Karma Kagyu

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Karma Kagyu
The Kamtshang (kam tshang) or Karma Kagyu lineage (karma bka' brgyud) was established by the 1st Karmapa Düsum Khyenpa (dus gsum mkhyen pa), (1110-1193). He founded the Tsurphu (mtshur phu) monastery in the Tölung (stod lung) valley, not far from Lhasa. It was to become the main seat of the Karmapas. Other important centers of the Karma Kagyu lineage are Lho Karma Gon (lho karma dgon), Palpung (dpal spung), Surmang (zur mang), Benchen (ban chen) and others, all of them in Eastern Tibet. The present head of the Karma Kagyu lineage is the 17th Karmapa Orgyen Thrinle Dorje (o rgyan phrin las rdo rje), (b. 1985). Other important masters of the Karma Kagyu lineage are the Shamar (zhwa dmar), Tai Situ (si tu), Gyaltsab (rgyal tshab), Pawo (dpa' bo) and Treho (tre ho) Rinpoches. In the 19th cent., the lineage of the Jamgon Kongtrul ('jam mgon kong sprul) Rinpoches was added. There are two further lineages within the Karma Kagyu, the Surmang Kagyu (zur mang bka' brgyud), established by Mase Togden (rma se rtogs ldan blo gros rin chen), a disciple of the 5th Karmapa Deshin Shegpa (de bzhin gshegs pa), (1384-1415); and the Nendo Kagyu (gnas mdo bka' brgyud), established by Karma Chagme (kar ma chags med), (1613-1678), a disciple of the 6th Shamar Rinpoche (zhwa dmar chos kyi dbang phyug), (1584-1630).

The entire lineage succession, from the Buddha Vajradhara until the present time, is as follows:

  • Buddha Vajradhara
  • Tilopa (988-1069)
  • Naropa (1016-1100)
  • Marpa (1012-1097)
  • Milarepa (1040-1123)
  • Gampopa (1079-1153)
  • 1st Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa (1110-1193)
  • Drogon Rechen (1148-1218)
  • Pomdrakpa (1170-1249)
  • 2nd Karmapa, Karma Pakshi (1203-1283)
  • Drubtob Urgyenpa (1230-1300)
  • 3rd Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje (1284-1339)
  • Gyalwa Yungtonpa (1296-1376)
  • 4th Karmapa, Rolpe Dorje (1340-1383)
  • 2nd Shamarpa, Kacho Wangpo (1350-1405)
  • 5th Karmapa, Deshin Shegpa (1384-1415)
  • Rinchen Zangpo (Ratnabhadra) (15th cent.)
  • 6th Karmapa, Thongwa Donden (1416-1453)
  • Bengar Jampal Zangpo (15th/16th cent.)
  • 1st Gyaltsab, Paljor Dondrub (1427-1489)
  • 7th Karmapa, Chodrag Gyatso (1454-1506)
  • 1st Sangye Nyenpa, Tashi Paljor (1457-1525)
  • 8th Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje (1507-1554)
  • 5th Shamarpa, Konchog Yenlag (1526-1583)
  • 9th Karmapa, Wangchuk Dorje (1555-1603)
  • 6th Shamarpa, Chokyi Wangchuk (1584-1629)
  • 10th Karmapa, Choying Dorje (1604-1674)
  • 7th Shamarpa, Yeshe Nyingpo (1631-1694)
  • 11th Karmapa, Yeshe Dorje (1676-1702)
  • 8th Shamarpa, Chokyi Dondrub (1694-1735)
  • 12th Karmapa, Changchub Dorje (1703-1732)
  • 8th Situpa, Chokyi Jungne (1700-1774)
  • 13th Karmapa, Dudul Dorje (1733-1797)
  • 10th Shamarpa, Chodrub Gyatso (1742-1792)
  • 9th Situpa, Pema Nyinje Wangpo (1774-1853)
  • 14th Karmapa, Thekchok Dorje (1798-1868)
  • 1st Jamgon Kongtrul, Lodro Thaye (1813-1899)
  • 15th Karmapa, Khakyab Dorje (1871-1922)
  • 11th Situpa, Pema Wangchok Gyalpo(1886-1952)
  • 2nd Jamgon Kongtrul, Palden Khyentse Oser (1904-1953)
  • 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje (1924-1981)
  • 13th Shamarpa, Mipham Chokyi Lodro (b.1952)
  • 12th Situpa, Pema Donyo Nyinje Wangpo (b.1953)
  • 12th Gyaltsab, Dragpa Tenpa Yarpel (b.1954)
  • 3rd Jamgon Kongtrul, Chokyi Senge (1954-1992)
  • 17th Karmapa, Urgyen Trinle Dorje (b.1985) unambiguously recognized by H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama, Tai Situ Rinpoche, et al.
  • 17th Karmapa, Trinle Thaye Dorje (b.1983) (The reincarnation recognized by Shamar Rinpoche)

For more information on the individual lineages of Karma Kagyu masters see also: