Dudul Dorje - Thirteenth Karmapa


Thirteenth Karmapa Dudul Dorje was born in Chawa Drong – a village located in four days journey from Lhasa, - on eighth month in year of Water Bull (1733). Shortly before this auspicious event Lama Katog Tsewang Norbu had a vision in which this village clearly was seen as a birthplace of new Karmapa.

The baby had a birthmark on his tongue in form of last letter of Tibetan alphabet, and growing up he more and more manifested his natural spiritual qualities. It is said young Karmapa could remember many details from his previous lives. Quite early visions of different Buddhas started to appear to him. Once in a dream Dharma Protector Mahakala appeared to him, the Black Coat of Vajra. First he appeared to Karmapa in a form of small boy, dressed in white silk clothes and holding a crystal dish, filled with flowers. Dudul Dorje asked him:

- Who are you?
Mahakala immediately assumed his usual formidable form, becoming huge like a house, and said:
- I am the praised Black Coat. I appear in angry form from out of space of transcendent wisdom. I perform four types of activities: pacifying, enriching, enchanting and protecting. It’s the ultimate view.

Thus he in symbolical way pointed to a teaching from Mahamudra teachings that there is nothing separately from mind. Then this vision dissolved. This experience was so powerful that sense of power was transmitted to everybody who was near to Dudul Dorje.

By the time he was four years old, boy’s fame spread far and wide. When Gyaltsab Rinpoche heard about him, he sent his assistants to examine him. They found location of the child and took him to Tsurphu, where a festive ceremony of enthronement of Thirteenth Karmapa was held. During this feast Dudul Dorje received his Black Crown. Congratulations from Seventh Dalai-lama Kalzang Gyamtso and his Prime Minister Sonam Thobje were sent to boy.

Very soon after enthronement of Thirteenth Karmapa Dudul Dorje, Eighth Situ Chokyi Jungne visited him. He was very glad to see the new incarnation of Changchub Dorje, his spiritual father. Situpa gave many teachings of Karma Kagyu tradition to the boy.

When Karmapa was fourteen, Situ Rinpoche gave him initiations of novice. This ceremony was held in Tsurphu, in front of the famous Buddha statue designed by Second Karmapa Karma Pakshi.

Karmapa, becoming a novice, continued his education, concentrating mostly to teachings of Kagyu and Nyingma. He received Kalachakra-tantra initiation together with all theoretical and practical instructions that were needed. His educational program also included works of Düsum Khyenpa, complete works in six volumes by Rigdzin Jetsun Nyingpo – the famous tertön of Nyingma tradition, the author of teachings on Chidu and student of Tenth Karmapa. Except of these, Dudul Dorje completely mastered “Hevajra-tantra”, “Ocean of dakini”, Madhyamaka philosophy, Abhidharma, Vinaya and Sutras. Thus he received most important teachings of Buddhist tradition known at the time.

The final monk’s ordination Thirteenth Karmapa took from Chokyi Jungne only at age of thirty-one. Later when he finished practice of Six Yogas of Naropa, Situ Rinpoche gave him the full transmission of Kagyu lineage.

Dudul Dorje harmoniously combined in himself two different lifestyles, being both a scholar and a yogi. His great kindness towards animals has become a legend.It was said that Karmapa could transmit the essence of Buddhist wisdom to birds, mice, cats, rabbits and bees. Every day he came to see animals, and they flew up and came running to him from everywhere. But even more time Karmapa dedicated to people, his students.

The name of Dudul Dorje is closely related with predictions of Guru Rinpoche. Once, during the lifetime of Thirteenth Karmapa, Lhasa was under threat of flooding: River Tsangpo , known in India as Brahmaputra,burst its banks. Now local scholars reminded that Guru Rinpoche in a book of his predictions has said: “If some day there would be threats for Lhasa to be flooded, you should ask for a blessing Karmapa.” According to these words, rulers of city asked Dudul Dorje to arrive as soon as possible. When he arrived in Lhasa, Karmapa performed a ritual invocation of Bodhisattva Loving Eyes and Buddha Shakyamuni and this way prevented the disaster.

In 1772 Karmapa departed to Dege to see aged Situ Rinpoche. Dudul Dorje went through Kham, everywhere giving teachings and blessings to people. He met Tenth Shamar Rinpoche Mipham Chodrub Gyamtso. In Danang area Karmapa performed a special ceremony dedicated to Karma monastery. Funds for this ceremony were provided by a noble Danang family, members of which also gave to Dudul Dorje a vase from gold and silver. In response His Holiness thanked this family and added:
- Soon we will meet with you again. When this will happen, you will understand it. Keep this in mind!

Dudul Dorje was living a very simple lifestyle. His belongings and money he gladly shared with poor people and for religious needs. He was paying for building of many Dharma centres and printing of books.

In his last years of life he sometimes demonstrated his wonderful attainments. One of those extraordinary occasions took place when in Tsurphu arrived messengers from Powo Gyaldzong from South-Eastern Tibet. They invited Karmapa to visit their monastery. Dudul Dorje could not go there himself, but on the appointed day, he gave his blessing to this place while staying in Tsurphu. And a many people who were gathered at the monastery Powo Gyaldzong witnessed how a rain of blessed barley poured from the sky.

In 1774 Karmapa had a vision about the place where new incarnation of Situpa could be found. He sent there a group to search and the child was found. Dudul Dorje officially recognized next Situ Rinpoche and gave a name Pema Nyingje Wangpo to the boy and solemnly enthroned him afterwards.

In 1797, at age of sixty-four, Karmapa gave the prediction letter to Situ Rinpoche and left the world. His remains were placed in a very high stupa from pure silver. It was placed in Tsurphu. Monks also sculpted silver statue of His Holiness.

Thirteenth Karmapa Dudul Dorje had several important students: Situ Pema Nyingje Wangpo, Drugchen Kunzig Chokyi Nangwa, Pawo Tsuglak Chögyal, ruler of Ladakh - Hemi Gyalsay, Khamtrul Jigme Senge and Sangye Nyenpa Tulku.