Difference between revisions of "Karma Chagme, Rāga Asya"

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Revision as of 18:14, 13 January 2020

Karma Chagme was a 17th-century Tibetan Buddhist scholar yogin. He was an important teacher in the Karma Kamtsang tradition. He was both the teacher and student of Tertön Mingyur Dorjé. He was the first of a line of seven Karma Chagme tülkus.

The First Karma Chagme, Rāga Asya

Karma Chakme (born Wangdrak Sung; ordained Karma chags med; alias Rā-ga a-sya; 1613-1678) was born in Salmo Gang (Wylie: zal mo sgang), a place near Riwoche (Wylie: ri bo che) in the district of Ngoms in Kham. His father, Pema Wangdrak (Wylie: pad-ma dbang-grags) was an established tantric siddha from the ruling lineage of Dong khachö (Wylie: gdong mkha' spyod) and his mother Chökyong Kyi (Wylie: 'Chos-skyong skyid) was descended from the family line of Gyuli. Said to have been the reincarnation of Chokro Lü Gyeltsen (Wylie: cog ro klu'i rgyal mtshan) and of Prince Sad na legs, his father gave his son the tertön Ratna Lingpa longevity empowerments during his birth.

Karma Chakme was trained by his father from the age of six in reading and writing, as well as “white” and “black” astrology (Wylie: rtsis dkar nag), geomancy and magic ceremonies for the purpose of averting misfortunes. He was also taught the entire cycle of Nyingma teachings, which he had learned from his father, and continued his training with the most famous Nyingma and Kagyu masters of his time.

He attained mastery of the sūtras and tantras at zad ma gyi monastery and received, at the age of twenty, ordination and the transmission of Mahamudra from the 6th Shamar Rinpoche Mipan Chökyi Wangchuk (1584-1630) at Tsurphu Monastery. He received empowerment during his visit. Then he traveled with the Karmapa for a year and a half achieving fame in Tibet. Karma Chakme's public examination was before 12,000 monks at the Great Prayer Festival of Karma Kagyu.

A contender for the post of 10th Karmapa, he was not confirmed but retained the ordination name Karma Chakme.[citation needed]

He was known for being a prolific writer and scholar, for his ardent devotion to the cult of Sukhāvatī and for being the teacher of tertön Namchö Mingyur Dorje, who revealed a unique cycle of terma known as the Nam Cho (Wylie: gnam-chos). Karma Chakme was credited as a mahasiddha attaining an authentic emanation of Jinasagara, the "Red Avalokiteśvara". Karma Chags med was a formidable scholar and prolific author who composed some sixty volumes of texts on a variety of subjects while in retreat. He is perhaps best-known for his contributions to the Tibetan genre of Pure Land literature, with his Aspiration Prayer to the Pure Land Sukhāvatī and its commentary which are widely considered classic texts of the demön(bde smom) genre. Among his many works belonging to the Nam Cho cycle, The Mind Treasure of the Sky Dharma: A Compilation of Extensive Instructions for Transferring to Sukhāvatī (Gnam chos thugs kyi gter kha las bde chen zhing du 'pho ba'i gdams pa rgyas par bsgrigs pa) is an important commentary on the Vajrayāna practice of phowa [1]

The biography of the first Karma Chakme is based on the following sources: gTer ston brgya rtsa’i rnam thar (513-16); mKhas grub Karma chags med rin po che’i gsung ’bum gyi dkar chag (introduction); Tsering Lama (1988: 35-44); and Chagmé (1998: 7-11).


Notes

  1. Georgios T. Halkias. 2019. “Heavenly Ascents after Death: Karma Chagme’s Commentary on Mind Transference.” Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines, no. 52, 70–89.


References

  • Tsering Lama Jampal Zangpo. 1988. A Garland of Immortal Wish-fulfilling Trees: The Palyul Tradition of Nyingmapa. Ithaca: Snow Lion.
  • Chagmé, Karma 2000. Naked Awareness: Practical Instructions on the Union of Mahāmudrā and Dzogchen. Translated by A. Wallace. Ithaca: Snow Lion.
  • Chagmé, Karma 2009. A Spacious Path to Freedom: Practical Instructions on Union of Mahamudra and Atiyoga. Commentary by Gyatrul Rinpoche, Translated by A. Wallace. Ithaca: Snow Lion.
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