Origin of The Lineage
The first Karmapa, Düsum Khyenpa (Dus gsum Mkhyen pa) (1110–1193), was a disciple of the Tibetan master Gampopa. A talented child who studied dharma (Buddhist teachings) with his father from an early age and who sought out great teachers in his twenties and thirties, he is said to have attained enlightenment at the age of fifty while practicing dream yoga. He was henceforth regarded as the Karmapa, a manifestation of Avalokitesvara (Chenrezig), whose coming was predicted in the Samadhiraja Sutra and the Lankavatara Sutra.
The source of the oral lineage, traditionally traced back to the Buddha Vajradhara, was transmitted to the Indian master of mahamudra and tantra called Tilopa (989-1069), through Naropa (1016–1100) to Marpa and Milarepa. These forefathers of the Kagyu (Bka' brGyud) lineage are collectively called the "golden rosary".
The second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi (1204–1283), is often said to be the first person ever recognized and empowered as a tulku (sprul sku), a reincarnated lama (bla ma).
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