The History of the Sixteen Karmapas of Tibet by Karma Thynley

By Karma Thynley

The Karmapa is the non secular chief of the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. the current Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, is the 16th of the road which begun with Dusum Khyenpa, the 1st Karmapa, within the 12th century. Karma Thinley offers the biographies of all of the Karmapas, according to his translations from quite a few Tibetan resources. those biographies should not basically histories of the learning and instructing of those nice lecturers; also they are inspirational texts used to domesticate devotion within the practitioner. Accompanying the textual content are 16 line drawings, in accordance with the thangka work of the Karmapas at Rumtek monastery, the seat of the current Karmapa.

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The kriya tamra is the initial stage of vajrayilna wherein the emphasis lies on the external, awe-inspiring purity of buddha-energy. The yogin relates to the deity as a servant to a master and pays great attention to ritual activity and purity. Avalokitesvara is an example of a kriya tantra deity. The second order of tantra is upa or carya. Here the yogin perceives the buddha-energy as both external and internal. This is comparable to the relation between friends. Less stress is placed upon ritual activity at this level.

At the age of seventy-four Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa journeyed to the Drelong area of Kham, which was troubled by disputes. He pacified factional feuding and brought a time of peace. Moreover, he worked extensively for the sick, curing many diseases in~luding blindness and paralysis. The healing power of his compassion was extremely potent. He also established monasteries at Mar Kham and Karma Gon, where he met Drogon Rechen, his principal student and holder of the lineage. Toward the end of his life, Dusum Khyenpa returned to Oak Lha Gampo as he had been instructed to do by Gampopa.

The Sakya and Ka~ traditions, both of which arose in the eleventh century, were based on the "r•ew" tonmccycles which were introduced at this time. po) school, was founded in 1073 by Konchog Gyalpo of the Khon family. This influential family had previously been Nyingmapa but Konchog Gyalpo studied the new tontros with Drogmi Lotsawa and the Indian pa1Jf/ito, Gayadhara. The Sakya tradition was given definite shape by Konchog Gyalpo's son, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo (I 092-11 58) and the other four of the "five great masters," Sonam Tsemo (1142-1182), Jetsun Drakpa Gyaltsen (1147-1216), Sakya Pat:tQita (1182-1251) and Chogyal Phakpa (1235-1280).

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The History of the Sixteen Karmapas of Tibet by Karma Thynley
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