Genesis of the Living Buddha Tradition: Karma Pakshi and Two Mongol Khans

Key information

5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Russell Square: College Buildings
Event type
Event highlights

About this event

Charles Manson will discuss his new research results in The Second Karmapa Karma Pakshi (November 29, 2022), the newest addition to Shambhala Publications' Lives of the Masters series. The book is a first-ever comprehensive biography of Karma Pakshi in English, revealing new information about this pivotal historical figure in the development of Tibetan Buddhism.

Suitable for anyone interested in Tibetan Buddhism and Buddhist history, this seminar will explore Karma Pakshi and his meditation teachings, Karma Pakshi’s interactions with Mongol emperors, the reincarnate lama tradition, and the Karmapa lineage.

Karma Pakshi is considered very influential in the development of Tibet's reincarnate lama tradition. Born in East Tibet in the thirteenth century, Karma Pakshi himself was the first meditation master to be named Karmapa, a lineage of masters that continues to modern times and has millions of admirers worldwide. During his lifetime, Karma Pakshi was widely acknowledged as a mahāsiddha and was therefore invited to the Mongol imperial court, where he gave spiritual advice and meditation instructions to Mongke Khan, and he also persuaded the emperor of the virtues of vegetarianism. Later, Karma Pakshi was imprisoned by Kubilai Khan until an eventual reconciliation.

Karma Pakshi is a fascinating figure who established the Karmapa lineage, and Manson reveals fresh information on this important master through an entertaining and accessible biography. 


About the speaker

Charles Manson is a librarian for the Tibetan Collections at the Bodleian Library (Oxford University) and at the British Library in London. He was once a master woodcarver, who then spent several years as a Buddhist monk and meditation retreatant. He later studied at Harvard University where he received a master’s in theological studies.

Manson is the author of The Second Karmapa Karma Pakshi (November 29, 2022), a new addition to Shambhala Publications’ Lives of the Masters series. His current research is on a newly available manuscript of Karma Pakshi's songs.


This event is open to the public and free to attend, however registration is required. 

Please complete the registration form to book your place.

Please note that this seminar is taking place on campus and will not be recorded or live-streamed. This event is starting at a slightly later time of 5.30pm.

  • chair: Dr Lars Laamann, Department of History, SOAS University of London.
  • organiser: SOAS China Institute
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