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The Shamarpa (Tibetan: ཞྭ་དམར་པ་, Wylie: zhwa dmar pa; literally, "Person (i.e. Holder) of the Red Crown"), also known as Shamar Rinpoche, or more formally Künzig Shamar Rinpoche, is a lineage holder of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism and is regarded to be the mind manifestation of Amitābha. He is traditionally associated with Yangpachen Monastery near Lhasa.
The first Shamarpa, Drakpa Senggé (Wylie: grags pa seng+ge, 1283–1349), received the title "Shamarpa", and a red crown, an exact replica of Karmapa’s black crown from Rangjung Dorje, 3rd Karmapa, establishing the second line of reincarnate lamas in Tibetan Buddhism. The Karmapa was the first.
The Shamarpa is often referred to as the "Red Hat Karmapa", especially in early Kagyu texts.
The 5th Dalai Lama saw the Shamarpa as equal to the Karmapa:
Since Je Chen-nga Thamchad Khyenpa Chokyi Dragpa (the Fourth Shamarpa) ascended the throne of the Phagdrupa dynasty, there was no longer any difference between the Red Hat and the Black Hat Karmapas. This was the reason why I afforded them both equal status."
Shamarpa considered to be successive reincarnations are listed in "The Garland of Moon Water Crystal" by the 8th Tai Situpa Chökyi Jungne and Belo Tsewang Künkhyab.
Following the death of the 9th Shamarpa, two different children were identified as possible candidates to be the reincarnation: one was Mipam Chödrup Gyamtso, the stepbrother of the 6th Panchen Lama; the other was Könchok Garwang Gyatso (དཀོན་མཆོག་གར་དབང་རྒྱ་མཚོ) of the Namseling (རྣམ་སྲས་གླིང) family. The dispute was resolved by lot: Mipam Chödrup Gyamtso's name was drawn and he was enthroned as the 10th Shamarpa. Könchok Garwang Gyatso was referred to as the Shamar Trisur or "former Shamarpa"; according to some accounts, he "abdicated" following the lottery, implying that he had originally been enthroned. In any event, the Shamar Trisur took up residence on his family's estate at Namseling Manor, near Samye Monastery, and became a lama. Following his death ca. 1792, a reincarnation was identified, establishing a lineage known as Namling Shamar. The most recent Namling Shamar was the 5th, who was identified by the 15th Karmapa (1871–1922) and lived until 1982.
In 1792 the Tibetan government accused the 10th Shamarpa of inciting a war between Tibet and Nepal. He was exiled from Tibet and a ban placed on his future incarnations from being officially recognized. A modern Tibetologist proved this interpretation of history to be wrong and showed that the Shamarpa mediated in this conflict.
The comment of the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa on this period was: "Merit was becoming smaller and smaller. There was much political interference. Black was becoming white. The real was becoming unreal. At that time it was not practicable to have any Shamarpa recognised or enthroned. Everything was kept secret. The incarnations appeared, but were not revealed." In 1963, following a request from the 16th Karmapa, the Tibetan Government in Exile lifted the ban. The 14th Shamar Rinpoche was officially enthroned, and after completing his studies in 1979 began his extensive teaching activity.
Another controversy began in 1992, during the search for and recognition of the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa. A division formed within the Karma Kagyu sangha over the selection of two Karmapa candidates. The Karmapa controversy is intriguing and complex, and has its roots in feudalistic Tibetan history, and is connected with politics of China and India as well. The Karmapa candidates Ogyen Trinley Dorje and Thaye Dorje have met each other, and issued joint statements calling for cooperation, and the wish to find the 15th Shamar Rinpoche together.
The 14th Shamarpa was Mipham Chokyi Lodro, born in Derge, Tibet in 1952. At age four he revealed his identity as the Shamarpa by recognizing old monks from Yangpochen monastery, the ancestral seat of the Shamarpas. His uncle, the 16th Karmapa, recognized him as the reincarnation of the previous Shamarpa. In 1964 the 14th Shamar Rinpoche was officially enthroned in Karmapa's Rumtek monastery. At this occasion the Karmapa wrote a poem:
Shamar Rinpoche received the entire cycle of Kagyu teachings from the 16th Karmapa. He stayed close with the 16th Karmapa until his death in 1981.
Shamar Rinpoche was interested in the topic of Buddhism and democracy. His book “Creating a Transparent Democracy” lays out a framework for establishing a genuine democratic system of governance that promotes welfare and prosperity. He also founded the "Infinite Compassion Foundation" with the cause to promote the humane treatment of animals raised for consumption of meat and other products. 
Shamar Rinpoche died on 11 June 2014 in Germany
Following his meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the 13th of August, 2010 Shamar Rinpoche stated: “I met His Holiness the Dalai Lama at in Dharamsala at His Holiness’ residence. We had a discussion for approximately one and a half hours and had a very important and detailed exchange of views regarding the ongoing Karmapa controversy and its possible solution. Although this matter is not easily resolved, since it is connected to the politics of China and India as well, with His Holiness Dalai Lama’s blessing and support I am confident that there will be an amicable solution, which will be beneficial for the Karma Kagyü lineage, as well as for Tibetan Buddhism in general.”