Buddhist protector Manjushri Nagaraksha.


42 portraits of lineage teachers in Tibetan Buddhism

The lineage of oral instructions.

In Tibetan Buddhism there are 4 different schools, Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, and Gelug or Gelugpa.

They stem from the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha. That of the Karmapa is the Kagyu, or Kagyupa. The head of the Gelugpa is the Dalai Lama. The name Kagyu means “Oral Lineage" or "Whispered Transmission" school. The Tibetan Marpa, traveled to India and received from Naropa the authentic Buddhist teachings and translated them in Tibetan. Naropa received the lineage transmission from Tilopa and so on, back to the Buddha himself.

Marpa’s most famous student Jetsun Milarepa was the greatest yogi in all of Tibet, and he passed the teachings on to Gampopa, who in turn transmitted the teachings to the First Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa. Since then, the Kagyu Lineage has been headed by a succession of reincarnations of the Gyalwang Karmapa.

The line of the Karmapas is said to be self-announced, because each incarnation leaves a letter predicting his next rebirth.

During his lifetime, Shakyamuni Buddha predicted there would come into being a fully realized teacher who would reappear over and over again as the ‘Karmapa’. The name Karmapa refers literally to 'the one who performs the activity of a Buddha.'

May this book bring you joyful wisdom. May it be of benefit and may HH 17th Gyalwang Karmapa’s life be long and stable and his activities be free of obstacles!

Karmapa Chenno

The Lineage Teachers.







The 1st Karmapa Düsum Khyenpa

Drogon Rechen

Pomdrakpa Sonam Dorje

The 2nd Karmapa, Karma Pakshi


The 3rd Karmapa, Ranjung Dorje

Gyalwa Yungtonpa

The 4th Karmapa, Rolpe Dorje

Khacho Wangpo

The 5th Karmapa, Deshin Shekpa


The 6th Karmapa, Thongwa Donden

Bengar Jampal Sangpo

Goshir Paljor Dhondrup

The 7th Karmapa, Chodrak Gyatso

Tashi Paljor

The 8th Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje

Konchok Yenlak

The 9th Karmapa, Wangchuk Dorje

Chokyi Wangchuk

The 10th Karmapa, Choying Dorje

Yeshe Nyingpo

The 11th Karmapa, Yeshe Dorje

Palchen Chokyi Dhondrup

The 12th Karmapa, Chanchup Dorje

Chokyi Jungney

The 13th Karmapa, Dudul Dorje

Mipham Chodrub Gyatso

Pema Nyinje Wangpo

The 14th Karmapa, Theckchok Dorje

Jamgon Kongtrul, Lodro Thaye

The 15th Karmapa, Kyakyab Dorje

Pema Wangchog Gyalpo

Palden Khyentse Öser

The 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje

17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje

One day someone mentioned the name of a lama I didn’t know, lama Gendun, who was living in a Buddhist Center in France. When I heard the name, in me all sound fell silent, if someone switched it of, like you switch of a light. It was a silence of emptiness and purity, it was a true blessing, and that moment I knew he will be my teacher.

Months passed by and on an evening sitting with Dharma friends, I was asked ‘who is your teacher?’ So I answered, I only know his name, and, I never met him but for sure, I know it’s him. One of the friends left the room and came back with a photo, of him, the man with the name in my heart since that day, and I cried.

Likewise there are dharma friends who recognize their teacher by a photo, without knowing who they are. Or a dream, a vision tells you where to go. There are multiple ways to find a teacher.

While painting the portraits in this book I often had the feeling that they helped me painting their portrait and when I finished one I could say “yes, this is how they looked like, this is who they are.”

I hope this book, this small contribution, will benefit the Buddhadharma and all sentient beings.

Ema Ho!

Read the book, click here.

With devotion I dedicate this book to His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa, Urgyen Trinley Dorje, the seventeenth in the line of the glorious incarnations of the Supreme Head of the Kagyu Lin- eage.

May HH 17th Gyalwang Karmapa’s life be long and stable and his activities be free of obstacles!

Matthijs Warner

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