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HH the 17th Gyalwa Karma, Urgyen Tinley Dorje. The illustrious Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
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The Indian Mahasiddhas at the origin of the Kagyu lineage Mahamudra and the 6 Yogas: the heart content of the Kagyu lineage
The Karmapas and other Tibetan masters of the Kagyu lineage  The 17 Gyalwa Karmapas who have assured the lineage for a millennium

HH the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa,
Rangjung Rikpé Dorjé

The following is a personal appreciation of HH the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, by Ken Holmes, from his book "Karmapa", published by Altea

From Tibet to Sikkim

birth, recognition and early education  transmission, retreat, pilgrimage, meeting with Mao  leaving Tibet, settling in Sikkim, founding Rumtek  establishing the Kagyu lineage in exile, new Rumtek  travelling and enlightened activity  miracles and nirvana

The next few years were to prove critical. His Holiness recognised several important new reincarnations, including Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Palpung Jamgon Kongtrul and Drongsar Chentse, and Tsurphu became the refuge of Kagyu tulkus fleeing the violence that had again erupted in eastern Tibet. These included Palpung's great yogi, Kalu Rinpoche and the young Tai Situ, Tralek and Sangye Nyenpa tulkus. These young reincarnations were to be the future heart of the Kagyu lineage and His Holiness nurtured them with great care. Some he sent to safety fairly early on, such as the Tai Situpa and Sangye Nyenpa, who were accompanied by Kalu Rinpoche to Bhutan. Foreseeing the inevitable horrors that were to happen to Buddhism in Tibet, the Sixteenth Karmapa informed the Dalai Lama, in the spring of 1959, of his intention of leaving his homeland in order to preserve the greatest "wealths" of his lineage: the clear young minds of its incarnate lamas and the spiritual treasures and relics that were portable. He led a party of some 150 tulkus, monks and lay people on a relatively easy journey to Bhutan. It took three weeks.

It must have been a moving and awe-inspiring journey for his party. Accompanied by the leader they loved so dearly, they first passed through the southern area of Lodrak, where Marpa and Milarepa had created the history of their tradition and where the nine-storey tower, built single-handedly by Milarepa in back-breaking conditions as a trial of faith in his master, almost 900 years previously, still stood. When they were approaching the 6,000 metre pass which is the border between Bhutan and Tibet, most people wanted to stop and rest, yet His Holiness urged them on, saying that it was vital to cross that very day. They did so and, that very night, heavy snows fell blocking off the Chinese pursuers close behind them. The Karmapa's perspicacity saved them from certain capture, as they were unaware of being followed. In Bhutan they were warmly received by the princess, now a nun, and the Tai Situpa and Kalu Rinpoche came to join the Karmapa.

The Karmapa himself continued on to Sikkim, where he was again warmly received by the royal family and formally invited to establish his new seat. Of the several sites proposed, he decided it best to settle at Rumtek—the monastery built by the ninth Karmapa but now almost in ruins. He said the prophetic words that he hoped one day to return to Tibet but that Rumtek could be his seat out of Tibet. The generosity of the Sikkimese royal family and, a little later, of the Indian government, following the Karmapa's meeting with Pandit Nehru, funded most of the construction of the new Rumtek. The Indian Government donated 1.4 million rupees.

The above is a personal appreciation of HH the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, by Ken Holmes, from his book "Karmapa", published by Altea


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