Karma Kagyu, or Kamtsang Kagyu, is a widely practiced and probably the second-largest lineage within the Kagyu school, one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Its goal is the attainment of happiness, wellness and ultimate enlightenment.
The practitioners of the spiritual path of Karma Kagyu usually begin by practicing the outer and inner preliminary practices, called ngöndro in Tibetan. They consist of e series of contemplative exercises that help draw the mind away from the mundane thoughts of one’s present life and toward the attainment of liberation from suffering and ultimate enlightenment. The most common form these contemplations take are the “four thoughts that change the mind”: 1) the preciousness of human life, 2) death and impermanence, 3) the suffering of samsara, and 4) the principle of karma. These contemplations comprise the outer preliminary practices.
The Karma Kagyu lineage is a Buddhist school in Tibet that is about 900 years old. It is a sub-school of the Kagyu tradition and the primary sources of the Karma Kagyu lineage are the “words of the Buddha”.