philji wrote:In general, in Tantra, where the flower lands indicates the Buddha family, so the Karmapa belongs to this vajra family [of Akshobhya]. Hence the Karmapas wear a dark blue crown on their heads when engaging in enlightened activities [dark blue is the colour associated with Buddha Akshobhya]. Some people also say that the Karmapa is an emanation of Mitrugpa, so this tradition does exist, but in general, the Karmapa, and the lamas of the Dagpo Kagyu, not just the Karma Kagyu, belong to this vajra family.
This is very interesting. Since Karmapa is known as the activity of all Buddhas, I would've thought he would be considered an emanation of Buddha Amoghasiddhi, Lord of the Karma family---especially since green is, for Tibetans, seen to be inclusive of all the other colors (this is why Green Tara is central in most depictions of the 21 Taras).
However, being considered an emanation of Akshobya makes a certain sense, as Vajrakilaya is part of that family and is also considered the manifestation of the activity of the Buddhas.
As for the conflation of the colors dark blue & black, this comes from Indian culture. Many of the Hindu deities are depicted this way; sometimes dark blue, sometimes black with a dark blue tinge, etc.
Wonder which Karmapa's flower landed on Akshobya's portion of the mandala... Or if all of theirs have!
gerdovan wrote:I have read and heard different things as to whose emenation the Karmapas are supposed to be... Chenresig, Guru Rinpoche, Buddha Simha,.....
Does anybody know what the sources for such statements are (if any).? Are there opinions concerning a single correct version?
Pretty sure Karmapa being acknowledged as the 6th Buddha known as Simha (sometimes called Sengé Dradrok, "Lion's Roar" or Drukpa Sengé, "Thunder [Dragon] Lion" in Tibetan) stems from Chokgyur Lingpa's vision of the 21 Karmapas. Chokgyur Lingpa, you may recall, was one of the founding fathers of the Rimé movement (along with Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo & Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thayé). He and the Karmapa had a close bond, and would give teachings to each other.
The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa's new website goes into Chokgyur Lingpa's vision in detail: http://kagyuoffice.org/karmapa/the-vision-of-terchen-chogyur-dechen-lingpa-mid-19th-century-c-e/
Khandro.net is another great site for context on just about everything Dharma (and especially Kagyu). The site's author, Sangye Khandro, has taken it upon herself to research all things thoroughly, give sources, and even provide the wider context of comparative religion & culture. Here's what she wrote on the prophecies about the Karmapa: http://www.khandro.net/Karmapas.htm#predictions
As for Karmapa being acknowledged as an emanation of Guru Rinpoche, this is explicit in teachings on the vision Yongey Mingyur Dorjé had of the 2nd Karmapa after completing is Bernagchen practice one day, and led to the Karma Pakshi gurusadhana. http://www.kagyu.org/ktd/karmapakshi.php
It's very possible that the association existed long before that, though, as Karmapa is known to have been Gyalwa Chöyang, one of Guru Rinpoche's 25 disciples (and I've heard it said that they were themselves emanations of Padmasambhava).
Regarding His Holiness being seen as an emanation of Chenrezig, this has a very long history and is pretty common knowledge, so I'm not sure that the lamas even feel the need to explain that. Still, it comes up in stories about the Karmapas as retold by other lamas. There is a great story about the 16th Karmapa where he acknowledged that he was Thousand-Armed Avalokita, but for some reason I can't find it at the moment. It's out there on the interwebs somewhere, but for now this will have to do for now: http://www.rumtek.org/hh/ht/ht02.html
There is an excellent book on just this subject, with tales recounted by the 15th & 16th Karmapas themselves. Not surprisingly, it's called Former Lives of the Karmapas