Kagyu Lineage

The Kagyu Lineage Calendar

Phukluk – the Astrological Tradition of Phukpa

The main calendar of Tibet was developed based on the system of Phukpa Lhündrub Gyatso, a great astrologer, who in 1447 CE composed an astrological treatise called The Oral Teachings of Pundarika [pad dkar zhal lung]. This work founded the so-called Phuk system and hence this tradition is known as Phukluk, the astrological tradition of Phukpa Lhundrup Gyatso. This living tradition is used by the majority of Tibetans, and Phukluk and is regarded as the official calendar of Tibet. However, Phukluk is not the only Tibetan astrological system. Another tradition has been carried on within the lineage of the Gyalwa Karmapas.

Tsurluk – Astrological Tradition of Tsurphu

Rangjung Dorje, the Third Karmapa, learnt and mastered nearly all of the Buddhist teachings brought to Tibet from India - from the thangka collection of HH the Gyalwang Karmapa
Rangjung Dorje, the Third Karmapa, learnt and mastered nearly all of the Buddhist teachings brought to Tibet from India

The Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje (1284-1339) composed a treatise on astrology called the The Compendium of Astrology [Tib. rtsis kun bsdus pa]. The seat of the Gyalwang Karmapa lineage is Tsurphu, Tibet. Thus the tradition of astrology which developed from the Karmapas in Tsurphu is known as Tsurluk.

Tsurluk flourished during the time of the Seventh Karmapa Chödrag Gyatso (1454-1406). Töndrup Öser, a great scholar of Tsurphu, composed numerous pith instructions and a great treatise on astrology based on the work of the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje's system. Later, the Second Pawo Rinpoche, Tsuklak Trengwa (1504-1566), a student of Eighth Karmapa Mikyö Dorje (1507-1554), authored an extensive commentary on the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje's Compendium of Astrology. Later, Karma Ngeleg Tenzin, the chief disciple of Tai Situ Chokyi Jungney (1700-1774), wrote The Excellent Vase of Necessary Elements [nyer mkho bum bzang] and many other treatises on various systems of calculations, including the computation of the calendar, astrology, and methods of prognostication.

Jamgon Kongtrul the Great, Yönten Gyatso (1813-1899) composed the unfinished Compendium of Excellent Discourse [legs bshad kun btus] and numerous scholars employed this system based on his commentarial instructions. During the time of the Fifteenth Karmapa, Khakhyab Dorje (1871-1922) and the Sixteenth Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje (1924-1981), the eminent scholar and master of astrology, Öser Rabten, employed the Tsurphu tradition to create a calendar and to promulgate astrological predictions.

Hence, the Tsurphu calendar arises out of the unbroken tradition of Tsukluk, or Tsurphu astrological science and continues today, during the time of H.H. the Seventeenth Karmapa Orgyen Trinley Dorje. Tsipa Gelek Dhargay is primarily responsible for this tradition, and works from the seat of H.H. the Karmapa, in Dharma Chakra Centre, Rumtek, Sikkim India.

(Calendar tradition information courtesy of Nitartha international - all rights reserved)

The Kagyu Lineage

The Kagyu lineage that comes down to the Karmapa is known as the "Golden Rosary." The lineage of the Kagyu emphasizes the continuity of oral instructions passed on from master to student.
Tilopa received, condensed into one and transmitted four special transmission lineages.
Throughout the centuries, the Karmapas have been the central figure in the continuation of the vajrayana lineage in general and Kagyu lineage in particular
The symbol of the transmission of the wisdom of the lineage is the Vajra Crown, or Black Crown, of the Karmapas.

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