Rebirth Prediction Letter

In January of 1981, the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa gave to his heart son, the Twelfth Tai Situpa, a protection amulet with a brocade cover and said, "This is your protection amulet. In the future, it will confer great benefit." This protection amulet contained the letter predicting the rebirth of the Karmapa as Ogyen Trinley Dorje. It described unerringly the names of the Seventeenth Karmapa's parents, the area of his rebirth, and the time of his rebirth.

On the basis of this prediction letter, His Holiness the Seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa was found and enthroned in 1992. The letter was translated by Michele Martin at Rumtek in 1992.


The Sacred Letter from His Holiness Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa

Emaho. Self-awareness is always bliss;

The dharmadhatu1 has no center nor edge.

From here to the north [in] the east of [the land] of snow

Is a country where divine thunder spontaneously blazes2

[In] a beautiful nomad's place with the sign of a cow3,

The method is Döndrub and the wisdom is Lolaga4.

[Born in] the year of the one used for the earth5

[With] the miraculous, far-reaching sound of the white one6;

[This] is the one known as Karmapa.


His is sustained by Lord Donyö Drupa;

Being nonsectarian, he pervades all directions;

Not staying close to some and distant from others, he is the protector of all beings:

The sun of the Buddha's Dharma that benefits others always blazes.

1Chos kyi dhying, the expanse of all phenomena and equivalent to sunyata or emptiness.

2The Seventeenth Karmapa's place of birth is Lhathok: "Lha" means divine and "thok" means thunder. In the text, thunder is poetically called "gnam chags" or "sky iron."

3The name of the nomadic community where the Karmapa was born is Bakor; "ba" means "cow," and the Dharma term for cow, "dodjo," is used in the text.

4Method refers to the father and wisdom to the mother.

5His Holiness was born in the Wood Ox year; a tree lives from the earth and an ox is used to plow it.

6This refers to the sound of the conch shell that miraculously resounded in the air for about an hour after His Holiness' birth.