Thangka depicting the Refuge Tree of the Karma Kagyu Lineage by Sherab Palden Beru, c. 1972

Drikung Kagyu lamas – From the founding of the Monastery to the present day

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The Drikungpa, or more formally the Drikung Kyabgön, is the head of the Drikung Kagyu, a sub-school of the Kagyu itself one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

The origins of Drikung Kagyu

Like all other Kagyu lineages, origins of Drikung Kagyu can be traced back to the Great Indian Master Tilopa who passed on his teachings to Mahasiddha Naropa who lived around 10th and 11th century.

The founder of the Drikung Kagyu lineage was (1143-1217) of the Kyura clan, who was the disciple of Phagmo Drupa.

According to historical account from the time, Jigten Sumgön’s teachings attracted more than 100,000 people at a time, with the highest number of attendance recorded at 130,000.

From the founding of Drikung Thil Monastery in 1179 to the present day, the Drikung Kagyu lineage has been led by a succession of spiritual heads (“throne-holders”).

The two current heads of the lineage

One of the two current heads of the lineage, Drikung Kyabgön , Könchok Tenzin Kunzang Thinley Lhundrup (b. 1946), the 37th Drikungpa resides at Drikung Kagyu Institute at Dehra Dun, India.

The other head of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage, the 36th Drikungpa, Drikung Kyabgön , Könchok Tenzin Chökyi Nangwa (b. 1942) lives in Lhasa, Tibet.

Prohiminent Drikung Kagyu lamas

This is the life and accomplishments of some prohiminent Drikung Kagyu lamas.

Ayang Rinpoche

Ayang Tulku Rinpoche is a Tibetan Buddhist lama.

Ayang Tulku is a Tibetan Buddhist lama.

is considered a foremost authority on Buddhist afterlife rituals and Tibetan Pure Land Buddhism; he gives teachings and initiations to the practice of phowa in Tibetan and English annually in Bodh Gaya, India and across the world in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America.

He has established a school, medical clinic and education sponsorship program for children in Tibet and a variety of community development projects for Tibetans in India.

He is also the founder of the Opame Khilkor Choling (The Amitabha Mandala Temple and Retreat Center) with 16 temples and a 64-cottage retreat center dedicated to Buddha Amitābha that overlooks the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal and Thupten Shedrub Jangchub Ling Monastic Institute at Bylakuppe, in the Indian State of Karnataka.

Garchen Rinpoche

is a Tibetan Buddhist teacher in the Drikung Kagyu lineage. He is believed to be an incarnation of Siddha Gar Chodingpa, a heart-disciple of Jigten Sumgön, founder of the Drikung Kagyu lineage in the thirteenth century CE. He is also believed to have incarnated as Mahasiddha Aryadeva in ancient India – the lotus-born disciple of Nagarjuna himself. He was known as Lonpo Gar, the minister of Tibetan dharma king Songtsen Gampo in the seventh century CE.

Chetsang Rinpoche

The Drikungpa, or more formally the Drikung Kyabgön, is the head of the Drikung Kagyu, a sub-school of the Kagyu, itself one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

One of the two current heads of the Drikung Kagyu lineage is Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang Rinpoche, Könchok Tenzin Kunzang Thinley Lhundrup (b. 1946).

The 37th Drikungpa resides at Drikung Kagyu Institute at Dehra Dun, India.

Chungtsang Rinpoche

The Drikungpa, or more formally the Drikung Kyabgön, is the head of the Drikung Kagyu, a sub-school of the Kagyu, itself one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang is the 36th Throne Holder and the 8th Reincarnation of Chungtsang Rinpoche, after the foundation of the Drikung Kagyü Lineage by Lord Jigten Sumgön. He is considered a manifestation of Manjushri.

The Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, alias Tenzin Chokyi Nangwa, was born in Lhokha in 1942, the year of the Water Horse.

He is the youngest of five sons, of the well known, aristocratic Lhagyari family.

His father was Trichen Kelsang Nyendrak and his mother Rigzin Chodzom.

Jigten Sumgön

Jigten Sumgön or Jigten Gönpo (1143–1217) was the founder of the Drikung Kagyu lineage and main disciple of Phagmo Drupa.

He founded Drikung Thil Monastery in 1179.

Jigten Sumgön and the Drikung lineage are best known for the set of teachings known as The Five Profound Paths of Mahāmudrā.

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