Monday, October 20, 2014

The Tenth Karmapa, Choying Dorje (1604 - 1674) ...The Black Hat Eccentric

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"The Tenth Karmapa, Choying Dorje b.1604 - d.1674......Choying Dorje (chos dbyings rdo rje) was born in 1604, in the upper Mar valley in Golok, on the border of Amdo and Kham. .... "the tenth Karmapa was born in the Golok region, in the far northeast of Tibet. He was recognized and enthroned by Shamar Chokyi Wangchuk, from whom he received the full Kagyu transmission......By the age of six, he was a better painter than his teachers, as well as a gifted sculptor. Chöying Dorje anticipated the wars and political strife that were soon to come, realizing that certain political interests in Tibet would enlist the Mongol armies in the Gelugpa cause. Knowing he would be forced out of central Tibet by the political strife, the tenth Karmapa gave away most of his wealth to the poor and appointed Goshir Gyaltsab his regent....he spent more than three years living in the wilds of Bhutan.....Twenty some years passed before he could return to his homeland... the political landscape in Tibet had changed for good.....the fifth Dalai Lama, had become the official ruler of Tibet...."....http://kagyuoffice.org

Marichi Painting by the 10th Karmapa, Choying Dorje.....The Kaśmiri style was one of the Tenth Karmapa's dominant influences....Marici: Yidam - Goddess of the Sun......Marici (pron. Marichi) is a red-coloured female yidam associated with the sun and with dawn; her name in Tibetan is Öser Chenma, i.e. Goddess of Great Light.

"Toward the end of 1673, at Nagdrak Monastery, the Tenth Karma produced one of his last works of art, a white-sandalwood statue of Mārīcī riding a pig, for his wife & consort, Kelpa Zangmo....the mother of his several sons and daughters. Around 1674, he fell ill at Drak and passed away."....http://www.treasuryoflives.org

"In the autumn of 1629 the Karmapa received permission from his teacher to go on pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash. The Zhamar advised the Karmapa to take good care of himself and to beware of bandits who haunted the deserted plains. The Karmapa performed this pilgrimage from Dingma Drin (ding ma brin) to Lake Manasarovar on foot, without, it is said, even an umbrella to protect him from the hot sun."...http://www.treasuryoflives.org

Click on the map to enlarge.

"The Karmapa is reported to have spent the years after the death of his teachers in strict solitude. His entourage also adopted that attitude of "mental renunciation" (yid byung) and cultivated an attitude of disgust with all the concerns of this life."......http://www.treasuryoflives.org

"The Fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobzang Gyatso , (1617-1682), in his own autobiography recorded that the Karmapa was "behaving like an unconventional yogi." The phrase might suggest that the Karmapa was not observing his monastic vows, and was drinking and having intercourse with women. However there is nothing in the historical record to support this, and it is perhaps more likely that the Dalai Lama was referring to the Karmapa's penchant for wearing the brown and gray robes of a Chinese monk, and walking on pilgrimage without a suitable retinue.".........http://www.treasuryoflives.org

"Soon after the death of his brothers, U and Tsang again erupted into war, one that resulted in the total destruction of the kingdom of Tsang and the ascendance of the Dalai Lama and Geluk power in Lhasa. In 1639, at the invitation of Geluk hierarchs, the leader of the Khoshot Mongols Gushri Khan (1582-1655) led an army into Kham, obliterating the Bon kingdom of Beri.....and then proceeded to march eastwards towards Lhasa. When Gushri Khan reached as far west as Kongpo and seized territories there, the Karmapa was asked by patrons and supporters to call up the considerable military forces of the area. He refused to get involved, saying, that should he be responsible for the destruction of the Geluk monasteries, "It would be an ugly thing for the Buddha's teachings." The Karmapa was later criticized for not helping to defend his patron, the king of Tsang.....In 1642 the Karmapa escaped the chaos of the fighting by going south to Lhodrak."..........http://www.treasuryoflives.org

"....after a long siege, Shigatse, the capital of the king of Tsang, finally fell to Gushri Khan's troops. The king was imprisoned in Lhasa and was executed there some months later. The young Fifth Dalai Lama was brought to Shigatse and entrusted with responsibility for religious affairs of Tibet, while Gushri proclaimed himself to be the king of all Tibet. Gushri and his Geluk supporters then embarked on a vicious campaign of destruction, razing monasteries belonging to the Nyingma and Kagyu tradition, converting many to the Geluk tradition.....The Karmapa attempted to negotiate with the Fifth Dalai Lama to have his monasteries restored to him, but for the most part the Dalai Lama refused...When the Mongols finally attacked the Karma encampment, at the end of 1644, the Karmapa himself managed to miraculously slip away on foot unscathed, accompanied only by his attendant, the Tsang Khenchen ....".......http://www.treasuryoflives.org

"...at Gyeltang (rgyal thang) in southern Khams,....the Karmapa finished his autobiography, the Wish-Fulfilling Cow at a solitary walnut-tree grove in a park north of a river on the bank of Gyeltang's Milk Lake ('o ma'i mtsho)....At the end of the summer the Karmapa decided that he would travel north, without a retinue, to meet the Seventh Zhamar..... He exchanged his monastic robes for common clothes, and set off alone on a horse. He concealed his identity from the people he met, relying on villagers for food and shelter. He was robbed by bandits of his possessions and horse, and had to continue on in rags and on foot, reduced to begging in a region where he could not even understand the local dialect....".......http://www.treasuryoflives.org

" ....the Karmapa went to Mount Poṭala in Gyeltang where he went into retreat and created statues in the Kaśmiri style. The Kaśmiri style was one of the Tenth Karmapa's dominant influences, and there is good evidence that he was also heavily influenced by Chinese religious sculpture as well. (Readers who are interested in extensive discussion of the Tenth Karmapa's artistic styles and influence are urged to consult Karl Debreczeny's magnificent The Black Hat Eccentric.)"...........http://www.treasuryoflives.org

"The Tenth Karmapa Choying Dorje (1604-1674) was not only leader of the Karma Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism but also famous as a great artistic innovator. In particular his works are characterized by playful depictions of animals, which set him apart from other Tibetan artists. The Black Hat Eccentric is the first publication to focus on works by the hand of a single Tibetan historical artist."...The Black Hat Eccentric: Artistic Visions of the Tenth Karmapa ....by Karl Debreczeny

"The Karmapa remained in exile in the far southeast of Tibet for the next twelve years. During the period he created an enormous number of paintings and sculpted images. He also composed songs for the lute and gave extended teachings. It was likely that during this period he returned his vows and took a consort, fathering several sons and daughters. One of his sons, Norbu Zangpo, who was recognized as the Sixth Tsurpu Gyeltsab (c.1659-1698). The boy's mother was named Kelpa Zangmo .....at Gyeltang Riknga Temple., the Karmapa enthroned his three-year-old son Norbu Zangpo"............http://www.treasuryoflives.org

"In 1672 the Karmapa, now aged sixty-nine, finally left Gyeltang, where he had spent much of the past twenty-four years (1648-1672), and returned to U-Tsang. It is not known how his return was negotiated, since in the Ganden Podrang (dga ldan pho brang) the Dalai Lama's government in Lhasa, continued its policy of harassment of Karma Kagyu monks and lamas, a policy that continued into the early eighteenth century. His main reason for returning was presumably to arrange the installment of Norbu Zangpo at Tsurpu. He left in a large entourage that included his wife, sons, and daughters."............http://www.treasuryoflives.org

"1673 the Karmapa reached Lhasa, where he had an audience with the Fifth Dalai Lama, the first in forty years......Toward the end of 1673, without having yet visited Tsurpu, the Karmapa was told by the Fifth Dalai Lama to go to Drak (sgrags), a somewhat inaccessible region south of Lhasa, on the north bank of the Yarlung Tsangpo River. The Karmapa followed the order. There, at Nagdrak Monastery (sngags grwa dgon pa), he produced one of his last works of art, a drawing of the Caṇḍa Vajrapāṇi for Norbu Zangpo and a white-sandalwood statue of Mārīcī riding a pig for Norbu Zangpo's mother. Around the lunar New Year of 1674, not only was the Karmapa granted permission to return to Tsurpu, but the Dalai Lama gave him back the share of property from which he derived his sustenance, the main and subsidiary estates of Tsurpu. He never returned to Tsurpu, however, as he fell ill at Drak and passed away.".............http://www.treasuryoflives.org

"The International conference “The Tenth Karmapa and Tibet’s Turbulent 17th century” will explore different aspects of Choying Dorje’s life, art, and the tumultuous times in which he lived. Some of the world’s most accomplished academics in the field will be taking part in the conference Friday 9 – Sunday 11 November 2012. These include Director of the Amnye Machen Institute Tashi Tsering, researcher in Tibetan Studies and former Director of Research in history and anthropology at the National Center of Scientific Research, Paris, Samten Karmay, Director of the Latse Library Pema Bhum, Associate Professor of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University Elliot Sperling, Adjunct Researcher at Monash Asia Institute David Templeman, Professor and head of Tibetan Studies at the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations in Paris Heather Stoddard, lecturer in Tibetan language and poetry at Indiana University Gedun Rabsal, Assistant Professor of Theology at Georgetown University Benjamin Bogin, Researcher at the Palace Museum in Beijing Luo Wenhua, and Rubin Museum of Art curators Karl Debreczeny, Christian Luczanits and David Jackson.".....http://www.rubinmuseum.org

"The Artist's Life", in The Black Hat Eccentric; Artistic Visions of the Tenth Karmapa, New York: Rubin Museum of Art

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Email....okarresearch@gmail.com

John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….October 2014

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