“Through receiving prophecies from great siddhas, yidams and Dakinis,
You display numerous miraculous abilities in yogic conduct.
Protector of gods and humans, your power vanquishes arrogance.
Thongwa Dönden, we supplicate at your feet.”
—from Supplication To The Karmapas (full text)
The Sixth Karmapa, Thongwa Donden, is
well-known for the body of liturgies he
composed for the Kamtsang lineage. He
also joined the lineages of the Shangpa
Kagyu and the Shijay (Chöd - "cutting
through egotism") into the main Kagyu
The sixth Karmapa was born in Ngomtö Shakyam, near Karma Gön in eastern Tibet, to a family of devoted yogins. Shortly after his birth, while his mother was carrying the young child, he suddenly became very excited when their path crossed that of Ngompa Chadral, a student of the fifth Karmapa. Ngompa Chadral asked the name of the child, who smiled and replied "I'm the Karmapa." Ngompa Chadral cared for the infant for seven months and then took him to Karma Gön.
The young Thongwa Dönden immediately began to teach. Shamar Chopal Yeshe came to Karma Gön during this period to crown the Karmapa. Thongwa Dönden received teachings and Kagyu transmission from Shamar Chopal Yeshe, Jamyang Drakpa, and Khenchen Nyephuwa. In particular, he received the full lineage transmission from Ratnabhadra, who was his principal lineage teacher.
At a young age, he began to compose many tantric rituals, eventually establishing a body of liturgies for the Kamtsang lineage. He also joined the lineages of the Shangpa Kagyu and the Shijay (Chöd - "cutting through egotism") into the main Kagyu lineage transmissions.
He dedicated his activity to composition, teaching, restoring many monasteries within Tibet, printing books and strengthening the sangha. He began to develop the shedra system, the monastic university, in the Karma Kagyu lineage.
Realizing that he would die at an early age, he entered retreat, and conferred a regency on the First Gyaltsab, Goshir Paljor Döndrup, indicating where he would next take birth. The sixth Karmapa's main spiritual heir was Pengar Jampal Zangpo, author of the "Mahamudra Lineage Supplication." This renowned prayer of the Kagyü lineage represents his spontaneous utterance upon realizing mahamudra. Thongwa Dönden passed into parinirvana at the age of thirty eight (1453).
Bengar Jampal Zangpo was born to the family of Nyemo Dzongpa, siddhas in Damshang (most likely located in eastern Tibet). He began study and practice at a very young age. At the age of twenty, he began studying Sutrayana and Vajrayana scriptures with the maha-pandita Rongton. Later, he received the Kagyu lineage transmissions and teachings such as the Six Dharmas of Naropa from the Sixth Karmapa, Thongwa Dhönden and followed his instructions one-pointedly. He became a highly realized master of the lineage.
Bengar Jampal Sangpo became the principal teacher of the Seventh Karmapa. He gave the full transmission and training of the Kagyu lineage to the young Karmapa, who became learned, disciplined, and with noble heart, just like Bengarwa himself.
These details about Bengar Jampal Sangpo are compiled from Pawo Tsuklak Trengwa's Feast For Scholars (chos 'byung mkhas pa'i dg'a ston), Beijing edition, vol. 2, pp. 1032. May this be virtuous!
Goshir Paljor Dhöndrup was born at Nyemo in Central Tibet. Under the guidance of the Sixth Karmapa Thongwa Dhönden, he received transmissions of the Kagyur, Tengyur, and many others. He was fully trained in buddhist philosophy and meditation by Karmapa, as well as by Bengar Jampal Sangpo and other lineage masters. Later, he was appointed as the General Secretary of the Karmapa. He offered his service to the activities of Karmapa and the lineage. Paljor Dhöndrup is the first incarnation of Gyaltsab Rinpoche.
He passed into parinirvana when the Seventh Karmapa reached twenty-five-years, with many wondrous signs of accomplishments. He received the full lineage transmission from the Sixth Karmapa, which he fully passed on to the Seventh Karmapa, Chödrak Gyatso.
These details about Goshir Paljor Dhöndrup are compiled from Pawo Tsuklak Trengwa's Feast For Scholars (chos 'byung mkhas pa'i dg'a ston), Beijing edition, vol. 2, pp. 1031. May this be virtuous!
|1st Karmapa - Düsum Khyenpa|
|2nd Karmapa - Karma Pakshi|
|3rd Karmapa - Rangjung Dorje|
|4th Karmapa - Rolpe Dorje|
|5th Karmapa - Deshin Shekpa|
|6th Karmapa - Thongwa Dönden|
|Bengar Jampal Sangpo|
|Goshir Paljor Dhöndrup|
|7th Karmapa - Chödrak Gyatso|
|8th Karmapa - Mikyö Dorje|
|9th Karmapa - Wangchuk Dorje|
|10th Karmapa - Chöying Dorje|
|11th Karmapa - Yeshe Dorje|
|Palchen Chökyi Dhondrup|
|12th Karmapa - Changchub Dorje|
|13th Karmapa - Dudul Dorje|
|Mipham Chödrup Gyatso|
|Pema Nyinje Wangpo|
|14th Karmapa - Thekchok Dorje|
|15th Karmapa - Khakyab Dorje|
|Pema Wangchok Gyalpo|
|Palden Khyentse Öser|
|16th Karmapa - Rangjung Rigpe Dorje|
|17th Karmapa - Ogyen Trinley Dorje|