was in effectthe senior poche,who as headof the Mindrol Ling monastery 'lama of the NYingmatradition' t he In 1 954t he Chineseaut hor it iesin Peking invit ed His Holiness the heads of the other Tibetan religious fourreenth Dalai Lama, and to dignitaries, visit Pekingand other partsof traditions,togetherwith other invitation and, together with China.His HolinessKarmapa acceptedthe a there, Karmapa received the rest of the party,traveledto Peking. While of f r om M ahdkdla indicat ingt he cir cum st ances t he vi si onaryint im at ion rebirthof Situ Rinpoche.He wasableto senda letterto Palpungdescribing journey, Karmapa of the whereabouts the Situ incarnation.On the return formally enthronedthe new Situpa at Palpung. tIe also traveledextensiveof ly throughout Kham as the personalambassador the Dalai Lama in an worried populace.Many Kagyu increasingly attemptto restorecalm to an empowcameto Karmapa while he receive students lanrasand and or dinat ions. erments the Following his return to Tsurphu, Karmapa supervised construcfor His Holinessthe Dalai Lama, whom he invited to tion of a residence visit. The Dalai Lama and his entouragewere greetedwith great festivities to and he was requested give the empowermen'<tfthe otrethousandarmed In Avalokitebvara. return the Dalai Lama asked Karmapa to perform the ceremonyof the vajra crown. During the visit Rigpe Dorje showed the Dalai Lama the wealth of relicscollectedat Tsurphu and a ritual Padmasambhava dancewas held in his honor. br host ilit ies oke out in t he Degeand In the sam e year , l955, ser ious Nangchen Karmapa visitedChamdo, where he tried to districtsof Kham. forces.Both sides bring about peace the between Khampasand the Chinese promisedto keep a five year truce. In 1 956His Holiness visit edDr uk DechenChokhor Ling, t he pr incipal l)rukpa Kagyu monastery.He gave teachingsand also performed a purificationrite. From there he traveledon to Sikkim, wherehe again met the king, Tashi Namgyal. The year 1956was celebrated worldwide as the twenty-five hundredth anniversary of Lord Buddha's parinirva\la, so Karmapaand his party extendedtheirjourney into India and Nepal,where they visitedall the sacredplacesof pilgrimage.From Nepal, Rigpe Dorje returnedto India and the famed Ajantd caves,which contain Buddhist carvi ngs adedur ing t he G upt a dynast ic per iod.I n Kalr m pong,Kar m apa m metwith Her Royal Highness princess, who Azhi Wangmo, the Bhutanese undertookto build a monasteryfor His Holinessin eastern Bhutan. At this


Tun HrsroRy oF rHn SlxrrEu KnnuApAs

Knnunpn RnNcr uxc Rt cpr Don. r r


he declinedthe invitation. sayingthat he woutd be coming to ,t in ":J.Tlthe future,whenhe had needof it. when RangjungRigpe Dorje rerurnedto Tsurphu earry in rg57, serious hostilities brokenout againin Kham.A stream ,rlug..s had of was pouringinto centralribet. Amongthese refugees wer_e manyKagyulamas suchas the ninth sangyeNyenpaRinpoche, Situ Rinpoche, Tliep ninpoche and their followers who cameto Tsurphu.Duringthis time Karmapa recognizedthe twelfth Gyaltshap incarnation the new palpung Kongtrul Rinpoche,and BongsarKhyentse,Rinpoche.From Zechen Kongtrul,Karmapahimselfreceived textualtransmissions the and teachingsof the LongchenDzodun, the profound seven volumework of Long_ chenpa, which dealswith mohaari. Inexorably,the conflict spreadfrom Kham into central Tibet. Karmapa sent situ Rinpoche,sangyeNyenpaRinpoche and the venerable meditationmaster,Karu Rinpoche, Bhutan.The youngpalpung to Jam_ gon Kongtrul was sent to Kalimpong in India to stay with his family, wealthymerchants, sandu.However, the Karmapahimself decided to not leaveat that time, sayingthat he would cometo Bhutan if the situation deterioriated. washis intentionto staybehindin It Tsurphuuntil thelast possible momentin order to renderassistance the refugees. to The hostilities between chinese the communistarmyandthe Khampa resistance werenow ragingthroughoutTibet.From ail appearances the ancientBuddhistculture of Tibet was about to be extinguished like the light of a lamp. Realizing that he must leaveTibet now, in order to herp preservebuddhadhorme,Rigpe Dorje informed the Dalai Lama of his plans'Subsequently, themiddleof thefourth in nightof thesecond month of the year of the Earth pig (r9s9), Karmapa, dressed lay crothing, in togetherwith a party of one hundredand sixty peopre,reft Tsurphu, carryingsomepreciousrelicsand shrineimplements that werelight in weight.The party includedincarnate lomqs,monksand tay peopre. with Karmapawere the thirteenthshamar Rinpoche, the twelfth Gyaltshap Rinpoche, meditation the master, Drupon TenzinRinpoche, Dabtrul Rinpoche'Khandro chenmo, the saintlyfourth consortof Karma Khakpa hyab Dorje, and othersincludingHis Holiness's general secretary, Dorle Lopon TopgaRinpoche and the author.

hadbeen established duringtherifetime theninthKa.mapa of

time, Rigpe Dorje was asked to visit Rumtek monastery in Sikkir

route lay over the Himalayas into Bhutan' HowThe party's escape for two weeks' Karmapa's party ever,the food supply was only sufficient peoplegavemuch assistance i^rrrd through southernTibet and the local paid along the way to Marpa Lotsawa's Fleetingvisitswere io ,t. refugees. in Lhodrak and also to a Milarepa shrine, the famous nine story trour. where His Holinessgave the ,o*.. built at Marpa Lotsawa'sdirection, performed the sddhana' Milarepa initiation and As the group reachedthe last snow pass'Mon La Gar Chung (elevaur ged f ti on 19,855 t . ) , which m ar ks t he Tibet - Bhut anbor der , Kar m apa on, sayingthat they must crossthe passthat sameday. The party everyone by their last energyin crossingover into Bhutan, assisted guides expended the following night there was a great snow: from the local people.During for fall. which blockedall the passes two or threedays.In fact, the military and had they not done as had beenin closepursuit of the refugees, forces Karmapa directed they would have been captured. Twenty-one days after leaving Tsurphu, Karmapa and his party arrived in the Bumthang district of Bhutan, the land said to bear the footprints of one hundred thousand Sakinis. He was given a very warm welprincess and nun, Azhi Wangmo, and others.Kalu comeby the Bhutanese wit h his m onks, cam e t o visit Kar m apa in Tashi R i npoch e,t oget her Chodzong,as did Situ Rinpoche.Havingvisited KingJigme Dorge Wangto capital,Karmapadecided move on into chuk in Thimphu, the Bhutanese Indi a. At Baxa, on the border of Bhutan and India, His Holinessmet with the SikkimesePrime Minister, Banya Sahib Tashi Dadul, who conveyedthe mahdrdja's invitation to Karmapa to residein Sikkim. Karmapadecidedto accept invitation, and on the twenty-fifthday of the fourth month of the the year of t he Ear t h Pig ( 1959) he and his par t y went t o G angt ok, t he Sikkimese capital.Karmapa waswarmly welcomedby the royal family and the people,and was askedwhere he would like to settle.He repliedthat as Tibetan refugees they hoped one day to be able to return to Tibet. Therefore,their residence be would in one sense only temporary.However,asthe ninth Karmapa, Wangchuk Dorje had commissioned buildingof Rumthe tek monastery, he, the sixteenth Karmapa, would like to establish his seat-in-exile there. Following his arrival at Rumtek, Karmapa ceremoniallyenthroned Palpung Kongtrul Rinpoche and bestowedmany empowermentsupon him. That winter ( 1959-60),Rigpe Dorje visited India, where he first met


K.enulpe ReNcrunc Rrcpn Donre

His Holiness Dalai Lamain Benares later PanditNehru,the then the and primeminister, who wasverysympathetic bothto Buddhism theplight and of the Tibetan refugees. the sunlmerKarmapagavemany empowerIn of mentsto largenumbers peoplewho flockedto seehim. Largesumsof moneyweredonatedto Karmapafrom the Sikkimese Indiangovernand of situated seventy nientsto aid in the construction a new monastery, on The sitechosen acresof land nearthe old Rumtekmonastery. had many sevenstreams flowing toward it, a signs:sevenhills facing, auspicious mountain behind it, snow mountainsin front of it, and a river below, of for twirling in the shape a conchshell.The greatenthusiasm the work among Karmapa'sfollowers meant that the constructionwas accomplishedin four years. During this period His Holiness recognized new DrukchenRinthe poche,Drukpa YongdzinRinpoche,DzigarChoktor Rinpoche, two the newSangye Nyenpatulkus(oneof whomwasborn in America), Surmang GarwangRinpoche, DrongramJatrul, the newDzok ChenPonlobincarnationand Drupon tulku ChogyurLingpa. Up to the present time His Holiness Karmapahasordained morethan 3,000monks and recognized hundredsof tulkus. He has caused be to publisheda new printing of the Dege Kanjur, the basicencyclopedia of Buddha's teaching. a gesture interdenominational In of cooperation and fellowship,he hasdistributed170setsto institutionsof all four sects of TibetanBuddhism andto representatives the Bonpofaith. His Holiness of hasmadetwo extended trips aroundthe world. Several his own Karma of Kagyulamashaveestablished dharmacenters the West,and His Holiin ness hastoured them and giventeachings.

to we have endeavored cover the main In order to keep this section brief, teaching in the section,The Historical and of Kagyu foint, and details Background. Many referencesin the text may therefore be clarifiedby referring to the introduction' INTRODUCTION L Rudyard Kipting, "The Balladof Eastand west" (1889),The Collected Worksof RudyordKipling (AMS Press,l94l)' ed' trans.,in BuddhistTextsthroughtheAges, Edward 2. David Snellgrove, p' (New York: Harper& Row, 1964), 233' Conze THEHISTORICALANDTHEORETICALBACKGROUND the throughout text'Wherever occur andSanskrit l. Wordsfrom theTibetan spelling' in theyfPPear an anglicized into translated English, theyhavenot been within and Tibetanwordsare followedby trans.criptions' Sanskrit Many of these their whichindicate by p"rrnth.rrsand preceded "Skt." and "Tib." respectively, At in itre originailanguages. the end of the text thereis a glossary iiu., spelling 'Iibetanpersonal and placenames. containing trlnscriptionsof 'fihet Karmapa: by Shakabpa' A 2. For furtherdetail see PoliticalHistorvof and Meryl White,andthe Historyof TheBlackHat Lamaof Tihetby Nik Douglas Kunchab. and BeloTsewang rheKarma Kagyupa iect by Situ Panchen C H A P T E RI . D U S U M K H Y E N P A




This hasbeena concise accountof the livesof the sixteen Karmapas. For more detailedaccounts one shouldconsultthe original records and biographies. However,in the final analysis recordsare limited. The all Karmapa'sunborn nature,knowing past, presentand future, perfectly realiri:",g teachings dharma,and effortlessly the of radiatingthe liberating powerof compassion, completely transcends networkof concepts. the

by l. Vinaya is the third of the three baskets(Tripitaka) enunciated community of with Sdkyamuni It is concerned thediscipline themonastic Buddha. followers' of (saishi)anJto lesser extentwith that of thelay community dharrna " of a.ndinfluential theeighty-four 2. Virfipawasoneof the mostaccomplished Buddhistm'ah^siddhas medievalIndia. originally a monk and scholarat of a became .tantric he Vikramaiila,the famousmonasticuniversity, subsequently the he yogin. Under the inspirationof Vajradhara elaborated "path and fruit" in doctrine, whichwasliter transmitted Tibet within the Sakyatradition. 'Gos Lotsawa, by Book VIII, page476,translated 3. SeetheBlueAnnalsof in related thelivesof thefirstsix Karmapas George Many of theinciderrts Roerich. of an arealso BookVIII, whichcontains account the to alluded in tlreBlueAnnals, livesof these and the earlyKagyutradition. Karmapas



THs HrsroRy oF rsr StxrErN KeRvepes



4. "Beyond meditation" (Tib.: is the fourth and final stageof mahdmudrri meditation wherein the yogin transcendsthe notions of meditition and attainment. At this level, the whole phenomenal world arises as the mahdmudra. 5. "Dream ),o!!o" is a particular aspect of anuttara tanlra yogain which the practitioner extendr meditati.reawarenessthrough the understanding and transiormation of dreanrs. Certain dream yoga practicesare associatedwith various deities such as Amitdbha and Tiri. Dream yogais also one of the six doctrines of Ndropa. 6. Vajraghaqte was one of the eighty-four mahasiddhas.He was famed for his magical pornJts and is particularly associatedwith the Cakrasamvara cycle. The datis of his birth and death are I l2Gl225 C.E. T. Sdkyalri ( I 145- 1225)was an immenselylearnedKashmiri parlfita who was invited to iibet to establish a firm monastic ordination line. He became the principal guru of Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen through whom his influence spread. 8. Indrabhiti was an eighth century tantic yogln famed as one of the eightyfour mahdsiddhas. He reigned as King of U{diydqa in the northwest of India and with the anuttara becamethe adoptive father of Padmasambhava.He is associated tradition. tantra 9. Princess Lak;minkari was a very accomplishedyogini and sister of Indrabhfiti. She composed the tantric text, Jfidnasidclhi. See Dr. R. Ray's biographical article in Loka 2: A Journal from Noropa Institute (New York: Anchor 6). Press/Doubleday, 197 CHAPTER 2. KARMA PAKSHI l. Avalokitesvara is the bodhisattva embodiment of the compassionof buddhahood, and the spiritual "son" of Buddha Amitibha, to whosepadma ("lotus") "farnily" he belongs. of 2. The ten virtues (Tib.:'1 basic morality for both lay and ordained Buddhists comprise thiee sectionspertaining to body, speechand mind. In relation to the body the virtues are non-violenCe, not stealing and sexual morality. In relation to speechthe virtues are being truthful, gentle, conciliatory and nonaggression and meaningful. In relation to mind they are noncovetousness, correctnessof view. CHAPTER 3. RANGJUNG DORJE l. The Five Texts of Maitreya comprises the Mahaydnasitralarpkara, Ihe Utroratantra, the Abhisirnaydlorykdra, t-heDharmadharmatdvibhanga and the Madhyantavibhaiga. They were composed by the third/fourth century master Asanga, under the inspiration (Tib.: byin.rlabs) of Maitreya. 2. Abhidhormais the secondof the three baskets of.dharmaenunciatedby the Buddha. Abhidharma or "furth er dharma" specificallydealswith the enumeration and analysis of psychological states. In particular, the abhidharma analysis is developed together with the hinaydna meditative discipline of tranquillity ano insight.

3 . Y a m i n t a k a ( T i b ' : s . h i n . . r j e ) i s a n i m p wisdomof i t y i n b o t his the. g | d ' ' a n d o r t . a n t d YamSntakah g . l The ,,11ew,, tantrictruaitirnr. cliar "";;.;;it*G
slayer of death'

in posed*i -Ngagdzod'

-- ^u^ 6-; dnn^n nn'tnnra tanlra com4 . T h e s a m p u t i k a i s a c o m m e n t a r v o n t h e S r i . s a m p Jamgon | a n | r a I Kagyu a in a a n u | t a rKongtrul's

p.ri"JTttir .v.rr'it in.iuato

, , --r -..-^rr.f,,r deities" comprlse the ari matldala of the 5. "The peaceful and wrathful, embodythe ltmvati ("emptiness") )''*o ptug'.fuiatititt of awakened state.d;; ;;'oiv tn-p'Lbhdsvaia("luminositv")

a#"t;;"^i;ili of buddhat,ooa


6.Thesadangayog(t|saseriesofanurtaratonrra),ogapracticesderivedfrom the Kilacakra cYcle' comprise the and Tanjur (Tib.: bsran',gyur) 7. The Kaniur(Tib.: bka,.gyu.r) sirtra ' The-Kanjl'rr contains tht totnplete B.uddhism canon of Tibetan MahaySna the authoritative *t'iit the Taniur contains raniur and tantra t.u.nin!r--oi nuaanr,

oi Indiu'TheKanjurand by commentaries ll,?r-rti"t, s";tairi;;;;;.;r (1290-1364)' Rinchendrup scr,o'ri-gu,on nuaarrist by collected thegreat were

8 . N g o k C h o d o r a n d M e t o n T s o n p o w ethetmosttalented u r p i l l among r p r i n c i re wooft| a scholar r s , ' ' o fi"ri9 was pat discipl* of fril."p". ilg.k 91of..u teaching commentarial of tant.ric tt. and students receiv.O trJn.rilion Marpa,s of in the teaching Hevajra' guru.MetonTsonpopur,i.Jutivlp"ti"iited from his was a (Tib': svag'sde'pan'chen) '('l'299:)?l!) 9. Yagdeor YagdePanchen. major dharma of ittt teachings the and masterof both ,Airo'iia tantra, lea'"ti"i" havestudieiwith onehundred ai tf,uttit.. He is saidto in traditions fiUJt numerous. likewise were His own students C H A P TER4. RO LPEDO RJE l ' T h e t r a n s c e n d e n t n a t u r e o f b u d d h a h o o d the e f l e c t e d i n f i v e a a p e c t s o r of effectsi s r transformation s and buddha "farnilies"(Skt.:,t"till-*rtittt familyhasa buddha Each its (Skt,:tctisa)into rnd;.lyi"g;i;;;-' defilement bodhisauvas' trit t"t" of maleand female prayer "oraltradition" isa ..The of Samantabhadra" veryimportant transference the Prayer 2. to for instructions essentiat of the Nyingmaiineage.It contains ha' primordialbudd the ^*ur.nt"- o?iutnuntabhadra' complete C H A PTER5. DEZHI N SHEG PA path'In Tibetanthe within thehina'vdna l. Arhatis the term for sainthood hasslainthefoe" of Drachompt(Ti;';; ':o'i'o^"pd";li.-who SikyamuniBuddha word is translated of ttrediipensation i, Traditionally i, f"ii tftat thedefilements. n bYsixtee orhatdisciPles' i;;;;;;.d

2 . T h e g a r u d a i s t h e c e l e s t i a . l h a w k o f l n d i a nIt dltttoyt g y .fiveisnakes c h e s f r o m m y t h o l o the w h c h . h a t tt'ebudtlha-nature' It itseggfullydeveloped. symbolizes of the defilements' 3 . A s t i l p a i s a c o n c r e t e r e p r e s e nandiblessings' o d y , s p e e c h a n d m i n d o f t h e tat onoftheb of as venerated a repository relics Buddha,


THs HlsroRy oF rne Srxrssx KlnMApAs



CHAPTER 6. THONGWA DONDEN l. The f'e tantros arc cakrasamvora, Mahdmdyd, vajrabhairava, Guh_ vasamdiaand Hevaira. The six!-9f Niguma (Tib.:"nrg!.-;i;r. drusl ' 'respondto the six doctrines Ndropa,Nigumahavingbeen of Nirop"i..onron. t r'r doctrinesareyogosof the innerheat,dream,tuminoslty,transferrn"., irfuffi btrdyand bardo. 2. The Duk Ngal Shijay doctrine("Pacification of Suffering") waselaborated by Phadampa Sangye. hasnow ceased existas an independent It to lineage. 3. D.^ombhi Heruka was an important Indian tantic yogin, who held the lineage.of path and fruit teaching the which he received from hii guruyirip;. H; transmittedmany teaching the form of songs. in 4. KunchenRongtonpa (1367-1449) a veryeminent was Sakyapa master. He studied un{gr NgorchenKgnga zangpo, who foundedthe Ngoi zubsrctof the Sakyatradition. Ro14o1 Shejl Kunrig composed many imporlant philosophical treatises the Praifiaparomitl. He foundcd the ron"itrry of Nilandi in phenon yul. His principal studentwasGorampaSonamSenge. 5. Sambhala.isthe mystic kingdom where the holdersof the Kilacakra doctrine dwell. It is held to be situatedto the north of Tibet. King Sucandra of Sambhalareceivedthe Kilacakra teachingfrom Buddhaand entrustedit to his successors. CHAPTER 7. CHODRAG GYATSHO l. For detailsconsulttheHistoryof theKarma Kagyupasecr Situ panchen by and Belo Tsewang Kunchab. CHAPTER 8. MIKYO DORJE l. -The eight moral precepts the five basicprecepts the lay followers: are of nonviolence, not taking what is not given, sexualmorality, no false'or harmful spr''ech no intoxication,plusthreeipecialprecepts: and avoiJingsoftand iuxurious bcr-ls, t-atingat impropertimesand jewllry, singingand danciig. 2. Gyalwa Choyangwas one of the twenty-fiveprincipal studentsof Guru Padmasambhava the eighth century. Gyalwi Choyangwas a minister at thc in 99un o_fKing Trisong Detsun. He receivld the spiiitua-lpracticeof the deity Hayagrivafrom Guru Padma,and subsequently ach,ieved complete realization. 3. These are the Mfilamadhyamokakdrikd, Silnyatdsapnrikdrikd, yuktiEogtikakariki, Vigrahavydvartanikdrikd,Vaidaly,asittri,and Vyavahdrasiaani, 4. Ngok Lotsawawasone of the chiefstudents Atiiia. He worked with his of gunt on translation of the.haifrdparamitd literatureand played a particularty ' important role in the establishmeni Madhyamakaphilosophyi" iiuii. of CHAPTER 9. WANGCHUK DORJE l. The fout dharmasof Gampopawerecommunicated the essence the as of spiritualpath by Gampopa. Theyaie is follows:"Bless that my mind mayenter me

thedharma/Bless me that dharma may follow the path/Blessme that the path may clarify confusion/Blessme that confusion may be transformedinto wisdom.' CHAPTER IO. CHOYING DORJE l. The mantra of the "perfection of wisdom" is or7 gate gote pdragate of parasarVgatebodhi svaha. This mantra is the essence the "perfection of wisdom" teaching, and is referred to in the Heart Siltra as the pacifier of sufferings. 2. Termas are "treasure texts" which are concealedand later discoveredby "treasure discoverers" (Tib.: gter.ston). Many treasures were buried by Guru and his closedisciplesand were discoveredby emanationsof the Padmasambhava (Tib.: sa.gter). centuries.These are known as "earth treasures" guru in subsequent "Thought termas" (Tib.: dgong.gter) are concealedin the vast expanseof awareness,and discoveredin meditation by visionaries. CHAPTER I I, YESHE DORJE l. Lay ordination consistsof taking refugein the threejeweis and committing oneselfto the five basic precepts(seenote I to chapter 5), upon which the practia tioner becomes lay follower (Skt.: updsaka,updsika). CHAPTER I3. DUDUL DORJE l. The four activities (Tib.: phrin.las.bzhi): pacifying, enriching, integrating and destroying, embody the energetic compassion of the awakened state. The dharmapdlas are endowed with the four activities, with which they protect the energy of dharma. 2. Konchog Chidu (Tib.: dkon.mchog,spvi.'dus)is a famous terma cycle discoveredby the sixteenthcentury master Rigdzin Jatson Nyingpo, an emanation of Guru Padmasambhava.This cycle has continued to exert a great influence on both the Nyingma and Kagyu traditions to this day. 3. A certain amount of controversyattendsthe history of the tenth Shamar Rinpoche. Among several disputed contentions, it is often stated that the tenth Shamar Rinpoche poisoned himself. However, a respected Nyingma scholar, to contemporary with the tenth Shamarpa,makesspecialreference his life in order to clear up misconceptionsthat were beginningto proliferate even at that time. In that people were his collectedworks (Vol. l, p. 201) Katok Tsewang Norbu rel:rtes spreadingfalse rumors about the tenth Shamar Rrtrpoche,uito was a very great lama. TsewangNorbu relatesthat in the lron Dog year the Shamarpawas poisoned and that as a result his health declinedconsiderably,however,he did not passaway until a couple of years later on the full moon day of the sixth month of the Water Mouse year at the age of fifty-one. After he passedaway his personalproperty was taken by the Chineseand Nepalese. CHAPTER I5. KHAKHYAB DORJE l. The "five sisters of long life" are ddkinis, i.e., embodiments of feminine energy.The leader of the five is Tashi Tseringma, who was the mystic consort of Milarepa. The other four sisters are Thin gi Zhalzongma (

Tun HtsroRY olr rHs Srxtrsnl KenltAPAS chopan Drinzangma(codma), Miyo Lobzangma(\, (g.tad.dkar.' Drozangma .ioi.^Sri".UronS.ii\ andTaJ[ar oitig"tion to protect the dharmobv both Guru Padmasambhava ff;;'fi;;;;; resides somewheri that Miyo Lobzangma ;; fi1;*p". n ffiti"layan rc.L.4 hasit (the local namefor the mountain also known $ f o*o iungm-a;; ,il;';;p!, in the literatureof Tibet). "f in Mount Everest, ttre *"st,-ana Jomo Gangkar

A Amdo A thub Azhi
a.mdo ah.thub a.zhi Chilung Chimed Chod Choden Chodor Chodrag ChodruP spyi.lung gcod chos.ldan chos.dor chos.grags chos.'grub chos.'dzin chos.rdzong chos.rgYal mchog.'gYur mchog.ldan chos.'khor mchog.sPrul chos'kYi phYogs'las chos.gling skYong' chos.'Phel chos'Yang chos.dbYings

'ba'.ram Baram Bardo Bare Benchen Bengar Beru Bum Bumthang Buton ben.chen ban.sgar bum bum.thang bu.ston

Chodzin Chodzong ChogYal ChogYur Chokden Chokhor Choktor ChokYi CholaY Choling Chong ChoPhel ChoYang ChoYing Churvar PhYag.rgYa chab.mdo chang bYang.chub chen chen'mo spyan.mnga' chen'Po skYid.chu sPYi''dus gcig-shes

Chaba Chaggya Chagmed Chamdo Chang Changchub Chen Chenmo Chen-nga Chenpo Clhichu Chidu Chigshe

Dak DakPo Dam Damchu DamPa f)anang Darma Dechen Dege
dwags dwags.Po gdams dam.chu dam.Pa da.nang bde.chen de.rge