Black Pills of the 16th Karmapa


Black Pills of the 16th Karmapa



The Gyalwa Karmapa is the head of the Karma Kagyu sub-school of the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. The lineage of the Karmapas goes back to 1100 and is traditionally considered the earliest reincarnation line in Tibetan history. There are currently two incarnations, each having been recognized as the 17th lineage holder. They are Orgyen Trinley Dorje and Trinley Thaye Dorje. It is often said that the Karmapa will show his full manifestation when he is born as the sixth Buddha of our aeon (Shakyamuni was the fourth).

Traditionally based at Tsurphu Monastery in central Tibet, since the diaspora of the early 1960s the Karmapa’s principal seat is Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, India. He also has regional seats at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra in New York and Dhagpo Kagyu Ling in Dordogne, France.


Rinchen Rilnak

One aspect of the Karmapa’s enlightened activity manifests in making small black pills called rinchen rilnak. The pills are rare, being made of precious substances including gems, metals and many relics from the monastery treasury. They are prepared in a complex ritual involving the implements of Marpa Lotsawa (1012-1097) and Jetsun Milarepa (1052-1135).

Through the power of interdependence, they are believed to confer blessings and protection on people who consume them or simply carry them on their person in a relic box or locket.

These rilnak are believed to aid in the liberation of the individual at the time of dying by way of forming a karmic link with the Karmapa. In circumstances of life threatening illness, they have been known to bring about amazing benefit, and even complete recovery when circumstances seemed dire. See below for a personal account by Steve Roth.

In cases of the pills being taken by the dying, even if physical improvement is not apparent, it is reported that the death was noticeably less difficult for both they dying and those supporting him or her. Sometimes the pills are reported to ease emotional troubles that often accompanies chronic illness, as well as the anxiety and difficult emotions surrounding traumatic events.

Due to complex struggles within the Karma Kagyu sect, neither of the the current Karmapas has been able to make these pills. As a result, the pills have become unbelievably rare. As a result, when one of these precious pills came into our hands, we decided to ‘multiply’ them as is often done with very rare substances in the Tibetan tradition.

We now offer these pills with the wish that they may benefit whomever comes in contact with them. Although these were not made under the supervision of the 16th Karmapa, each pill does contain a tiny amount of the original. May all beings gain freedom from suffering and the causes of suffering!

When using the pills it is considered auspicious to recite the mantra which invokes the wisdom mind of the Karmapa. The mantra is  pronounced Karmapa Chenno or Karmapa Kyenno.


These pills are free of cost. As they are quite tiny, we have attached a small bag containing three pills to a card with a picture of the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. The bag is removable and can be reattached to the card to keep the pills safe. We are limiting requests to one card per order.

If you happen to have an interesting or powerful experience connected with these pills, please let us know so we can post it here for inspiration. See below for various experiences as we receive them.


Below is a personal report from someone who witnessed the power of the black pills in a very dramatic way.

The Blessings of the Black Pill – by Steve Roth

In 1983, my sister called with grave news; our dad had just suffered a massive heart attack. She told me he had been taken to the intensive care unit of a hospital near San Francisco. He was 68 years old at the time. And then she said, “Steve, he’s dying.” I immediately phoned the hospital and spoke with a couple of the Intensive Care nurses. They confirmed the grim news. In fact, they said, my dad was so close to death that there was no need for me to rush out from Colorado to see him.

I called Trungpa Rinpoche and shared this news with him. In the middle of our conversation I blurted out, “Rinpoche, maybe I should fly out and give my father one of His Holiness’ black pills.” (Black pills, or rilnak in Tibetan, are tiny pellets made by the Karmapa that contain extraordinary blessing; they are to be taken when one is giving birth, extremely ill or dying.) Rinpoche replied, “That would be a good idea.”

So I flew to San Francisco with my wife, Catherine and our year-old son, Spencer. My son and father had never met, and despite the nurses’ discouraging message, I wanted them to be near one another for the first, and most likely last time. We arrived at Marin General Hospital and went immediately to the ICU. A nurse accompanied us to my father. He was unconscious and looked like a bloated corpse. It was hard to imagine that he was actually still alive; there were tubes coming out of his mouth, and many needles and wires were attached to his body. The nurse left us there; he was all but gone.

After Catherine, holding our son said her goodbyes, I asked her to wait with Spencer in the ICU waiting room. When I was alone with my father, I held his hand and said, “Dad, if you can hear me, move your index finger.” I was quite surprised when his index finger moved. I then asked his permission to administer the black pill, explaining that it was designed to help people with such transitions—whether he stays or leaves. I said, “If I have your permission, move your finger once.” My dad moved his finger once.

At that point, I became aware that the ICU wasn’t exactly designed for privacy; it was a round, glass-walled enclosure with nurses and doctors moving about and often peering in. Someone might see me putting something in my dad’s mouth and think that I was up to some kind of mischief, maybe even that I was trying to kill him. I also realized that, given his swollen, dry, tube-filled mouth, the chances of getting even this tiny pill far enough back on his tongue (either for dissolving or for swallowing) were slim.

So I went to the men’s room and carefully crushed the black pill, wedging its grains into the tiny space between my thumb and the inside surface of the thumbnail. I returned to my dad’s bedside and was trying to spread apart the tubes in his mouth when I heard a voice behind me say: “Hi.” I swiveled around and there was my dad’s doctor, right arm extended to shake my hand—my right hand, the hand which was hiding the crushed black pill. I made my best attempt to shake hands without losing any of the precious substance. After a few agonizing minutes the doctor left the room, and somehow I managed to place the crushed black pill into my dad’s mouth.

To the astonishment of everyone—including the doctors and nurses—my dad made a full and complete recovery. He lived another 29 years and passed away peacefully at 97.

Shared by Steve Roth


Experiences With These Pills

A.M. of the United Kingdom had this interesting occurrence:
the Karmapa Pills you sent me were interesting as I have been flat out bedridden
with something we still cannot work out, and so has one of my friends.
We each took one of those very small balls (from Karmapa) and placed another other with surgery tape on our bodies.
The remaining ones we placed in an ancient silver & tiger eye medical box.
Something must have happened because today we feel the best we have felt in ages!
thank you,
ps: the photo of the man on the card is very alive he makes me laugh…



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