Rangjung Dorje, 3rd Karmapa Lama

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Rangjung Dorje (1284–1339)

Rangjung Dorje (Wylie: rang 'byung rdo rje) (1284–1339) was the third Karmapa (head of the Karma Kagyu, the largest sub-school of the Kagyu) and an important figure in the history of Tibetan Buddhism, who helped to spread Buddha-nature teachings in Tibetan Buddhism.

Biography[edit]

Rangjung Dorje visited China, where the emperor Toghon Temur became his disciple. Upon his death, Rangjung Dorje's face is said to have appeared in the moon there. As a group, the Karmapa Lamas were among the earliest recognized Tulku, or lamas reincarnated as deities or lineage of deceased teachers. The first Karmapas were influential in the Yuan and Ming courts as well as the Tangut Western Xia Kingdom.[note 1]

Lineage[edit]

Born to a Nyingma family, Rangjung Dorje was a lineage-holder in both the Kagyu and the Nyingma (Dzogchen):

The third Karmapa Lama, Rangjung Dorje, was a disciple of Nyingma Kumaradza. The latter taught Rangjung Dorje the nying-thig, "heart-essence," teachings transmitted by Padmasambhava[note 2] and Vimalamitra. [note 3] Therefore, Rangjung Dorje belongs to the nying-thig lineage of the Nyingma school.[2]

Teachings and influence[edit]

Buddha-nature and shentong[edit]

In 1321 the famous scholar Dolpopa (1292-1361) visited Tsurphu Monastery for the first time and had extensive discussions with Rangjung Dorje about doctrinal issues. It appears that Rangjung Dorje almost certainly influenced the development of some of Dolpopa's theories, possibly including his Zhentong (gzhan stong) method.[3]

According to Karma phrin las, Dri lan yid, 91-92, his teacher, Chödrak Gyatso, the Seventh Karmapa, interpreted the nature of Zhentong (gzhan stong) accepted by Rangjung Dorje.[4]

Chod[edit]

Schaeffer (1995: p.15) conveys that the Third Karmapa was a systematizer of the Chöd developed by Machig Labdrön and lists a number of his works on Chod consisting of redactions, outlines and commentaries.[note 4]

Dzogchen[edit]

Yungtön Dorjepel (1284-1365), (the previous incarnation of the First Panchen Lama, Khedrup Je), studied the Great Perfection due to the great inspiration of Rangjung Dorje.[6]

Writings[edit]

Rangjung Dorje was a noted scholar who composed many significant texts, the most famous of which is the Profound Inner Meaning (Wylie: zab mo nang don[7]), which concern the Vajrayana inner yoga practices. Other important texts of his include:

  • the Aspiration Prayer of Mahamudra[8] (Wylie: nge don phyag rgya chen po'i smon lam gyi 'grel pa grub pa mchog gi zhal lung),
  • the Prayer to the Lineage of Chö,[9]
  • the thirty-six verse doha (Sanskrit) Distinguishing Consciousness from Wisdom (Wylie: rnam shes ye shes ‘byed pa),[10]
  • Instructions on Sahajayoga Mahamudra [11],
  • A Treatise on Buddha Nature (Wylie: de bzhin gshegs pa'i snying po gtan la dbab pa; or, de bzhin gshegs pa'i snying po bstan pa).[12]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Tom Suchan: "The first several Karmapas are distinguished by their important status at the Yuan and Ming courts of China where they served as the spiritual guides to princes and emperors. Their influence also extended to the court of the Tangut Xia Kingdom where a disciple of Dusum Khyenpa was given the title "Supreme Teacher" by a Tangut Xixia King..."[1][2]
  2. ^ The Khandro Nyingtik
  3. ^ The Vima Nyingtik
  4. ^ Schaeffer: "Rang byung was renowned as a systematizer of the Gcod teachings developed by Ma gcig lab sgron. His texts on Gcod include the Gcod kyi khrid yig; the Gcod bka' tshoms chen mo'i sa bcad which consists of a topical outline of and commentary on Ma gcig lab sgron's Shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa zab mo gcod kyi man ngag gi gzhung bka' tshoms chen mo ; the Tshogs las yon tan kun 'byung ; the lengthy Gcod kyi tshogs las rin po che'i phrenb ba 'don bsgrigs bltas chog tu bdod pa gcod kyi lugs sor bzhag; the Ma lab sgron la gsol ba 'deb pa'i mgur ma; the Zab mo bdud kyi gcod yil kyi khrid yig, and finally the Gcod kyi nyams len.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rhie, Marylin & Thurman, Robert (1991). Wisdom and Compassion. New York: Harry N. Abrams. p.236.
  2. ^ a b Suchan, Tom (1998). The Third Karmapa Lama, Rangjung Dorje (1284-1338). Source: [1] (accessed: January 29, 2008)
  3. ^ Stearns, Cyrus (1999). The Buddha from Dolpo: A Study of the Life and Thought of the Tibetan Master Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen, pp. 17, 47-48, 51-52, 61. State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-4191-1 (hc); ISBN 0-7914-4192-X (pbk).
  4. ^ Stearns, Cyrus (1999). The Buddha from Dolpo: A Study of the Life and Thought of the Tibetan Master Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen, p. 207, n. 72. State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-4191-1 (hc); ISBN 0-7914-4192-X (pbk).
  5. ^ Schaeffer, Kurtis R. (1995). The Englightened Heart of Buddhahood: A Study and Translation of the Third Karma pa Rang byung rdo rje's Work on Tathagatagarbha. (Wylie: de bzhin pa'i snying po gtan la dbab pa). University of Washington. Source: [2] (accessed: Friday February 12, 2010), p.15.
  6. ^ Dorje, Gyurme and Kapstein, Matthew. (1991) The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism: Its Fundamentals and History, p. 666. Wisdom Publications, Boston. ISBN 0-86171-087-8
  7. ^ Dharma Dictionary (2008). zab mo nang don. Source: [3] (accessed: January 29, 2008)
  8. ^ Prayer for the Definitive Meaning, The Mahamudra, Translated by Peter Alan Roberts; in Mahamudra and Related Instructions: Core Teachings of the Kagyu Schools, pp.169-174
  9. ^ Prayer To The Lineage of Chö by Rangjung Dorje, Karmapa III
  10. ^ Rangjung Dorje (root text); Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche (commentary); Peter Roberts (translator) (2001). Transcending Ego - Distinguishing Consciousness from Wisdom (Wylie: rnam shes ye shes ‘byed pa). Source: [4] (accessed: Wednesday April 1, 2009)
  11. ^ Instructions for Mahamudra Innate Union, Translated by Peter Alan Roberts; in Mahamudra and Related Instructions: Core Teachings of the Kagyu Schools, pp.153-168
  12. ^ Schaeffer, Kurtis R. (1995). The Englightened Heart of Buddhahood: A Study and Translation of the Third Karma pa Rang byung rdo rje's Work on Tathagatagarbha. (Wylie: de bzhin pa'i snying po gtan la dbab pa). University of Washington. Source: [5] (accessed: Friday February 12, 2010), p.1.

Sources[edit]

  • Lama Kunsang, Lama Pemo, Marie Aubèle (2012). History of the Karmapas: The Odyssey of the Tibetan Masters with the Black Crown. Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca, New York. ISBN 1-55939-390-4.
  • Thinley, Karma (2008). The History of Sixteen Karmapas of Tibet. USA: Prajna Press. p. 150. ISBN 1-57062-644-8. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Schaeffer, Kurtis R. (1995), The Englightened Heart of Buddhahood: A Study and Translation of the Third Karma pa Rang byung rdo rje's Work on Tathagatagarbha. (Wylie: de bzhin pa'i snying po gtan la dbab pa). University of Washington.[1]
  • Brunnholzl, Karl (2009), Luminous Heart: The Third Karmapa on Consciousness, Wisdom, and Buddha Nature, Snow Lion Publications 

External links[edit]

Biography
Texts
Preceded by
Karma Pakshi
Reincarnation of the Karmapa Succeeded by
Rolpe Dorje
  1. ^ [6] (accessed: Friday February 12, 2010)