The Tenth Karmapa
Chöying Dorje (1604 – 1674)
As predicted, the tenth
Karmapa was born in the Golok region, in the far northeast of Tibet. He was
recognized and enthroned by Shamar Chokyi Wangchuk, from whom he received
the full Kagyu transmission.
By the age of six, he was a
better painter than his teachers, as well as a gifted sculptor. Chöying
Dorje anticipated the wars and political strife that were soon to come,
realizing that certain political interests in Tibet would enlist the Mongol
armies in the Gelugpa cause. Knowing he would be forced out of central Tibet
by the political strife, the tenth Karmapa gave away most of his wealth to
the poor and appointed Goshir Gyaltsab his regent.
Gushri Khan's Mongol armies
attacked Shigatse and then continued the attack through much of Tibet,
causing considerable destruction throughout the land, and eventually
overrunning the Karmapa's camp. Chöying Dorje was forced to leave the area.
With an attendant, he traveled throughout Tibet and then spent more than
three years living in the wilds of Bhutan. They later traveled to what is
today northern Yunnan, Burma and Nepal. As always, wherever the Karmapa went,
he fostered the dharma and he was able to establish some monasteries along
Twenty some years passed
before he could return to his homeland. He recognized the next incarnations
of Shamar Yeshe Nyingpo, Goshir Gyaltsab, and Pawo Rinpoche, and gave the
transmission of the Kagyu teachings. Shamarpa became his main spiritual heir.
At the age of 71, Chöying Dorjé passed into parinirvana, leaving
instructions and a prediction letter. Goshir Gyaltsab Norbu Sangpo became
the regent at Tsurphu.
By this time the political
landscape in Tibet had changed for good. Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso, the fifth
Dalai Lama, had become the official ruler of Tibet, and this role of the
Dalai Lamas would continue to be filled by his successive incarnations.