SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Manson, Charles 'Elastic Time, Magical Memories: Multifarious Lives of Karmapas.' In: Reincarnation in Tibetan Buddhism: Birth-Narratives, Institutional Innovation, and Embodiment of Divine Power. Cambridge, Massachussetts: Wisdom Books. (Forthcoming)

This is the latest version of this item.

[img] Text - Draft Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Request a copy


One of the primary movers in the Tibetan development of the sprul sku tradition of ecclesiastical succession through reincarnation has been the Karmapa hierophant lineage, whose protagonists have been religious advisers to khans, emperors and kings of Asia. In addition to the lineal succession, several of the Karmapas have self-identified previous lifetimes, concurrent manifestations (both male and female), and future lives. Indeed, the First Karmapa is titled ‘Knower of the Three Times’ (Dus gsum mkhyen pa, 1110-1193 CE). Several later authors have produced moderately differing accounts identifying pre-incarnations, co-incarnations and post-incarnations for a particular holder of the Karmapa title. This chapter considers the data that depicts the Karmapas’ incarnations in various eras and locations. Such data is derived from autobiographical and biographical textual sources written from the 12th to the 20th centuries, including a recently available copy (2010) of a 14th-century record of Karma Pakshi’s self-claimed previous and concurrent lives. Focusing on the people, places and times of Karmapa incarnations this chapter analyzes the data provided by the hagiological literature. The congruences and variations are noted in order to tease out themes of agenda and strategy, especially with regard to authenticity, authority and the maintenance of continuity through the management of change and mortality

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of China and Inner Asia
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2015 15:40

Altmetric Data

There is no Altmetric data currently associated with this item.

Available Versions of this Item

  • Elastic Time, Magical Memories: Multifarious Lives of Karmapas. (deposited 27 Apr 2015 15:40) [Currently Displayed]


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item