Repa Karpo was born in Rusapo,(yellow blood line) Minyak Ga 1198; the earth male-horse year of third Rabjung.
He took full ordination from Drogon Tishri Repa and was given the name of Sherab Changchup. He was taught the 10 fundamental philosophies by Tishri Repa. He also taught Repa Karpo the “Six Yogas of Naropa” and “Mahamudra” and became independent in Tsarlung. Repa Karpo did retreat focused on those teachings and quickly became knowledgeable and accomplished at these and later wrote commentaries for them.
He became a realized master through his dedicated practice. His wind channels opened easily and he attained the body of a Bodhisattva. His face appeared like the full moon’s brightness, hence his name “white hermit” Repa Karpo. Because of aspirations formed in his past lives, when he met Tishri Repa his habit of dharma practice was awakened to the point where it was irreversible under any conditions.
In 1236 his guru Tishri Repa passes to Nirvana. When they take Tishri Repas’ body from Nangchen, the Da Chu river is so wide and full of water they cannot cross. They did a puja on the riverside bank and the river parted so they could pass through. The place where they rested on the other side has a small commemorative stupa.
Repa Karpo oversaw the funeral arrangements and creation of the supports of body, speech and mind after his Gurus’ passing. He made 100,000 tsa tsas out of the bone and ashes. He built the stupa with the remains on Tsa Maychin under Chakrasavara Mountain. Previously when Tishri Repa was there with his horse, the horse laid down to sleep and didn’t want to get up so that was an omen. On that spot is where the stupa is built.
In this time period, Khubla Khan (Sechen Gyalpo)?? was waging war against the emperor, Tally, of Yunnan, Kham and the neighbouring kingdoms nearby and had claimed a lot of the territory as his.
After building Kumbum for one year, having heard about Khubla Khan’s activities, Repa Karpo and Kyun Ghum Abo went to see him. They told him about Tishri Repa passing away and the relics of his body are in the stupa at Nangchen. He tells Khubla Khan about the prediction that Tishri Repa makes in regards to building a monastery in that area near the stupa. Repa Karpo requests Khubla Khan to help him with the building of the monastery. Khubla Khan tells him that there are 120,000 families that are living in the area and he can collect the taxes from these families to build the monastery. Khubla Khan has faith in Repa Karpo and gives him the seal to be religious head and oversee Dumkar Gyah, Chumkar Myur, Zachyun Tung, Chowhay Khur, Lhohtah Shuht, Nahrung Tahk, areas which totals 120,000 families. Khubla Khan also makes Kyun Ghum Abo the political head of the area. He also offers Repa Karpo silks, silver coins, gold, and many other precious items.
MOV00597 Repa Karpo fulfills his Lama’s prediction by building of Kumbum Dzapa monastery down in the valley below the stupa in Nangchen. He uses the taxes and items he was offered to fund the building of this magnificent monastery that also housed many of his Lama’s relics. There were many temples as well and this is why it was called Kumbum Dzapa. It equaled the size of Nalanda in India with over 3,000 monks. In the Kumbum area water is scarce, so Repa Karpo went to the mountain and magically created a spring on the mountain by reaching into the rock to supply special mountain water to the area.
Previously when Tishri Repa was in Minyak he had good relations with quality builders there. Repa Karpo requests the architects, carpenters, masons, and all those with experience to come for this building project. He accomplished the building in a very short time and it was very ornate with many distinguishing features. It had a large three story assembly hall made with 120 pillars that could hold all the resident monks. On the roof top was the Ganjira, the golden birds. It had a circular balcony and because of its magnificence it was called the Potal Nangso Chenpo. There was a long term retreat area and many small resident houses around the monastery. There was also a throne built out of stone from which he gave teachings to his 13 accomplished disciples who were Mahasiddhas and could fly. During the consecration, it was observed that Tishri Repas’ manifested image was in the sky wearing the five tipped religious hat in a blissful way. The throne still exists today. He established his master Tishri Repa’s lineage in this way and the 18 monastic meditation groups are formed from Kumbum as well. Now, the monastery no longer exists, the area is an ancient ruin site with no distinguishing signs are marks of a previous monastery.
Repa Karpo passes to Nirvana on the 8th day of the horse month, water dog year, 1262, in the 4th Rabjung. He was 65 years old. There were many special signs and marks that confirmed his lifetime accomplishments and realizations.
Repa Karpo was accomplished at Tummo yoga and was one of the 13 flying mystics. His main disciples were: Shengah Leme Dorje, Shengah Shungshuk Gunpo, Kyepah Shungshup Dorje, Whaldup Sherab Yeshe, Gungum Aul, Tserpa Sherab Gunchuk, Lahshushup Gerab, Junggun Raepa, Dzertu Raepa and many other accomplished students.
His writings include the extensive Namtar of Tishri Repa, composed Vajra Songs (Dohas), deity sadhanas, tantric practice methods, and the Kagyu Mahamudra.
He wrote texts on Chakraksamara and Vajra Yogini, which are presently missing.