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Background Materials about the Seventeenth Karmapa

 

Background Information

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Description
In 1985, a boy named "Apo Gaga" was born into a nomadic family in eastern Tibet. In 1992 that boy was recognized as the Seventeenth Karmapa. His biography can nevertheless properly be said to start some eight centuries earlier, according to the tradition in Tibet that enlightened masters ("tulkus") can reincarnate in order to extend the time in which they can benefit beings.
The 17 Karmapas
(1110-present)
The Karmapas have incarnated in this form of nirmanakaya, or manifestation body, for seventeen lifetimes, as of the present, and all have played the most important role in preserving and propagating the Buddhist teachings of Tibet.

Prophecies

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Description
Details of the Seventeenth Karmapa's life were foretold with startling insight in the vision of Chogyur Dechen Lingpa (1829-1870), a great nonsectarian master and one of the most renowned discoverers of sacred hidden texts ("tertöns") of the last few centuries.
The songs of His Holiness Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, the Sixteenth Karmapa, who was born in Tibet in 1924 and left permanently in 1959, reveal his prophetic foresight that his reincarnation, the 17th Karmapa, would be enthroned in Tsurphu, and in this way the Karmapa would see that the main seat of the Karmapas would be restored.
Many see in the growing activity of the 17th Karmapa the dispelling of obstacles in Tibet, India and throughout the world, and the increasingly vivid manifestation of the heart-fulfillment of vision of the Karmapas.

Interregnum

Interregnum
(1981-1992)
After the passing of the sixteenth Karmapa, it became the responsibility of his disciples to carry out His Holiness' wishes, to continue his activities and to find and enthrone the 17th Karmapa.

In January of 1981, the XVlth Gyalwang Karmapa, gave to his heart son, the Xllth Tai Situpa, a protection amulet with a brocade cover, and said, "This is your protection amulet. In the future, it will confer great benefit." Many years later, the amulet was discovered to contain the prediction letter for the rebirth of His Holiness.

The 17 Karmapas