DRIKUNG KAGYU LINEAGE

What is lineage?

In Tibetan Buddhism, lineage is essential. Lineage indicates that teachings and the teacher transmitting them have an unbroken line all the way back to Buddha Shakyamuni, ensuring that the knowledge is true and unfabricated. Experiential knowledge is passed from master to student through oral instruction which indicates that it is not just theory, it is embodied wisdom of enlightened beings, therefore becoming a source of trust.

Kagyu is one of the main schools of Tibetan Buddhism Vajrayana.

“Ka” = enlightened instructions and teachings
"Gyu” = continuity or the uninterrupted lineage of masters and students

Therefore Kagyu refers to “the uninterrupted teachings of enlightenment” and is thus called the “Lineage of oral instruction”

DRIKUNG KAGYU LINEAGE

Vajradara

Vajradara

Vajradara

Kagyu school originates from Vajradara - the primordial Buddha. The essence of Vajradara is one in the same with Buddha Shakyamuni, only in a different form.

988-1069

Tilopa

Painting of the great Mahasiddha Tilopa

The great Mahasiddha Tilopa (988-1069) who lived in the North of India received the transmission of teachings directly from Vajradara.

Painting of the great Mahasiddha Tilopa
Painting of of the great Mahasiddha Naropa
1016-1100

Naropa

Painting of of the great Mahasiddha Naropa

The heart disciple of Tilopa was the great Mahasiddha Naropa (1016-1100) who systemized tantric teachings into the 6 Yogas of Naropa, meditations that are considered essential in the Kagyu Lineage. ​

1012-1097

Marpa

Painting of the great translator Marpa

Naropa transmitted his wisdom to his main disciple Marpa (1012-1097) the great translator who travelled great distances to spread the Dharma teachings from India all around Tibet.

Painting of the great translator Marpa
Painting of Jetsun Milarepa
1040-1123

Milarepa

Painting of Jetsun Milarepa

His most important disciple was Jetsun Milarepa (1040-1123) who became known as the Great Yogi of Tibet. His story is marked by intense difficulty in life, which led to him taking vengeance, followed by a fervent aspiration to follow the Dharma- leading to enlightenment in a single lifetime.

1079-1153

Gampopa

Painting of Gampopa known as the doctor of Dakpo

The teachings were carried forth by his student Gampopa (1079-1153) who was known as the doctor of Dakpo. He first studied under the Kadampa tradition and then realized the true nature of these teachings under the instruction of Milarepa.

From this point forward, the lineage of Dakpo Kagyu was formed. Gampopa is where the first Kagyu schools originated; Karma Kagyu, Tselpa Kagyu, Barom Kagyu, and Phagdru Kagyu.

Painting of Gampopa known as the doctor of Dakpo
Painting of Phagmodrupa Dorje Gyalpo with his previous incarnations
1110-1170

Phagmo drupa

Painting of Phagmodrupa Dorje Gyalpo with his previous incarnations

​​The founder of the Phagdru Kagyu was Phagmodrupa Dorje Gyalpo (1110-1170), one of Gampopa's most important disciples. His lineage played an important role in the resulting secular movements of the time. Phagmodrupa's main disciples founded their own lineages, of which only three still exist: Drikung Kagyu, Taklung Kagyu, and Drukpa Kagu.

1143-1217

Jigten Sumgon
Founder of Drikung Kagyu

Although Phagmodrupa had countless students, Jigten Sumgön (1143-1217) was one of his closest and main disciples. Phagmodrupa prophesied that a Bodhisattva (Jigten Sumgön), who had already obtained the ten Bhumis (the stages on the path of a Bodhisattva), that he would continue with the teachings and blessings. He became the founder of Drikung Kagyu lineage (1179).

Since then, he has been succeeded by 36 holders of the Drikung Kagyu lineage.

Present

H.H. Tenzin Chokyi Nangwa
8th reincarnation of Chungtsang

H.H. Tenzin Thrinle Lhundrup 7th reincarnation of Chungtsang