9. Pam Drakpa 1170 - 1249

rgyal sras spom brags pa

“Teaching the methods of accomplishing the limitless qualities of the stainless teachings of the supreme sages, propagating completely pure exposition and practice –

Karmapa, may we fulfil your intention.” – Ven. Mikyö, “Supplication to the Karmapas”


Pomdragpa was born at Dri Dampa Chöchog in Central Tibet. Already fluent in language, he started his formal education in Buddhism when he was 5 years old. By the time he was 9, he had already received the oral transmission of the completion stage of deity meditation practice, the Mother Tantra Transmissions, from Nyen Lhakhang Gangpo. Upon hearing the name Drogon Rechen, an extraordinary meditative experience arose within him – in a vision, red wisdom Dakinis told him that Drogon Rechen was his teacher. Pomdragpa was now 14 years old. He sought to find his teacher and within ten days he was in the presence of Drogon Rechen, the First Karmapa’s spiritual heir. Drogon Rechen gave Pomdragpa the full monastic ordination and the name Sönam Dorje. From that moment, Drogon Rechen became Promdragpa’s Root Guru and gave him the full Kagyü Lineage empowerments and instructions. Pomdragpa practiced with great diligence for many years and had many visions of wisdom deities during the empowerments and meditation sessions. Having become a highly accomplished practitioner and realized master, he also experienced and saw with his mind’s eye Düsum Khyenpa, the First Gyalwa Karmapa, granting him profound instructions.

Before entering Paranirvana, Drogon Rechen told Pomdragpa (his principal disciple and therefore heart-son) and Lodrö Rinchen (one of his main disciples) that they were masters of the Mahamudra teachings and would hold the Lineage. He also predicted that Pomdragpa's activities would flourish and spread and that the sacred Kagyü Transmission Lineage would prosper more and more through the activities of his disciples. Pomdragpa saw his own teacher, Drogon Rechen, as Buddha Shakyamuni surrounded by countless Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions and three times, which is the auspicious sign of becoming the main Lineage-holder in the line of the Glorious Golden Rosary of the Kagyüpas.

“The Brief History of the Kagyü Tradition,” generously offered by the Dharma Fellowship of His Holiness, states: “Some time before his death, the First Karmapa made several prophetic predictions; in particular he promised to return again and again in this suffering world, performing the supreme sacrifice of an Enlightened Master by consciously taking birth in the flesh, so as to dedicate himself to the salvation of others.” In the foregoing life-story in this website, we learned that the caretaker of Tsurphu Monastery ignored the First Karmapa’s prediction letter describing his rebirth and that through a clear vision Pomdragpa found it and recognized that it revealed that the child in his charge was the reincarnation of Düsum Khyenpa. Although already enlightened, nevertheless, Pomdragpa made a point of formally passing on all the teachings and transmissions to the wonderful child so that the stream of the Lineage would not be disrupted and broken. This has been the case ever since and young Karmapas are enthroned and given all transmissions in traditional ceremonies. Pomdragpa performed all the ceremonies and passed on the full Kagyü Lineage to Karma Pakshi and therefore he was the Root Guru of the One he clearly knew would be crowned as the Second Gyalwa Karmapa.



Official Website of H.H. the 17 th Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, “The Golden Rosary,” (2008).

Simhanada, “Lineages - The First Karmapa,” (2008).

The Dharma Fellowship of H.H. the Gyalwa Karmapa, “A Brief History of the Kagyü Tradition,” Denman Island, B.C. (2008).


May the jewel of the teachings spread to all parts of the world and remain there for all times!


(Compiled & written for English speaking students & visitors of Karma Lekshey Ling Institute in Nepal, who hold copyrights, by gh, July 26, 2008.)

© Karma Lekshey Ling Shedra, Post Box No.8435, Swoyambhu, Kathmandu, Nepal