The future Buddha, the sixth of this fortunate eon, inseparable from Avalokitesvara, Gyalwang Dusum Khyenpa was born in 1110 CE. He became the chief disciple of Gampopa and attained the realization of absolute unity. In establishing the Kamkhyim Temple in Litang, he began the lineage of the Kamtsang Kagyu. His main disciple was Drogon Rechenpa to whom he transmitted the complete lineage of absolute unity. Since that time, the Golden Rosary of the Kagyu lineage has been passed down in an unbroken transmission. The Buddhas of the ten directions empowered Dusum Khyenpa as the Karmapa and his incarnations have continued to the present through the prophecies of each previous incarnation. Dusum Khyenpa established Tolung Tsurphu Monastery, and from there, his incarnations have extended their activity, building monasteries throughout the upper, middle, and lower parts of Tibet, and further in China, and India.
In the later years of his life, the XVth Gyalwang Karmapa, Khakhyab Dorje, stayed in strict retreat on the mountain above Tsurphu Monastery. To his disciple, Golok Gelong Jampal Tsultrim, he gave a protection amulet, wrapped in multicolored thread, and said, "This is a protection for you. In the future, a messenger will come in great haste from Palpung Monastery and at the time you should open this amulet." One month later, on the 27th day of the third Tibetan month, in the Water Dog year, Khakhyab Dorje entered into parinirvana.
Through his pure vision, the XIth Tai Situpa, Pema Wangchok Gyalpo, saw the precious reincarnation of the Karmapa: he was born in the town of Denkhok, in the Derge region of Kham, to the family of Athubtsang; his father was named Tsewang Phuntsok and his mother, Kalzang Chodron. Tai Situ Rinpoche sent a messenger to Tsurphu to ask: "If you have the sacred letter of prediction from the previous Karmapa, please bring it to me." The administration of Tsurphu Monastery then looked for the letter, but it was not found. Lodro, the General Secretary of Palpung Monastery, and Bakdro, the General Secretary of Tsurphu, met with His Holiness the XIIIth Dalai Lama in order to present a formal request. In accordance with the vision of his pure wisdom, the Dalai Lama bestowed the Buktham Rinpoche, the official letter with his seal of final confirmation, recognizing the XVIth Gyalwang Karmapa.
When Gelong Jampal Tsultrim heard this news, he opened the protection amulet given to him by the previous Karmapa and gave to Tsurphu Monastery the letter inside, which was written in symbolic language. When the letter arrived in Tsurphu, its meaning was deciphered and the Karmapa's place of birth, and so forth, was found to correspond exactly with the pure vision of the XIth Tai Situ Rinpoche.
When the XVIth Gyalwang Karmapa was eight years old, Tai Situ Rinpoche enthroned him at Palpung Monastery in a ceremony that brought together rinpoches and lamas from all the Kagyu monasteries. At that time, Situ Rinpoche offered to the Karmapa the name, Palden Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. The name Rigpe Dorje came from a treasure, found by Chokgyur Lingpa and containing a prophecy of Guru Rinpoche with names of future Karmapas. Afterwards, Situ Rinpoche accompanied the XVIth Gyalwang Karmapa to his seat at Tsurphu Monastery. From the Xlllth Dalai Lama, the Karmapa received the hair cutting ceremony and the name, Thubten Rikdrol Yeshe. Situ Rinpoche performed a second enthronement ceremony at Tsurphu.
In his younger years, the XVIth Gyalwang Karmapa extensively studied and reflected on Buddhist teachings. His root lama was the XIth Tai Situpa, Pema Wangchok Gyalpo, who offered to the Karmapa the novice, bikshu, and bodhisattva vows, as well as the teachings of the Eight Great Chariots and all the initiations and reading transmissions of the Kagyu lineage without exception, which he received as water flowing from one vessel to another.
From the second Jamgon Kongtrul, Khyentse ozer, the XVIth Karmapa received initiations, reading transmissions, and profound instructions, which he studied and deeply contemplated. In addition, from many rime (nonsectarian) masters, he received and perfected numerous profound instructions. At his Seat of Tsurphu, he engaged in extensive activity for the benefit of the Kagyu lineage. The XVIth Karmapa brought to the path a multitude of practitioners from Tibet, China, and many other countries.
In 1959, due to the political problems in Tibet, His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa went to Sikkim at the invitation of the King and the faithful followers there, who helped to build his monastery, Shedrub Chokhor Ling in Rumtek. His Holiness gave the complete Kagyu initiations and reading transmissions to numerous rinpoches and lamas. Turning the wheel of Dharma, he extended his vast activity throughout the world. In January of 1981, the XVIth Gyalwang Karmapa gave to his heart son, the Xllth Tai Situpa, a protection amulet with a brocade cover, and said, "This is your protection amulet. In the future, it will confer great benefit." On November 5th, 1981, the XVIth Gyalwang Kannapa passed into parinirvana.
The Sacred Letter of Prediction From His Holiness the XVIth Gyalwang Karmapa: