Lineage - The Karma Kagyü School

Within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition there are mainly four great schools or traditions: Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu and Gelug. All of them transmit the authentic teachings of the Buddha.

Karma Gyaltsen Ling belongs to the Buddhist School of the Karma Kagyus but it is supporting and open to the teachers and to the students of all the authentic Buddhist traditions in the spirit of the Rime, or non-sectarian movement that started in the 19th century with the great Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye.

The Karma Kagyu tradition takes its origins in the 10th century and continues uninterrupted until nowadays through an unbroken chain of masters and disciples. Two indian Mahasiddhas, Tilopa (988-1069) and Naropa (1016-1100), were the first teachers of our lineage. Naropa's foremost disciple, Marpa the Translator (1012-1097), was the one who brought these teachings in Tibet: he practiced, realized and translated them from Sanskrit to Tibetan. Marpa's foremost disciple, Milarepa (1052-1135), was Tibet's greatest yogi and poet. His life-story and spiritual songs continue even today to be a source of inspiration for all those who come in contact with them. Milarepa's distinguished disciple Gampopa (1079-1153) was a high ranked physician who founded and organized the Kagyu monastic order.

One of his most important disciples, Düsum Khyenpa (1110-1193), the first Karmapa, was the founder of the Karma Kagyü School, also known as Karma Khamtsang, one of the main branches of the Kagyü tradition. He was the first Lama of Tibet to start a succession of consciously reborn incarnations that appear from one life to another for the benefit of beings.

After the Chinese invasion, in 1959 the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje (1924-1980), took refuge in India. In 1975 he traveled around Europe and the USA. After that he sent two high ranked Tibetan Lamas to France: Lama Gendun Rinpoche and Lama Jigme Rinpoche, both realized meditation masters.

Lama Gendun Rinpoche, born in 1918, was a great yogi who spent over thirty years of his life meditating in isolation in the mountains of Tibet and India. In France he found his first European disciples and in 20 years he managed to establish the so-called Dhagpo Mandala.The Dhagpo Mandala is the European seat of H.H. the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje, actual head of the Karma Kagyu School, and the core of his western activity. It is connected to many affiliated European Buddhist Centers and, among them, to our Karma Gyaltsen Ling Center as well.

After the passing away of Lama Gendun Rinpoche, November 1997, Lama Jigme Rinpoche, the representative of H.H. the 17th Karmapa in the Western countries, became the spiritual master of the Dhagpo Mandala.