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The Buddha Tree

    Karma Kagyu is the largest lineage of the Kagyu school, one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The Karma Kagyu was founded by the first Karmapa, Je Dusum Khyenpa. It is headed by the Gyalwa Karmapa, a reincarnate lama. Followers believe that the Karmapa's appearance was predicted by the Buddha in the Samadhiraja Sutra (lit: Discourse on the King of Meditative Concentration). Currently there is a dispute regarding the identity of the 17th Karmapa.

    The central teaching of the Karma Kagyu is the doctrine of Mahamudra or "Great Seal". This doctrine focuses on four principal stages of meditative practice (the Four Yogas of Mahamudra), namely:

The development of single-pointedness of mind, 
The transcendence of all conceptual elaboration, 
The cultivation of the perspective that all phenomena are of a "single taste", 
The fruition of the path, which is beyond any contrived acts of meditation.

    It is through these four stages of development that the practitioner is said to attain the perfect realization of Mahamudra.


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