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Rangjung Dorje
[1284 - 1339] The Third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje was born in Dingri Langkor, startling those present by sitting up and proclaiming himself to be the Karmapa. Three years later he renewed his assertions by making himself a black hat and again declaring himself to be the Karmapa. Two more years were to pass before he met Drubtop Urgyenpa who recognised the child as the reincarnation of Karma Pakshi, and gave him the actual Black Crown, all the possessions of the second Karmapa, and - not least - all the Kagyu teachings. Not content with this, Rangjung Dorje sought out masters of all the Buddhist traditions of the time, studying with Trophu Kunden Sherab and Nyenre Gendun Bum among others.
As a result, he achieved great fame, and attracted many disciples. A practical man, he built bridges as well as meditation centres, benefiting his countrymen's daily life as well as their spiritual one. For posterity, he wrote many texts and commentaries, preserving many of the teachings in a form we use today. His two main disciples were Gyalwa Yungton Dorje Pal, who was to become the next lineage holder, and the first Shamarpa, Khaydrup Drakpa Senge.
The Shamarpa lineage is the second line of reincarnates in history of the Tibetan tradition (the Karmapas being the first), and began when Rangjung Dorje presented Khaydrup Drakpa Senge with a ruby-red crown, and the title Shamarpa (Holder of the Red Crown). The Red Crown is an exact replica of the Black Crown worn by the Karmapas, and exemplifies the close relationship between them. These crowns are symbols of activities that benefit beings, and in no way denote separate lineages. Both the "Black Hat Lama" and the "Red Hat Lama" are of the Karma Kagyu Lineage.The Shamarpa is also known as a manifestation of Amithabha, the Buddha of Limitless Light.


Rangjung Rigpe Dorje
[1924-1981] The sixteenth Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, was born at Denkhok in Derge province in east Tibet. Jampal Tsultrim, the fifteenth Karmapa's personal attendant, had been entrusted by his master with a letter setting forth the circumstances of his new incarnation. Jampal Tsultrim now handed this letter to the authorities at Tsurphu monastery, who - having had Beru Khyentse, Situpa and Jamgon Kontrul clarify certain points - sent out the search-party which successfully located the child. He was taken to Palpung Monastery where Situ Pema Wangchuk gave him ordination, bodhisattva promises, and many teachings. In addition, Beru Khyentse Lodro Mizat Jampa'i Gocha taught him the Tantra, Bo Kangkar Rinpoche taught him the sutras, and Jamgon Palden Kyentse Oser taught him Mahamudra and the Six Yogas of Naropa. He would come to regard Situ Pema Wangchuk and Jamgon Palden Kyentse Oser as his main gurus.


Insight in the nature of mind, which cannot be obscured by ignorance.


Realm of Desire
The realm of desire (Samsara) is subdivided into six realms of beings: The three miserable realms:
  • Hells. There are 18 hells - cold ones and hot ones. These hells don't really (materially) exist: The mind experiences the results of lots of very negative actions done in former existences. These results lead to a paranoid state in which the world is experienced as a hell.
  • Starving spirits. They got always hunger and thirst but they are not able to eat or drink. The existence as a starving spirit is a result of ones own illusion, too. This is due to extreme avarice in former existences.
  • Animals.
The three happier realms ("happier" doesn't mean "happy" - take a look around...):
  • Humans.
  • Demi-gods (Asuras). They are wealthy and live under good conditions. But they are envious of the gods because they still live better.
  • Gods. They live under very good conditions. They are clear-sighted, but they are not liberated. They still suffer from desire. Because they are clear-sighted, they can see their rebirth in the lower realms. This let's them suffer, too.
As long as a being is not liberated it will continue to take birth in one of these realms. In all realms the beings suffer.

The only realm with the possibility to achieve a positive spiritual development is the realm of humans. In the miserable realms the sufferings are too intense or the mind is too dim. Beings of the realms of the demi-gods and gods live in such good conditions that they are not interested in working with the mind.


Realm of Great Joy
[Tib. Dewachen, Skr. Sukhavati] Pure Realm of the Buddha of Limitless Light.


New embodiment in the next life. It usually follows unintentionally the strongest habits of the former life. By making strong wishes for the benefit of all beings it is however possible to take rebirth in a conscious way. To do this there must be a realisation of the nature of mind.

(1083 - ca. 1160) His parents gave him the name Dorje Drak (Vajra-glory). Already as a young child he could keep a lot of teachings in his mind. When he was twelve years old he first met Milarepa. A short time before Milarepa had a vision of Dorje Pagmo. She made the prophecy to him that he will meet a moon-like disciple. Rechungpa received teachings from Milarepa (e.g. Six Teachings of Naropa) and stayed with him for many years. During this time he went to India and received teachings from Balancandra and Tipupa, Marpa's son. He also went to Central-Tibet and received teachings - including Mahamudra teachings - from various teachers. After reaching full realization Milarepa told him to leave. Rechungpa thaught the Dharma in Tibet and had a lot of disciples.


Recognition, Theory of
[Skt. pramana, Tib. tsema): Teachings of  Buddha about the way the mind works. Especially about what true and deceived recognition means, about the object of recognition, the process of recognition und the cognitive mind. Also called theory of perception.


Red Wisdom
[Tib. Dorje Pha mo, Skt. Vajravarahi] The highest wisdom of the Buddhas. The pig represents basic ignorance which is transformed into highest wisdom.


[Tib. Kyab Dro, Lit.: protection from suffering] Entry into the  Buddhist path. It is a reorientation towards values that can be trusted permanently. One takes refuge to the state of a  Buddha as the goal, in the  Dharma - the teachings - as the way and to the  Sangha the practioners (Bodhisattvas) -  as the friends on the way. These are called the "Three Jewels". To practice the Diamond Way one needs the additional Refuge in the Three Roots, called Lama, Yidam and Protector. They are the sources of blessing, inspiration and protection along the way.


Refuge Tree
The Refuge is represented as a tree. The tree consists of a golden trunk and four silver branches and stands in the middle of a lake. Where the trunk divides into the branches Karmapa sits. When showing the principle of enlightenment, he appears in the form of Dorje Chang. On the four branches the Buddha aspects, Buddhas, Dharma and Sangha are located. The trunk is surrounded by many Protectors.

The Preliminary Practices are made in front of the Refuge Tree, for example.


Buddhism is one of the world religions. One can call it a religion of experience as opposed to the belief religions. Every step on the way and the final goal are a matter of experience. At the end one becomes identical with the goal - Buddhahood. In a strict sense one can also say that Buddhism isn't a religion.

Buddhism isn't a philosophy, too. Although it's logical it is more than just an explanation how things are. It changes us. We experience the world in a different way. Because of this one might think Buddhism is Psychology. But this isn't true as well. Psychology is useful to let us be no cause of trouble to our self and others. Buddhism starts where Psychology ends: When we are in a stable state and realize that space doesn't separate us from each other and that subject, object and action are qualities of mind itself.


Honorific title meaning "Precious One." It is frequently given to Buddhist Masters.


Rolpe Dorje
[1340 - 1383] The fourth Karmapa, Rolpe Dorje emulated his previous incarnation by sitting up at his birth, in Kongpo province in Central Tibet, and speaking - this time choosing to recite the mantra of Chenrezig, "Om Mani Peme Hung Shri". Having - as that previous incarnation - left clear instructions with his secretary, Rinchen Pal, as to which signs to look for, the child was quickly found, and his training begun. At six he took refuge vows and the lay precepts from Tokden Gon Gyalwa, who also taught the young Karmapa the Tantrayana. He was twelve before, travelling to Central Tibet, he met the lineage holder Gyalwa Yungton Dorje Pal, and proceeded to convince the older man of his authenticity by recounting many anecdotes from his previous life as the third Karmapa. He went on to request Gyalwa Yungton Dorje Pal to give him the transmission of the Kagyu teachings. Once his education at the hands of his former student was complete, Rolpe Dorje travelled widely through Tibet and China, teaching and taking disciples; the foremost of these was the second Shamarpa, who became the next lineage holder.


Root Lama
The teacher who introduces one into the nature of mind. This can be a teacher from whom one has received the empowerment, instructions and precepts that form the core of one's own practice.


Roots, Three


A monastery in Sikkim, India. The former King of Sikkim Tashi Namgyal gave land to the Rangjung Rigpe Dorje to build a monastery after the chinese had forced him out of Tibet.


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