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The Fourteenth Karmapa
Thekchok Dorje (1798 - 1868)

 

“Endowed with inconceivable knowledge, activity and skillful means,

And indestructible vajra-like samadhi,

Protector of the world who personifies effortless compassion,

Thekchok Dorje, we supplicate at your feet.”
—from Supplication To The Karmapas (full text)

 

The Fourteenth Karmapa, Thekchok Dorje, lived very simply and exemplified the ideal monk - from the thangka collection of HH the Gyalwang Karmapa

The Fourteenth Karmapa, Thekchok
Dorje, lived very simply and exemplified
the ideal monk.

Theckchok Dorje was born in the village of Danang in the Kham region of eastern Tibet. He was born in mid-winter, and the histories say that flowers spontaneously blossomed and many rainbows appeared. The baby recited the Sanskrit alphabet. He was recognized by Drukchen Kunzig Chokyi Nangwa, the holder of the thirteenth Karmapa's letter giving the details of his forthcoming reincarnation. He was enthroned and later ordained by the ninth Tai Situpa. The Karmapa received teachings and the lineage transmissions from Situ Pema Nyinche Wangpo and Drukchen Kunzig Chokyi Nangwa.

Theckchok Dorje lived very simply and exemplified the ideal monk. He was gifted in poetry and dialectics and participated in the ri-me (non-sectarian) movement, whereby many noted scholars showed great interest in each others' traditions and teachings. This exchange was particularly intense between the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions, with the Karmapa passing on teachings to Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche. Thekchok Dorje received some tantras from the Nyingma visionary treasure-revealer Chogyur Lingpa and those rituals were subsequently introduced into the Tsurphu calendar.

Chogyur Lingpa had important visions of future Karmapas, up to the twenty-first. These were noted down and memorialized in a thangka, a Tibetan form of sacred painting. The fourteenth Karmapa's spiritual heir was the great ri-mé (nonsectarian) master and prolific author, Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye. Thekchok Dorje taught widely in Tibet and recognized the tenth Situpa, Pema Kunzang. Thekchok Dorje passed into parinirvana at the age of 71, leaving detailed instructions on his next incarnation.

Lodrö Thaye
(1813-1899)

Jamgon Kongtrul the Great, Lodrö Thaye, was born in the village of Rong-gyap in Derge, in east Tibet. The coming of this great master was prophesized by the Buddha Shakyamuni, in the Samadhiraja-sutra, as well as by the Great Indian Vajra Master, Padmasambhava, in many of his termas (hidden teachings, for later revelation). He studied and mastered the teachings of the Buddha in general and tantrayana in specific including the Bön religion of Tibet. Among his many teachers, his primary teachers were the Fourteenth Karmapa, Situ Pema Nyinje Wangpo, the Great Khyentse, and many other masters of the time. He not only became one of the greatest masters and the lineage holder of Kagyu School but of all four Schools of Tibetan Buddhism as well as the Bön religion.

Lodrö Thaye co-founded the non-sectarian movement in Tibet with the Great Khyentse in 19th century. He became the teacher of the fifteenth Karmapa Khakhyap Dorje, giving him the full Kagyu teachings. He is renowned as an accomplished master, scholar, writer, poet, and artist, and authored and compiled more than 100 volumes of scriptures. Among these, the best known is the Five Treasuries, made up of The Treasury of Kagyu Mantras, Treasury of Key Instructions, Treasury of Precious Termas, Treasury of Vast Teachings, and the Treasury of Knowledge.

He became the principal teacher of and gave the full transmission of the lineage to the Fifteenth Karmapa, Khakhyab Dorje.

These details about Lodrö Thaye are compiled from Karma Gyaltsen's book called kam tshang yab sras dang dpal spungs dgon pa, Szechwan edition, pp. 100-118. May this be virtuous!