Death of the 16. Karmapa

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16th Karmapa

The sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje (August 14, 1924–November 5, 1981) was spiritual leader of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. He was born in Denkhok in the Dergé district of Kham (Eastern Tibet), near the Yangtze River.

Death of the 16. Karmapa[edit]

Enlightened Tibetan masters traditionally stay in their bodies for three days after death. This is recognized by the fact that their bodies do not begin to decompose and that the heart chakra is warm. This fact can be explained with the continuation of life after death. The 16th Karmapa died in 1981 in a hospital in Chicago. The body did not rot in that time and the heart region was warm. Dr. Levy cared for him until his death:

  • "Early the next day he died actually. We saw the change on the monitors. The heart pulse changed in a way, that clearly shows that the heart fails. (...) With all the drugs we could not get him high again. We continued to work, gave medications, and then his heart stand still. I realized that it was over. You could see his heart die on the monitor. This was the point when I gave up. His Holiness had been lying there dead about 45 minutes. We started to pull out the feeding tube, when I suddenly saw that his blood pressure was 140 to 80. My first reaction was that someone leans against the pressure monitor. It was impossible that he became alive again. Then a nurse screamed: "He has a good pulse! ! He has a good pulse." One of the older Rinpoche patted me on the back, as if he wanted to say:" It is impossible, but it happens." The heart rate of His Holiness was 80, his blood pressure 140 to 80th in that moment. No one said a word now. It was a moment of "That does not exist. It can not be." It was clearly the greatest miracle that I had ever seen. I mean, it was not only an extraordinary moment. It happened an hour after his heart beating had stopped. I ran out of the room to tell Trungpa Rinpoche, that His Holiness is alive again. I had the impression that His Holiness returned to try if this body can still carry his spirit. So he came back to see if his body was still usable. Only the power of his returning consciousness could do that."
  • „48 hours after his death, his chest was still warm. In this moment, my hands were both warm, and his chest was warmer than my hand. In order to test this, I moved my hands to the side of his chest, away from his heart, and there it was cold. I then felt the middle again, and above his heart it was warm. I pinched his skin and found that it was still elastic and completely normal. After 36 hours, the dead typically have skin comparable to dough. And his skin was still like that of the living after 48 hours. It was as if he weren’t dead. Shortly after we left the room, the surgeon came and said, „ he is warm, he is warm.“ And then it came to be that the medical staff asked again and again if he were still warm. It was naturally consistent to the traditional Tibetan experience. Developed individuals like his Holiness stay in their bodies after breath and heartbeat have stopped, within a state of deep meditation. After three days the Samadhi ended. It was recognized that his Holiness was no longer warm and that the process of death set in. After this, the atmosphere changed, it too became normal.”(Quotes buddhismus-heute.de)

Wikipedia: In 1980-81 the Karmapa began his last world tour, giving teachings, interviews and empowerments in South East Asia, Greece, England and the United States. Rangjung Rigpei Dorjé died on November 5, 1981 in the United States in a hospital in Zion, Illinois. Doctors and nurses at the hospital remarked on his kindness and how he seemed more concerned with their welfare than his own. One doctor was also struck by the Karmapa's refusal of pain medication and the absence of any signs of feeling the profound pain that most patients in his condition report. Upon his death, against hospital procedure but in keeping with Tibetan tradition and with special permission from the State of Illinois, his body was left in the hospital for three days and his heart remained warm during this time. Chief of staff Radulfo Sanchez had no medical explanation for this. The Karmapa was cremated in Rumtek.

Is there a life after death?[edit]

Life after death is a highly controversial topic. The big question is wether there is a soul independ of the body. In this direction point also the near-death research and especially the Pam Reynolds case. When a person sees things outside his body during a brain operation, although the eyes are connected, it can not be explained by a lack of oxygen. An explanation is, that the soul is independent from the body. And if the soul is independent from the body, it will probably exist after the death.

Pam Reynolds case[edit]

In 1991 the 35 year-old Pam Reynolds underwent a brain operation. Her blood was routed from her brain and she was placed in a state of artifical coma. Her head was attached with wires to measure brain waves. It was ascertained that no brain waves could travel during this half an hour. The thought processes were blocked, and as such no hormone release could occur. Hallucinations were not possible in this state. And it just so happened that Pam Reynolds had her out of body experience at this time. She floated with her soul out of her body. She observed from above all of the details of her operation.

Wikipedia: Pam Reynolds Lowery (1956 – May 22, 2010), from Atlanta, Georgia, was an American singer-songwriter. In 1991, at the age of 35, she claims to have had a near-death experience (NDE) during a brain operation performed by Robert F. Spetzler at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. Her experience is one of the most notable and widely documented in near-death studies because of the unusual circumstances under which it happened. Reynolds was under close medical monitoring during the entire operation. During part of the operation she had no brain-wave activity and no blood flowing in her brain, which rendered her clinically dead. She made several observations about the procedure which later were confirmed by medical personnel as surprisingly accurate. This famous near-death experience claim is considered by many to be proof of the reality of the survival of consciousness after death, and of a life after death. During the operation but prior to her being put in cardiac arrest, Reynolds later reported hearing a sound like a natural 'D'. The sound seemed to pull her out of her body. She reported floating around in the operating room and watching the doctors performing the operation. She felt more aware than normal and her vision was more focused and clearer than normal vision. She made several observations in this state, for example: She noticed the doctor using a drill to open her skull. It surprised her that it looked like an electric toothbrush, not like a saw as she expects. It is later confirmed that the drill used by the doctor was similar in appearance to an electric toothbrush. She heard a female voice say, "We have a problem. Her arteries are too small." It is later confirmed that the doctors first tried to connect the heart-lung machine to the right leg. But the arteries were so small that they switched to the left leg. These examples appear to show that she was able to see and hear during the operation.

Pam Reynolds' NDE is sometimes seen as evidence of the survival hypothesis. Critics have brought forward several points which attempt to refute this interpretation. When Reynolds heard someone say her veins were too small, medical personnel were apparently still connecting her to the heart-lung machine. At this point she was merely under general anesthesia (which can quite often fail to render a patient completely unconscious as well as causing dysphoric effects including confusion about ones position in their body). However, there is no evidence to suggest that the anesthesia failed to render Pam Reynolds completely unconscious. This appears to show that her supposed Near "Death" Experience began hours before she even "died," and indeed if the second part of the operation had been called off for some reason, many of the supposed "death" experiences would have happened even though all she was subjected to were anesthetic drugs. She may have had the claimed experiences before or after the standstill, when she was merely under general anesthesia and the brain was still active. There is also no explanation as to how Reynolds was able to describe the surgical tool used to remove her skull cap which she had never seen.

Critics also contend that EEG monitoring is not 100% reliable. Sometimes the brain has activity that is not registered by the equipment. However, there is no evidence that suggests that the EEG used to monitor Pam Reynolds' brain activity malfunctioned. Ear plugs cannot perfectly block all external sounds and people with ear plugs may still be able to hear sounds in their environment. However, the ear-plugs used also emit a constant bleeping sound.[5] The technologist who was responsible for inserting the molded ear plugs in Spetzler's patients during the time period when Reynolds' surgery was performed, stated that after the ear plugs were molded into each auditory canal, they were further covered with mounds of tape and gauze to seal the ear piece into each ear canal, making it extremely unlikely that Reynolds could have physically overheard operating room conversation.

Pim Van Lommel[edit]

Van Lommel studies: Interview with Cardiologist and NDE Researcher Dr. Pim Van Lommel (video 2010). Even if the brain does no longer work, people can have a clear awareness - an awareness that forces us to rethink about life and death. People who were on the verge of death, report after her recovery, often of extraordinary conscious experiences: they took advantage of a beautiful landscape and a healing light and felt indescribable happiness. They saw themselves from above, and could afterwards give details information on the environment - in spite of their unconsciousness. How is this possible? Pim van Lommel found out that consciousness need not be tied to a functioning body. A result which attracted much attention and has been published in the leading medical journal The Lancet. Van Lommel's thesis is: The brain acts only as a recipient of an infinite consciousness that does not cease to exist after death.

See also[edit]

Wikipedia-logo.png Search for Buddhism on Wikipedia.
Wikipedia-logo.png Search for Tibetan Buddhism on Wikipedia.
Wikipedia-logo.png Search for Karmapa on Wikipedia.
Wikipedia-logo.png Search for Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, 16th Karmapa on Wikipedia.

External links[edit]