THE 14TH SHAMARPA
SHAMAR MIPHAM CHOKYI LODRO
Mipham Chokyi Lodro was born on the 27th October, 1952 in the Kingdom of Derge, Eastern Tibet, into the noble Athub family – as the nephew of the 16th Karmapa. During the political ban on the Shamarpa lineage being formally recognised, the Shamarpas were reborn close to the Karmapas, who would recognise them informally.
At the age of four, the child recognized old monks from Yangpachen monastery, the seat of the Shamarpas. At the age of six, he was privately enthroned as the 14th Shamarpa by the 16th Karmapa.
After escaping the fighting in Tibet, Shamar Rinpoche stayed in the old Rumtek Monastery, receiving the complete teachings and transmissions of the Karma Kagyu school from the 16th Karmapa. In 1963, with the approval of the Dalai Lama, Shamar Rinpoche was officially enthroned and placed by the 16th Karmapa as a lineage holder on the highest position after himself.
The 14th Shamarpa settled in India, completing the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute, a project that the 16th Karmapa had begun before he died. Shamarpa travelled widely, and taught thousands of students worldwide, in his own Bodhi Path centers as well as other centers belonging to Karmapa.
Shamarpa wrote several books on Buddhist practice, and also about democracy, demonstrating his interest not in politics, which he always tried to avoid, but in bettering the lives of ordinary people. He also founded the Infinite Compassion Foundation to promote the humane treatment of animals.
When he heard of a young boy with special qualities living in Lhasa, Shamarpa arranged for him to be visited by trusted lamas, eventually becoming convinced that this was indeed the long-awaited reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa. Shamarpa was instrumental in arranging the 17th Karmapa Thaye Dorje and his family being brought safely out of Tibet.
As so many of his predecessors had done, he recognized the boy Thaye Dorje as the 17th Karmapa, formally enthroning him in the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute (KIBI) in New Delhi in 1994. As lineage holder, Shamarpa naturally became the root teacher of the 17th Karmapa, and returned to him the entirety of the Kagyu lineage transmission, fully training and empowering him.
Regarding the recognition of the 17th Karmapa, Shamar Rinpoche explained:
“There exists no tradition of asking for proof of such types of recognition. This is because the process is beyond what people can perceive with their normal senses. So I myself, being a Shamarpa,
I am the proof of the authority to recognize Karmapa according to the traditions of the Karma Kagyu lineage.”
The 14th Shamar Rinpoche Mipham Chokyi Lodro passed away aged 61 at his Dharma centre in Renchen Ulm, Germany, on 11 June 2014. All previous Shamarpas have been authenticated in accordance with the principle of reciprocal recognition, by the Karmapa that they themselves recognised. In this way, relying on their unparalleled spiritual realization and operating outside of politics, the Red Hat and Black Hat Karmapas have been authentically recognized, trained, realized, and thus continue as the oldest reincarnate lineages in Tibetan Buddhism.
And more text from His Holiness Shamar Rinpoche's Official WebSITE (www.shamarpa.org):
His Holiness was born in Derge, Tibet. At the age of four he was recognized by the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpei Dorje as the 14th Shamarpa reincarnation. Upon the Karmapa´s request the Tibetan Government withdrew its one-hundred and fifty-nine year old ban of the Shamarpas.
Shamar Rinpoche remained with the 16th Karmapa until his death in 1981. He received the entire cycle of Kagyu teachings from the 16th Karmapa. Since the 16th Karmapa’s death in 1981, Shamar Rinpoche has devoted his efforts to the many projects initiated by the late 16th Karmapa. He has completed the reprinting of the “Tengyur” a body of two hundred and fourteen volumes in which prominent Indian and Tibetan masters elucidate the teachings given by the historical Buddha Shakyamuni. Shamar Rinpoche also supports and offers guidance to Rumtek Monastery, the seat of H. H. the sixteenth Karmapa. He co-founded and brought into being the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute, New Delhi, India. The Institute currently offers courses in Buddhist studies for both monastic and lay students. Shamar Rinpoche frequently travels abroad where he teaches at the many Kagyu centers world-wide.
HISTORY OF THE SHAMARPAS
EXCERPTS FROM “THE KUNZIG SHAMARPAS OF TIBET”
by Yeshe Dronma