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In Tibetan Buddhism the Tai Situpa is one of the oldest lineages of tulkus (reincarnated lamas) in the Kagyu school. According to tradition, the Tai Situpa is an emanation of the bodhisattva Maitreya, who will become the next Buddha, and who has been incarnated as numerous Indianmarker and Tibetan yogins since the time of the historical Buddha.

The Tai Situpa is considered to be one of the highest ranking lamas of the Karma Kagyu lineage .

Chokyi Gyaltsen was the first incarnation to bear the title Tai Situ, conferred upon him in 1407 by the Yongle Emperor of Chinamarker in the Ming Dynastymarker. He was a close disciple of the 5th Karmapa who appointed him as abbot of Karma Goen, the Karmapa's principal monastery at the time. The full title bestowed was Kenting Naya Tang Nyontse Geshetse Tai Situpa which is shortened to Kuang Ting Tai Situ. The full title means "far reaching, unshakable, great master, holder of the command" .

The current and 12th Tai Situpa, Pema Tönyö Nyinje, was born in a farming family in 1954 in the village of Achog, which is part of Palyul (dpal yul) or Baiyü County, in Sichuan Provincemarker, Chinamarker that was formerly part of the old principality of Dege ( ).

At the age of twenty-two, Situ Rinpoche founded his own new monastic seat, Palpung Sherab Lingmarker in Himachal Pradeshmarker, in Northern Indiamarker. He traveled widely making his first visit to the West in 1981 to Samyé Ling Monasterymarker in Scotlandmarker.

The 12th Tai Situpa was instrumental in recognizing Ogyen Trinley Dorje, one of the two candidates claimed to be the 17th Karmapa. He also recognized Choseng Trungpa, born on February 6, 1989 in eastern Tibet, as the reincarnation of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

Emanations and lineage of the Tai Situpas

Many great and precious lamas are recognized as emanations of the Tai Situpas by realized masters of the Kagyu lineage, such as Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye.

Partial list of emanations

  • Bodhisattva Maitreya
  • Bodhisattva Source of Instructions
  • Yidam Hevajra
  • Dombipa Heruka
  • Darikapa
  • Vajracarya Shri Singha
  • Venerable Gyim Shang
  • Demma Tsemang
  • Marpa Lotsawa
  • Pang Kenchen Ozer Lama
  • Rabten Kunzang Pal
  • Ngawang Jikten Wongchuk
  • Gonpo Tsultrim Nyingpo
  • Drogon Renchen Sonam Drakpa
  • Yeshe Wangchuk
  • Emperor Tashing Temur
  • Ratnabhadra
  • Taranatha

Lineage of the Tai Situpas

  1. Chokyi Gyaltsen (1377-1448)
  2. Tashi Namgyal (1450-1497)
  3. Tashi Paljor (1498-1541)
  4. Chokyi Gocha (1542-1585)
  5. Chokyi Gyaltsen Palzang (1586-1657)
  6. Mipham Chogyal Rabten (1658-1682)
  7. Nawe Nyima (1683-1698)
  8. Chokyi Jungne (1700-1774)
  9. Pema Nyingche Wangpo (1774-1853)
  10. Pema Kunzang Chogyal (1854-1885)
  11. Pema Wangchuk Gyalpo (1886-1952)
  12. Péma Tönyö Nyinjé (1954-)


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