Mipham Chokyi Lodro, also known as Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche, was the 14th Shamarpa of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. The Shamarpa is the second most important teacher of the Karma Kagyu school after the Karmapa. The Karmapas are sometimes referred to as the Black Hat Lamas, referring to their Black Crown.
Shamarpa Rinpoche was the emanation of Amitabha, the Buddha of Limitless Light: a living example of the appearance of Amitabha in our world in the form of a Mahabodhisattva.
The Tibetan title of Shamar means “the lama of the ruby-red crown”, named after the replica of the Karmapa’s own crown which he bestowed on the Shamarpa. The successive incarnations of the Shamarpas are also known as the “Red Hat Karmapa”.
Birth and Early life
The 14th Shamarpa was born .
A tulku is a reincarnate custodian of a specific lineage of teachings in Tibetan Buddhism who is given empowerments and trained from a young age by students of his or her predecessor.
Historically, the tulku system of preserving Dharma lineages operated in Tibet with the first being the Karmapas.
After the first Karmapa died in 1193, a lama had recurrent visions of a particular child as his rebirth.
This child (born ca. 1205) was recognized as .
Karma Kagyu lamas are recognized for being masters of the practice of Mahamudra, a mystical path of Tibetan Buddhism that aims to achieve enlightenment by realizing the essence of mind.
They are often referred to as the "whisperers of Mahamudra," in reference to the oral transmission of these teachings which is done confidentially and intimately between the teacher and student.
Origin of the Karma Kagyu lineage
The Kagyu school, also transliterated as Kagyü, or Kagyud, which translates .