The Meaning of “Kagyu”

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Grigoris
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The Meaning of “Kagyu”

Postby Grigoris » Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:14 pm

https://www.facebook.com/notes/ken-holmes/the-meaning-of-kagyu/1264663596919855

Ken Holmes·Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Many people still think the main meaning of Kagyu is something like “oral tradition” or “whispered lineage” ... old translations from Evans-Wentz and the like. It actually means “Lineage of Transmitted Mastery” or “Lineage of the Four Transmitted Masteries”.
'Kagyu' is a short form of the Tibetan theg pa gsum gyi snying don bka’ bab kyi chos bzhi'i gdams ngag bar ma chad pa'i brgyud pa, which roughly means:
“The unbroken lineage of profound and intimate guidance in the four sorts of transmitted mastery, the heart meaning of the three yanas.”
In the name Kagyu, Ka is short for “bKa’ bab bzhi” [sounds like “ka pap zhi”] which could be loosely rendered as 'four transmissions of mastery'. “Zhi” simply means “four”. “Ka.pap” is a term without any direct equivalent in English. It means transmission—of knowledge, skill, insight and teaching ability—in a specific domain, from master to student, to the point where the student enters into complete possession of all the master's prowess. It is the sort of thing we find in craft apprenticeship where someone already gifted in, or deeply predisposed towards, a certain subject seeks out the best person in that field and learns from them everything they have to teach. Implicit to this process is the spontaneous appreciation and rapid assimilation that occurs when a student has a natural feel for a subject. The four Kagyu transmissions referred to here are those of:

Great Seal - (Tib. phyag.rgya.cken.po Skt. mahamudra) in this instance 'uncharacterised mahamudra', i.e. without ritual, form or sophistry,
Candali - (Tib. gtum.mo, which literally means 'angry mother'),
Lucidity - (Tib. od.gsal means ' as clear as if illuminated'--sometimes called 'clear light' in modern translations) this includes dream and between-life (bardo) yogas
Union - (Tib. Ias.kyi.phyag.rgya Skt. karma mudra)
These four transmissions contain the very essence of all three levels (yana) of Buddhism. Each contains the others and therefore each contains everything: all dharma. As a whole they are called Mahamudra.
If each of the above were not an aspect of a whole, tummo, subtle, purifying heat, would simply be a technique for producing warmth; one would be little more than a human oven. Radiant lucidity would be just something illuminating, like mental torchlight. They are not like that. Subtle heat and lucidity are very profound practices, richly supported by Mahamudra's insight, mantras, creation-stage Mahamudra etc. They are very complete, each being a highlighted aspect of the same thing. These four, one of which tends more to intimate knowledge of mind and the other three of which tend more to skilful areas of technique, have been transmitted in their original integrity, via a lineage of perfect masters and perfected students, from the time of Tilopa until our present day. They form the hub of the present Kagyu Lineage.
There are several other versions of the Four Transmissions and their origins
see here: http://www.khenpo.org/exsamye/other4.htm
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

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maybay
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Re: The Meaning of “Kagyu”

Postby maybay » Tue Nov 01, 2016 6:53 pm

:thumbsup:
People will know nothing and everything
Remember nothing and everything
Think nothing and everything
Do nothing and everything
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Re: The Meaning of “Kagyu”

Postby conebeckham » Tue Nov 01, 2016 7:03 pm

I like this post, but this is specific to those lineages stemming from Marpa.....I believe the word "Kagyu" has a more general meaning, as "oral lineage"--for instance, in the Shangpa Kagyu.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."

May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.

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Karma Jinpa
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Re: The Meaning of “Kagyu”

Postby Karma Jinpa » Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:51 pm

In his 1970 article Golden Rosaries of the Bka' brgyud schools, E. Gene Smith discusses the two forms of the name, Wylie: bka' brgyud and Wylie: dkar brgyud:

A note is in order regarding the two forms Dkar brgyud pa and Bka' brgyud pa. The term Bka' brgyud pa simply applies to any line of transmission of an esoteric teaching from teacher to disciple. We can properly speak of a Jo nang Bka' brgyud pa or Dge ldan Bka' brgyud pa for the Jo nang pa and Dge lugs pa sects. The adherents of the sects that practice the teachings centering around the Phyag rgya chen po and the Nā ro chos drug are properly referred to as the Dwags po Bka' brgyud pa because these teachings were all transmitted through Sgam po pa. Similar teachings and practices centering around the Ni gu chos drug are distinctive of the Shangs pa Bka' brgyud pa. These two traditions with their offshoots are often incorrectly referred to simply as Bka' brgyud pa.

Some of the more careful Tibetan scholars suggested that the term Dkar brgyud pa be used to refer to the Dwags po Bka' brgyud pa, Shangs pa Bka' brgyud pa and a few minor traditions transmitted by Nā ro pa, Mar pa, Mi la ras pa, or Ras chung pa but did not pass through Sgam po pa. The term Dkar brgyud pa refers to the use of the white cotton meditation garment by all these lineages. This complex is what is normally known, inaccuratly, as the Bka' brgyud pa. [i]Thu'u kwan Blo bzang chos kyi nyi ma sums up the matter: "In some later [i]'Brug pa texts the written form 'Dkar brgyud' indeed appears, because Mar pa, Mi la, Gling ras, and others wore only white cotton cloth. Nevertheless, it is fine if [they] are all called. "Bka' brgyud." At Thu'u kwan's suggestion, then, we will side with convention and use the term "Bka' brgyud."[2]


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kagyu, Nomenclature, orthography and etymology

It also seems that professor Robert Thurman has a different interpretation of which 4 practices have been transmitted in the bka’ bab bzhi'i brgyud pa, substituting Illusory Body and Phowa for Mahamudra, and Dream Yoga for Karmamudra.

[T]he term "Kagyu" derives from the Tibetan phrase meaning "Lineage of the Four Commissioners" (Ka-bab-shi-gyu-pa). This four-fold lineage is:

1. the illusory body and transference yogas of the Guhyasamaja and Chatushpitha Tantra, transmitted through Tilopa, Nagarjuna, Indrabhuti, and Saraha;

2. the dream yoga practice of the Mahamaya from Tilopa, Charyapa, and Kukuripa;

3. the clear-light yoga of the Chakrasamvara, Hevajra, and other Mother Tantras, as transmitted from Hevajra, Dombipa, and Lavapa; and

4. the inner-heat yoga, Kamadevavajra, Padmavajra, Dakini, Kalpabhadra, and Tilopa.(Thurman 2003, p. 42)


P.S. Does anyone know if copies of Smith's Golden Rosaries of the Bka' brgyud schools is still extant? Would be interesting to read the article in full.
"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, it happens that a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme

དྲིན་ཆེན་རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་མཁས་གྲུབ་ཀརྨ་ཆགས་མེད་རཱ་ག་ཨ་སྱས་མཁྱེན་ནོ།
ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོཿ


:namaste:

tingdzin
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Re: The Meaning of “Kagyu”

Postby tingdzin » Thu Dec 15, 2016 5:52 pm

Karma Jinpa wrote:oes anyone know if copies of Smith's Golden Rosaries of the Bka' brgyud schools is still extant? Would be interesting to read the article in full.


It might be in his book of collected writings "Among Tibetan Texts", though I can't check it right now.

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Re: The Meaning of “Kagyu”

Postby Norwegian » Thu Dec 15, 2016 5:56 pm

tingdzin wrote:
Karma Jinpa wrote:oes anyone know if copies of Smith's Golden Rosaries of the Bka' brgyud schools is still extant? Would be interesting to read the article in full.


It might be in his book of collected writings "Among Tibetan Texts", though I can't check it right now.

Yes, it's there.

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Re: The Meaning of “Kagyu”

Postby crazy-man » Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:56 pm

Golden Rosaries of the Bka' brgyud schools,
http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.t ... chools.pdf

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Grigoris
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Re: The Meaning of “Kagyu”

Postby Grigoris » Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:39 pm

crazy-man wrote:Golden Rosaries of the Bka' brgyud schools,
http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.t ... chools.pdf
:twothumbsup:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE


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