a r m a . K a g y u . T r a d i t i o n
second Shamarpa, Kacho Wangpo (1350-1405)
The Garland of Moon Water Crystal by Situ Chokyi Jungnay and Belo
second Shamarpa, Kacho Wangpo , was recognized by the fourth Karmapa,
Rolpai Dorje, and was his main student. He was a scholar as well
as being accomplished in meditation. Kacho Wangpo identified the
5th Karmapa, Deshin Shegpa, and became his guru. He is well-known
for having furthered the Kagyu teachings to a great extent. He also
authored many treatises which define the precise meaning of the
The tradition of succession by reincarnation originated in
twelfth century Tibet with the example of Dusum Khyenpa, the first
Karmapa. The Shamarpa Lineage dates back to the same century. It
is the second line of reincarnates in the history of that tradition
and it began when Rangjung Dorje, the third Karmapa, presented his
principal disciple, Khaydrup Dragpa Senge, with a ruby red crown
conferring the title Shamarpa (Holder of the Red Crown) on him.
This Red Crown is an exact
replica of the Black Crown worn by the Karmapas and exemplifies
the close relationship that exists between these two lines of reincarnates.
Furthermore, the second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi, predicted that 'future
Karmapas will manifest in two forms'. This statement was clarified
later by the fourth Karmapa, Rolpe'i Dorje, when he designated the
Shamarpa reincarnates as the second manifestation.
The Shamarpa is also known
as a manifestation of Amitabha, The Buddha of Boundless Light.
Tibetan historical records
speak of the Karmapa as Karma Shanakpa (Karmapa the Black Crown
Holder) and the Shamarpa as Karma Shamarpa (Karmapa the Red Crown
Holder). They are referred to as such in the historical texts of
Golo Shonnu Pal (1392-1481), Pawo Tsuglag Trengwa (1504-1516), the
fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lozang Gyamtso (1617-1682), and the eighth
Situpa, Chokyi Jungnay (1700-1774).
It is important to understand that these crowns are simply symbols
of activities to benefit beings. The crowns do not denote separate
lineages. Both 'The Black Hat Lama' and 'The Red Hat Lama' belong
to the Karma Kagyu Lineage.
Fifth Karmapa, Deshin Shegpa (1384-1415)