THE 8TH SHAMARPA
PALCHEN CHÖKYI DÖNDRUP 1695–1732
The birth of the 8th Shamarpa took place in Yilmo, Nepal. On the night he was born, the house was in a suffusion of light so bright, it was as if it were in the day-time, and clearly visible even from without. As an infant of unguarded innocence, he would astonish his family with vivid tales of his past lives.
The Karmapa had sent a letter of recognition with a party of monks, who were to invite and to see to his safe return to Tibet. The King of Nepal had, meanwhile, asked the three year old Rinpoche to honour the capital city, Kathmandu, with His Presence, where he was to remain until he was seven years old, when the Karmapa renewed the request for his return. Finally a full escort of monks were able to take the Shamarpa ceremoniously to a jubilant Tibet.
The 8th Shamarpa received the Lineage teachings and instructions from the 11th Karmapa before he passed away. He, in turn, recognized and enthroned Changchub Dorje as the 12th Karmapa and acted as his Root-guru, when it was time to do so.
He also recognized and enthroned the 8th Situ Rinpoche. Later the Shamarpa and the Karmapa together with Situ Rinpoche and Gyaltsap Rinpoche went on an extended Dharma tour which covered vast areas of Tibet and its neighbouring countries. They all returned to Kham when it became evident to the Karmapa and the Shamarpa that both their passings were imminent. They wrote prayers of supplication for their followers: the earnest invocations of an early rebirth of their respective guru. These were in the custody of Situ Rinpoche, whom they had invited to remain in Kham, acting as The Head of the Kagyü Teachings. They both left for China. In China, the Karmapa passed away on the day of the new moon; the following day, the Shamarpa passed away.