From the first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, "The Knower of the Three Times," to the last, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, the successive incarnations of the Karmapa have been an expression of his compassion to all beings. Thus he is very much the root and source of this tradition and of the blessings themselves. Of all the teachers and gurus, it is particularly important and also very easy to obtain wisdom, insight and blessings simply from concentrating upon the Karmapas. It is said that, for those who have actually met His Holiness Karmapa in physical form, the moment you think of him your visualization becomes easier and the feelings that accompany it change.

Sakyamuni Buddha himself foretold that His Holiness would emanate again and again to benefit living beings, and that his emanations would benefit uncountable beings.

The three levels of enlightenment or the Three Kayas are the Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya, The Dharmakaya refers to total realization: from it emanates Sambhogakaya and those advanced beings who can communicate at that level. At the Nirmanakaya level are emanations of enlightened beings with which ordinary beings can have direct communication. The possibility of emanating in such a way happens through practice and accumulation of uncountable kalpas. And if you have complete trust and confidence in this individual, then you will be able to experience the completeness of that being as well.

His Holiness Karmapa is the crown jewel of all advanced scholars and practitioners in the snowy country of Tibet. This was foretold in the sutra and tantra teachings of Sakyamuni Buddha, as well as in the profound Terma (Treasure) teachings of Guru Padmasa mbava. In the Sutrayana and Tantrayana teachings, His Holiness' coming was predicted not just once but repeatedly, in many different volumes of these teachings. Likewise, His Holiness was prophesied repeatedly by Sakyamuni Buddha as well as in the profound Terma teachings of Guru Padmasambava.

Buddha predicted in the Towo Namgya Barway Dolle Tantra that an individual bearing the name of Karmapa would appear possessing tremendous outstanding qualities and capacities to benefit living beings. And in another tantra, known as Jampal Tsagyu, it was asserted that an individual would come who would develop the teachings of the victorious ones and cause them to flourish. It was further indicated that his name would begin with the sound "Ga" and end with the sound "Ma." Similarly, in the Samadhi Raja Sutra the Buddha for etold that two thousand years after he passed into nirvana, Buddhism would spread in the snowy country of Tibet and all the people would become devoted to Avalokiteshvara. At this crucial moment in the development of Buddhism, when the country as a whole w as beginning to practice the teachings of Chenrezi, a Bodhisattva would come who would be as powerful as the lion's roar, and he would bear the name Karmapa. It was also foretold in this sutra that because of his outstanding qualities, beings could be liberated simply by hearing, seeing, or thinking of the Karmapa.

In another sutra, called Do Lang Kar Shekpa, a disciple asked who would wear the Black Hat in the future, and in which country he would benefit beings. The answer was that in the northern direction there would be a powerful, extremely knowledgeable and wis e being named Gyalwa Pel who would reincarnate in the future bearing the name of Dusum Khyenpa, the Knower of the Three Times. When the disciples then asked for how many incarnations this being would emanate and how long Karmapa's teaching would last, the Buddha replied that Karmapa would emanate with the fully ordained celibacy vows of a monk for thirteen incarnations (the fifteenth Karmapa was married to two Khandromas), and also that he would continue to incarnate throughout the time of the thousand Budd has that have yet to come, and predicted that the Buddha activity and emanations of His Holiness the Karmapa would be ceaseless.

When the disciples further inquired about the manner this individual would use to benefit living beings, the Buddha replied that for those beings who have the opportunity to meet him, by having simply done this their obscurities from seven previous births could be purified. Then Ananda asked the Buddha when and how the Black Hat would originate, and the Buddha smiled with an expression of tremendous joy at this question, as if to indicate that it was a very proper question. He then answered that in ancient times, before Sakyamuni Buddha himself, there had appeared a Buddha whose name was Marmeze. Uncountable kalpas before Sakyamuni Buddha, the Buddha Marmeze had appeared on the earth and in uncountable kalpas before Marmeze, there had been a great enlightene d being called Buddha Dayong Kegyalpo. During the time of the Buddha Dayong Kegyalpo, there was a powerful king who had a younger son whose name was Chuche Lodu. Prince Chuche Lodu went to a northern site on top of a mountain and meditated there for a hund red million years. Having meditated there a hundred million years, he obtained the name Tasung Khompake.

The dakinis of the ten directions were completely inspired by Tasung Kohmpake's tremendous capacity to observe samadhi for such a long time, so they gathered from the ten directions - thirteen million dakinis in all . Each dakini offered one strand of her hair, and as a gesture of inspiration and respect they wove a black hat with these thirteen million strands of hair. The black hat was also ornamented with precious jewels and then offered to this great being, Tasung Kohmpake. That is the main reason why the Black Hat is sometimes called the Hat of a Hundred Thousand Dakinis, but it is really not the hat of a hundred thousand dakinis, rather the Hat woven from the hairs of thirteen million dakinis.

After being offered to Tasung Khompake, this hat or crown was worn by great realized beings of the following names, all of whom, although the names are different, were in fact incarnations of Tasung Khompake. After Tasung Khompake it was worn by Yenpen Nam to, then by Purche Singke, Dupon Selne, and Zaipu Teimekarpo. Next it was worn by Padmasambava, then by Gyalpo Pema Namdro, Loyang Zingpo, Karma Danu, and Mahasiddha Saraha. It was then worn by the first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, "Knower of the Three Times," also known as Chokyi Tagpa. These are all the incarnations of this one person, Tasung Khompake, who meditated those hundred of thousand of years and obtained the crown from the dakinis. Thereafter he was known by the powerful epithet "Crown Jewel of All the Families." After that, from the first Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa to the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, the Black Hat or Vajra Crown has been worn successively.

In a sutra known as Dodupa, it was explained that in the hundred million realms, a hundred million Karmapas will reincarnate. And similar to the predictions by Guru Padmasambava it was prophesied that an individual bearing the name of Opasaka Gyawa Pelwa, (which means "one who increases virtue"), would arise possessing tremendous miraculous powers, insight, wisdom and magnetizing energy. He would benefit all beings of the higher level as well as ordinary beings such as householders. Osaka Gyawa Pelwa would also expound the sacred teachings and cause uncountable beings to follow the virtuous path of the Dharma. And not only would they follow the path of the Dharma, but through his blessing and kindness they would be able to perfect this path. Such would be th e characteristics of the person named Opasaka Gyawa Pelwa.

Thus Opasaka Gyawa Pelwa would liberate countless beings of the higher realms, and ordinary beings as well. Not only that, it was also foretold that he would further stabilize the teachings of the Buddha, which at that time would not be very strong. Throug h his kindness the Dharma would be stabilized, and as a result, would last much longer in order to benefit beings.



The Lord of the Dharma, the glorious Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa was of the nature of all the Buddhas of the three times. There have been countless bodily manifestations of him; Bodhisattvas such Avalokiteshvara, accomplished masters such as Saraha, learned pundi ts such as Sri Vira (Ashvagosha) and Nagabodhi; Kings, such as Indrabodhi; and in Tibet, Gyalwa Choyang, Putowa Rinchen Sel, Kharak Gomchung and others.

In the treasure predictions of Ratna Lingpa it is said:

" Upholding the activity of Avalokiteshvara, the mantric yogi with awesome behavior, endowed with the name Human Saint Karmapa will transverse the whole land. He will tame beings and protect them with skillful means and compassion."

Thus he has been praised as being an emanation of Avalokiteshvara in the various Treasure Predictions of all the undisputed great revealers, the renowned representatives of Padmakara , who have appeared up through the fifteenth, sixty year cycle such as Dorje Lingpa, Karma Lingpa and others.

Orgyen Rinpoche, with his vajra speech, has said:

"When seeing his face for but the fraction of an instant, the karmic obscurations of seven rebirths will surely be dispelled."

In these ways it has clearly been demonstrated in the prophecies that he is not different from the Noble Compassionate One.

On September 29th 1992, His Holiness the XVII Gyalwa Karmapa performed his first public ceremony the empowerment of Avalokiteshvara. The empowerment was received by over 20,000 of his fortunate devotees. He was assisted by Tai Situpa and Gyaltsab Rinpoche and read the core of the ceremony himself in a voice clear and steady. It was a moving moment for any who had known the previous Ka rmapa. The XVIIth Karmapa had began his great compassionate activity and it was acknowledged not only by the people present but also by a contingent of eagles which circled in clockwise direction above the monastery, as well as the appearance of a horizont al rainbow that appeared in a virtually cloudless sky during the Empowerment.


Emaho. Self-awareness is always bliss:
The dharmadhatu (1) has no center nor edge.

From here to the north [in] the east of [the land] of snow
Is a country where divine thunder spontaneously blazes (2)
[In] a beautiful nomad's place with the sign of a cow, 93)
The method is Dondrub and the wisdom is Lolaga. (3)
[Born in] the year of the one used for the earth (5)
[With] the miraculous, far-reaching sound of the white one: (6)
[This] is the one known as Karmapa.

He is sustained by Lord Donyo Drupa;
Being non-sectarian, he pervades all direction;
Not staying close to some and distant from others, he is the protector of all beings:
The sun of Buddha's Dharma that benefits others always blazes.

(1) Chos kyi dbying, the expanse of all phenomena and equivalent to sunyata or emptiness.
(2) The XVIth Karmapa's place of birth is lhatok: "Lha" means divine and "thok" means thunder. In the text, thunder is poetically called gnam lchags' or "sky iron"
(3) The name of the nomadic community where the Karmapa was born is Barkor: "ba" means "cow" and the Dharma term for cow. "dod jo," is used in the texts.
(3) Method refers to the father and wisdom to the mother.
(5) His Holiness was born in the Wood Ox year: a tree lives from the earth and an ox is used to plow it.
(6) This refers to the sound of the conch shell that miraculously resounded in space for about an hour after His Holiness' birth.

Translated during July 1992, in Rumtek, Sikkim, by Michele Martin

A music CD, the soundtrack for Clemens Kuby's film "The Living Buddha", includes this letter put into a song. It is track 7 on the CD. See Tsybershop for information and ordering instructions.


On the tenth day of the fourth month in the water monkey year, this prophesy was bestowed by the Nechung Oracle , (the same oracle that His Holiness the Dalai Lama often consults) while earnest prayers were being offered at the Nechung Monastery.

"It is certain that my master, Tongwa Donden (the 6th Karmapa 1416-1453), the Bodhisattvas, and sentient beings of Tibet, land of snow, will gather together and the sun of joy and delight will appear. The time is close when you will hear speech like nectar. Be at ease then and remain in a state harmonious with samaya."

Palden Lhamo and I, Zugme, never deceive. Seal of the Nechung Oracle.


"In the area of vision,
in front of mountains, rocks and ancient trees
is the seventeenth of the incarnation rosary,
simultaneously with khentin tai situ,
their minds fused as one.

Through these, it is signified
that the leaves and the petals of buddha's teachings
will flourish
(under him)
and there will be abundant fruit of the very essence
of transmissions from gampopa."


Excerpts from the Sixteenth Chapter of the Vth Karmapa's Biography called "Prophesies Arising from Meditative Experience"

...In the line of Karmapa incarnations, between the XVIth and XVIIth,
Buddhist teachings in general and the Karma Kamtsang in particular
Will hibernate like bees in the winter.
The family line of the Chinese Emperor will come to an end
And his country will be dominated by whomever is strongest.
From the north and east, Tibet will be invaded
And encircled like a ring...
Whatever is done wrong;
Whomever you speak to will oppose you.
Good conduct will degenerate and the bad will flourish...

In the succession of Karmapas, during the later part of the XVIth Karmapa's life
And the beginning of the XVIIth, one with broken samaya will surface
As a lama having the name Na-tha
And appear at the main seat.
By the power of his twisted aspirations,
The Dharma of the Karmapa will be nearly destroyed.
At that time, one with previous, positive aspirations,
A heart emanation of Padmasambhava, will come from the West.
With a necklace of moles and a mind that is swift and furious.
He will wrathfully proclaim words of the Dharma.
This one with a dark complexion and protruding eyes
Will vanquish the emanation who has broken samaya.
He will protect Tibet for a while and at that time,
There will be happiness like that of seeing the sun.
This is the way I think it will happen with the Tibetan community.
Even if one comes whose previous aspirations arise as positive karma,
Because the Dharma is on the wane and evil intentions of the maras have come to fruition,
It will be difficult for happiness to arise....

Another Translation of the Same Prediction of The Fifth Karmapa

After the 16th in the rosary of Karmapa
before the 17th, an incarnation of a demon
one spoken of as relation
will arise in this seat, Sacho
By the power of the person's perverted aspirations.
The Karmapa lineage will be near destruction.

At that time, one having true aspirations from previous life.
A heart emanation of Padmasambhava,
from the Western direction
(with Lhasa as the Center).
One with a necklace of moles, fierce and wrathful
Whose mouth speaks wrathful speech,
Having dark maroon colour and eyes protruding
(the colour of the wrathful aspect of Padmasambhava).
This one will subdue the incarnation of the samaya breaker,
He will protect Tibet and Kham for a while.
At that time happiness, like beholding the sun
In this Tibet will occur, I think.
Without this even if karmically virtuous ones come
The dharma will wane downwards.
As fruit of the negative aspirations of the demon.
It will be difficult for happiness to arise.

From the inside the king of the centre will be defiled
The emanation of demon, an officer of high rank.
(also minister).
Coming from Kong.
Will disturb the centre and destroy the centre's domain (Also territory, kingdom).
Many outsiders not existing before (not on the scene before).
(Not knowing) what has arisen, will conceal
(The meaning is clearer if the line following it is taken in context).
The beings of the degenerate times, will be seduced by the demon (also duped).
Not having faith in Dharma, will become full of suffering.
Upper, lower and middle, in all three regions.
Blood of disturbances and arguments will rain.
From quarrels, disturbances and debates.
There will be no place of peace even for a while.
Except for this very tormented fetters
(fetters, bonds, whether material or moral).R>There is no liberty.

Three precious ones, the three roots and the Dharma protectors.
It is not that they don't have compassion.
Due to the Karma of beings and the power of aspirations of the demon.
A time will arrive of a downward decrease.
At that time the Secret Lineage Dharma.

Will have more power and bring swift blessings.

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