“You are the single embodiment of all the life examples, qualities and activity
Of all infinite victorious ones combined.
Protector of the Land of Snows, Gyalwang Karmapa,
Blissful Khakhyab Dorje, we supplicate you.”
— from Supplication To The Karmapas.
Born with the very auspicious circle of hair between the eyebrows (found on the young Sakyamuni and known as one of the 32 marks of an enlightened being), Khakyab Dorje spoke the mantra of Avalokiteshvara at his birth in Sheikor village of the Tsang province in central Tibet. He was recognized by the Kyabgon Drukchen, Migyur Wanggi Gyalpo along with Jamgon Kongtrul, Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, Terchen Chokgyur Lingpa, and Pawo Tsuklak Nyinchey.
He grew up receiving a very thorough education from very famous scholars and eventually received the Kagyu transmission from Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, who also passed on to him the essence of his hundred compositions embracing the profound teachings of all Tibetan Buddhist traditions, as well as the fields of medicine, art, linguistics and general Buddhist studies. He studied with many great masters such as Khenchen Tashi Ozer.
He continued his activities of teaching and giving empowerments throughout Tibet, and preserved many rare texts by having them reprinted. Khakyab Dorje is the first in the line of Karmapas to get married, and had three sons, one of whom was recognized as the second Jamgon Kongtrul Palden Khyentse Öser. His life was a brilliant example of the bodhisattva with an insatiable desire for learning in order to help other beings.
Among many disciples, his closest students were Tai Situ Pema Wangchok Gyalpo, Jamgon Kongtrul Palden Khyentse Öser, and Beru Khyentse Lodro Mize Jampe Gocha.
Some years before his passing into parinirvana, he entrusted a prediction letter to his closest attendant.