Famous Buddhist Teachers

Rennyo, his life and work

Rennyo (1415-1499) was a descendant of Shinran and the eighth chief abbot (monshu) of the Hongwanji in Kyoto. In 1457, when he was 43, he became the chief abbot and continued his missionary activity in the Omi region. He started a unique way of transmitting the Dharma through the use of letters, which were widely read among the followers and contributed enormously to the dissemination of the teaching throughout the country, even among the illiterate.

Shinran Shonin | The Pure Land Patriarch

Shinran Shonin , the Buddhist Teacher from Japan of 13th century were probably the most significant propounder of the teachings on Buddha Amida and Nembutsu or tradition of chanting Namu Amida Butsu ("Adoration to Buddha Amitāyus"), the founder of Jōdo Shinshū or "True Pure Land School” tradition in Japanese Buddhism. We think of Master Shinran when we think about Buddha Amida (Amitabha) and his Pure Land in the far far Western Buddha-land.

Marpa Lotsawa or Marpa Translator - is famous as one of the fathers of Tibetan Buddhism in General and Kagyu tradition in particular. Marpa also known as a teacher of the famous yogi Milarepa. During his lifetime in 11th century he traveled 3 times to India, Nalanda Buddhist University and brought the best Vajrayana teachings and initiations to Tibet, carefully translated many tantric texts and taught his students, many of whom are know till today. Most of his teachings he received from a yogi and former professor of Nalanda University - Naropa, including transferring of consciousness or Phowa, Hevajra Tantra and Six Yogas of Naropa.

Sixteenth Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje was born in 1924 in the cave of Guru Rinpoche. He was learning from the best teachers of his time, visited many holy places in Nepal and Tibet associated with the names of Buddha Shakyamuni and Guru Rinpoche. 16th Karmapa was taking an active part in part in Tibet's resistance when Chinese communist army was invading Tibet, but whe he saw nothing more could be done in Tibet, he led his followers into exile to Bhutan and later to Sikkim in Northern India, where he rebuilt the new Rumtek monastery as his residence in India. During 1970-s he 3 times travelled around the world, visiting almost all major cities in Europe and USA, teaching and giving initiations in Vajrayana Buddhism.

Fifteenth Karmapa Khakyab Dorje was born in 1871. During his lifetime he was studying with the best teachers of his time, revealing hidden teachings, building and refurbishing monasteries. Khakyab Dorje paid his first visit to Kingdom of Bhutan and gave many Dharma teachings there. On his return from Bhutan he marries to several wives, gives teachings to many new incarnations of Rinpoches, including young Situpa, and last ten years of his life he is spending in a solitary meditation retreat.

Fourteenth Karmapa Thegchog Dorje was born in Kham in Salmo Gang – a village owned by Danang family. This auspicious event took place in year of Fire Snake (1798).
While his mother was pregnant, she was seeing extraordinary dreams, predicting the birth of Teachers incarnation. In the day of his birth rainbows appeared in the sky and flowers blossomed, even it was in mid-winter. The new-born child pronounced Sanskrit alphabet right away.

Thirteenth Karmapa Dudul Dorje was born in Chawa Drong – a village located in four days journey from Lhasa, - on eighth month in year of Water Bull (1733). Shortly before this auspicious event Lama Katog Tsewang Norbu had a vision in which this village clearly was seen as a birthplace of new Karmapa.
Once in a dream Dharma Protector Mahakala appeared to him, the Black Coat of Vajra. First he appeared to Karmapa in a form of small boy, dressed in white silk clothes and holding a crystal dish, filled with flowers. Dudul Dorje asked him:- Who are you?

Twelfth Karmapa Changchub Dorje was born in Dege region in Kham, Eastern Tibet in the year of Water Sheep (1703).His village was located on the bank Golden river, as it was pointed out by Yeshe Dorje in his prediction letter. Shortly before his birth, tertön Minjur Dorje noticed his father that something very auspicious is expected in their family. The family of Changchub Dorje was from a clan of descendants of the great king Trisong Detsen.
It is said that at age of two months the boy declared:
- I am Karmapa!

Eleventh Karmapa Yeshe Dorje (1676–1702) had the shortest lifespan of all Karmapas, but he was exceptional teacher. Once he manifested himself in many bodies and was giving teachings in each of them. He had many predictive visions, according to one of them he found the new incarnation of Shamarpa in Nepal and later introduced the Red Hat as an attribute of all Shamarpas. Yeshe Dorje was meditating a lot together with the best meditation masters of Nyingma school. Change of power in Lhasa, 5th Dalai-lama departs.

Tenth Karmapa Chöying Dorje was living when difficult times hit Tibet. Regent of 5th Lobsang Gyatso, the future Dalai-lama, requested the aid of Güshi Khan, Mongolian Emperor to invade Tibet, to turn over the power to Gelug school and enthrone Lobsang Gyatso as a ruler of Tibet, Dali-lama. Tenth Karmapa had to spend most of his time in exile, however he had many good students, found new incarnations of Shamarpa ang Gyaltsab and was known for his limitless compassion. Chöying Dorje (1604–1674) and his biography, read more....