K a r m a . K a g y u . T r a d i t i o n

The Eighth Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje (1507-1554)

Excerpts from The Garland of Moon Water Crystal by Situ Chokyi Jungnay and Belo Tsewang Kunkhyab

The Eighth Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje was born in the province of Ngam Chu, Eastern Tibet. As soon as he was born, he sat up and declared 'I am the Karmapa! I am the Karmapa!'

The Karmapa's father went to see Situ Tashi Namgyal who was in the vicinity to tell him about his newborn son. Situpa said that he was almost certain that the boy was the Karmapa reincarnation and told the father to keep that in mind and care for the child accordingly.

At about the same time the Amdo family of Kongpo in Central Tibet claimed that their son was the Karmapa reincarnation. At the request of many people Gyaltsap Tashi Namgyal took charge of this child.

The Karmapa reincarnation born in Ngamchu was brought to the province of Riwo Che and to Lho Rong, where many of the previous Karmapa's disciples were staying. They were convinced that the child in their care was the true incarnation.

Many problems ensued as the two parties could not agree. Therefore, Gyaltsap had both children brought together in order to determine who was the true Karmapa. When a situation like this occurs, it is tradition to see if the candidates are able to pick out the possessions of the predecessor from a stack of things which is a mix of the belongings of the previous incarnation and other objects.

The child from Ngam Chu was able to single out the possessions of his predecessor whereas the other child failed to do so. Thus it was established who was the true reincarnation. The young Karmapa announced that the other candidate was the reincarnation of Zurmang Chungtsang from the Zurmang Monastery in Eastern Tibet.

The eighth Karmapa received all the Kagyu teachings from Denma Drubchen Tashi Paljor. He also studied with and practised under the guidance of many other masters.

He established many monastic colleges and authored a great number of well-known treatises.

He transmitted the innermost teachings of the Kagyu lineage to the fifth Shamarpa, Konchog Yenlag, who became the next lineage holder.
Mikyo Dorje passed away in his forty-seventh year.

The Fifth Shamarpa, Konchog Yenlag (1526-1583)




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