2nd Karmapa, Karma Pakshi


Dusum Khyenpa returned as Karma Pakshi, as he had predicted in the letter he left with his heart disciple, Drogön Rechen (1148-1218). It was later revealed to Drogön Rechen’s disciple Pomdrakpa (1170-1249), in startlingly clear visions, that Karma Pakshi was in fact the reincarnation of Dusum Khyenpa.

As the first figure in history to be identified as the next reincarnation of a living master, it was incumbent on Karma Pakshi to display his exceptional qualities, to dispel the doubts that would surely arise.

Indeed, Karma Pakshi is renowned as one of the greatest masters in Tibetan history in terms of his miraculous powers, and is often ranked in a class with Padmasambhava for such skills.

The Karmapa generally engages in particular activities as central to each life’s work. Karma Pakshi’s major deed was the taming of Möngke Khan (1209-1259), who rapidly progressed spiritually under Karma Pakshi’s guidance.

Karma Pakshi had initially traveled to the court of his brother, Kublai (reigned 1260-1294), but left that court rather than become embroiled in its intensive politicized intrigues.

When Kublai Khan succeeded Möngke Khan as emperor, he bitterly resented that earlier slight, and sought to have Karma Pakshi incarcerated and even killed, unsuccessfully.

Karma Pakshi’s equanimity and compassion throughout the terrible persecution later sparked a complete change of heart by the emperor, who apologized and requested Karma Pakshi to teach him Dharma. “Pakshi” is a Mongolian title meaning “Great Teacher.”