Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama) - Karmapa 1, Dusum Kyenpa

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 354)
Origin Location Eastern Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Karma (Kagyu)
Size 56.52x34.93cm (22.25x13.75in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Shelley & Donald Rubin
Catalogue # acc.# P1996.20.2
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Monastic

Gender: Male

TBRC: P1400

Interpretation / Description

Dusum Khyenpa, the 1st Karmapa (1110-1193) along with the early Tibetan lineage gurus of the Kagyu tradition.

Kar ma pa Biographical Details

Having an older appearance with gray hair and unshaven he performs the mudra of Dharma teaching with both hands held at the heart in a similitude of a Dharma wheel. Wearing a black vajra crown received as a gift from the dakinis in acknowledgment of his realization he is attired in the orange and yellow robes of a fully ordained monk furthered covered with a yellow brocade meditation cape. On a low seat befitting a monk, with a backrest and cloth brocade cover, he sits in vajra posture before a three-legged table supporting a Dharma book, bowl of persimmons and three wishing jewels.

At the top center is Marpa Lotsawa Chokyi Lodro (1012-1097) the first Tibetan lineage guru of what would later become the Kagyu Tradition - one of the four pre-eminent schools of Tibetan Buddhism. With short black hair, a moustache and goatee he wears the garments of a layman and with both hands performs the mudra of earth witness. At the left is the main student of Marpa, the famous yogin Milarepa (1040-1123), wearing long black hair, a simple white cotton garment and a red meditation belt. He holds the right hand up to the ear and the left is pressed to the ground behind, seated in a relaxed posture on a grey deerskin. At the right the main student of Milarepa and the main teacher of Dusum Khyenpa, Gampopa (1079-1153), performs with the two hands at the heart the mudra of Dharma teaching. Wearing a red cap with wide lappets he is attired in the orange and red robes of a monk.

At the bottom left is the wrathful activity deity of the Padma Buddha Family, Hayagriva (Horse Neck), red, with one face and two hands holding upraised in the right a skull stick and in the left a lick of red flame. At the right is the wrathful lord of the Vajra Buddha Family, Vajrapani (Vajra Sceptre Holder), blue, with one face and two hands holding upraised a gold vajra in the right hand and the left in a wrathful gesture at the heart. Both wear wrathful vestments and are surrounded by the flames of pristine awareness.

Dusum Khyenpa was the founder of the Karma (Kamtsang) branch of the Kagyu Lineage. He served as Abbot of Daklha Gampo monastery after Gampopa and founded Tsurphu monastery - becoming the seat of the incarnate Karmapa lamas.

Jeff Watt 3-2000

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Incarnation Lineage: Gyalwa Karmapa Main Page
Tradition: Kagyu Teachers (Paintings)
Painting Set: Karmapa (Set 15)
Teacher: Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa, 1st
Collection of Shelley & Donald Rubin
Painting Set: Karma Kagyu Lineage (Sertreng, misc.)