“IIt has been especially difficult for me to propagate the Noble Teachings as fully as my great predecessors, but I have most earnestly endeavoured to be truly beneficial and helpful to all beings, without distinction. If henceforth the true and pure Buddhist Teachings can penetrate throughout the world in every language then I believe that all worldly troubles and miseries will be assuaged.”
—16th Karmapa, Rigpe Dorje
“It is extremely important that the 16th Karmapa’s writings become a way of accomplishing the level of unchanging bliss. May all those who have a connection with the 16th Karmapa be continually cared for by him; see all that he did as excellent, hold what he taught to be valid, and blend their minds with his, thereby easily attaining the level of the lama who pervades everywhere.”
—17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje
Today is an extremely auspicious first full moon of Spring today (‘the pink moon’), the 15th Day of the 3rd month, when it is said that Buddha gave sermons on Sutra Prajnaparamita (perfection of wisdom) at Vulture Peak Mountain (Gṛdhrakūṭa). Also on this special day, at the same time, Buddha manifested another form inside the great stupa of Shri Dhanyakataka, (Amaravathi) south India where he taught the Paramadibuddha, the twelve thousand verse Kalachakra Basic Tantra. Thus, it is the perfect day to launch the first edition English language catalogue/collection (with sources/editions) of all the extant songs, works, teachings, sadhanas, interviews and tributes by (and about) HH the 16th Karmapa (1924-1981), in Tibetan, English and other languages. For a brief biography of 16th Karmapa’s life, see here. In a song by the 16th Karmapa (listed below) he says:
“Feeling great sorrow over the monstrous views and actions of the people of this dark age, and a link with the mind of my only father guru having arisen, I wrote this song calling on him to dispel the torment of my thoughts.”
Similarly, it is hoped that this new catalogue, will also free people of their sorrow and torment with the sweet nectar balm of the peaceful, wise words of a great Buddhist master. As well as inspire people to read the 16th Karmapa’s works and listen to his teachings, and do more research and translation of the Tibetan texts. This year is the 40th anniversary of the 16th Karmapa’s paranirvana. However, despite forty years having passed, there is still no central place for followers to find and read all his words and teachings in Tibetan and other languages. This catalogue aims to fill that significant gap.
In an introduction to the publication of the three-volume Tibetan extant works of 16th Karmapa (listed in the catalogue below), the 17th Karmapa gave a brief history of the Collected Works. “In 2000, after the Karmapa arrived in India, he first talked to Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche about gathering the words of the 16th Karmapa. Ponlop Rinpoche offered his support for the project, gave the Karmapa all the writings he had collected, and then worked together with Tashi Tsering. In 2013, the Karmapa related, it was decided to hold this commemoration, and publishing the collected works was considered of utmost importance. And so the search for the 16th Karmapa’s writings was intensified and carried out in Tibet as well as all over the east and west. The Karmapa noted that there were still texts to be found in Tibet and other places, so in the future, these would be published in a fourth volume.”
At the same event, Khenpo Kelsang Nyima said:
“Among all his activities, the words and teachings of the 16th Karmapa are his greatest deeds…..In the catalogue of the Collected Works of the Eighth Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje, it is said that gathering the oral teachings to preserve them is one of the greatest offerings we can make.”
This first edition English language catalogue is an offering in that respect and a work in progress, omissions and new translations can be added. Please let me know if you have any. The Catalogue has a permanent page here and a .pdf of the catalogue is available on request.
May it be of benefit to the teachings and beings. May we all unite and come together in peace, prosperity, harmony and friendship and may the activities of the Karmapas and all those with great compassion and realisations flourish!
Written, compiled and edited by Adele Tomlin, 27th April 2021. With special thanks to Jerzy.
Catalogue of Extant Works
16th Gyalwang Karmapa
In 2017, a three-volume edition of the 16th Karmapa’s Works in Tibetan was compiled and published by Tibetan scholar, Tashi Tsering. For more on the launch of that publication, see here. I recently translated the outlines of the Second and Third Volumes (see below). The Third volume contains several untranslated works. I am hoping to raise funds for a translation project of these works. Please let me know if you can help with that.
- 16th Karmapa’s Collected Works. Published by Tsurphu Labrang and Amnye Machen Institute and Tashi Tsering (2017). See: TBRC W8LS18007)
- English translations of the outlines of Second and Third Volumes by Adele Tomlin (Dakini Publications, 2021) are here and here.
AUDIO AND VIDEO RECORDINGS
There are a few recorded interviews (translated into English) in which the 16th Karmapa gives teachings and explanations. All are currently without English transcript. I hope to produce a transcript for these interviews soon.
- Wish Fulfilling Gem: An Interview with 16th Karmapa with Deborah Peck (New York 1980), published on Meridian Trust website, see here Wish Fulfilling Gem, An Interview with H.H. the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa – The Meridian Trust (meridian-trust.org)). There is also a Polish translation/Transcript of this, see here.
- Vermont TV interview with 16th Karmapa (Canada 1976). The show was called “Vermont Report”, a half-hour Public Television news program from Vermont. The footage is from the “extras” disc which features with the documentary film “Recalling a Buddha” (2009) by Greg Eller.Also present are 3rd Jamgon Longtrul Rinpoche, Gedun Gyatso (representative of 16th Karmapa, France), 3rd Bardor Rinpoche and Lama Tenzin Chonyi (President of Karma Triyana Chakra, USA) among other lamas, including Karmapa’s personal attendant. The interview is commenced with a remarkable 5 minute recitation, led by the 16th Karmapa, invoking the three jewels. See here.
- Rumtek interview 1978. There is currently no public record of this in English. Polish translation by Karma Trinley Dragpa (aka Lama Rinczen (1982), see .pdf here.
- Manjusri empowerment, oral transmission, guru yoga for 8th Karmapa, chanted by 16th Karmapa solo, for audio see here.
SONGS AND POEMS
- Song From My Heart. This song comes from booklet published In 1980/81? by 16th Karmapa to edit, titled Dzalendara and Sacharchupa, translated by Katia Holmes, details are in book Miraculous 16th Karmapa (Norma Levine). English only. Tibetan source not available. Pdf scan here.
- A Song. Composed while preparing a new edition of the woodblock of The Oceans of Songs of the Kagyu Fathers, after being asked by Discipline Master, Drupgyu Tendar. Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre – A Song.
- The Songs of Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, Rain of Wisdom. Translated by Nalanda Translation Committee, originally published in 1980 (Shambhala Publications (2010). Pdf scan here.
- Song Whose Time has Come: The Melodious Illumination of the Six-legged Bee. Composed at Tshurphu in 1944. Translated by Michelle Martin with Thrangu Rinpoche guidance ( 1994?). English and Tibetan. Contained in the Third Volume of Collected Works. English only. The Song Whose Time Has Come: The Melodius Hum of a Bee | Karmapa – The Official Website of the 17th Karmapa (kagyuoffice.org).
- Blissful Roar of Melodious Experience. Spoken on 17th Day, 5th Tibetan month (1961). Published by Rumtek Monastery on 25th day, 5th Tibetan month (July 7th 1961). Translated by Michele Martin with Thrangu Rinpoche guidance (1992 and 1994). Contained in the Third Volume of Collected Works. English only. Blissful Roar Of Melodious Experience | Karmapa – The Official Website of the 17th Karmapa (kagyuoffice.org).
- Song is Ala Thala Thala. Composed by 16th Karmapa when he was 17 years old at Palpung Chokhor Ling, Tibet (1951). Translated by Michelle Martin with Thrangu Rinpoche guidance (1994). English and Tibetan. Contained in the Third Volume of Collected Works. A Song | Karmapa – The Official Website of the 17th Karmapa (kagyuoffice.org).
- This Ordinary Mind of Nowness. Song by 16th Karmapa found in Australian Kagyu booklet together with 16th Karmapa text: Message. Other details unknown. English only. Pdf scan here.
- Spontaneous Vajra Song at the Ground-Breaking Ceremony of Shri Rumtek Monastery, second month of the Wood-Hare year (1976?). Translated by Gelongma Palmo. See Extracts of Radiant Compassion, Vol. 2 by Gerd Bausch. Extracts of Radiant Compassion Volume Two (karmapabiographie.de) and here. A video of this song being read can be seen here.
GURU YOGAS AND COMMENTARIES
There are two Guru Yoga practice texts in Tibetan in the Third Volume of the Collected Works, both of which have been translated into English (see below).
1.Continuous Nectar of Rain on the Sprouts of the Four Kayas: Guru Yoga of 16th Karmapa. Composed in Tibet, 8th Month of the Earth-Dog Year. There are several published translations of this Guru Yoga by 16th Karmapa. The earliest translation is by Freda Bedi/Sister Palmo (1971). They are all in English and Tibetan:
- The Guru Yoga which Continuously Waters the Seedlings of the Four Bodies of the Buddha. Rumtek Monastery, 1971. Translation by Gelongma Palmo and Ayang Rinpoche. See .pdf scan here.
- Guru Yoga of the 16th Karmapa: A Shower of Ambrosia Generating the Shoot of the Four Kayas. Translator Unknown. KTD Publication Guru Yoga of the 16th Karmapa: A Shower of Ambrosia Generating the Shoot of the Four Kayas (namsebangdzo.com).
- Continuous Rain of Nectar that Causes the Four Seeds of the Bodies to Germinate. Palpung Janchub Dhargye Ling. Available for download here: 16-Karmapa-Guru-Yoga-TEXT.pdf (palpung.org.uk).
- The Continuous Rain of Nectar that Nurtures the Sprouting of the Four Kayas: A Guru Yoga of the 16th Lord, Rigpe Dorje. Translator Eric Thaye Dorje. Available for free download here: A Guru Yoga of the 16th Lord, Rigpe Dorje • dharmaebooks.org.
2. Shower of Siddhis: Concise Guru Yoga by 16th Karmapa. Source 3rd Volume, Collected Works. Translated by Adele Tomlin, Dakini Publications 2021. English and Tibetan. See here. ‘Shower of Siddhis of the Profound Path of Guru Yoga’ by 16th Karmapa.
There are two publications (in English only) of 16th Karmapa’s teachings and instructions on the Guru Yoga practice. For more on the commentaries, see my previous post here.
- Towards Supreme Illumination, A Commentary on the Guru Yoga (1974). Another commentary on Guru Yoga, Towards Supreme Illumination, given by 16th Karmapa in 1974, translated by Sister Palmo/Bedi has been kindly preserved and published by Samten de Wet on his website, published here: Karmapa (luxlapis.co.za).
- Seedlings of the Four Kayas, A Commentary on the Guru Yoga (1980) Seedlings of the Four Kayas is a commentary on the second Guru Yoga sadhana, said to have been orally transmitted by the 16th Karmapa in USA, 1980. Published by Buddhism Today (no.28, Fall/Winter 2011) with Tibetan translation by Ngodrup Bukar, compiled and edited by Manfred Seegers. It is in English with no Tibetan source record. As it is not available online, a .pdf of the commentary is available to download here.
ADVICE, NOTES AND TEACHINGS
- Aspiration. Said to be spoken during Wood-Horse Year (1954). There are two texts under the title. English only. See .pdf scan here.
- Reminder to Myself. Third Month Wood-Horse Year (1954). Published in Heart Advice of the Karmapa by 7th Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche (2018). Text is re-produced here: A reminder to myself ~ 16th Karmapa | Just Dharma Quotes.
- Benefits of Veneration for Rumtek Monastery (1966) – Written by the 16th Karmapa, in the Fire Horse Year (1966). Translated by Lama Yeshe Gyamtso in 1999. Text here: Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre – Benefits of Prayer. English only.
- Importance of the Monastery– KTD publication website. English only. See .pdf here.
- Inspiration of the Monastery. KTD publication website. English only. See .pdf here.
- Repaying the Kindness of my Mother – Unsourced. English only. See .pdf here.
- Teachings by 16th Karmapa: Australian Kagyu Sangha. Published by Australian Kagyu sangha. 1980s? In form of a booklet containing three items : 1) Message 2) Song 3) Ngondro text. English only.
- 1976 New Year’s Wishes. English only. Published on Facebook, 14th December 2020 by Gerd Bausch.
- On Pointing Out the Nature of Mind (1976). Pith Instruction published said to be given orally by 16th Karmapa at Rumtek Monastery in Wood-Hare Year (1976). Published on November 19, 2010, www. ganachakra.com. English Only. No details about original Tibetan original or translator. See: https://ganachakra.com/2010/11/19/his-holiness-the-16th-karmapa-on-the-nature-of-mind/
- The Manifestation of Compassionate Activity (1980) published originally by Densal, (newsletter of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra). Published on Rumtek Monastery website: “From a public talk His Holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa gave at the University of Colorado in 1980. The Manifestation of Compassionate Activity was the subject of the teaching, which was sponsored by Naropa Institute and translated by Ngodrup Burkhar. Dharmadhatu has very kindly given us a tape of this teaching so that it may be published in Densal. From this tape a revised translation was made by Sangye Wangchuk with collaboration and editing by Michele Martin.” English only. Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre – The Manifestation of Compassionate Activity.
- Advice on Spiritual Practice (1980) – Teaching was given at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra by Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa on Sunday, August 31, 1980. It first appeared in Densal Vol. 2. No. 3, Summer 1981. English only. Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre – Advice on Spiritual Practice
- Confidence in the Dharma (1980) – Interview with Densal, translated by Ngodup Tsering Burkhar. Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre – On Confidence in Dharma: An Interview. English only.
- The Karma Kagyu Path (1981). Buddhism Today, Issue 20. See .pdf here.
- Pointing out instructions, online source and date unknown. English only. See .pdf scan here.
- Words of Advice. Published by Dagpo Kagyu Mandala, date and translator unknown. English only. See .pdf here.
- Questions and answers from website Buddhist Library . Two answers by 16th Karmapa. Circumstances unknown. English only. See .pdf scan here.
- Letter to Bardor Rinpoche. Date not stated. English and Tibetan. Contained in the Third Volume of Collected Works. English translations, here and here.
SUPPLICATIONS AND SADHANAS
English language supplications and sadhanas are very few. However, there are several sadhanas preserved in Tibetan in the 16th Karmapa’s Collected Works that are yet to be translated.
- Mahakala- extra few lines said to be written by 16th Karmapa for Mahakala invocation written by 8th Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje. Text?
- The Prayer of the Ocean-Wide Buddha, called Gyalwa Gyamtso – from book Karmapa: Black Hat Lama of Tibet (1976) pp. 196-198.
Most of the biographies (in chronological order below) are written by people who are neither scholars nor Tibetan speakers/translators, with the exception of Tashi Tsering. Even though they are very interesting and valuable resources of first-hand accounts of mainly non-Tibetan disciples of the 16th Karmapa, they lack source citations or original textual sources. Tashi Tsering’s biography cites several original Tibetan sources and he was also the main person involved in the publication and compilation of the three-volume 16th Karmapa’s extant works in Tibetan, as mentioned above.
The first biography compiled and published in 1976, by Nik Douglas and Meryl White, is unique among them all, as it is the first biography of 16th Karmapa in English composed before the 16th Karmapa passed away, but also which has his direct input and introductory message (see below). Part of which was one of the opening quotes in this post.
- Karmapa, The Black Hat Lama of Tibet. Nik Douglas and Meryl White (Luzac, 1976).
- A Biography of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa: Entitled: “A Droplet from the Infinite Ocean-Like outer Biography of Lokeshvara: the Great Sixteenth Holder of the Black Crown” on JSTOR. Tashi Tsering, Migmar Tsering, Jeremy Russell. The Tibet Journal, Vol. 9, No. 3 (Autumn 1984), pp. 3-20. Published By: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (1984).
- The Miraculous 16th Karmapa, Naomi Levine (Shangshung Publications, 2013).
- Radiant Compassion–the Life of the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa Gerd Bausch, (Karuna 2018).
There are a couple of French translations, based on Dagpo newsletter Tendrel (2002) edition, these can be sent as pdfs if requested.
- Le Refuge – French Dagpo text teachings.
- Compassion -French Dagpo text teachings
Three texts translated from French into Polish ca 2000 taken from Dagpo newsletter Tendrel. Polish translator, Dorota Bury. These can be sent as pdfs if requested.
- Power of Refuge (Moc Schronienia) pdf here.
- Enlightened Attitude ( Oswiecona Postawa) pdf here.
- Inevitable outcome ( Nieunikniony rezultat) pdf here.
DOCUMENTARIES AND TRIBUTES ABOUT/TO 16TH KARMAPA
- Tsurphu Home of the Karmapas Documentary (1988) – YouTube
- KARMAPA 16 ( 16th KARMAPA Clip) – YouTube
- 16th Karmapa – Black Crown Ceremony, Boulder, CO – YouTube
- 16th Karmapa – Black Crown Ceremony, San Francisco, CA – YouTube. Introduced by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.
- The 16th Karmapa in His Monastery Rumtek in Sikkim 1971 – YouTube
- 16th Karmapa and Kalu Rinpoche in Denmark 1974 – YouTube
- 16th Karmapa in Maui 1976,Part 1 – YouTube
- 16th Karmapa in Maui, 1976 Part 2,The Stupa Consecration – YouTube
- 16th Karmapa accompanied by 3rd Jamgon Kongtrul in Southeast Asia – YouTube
- His Holiness DUDJOM RINPOCHE with the 16th GYALWA KARMAPA – YouTube
- Calling the Lama from Afar (Prayer for 16th Karmapa by HE Thrangu Rinpoche)
- Tribute to 16th Karmapa, from disciple and translator, Ken Holmes (1996), taken from his book, Karmapa (Altea Publishing). Re-produced here: ROKPA homepage, Karmapa Chenno (samye.org).
- Recalling a Buddha: Introduction (16th Karmapa) (2011) – YouTube. Recalling a Buddha: Memories of the Sixteenth Karmapa is a feature length documentary. This clip shows the opening 5 minutes.
- Remembering the 16th Karmapa – Tricycle: The Buddhist Review (2011).
- 16th Karmapa Stupa Consecration Ceremony in Zion, Illinois with 17th Karmapa (2015) – YouTube
- Commemorating the Life and Activities of the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje – YouTube. Lama Tenam has compiled these remarkable photos to pay tribute to the life and activities of the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa.
- Liberation Upon Seeing: Memories of H. H. the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa – YouTube
- The 16th Karmapa Remembered—Interview with translator and close disciple of the 16th Karmapa, Ngodrup Burkhar. Buddhist Door, August, 2015. The 16th Karmapa Remembered—An Interview with Ngödup Burkhar | Buddhistdoor
- Dharma King: The Life of the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa in Images. Produced under the direct guidance of the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, this lavish full-colour volume brings together for the first time 1,000 photos in over 450 pages depicting the life of this extraordinary spiritual master. Co-published by KTD Publications and Altruism Press (Drophen Tsuglag), the book is available from the KTD Bookstore (click here).
- Pema Chodron talks about HH 16th Karmapa (2020)- YouTube
- HH 41st Sakya Trichen talking about HH 16th Karmapa (2020) – YouTube
- A message from HH 17th Karmapa in Zion, Illinois where HH 16th Karmapa passed away (2020). – YouTube
Musical postcript: Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, HH 16th Karmapa made numerous Dharma connections with Western students who came to see him in India. He increasingly directed his energies towards the West in the mid-1970s, once his community was established India, in Sikkim. So I end with one of the most popular British bands and songs of that era, Come Together by the Beatles. Let’s all come together in our shared devotion and respect for the Dharma King, 16th Karmapa!
Written and edited by Adele Tomlin, 26 April 2021 (15th day of 3rd month Tibetan calendar). With special thanks to Jerzy. Copyright. Do not publish or share without citing full source.
 This catalogue was sponsored and compiled at the request (and efforts) of a devout Polish follower, Jerzy Kunowski, who remarkably never met the 16th Karmapa in person, yet whose devotion to him and the teachings led to him collecting and preserving many of his published extant works. In addition, the preservation of some of the texts by Rumtek Monastery and Samten De Wet are valuable. I have re-ordered, added to and edited his original list and uploaded the pdf files he generously created where other publications not available, for the public use.
 In the Polish translation (booklet ca 2000) it has the title ‘Pieśń Serca’, which means Song From My Heart. While traveling across India in a jeep, it is reported that the Karmapa stopped and told the story about his previous life as Dzalendara, a highly realized yogi. I contacted Katia Holmes (via Ken Holmes) for the Tibetan original, but was told that there does not seem to be one in existence and it was given to Katia as an oral transmission. Sacharchupa means previous life stories told by 15th Karmapa Khakyab Dorje .
 There is a copy of the booklet , unfortunately without cover, first page, title and second page with edition details.
 Popular prayer started with Om Ma Dag. Polish edition Warsaw by Beru Khyentse Sangha. Gyaltsen Rinpoche said the few lines is extension of Om Ma Dag , text in end ( after 16th Karmapa words) says it is an offering to Dharma Protectors.
 Tsurphu: Home of the Karmapas was filmed in Tibet (1988). Produced and Directed by Ward Holmes. It is the first video produced about the reconstruction of Tsurphu Monastery the Main Seat of His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapas in Tibet and shows Tsurphu in the early days (1988) and includes both the Venerable Drupon Dechen Rinpoche and H.E. 3rd Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche giving a wonderful talk about Tsurphu. It is a rare and historical film. Tsurphu Monastery was the spiritual home of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism for centuries before the Chinese invasion of Tibet. The sixteen previous incarnations of the Karmapas have all lived there. This documentary was shot on location at Tsurphu, and introduced by Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche.