The Treasury of Lives

The Tai Situ incarnations began when the Sixth Karmapa recognized Tashi Namgyel as the reincarnation of his teacher Chokyi Gyeltsen, a lama of Karma Gon Monastery in Kham who had received the Chinese imperial title from a Ming envoy. In the eighteenth century the Eighth Tai Situ, Chokyi Jungne, moved the seat of the line to Pelpung Monastery near Derge.



Chokyi Gyeltsen, a close disciple of the Fifth Karmapa, is traditionally said to have received his imperial title "Tai Situ" from the Yongle Emperor of the Ming Dynasty in China, although evidence suggests it was a Ming envoy who bestowed it. Primarily an instructor at Karma Gon monastery in Kham, he spent most of his later life meditating in caves.

Tashi Namgyel, the Second Tai Situ, was recognized by the Sixth Karmapa. Little is currently known about his life.

The Third Tai Situ, Tashi Peljor, was a student of the Seventh Karmapa. He recognized the Eighth Karmapa by means of showing him items that had belonged to the Seventh Karmapa, possibly the first time such a method was used to identify reincarnations.

Mitruk Chokyi Gocha, the Fourth Tai Situ, was recognized by the Eighth Karmapa, and played a major role in recognizing the Ninth Karmapa. He increased the population of monks at Karma Gon Monastery and spent the later years of his life in retreat.

The Fifth Tai Situ, Chokyi Gyeltsen

b.1560/1586 - d.1632/1657

Chokyi Gyeltsen was the Fifth Tai Situ, a line of incarnations initially based at Karma Gon Monastery in Kham. He was a student of the Ninth Karmapa. Little is known of his life.

Chogyel Mipam Trinle Rabten, the Sixth Tai Situ, was recognized by the Tenth Karmapa. He resided in Jangyul with the Karmapa for many years when the later was in exile there.

The Seventh Tai Situ, Lekshe Mawai Nyima, was recognized by the Eleventh Karmapa into a Sakya family that refused to release him to the Karma Kagyu tradition. According to Kagyu history, for this reason he passed away at the age of fifteen.

The Ninth Situ, Pema Nyinje Wangpo, was a student of the Thirteenth Karmapa and the Tenth Zhamar. He was a main teacher to Jamgon Kongtrul and the Fourteenth Karmapa. He built the Gyude Temple at Pelpung Monastery. He spent the twenty years in retreat, from about age sixty to age eighty.