The Seventh Karmapa, Chödrag Gyatsho (1454-1506)

7th-Karmapa-Chödrag-Gyatsho-28THE SEVENTH KARMAPA, Chödrak Gyatso, was heard to say "A ma la" (mother) when born and to declare, "AH HUNG, there is nothing in the world but voidness," at five months of age. At nine months his parents took him to Gyaltsab Rinpoche, who recognized the new Karmapa incarnation. When only some five years of age, he brought peace to the southernmost parts of the Tibetan plateau, where the people of Nagaland and Bhutan were at war.

He worked hard for the protection of animals and instigated all sorts of projects, such as the construction of bridges. In particular, he encouraged individuals and groups of people to recite many millions of Mani mantras—"The best cure for anything."

Chödrak Gyatso spent much of his life in retreat or half-retreat. He was an extremely erudite scholar and author and it was he who founded the monastic university at Tsurphu. He also restored the large statue commissioned by Karma Pakshi.

Often a peacemaker, he is remembered for his visions of Guru Rinpoche which led him to discover hidden valleys of refuge for people in times of war. He maintained contact with the remaining Buddhists of India and sent much gold to Bodh Gaya for the Buddha image there to be gilded.

Knowing that he would pass away at the age of 52, he left details of his next incarnation and passed on the lineage to Tashi Paljor.


Text reprinted with permission of Altea Publishing from Karmapa, by Ken Holmes. Copyright 1995 by Altea Publishing.