| Karma Kagyu Lineage History
In the 7th century, the great Indian Buddhist Master, Guru Padmasambhava
was invited to Tibet by the Tibetan King, Trisong Detsen. Once in
Tibet, Guru Padmasambhava firmly planted the teachings of the Buddha,
where they flourished. Generations of masters were enlightened by
these transmissions forming unbroken lineage. The eight major Tibetan
Buddhist lineage that derived from the teachings of the Buddha Sakyamuni
are: Nyingma, Lamde, Kadhampa, Marpa Kagyu, Shangpa Kagyu, Sheche,
Jordruk and Dorje Nendup.
The Kagyu oral transmission lineage was received by the Indian
Buddhist Mahasiddha, Tilopa, and from many of the enlightened masters,
as well as directly from Buddha Vajradhara. In turn, Tilopa transmitted
the teachings to the great scholar Mahasiddha Naropa of Nalanda
Monastic University. Naropa then transmitted to Marpa, the great
Mahasiddha translator who was the previous incarnation of the Tai
Situpa. Marpa journeyed three times to India from Tibet to receive
the transmissions and then carry them back to Tibet. His main disciple,
the enlightened Je Milarepa, passed the transmissions to Gampopa,
a great bhikhu scholar and an enlightened master. Gampopa had numerous
accomplished disciples, and through them, many lineages developed.
The Karma Kagyu lineage was derived in the twelfth century by the
first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, a disciple of Gampopa. The first Karmapa
transmitted the teachings to his principle disciple, Drogon Rechen,
a previous incarnation of the Tai Situpa, who then passed the transmission
to Gyalse Pomdrakpa, who then passed it to the second Karmapa. Since
then the teachings of the Karma Kagyu lineage have been transmitted
from the Karmapas to their main disciples, and back, in an unbroken
line of reincarnated realized beings who have preserved these teachings
in their purity and sacredness to the present time.
1757 AD, Chamgon Tai Situpa Rinpoche founded the great Palpung
Monastery in Eastern Tibet. "Palpung" literally means
"Glorious Accumulation: a place where talented masters are
cultivated." Palpung became the administrative seat of Tai
Situpa and from this monastic seat there developed over one hundred
and eighty monastic branches and thirteen monastic estates throughout
For more than 200 years Palpung was a great center of learning
and one of the most sacred and prestigious institutions in Tibet
with extensive libraries and thousands of treasured sacred paintings
and artifacts. However, following the Communist occupation and political
uprising in the late 1950s, most of sacred Palpung Monastery and
its congregation were destroyed.
In 1959 Chamgon Tai Situpa Rinpoche and his entourage
left Tibet and joined His Holiness, the Sixteenth Karmapa at Rumtek
Monastery in Sikkim.
In 1975, at the age of 22, The Twelfth Chamgon Tai
Situpa continued his religious and traditional responsibilities,
and assured the transmission of Tibetan Buddhism in its pure form,
by founding the Palpung Sherab Ling Monastic Seat in Kangra Valley,
Himachal Pradesh, India. Recognizing the growing interest in Buddhism
throughout the world, the Twelfth Tai Situpa, also
wished to provide the opportunity for people to study and practice
in a traditional Tibetan Buddhist monastic environment.
The Palpung Sherab Ling Monastic Seat has developed once again
into a major center of Vajrayana Buddhism in general, and in particular
the monastic seat for the Palpung congregation of the Kagyu Lineage,
having in residence over 500 monks and nuns, as well as lay devotees.
The monastery project encompasses four independent aspects: spiritual,
educational, cultural and health. The spiritual aspect centers on
the preservation and propagation of the pure unadulterated teachings
of the Buddha as transmitted by the Kagyu lineage and Palpung congregation.
"As a Tibetan in India and also involved in religion as an
incarnate lama, I have the responsibility to preserve and propagate
the sacred teachings of the Buddha. At the same time, having been
to many places around the world and having met with many people
of different cultures and religions, I feel it is of crucial importance
to preserve our own ancient and living lineage, traditions, practices,
arts and sciences, the spirit of the Tibetan heritage, which is
one of the living wisdom of humanity. Palpung Sherab Ling Monastic
Seat is dedicated to that purpose."
The Twelfth Chamgon Tai Situpa