NEW TRANSLATION: Supplications to the 15th Karmapa and the ‘three great Masters of Karma Kagyu’ by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo

15th Karmapa, Khakyab Dorje

For Dakini day today, and as part of my research and translation of texts by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and his close relation with the the Karmapas and Karma Kagyu, I am sharing two supplications he wrote, one for the 15th Karmapa and another for the ‘three great masters’ of the Karma Kagyu: Marpa, Milarepa and Gampopa. I have done a first-time translation (with Tibetan) of the 15th Karmapa supplication and offer both supplications here for free use and download (see below). May the connections between Karmapa and the Khyentse Wangpo lineage continue to live and prosper!

The Karmapas and Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo

As I wrote about here before, Khyentse Wangpo lineage had a close relation with the Karmapas. The 17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje, recently spoke about the extremely close, ‘one mind’ relationship between the Karmapas,  Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye and Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo:

“In the predictions of the 5th Karmapa Deshin Shekpa (1384-1415), the coming of the Khyentse and Kongtrul incarnations was foretold, and Deshin Shekpa also prophesized that whoever made a connection with them would find it deeply meaningful.”

“Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye’s Five Great Treasuries were mainly requested by Khyentse Wangpo, who also gave him encouragement and support, so Khyentse Wangpo deserves a lot of credit, which is clear when you read the life story of Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye.”

“The Karmapa and Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye had a connection, a Dharma samaya, so close that they were almost one person with the same heart. Something similar can be said about the connection between the Karmapa and Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo—they were like one person with the same heart/mind.”

Foot and handprints of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo

Long-Life Supplication to the 15th Karmapa by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo

In terms of the close relationship between Khyentse Wangpo and the Karmapas, the 17th Karmapa further explained that:

“Khyentse Wangpo received numerous reading transmissions and empowerments from the 14th Karmapa and also met in his dreams the 3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje and the siddha Orgyenpa. Traveling to the Karmapa’s seat at Tsurphu, Khyentse Wangpo received many profound teachings from him and made the Karmapa one of the main caretakers of his terma.

When the 15th Karmapa was born, Khyentse Wangpo was fifty-two years old. When the Karmapa was fourteen years old, Khyentse Wangpo invited him to his monastery and offered the young Karmapa empowerments. Jamgon Kongtrul advised the Karmapa to receive the ‘Collection of All the Tantras’ from Jamyang Khyentse, and so at the age of 16, the Karmapa went to Dzongsar Monastery and, welcomed with great honor by Sakya Trizin as well, the Karmapa received all these empowerments and reading transmissions. At this time, Khyentse Wangpo said to the Karmapa that since he was a knower of the three times, he should write a history of his previous incarnations, which the Karmapa did in one night during the time it took a butter lamp to burn [if anyone knows the Tibetan title and source of this text, please let me know!]. Later, the 16th Karmapa would create a Tibetan opera based on this history [name  of this in Tibetan is not known].”

The supplication by Khyentse Wangpo to the 15th Karmapa, Khakyab Dorje (1870-1921),  is called ‘The Melodious Song of  Permanent Immortality: Supplication for the Long Life of the Supreme Emanation of the Great Refuge Protector, Gyalwang Karmapa‘.  The source text is the Gangtok edition of the Collected Works of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (mkhyen brtse’i dbang po. ”skyabs mgon rgyal ba’i dbang po dpal kar+ma pa chen po’i mchog gi sprul ba’i sku’i zhabs brtan gsol ‘debs ‘chi med rtag pa dan pa’i dbyangs snyan.”  In gsung ‘bum/_mkhyen brtse’i dbang po/. TBRC W21807. 1: 323 – 324. gangtok: gonpo tseten, 1977-1980. )

In the verses, Khyentse Wangpo praises the 15th Karmapa as being the essence of Avolakiteshvara, White Tara, Namgyalma, Vajradhara and Guru Rinpoche and prays that the Karmapa’s lineage of teachings flourish and remain stable and long-lasting.

Khyentse Chokyi Lodro and 16th Karmapa

The Long-Life Supplication below can also be downloaded as a .pdf here.

The Melodious Song of  Permanent Immortality:
Supplication for the Long Life of the Supreme Emanation of the Great Refuge Protector, Gyalwang Karmapa





Embodiment of all the glorious Buddhas, Karmapa,

Treasury of compassion that surpasses all the Buddhas.

Powerful compassionate one, noble Avalokiteśvara

For oceans of eons, please live and prosper!





Through illuminating awareness, inferred and directly perceived,

Seeing defiled and undefiled objects of reality as they are;

Whose speech is a nectar-rain of dharma of renunciation that tames

Essence of the ‘wish-fulfilling wheel’ [White Tāra], please live and prosper!





From the outset, inseparable dependent-arising and emptiness,

By the middle-way reasoning, a union of two truths

Whose mind defeats all hordes of ‘demons’ holding to extremes

Essence of Namgyalma, please live and prosper!





Seeing the abiding reality of the ultimate objects of body and mind,

Generating the stages of cause and effect on the path, the liberating method,

Discoverer of the supreme qualities endowed with the seven unions[i]

Essence of Vajradhara, please live and prosper!





The ground continuum, manifested Dharmakāya,

The path continuum, the vidyadhara who has completed the five stages,

The result continuum[iii], treasury of activity and primordial awareness,

Essence of the ‘Lake-Born’ [Guru Rinpoche], please live and prosper!





By the blessing of supplicating like that,

Venerable guru, please remain for hundreds of eons,

Turn the profound and vast, ‘all-aspects’, wheel of Dharma, and

Bless us that the joyful revelation of theory and practice increase!





May the Karmapa’s glorious lineage of Buddha’s teachings

Continually expand, across all space and time!

May I and all wanderers be cared for by the guru, and

Be awarded the auspicious, simultaneous accomplishment of the two purposes[iv]!

Translated by Adele Tomlin, 17th May 2020.


[i] These are the seven aspects of union (kha sbyor bdun ldan) and define the aspects of Sambhogakaya Buddhas. They are the aspect of 1) being without self-nature, 2) union, 3) great bliss, 4) complete enjoyment, 5) freedom from interruption, 6) filled with great compassion, 7) continuity.

[ii] The system of practical application of the Father Tantras especially taught by Nagārjuna and his two spiritual sons, Aryadeva and Chandrakirti.

[iii] Here the term (brgyud) is a natural continuum or unbroken stream flowing from fundamental ignorance to enlightenment. As such, it refers to the continua of ground, path and result (gzhi lam ‘bras bu), which together form the dynamic process through which all fruitional aspects of buddhahood are fully manifested. Through the continuum of the path (lam gyi rgyud), the timelessly present continuum of the ground (gzhi’i rgyud) is actualised as the continuum of the result (‘bras bu’i rgyud).

[iv] The two benefits are 1) benefit for oneself (rang don) and others (gzhan don).

The Colophon reads: ་གཅིག་གུས་པའི་ཡིད་ཀྱིས་གསོལ་བ་འདེབས་མཚོན་བཀྲ་ཤིས་པའི་ལྷ་གོས་རབ་དཀར་འཆི་མེད་སྐུ་གསུངས་ཐུགས་རྡོ་རྗེའི་སྣང་བརྙན།་སྐུ་ཚེ་དང་མཁྱེན་རབ་སྤེལ་བའི་རིལ་བུ།་མི་འགྱུར་བའི་རིན་དང་པོ་ཞོ་འཁོར་ཡེ་ཤེས་ལྔའི་གྲངས་ལྡན་བཅས་བོད་ཆེན་སྡེ་དགེའི་མངའ་རིས་རྫོང་སར་བཀྲ་ཤིས་ལྷ་རྩེའི་བསམ་གཏན་གྱི་སྐྱིལ་ཆུང་ནས།་མགོན་པོ་གང་གི་བཀའ་འབངས་ཀྱི་ཐ་ཆུང་བྱ་བྲལ་སྤོང་པ་པའི་གཟུགས་བརྙན་འཇམ་དབྱངས་མཁྱེན་བརྩེའི་དབང་པོའང་།་མཚོ་སྐྱེས་བླ་མ་དགྱེས་པའི་འབངས་པདྨ་འོད་གསལ་མདོ་སྔགས་གླིང་པས་བསམ་པ་དག་ཅིང་སྦྱོར་བ་གུས་པས་འབུལ་ལམ་ཞུ་ན་དེ་དགེ་བཞིན་དུ་འགྲུབ་པར་བླ་མ་རྒྱལ་བ་སྲས་དང་བཅས་པས་བྱིན་གྱིས་བརླབ་ཏུ་གསོལ

Supplication to the Three Great Masters of Karma Kagyu by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo

The three great Kagyu masters that Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo refers to in his other supplication are

  1. Marpa the Translator (1012-1097),
  1. Milarepa the yogi (1040-1123),
Marpa the Translator with student Jetsun Milarepa.
  1. Dagpo Gampopa (1059-1153)

Before these three masters, were Tilopa and Naropa. Here is an English translation below of the supplication (source text and translator currently unknown!) with a video/audio recording of HH 17th Karmapa chanting it with his own melody:

Supplication to the Three Great Masters of the Kagyu Lineage

“With great courage visiting the Noble Land of India
With great wisdom seeing the essence of Dharma
With great accomplishment performing all the miracles
At the feet of great Translator Marpa, I supplicate.

With great power cutting through the attachments
With great endurance and practice pleasing the Guru
With great diligence upholding the victory banner
At the feet of the great yogi Milarepa, I supplicate.

With the clear awareness of the Mahayana path
With the call to attain realization of the nature of Mahamudra
With great Buddha activities pervading the vast expanse of space
At the feet of the great master Gampopa, I supplicate.

To all the lineage holders and masters I humbly pray
To remain in this world for continuing the lineages and teachings
To spread and propagate the precious Dharma in the ten directions
Till great virtue and goodness fill the entire world.”

This prayer was composed by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. Melody composed and chanted by H.H the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje.

There are other supplications and praises to the Karmapas and the great Karma Kagyu masters in the collected works of both Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro. I will try and translate some more of these if possible!

Written and compiled by Adele Tomlin, May 2020.

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