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Karma Kagyu Refuge Tree Masters ~

Vajradhara (Dorje Chang)

Image from: Thangkha painted by the 8th Kenting Tai Situpa Chokyi Jungne.
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The source of the Kagyu lineage, Vajradhara (Dorje Chang), is not a historical figure, but rather the manifestation of enlightenment itself. Within the Kagyu tradition, therefore, Dorje Chang is referred to as the Primordial Buddha, or the essence of all Buddhas, whose nature transcends the limitations of form, time, and place. In order to transmit the teachings that were to form the basis of the Kagyu lineage, however, Dorje Chang appeared to the great Indian master Tilopa.

The sacred form in which Dorje Chang manifested to Tilopa represents the three aspects or "bodies" of a fully enlightened Buddha: the dharmakaya, or dharma body, the sambhogakaya, or experience body, and the nirmanakaya, or emanation body. Each of the details of Dorje Chang's form reveals an aspect of enlightenment. For example, the color of Dorje Chang's body, like an azure sky, symbolizes the limitless, spacious quality of the awakened mind, which is called the dharmakaya. The celestial adornments, such as earrings, crown, and bracelets, represent the lucid clarity of the awakened mind, which is called the sambhogakaya. Dorje Chang's human form represents the nirmanakaya, the physical manifestation of an enlightened being as perceived by ordinary sentient beings.

The sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya, referred to as the form bodies of the Buddha, are the natural expression of the Buddha's impartial loving compassion for all beings. The myriad ways in which the buddha's compassion manifests are referred to as skillful means and include everything from the formal teachings of the Buddha to the living relationship between master and disciple. The bell and vajra Dorje Chang holds at the level of the heart represent the union of wisdom and skillful means. Although described individually, these three bodies of a Buddha are indivisible within the display of the enlightened mind, and represent the inherent potential of every living being.


Mahamudra Ocean of Definitive Meaning~~

Karma Kagyu Refuge Tree Masters

01 Vajradhara

01 Tilopa

01 Naropa

02 Lodro Rinchen

03 Saraha

04 Nagarjuna

05 Shawaripa

06 Maitripa

07 Marpa

08 Milarepa

09 Gampopa

10 The 1st Karmapa

11 Drogon Rechen

12 Pomdrakpa

13 The 2nd Karmapa

14 Orgyenpa

15 The 3rd Karmapa

16 Gyalwa Yungtonpa

17 The 4th Karmapa

18 The 2nd Shamar Rinpoche

19 The 5th Karmapa

20 Rigowa Rinjung (Ratnabhadra)

21 The 6th Karmapa

22 Bengar Jampal Sangpo

23 The 1st Gyaltsab Rinpoche

24 The 7th Karmapa

25 The 1st Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche

26 The 8th Karmapa

27 The 5th Shamar Rinpoche

28 The 9th Karmapa

29 The 6th Shamar Rinpoche

30 The 10th Karmapa

31 The 7th Shamar Rinpoche

32 The 11th Karmapa

33 The 8th Shamar Rinpoche

34 The 12th Karmapa

35 The 8th Kenting Tai Situpa

36 The 13th Karmapa

37 The 10th Shamar Rinpoche

38 The 9th Kenting Tai Situpa

39 The 14th Karmapa

40 The 1st Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche

41 The 15th Karmapa

42 The 11th Kenting Tai Situpa

43 The 2nd Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche

44 The 16th Karmapa

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