Karma Lingpa

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Karma Lingpa
Tibetan: ཀརྨ་གླིང་པ་Wylie: kar ma gling pa
Order Nyingma
Born 1326
Died 1386
Religious career
Reincarnation Chokro Lü Gyeltsen
Profession Tertön, revealer of the Bardo Thodol.

Karma Lingpa (1326–1386) was a reincarnation of Chokro Lü Gyeltsen,[note 1][1] a disciple of Padmasambhava. He was the tertön (revealer) of the Bardo Thodol, the so-called Tibetan Book of the Dead.[2]


Karma Lingpa was embodied in southeast Tibet as the eldest son of Nyida Sanggyé,[note 2] the great Vajrayana practitioner. At an early age, Karma Lingpa engaged in esoteric practices and achieved many siddhi.

When he was fifteen years old,[3] he discovered several terma texts on top of Mount Gampodar, including a collection of teachings entitled "Profound Dharma of Self-Liberation through the Intention of the Peaceful and Wrathful Ones"[4] (zab-chos zhi khro dgongs pa rang grol, also known as kar-gling zhi-khro[3]), which includes the two texts of bar-do thos-grol, the so-called "Tibetan Book of the Dead".[2]

The bar-do thos-grol was translated by Kazi Dawa Samdup (1868-1922), and edited and published by W.Y. Evans-Wenz. This translation became widely known and popular as "the Tibetan Book of the Dead", but contains many mistakes in translation and interpretation.[2][5]

Another text from the "Profound Dharma of Self-Liberation" is "Self-Liberation through seeing with naked awareness" (rigpa ngo-sprod[note 3]), which gives an introduction, or pointing-out instruction (ngo-spro), into rigpa, the state of presence and awareness.[7]


  1. ^ Wylie: cog ro klu'i rgyal mtshan
  2. ^ Wylie: nyi zla sangs rgyas
  3. ^ Full: rigpa ngo-sprod gcer-mthong rang-grol[6]


  1. ^ "Chokro Lui Gyaltsen". Rangjung Yeshe Wiki - Dharma Dictionnary. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  2. ^ a b c Norbu 1989, p. xii.
  3. ^ a b Norbu 1989, p. ix.
  4. ^ Fremantle 2001, p. 20.
  5. ^ Reynolds 1989, p. 71-115.
  6. ^ norbu 1989, p. x.
  7. ^ Norbu 1989, p. x.


  • Fremantle, Francesca (2001), Luminous Emptiness: understanding the Tibetan Book of the dead, Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications, ISBN 1-57062-450-X 
  • Norbu, Namkhai (1989), "Foreword", in Reynolds, John Myrdin, Self-liberation through seeing with naked awareness, Station Hill Press, Inc. 
  • Reynolds, John Myrdin (1989), "Appendix I: The views on Dzogchen of W.Y. Evans-Wentz and C.G. Jung", in Reynolds, John Myrdin, Self-liberation through seeing with naked awareness, Station Hill Press, Inc. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Reynolds, John Myrdin (1989), Self-Liberation through seeing with naked awareness, Station Hill Press, Inc.