This is the Karma Kagyu lineage 22 year old me signed up for as a founding member of Chicago KTC in 1981.
We recited it together in English.
Everybody knew what they were signing up for.
Then somebody wanted us to do it in a Tibetan.
36 years later we all know how that turned out for us as a sangha.
“rDo-rje-‘Chang-thung-ma – The Short Dorje Chang Lineage Prayer” written by Bengar Jampä Zangpo:
“ Great Vajradhara, Tilo, Naro, Marpa, Mila, Lord of Dharma Gampopa,
Knower of the Three Times, omniscient Karmapa,
Holders of the four great and eight lesser lineages –
Drikung, Tag-lung, Tsalpa, these three, glorious Drukpa and so on –
Masters of the profound path of Mahamudra,
Incomparable protectors of beings, the Takpo Kagyü,
I supplicate you, the Kagyü Gurus,
I hold your lineage; grant your blessings so that I will follow your example.
“Revulsion is the foot of meditation, as is taught.
To this meditator who is not attached to food and wealth,
Who cuts the ties to this life,
Grant your blessings so that I have no desire for honour and gain.
“Awareness is the body of meditation, as is taught.
Whatever arises is fresh – the essence of realization.
To this meditator who rests simply without altering it
Grant your blessings so that my meditation is free from conception.
“Devotion is the head of meditation, as is taught.
The Guru opens the gate to the treasury of oral instructions.
To this meditator who continually supplicates him
Grant your blessings so that genuine devotion is born in me.
“The essence of thoughts is dharmakaya, as is taught.
Nothing whatever but everything arises from it.
To this meditator who arises in unceasing play
Grant your blessings so that I realize the inseparability of samsara and nirvana.
“Through all my births may I not be separated from the perfect Guru
And so enjoy the splendour of Dharma.
Perfecting the virtues of the paths and bhumis,
May I speedily attain the state of Vajradhara.”
In 1981 we saw in the then 57 year old 16th Karmapa a primordial Buddha, Vajradhara.
We thus expected the unexpected from him.
And as such the 16th Karmapa never failed to keep us on our toes.
36 years later behold the 31 year old 17th Karmapa, a Bodhisattva.
He is revered by Chinese Buddhists around the world as such.
As the Panama Papers documents being a Bodhisattva has worked quite well for him.
Nobody expects anything from him.
Which is what Bodhisattva’s do apparently.
All hat no cattle.
36 years later 58 year old me can only wonder what happened to the Karma Kagyu lineage I signed up for in 1981.