a r m a . K a g y u . T r a d i t i o n
Sixth Karmapa, Tongwa Donden (1416-1453)
Garland of Moon Water Crystal by Situ Chokyi Jungnay and Belo Tsewang
Sixth Karmapa, Tongwa Donden was born at Ngomto Shakyam near Karma
Gon in Eastern Tibet. Many auspicious signs occurred at his birth.
When he was only a month old his mother took him on a begging round,
during which they encountered Ngompa Chadral, a disciple of the
infant became very excited and smiled at Ngompa Chadral, who asked
him who he was. The child sat up and said, 'I'm the Karmapa'. Ngompa
Chadral cared for the infant during the following seven months.
Then he took him to Karma Gon, one of the three principal monasteries
of the Karmapa in Tibet, where Tongwa Donden, at this early age,
gave many teachings.
He met Ratnabhadra at the
age of three and was given the complete Kagyu transmission. At the
age of six he composed many Tantric rituals. During this time the
third Shamarpa, Chopal Yeshe, came to Karma Gon. He enthroned the
Karmapa and gave him teachings on Kagyu practice.
Tongwa Donden took ordination
at the age of nine from Khenchen Sonam Zangpo at the Wolkar Tashi
He spent the rest of his life
travelling throughout Tibet, teaching the Dharma as well as restoring
and constructing numerous monasteries and shrines.
Among his foremost disciples
were Bengar Jampal Zangpo and the first Gyaltsap, Goshir Paljor
Dondrub. Both became lineage holders and the principal gurus of
the seventh Karmapa, Chodrag Gyamtso.
Jampal Zangpo (15th and 16th centuries)