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The Prophecy of Chokgyur Lingpa Misused to Prove that Ogyen Trinle Is the 17 th Karmapa

Often the prophecy of Chokgyur Lingpa, a Tibetan saint who lived in the 19th century, is misused to "prove" that Ogyen Trinle is the authentic 17th Karmapa. That is not at all the case shows this document.

Karmapa. That is not at all the case shows this document. more on: The great

The great tertön 1 Chokgyur Lingpa (1829-1870) had a vision of the Karmapas. Chokyur Lingpas Biography reads: “At Karmey Monastery he had a vision of the 27 Karmapas, seeing the details of their lives and activities. Explaining this to artists later, he had them make paintings on the monastery walls.” 2 The 17th Karmapa is shown on those paintings as being together with a red crowned Lama, whom he interpreted to be Tai Situ Rinpoche, whose mind was said to be inseperable from the 17th Karmapa:

„At the side of trees and the rocky mountain, the 17th Karmapa and Kenting Tai Situ sitting together is a sign that the hearts of the two of them will join as one; the Dharma leaf will flourish, and the lineage of Dhagpo will fully ripen as a fruit.“ The actual Situpa knew of this thangka and ordered Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche, the son of Lingpa''s second reincarnation Neten Chokling Pema Gyurme, to bring the thangka to exile. He did, showed it to the Dalai Lama and gave it to Situpa who printed it and distributed largely the copies – as prove that his choice of the 17 th Karmapa was right. Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche:

“Many people followed the Thangka and its prophecy – Thrangu, Tenga, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, to them it was more important then the opinion of Shamarpa or Situpa.” 3 But few people had considered a historical fact which points out that actually the 16th Karmapa could be meant with this prophecy: There was a Karmapa-incarnation after the 14th Karmapa, which died as a child before being enthroned. The official counting doesn't take notice of that child. It is not sure if Chokyur Lingpa counted that incarnation. If so, the present Karmapa would be the 18th and not the 17th. The prophecy about the 17th Karmapa would then concern the 16th Karmapa, who had two root Lamas: Jamgön Kongtrül Rinpoche II and indeed Situpa XI. This interpretation is plausible as Lingpa predicts that under the 17th Karmapa the Dharma spreads over the world, what actually happened through the activity of the 16th Karmapa Rigpe Dorje. 4 In the copy of the prediction Geshe Dawa Gyaltsen presents 5 , it's written: „At that time [of the 17th Karmapa], summer retreat will be revived“, what happened during the lifetime of the 16th


A Tertön is someone who finds the treasury texts and ritual objects hidden by Padmasambhava in the 8 th century.


Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche, Tulku Jigmey Khyentse; Kunsang, Erik Pema (transl.): The Life of Chokgyur Lingpa,

Rangjung Yeshe Publications 1988. It seems to be rather thangkas which were put on the monastery walls, see below.

3 Ugyen Tobgay talk about Karmapa's fake Prediction Letter by Situ Rinpoche,


5 On the Visions of Chokgyur Lingpa - Geshe Dawa Gyaltsen, in: Wong, Sylvia: The Karmapa Prophecies, Motilal Banarsidass 2010.

Karmapa. 6 The as 16 th counted Karmapa Rikpe Dorje himself said to Lama Gendün Rinpoche: “I myself will definitely manifest in this world as the Karmapa for another three or four lifetimes. Thereafter my activity will spread out, through many manifestations but without the name 'Karmapa'. 7 That means that the 16 th Karmapa predicted that there will be only 19 or 20 Karmapas. All of this is not very clear. As mentioned the Life of Chokgyur Lingpa Lingpa, Chokyur Lingpa spoke actually about 27 Karmapas. So all this is not to be taken to literally. 8

In a talk Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche, explaines that Shamarpa and Chokgyur Lingpa had no

connection, but Lingpa and Situpa had. Concerning the question which 17 th Karmapa he followed,

he didn't ask himself many questions and followed Situpa. He explains: “So no matter what is right

or wrong, my loyality will always be with Situpa.” 9

Its interesting that Lingpa first had the mentioned visions and

explained them “to artists later” who made the paintings of them. 10 In the vision about the 17 th Karmapa (on the image on the right) he saw next to him a Lama with a red crown. Both, Situpa and Shamarpa have a red crown. Might Lingpa

interpreted this red crowned Lama to be Situpa as he had no connection with Shamarpa, but actually his vision showed Shamarpa? With all this questions in mind it becomes clear that the

prediction of Chokgyur Lingpa is not sufficient to prove that Ogyen Trinle to be the authentic 17th Karmapa.

A detailled analyses of the prophecy is found in Sylvia

Wong's „The Karmapa Prophecies“ in the corresponding chapter which is reproduced here.

Wong's „The Karmapa Prophecies“ in the corresponding chapter which is reproduced here. (klick on "here" please).

is reproduced here . (klick on "here" please). 6 Khenchen Thrangu writes in his biography of

6 Khenchen Thrangu writes in his biography of the late Karmapa (as cited by Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche: The Lives of the Karmapas, 6 CDs, KTD publications, 2011/2012) that the rainy season retreat was revived in Karmapas monastery in exile, Rumtek. (Since the days of the 10th Karmapa it hadn't even practiced at Karmapas monastery of Tsurphu.) In the mentioned talk of Urgyen Tobgay he states that the prophecy attributes this to be predicted for the 15 th or 16 th Karmapa. So all of this remains unclear.

7 Lama Gendün Recalls, Vienna Dharma Videos,, 5min 15sec.

8Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche; Tulku Jigmey Khyentse and Erik Pema Kunsang (transl.): The Life of Chokgyur Lingpa, Rangjung Yeshe Publications 1988, pg 21.

9, transcript on this worldpress site.

10 See note 7.