THE INSEPARABILITY OF THE DAKINI LINEAGE’S RED AVALOKITESHVARA (GYALWA GYAMTSO) AND 2ND KARMAPA, KARMA PAKSHI: Five-Deity Mandala of Red Avalokiteshvara and Karma Pakshi’s Guru Yoga mandala; female siddha lineage of Machig Drupe Gyalmo to Rechungpa; PLUS NEW TRANSLATION of Supplication and Short Daily Practice of five-deity Red Avalokiteshvara by Third Karmapa

“One could think there is a lineage between other masters and Jinasagara (Gyalwa Gyamtso) and myself, Karmapa. But it is equally valid to think there is no lineage in between me and the deity’, which is an indirect way of indicating that he, Karma Pakshi was the yidam deity, Jinasagara. Therefore, instead of the usual placement of the yidam deity in the center of the mandala, Karma Pakshi is the principal figure in the mandala.”—17th Karmapa (2015)

For Dharma Protector Day today (and the New Moon tomorrow), am happy to offer:

On 20th April 2022, 7th Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche bestowed the 2nd Karmapa, Karma Pakshi Guru Yoga empowerment at the Thrangu Canada centre. I was not aware of this empowerment and would have taken it if I had known, as I have published before on the Karma Pakshi Guru Yogas and translated a short Guru Yoga sadhana by the 15th Karmapa (see here). Also, I participated in the 17th Karmapa’s recent practice online of the Karma Paskhi Guru Yoga during the Winter teachings (February 2022). It is a practice particularly close to my heart, the mandala includes Karmapa, Vajrayogini and Mahakali after all!  Fortunately, the empowerment is still online here and can be taken that way if necessary.  

The 17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje also gave the Karma Pakshi empowerment several times. Once in 2014 in Berlin, Germany and the second time in 2015 in the USA.  I have written-up and combined all these teachings on Karma Pakshi Guru Yoga into one short transcript/document, for people to read like a commentary.  It is based on the original Tibetan and English oral translations (as the Karma Kagyu Office reports are edited summaries only), and can be downloaded on request.

In the 2015 teachings, the Karmapa explained the name of Karma Paskhi, his role as the first recognized Karmapa, the miraculous actions he showed to escape execution eighteen times. For a more extensive biography of Karma Pakshi, see here.  

In 2019, HE Gyeltsab Rinpoche gave the torma empowerment for the five deity Gyalwa Gyatso practice at the Kagyu Monlam, Bodh Gaya, which I was fortunate to attend in person. In his teaching, he explains the origin of the lineage, which came after Milarepa sent his student Rechungpa to India, who received the Gyalwa Gamtso lineage from an Indian female mahasiddha which was then passed down to Pomdragpa, the guru of 2nd Karmapa, Karma Pakshi:

May this compilation and new translations be of benefit and may all beings attain the fully awakened state and mandala of Red Chenrezig, Gyalwa Gyamtso!


[i] “This practice of Jinasagara, being the quintessential life force of the dakinis, is traditionally said to be very hazardous, and so there are many stories of others, too, who have encountered dangers with this practice. For me, though, I just have never experienced a personal retreat more upsetting than this one.” –“The Autobiography of Jamgon Kongtrul” (p67)

[ii] In 2012, the 17th Karmapa Gyalwang wrote a play and opera about the life of Karma Pakshi in a contemporary idiom, the drama focuses on three events: the arrival of Orgyenpa (1230-1312), who would hold the Karma Pakshi’s lineage; the meeting of these two great lamas; and finally, Orgyenpa’s meeting and recognizing the Third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje (1284-1339). Performed during the 29th Kagyu Monlam Chenmo on March 3rd, 2012 (see video here).

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