‘IMMUTABLE, GREAT BLISS’: GURU PADMASAMBHAVA AND THE KARMAPAS

“Om Swasti!
To Dharmakāya, limits of appearances; Sambhogakāya, Avalokiteśvara;
Nirmanakāya, Great Padmasambhava,
With continual devotion of body, speech and mind
By this heart-felt supplication, bestow the blessings of the siddhis!

In particular, for those of the degenerate age lacking refuge,
May the incomparable, supreme protector of the three secrets and all the qualities,
Bless our three ‘doors’ with luminous clarity,
Purifying all habitual tendencies, negative actions, obscurations and downfalls!
By the blessings of spontaneously arising three kāyas,
May we accomplish the Svabhavikāya; the attainment of the four empowerments.
Within the supreme primordial awareness of the three: sights, sounds and thoughts,
May we attain the supreme siddhi of immutable, great bliss!”

—Excerpt from 13th Karmapa’s Supplication to Padmasambhava

ཨོཾ་སྭ་སྟི།
ཆོས་སྐུ་སྣང་མཐའ་ལོངས་སྐུ་སྤྱན་རས་གཟིགས༎ སྤྲུལ་སྐུ་པདྨ་འབྱུང་གནས་ཆེན་པོ་ལ༎
ལུས་ངག་ཡིད་གསུམ་རྟག་ཏུ་གུས་པ་ཡིས༎  སྙིང་ནས་གསོལ་འདེབས་བྱིན་རླབས་དངོས་གྲུབ་སྩོལ༎
ལྷག་པར་སྙིགས་དུས་སྐྱབས་མེད་རྣམས་ཀྱིས་སྐྱབས༎ མཚུངས་མེད་མགོན་མཆོག་གསང་གསུམ་ཡོན་ཏན་ཀུན༎
འོད་ཟེར་རྣམ་པར་སྒོ་གསུམ་བྱིན་རླབས་ཏེ༎  བག་ཆགས་སྡིག་སྒྲིབ་ཉེར་ལྟུང་ཐམས་ཅད་བྱང་༎
སྐུ་གསུམ་ལྷུན་གྲུབ་སླར་ཡང་བྱིན་རླབས་ནས༎ བཞི་པའི་དབང་ཐོབ་ངོ་བོ་ཉིད་སྐུ་འགྲུབ༎
སྣང་གྲགས་རྟོགས་གསུམ་ཡེ་ཤེས་མཆོག་གི་ངང་༎ འགྱུར་མེད་བདེ་ཆེན་དངོས་གྲུབ་མཆོག་ཐོབ་ཤོག༎

For Guru Rinpoche Day today (the tenth lunar day/Tsechu), am re-posting a translation of a 13th Karmapa’s Supplication to Guru Padmasambhava (and Russian translation) together with an overview of research and translations I have done on the connections between the Karmapas, Padmasambhava and Treasure-Revelations.

As HH 17th Karmapa taught a few days ago, written up here in ‘WAKING UP FROM THE SLUMBER OF IGNORANCE’: THE ‘KA-NYING’ CONNECTION. the connection between the Karmapas, Guru Padmasambhava and Nyingma Dharma (such as Treasures and Dzogchen) is a very strong and profound one. In particular, he spoke about the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 8th Karmapas.

Here is an overview of research I have published on the connections of the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th  Karmapas to Nyingma masters and treasures, in particular with the Treasure-Revealer, Chogyur Lingpa.   The Karma Kagyu may even have their own treasure-revelation tradition, as I wrote about in A ‘Kagyu Treasure’ Tradition? Marpa’s Fifteen ‘Hidden Scrolls’ from Sekhar.

Chogyur Lingpa and the Karmapas
Chogyur Lingpa (mchog gyur bde chen zhig po gling pa, 1829-1870)

As I wrote about before in relation to the Karmapas, Chogyur Lingpa and Vajrakilaya, the Karmapas, in particular the 14th and 15th Karmapas, all had strong connections to the Nyingma tradition and teachings, most recently with the renowned Terton (Treasure-Revealer) Chogyur Lingpa.

In fact, 150 years ago, Chogyur Lingpa revealed a treasure by Guru Padmasambhava on the 15th to 21st Karmapas incarnations (see images below). In this sacred text, it reveals how the 17th Karmapa would be ‘one mind with Tai Situ Rinpoche’.

The 13th Karmapa, Dudul Dorje (1733-1797) who was predicted by Padmasambhava to saved the Jowo statue from drowning

The 13th Karmapa, Dudul Dorje (1733-1797) had a special connection to Guru Rinpoche and was predicted by Padmasambhava (in a Nyingma terma, the ‘sPyi-lung ‘Od-kyi ITa-wa Chen’) to be the only person who could save the famous statue of Buddha in the Jo Khang Temple, Lhasa from drowning (which he did!). His Supplication to Padmasambhava can also be freely downloaded here as a .pdf.

The 14th Karmapa, Thegchog Dorje (17989-1868) and the Cham dances of Guru Padmasambhava
14th Karmapa, Thegchog Dorje (1798-1868)

As I wrote about here, the 14th Karmapa, Thegchog Dorje (1798-1868) was a non-sectarian master, who received some tantras from the Nyingma treasure-revealer Chogyur Lingpa and those rituals were subsequently introduced into the Tsurphu calendar. For example, he received the “Vajrakīlaya (Dorje Phurba) Tantra” directly from Chogyur Lingpa and therefore was able to introduce the Cham ceremonial dances, which enacted the eight manifestations of Guru Padmasambhava, and founded the Phurpa Drubchen during the month of Saga Dawa at Tsurphu Monastery.  Recently, HH 17th Karmapa spoke about how the Cham dance of Tsechu (Tenth Day) was also instituted by the 14th Karmapa, see video here.

The 15th Karmapa and the Immortal Life-Essence Bindu (Chime Sogtig) long-life practice of Padmasambhava and Mandāravā
15th Karmapa. Khakhyab Dorje (1871-1922)

The 15th Karmapa. Khakhyab Dorje (1871-1922) was one of the two main lineage holders of the Immortal Life-Essence Bindu (Chime Sogtig) practice.  Zilnon Namkhe Dorje transmitted the terma, first to the 15th Karmapa and then after that, to Dudjom Rinpoche, Jikdral Yeshe Dorje (1904-1987).  The 15th Karmapa lineage of Immortal Life-Essence was passed from Karmapa to his son, the second Jamgon Kongtrul, who passed it onto the 16th Karmapa, Rigpe Dorje. I am assuming that this was then passed on to other Karma Kagyu lamas but have been unable to ascertain to whom and when. I will update this if and when I have more details.

For more on the texts composed by the 15th Karmapa on these treasures, with a small catalogue I have compiled from his Collected Works, as well as a new translation of the 15th Karmapa’s short Immortal Life-Essence Bindu Lineage Supplication Prayer, which is recited at the beginning of practices connected to the cycle, see posts here:

Cloud of Siddhis: Immortal Life-Essence Bindu Supplication: long-life practice of Padmasambhava and Mandāravāv

15th Karmapa on the ‘Immortal Life-Essence Bindu’ treasure: long-life practice of Padmasambhava and Mandāravā

16th Karmapa’s connections with Nyingma masters and Dharma

Indeed, the Ka-Nying (Kagyu-Nyingma) connection has continued up until recently, as revealed in the 16th Karmapa’s record of transmissions, which includes several Nyingma transmissions, and his friendships with Nyingma masters such as Dudjom Rinpoche and the 3rd Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro.

Khyentse Chokyi Lodro and 16th Karmapa, Rigpe Dorje

17th Karmapa’s connections

The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje also met with Nyingma lineage holders, HE Schechen Rabjam Rinpoche and HE Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi, see photo here. Recently, he composed an aspiration prayer for the swift re-birth of Dudjom Rinpoche, Pema Dorje, see here.

Music? A moving performance of Guru Padmasambhava’s mantra by Deva Premal and Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen.  May we all attain the unchangeable bliss of Guru Rinpoche! Dza Yantu!

Written and compiled by Adele Tomlin, 11th April 2022.

FURTHER READING/SOURCES

For posts about Guru Padmasambhava: Guru Padmasambhava

For posts about the Karmapas: Gyalwang Karmapas

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