According to Shamarpa Rinpoche's brother, Jigme Rinpoche who gave a brief speech in Tibetan regarding the parinirvana of late Sharmapa Rinpoche, Rinpoche passed away naturally in Germany and not by heart attack as reported.
A day before his parinirvana , Rinpoche told his brother that he want to take his last food of his life together with him. As wished they dined together the next day and Rinpoche ate twice. Rinpoche also told him to cancel the European tour and expressed his need to go back to India. That very day on June 11, 2014 Rinpoche passed away suddenly at his main center in Renchen-Ulm, at the age of 61.
Rinpoche then entered the meditative Thugdam state, in which masters of Buddhist meditation can practice after death, and remained there for 2 days. On the auspicious full moon day of Saga Dawa, when Buddha Shakyamuni entered into parinirvana, Rinpoche left his meditation state with all the signs of enlightenment.
During Rinpoche's last leg to European countries, he knew his parinirvana and started his future plan and wishes.
One day Rinpoche along with Lama Thupden travelled by train in Germany and suddenly Rinpoche proclaimed that he had already renounced samsaric matters, and he probably will no longer live. At that very instant Rinpoche wrote a letter and gave it to lama Jigme Rinpoche.
Also when he was in Begonia he wrote two letters and gave it to owner of CTR and instructed not to open, unless one day it is needed.
Jigme Rinpoche said H.H Thinley Thaye Dorje should only recognize his reincarnation so there will be no more conflicts!
“You don’t need to be afraid of death if you know how to practice in death.” This was Rinpoche's final teaching, given just a few days ago.
His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje has announced that he will find and recognize the next Shamarpa incarnation.
On 27th of October 2014, birthday of the late Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche, Gyalwa Karmapa in accordance with tradition, he has accepted requests from Jigme Rinpoche, Shamarpa’s brother and General Secretary to Karmapa, as well as from 700 Karma Kagyu Buddhist centers, monasteries and institutes around the world, to find the next rebirth.
All previous Shamarpas have been confirmed in accordance with the principle of reciprocal recognition. The 14th Shamarpa, who was enthroned by the 16th Karmapa in 1963, enthroned the 17th Karmapa, Thaye Dorje, in 1994.
"It is my solemn duty and responsibility alone to find the authentic incarnation of His Holiness Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche.’
- His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje
Now the Yangtse of the 14th Shamarpa has been born and likely to be announced soon.
Brief Background of the Shamarpa Lineage
The Shamarpa or "Red Hat Lama of Tibet" is the second-oldest reincarnate lineage. As with any reincarnate lineage, what earlier incarnations have done or not done does not define the subsequent Shamarpas.
The 14th Shamarpa has said, "Since every incarnation is a new life, credit from great deeds in the past is not transferred automatically to each new incarnation. Likewise, one cannot blame any reincarnate Lama for not being as great as his or her previous incarnation. Boys or girls are recognized as tulkus at a young age, placed in monasteries and given a tremendous amount of responsibility. They do not choose this life for themselves. This is true of every Tibetan reincarnate lineage. Greatness must be earned anew in each life."
Many of the Shamarpas were great scholars. In particular, the 1st Shamarpa Khedrup Trakpa Senge (1284-1349), 2nd Shamarpa Kachö Wangpo (1350-1405), 3rd Shamarpa Chöpel Yeshe (1406-1452), 4th Shamarpa Chökyi Trakpa Pal Yeshe (1453 -1526), 5th Shamarpa Könchog Yenlag, (1526-1583), 6th Shamarpa Chökyi Wangchuk, (1584-1629), 8th Shamarpa Palchen Chökyi Döndrup, (1695-1732) and 10th Shamarpa Chödrup Gyatso (1742-1792), stand out in terms of their intellectual contributions. The 4th Shamarpa even ruled Tibet for 12 years towards the end of his life.
The history of the Shamarpas becomes especially dramatic during and after the lifetime of the 10th Shamarpa, Chödrup Gyatso (1642-1692). For that reason it is useful to explain his life in more detail here.
The 10th Shamarpa was a brother to the 3rd Panchen Lama Palden Yeshe (1738-1780), a highly ranked Gelukpa Lama. The 10th Shamarpa had a very poor relationship with the Gelukpa government of Tibet that was based in Lhasa and directly ruled by the Chinese Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799).
Tsomonling Ngawang Tsultrim, the imperial Chinese representative in Lhasa at that time, was especially opposed to him for a number of reasons. First of all, he belonged to the Karma Kagyu school and claimed that that the Kagyus were the former rulers of Tibet. Second, he was on friendly terms with the British government in India, a state of affairs that had come about because his mother was a princess of Ladakh. Both of these facts made the Emperor's government very suspicious. Fearing censure or punishment from the governments of both Tibet and China, the 10th Shamarpa fled to Nepal. He lived there comfortably until, in 1788, a war broke out between Tibet and Nepal over the minting and circulation of counterfeit coins. The government of Nepal as a mediator in the peace talks with Tibet used the 10th Shamarpa, and as a result the government of Tibet informed the Emperor Qianlong that the Shamarpa had taken the side of the Nepalese in the conflict. The Gelukpa Tibetan government then requested that the Shamarpa institution be banned. The ban was affected upon the death of the 10th Shamarpa in 1792 and remained in effect until the 20th century.
From 1792 until 1963, no Shamarpa reincarnation was enthroned, although the Karmapas secretly recognized the 11th, 12th, and 13th Shamarpas during that time.
In 1963, the 14th Dalai Lama and the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa formally restored the institution of the Shamarpas, enthroning the 14th Shamarpa Mipham Chokyi Lodro (1952 - 2014).
Mipham Chokyi Lodro was born on the 27th October 1952 in Eastern Tibet, in the Kingdom of Derge, into the noble Athub family, as the nephew of the 16th Karmapa. His birth is said to have been accompanied with extraordinary occurrences: rainbows of exceedingly clear colours appeared and filled the sky, and flowers suddenly bloomed even though it was winter.
(From the left: (unkown layman) Jamgon Situ Rinpoche, Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Sangye Ngenpa Rinpoche, Drukpa Yongzin Rinpoche.)
At the age of four, the child recognized old monks from Yangpachen monastery, the seat of the Shamarpas. At the age of six, the 16th Karmapa recognized the young Mipham Chokyi Lodro as the 14th Shamarpa and, in an informal ceremony, enthroned him at Tsurphu, the main seat of the Karmapas in Tibet.
Having left Tibet together with the 16th Karmapa, Shamar Rinpoche stayed in the old Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim. In 1963, with the approval of the Dalai Lama, Karmapa in Rumtek officially enthroned Shamar Rinpoche.
While in Rumtek, the 16th Karmapa bestowed on the Shamarpa the complete teachings and transmissions of the Karma Kagyu school, such as the entire Kagyu Ngag Dzo collection of empowerment transmissions, the collection of Dam Ngag Dzo, the Ocean of Definitive Meaning of Mahamudra, the Gya Chen Ka Dzo, the Chag Chen Gya Shung, the Chigshe Kundröl, the empowerments of the Drub Tab Kuntu, and other vast collections of transmissions. Shamarpa also studied extensively the classical subjects of Madhyamaka, Prajnaparamita, Abhidharma, Vinaya, and Epistemology and excelled in all his studies with distinction.
Khyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, a great master of the Nyingma tradition, had given him the entire collection of the Nyingtig cycle of empowerments, explanations and quintessential instructions. The 10th Khyabje Nyenang Pawo Rinpoche, the last main disciple of the 15th Karmapa Khakhyab Dorje, transmitted to him the entire teaching of the 2nd Shamarpa Khacho Wangpo as well as selected teachings of the 8th Karmapa Mikyo Dorje. In addition, Shamarpa received teachings from the the great master Khyabje Ugyen Rinpoche, in particular the transmission of the profound Rinchen Terdzo and the esoteric Chokling Tersar initiations.
From Kalu Rinpoche he received the entire cycle of the Shangpa Kagyu teachings and from the 70th Je Khenpo of Bhutan he received the reading transmission of the Chag Chen Gya Shung, the Mahamudra collection of different Indian Mahasiddhas. In brief, therefore, the Shamarpa had received transmissions from more than ten great Buddhist masters, and had thus become an accomplished scholar learned in both sutras and tantras.
The 16th Karmapa also transmitted to him the complete three-fold vows, the outer Vinaya vows, the inner Bodhicitta vow and the tantric vows of the Secret Knowledge Holder (vidyadhara). He formally installed him as his lineage holder on the highest position after himself.
In 1980, a year before the 16th Karmapa passed away, he made sure to give the Shamarpa the special oral instruction of the Lineage of Absolute Realization, which was transmitted to Tilopa in an unbroken lineage from Buddha Vajradhara. In addition to the transmission that Shamarpa had received from the 16th Karmapa, he had received a large number of transmissions from other great contemporary teachers of various traditions.
During the lifetime of the 16th Karmapa, the Shamarpa had travelled extensively as the Karmapa’s representative and future regent. In Nepal for example he had renovated and consecrated the Karma Raja Mahavihara next to the Swayambunath Stupa.
In the year 1981, after the 16th Karmapa passed away, the Shamarpa shouldered the responsibility of the projects which the 16th Karmapa had initiated before his death. One of them was the construction of the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute in New Delhi, India. This institute has offered courses of higher Buddhist studies to students and scholars from all over the world until this day. It has been an affiliate of Indian Universities for some years, and is recognized by many educational institutions around the world.
Additionally, since the passing away of the 16th Karmapa, Shamar Rinpoche had continued to care for the monks and nuns of the lineage and provide them with education. He ensured that tantric rites and pujas were conducted at all the Karmapa’s monasteries in strict adherence to Kagyu traditions. Last but not least, in accordance with the wishes of the late 16th Karmapa, he had hundreds of volumes of the Tengyur, the commentaries to sutras and tantras, be printed and brought as gifts to many Buddhist temples and monasteries inside and outside of India. He also printed and distributed the complete collection of Indian and Tibetan Mahamudra works.
When he heard of a young boy with special qualities living in Lhasa, Shamarpa arranged for him to be visited by trusted lamas, eventually becoming convinced that this was indeed the long-awaited reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa. His choice was furthermore in agreement with a vision of the universally regarded saint Chobgye Trichen Rinpoche and was further confirmed on the basis of the child’s self-proclamation as the Karmapa. His personal visions in his capacity as the Shamarpa as well as divination rites performed at the sacred site of the self-arisen Jowo-Zamling Karpo (Chenresig statue) in Kathmandu as well as the Tara statue outside of Kathmandu also further confirmed Trinley Thaye Dorje as the genuine Karmapa.
Thus, as so many of his predecessors had done, Shamarpa recognized the boy Thaye Dorje as the 17th Karmapa, officially enthroning him as the Karmapa in the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute (KIBI) in New Delhi in 1994. In 1996 he performed the traditional hair-cutting ceremony for him in Bodh Gaya.
As lineage holder, Shamarpa naturally became the root teacher of the 17th Karmapa, and returned to him the entirety of the Kagyu lineage transmission, fully training and empowering him. On Dec. 1st, 2003 he conferred the title of a Vidyadhara (sometimes also called Vajracarya) on him, confirming him as the leader of the Karma Kagyu tradition.
Shamarpa travelled widely and taught thousands of students worldwide. In the 1990s, he started to set up a worldwide organization called Bodhi Path with the aim of offering Buddhist practice free from any sectarianism, and he continued to teach worldwide both in his own Bodhi Path centers as well as in other centers associated with the Karmapa.
In 2002 Shamarpa established a primary school near Darjeeling, followed by the Shri Diwakar Institute at Kalimpong, which was designed to provide a ten-year curriculum of Buddhist studies for a few hundred monks. His next most important project was to be the Shar Minub Institute in Kathmandu, Nepal, devoted to higher Buddhist studies, research, and retreat, with accomodation for a thousand monks. Meanwhile in Tibet, the traditional seat of the Shamarpas at Yangpachen had been rebuilt as an institute for higher Buddhist studies. Not limited to projects of his own, the Shamarpa had contributed also to the rebuilding and development in Tibet of many institutions and monasteries. Close to the Shar Minub Institute in Kathmandu, Shamarpa established a special retreat center, which has been operating for many years. It is a place for senior monks upholding the Vinaya vows who are dedicated to a life-long practice of their vows along with the practice of Mahamudra.
Shamarpa wrote several books on Buddhist practice, and also about democracy, demonstrating his interest not in politics, which he always tried to avoid, but in bettering the lives of ordinary people. He also founded the Infinite Compassion Foundation to promote the humane treatment of animals.
The 14th Shamar Rinpoche Mipham Chokyi Lodro passed away aged 62 at his Bodhi Path center in Renchen-Ulm, Germany, on 11 June 2014. For three days he remained in his post-mortem meditation state, or tugdam. He left this state on the full-moon day in June, the day, which commemorates the birth, enlightenment and parinirvana of the Buddha. His mortal remains were first brought to India and then via Bhutan to Nepal, where the cremation took place.
The Karmapa that they themselves recognized has authenticated the previous Shamarpas in accordance with the principle of reciprocal recognition . In this way, relying on their unparalleled spiritual realization and operating outside of politics, the Red Hat and Black Hat Karmapas have been authentically recognized and trained and thus continue as the oldest reincarnate lineages in Tibetan Buddhism.
2. Bodhipath Buddhist Studies