The Ninth Karmapa
Wangchuk Dorje (1556 – 1603)
As predicted by the eighth
Karmapa, the ninth was born in the Treshö region of eastern Tibet. He was
heard reciting mantras in the womb during pregnancy and he, too, sat
cross-legged for three days soon after birth and declared he was the Karmapa.
In accordance to the
prediction letter left by the eighth Karmapa, he was soon recognized by the
Tai Situpa Chökyi Gocha, who was staying not far away, and by the Sharmapa
Konchok Yenlak. A year later, Shamarpa enthroned him at the age of six and
gave him extensive teachings.
Once Wangchuk Dorje had
received the complete Kagyu transmission, he began to teach throughout
Tibet, traveling in a monastic camp, which strictly emphasized meditation
practice. Wangchuk Dorje did not visit China but made important trips to
Mongolia and Bhutan. He gave many teachings and restored monasteries and
temples wherever he went.
The ninth Karmapa also
received an invitation to visit Sikkim and under his guidance, established
three monasteries in Sikkim: Rumtek, Phodong, and Ralang. The Karmapa
blessed and consecrated them from Tibet. Rumtek subsequently became the seat
of the Karmapas in India in the early 1960's.
Like the eighth Karmapa,
Wangchuk Dorje was also a creative author and wrote many condensed
commentaries on sutras and tantras, including three mahamudra treatises: The
Ocean Of Definitive Meaning, Dispelling The Darkness Of Ignorance, and
Pointing Out The Dharmakaya. These treatises have played a major role in
Tibet for the teaching and transmission of mahamudra.
At the age of 48 he passed
into parinirvana, leaving his prediction letter along with instructions
about the next incarnation to the sixth Shamarpa Chökyi Wangchuk.