a m a . J i g m e . R i n p o c h e
B i o g r a p h y
1975, at the beginning of H.H. the 16th Karmapa's activity in
the West, he appointed Lama Jigme Rinpoche to be his spiritual representative
lineage of the Karmapas
was prophesied by the Buddha who said that approximately 1600
years after his passing, an emanation of the Boddhisattva of
Compassion, Avalokiteshvara, would be born. Karmapa' literally
means man of Karma', man of action', and his activity
is to preserve and spread the essence of the teachings of all
the Buddhas. The Buddha predicted that the Karmapa would propagate
the teachings during the course of many successive incarnations.
The lineage of the Karmapas began in 1100, with the birth of
Düsum Khenpa, who was a disciple of Je Gampopa. Before
his passing on in 1193 he made a detailed prediction concerning
the whereabouts of his next incarnation, thereby beginning the
first of the so-called Tulku lineages of reincarnation in Tibet.
A total of 16 reincarnations have followed since then. The 17th
Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje, spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu
school, is currently living in Sikkim.
16th Karmapa, Ranjung Rigpe Dorje (1924 - 1981),
travelled to Europe in the early seventies, where he was met
with numerous requests for teachings and transmissions. Seeing
that not only the time was right, but also that a specific structure
was necessary for the successful promulgation of the teachings,
Karmapa left precise instructions in the form of 5 wishes. He
asked for the construction of a shedra (university), a library,
a retreat centre, a monastery and the founding of Dharma centres
The shedra is a place where people can come and receive teachings
and study and practice the Dharma. For people wishing to intensify
their practice and realize the profound meaning of the teachings,
a retreat centre was necessary. The library serves as a safeguard
for the teachings, while the monastery is a home for qualified
teachers and practitioners, some of whom travel to and share
their knowledge in the Dharma centres throughout Europe.
These wishes have all been realized, and it is these wishes
that represent the vision and activity of the Karmapa in Europe.
Rinpoche was born in Kham, Eastern Tibet, in 1949.
When the Chinese invaded in 1955, he moved to Tsurphu, the monastery
of the Karmapas in Tibet, and eventually, in 1959, together
with the Karmapa and many other high lamas and tulkus of all
ages, he moved on to Rumtek in Sikkim. In Rumtek, H.H. the Karmapa
founded a monastery in order to preserve the teachings, and
it was there that, together with all the regents and important
tulkus gathered there by the Karmapa, that Lama Jigme Rinpoche received
all the transmissions directly from him.
In 1974, during his first visit to Europe, the Karmapa designated
Dhagpo Kagyu Ling in Dordogne, France, to be the central seat
of his activity, headed by Lama Jigme Rinpoche as his representative.
He also asked Gendün Rinpoche and Pawo Rinpoche to go there
and help in bringing the 5 wishes to fruition.
addition to receiving all the main transmissions and teachings
from the Karmapa, Lama Jigme Rinpoche was very close to and spent
a lot of time with Gendün Rinpoche, Pawo Rinpoche, Kalu
Rinpoche and Dilgo Kyentse Rinpoche, receiving many teachings
and initiations from them as well.
Lama Jigme Rinpoche also received numerous important transmissions
from Dudjom Rinpoche, the previous Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche, the
previous Khandro Rinpoche and the previous Gyatrul Rinpoche.
H. H. the 16th Karmapa appointed Lama Jigme Rinpoche as his European
representative, he said: In the person of Lama Jigme Rinpoche,
I leave you my heart', and it is in this spirit that Lama Jigme Rinpoche
today continues his activity in Europe, travelling extensively,
visiting and teaching in the centres and inspiring all those who
come into contact with him.