New Book: “The Karmapa Prophecies” by Sylvia Wong

This excellent new book is an extensive study revolving around the current controversy over the recognition of the 17th Karmapa.

Karmapa Prophecies by Sylvia Wong

Karmapa Prophecies by Sylvia Wong


In 1981, the revered 16th Karmapa, head of the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism, passed away. His death set in motion a process to identify his reincarnated successor that originated 900 years ago with the 1st Karmapa who was the first Tibetan Buddhist master ever to reincarnate.

Since the early 1990s, the identification of the 17th Karmapa has been mired in controversy; causing a schism in the Karma Kagyu sect. two competing factions within the sect have recognized different candidates.

To help sort out the competing claims, Sylvia Wong believes that an unbiased voice can be found in the past – namely, in the prophetic words of previous Karmapas. Not only does she offer the Karmapas’ words, but using a combination of accurate translations, sound interpretation, proper historical research, and investigative reporting, she also marshals new evidence and analysis to show that those predictions have come true in our time.

In addition, the author corrects recent publications’ linguistic and historical errors that contribute to the Karmapa controversy. She believes that an accurate account of Karma Kagyu history ought to be of equal importance to both 17th Karmapas and their followers. With the help of respected translators, the author presents for the first time in English, many key Tibetan writings that reveal the relevant Karma Kagyu history.

In Part One of her ground breaking study, Wong presents the true voices of the 5th and 16th Karmapas through their writings, namely, their prophecies that forewarned of treachery not unlike the present schism in the Karma Kagyu. Wong also examines the predictions of Guru Rinpoche found in scripts from Tibetan made available only in early 2008.

To reveal the true meanings of all these prophecies, an in-depth analysis by Geshe Dawa Gyaltsen, a Gelugpa scholar, accompanies each prophecy. Part Two refutes mistruths about Tibetan history that several recent publications have spread. If left uncorrected, they can damage the reputation of the Karma Kagyu – a risk forewarned in the prophecies.

Part Three presents a first-person account by the present Shamarpa, about events just prior to the 16th Karmapa’s passing and until his own recognition of the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje. It reveals the divisive forces that have undermined the 16th Karmapa’s administration.

Part Four, the concluding section, examines the key figures and their masterplan in the takeover of Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, on August 2, 1993. Today neither of the two 17th Karmapas can set foot in Rumtek, as their predecessor foresaw.

The book is available to order at the Wisdom Books website.

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