30. 8th Shamar 1695 - 1732

dpal chen chos kyi don grub

Chökyi Döndrub was born to a Nepalese family in Yolmo (Helambu) in the Kingdom of Nepal. The Eleventh Karmapa Yeshe Dorje sent an envoy with precise instructions on how to find the boy. With the permission of his parents, he was taken to Tibet and enthroned by the Gyalwa Karmapa as the Eighth Shamar.


In “The Rain of Wisdom” it is written that “the biographies of the eighth Shamarpa report that he met his guru at the age of 7. Comparison of the dates of the two men’s lives indicates that Yeshe Dorje died when Chökyi Tontrup was 7 or 8. This is not necessarily a contradiction. The guru who gives a disciple the complete transmission of mahamudra is considered the root guru. In many cases, this ‘naked’ mahamudra lineage transmission is followed by many years of training and practice in order to fully realize and manifest what has been received. It is very common for many other gurus to participate in a disciple’s education. Thus, although Chökyi Töntrub received the formal transmission of mahamdura from the eleventh Karmapa, the major part of his training in succeeding years was administered by other enlightened gurus. In fact,” as is further stated, “the eighth Shamarpa was a particularly important lineage holder because he collected and later transmitted teachings from a great number of gurus.”


It is written in the website of Simhanada: “While still very young, Rinpoche described in detail his past incarnations and the monasteries which belonged to him.” He studied with the Third Treho Tenzin Dargye, Goshir Dönyö Nyingpo, and other masters. He travelled to China and Nepal, where the Nepalese King honoured him greatly. He benefitted many beings by imparting teachings to them. He passed on the full Kagyu Lineage transmissions and teachings to the Eighth Tai Situ Rinpoche and to the Twelfth Karmapa, Changchub Dorje.

The Eighth Shamar passed away in the water-mouse year when he was 37 or 38 years old. Simhanada writes: “Shamar Rinpoche passed away in China, only 2 days after the 12 th Gyalwa Karmapa, Changchub Dorje, died of smallpox.”


“The Rain of Wisdom. The Vajra Songs of the Kagyü Gurus,” transl. under the direction of Chögyam Trungpa by the Nalanda Translation Com., Boston & London, 1980, page 317.

Simhanada, “The Eigth Shamar,” in the article on “The 11 th Karmapa Yeshe Dorje” (2008).

May virtue increase!

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