History of the Karmapas

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  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2012-04-16
  • Publisher: Snow Lion
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Masters of esoteric knowledge and miraculous practices, the lineage of the Karmapas descends from the great Indian tantric master Tilopa through a chain that includes Naropa, Marpa, and Milarepa. The Karmapas are distinguished by their black crowns, said to have been woven by dakinis and symbolizing the activity of the buddhas.In their recounting of the histories of the seventeen Karmapas, the authors reveal the universal and marvelous concealed in the everyday world. Their lively account, peppered with anecdotes, is the most comprehensive in the West on this subject, with information from Tibetan, Chinese, Mongolian, French, and English sources.

Author Biography

Lama Kunsang and Lama Pemo (Olivier and Lydia Brunet) completed the traditional three-year retreat under the guidance of the first Kalu Rinpoche and Bokar Rinpoche. They then spent five years in a monaster in the Himalayas, working as part of Kalu Rinpoches translation committee. They currently teach Buddhism and meditation in Europe and Asia. Marie Auble, a student of Tibetan Buddhism for many years, is a French writer and editor.

Table of Contents

Map of Tibetp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Translators' Wordp. xiii
About the Authorsp. xv
Introductionp. 1
The First Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa (1110-1193)p. 27
Birth in Eastern Tibet
Central Tibet, a Melting Pot of Buddhist Sciences
Gampopa and the Kagyu Lineage
"The Three Men of Kham"
Enlightenment and the Black Crown
Prophesied by the Buddha
A Great Activity
Return to Central Tibet
Last Testament and Tulkus
The Ultimate Meditation
The Golden Rosary
The Second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi (1204-1283)p. 45
"Blessed by the Dakinis"
Establishing the Monastic Code
A Great Activity
The Mongols Become Interested in Tibet
First Trip to Kubilaï Khan
The Powerful Mongka Khan
Kubilaï Khan's Revenge
The Statue of the "Ornament of the World"
Tsurphu, Blessed Land of the Karmapas
Numerous Prophetic Visions
An Extraordinary Death
The Third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje (1284-1339)p. 59
"The Moon Has Risen"
Meeting with the Accomplished Orgyenpa
Journey to Eastern Tibet and Continuation of Study
Peregrinations in Tibet
In Khanbalik (Beijing) with the Mongol Emperors
Return to Tibet
The Karmapa in the Moon
The Fourth Karmapa, Rolpe Dorje (1340-1383)p. 73
"I Will Have Many Disciples"
First Encounters with His Masters
Tibet in Turmoil
Studies at Tsurphu
Restoring Ties with the Mongol Emperor
Meeting with the Young Tsongkhapa
At the Imperial Court in Khanbalik (Beijing)
Return to Tibet
Incessant Journeys throughout the Land of Snows
The Fifth Karmapa, Deshin Shekpa (1384-1415)p. 87
"I Bow before All the Buddhas"
In Nanjing, at the Court of the Ming Dynasty
"The Hundred Marvelous Acts" and the Black Crown
Peace and Harmony
Emergence of the Geluk Lineage
The Prophecy
Rainbows and Rain of Flowers
The Sixth Karmapa, Thongwa Donden (1416-1453)p. 99
"lam the Unborn, Free of Names and Places"
Recognition of the Tulku
Liturgies and the Buddhist Canon
The Great Encampment of the Karmapa
Tangtong Gyelpo, Bridges, and Goddesses
The Regency
The Seventh Karmapa, Chödrak Gyamtso (1454-1506)p. 109
"For Me, There Is Neither Birth Nor Death"
Way of Life and Teachings
Philosophical Education through Debate
In the Fortress of the Rinpung Princes
The Next Pearl
"You Must Emanate Many Incarnations of Yourself "
The Eighth Karmapa, Mikyö Dorje (1507-1554)p. 117
"Do Not Doubt, I Am the Karmapa"
Enthronement and Numerous Visions
With the King of Jang
The Root Lama
The "Adamantine Sow"
Master of the Arts
Maturity and Activity
Taking on of Illness
The Ninth Karmapa, Wangchuk Dorje (15 56-1603)p. 129
An Itinerant Life
A Gigantic Thangka and Ritual Dances
A Complex Political Situation
The Emergence of the Dalai Lamas
From Southern Tibet to Sikkim
The Tenth Karmapa, Chöying Dorje (1604-1674)p. 141
A Gifted Child
Central Tibet in Great Upheaval
A Long Journey
Mongol Surge
Thirty Years in Exile
Return to Lhasa
The Eleventh Karmapa, Yeshe Dorje (1676-1702)p. 151
"I Am the Karmapa"
Lhasa in the Seventeenth Century
Spiritual Treasures and Their Revealers
A Great Activity
The Twelfth Karmapa, Jangchtub Dorje (1703-1732)p. 159
Childhood in Kham
"The Land of Meditators"
The Mongol Tribes Strengthen the Pressure
To Nepal and India
The Eighth Tai Situpa and the Derge Printing House
Last Journey
Passing of Two Masters
The Funerary Stupas of the Karmapas
The Thirteenth Karmapa, Ductal Dorje (1733-1797)p. 171
Birth in Southern Tibet
Miracles and Consecrated Pills
The Passing of His Master, the Eighth Tai Situpa
Monasteries and Monks
Troubles in Nepal and Effects on the Shamarpas
The Passing
The Fourteenth Karmapa, Thekchok Dorje (1798-1868)p. 179
First Years
The Rimé Movement
The Great Tertön
A Vision of Twenty-One Karmapas
The "Wild Situpa"
Bestowing Transmissions
The Fifteenth Karmapa, Khakhyab Dorje (1871-1922)p. 191
A Canopy of Rainbows
With His Masters
The Death of Old Khyentse
Link with Bhutan
A Tertön Karmapa
A Family of Tulkus
The Great Dakini of Tsurphu
The Two Last Testaments
The Sixteenth Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje (1914-1981)p. 203
First Years in Eastern Tibet
To Central Tibet
An Undisciplined Disciple
A Journey Full of Surprises
Studies at Palpung
Return to Central Tibet
First Journey to India and Nepal
The Karmapa's Animals
Tibet in Difficulty Transmissions
Travel in China
Second Pilgrimage to India Exile
In Sikkim
New Monastery in Rumtek
Helping the Tulkus
Three Masters in One
The Karmapa and the West
Alleviating the Suffering of Beings
The Great Departure
His Holiness the Seventeenth Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje (born in 1985)p. 235
"He Who Brings Happiness"
The Last Testament
Enthronement Ceremony at Tsurphu
Tsurphu's Revival
Intensive Training and Constant Surveillance
The Escape from Tibet
From Nepal to India
His Teachers
The Kagyu Monlam
Bodhisattva Activity
The Black Crowns of the Karmapap. 257
The Lineage of the Golden Rosaryp. 261
The Different Incarnation Lineages in the Karma Kagyu Traditionp. 263
The Principal Contemporary Masters of the Karma Kagyu Traditionp. 267
Glossaryp. 273
Notesp. 281
Bibliographyp. 307
Index of Personsp. 311
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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