Glorious Drikung Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism



Brief summary of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage   TOP

The Drikung Kagyu Lineage is one of the Kagyu lineages which was founded 852 years ago, by the great spiritual master, Kyoba Jigten Sumgon. This lineage directly came from Buddha Shakyamuni and the primordial Buddha, VajraDhara. All their precious Dharma teachings came to Gampopa from three lineages, through fully enlightened masters.

The first lineage was called the Magnificent Blessing Realization lineage. From VajraDhara, it was passed on to Tilopa, from Tilopa to Naropa, from Naropa to Marpa, from Marpa to Milarepa, and then from Milarepa to Gampopa.

The second lineage was called the lineage of Profound View. It came from Buddha Shakyamuni, and it was passed to Nagajuna, then to Chanta Kirti and so forth, on to Atisha, and then from Atisha to Gampopa.

The third lineage was called the lineage of the Most Excellent Practice. It came from Buddha Shakyamuni to Manjushri, from Manjushri to Maitreya, from Maitreya to Ashanga and so forth, on to Atisha, and then from Atisha to Gampopa. Gampopa received profound teachings, secret oral transmissions, blessings, and so forth of all these three lineages.

Then all these teachings were given to PhagmoDrupa by Gampopa. Although Kagyu came from the same root, at that time the Kagyu lineage was divided into several different branches, each carrying the complete teachings and enlightened blessings. Like the wish-fulfilling tree, which comes from the same root, but is divided into different branches, each giving many wonderful blossoms and fruits.

Although PhagmoDrupa had hundreds of thousands of disciples, Lord Jigten Sumgon was one of his closest and chief disciples. PhagmoDrupa prophesied that the teachings and blessings would be carried on by a Bodhisattva, (Jigten Sumgon), who already attained the ten Bhumis. Jigten Sumgon received the complete teachings, secret oral transmissions, explanations and initiations, and enlightened realization blessings, and so forth from PhagmoDrupa. Jigten Sumgon gave all the complete teachings, including the six Yogas of Naropa, to his chief disciple, Gurawa Tsultrim Dorje. All these enlightened energies, blessings and teachings have been handed down through the great spiritual masters to the present 37th and 36th lineage holders, His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche and His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang. These are among the most precious spiritual masters in the Drikung Kagyu lineage and the direct lineage holder of Jigten Sumgon. Among his disciples, Lord Jigten Sumgon prophesied again and again, "In the future my teachings will flourish by the two Bodhisattvas, who are like the sun and the moon, through their compassion and wisdom." His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche is like the sun. He is the emanation of Chenrezig, the compassionate deity. His Holiness Chungtsang Rinpoche is like the moon. He is the emanation of Manjushri, the wisdom deity.

As a member of the Kagyu family, it shares with the other Kagyu lineages practices such as Mahāmudrā (phyag rgya chen po) and the Six Dharmas of Naropa (na ro chos drug). Within this context of a shared heritage with the other Kagyu lineages, the Drigung Kagyu is known for the philosophical view expressed in The Single Intention (dgong gcig), and the stages of Mahāmudrā practice known as "The Five-fold Profound Path" (phyag chen lnga dan). Furthermore, from the 16th century onward, the Drigung Kagyu has held the main transmission of a treasure-cycle known as the Most Profound (yang zab). The Drikung is also known for its Great Phowa Practice and great meditators. There are many stories about those who have attained Enlightenment in one lifetime.

In the 1980's the great Drikung yogis who taught in Tibet and India were Pachung Rinpoche and Kungha Rinpoche, and other great teachers. Kungha Rinpoche has attained the realization of the Yidam. He saw Chakrasamvara face to face in one life time. He taught many three year retreats, including the six Yogas of Naropa. During that time there were many wonderful inspirations given by these great retreat masters. Druwang Rinpoche. Druwang Rinpoche was highly realized Mahamudra and  was known for going to town and singing spiritual songs like Milarepa. Sometimes he offered a song of inner spiritual realization to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and their Holinesses the Drikung Kyabgons, and other high lamas. Even in these days, there are great Drikung Meditation Masters such as GarChen Rinpoche, most Venerable Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche, His Eminence Nubpa Rinpoche and Bongtul enzin Nima Rinpoche,There are many great teachers who are in retreat in Tibet and India attaining their goals. His Holiness Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche has established the Drikung Kagyu Institute, JangChubling, in Dehra Dun, Northern India. There are many monks attending school there and many engaged in the three year retreat. His Holiness travels to the many Drikung monasteries in Ladakh, India and Nepal, giving extensive teachings to monks, nuns, and lay people from the east and from the west.

More information about the Drikung Kagyu Lineage

The documentary film "Glory of Drikung Kagyu Lineage" by His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche.

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Drikung Kagyu Lineage Gurus (from The Great Kagyu Masters, The Rain of Wisdom) TOP




Introduction TOP    LINEAGE GURUS

No one is insincere in his own regard, but ignorance and confusion cause most beings to create their own suffering.  For this reason the Buddha, who began as an ordinary being, determined throughout three limitless kalpas to sacrifice his own comfort, and with great effort and loving motivation to accumulate merit and wisdom and purify all obscurations.  In Bodhgaya, Buddha completely annihilated the mountain of ego and fully developed pervading compassion and primordial wisdom; thereafter he turned the wheel of Dharma three times not out of the intention to establish a religion, but rather to free all beings.  He taught for forty-five years.

By the strength of Buddha's boundless compassion, he traveled generally throughout all of Asia, and particularly in Tibet, producing scholars and realized beings as numerous as stars in the sky.  One way in which these teachings were perpetuated was through the system of lineages in which the instructions were transmitted from one lineage member to the next, from guru to disciple, in an unbroken succession.  This method maintains the continuity of blessing and experiences.

The Great Kagyu Masters, was originally compiled by Dorje Dze Öd, recounted the lives of the great beings forming the Kagyu lineage, also known as the lineage of transmission.  The following is a brief introduction about the lineage.  Tibatan word Ka signifies oral teachings, or the Buddha's own teachings, while gyu means lineage.  This noble line has been likened to a golden rosary, for each of the individuals constituting it as precious and perfect as the finest gold. Each one is a repository of extraordinary realization, learning and attainment, and each confers upon the next the deep-pointed out instructions which cause the direct perception of the nature of the mind as Mahamudra.  To meet these lamas, even if only through the medium of the written word, is an event of such power that any person making that contact will not be reborn in the lower realms for many lifetimes.  These life stories are therefore more than just history; they are an example which inspires one to follow the path.   They become a cause for freeing us from samsara, enabling us to dispel mental obstacles and achieve Enlightenment. 

"All the sons of this great sage, the Lord of the World, are born of his clan,
Just as Kings, Brahmins, horses and elephants belong to a line of direct descent.
If one does not hold the life story of the wisdom body, speech and mind,
How can one be a bodhisattva?
Among castes, the followers of the great sage are his sons.
If one does not follow and study the story of the wisdom body, speech and mind
Of the precious lama, supreme sage,
How, then, can one become inseparable from his body, speech and mind?
Even if one absorbs just a part of his life story,
By following it with body, speech and mind, one pleases the great being,
Planting the seed of the Dharmakaya, and the seed of the form body
Which will manifest in the two rupakayas.
In order to realize the inseparability of the peerless precious lama
Whose reality of body, speech and mind is all the Buddhas of the three times,
One should emphasize the training
According to the story of the wisdom body, speech and mind.
As the sun's rays shine even on dirt, so does the sun of the qualities
of the Lama, Lord of the World, shine on me.
Though dirt is negative, the light shines on it without discrimination.
Just so, the light of Buddhahood
Coming from the protector, the Lord precious Lama,
Is limitless, thought beyond conception.
According to our ordinary mind, his life story - birth, renunciation, mastery of knowledge,
Practice, attaining to the solitary forest, and gathering an assembly of disciples,
Roaring with the thunder of emptiness at the suns of the lion King,
Leaving behind myriad testaments concerning cause and effect,
And the teachings of the Buddha offered through the wisdom of varieties (omniscience) -
I felt to be essential and profound for the followers, and sentient beings of the three realms.
If one realizes the all-pervading emptiness, there is no teaching to be taught.
Besides dependent arising, inseparable from emptiness,
The precious Lama also taught nothing other than this.
Even the Buddha, who fully perfected the two accumulations could say no more.
So one should emphasize the teachings and follow the examples of this life story."



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The all pervasive and limitlessly beneficial qualities of Vajradhara (Dorje Chang in Tibetan) who is also known as the primordial Buddha.  Vajradhara is not to be confused with the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, for while the latter was an emanation, the former represents the ultimate aspect of Enlightenment.  Alternatively, it could be said that while Shakyamuni is the nirmanakaya, or form body aspect of compassion, Vajradhara is the formless or dharmakaya body whose all-permeating qualities, while beyond ordinary conception, and yet inherently at the core of every living being.  Again one may consider that while the historical Buddha represents the heat and light of the sun in terms of the way he is experienced by beings, Vajradhara is the sun itself, making its presence felt universally and without discrimination.  In reality there is no separation between Shakyamuni and Vajradhara, for Shakyamuni's wisdom mind is dharmakaya, his speech is sambhogakaya, and his body nirmanakaya.  But this truth is recognized according to the level of realization achieved by the different practitioners. Vajradhara transmitted the sacred teachings directly to the Indian master Tilopa, who because of his extraordinarily high realizations, was able to see the sambhogakaya, or subtle form body manifestation of Vajradhara.  In this way, Tilopa became the first in the line known as kagyu.



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Tilopa was an emanation being, meaning that he was one who was born in an extraordinary way and continued to live outside the norm.  Travelling throughout India, he received teachings form many different masters and extracted their essence, particularly the Buddha's Vajrayana with its emphasis on commitment until the end of samsara to the welfare of others. 

Tilopa sang the following song in the resonant and harmonious voice of Mahabrahma (from The Rain of Wisdom)

"Sesame oil is the essence. 
Although the ignorant know that it is in the sesame seed,
they do not understand the way of cause, effect and becoming,
and therefore are not able to extract the essence, the sesame oil.
Although innate coemergent wisdom abides in the heart of all beings,
if it is not shown by the guru, it cannot be realized.
Just like sesame oil that remains in the seed, it does not appear.
One removes the husk by beating the sesame, and the sesame oil, the essence appears.
In the same way, the guru shows the truth of tathata,
and all phenomena become indivisible in one essence.
Kye ho!  The far-reaching, unfathomable meaning is apparent at this very moment. 
O how wondrous!"

"Thus in absolute truth, there is no path to be practiced, no difference between what is to be abandoned and the antidore, and nothing abandoned or realized in fruition. However, in relative truth, all dharmas depend on cause and effect.  This is illustrated by the example of sesame seed and sesame oil.  If by the combination of motar, pestle, and a man's hands the beating and extracting are not done, one cannot obtain the oil.  If you ask why, it is because everything is produced not by one cause and nor by one condition, but rather through the collective force of coincidence.   In the same way, although the dharmakaya pervades all sentient beings, if the guru does not show it and the path realization is not practiced, the fruition is not actualized.  Therefore, since in relative truth all dhamas depend on the coincidence of cause and effect, the realization that actualized the wisdom of suchness has been expressed in terms of beating sesame seeds."



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Tilopa's heart-son was the scholar Naropa, who became a chancellor of Nalanda University, and whose repute was such that thousands of lesser panditas relied on his wisdom.  But though Naropa was perfectly versed in the theoretical aspect of the Buddha's teachings, he realized that his own mind could not remain stable even for moment.   Thus, he determined to seek a great teacher who could point him towards the direct nature of the mind.  Eventually, he met Tilopa and underwent twelve major and twelve lesser hardships in order to purify his karma and emotion-induced obscurations.  When at last, Naropa's ordeals had ended, his teacher Tilopa pointed towards the sky and said: "Kyeho! This is the primordial wisdom of self-awareness."  At that moment, through the great magnificent blessings of the lama and his own complete purification, Naropa realized harmony of mind and attained that state of Vajradhara.  He received the complete teachings and transmitted them to numberless disciples in many different places, especially Kashmir.  To this day, we can see the remains of a great monastery established by Naropa in that area.  Both Tilopa and Naropa combined peerless scholarship and personal realization, and were among the eighty-four great Mahasiddhas.

"The mind, deluded by the appearance of samsara,
Sees the faults of others with the senses.
It is darkened by the prison of samsara;
It is made intolerable by the fire of samsara;
It is caught in the spider web of samsara;
It is stuck in samsara as the bee is in nectar;
It is encased in samsara like a silkworm in a cocoon.
There is no substance to the hollow tree of samsara.
Samsara is like the moon's reflection in water,
Without essence;
Samsara is like an animal chasing a mirage;
He who desires samsara falls into a pit.
Samsara is like being trapped in the jaws of a crocodile;
Samsara is like wandering in the land of the rakshas;
Samsara is like a poisonous snake which destroys anyone who sees or touches it;
Samsara is bordered by the precipice of karma;
Samsara is like a wave in water, or fog;
Samsara is tied by the lasso of karma;
Samsara is bound by the seal of karma;
Samsara is the density of darkness;
Samsara is the deep mud of the three poisons;
Samsara is the dance of impermanence;
Samsara is the enchantment of this life;
Samsara is the shadow of birth and death;
Samsara is a merciless hunter;
Samsara is snared by the hound of death;
Samsara is a vast, sorrowful field of grasping and fixation;
Samsara is the galloping horse of the eight worldly dharmas;
Samsara si caught by the iron hook of desire;
Why should I not search for the Lama
While I have this precious, impermanent body?



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It was the translator Marpa Lotsawa, who among Naropa's star-like disciples, became his successor and lineage-holder in Tibet.  Marpa was a manifestation of Dombi Heruka, and appeared in order to cause the Dharma teachings to flourish. Initially, he attended Drogmi Lotsawa from whom he received teachings and learned Sanskrit, but this alone did not satisfy him.  After trading his personal possessions for gold to offer to the guru, he made repeated journeys to India and Nepal.  Generally, he attended one hundred and eight masters, particularly thirteen great lamas, but among them the most crucial to his path were Naropa and Maitripa.  Like Naropa, he underwent great hardships, even risking his life for the Dharma.  By day, he received teachings and by night, he practiced.  In this way, mastering both the theory and realization aspects. 

It was because of Marpa's mastery that Naropa appointed him as his successor in Tibet and prophesied that his lineage would continue indefinitely like a flowing stream.   Although Marpa had a wife and children, one cannot compare his life to a conventional samsaric life, for such were his realizations and motivations that he could move through a householder's routine unstained.  He is like a lotus in the mud, free from defilement.  When someone suggested to Marpa's disciple Milarepa that he should marry in emulation of his teacher, Milarepa replied: "Marpa is like a lion, and i am like a fox.  If the fox tries to jump as high as the lion, he only breaks his back."  In Marpa's mind, all phenomena were perceived as a Buddhafield, all sentient beings as enlightened deities, and all sounds as Dharma teachings.  Thus, for him samsara constituted an enlightened state, and confusion was recognized as having the nature of pristine wisdom.  He fully achieved Buddhahood, the vajradhara state, in one lifetime.  Marpa translated many teachings into Tibetan, especially Mahamudra and Vajrayana texts.  These he transmitted to a great number of disciples, particularly the four known as the pillar disciples.  Among these Milarepa was to be the most renowned.

Marpa sang the following song to his dharma brothers and sisters: (from The Rain of Wisdom)

"The realized Lord Maitripa is famed far and wide as nirmanakaya who lives in India.
In a city in the valley of Vaisali, the king, the protector of the earth, touches his crown.
To the anthers of the lord's lotus feet among the mahapanditas of the five sciences,
Maitripa is known as the master, the crest jewel.
The banner of his fame is proclaimed in the ten directions.
In the month of miracles of the Bird year, through mastering offerings to the Sugata,
his name became universally renowned as the master.
This lord buddha gave the transmission of the perfection of the yanas, the essential truth, the dharma of mahamudra:
"Outer grasping, the appearance of sense objects, continuously flows as great bliss.
Realize it as unborn dharmakaya.
Inner fixation, the mind-consciousness is thought-occurrence, which cannot be grasped as real.
Therefore, see it as naked insight without support.
Generally, all dharmas of apparent existence are primordially nonexistent and unborn.
Realize them as the essence of simplicity.
Do not desire to abandon samsara and there is no nivana to attain.
Samsara and nirvana are the self-liberated innate state.
Realize this unity as great bliss.
Even if you emptied out the minds of the Buddhas of the three times,
there is nothing more ultimate than this," Maitripa sang.
I have cut all such doubts with this.
This is the approach of the great Lord Maitripa.
If you approach the view, do it this way.
I present this offering song to the three jewels.

May it gladden the hearts of those sitting here."

He sang the following song for the dharma brothers and sisters headed by Paindapa at the Rinchen Tsül monastery in Napel to show the meaning of the signs of mahamudra as revealed by Maitripa's appearance in a dream.

"Generally, all dharmas are illusion.  Dreams are exalted as special illusion.
Early in the night, dreams arise born from habitual patterns.  There is nothing whatsoever to rely on there.
At midnight, the deceptions of Mara appear.  One should not trust in these.
At dawn, there are prophecies by the devas.
How wondrous, how great indeed!
At the break of dawn this morning, the great lord master appeared and taught the dharma which revealed the ultimate.
This is the unforgettable memory of what Maitripa said:
"In general, all dharmas are mind.
The guru arises from mind.  The guru is nothing other than mind.
Everything that appears is the nature of mind.   This mind itself is primordially nonexistent.
In the natural state, unborn and innate, there is nothing to abandon by discursive effort.
Rest at ease, naturally, without restriction.
This can be shown by signs: a human corpse, an outcaste, a dog, a pig,
An infant, a madman, an elephant, a precious jewel, a blue lotus,
Quicksilver, a deer , a lion, a brahman, and a black antelope;
Did you see them?" Maitripa asked.
The realization of the truth was shown by these signs:
Not fixated on either samsara or nirvana,
Not holding acceptance or rejection in one's being,
Not hoping for fruition from others,
Mind free from occupation and complexity,
Not falling into the four extremes,
Non-meditation and non-wandering,
Free from thought and speech, beyond any analogy whatsoever.
Through the kindness of the guru, I realized these.
Since the experience of these realizations has dawned,
Mind and mental events have ceased,
and space and insight are inseparable.
Faults and virtues neither increase nor decrease.
Bliss, emptiness, and luminosity are unceasing.
Therefore, luminosity dawns beyond coming and going.
This transmission of the innate, the pith of the view,
Through the sign meanings which reveal the unborn,
I heard from the great lord master.
The reason why I sing these words
Is the insistent request of the honorable lords.
I could not refuse the dharma brothers and sisters.
Dakinis, do not be jealous!"



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Milarepa held the practice lineage and became one of the key inspirations for Dharma followers, regardless of the sect to which they belonged.  Because of his direct perception of samsara, his great renunciation, and his willingness to endure hardship, he achieved the realization of all the great Buddha qualities and became an instrument for perpetuating the Dharma in Tibet by effortlessly composing vajra doha songs.   As he himself predicted, his fame was spread by the Dakinis.  In our time, his life story is available in many languages, and has become a healing force for beings disheartened by samsara.  He is perhaps the best-known figure after Shakyamuni himself.  Milarepa transmitted the stainless, nectar-like teachings to numberless disciples.  Among them, Gampopa has been likened to the sun, while Rechung Droje Drakpa was compared to the moon.  In the case of Dharma Lord Gampopa, he combined both the Kadampa and mahamudra lineages. 

The Three Vows (from The Rain of Wisdom)

First, Mila made these many vows to himself, "Until I have attained siddhi in this life, may I not engage in worldly activities.  Until my bad karma is exhausted, may I not meet people of evil deeds.  Until I have attained holy siddhi, may I not lick the dirt of the food offerings on behalf of the dead, the faith offerings, nor the ransom offerings.  May all my evil deeds and obscurations which give rise to obstructing spirits, retributions, and obstacles be cleansed.  May I fulfill the intention of the kind guru.  May I accomplish the Buddha's teaching.  May I bear the burdens of the sufferings of all sentient beings.  Until I have attained Enlightenment, I shall not go down to the village. If I go down, may the dharmapalas and protectors punish."  Having so vowed, he mediated.  He sang the following songs:

"Lord great Vajradhara, embodied in Marpa,
Grant your blessings so that this lowly one may keep to retreat.
Mila Thöpaga, you are strange. 
This song of self-advice, you sing for your own benefit.
There are no companions to tell you good news.
When you want to see the sights, the valley is empty.
When you want to remove sadness, there is no support.
Don't think; don't let your mind think; rest naturally.
If you think, all sorts of meaningless thoughts will occur.
Don't wander: don't wander: remain mindful.
If you wander, your spiritual practice will be cast to the wind.
Don't go: don't go: stay where you sleep.
If you go, you will stumble on a rock.
Don't look up: don't look up: keep your head bowed.
If you look up, you will go empty-handed.
Don't sleep: don't sleep: do your practice.
If you sleep, careless, you will be overcome by the five poisons.
Even if I am not liberated by practice,
May I die in this empty unpeopled valley."

Mila then vowed, "As long as I have not established confidence, I shall not enjoy the diversions of the village.  If I run away to the diversions of the village, may the dakinis punish me." Then he sang this song:

"Lineage son of Lord Naropa, who is the path of liberation.

Grant your blessings so that this lowly one may keep to retreat.
May I not be distracted by the worldly activities of Mara,
And may the dhyana of my meditation increase.
May I not be attached to the pond of samatha,
and may the flower of vipasyana blossom.
May the weeds of complexity not arise,
And may the leaves of simplicity expand.
May second thoughts not arise in the house of practice,
And may the fruit of experience and realization ripen.
May the maras be unable to obstruct me,
And may I realize confidence in my own mind.
May doubt not arise on the path of upaya,
And may this son follow in the footsteps of his father.
King lord, whose essence is Aksobhya,
Grant your blessings so that this lowly one may keep to retreat."

Mila then vowed, "Until I have attained siddhi, I shall not go down to the village.  If I go down, may I be punished by the kind guru."  Thus, he made these three vows not to go down.  "I shall die in strict retreat in this empty unpeopled valley," he thought.  Having made up his mind, he applied himself diligently and practiced.  He had enough provisions to pass one year without difficulties.  After that year passed, Mila moved to a place of many nettles, known as the Lofty Green Mountain Might Sky Fortress.  He thought, "I should meditate here," but as he did not have any provisions, he despaired.  He encouraged himself by thinking, "From now until I attain siddhi, a diet of fresh nettles is good enough for me."  While he meditated, the feeling of hunger diminished, but over time, his body grew weaker and weaker.  When one looked at his body, his nose had shrunken, and he had become green-tinged and emaciated, frail and nearly broken down.   One day, many people came to those rocks looking for arrow feathers and saw him.   At first, the people ran away, saying he was not a human being.  Although Mila declared, "I am a human," they wondered, "Is he or isn't he?" and spoke to him keeping their distance.  "How strange, Mila is not dead," they said, and departed.  Then, although Mila thought, "I am going to die among these rocks," death never came.  After a few days, an elder from among those people who had come before brought Mila some tsampa. Mila mixed it with the nettles and ate it.   He felt invigorated and at that time sang this song:


"I supplicate the lord guru.
Grant your blessings so that this lowly one may keep to retreat.
The merit accumulated by this good benefactor
And profound auspiciousness have coincided.
This body, difficult to gain, easily destroyed.
Has received food and feels invigorated.
The nectar of the earth
And the rain from the lofty blue sky
Are the auspicious coincidence of benefit to beings
The essence of this auspicious coincidence is the divine dharma.
This illusory body, raised by parents,
And the oral instructions of the holy guru
Are the auspicious coincidence of practicing the divine dhamra.
The essence of this auspicious coincidence is perseverance.
The rock cave in an unpeopled valley
And practicing without hypocrisy
Are the auspicious coincidence of accomplishing whatever you wish.
The esscence of this auspicious coincidence is emptiness.
The rigorous perseverance of Milarepa
And the faith of sentient beings of the three worlds
Are the auspicious coincidence of attaining Enlightenment.
The essence of this auspicious coincidence is compassion.
The great meditator who mediates among the rocks
And the benefactor who provides provisions
Are the auspicious coincidence of becoming enlightened together.
The essence of this auspicious coincidence is dedication.
The kindness of the good guru
And the rigorous perseverance to the good disciple
Are the auspicious coincidence of becoming a holder of the teachings.
The essence of this auspicious coincidence is samaya.
The abhiseka which brings blessings immediately
And the supplications of faith, devotion, and yearning
Are the auspicious coincidence of guru and disciple meeting soon.
The essence of this auspicious coincidence is goodness.
Lord Vajradhara, whose essence is Aksobhya,
It's up to you whether this lowly one is happy or sad."....



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Atisha, a prominent master at Nalanda University, who brought the Kadampa lineage to Tibet.  Born into an upperclass family in Bengal (India), Atisha was untouched by worldly enjoyment because he was clearly the nature of the samsaric state.   Journeying to Serling (Golden Island), he received the Bodhaisattva's vow and teachings from Lama Serlingpa, Dharmakirti.  He also received teachings from Nagarjuna's lineage (profound view lineage) from the Asanga lineage (profound action lineage) and the Naropa lineage (profound blessing meditation practice lineage).   Because of his strenuous study and practice, combined with the Bodhicitta motivation he so cherished, Atisha became an ornament of this world.  When the time arrived for Dharma to enter the land of Tibet, Atisha journeyed there at the request of King Lhade, Lama Yeshe Öd and Jangchub Öd. For thirteen years, he gave teachings which produced many disciples, including the great Geshe Drom Tonpa.  In addition, to satisfy the King, he wrote the text known as the Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment.  The following is an except from the text:

"As explained in the Ornament of Manjushri's Buddha Land Sutra,

How, long ago, when Manjushri was Ambaraja,
He aroused the intention to become enlightened.
"In the presence of the protectors, I arouse the intention to gain full Enlightenment.
I invite all beings as my guests and shall free them from cyclic existence.
From this moment onwards until I attain Enlightenment,
I shall not harbor harmful thoughts, anger, avarice or envy.
I shall cultivate pure conduct, give up wrong-doing and desire
And with joy in the vow of discipline train myself to follow the Buddhas.
I shall not be eager to reach Enlightenment in the quickest way,
But shall stay behind till the very end, for the sake of a single being.
I shall purify limitless inconceivable lands
and remain in the ten directions for all those who call my name.
I shall purify all my bodily and my verbal forms of activity.
My mental activities, too, I shall purify and do nothing that is non-virtuous."
When those observing the vow of the active altruistic intention have trained well
In the three forms of discipline, their respect for these three forms of discipline grows,
which causes purity of body, speech and mind.
Therefore, through effort in the vow made by Bodhisattvas for pure, full Enlightenment,
The collections for complete Enlightenment will be thoroughly accomplished.



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Dharma Lord Gampopa, who was the next holder of the Kagyupa lineage, received Atisha's complete kadampa teachings including the Lam Rim form Geshe Chagri Gongkawa, Chya-yulwa, Nyukrumpa, Maryulwa Loden Sherab, and others.  Like an ocean which encompasses the waters of many rivers, this great being ceaselessly sought opportunities to study and practice to better himself in order to benefit others.  Thus it was that in hearing the name of Milarepa, his mind was moved with conviction and determination to reach the master whatever the sacrifice.  Staying with Milarepa for three, he studied the major Vajrayana teachings including the six Yogas of Naropa, Chakrasamvara, Vajra yogini, Hevajra, Guhyasamaja and others.  He fully accomplished his studies and realizations, and in particular he perfected his mastery of Mahamudra and Tummo.  Indeed, his mind became insparable from the Vajradhara state.  After completing his study, Gampopa went to Dagla Gampo as foretold by Milarepa.  There he began giving teachings and meditation instruction to disciples gathering form all directions like geese flocking to a lotus lake.  As prophesied by the Buddha in the Samadhi Raja Sutra, he attracted many thousands of disciples, as well as no less than five hundred Bodhisattvas.   In this way, he made the name of the Dagpo Kagyu renowned in the three worlds.

It was with Gampopa that the four branches of the Kagyupa arose.  These are: the Phagdru Kagyu founded by Phagdru Dorje Gyalpo, the Karma Kagyu founded by Dusum Khyenpa (Karmapa I), the Tselpa Kagyu founded by Shang Tselpa and the Bahram kagyu founded by Dharma Wangchuk.  Gampopa wrote many important texts according to both the Sutra and Tantra teachings.  These include: The Four Dharmas of Gampopa, The Coemergent Wisdom, The Precious rosary of the Excellent path and The Jewel Ornament of liberation.  The lattest work was the first Lam Rim commentary printed in Tibet.   All these constitute the essence of the Kadampa and Mahamudra lineage offered for the benefit of future generations.  Gampopa himself said, "In the future those who wish to see me can study The Jewel Ornament of Liberation and The Precious rosary of the Excellent Path.  It is the same as seeing me directly."  That is possible because the complete essence of Gampopa's teachings and advice on compassion and wisdom is contained within these texts.  If we study and practice them thoroughly and keep them in our heart, it is the same as meeting with the Buddha or Lord Gampopa himself.  The following were advices and songs given to Gampopa by Milarepa (from The Rain of Wisdom)

Milarepa said, "If you practice the oral instructions given by the guru without wasting them, that is it.  You must have no consideration for this life.   The best recommendation is to hold to holy ones who have let go of this life.   Anyone who is led along by this life will teach you the eight worldly dharmas.   Furthermore, there are four ways of going astray with regard to sunyata: going astray by attaching emptiness as a label, going astray by regarding the nature of the knowable as empty, going astray by regarding the antidotes as empty, and going astray by attachment to emptiness.

Going astray by attaching emptiness as a label is merely saying that all the objects of the mind of grasping and fixation are empty.  Going astray by regarding the nature of the knowable as empty is merely saying that all the dharmas of samsara and nirvana are empty.  Going astray by regarding the antidotes as empty is merely thinking that labeling thoughts and klesas as empty is sufficient.  Going astray by attachment to emptiness is thinking that there is nothing on which to meditate and therefore regarding all meditation experiences as empty.  These are not the true path.  Nevertheless, for beginners there is some benefit in renouncing these fixations.

In general, if you do not fully resolve your mind to its depths, even if you temporarily experience bliss, luminosity, and nonthought, you will not transcend the three worlds.  These are known as temporary experiences because they do not resolve the mind to its depths.  However, if you ask "What is the true path?" this is when the authentic guru gives the student who is a worthy vessel transmission and instruction.

Primordial awareness exists in and pervades all sentient beings.  All the buddhas are luminosity in the dharmakaya.  The yogins practice meditation by infinite upayas, and thus they naturally realize the view.  Klesas naturally cease.   Discursive thoughts are cut off spontaneously, and wisdom spontaneously dawns.   At this time, one's realization and experience cannot be expressed in words.   Therefore, it is very important to attend a guru who holds a lineage.   Primordial awareness has no origin.  Its gateway cannot be blocked in any way.   It cannot be shown by any analogy.  It cannot be arrived at by any speech.   It cannot be demonstrated by any sophistry.  Therefore, one should not try to fabricate it.  Leave it relaxed in the realm of the natural state."  Then Milarepa sang this song:

"Look at your authentic mind; this is the true view.
If you seek a view other than mind, it is like a rich person searching for wealth, O physician monk.
Do not clear away the faults of drowsiness and discursiveness; this is the true meditation.
If you clear away the faults of drowsiness and discursiveness in meditation,
it is like holding up a lamp in daytime, O physician monk.
Do not alternate acceptance and rejection; this is true action.
If you alternate accepting and rejecting in action. it is like a bee trapped in a web, O physician monk.
Rest in the confidence of the view; this is true samaya.
If you seek elsewhere, there is no fruition to attain.
It is like a frog trying to leap into the sky, O physician monk.
Inquire into your mind; this is the true guru.
If you seek for a guru other than your mind, it is like to give up your mind, O physician monk.
Therefore, all appearances are of the mind, O physician monk."

Thus Mila sang.  "Now east of here is a mountain called Gampodar.   That mountain is like a king sitting on his throne. The peak is a precious crown, like this hat I am wearing.  The meadows and woods are arranged like a mandala of gold.  In front, there is a mountain like a heap of jewels.  There are seven surrounding mountains that resemble ministers prostrating.  On the shoulder of this mountain will be your students.  Go there and benefit beings."  Having said this, Milarepa sang this song:

"O monk, are you going to Ü or not?
Monk, when you go to Ü, sometimes thoughts of food will arise.
When thoughts of food arise, eat undefiled samadhi as food.
Recognize all sweet and tasty things as illusion.
Experience whatever arises as dharmakaya.
Sometimes thoughts of clothing will arise.
When thoughts of clothing arise, wear the blissful heat of candali as clothes.
Recognize all soft and good things as illusion.
Experience whatever arises as dharmakaya.
Sometimes thoughts of your homeland will arise.
When thoughts of your homeland arise, take hold of dharmata as your homeland.
Recognize all fatherlands as illusion.
Experience whatever arise as dharmakaya.
Sometimes thoughts of wealth will arise.
When thoughts of wealth arise, take the seven aryan riches as your wealth.
Recognize all wealth and goods as illusion.
Experience whatever arises as dharmakaya.
Sometimes thoughts of companionship will arise.
When thoughts of companionship arise, rely on self-existing wisdom as your companion.
Recognize all friends and companions as illusion.
Experience whatever arises as dharmakaya.
Sometimes thoughts of the guru will arise.
When thoughts of the guru arise, supplicate him as inseparable from the top of your head.
Never forgetting, meditate on him in the center of your heart.
Even the guru is like an illusory dream.
In general, recognize everything as illusion.
The mountain Gampodar to the east is like a king sitting on his throne.
The mountain behind is like a hanging of white silk.
The mountain in front is like a heap of jewels.
The peak is like a precious crown.
The seven mountains are like bowing ministers.
The woods and meadows are like a golden mandala.
On the shoulder of this mountain will be your disciples.
You should go there and benefit beings.
Go son, and accomplish the benefit of beings."



Dharma Lord Phagmodrupa (1110–1170), the manifestation of Buddha Krakucchanda, was one of the four foremost disciples of the glorious Gampopa and founder of Phagdru Kagyu. In a previous life, he was King Pawajin, who attained enlightenment in the form of the Buddha Shakyamuni. He was born into a poor family in Kham. The family earned their livelihood through impure means, but Phagmodrupa like a lotus in the mud, remained unstained. When he was four, he took the novice monk's vows from the great Khenpo Phagpa Trulpe, the emanation of the noble Arya, and Yanthub Tsultrim. He perfected reading and writing mostly on his own. He studied the Dharma unceasingly and progressed quickly. When he was 18, he proceeded to Central Tibet (Ü-Tsang) where he attended many masters such as Tölungpa Chenpo and many other scholars in central Tibet and received all the knowledge and transmissions. Thus, he became the great master of all the teachings. Then he studied and practiced all the tantras from the great master of the Four Tantras and thus became the Lord of the Vajrayana teachings. Later he attended great yogis such as Galo, the bodhisattva Dawa Gyaltsen, Jomo Lhajema and many others and received complete instructions. Before meeting Gampopa, he studied with Jetsün Sakyapa and received the complete Lam-Dre teachings, Padampa Sanye, Chapa Chökyi Sengé and others. He became renowned for his vast and profound wisdom in these areas. He could also remain for days meditating in the state of bliss, clarity and non-conceptualization.

Due to karmic connections, along with fortuitous causes and conditions, Phagmodrupa received the opportunity to meet with Dharma Lord Gampopa, the Great Physician at Dagla Gampo Monastery. During one of their discussions, Phagmodrupa recounted his achievement in the meditation state. Lord Gampopa, who at the time was stirring a bowl of tsampa, held out a piece of dough and said, "This dough is more useful than your realization." At that moment, all Phagmodrupa's pride was released. Lord Gampopa then instructed him directly, pointed out the nature of mind. Phagmodrupa immediately recognized his own wisdom mind, and fully realized the ultimate truth. Within the following days, Phagmodrupa completely mastered the direct realization of Mahamudra. The skin of the ordinary state was suddenly peeled away, and at that moment Phagmodrupa said, "All my other great teachers lacked the one word necessary." Gampopa, who was aware of his realization, said to him: “I have nothing more than that to teach you; however, my tradition has a convenient method that I will give you,” and so he taught him the practice, Coemergent Unification. After asking him questions about the nature of mind, Gampopa said, “I say! Geshepa (Phagmodrupa), you understand the Dharma very well”, and explained to him the authentic, vast and profound points of Dharma and gave him the entire set of practice advice in the manner of pouring into a full vase. Phagmodrupa received the complete lineage teachings and meditation instruction.

When Gampopa was about to pass into parinirvana, he said to his disciples, “Geshe Khampa (Phagmodrupa) and myself are so indistinguishable from each other, you could split a hair one hundred times and still find no difference. Therefore, you great meditators, all you who need to request practice advice and all you who need to cut superimposition, look to him.” After Gampopa's passing away, his heart-son Phagmodrupa continued the lineage.

Phagmodrupa left Central Tibet and settled in Phagmodru, Kham where he continued to teach and practice meditation with unceasing perseverance. To those who gathered solely for the purpose of Dharma, Phagmodrupa unhesitatingly gave the teachings, meanwhile himself maintaining a pure Dharma way of life that led other beings away from worldliness.

"Fully peaceful and freed of desired objects is the Bodhisattva's
Abandoning the four types of farming or the mendicant living, through right livelihood.
Since you do not tarry long in one place, you, great being, have no need of ambition.
As the wish-fulfilling gem grants all wishes,
To the Dharma King, the source of all peace, you protect the gods, nagas, and dharmapalas
With an auspicious environment in all directions.
Through your endless shower of compassionate blessings, you bring whole nations peace and happiness.
So what need have they of ambition?
Even if one hasn't the clairvoyance of seeing the past, present, and future,
If one follows the teachings of the Omniscient One and practices them without faults,
There is no need of ambition.
In whatever direction the Bodhisattvas travel,
Even in the abodes of the gods, yakshas, nagas, and gandharvas,
If they do not conflict with the teachings of the Sage,
They will be honored, served, and respected by all.
Thus, there is no need for attachment to ambition."

Thus he taught all his disciples, each according to his ability, that there is no need for ambition.

His fame spread and disciples gathered. The site over time was developed into the monastic seat of Dentsa Thel and founded the Phagdru Kagyu school fully transforming that area into a sambhogakaya Buddhafield. In accord with Gampopa's intent he emphasized the Fivefold Path of Mahamudra (bodhicitta, yidam deity, the four kayas of guru yoga, mahamudra and dedication) which encompasses the complete teachings of the Buddha, both sutra and tantra. When Jigten Sumgön came, Phagmodrupa said to him: “I have a great expectation that you, a layperson with vows, will benefit many beings; in order for you to be able to accomplish this, I have endured hardship for many kalpas.” By this Phagmodrupa meant that he was the Buddha himself. He gathered many thousands of disciples, among them were eight great Kagyupas who established the Drikung, Taklung, Lingre (or Drukpa), Trobu, Martsang, Werpa and Shukseb Kagyu orders.

At the age of sixty-one, a woman offered him food that was mixed with poison. Knowing that it was the interdependence of his past karma, not only did he accept it, but also made sure that she would not go to the lower realms and requested four fully ordained bhikshus to perform extensive purification practices. Numerous auspicious signs were displayed when he passed into parinirvāṇa. His corpse was placed in the Jagjil main shrine, where his heart son Jigten Sumgön offered a mandala. When he came to the supplication section, a golden vajra with a garuda in the center emerged from the lama's heart-center, emanating light, and dissolved into Jigten Sumgön’s heart-center. All who were there saw it the same way. At that time, the lineage was passed on and the blessings were imparted. Later from the Phagdru Kagyu lineage, eight sub-lineages were established by his eight most accomplished disciples. The four major and eight great Kagyu lineages, acting like brothers in one family, benefited countless sentient beings in different parts of the world. Among them was Lord Jigten Sumgön, the founder of Drikung Kagyu lineage. Phagmodrupa's teachings are collected in the Collected Works of Phagmodrupa including several major texts such as the Phagdru Thadru, commentaries and explanations of sutra and tantra teachings.

For addition biography of Phagmodrupa, please refer to

Life and Liberation of Phagmodrupa
This traditional biography of Pakmodrupa was written by Takpo Chenga Rinpoché and is translated by Terence Barrett. Click here to download the biography.


TOP   LINEAGE GURUS Lord Jigten Sumgon

A Brief Biography of Lord Jigten Sumgon

The glorious Phagmodrupa had five hundred disciples who possessed the white umbrella; but, as he said again and again, his successor would be an Upasaka who has attained the tenth level of a Bodhisattva. This is the story of that successor, the peerless Great Lord Drikungpa, Jigten Sumgon.  Limitless kalpas ago, Jigten Sumgon was born as the Chakravartin Tsib-Kyi Mu-Khyu. He was the father of a thousand princes, but renounced the kingdom and attained enlightenment and was called the Tathagata Lurik Dronma. Although he had already attained Enlightenment, he appeared later as the Bodhisattva Kunsar Wangkur Gyalpo. At the time of the Buddha Kashyapa, he appeared as the potter Gakyong. At the time of the Buddha Shakyamuni, he appeared as the stainless Licchavi, who was inseparable from the Buddha himself. Later, he was born as the Acharya Nagarjuna. Through these births, he benefited the Buddha's teachings and countless sentient beings.

Then, so that the essence of the Buddha's teachings might flourish, he was born to a noble family of the Kyura clan in Tibet. His father was Naljorpa Dorje, a great practitioner of Yamantaka, and his mother was Rakyisa Tsunma. Many marvelous signs accompanied the birth. He learned the teachings of Yamantaka from his father, and became expert in reading and writing by the age of four. From his uncle, the Abbot Dharma, the great Ra-Dreng Gom-Chen, the Reverend Khorwa Lung-Khyer, and others, he learned many sutras and tantras. At that time, he was called Tsunpa Kyab, and later, Dorje Pal. Jigten Sumgon's coming was predicted in many sutras and tantras. For example, in the Yeshe Yongsu Gyepa Sutra it is said:

" In the northern snow ranges will appear a being called Ratna Shri. He will benefit my teachings and be renowned in the three worlds."

In the Gongdu Sutra it is said:
"At a place called Dri, the Source of the Dharma, Ratna Shri will appear in the Year of the Pig. He will gather a hundred thousand fully ordained monks. After that, he will go to the Ngonga Buddha-Field. He will be called Stainless White Sugata and will have a large retinue."

In the Gyalpo Kaithang it is said:
"From glorious Samye to the northeast, at a place called Drikung, the source of the Dharma, the Lord-King Trisong Desen will be born in the year of the Pig as the Sugata Ratna Shri. He will gather a hundred thousand bodhisattvas. He will go to the Ngonga Buddha-field and be called Stainless White Sugata. In that Buddha-field, he will become the Fully Perfected King." Thus he was clearly predicted.

When Jigten Sumgon was still young, his father passed away; the family's fortunes declined; and he supported them by reciting scriptures. Once, he was offered a goat. As he was leading it away it tried to break loose. He pulled back, but the goat dragged him for a short distance and his footprints remain in the rock to this day. When he was eight, he had a vision of Yamantaka and on another occasion, while meditating at Tsib Lungmoche, he saw all the dharmas of samsara and nirvana as insubstantial appearance, like a reflection in a mirror. Even when he was in Kham he was renowned as a yogin. Jigten Sumgon realized the practices of Luminosity and Mahamudra (clarity and emptiness), and in his sleep visited the Arakta Padmai Buddha-field. From the great Ra-Dreng Gom-Chen he learned all the teachings of the Khadampa tradition. From Lama Lhopa Dorje Nyingpo, he received the teachings of Guhyasamaja and others. Once, when there was a drought in Kham, he took the food that was offered to him and distributed it to those who were starving, thus saved many lives.

Many important people began to approach Jigten Sumgon for teachings. One, Gonda Pandita, who came from Central Tibet, told him about Phagmodrupa. Just by hearing the name of Phagmodrupa, Jigten Sumgon's mind was moved like the leaves of a kengshu tress are moved by the wind. With great hardship, he traveled from Kham to Central Tibet. A rainbow stretched the entire length of his journey, and the Protector, Dorje Lekpa, took the forms of a rabbit and a child, thus attending him and looking after his needs. Coming to the dangerous, rocky path of Kyere, he found a natural formation of the six-syllable mantra transformed itself into a vision of the face of Phagmodrupa.

Jigten Sumgon traveled day and night. On the way, he met a woman and man who said, "We have come from Phagmodru." Seeing them as the guru's emanations, he prostrated. Arriving at the Phagdru Monastery at midnight, he was invited inside by a Khampa . When he met Phagmodrupa, the Guru said, "Now all of my disciples are present. " Jigten Sumgon then offered his teacher a bolt of silk, a bolt of cloth, and his horse - but Phagmodrupa refused the horse, explaining that he did not accept offerings of animals. Jigten Sumgon also offered a bag of food, and Phagmodrupa used it to perform a feast-offering to Chakrasamvara. Then Phagmodrupa gave Jigten Sumgon the Two-Fold Bodhisattva Vow and the name Bodhisattva Ratna Shri. As one vessel fills another, Phagmodrupa gave Jigten Sumgon all the teachings of sutra and tantra.

At that time, there lived a woman who was an emanation of Vajrayogini. Phagmodrupa suggested to Taklung Thangpa that he stay with her; but Taklung Thangpa, not wishing to give up his monk's vows, refused, and because of that the emanation passed away. Another disciple, Lingje Repa, then fashioned a cup from the woman's skull. This made him late for the assembly, and the food offerings had already been distributed by the time he got there. Taking the skull-cup, he circulated among the monks, receiving offerings of food from each. The monks gave only small portions, but Phagmodrupa gave a large amount, filling the skull-cup completely, and Jigten Sumgon gave even more, forming a mound of food which covered the skull-cap like an umbrella. Lingje Repa then walked again through the assembly, and as he walked he spontaneously composed and sang a song of praise in twenty verses. Finally, he stopped in front of Jigten Sumgon, offering the food - and the song - to him. From this time onwards, Jigten Sumgon was recognized as Phagmodrupa's Chief Disciple.

One day, Phagmodrupa wanted to see if any special signs would arise concerning his three closest disciples, and he gave each of them a foot of red cloth with which to make a meditation hat. Taklung Thangpa used only what he was given. Lingje Repa added a piece of cotton cloth to the front of his hat, and Jigten Sumgon added a second foot of cloth to his, making it much larger. This was considered very auspicious. On another occasion, Phagmodrupa called Jigten Sumgon and Taklung Thangpa and said: "I think that the Tsangpo River is overflowing today. Please go and see." Both disciples saw the river following its normal course, and returned; but Jigten Sumgon, thinking there was some purpose in guru's question, told him: "The river has overflowed, and Central Tibet and Kham are now both under water."

This foretold the flourishing of Jigten Sumgon's activities, and he became known as a Master of Interdependent Origination. At this time, in accordance with the predictions made by Phagmodrupa, Jigten Sumgon still held only the vows of an Upasaka. One day, Phagmodrupa asked him to remain behind after the assembly and instructed him in the seven-point posture of Vairochana. Touching him on his head, throat, and heart centers, he said, "OM, AH HUNG" three times and told him, "You will be a great meditator, and for this I rejoice."

Jigten Sumgon attended Phagmodrupa for two years and six months. During that time, he received all of his guru's teachings and was told that he would be his successor. At the time of Phagmodrupa's parinirvana, a radiant five-pronged golden vajra emanated from his heart-center and dissolved into the heart-center of Jigten Sumgon, this being seen by all the other disciples. Jigten Sumgon then gave all his belongings to benefit the monastery and to help build a large memorial stupa for his guru.

After this, he met many other teachers. From Dakpo Gomtsul he received the Four Yogas of Mahamudra. A patroness then promised him provisions for three years and Jigten Sumgon, earnestly wishing to practice the teachings he had received, retired to the Echung cave to meditate. In those three years, he gained a rough understanding of the outer, inner, and secret aspects of interdependent origination. He then realized that the cause of wandering in samsara is the difficulty prana has in entering the avadhuti, and hence practicing on prana, saw many buddhas and bodhisattvas face-to-face, and had visions of his mind purifying the six realms. Then he went on a pilgrimage to Phagmodru and other holy places.

On his return to Echung Cave, he meditated with one-pointed mind. In the same way that maras arose as obstacles to Lord Buddha at the time of his enlightenment, and Tsering Chenga and others tried to hinder Milarepa; the final fruition of Jigten Sumgon's karma arose, and he contracted leprosy. Becoming intensely depressed, he thought, "Now, I should die in this solitary place and transfer my consciousness." He prostrated to an image of Avalokiteshvara that had been blessed many times by Phagmodrupa. At the first prostration, he thought, "Among sentient beings, I am the worst. "At the second, he thought, "I have all the teachings of my guru, including the instructions of bardo and the transference of consciousness, and need have no fear of death." Then, remembering that other beings didn't have these teachings, strong compassion arose in him. In that state of mind, he sat down and generated compassionate thoughts towards others. His sickness left him, like clouds blown away from the sun, and at that moment he attained Buddhahood. He had practiced at the Echung Cave for seven years.

Shortly after this, he had a vision of the Seven Taras. Because he had a full understanding of interdependent origination, and realized the unity of discipline (shila) and Mahamudra, he took the vows of a fully-ordained monk. From this time, Jigten Sumgon did not eat meat. As he had already been named by Phagmodrupa as his successor, the chief monks of his guru's monastery invited him to return. After taking the abbot's seat at the monastery, Jigten Sumgon insisted on a strict observance of monastic discipline. One day, some monks said: "We are 'nephews' of Milarepa and should be allowed to drink chang ." Saying this, they drank. When Jigten Sumgon counseled them, they replied, "You yourself should keep the discipline of not harming others." Phagmodrupa then appeared in a vision to Jigten Sumgon and said to him, "Leave this old, silken seat and go to the north. There you will benefit many sentient beings."

Jigten Sumgon went north, and on the way, at Nyenchen Thanglha, he was greeted by the protector of that place. At Namra, a spirit-king and his retinue took the Upasaka vow from him, and Jigten Sumgon left one of his foot-prints behind for them as an object of devotion. He gave meditation instruction to vultures flying overhead, and they practiced according to those teachings. Once, at a word from Jigten Sumgon, a horse returned to him that was running away. He also sent an emanation of himself to pacify a war in Bodhgaya begun by the Duruka tribesmen.

On another occasion, at Dam, he gave teachings and received many offerings. At the end of a day which had seemed very long, he told the crowd, "Now go immediately to your homes," and suddenly it was just before dawn of the next day. To finish his talk Jigten Sumgon had stopped the sun. When he was at Namra Mountain, Brahma, the king of the gods, requested the vast and profound teachings. On the way to Drikung, the great god Bar-Lha received him. The children of Jenthang built a throne for him, and from which instructed the people of that town. Even the water, which has no mind, listened to his teachings and made the sound, Nagarjuna.

Then he came to Drikung Thil. In his thirty-seventh year, he established Drikung Jangchubling, the largest monastery and the main seat of the Drikungpa Kagyupa in Tibet and appointed Pon Gompa Dorje Senge as supervisor for the construction of the monastery. Many monks gathered there and enjoyed the rainfall of the profound dharma.

In Tibet, there are nine great protectors of the dharma. Among them, Barlha, Sogra, Chuphen Luwang, Terdrom Menmo, and Namgyal Karpo bowed down at Jigten Sumgon's feet, took the Upasaka vow, and promised to protect the teachings and practitioners of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage.

At one time, water was very scarce in Drikung, and in order to relieve the situation, Jigten Sumgon gave 108 turquoise to his attendant, Rinchen Drak, with instructions to hide them in various places. Rinchen Drak hid all but one, which he kept for himself and put in his robe. The turquoises that were hidden became sources of water, and the one he kept turned into a frog. Startled, he threw it away, and in falling it became blind in one eye. Where the frog landed, a stream arose which was called Chumik Shara. Most of these streams were dried up by fire when Drikung Thil was destroyed during the middle of the fourteenth century, but some still remain.

On the new and full moon each month, Jigten Sumgon and his monks observed a purification ceremony called Sojong. Once when some monks arrived late and Jigten Sumgon decided to discontinue the practice, but Brahma requested him to maintain that tradition, and he agreed.

Jigten Sumgon continued to look after Densa Thil, his old monastery. He also visited Dakla Gampo, the monastery of Gampopa. From Gampopa's image inside the monastery, light rays streamed forth, merging inseparably with Jigten Sumgon and he attained both the ordinary and the extraordinary siddis of the Treasure of Space. Once, the dakinis of the Tsari came bringing the Dakpar Shri, an assembly of 2,800 yidams on a net of horse-hair and presented them to him. In the memory of Phagmodrupa, he built an auspicious stupa of many doors and placed the 2,800 yidams inside, with a door for each one of them.

From this there came down the tradition of building stupas in this way. In a vision, he met with Ananda and discussed the teachings. Once, Lama Shang said, "This year, the dakinis of Oddiyana will come to invite me and the great Drikungpa to join them. He is a master of interdependent origination and won't have to go there, but I should go." Soon after this, the dakinis came for him and he passed away; but when they came to invite Jigten Sumgon, he refused, and the dakinis changed their prayer of invitation into a supplication for the guru's longevity. Then all the dakas and dakinis made offerings to him and promised to guide his disciples.

Jigten Sumgon had many important disciples, among them: the two Chengas , the Great Abbot Gurawa, Nyo Gyalwa Lhanangpa , Gar Choding, Palchen Choye, Drubtob Nyaske, the two Tsang-tsangs, and others. These were the leaders of the philosophers. The Vinaya-holders were Thakma Dulzin, Dakpo Duldzin, and others. The Kadampa Geshes were Kyo Dorje Nyingpo and others. The translators were Nup, Phakpa, and others. The leaders of the tantrikas were Tre, Ngok, and others. The leaders of the yogins were Dudsi, Belpo, and others. Whenever Jigten Sumgon taught, rainbows appeared and gods rained flowers from the sky. Machen Pomra and other Protectors listened to his teachings, and the kings of Tibet, India, and China were greatly devoted to him. By this time, Jigten Sumgon had 55,525 followers. To feed this ocean of disciples, Matro, the King of the Nagas and the source of all the wealth of Jambudvipa, became the patron of the monastery

Near Drikung Thil there was a rock called "Lion-Shoulder", which Jigten Sumgon saw as the mandala of Chakrasamvara. He established a monastery there and, to spread the teachings thus benefiting all sentient beings, he built another Auspicious Stupa of Many Doors, using a special method. At this time he also repaired the Samye monastery.

The Chakrasamvara of Five Deities was Jigten Sumgon's main yidam practice and he manifested at times in that form in order to train the more difficult disciples. When a war began in Minyak, in eastern Tibet, he protected the people there through his miracle powers. The number of his disciples increased to 70,000. Many of the most intelligent of these attained enlightenment in one lifetime, while those of lesser intelligence attained various bhumis, and everyone else realized, at least the nature of his or her own mind.

In one of the predictions about Jigten Sumgon, it was said, "A hundred thousand incarnate (Tulku) Great Beings will gather." Here, "Tulku" meant that they would be monks and have prefect discipline, and "Great Beings" meant that they would all be Bodhisattvas. In other life-stories, it is said that in an instant Jigten Sumgon visited all the Buddha-fields, saw Buddhas like Amitabha and Ashobya, and listened to their teachings. Jigten Sumgon himself said that whoever so much as had the chance to go to Layel, in Drikung, would be freed from birth in the lower realms, and that whoever supplicated him - whether from near or far away - would be blessed, and his or her meditation would grow more firm. He also said that all sentient beings living in the mountains of Drikung, even the ants, would not be born again in lower realms. From the essence of the instructions of sutra and tantra, Jigten Sumgon gave teachings which were compiled by his disciple Chenga Sherab Jungne (Chenga Drikung Lingpa) into a text called "Gongchig", which has 150 topics and forty appendices.

At one time a naga-king named Meltro Zichen went to Drikung for teachings. Jigten Sumgon sent a message to his disciples to remain in seclusion in order that those with miracle powers would not harm the naga and those without such power would not be harmed themselves. The message was received by everyone except the Mahasiddhi Gar Dampa, who was meditating in the depths of a long cave. When the naga arrived, he made a thundering noise which was heard by all including Gar Dampa. Gar Dampa came out of the cave to see what was happening and saw a frightful, dark-blue snake whose length encircled the monastery three times and whose head was peering in the window of the palace. Without examining the situation, he thought the naga was there to harm his guru and thus manifested himself as a giant garuda and chased the naga away. At Rolpa Trang, there is a smooth, clear print left by the garuda when it landed on a rock. Near the river of Kyung-Ngar Gel, there are marks left by both the garuda and the naga.

A Ceylonese Arhat, a follower of the Buddha, hearing that the Mahapandita Shakya Shri Bhadra was going to Tibet, gave to the Mahapandita's brother a white lotus requesting him to give it to the Mahapandita who in turn would give it to Nagarjuna in Tibet. When Shakya Shri Bhadra arrived in Tibet, he ordained many monks but did not know where to find Nagarjuna. When giving ordination, he would distribute robes and once an ordinary disciple of Jigten Sumgon's approached him for ordination and then asked for a robe but was told that there were none left. He insisted strongly. One of Shakya Shri Bhadra's attendants pushed him away; he fell and blood flowed from his nose. Prior to this happening, Shakya Shri Bhadra had always seen Tara in the morning when he recited the Seven-Branch Prayer, but for the six days following this incident she did not show herself. Then, on the seventh day she appeared with her back turned towards him. "What have I done wrong ?" he asked her. "Your attendant beat a disciple of Nagarjuna," she replied, and brought blood from his nose.". When he asked how he could purify this misdeed, Tara told him,"Make as many Dharma-robes as you have years, and offer them to fully-ordained monks who have no robes."

Shakya Shri Bhadra then searched for the monk who had been turned away. When he found him and learned the name of his teacher, he realized that Jigten Sumgon was Nagarjuna's incarnation. He sent one of his attendants to offer the white lotus to Jigten Sumgon. In return, Jigten Sumgon sent many offerings of his own and asked that Shakya Shri Bhadra visit Drikung, but the Mahapandita could not go, though he did send many verses of praise. Although Nagarjuna had knowingly taken rebirth as Jigten Sumgon in order to dispel wrong views and was teaching in Tibet, Shakya Shri Pandita saw that there was no need to go see him.

At this time, many lesser Panditas were visiting Tibet. One of them named Bi Bhuti Chandra, said, "Let us talk with the Kadampas; the followers of Mahamudra tell lies." Shakya Shri Pandita said to him, "Do not say that," and recounted the above story. "Because Jigten Sumgon is a great teacher," he continued, "you should now apologize for having said these things." Bi Bhuti Chandra then went to Drikung, made full apology, and constructed an image of Chakrasamvara at Sinpori Mountain.

One day, a great scholar by the name of Dru Kyamo came to Drikung from Sakya to debate with Jigten Sumgon. When he saw the guru's face he saw him as the Buddha himself, and his two chief disciples - Chenga Sherab Jungne and Chenga Drakpa Jungne - as with Shariputra and Maudgalyayana. There was no way he could debate with Jigten Sumgon after this. His devotion blossomed fully and he became one of Jigten Sumgon's principle disciples. Later, he was called Ngorje Repa and wrote a text called "Thegchen Tenpai Nyingpo" as a commentary on Jigten Sumgon's teachings. The number of Jigten Sumgon's disciples continued to increase and at one rainy season retreat, 100,000 "morality sticks" were distributed to count the number of monks attending. Not long after this, 2,700 monks were sent to Lachi and equal numbers were sent to Tsari and Mount Kailash, but by the next year 130,000 monks had once again gathered at Drikung.

Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa came to Drikung after visiting Daklha Gampo. At Bam Thang in Drikung, Jigten Sumgon and his disciples received him warmly. At that time the Karmapa saw Jigten Sumgon as the Buddha, and his two chief disciples as Shariputra and Maudgalyayana surrounded by Arhats. When they returned to the assembly main hall, the Serkhang, the Karmapa again saw Jigten Sumgon as the Buddha, with his two disciples appearing as Maitreya and Manjushri surrounded by Bodhisattvas. Thus, Dusum Khyenpa showed great devotion and received many teachings. He also saw the entire area of Drikung as the Mandala of Chakrasamvara.

The question arose of who would hold the lineage after Jigten Sumgon's passing. Jigten Sumgon had confidence in many of his disciples, but had thought for a long time that the succession should pass to one of his family clan, the Drugyal Kyura. Since he had been born in Kham, he sent one of his disciples, Palchen Shri Phukpa, to teach the members of his family. Displaying miracles power and proclaiming his guru's reputation, Palchen Shri Phukpa taught Jigten Sumgon's uncle Konchok Rinchen and his uncle's son, Anye Atrak and all the grandsons. When their minds turned and they became attracted, they moved to Central Tibet. Their stories are told in the Golden Rosary of the Drikung Kagyu.

One day, Jigten Sumgon told his disciple Gar Choling to go to the Soksum Bridge and offer torma to the nagas living in the water. You will receive special wealth," he told him. A naga-king named Sokma Me offered Gar Choling a tooth of the Buddha and three special gems. Generally, it is said that this tooth had been taken by the naga-king Dradrok as an object of devotion. This was the same naga who usually lived in the area of Magadha, but had access to Soksum by way of an underground gate. Gar Choling offered the tooth and gems to Jigten Sumgon, who said, " It is good to return wealth to its owner," indicating that the tooth had once been his own. "As you are wealthy," he continued, "you should make an image of me and put the tooth in its heart." A skilled Chinese artisan was then invited to build the statue, and the tooth was enshrined as a relic. Jigten Sumgon consecrated this statue hundreds of times. It was kept in Serkhang and called Serkhang Choje (Dharma Lord of Serkhang). Its power of blessing was regarded as being equal to that of Jigten Sumgon himself. It spoke to many shrine-keepers, and to a lama named Dawa it taught the Six Yogas of Naropa. Later, when Drikung was destroyed by fire, it was buried in the sand for protection. When the Drikung Kyabgon returned to rebuild the monastery a search was made for the statue, which came out of the sand itself, saying, "I am here." Thus, this image possessed great power. Gar Choling made many other images of Jigten Sumgon during this time.

Jigten Sumgon was by now growing very old, and could not travel often to Debsa Thel so Chenga Drakpa Jungne was sent there as his Vajra Regent and his activities there were very successful. Under the leadership of Panchen Guya Kangpa, Jigten Sumgon sent 55,525 disciples to stay at Mount Kailash. Under Geshe Yakru Paldrak, 55,525 disciples were sent to Lachi. Under Dordzin Gowoche, 55, 525 were sent to Tsari. Even at the time of Chungpo Dorje Drakpa, the fourth successor to Jigten Sumgon, there were 180,000 disciples at Drikung.

Once when Jigten Sumgon went to Dorje Lhokar Cave, he said that the cave was too small and so stretched, causing the inside of the cave to expand, leaving the imprint of his clothes on the rock. Because the cave was dark, he pushed a stick through the rock, making a window. He then made shelves in the rock to hold his belongings. All of these can be seen very clearly. In his travels, he left many foot-prints in the four directions of the area of Drikung.

When Jigten Sumgon fell ill one day, Phagmodrupa appeared to him in a vision and explained a yogic technique by means of which he became well again. To Jigten Sumgon's many disciples, taught according to their need and to some, according to their disposition, he gave instructions in the practice of the Eight Herukas of the Nyingma tradition.

Towards then end of his life, he predicted a period of decline for the Drikung lineage. Taking a small stick that he used to clean his teeth, he planted it in the ground and said, "When this stick has reached a certain height, I will return." This foretold the coming of Gyalwa Kunga Rinchen, the 15th successor of Jigten Sumgon. Jigten Sumgon then asked Chenga Sherab Jungne to be his successor, but the latter declined out of modesty. Then he asked the Great Abbot, Gurawa Tsultrim Dorje, and he agreed.

At the age of seventy-five in the year of the Fire-Ox, Jigten Sumgon entered parinirvana in order to encourage lazy ones to the Dharma. His body was cremated on the thirteenth day of the month of Vaishaka. Gods created clouds of offerings and flowers rained from the sky to the level of one's knees. His skull was totally untouched by the fire and his brain appeared as the Mandala of the Sixty-Two Deities of Chakrasamvara. This was as clear as if a skilled artisan had made it. His heart, also untouched by the fire turned to a beautiful golden color. This showed that he was an incarnation of the Buddha himself. Likewise, countless relics appeared.

After Jigten Sumgon's passing, most of the funerary responsibilities were taken by Chenga Sherab Jungne, even though he earlier declined the succession. He went to Senge Phungpa Mountain to view the Mandala of Chakrasamvara and there saw Jigten Sumgon. Thus he felt that a memorial should be built there. Jigten Sumgon again appeared in a vision on the mountain of the Samadhi Cave and said to him, "Son, do as you wish, but always follow my intention." Then he disappeared. Doing as he wished, Chenga Sherab Jungne built an auspicious Stupa of Many Doors called "Sage, Overpowerer of the Three Worlds." In that stupa, he put Jigten Sumgon's heart and many other relics. Following his guru's intention, he built the stupa "Body-Essence, Ornament of the World," which was made of clay mixed with jewel dust, saffron and various kinds of incense. In that stupa, he put Jigten Sumgon's skull and brain, along with many other relics including the Vinaya texts brought from India by Atisha and the 100,000-Verse Prajnaparamita.

Jigten Sumgon now abides in the Eastern Great All-Pervading Buddha Field, surrounded by limitless numbers of disciples from this earth who died with a strong devotion to him. When such people die, they will be reborn there immediately and Jigten Sumgon then places his hand gently on their heads, giving blessing and welcoming them there.

Excerpted from Prayer Flags:
The Life and Spiritual Teachings of Jigten Sumgon by Most Venerable Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche


A Brief Outline of Lord Jigten Sumgon's Life

1143 - Jikten Sumgön (1143-1217) was born in eastern Tibet. His birth was prophesied in many sources. As he was born to a religious family, his Dharma education started while he was still very young.

1157 - his father, Dorjé, an accomplished Yamāntaka yogi, passes away after a severe drought causing great famine in the local area.

1158 - one of his close teachers from the time he was six passes away.

1159 - his mother, Tsünma, a secret yoginī, passes away.

1160 - left his hometown in search for more Dharma instructions in the southern part of eastern Tibet. 

1163 - returns to hometown and later enters into retreat for three years to practice Mahāmūdra and Vajrayoginī.

1168 - leaves eastern Tibet and arrives in central Tibet and joins Phakmo Drupa (1110-1170) at Densa Thil, southeast of Lhasa.

1168-1170 - Jikten Sumgön remained with Phakmo Drupa and received many profound instructions.

1170 - Phakmo Drupa manifests signs of illnesses and passes away - Jikten Sumgön having spent two years and six months with Phakmo Drupa. After completing the funeral rites, Jikten Sumgön mostly remained in retreat or only travelled to receive Dharma instructions and transmission.

1172 - Jikten Sumgön retreats to Echung cave and while in retreat attains complete enlightenment.

1177 - receives full-monk's ordination and from this point on abstained from meat and alcohol completely. Fulfills Phakmo Drupa's wish by becoming head of the monastic community at Densa Thil.

1179 - leaves Densa Thil when the monastic community refuses to abide by his insistence on strict monastic discipline. Arrives at Drigung Valley, northeast of Lhasa on the fullmoon day of the twelfth month and establishes the foundations of what would become Drigung Thil Monastery. Continues to travel to spread the Dharma.

1182/83 - begins a two-year meditation retreat at Drigung.

1183 - 1191 - disciples came from all over Tibet to train under Jikten Sumgön. Many other great masters came to Drigung to visit Jikten Sumgön and the thriving community. During the first Black Hat Karmapa's visit, he had of vision in which he saw Jikten Sumgön and his two chief disciples as Buddha Sakyamuni flanked by Śāriputra and Mahāmaudgalyāyana.

1191 - as thousands of monks were gathered at Drigung, Jikten Sumgön decided to send most of them into retreat at the holy mountains such as Tsari, Lapchi and Kailash.

1193 - although intending to make pilgrimage to India, Jikten Sumgön was forced to return to Phakmo Drupa as some local political forces were threatening to invade Densa Thil unless Jikten Sumgön was in residence.  He gave many profound teachings while there and many great teachers gathered to receive those teachings.

1193 - Lama Zhang (1123-1193), a great disciple of Phakmo Drupa and close friend of Jikten Sumgön announced that the dākinīs have also come to invite him, the first Black Hat Karmapa (1110-1193) and Jikten Sumgön to the purelands. But since, "the Drigungpa understands interdependent-origination well, he does not have to go but we two have to."

1199/1200 - at Tsari (?), Jikten Sumgön once again sent many disciples to the various holy mountains for extended retreats.

1203 - some negative signs manifested with regards to Jikten Sumgön's health during his 60th year (considered by Tibetans to be an "obstacle year") and many thought he would die but he regained his health after engaging in some special practices for a night.

1208 - the great Kashmiri master, Śākyaśrībhadra (Sakya Pandita's [1182-1251] monastic preceptor) made attempts to see Jikten Sumgön but failed. He did manage to send Jikten Sumgön a special white lotus that was given to him by an arhat from Sri Lanka, recognizing that Jikten Sumgön is the reincarnation of Nagārjuna.

1208-1217 - continues to give teachings and disciples gathered from all corners of the known world, from areas such as China, India, Central Asia, Tangut and Mongolia. During one tsok-offering gathering, it is said that 55,525 monks were present.

1217 - passes away after manifesting signs of illness. His last advice was "This meditation-rock (i.e. Drigung Thil) is inseparable from me throughout the three times (of past, present and future). After I pass away, there is no need for you to make my image or stūpa in gold or silver. (Instead, remember that) Mahāmūdra and the ethical-vows are
inseparable - therefore keep the precious vows."



Introduction to Kyobpa Jigten Sumgön (or commonly known as Lord Ratnashri in Sanskrit or translated into Tibetan as Rinchen Pal ), the founder of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage

by H.E. the 8th Kyabje Garchen Triptül Rinpoche

Teaching given at the Ratnashri Center, Malaysia, orally translated into English by Acharya Konchok Tamphel on the fly.

Transcribed and edited 2002 by Tenzin Choedrak (Anthony Bruno)

The teachings of Mahamudra are associated with the Kagyu lineage in general, and also of the Drikung lineage in particular. Lord Jigten Sumgön, the founder of the Drikung lineage, attained complete enlightenment; this enlightenment is the full realization of Mahamudra.

There are numerous texts written on Lord Jigten Sumgön, along with predictions by the Buddha and Padmasambhava foretelling Jigten Sumgön's arrival in this world. Also, all the traditions and lineages of Tibetan Buddhism accept Jigten Sumgön as the emanation of the Arya Nagarjuna.

Although there are four main lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, the practice of all four Tibetan Buddhist schools is Bodhicitta --the generation of love and compassion (the wish to attain enlightenment to benefit others). There is nothing much more than that.

So, although there is only one common practice in Buddhism, the two Bodhicittas (ultimate and relative), there are a variety of ways to achieve the goal of enlightenment. These ways and means are explained in the teachings of the dharma.  Even enlightened beings perform different Buddha-activities; they use different methods to lead sentient beings through various ways and actions.

Every single sentient being has Buddha Nature (the essence and potential that enlightenment is inherent within them). For this very reason, every sentient being has the same seed, and potential, to attain enlightenment.  However, depending on how "the seed" is nurtured, different qualities and different stages of spiritual attainment arise. 

For instance, if one plants an apple tree very properly and well, like in good soil and takes of it, one will get a lot of fruit. Also, that fruit will be big in size and tasty.  But, if one plants the seed in a bad place and doesn't take care of it, then there will be less fruit. Now, the fruit will be smaller in size and not taste good.

Similarly, all practices are based on the two Bodhicittas, but depending on our effort and usage of the various ways and methods, different results will occur.

Lord Jigten Sumgön was born into the Kyura clan, one of the many clans of Tibet. This Kyura clan originated from the descendants of human and heavenly beings (devas), who united. From this clan, many great Kings of Tibet were born.   Later on, Achi Chokyi Dölma also was born into this clan.  Four generations after her, Lord Jigten Sumgön was born into this clan.

When an emanation of a Buddha or bodhisattva (the Nirmanakaya or tulku form of an enlightened being) is to take birth, great masters such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Karmapa predict their coming into the world; these great masters can predict the arrival of other enlightened masters. And when an enlightened masters such as Lord Jigten Sumgön is to take birth into this world, the Buddha Himself predicts his or her birth and coming. 

In the Sutra called "Extremely Increasing Wisdom" (Yeshe Yongsu Jepa), the Buddha Himself predicted the coming of Jigten Sumgön by stating:  "In the degenerate age, north of Bodh Gaya in the Land of Snow, there will be a great being called Ratnashri (Rinchenpal). He will benefit sentient beings greatly." This is not the only prediction, as there are more than ten predictions from different sutras. 

Even in the teachings revealed from treasure (terma), Lord Jigten Sumgön was predicted by the great master Padmasambhava. In the Nyingma lineage, many of the main practices and teachings are from terma. There are more than one-hundred and eight great Tertöns (terma revealers), and of those one of the three most important and honored Tertön is Sangye Lingpa and his scriptures of terma.

In this manner, from this Tertön, Padmasambhava relayed, "In a place called Dri, there will be a person born in the Pig Year and his name will be Ratnashri. He will gather millions of disciples."

In Tibet, there have been many great masters and Bodhisattvas called Ratnashri (Rinchenpal), but only Lord Jigten Sumgön had such a large and vast number of disciples.

Lord Jigten Sumgön was born in Kham, eastern Tibet. The place where he was born is near where Garchen Rinpoche lives. In the nearby area is also the place where Achi Chokyi Dölma was born. At this place, one can still see the cave of Achi Chokyi Dölma and also the place where she left this world.

On the rocks in this region are footprints of the horse of Achi Chokyi Dölma, and also the impression of the Drikung Logo with the syllable Hung on solid rock. This Hung and the three colors of the Drikung Logo are symbolic.

The syllable Hung represents the Buddha, the Lama and the Dharmakaya; the Sun represents the Dharma, the Dakini and Sambhogakaya; and the moon represents the Sangha, the Yidam and the Nirmanakaya. So in this way the Drikung Logo, its symbols and colors, represents the Three bodies (kayas) of the Buddha, the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) and the Three Roots (Lama, Yidam and Dakini). It therefore represents the complete path, from taking refuge to the ultimate stages. Practitioners can wear it on their body for protection.

In search of dharma Lord Jigten Sumgön left eastern Tibet. He then met his root teacher, Phagmodrupa. By the time Lord Jigten Sumgön came to him, Phagmodrupa already had thousands of disciples.  While they offered cloth made out of expensive brocade, Jigten Sumgön was very poor and only had the simple cloth he wore, made out of leather. 

Lord Jigten Sumgön was also considered by everyone to be the least spiritually developed, so he sat the end of the row in the assembly.  At this time, Jigten Sumgön was still an upasaka (lay person).

There was once a lady who was an emanation of Vajrayogini, a highly realized female practitioner, in the area. After she passed away, a yogi called Lingjey Repa, considered to be similar to Milarepa, used the skull of this lady, a sacred relic, as a cup for sacred substances. He filled the skull cup with nectar, holding it in his hand, and went up and down the rows of the assembly of Phagmodrupa and his disciples.  

After the assembly concluded the prayers and pujas, the yogi offered the skull cup to Jigten Sumgön. The yogi praised Jigten Sumgön in twenty different ways, the yogi composed all of this instantaneously and these praises have been recorded. Everyone thought the yogi was crazy, as they expected him to offer the skull cup to someone up in the row but instead he offered it to the last person.  It was then that Phagmodrupa declared that Jigten Sumgön would succeed him in carrying on the lineage.

Just as the masters of India transmitted the teachings to Marpa, and then Marpa transmitted the lineage to Milarepa, and then Milarepa transmitted the lineage to Gampopa, and then Gampopa transmitted the lineage to Phagmodrupa, now Jigten Sumgön would continue the lineage and he became the founder of the Drikung Kagyu lineage. 

In this way there have been many great masters of the Kagyu lineage. During the time of Jigten Sumgön, Garchen Rinpoche was in that past lifetime one of Jigten Sumgön's closest disciples. He diligently built numerous small statues of his master, Jigten Sumgön, and took these statues to his master and asked if the statues accurately looked like him. 

Jigten Sumgön was pleased, and as a blessing, left the mark of his teeth on one of the statues. When he bit into only one of the statues, on all of the statues instantly arose the same tooth mark. These statues can still be seen in Tibet, and also Garchen Rinpoche has one of these and also at Thrangu Rinpoche's monastery in Nepal another of these statues resides. Garchen Rinpoche is presently wishing to replicate these statues in vast quantity, in the past he already constructed larger statues, ranging from ten to fifteen feet, of Jigten Sumgön. In this way the blessings of the lineage and Jigten Sumgön will continue. 


The Song that Clarifies Recollection

by Lord Jigten Sumgon

I bow at the feet of glorious Phagmo Drupa.
Listen, Rinchen Drak, my son.
Ka!  At the time of death ...
Worldly activities are a lie,
The eight worldly dharmas are like the color of a rainbow.
Think, can you put your trust in them?
When you see the separation of gathered friends,
The affection of relatives and friends is a lie.
Heart-felt words are like an echo.
Think, can you put your trust in them?
When you see the growth and decline of the four elements of the body,
The illusion of strength and ability is also a lie.
The spring flower of youth -
Think, can you put your trust in it?
When you see the gathering and consumption of wealth,
Clinging and painful accumulation are also lies,
Food and wealth are like dew on a blade of grass.
Think, can you put your trust in them?
When you see the suffering of birth and death,
The happiness of the assemblies of gods and men is a lie.
The joy and suffering of the wheel of samsara -
Think, can you put your trust in them?
To the tree, the father, bodhicitta,
The bias of disciples is a lie.
Nonvirtuous and misleading friends -
Think, can you put your trust in them?
When you understand that all sentient beings are your parents,
Attachment to self-cherishing of self-liberation -
Think, can you put your trust in it?
When you become convinced of the cause and result of karma,
The instruction of non-effort is a lie.
Thunder without rain in an empty sky -
Think, can you put your trust in it?
For the guru who has the realization of power and blessings,
The obstacle of maras and error is a lie.
Chattering prayers like a parrot -
Think, can you put your trust in that?
When you realize the nature of your mind,
The three limitless kalpas are also a lie.
The deceptive vehicle of relative truth -
Think, can you put your trust in it?
In the cemetery, gathering relics, are you sad, son, at being alone?
Since nothing lasts and all must die, Rinchen Drak, don't be attached.
If your mind is still attached, transfer it to your guru's heart.



Lineage vajra songs TOP




The Supplication to the Kagyu Forefathers

by Lord Jigten Sumgon
The unchanging clear light of dharmakaya is great bliss.
The assembly cloud of the Buddhas of the three times who possess the two bodies.
Establish all beings in the state of great bliss.
I prostrate to Lama Vajradhara.
The body of mahamudra is the union of nonduality.
Your limitless billions of emanations ripen all those to be trained.
I prostrate to Lord Tilopa.
Through enduring inconceivable hardship,
You pleased the Great-Bliss-Lama,the source of good qualities.
You achieved the supreme and common attainments without exception.
I prostrate to glorious Naropa.
In the forest of medicine, you dispelled the sickness of the three times.
With various, unpredictable bodies of illusion.
You benefit others through your great compassion.
I prostrate at the feet of Lord Maitripa.
Your mind does not move from the state of Clear Light.
You manifest the good qualities of the secret mantra without exception.
You ripen all beings by way of the Vajrayana.
I prostrate to Lord Lhotrakpa.
You accomplished the ultimate essence
By way of the three kinds of pleasing.
The precious Lama is the crown jewel of the world,
Including dakas, dakinis, and gods.
I prostrate at the feet of Jetsun Mila.
Maitreya, the Regent, the Lord of Compassion,
Performs the profound activities of the Buddha's teachings.
You are the chief lamp of the world dispelling the darkness of ignorance.
I prostrate to glorious Dipankara.
The Buddha predicted your coming in this age.
You accomplished all the intentions of the Buddha.
Great being, you spontaneously attained the Body.
I prostrate to peerless Gampopa.
The glorious, precious Lord of Beings
Possesses the Two Purities of the stainless Dharmakaya.
The lord of samsara and nivana is glorious Vajradhara.
I prostrate to the nondual body of the lama.
The precious teachings of the Buddhas of the three times
Are the profound, peaceful, unelaborated, unchanging clear light.
By that, all those to be tamed are ripened and freed.
I prostrate to you who expand the teachings.
In the center of the mandala
Of the clear, nondual wisdom-mind
Arises the reflections of the objects of knowledge of the three times without exception.
I prostrate to the supreme-birth speech of you
Who have full understanding of degrees of ability and dormant qualities.
The ocean of all good qualities
Of samsara and nirvana without exception
Arises without effort for those who attend you.
I prostrate to you who are a great, unending treasure.
Like the fire at the end of the kalpa,
You consume all the fuel of bad deeds and obscurations without exception.
You annihilate all the enemies of samsara, the four maras.
I prostrate to you, the hero victorious in battle.
For whoever recollects you with faith,
Uncontaminated great bliss blossoms fully.
You exhaust the sufferings of samsara without exception.
I prostrate to you who are a marvelous source of blessings.
From within the unelaborated clear light,
You fully realize the very subtle causes and effects,
The essence of the interdependence of the objects
Of knowledge of the three times,
And the supreme intention of the Buddhas of the three times.
Through inseparable emptiness and compassion,
You dispel all the sicknesses of the six realms of samsara without exception.
I take refuge in you who are a king of physicians.
You are the king of great bliss, unchanging in the three times,
You abide in the three worlds without enjoying nirvana.
You are the unceasing embodiment of compassion.
You are the tireless Great Sage.
Through your great compassion, you see all (beings) as your sons.
You do not abandon even those who are in great difficulty.
Through your compassion, you join with happiness even those who harm you.
Through exhausting the fiction of a self, you fully purified the three spheres.
You are the one friend, the source of marvelous compassion.
May I never part from you, the peerless lama.
By not parting from you, precious one,
May all sentient beings of the three times, equal in number to the limits of space,
Who have sunk into the ocean of suffering,
Fully develop uncontaminated great bliss,
And may they be established in the state of Vajradhara.



The Supplication to the Lineage Gurus
by  Konchog Trinlay Sangpo

Konchog Trinlay Sangpo (the 25th successor of Jigten Sumgon and the second incarnation of the Drikung Kyabgon, Chetsang Rinpoche) composed this dedication prayer to the Drikung lineage gurus.

Precious guru who possesses the three kindnesses,

Your name is renowned as the Drikungpo.

Generally, whatever peace and happiness there are in samsara and nirvana
Come from supplicating you. Lord.
On the crown of my head, on a sun and moon seat,
Kind root guru, I supplicate you.
In the Dharma Palace of Ogmin,
Great Vajradhara the Dharmakaya, I supplicate you.
In the east, in Sahor, in the Palace of the King,
Tilli Prajnabhadra, I supplicate you.
In the north, in the monastery of Phullahari,
Learned Mahapandita Naropa, I supplicate you.
In the south, in the monastry of Drowo Lung,
Translator Marpa Lotsawa, I supplicate you.
In the hermitage of the Lachi snow range,
Mila Shepa Dorje, I supplicate you.
In the east, at the mountain of jewels, Gampo,
Lord King of Physicians, I supplicate.
In the glorious Thatsa, the source of the dharma,
Lord Self-Born Buddha, I supplicate you.
In Drisewa, at Jangchub Ling,
King Lord of Dharma, I supplicate you.
In Gura, the Monastry of the Dharma,
Great Abbot Tsultrim Dorje, I supplicate you.
In the northern Vajrasana,
Great nephew Sonam Drakpa, I supplicate you.
At the two Dharma Thrones, Dri and Den,
Chenga Dorje Drakpa, I supplicate you.
In the unchanging Vajra Palace,
Chungpo Dorje Drakpa, I supplicate you.
In the Glorious Palace of Great Bliss,
Thokha Rinchen Senge, I supplicate you.
In the Pure Monastery, free from elaboration,
Tsamche Drakpa Sonam, I supplicate you.
In Ogmin, in the Lhundrub Monastery,
Chunyi Dorje Rinchen, I supplicate you.
In the Palace of Tashi Phuntsok,
Tulka Dorje Gyalpo, I supplicate you.
In the Dakpa Rabjam Monastery,
Omniscient Chokyi Gyalpo, I supplicate you.
In the Palace of Tsekha Deden,
Spiritual Friend Dondrub Gyalpo, I supplicate you.
In China, at the Five-Peaked Mountain,
Lord Dakpo Wang, I supplicate you.
In the Palace of Unification and Equanimity,
Dharma King Rinchen Palsang, I supplicate you.
In the Dharmakaya Palace of the Innate,
Rinchen Chokyi Gyaltsen, I supplicate you
In the Palace of the Self-Born Emanation,
Rinchen Chokyi Gyalpo, I supplicate you.
In the Palace of Unchanging Bodhi,
Gyalwang Kunga Rinchen, I supplicate you.
In the secret place, Ter Tro, in the upper country of Sho,
The one called Gyalwang Ratna, I supplicate you.
In the Palace of Phagmo Tse,
Mahapandita Palgyi Gyatso, I supplicat you.
In the Firm Varja Palace,
Peerless Chogyal Phuntsok, I supplicate you.
In the Vajra Palace of Great Bliss,
Great Abbot Namjom Phuntsok, I supplicate you.
In the second Phullahari,
Mahasiddha Tashi Phuntsok, I supplicate you.
In Kunga Rawa, in Sho,
Jetsun Konchok Ratna, I supplicate you.
At the peak of the Supreme Vajra of the Secret Mantra,
Vidyadhara Chokyi Drakpa, I supplicate you.
At the glorious cave of Miyel,
Konchok Trinlay Namgyal, I supplicate you.
In the Dharma Palace of the Supreme Yana,
Protector Trinlay Sangpo, I supplicate you.
In the Palace of Dershi Rabgye,
Trinlay dondrub Chogyal, I supplicate you.
At the top of Tashi Tsuk,
Lord Konchok Tendzin Drodul, I supplicate you.
At the Hermitage of Unchanging Bodhi,
Protector Chokyi Gyaltsen, I supplicate you.
At the hermitage, the Place of Unchanging Happiness,
Peerless Chokyi Nyima, I supplicate you.
In the Monastery of Dharmata, which is wherever you stay,
Kind Pemai Gyatlsen, I supplicate you.
In the state of self-awareness, which is great bliss,
Tendzin Chokyi Gyaltsen, I supplicate you.
At Nyin Dzong, the supreme place of Mahayana,
Great Regent Maha Mandzi, I supplicate you.
In the Palace of Happy Sunlight,
Rinchen Tenpai Dzegyen, I supplicate you.
In the Dharma Palace of Omniscience,
supremely victorious Tukje Nyima, I supplicate you.
In the ancient Dharma Fortress of Shedrub,
Vidyadhara Nuden Dorje, I supplicate you.
In the glorious monastery of Jangchub Ling,
Jetsun Konchok Chokyab, I supplicate you.
At the peak of the Dharmachakra of the Supreme Yana,
Peerless Chokyi Lodro, I supplicate you.
In the supreme state of great bliss and lunminosity,
Supreme Guide Shiwai Lodro, I supplicate you.
On the crown of my head, on a sun and moon seat,
Kind root guru, I supplicate you.
Please bless the beings of the six realms.
Please bless them so they may be ripened and freed.
May they reverse attachment to objects of desire.
May their kleshas be self-liberated.
May their bodies be transformed into deities.
May they realize their voice as inseparable from mantra.
May they realize their mind as Dharmakaya.
As in the life-stories of the former Lord Gurus,
Please bless me so my life-span and realizations may come together.
Please bless me so I may practice loving-kindness and compassion
Toward all mother beings, filling space.
May all appearances of samsara and nirvana
Be realized as the equal taste of Mahamudra.





Supplication to the Kagyu Gurus for the Mist of Great Blessings

by Rinchen Pal

The great Nagarjuna was one who realized the profound emptiness free from extremes.   His coming was foretold in many sutras by the Tathagata, and he was reborn as the meditating bhikshu Rinchen Pal, the Protector of the Three Worlds, the Great Drikungpa.   Once, he was staying at Jangchub Ling in Drisewa when there was a great drought in that region.  All the patrons and monks supplicated and requested him to end the drought.  In response, he said to Dudsi Shikpo, "Come here.  Chant this song of mine near the spring behind our monastery and rain will fall."  Thus he compaosed this song:

In the vast sky of the glorious Dharmadhatu,
You pervade all dharmas without limitation of boundary or center.
Remembering again and again great Vajradhara the Dharmakaya,
I supplicate you with one-pointed mind full of yearning.
Guru!  Grant your blessing so that I may be realized like you.
Clouds gather in the east over the land of Sahor.
Billowing mists of blessing arise.
Remembering again and again Tilo Prajnabhadra,
I supplicate you with one-pointed mind full of yearning.
Guru!  Grant your blessing so that I may be realized like you.
Red lightning flashes over Pushpahari in the North.
You underwent twelve trials for the sake of the dhamra.
Remembering again and again learned Mahapandita Norpa,
I supplicate you with one-pointed mind full of yearning.
Guru!  Grant your blessing so that I may be realized like you.
The turquoise dragon thunders over the valley of Drowo Lung in the south.
You translated the teachings of the Hearing Lineage into Tibetan.
Remembering again and again the great translator Marpa Lotsawa,
I supplicate you with one-pointed mind full of yearning.
Guru!  Grant your blessing so that I may be realized like you.
A gentle rain is falling in the highlands of the Lachi snow range.
The instructions of Hearing Lineage flow together into a lake.
Remembering again and again glorious Shepa Dorje ,
I supplicate you with one-pointed mind full of yearning.
Guru!  Grant your blessing so that I may be realized like you.
The earth is soaked in the Daklha Gampo hills in the east
By the continuous stream of the waters of Clear Light.
Remembering again and again the Lord, the King of Physicians,
I supplicate you with one-pointed mind full of yearning.
Guru!  Grant your blessing so that I may be realized like you.
Shoots sprout in the land of Phagmo Dru.
You opened the treasure of the profound secret tantra.
Remembering again and again the Lord, the Self-Born Buddha,
I supplicate you with one-pointed mind full of yearning.
Guru!  Grant your blessing so that I may be realized like you.
The six grains ripen in the region of Drikung in the north.
These six grains pervade all six realms.
Remembering again and again the kind Lords of Dharma,
I supplicate you with one-pointed mind full of yearning.
Guru!  Grant your blessing so that I may be realized like you.
On the crown of my head, on a sun and moon seat,
sits my kind root guru, inseparable from glorious Vajradhara.
Remembering again and again,
I supplicate you with one-pointed mind full of yearning.
Guru!  Grant your blessing so that I may be realized like you.


List of Lineage Holders  TOP



Throne holder

Wylie transcription

Dates of birth and death

Holding the lineage







Kyobpa Jigten Sumgön

skyob pa 'jig rten gsum mgon




Khenchen Tsultrim Dorje

mkhan chen tshul khrims rdo rje




On Sönam Drakpa

dbon bsod nams grags pa




Chenga Drakpa Jungne

spyan snga grags pa 'byung gnas




Chung Dorje Drakpa

gcung rdo rje grags pa




Thogkhawa Rinchen Senge

thog kha ba rin chen seng ge




Tsamche Drakpa Sönam

mtshams bcad grags pa bsod nams




Nub Chögo Dorje Yeshe

snubs chos sgo rdo rje ye shes




Chunyi Dorje Rinchen

gcu gnyis rdo rje rin chen




Nyergyepa Dorje Gyalpo

nyer brgyad pa rdo rje rgyal po




Chenga Chökyi Gyalpo

spyan snga chos kyi rgyal po




Goshri Döndrup Gyalpo

go shri don grub rgyal po




Dhakpowang Rinchen Wangyal

bdag po wang rin chen dbang rgyal

1395 - ?



Khenpo, Lopön, Chöpön [regents]

mkhan po slob dpon chos dpon




Chögyal Rinchen Palsang

chos rgyal rin chen dpal bzang




Rinchen Chökyi Gyaltsen

rin chen chos kyi rgyal mtshan




Gyalwang Kunga Rinchen

rgyal dbang kun dga' rin chen




Gyalwang Rinchen Phuntsog

rgyal dbang rin chen phun tshogs




Phagmo Rinchen Namgyal

phag mo rin chen rnam rgyal




Panchen Sönam Gyatso

pan chen bsod nams rgya mtsho




Chögle Namgyal

phyogs las rnam rgyal




Chögyal Rinchen Phuntsog

chos rgyal rin chen phun tshogs




Nāro Tashi Phuntsog

nA ro bkra shis phun tshogs




Gyalwang Konchog Rinchen
1st Chetsang

rgyal dbang dkon mchog rin chen




Kunkhyen Rigzin Chödrak
1st Chungtsang

kun mkhyen rig 'dzin chos grags




Konchog Thrinle Sangpo
2nd Chetsang

dkon mchog 'phrin las bzang po




Thrinle Döndrup Chögyal
2nd Chungtsang

'phrin las don grub chos rgyal




Konchog Tenzin Drodul
3rd Chetsang

dkon mchog bstan 'dzin 'gro 'dul




Tenzin Chökyi Nyima
3rd Chungtsang

bstan 'dzin chos kyi nyi ma




Tenzin Peme Gyaltsen
4th Chetsang

bstan 'dzin pad ma'i rgyal mtshan




Tenzin Chökyi Gyaltsen
4th Chungtsang

bstan 'dzin chos kyi rgyal mtshan




Lhochen Chökyi Lodrö [regent]

lho chen chos kyi blo gros




Konchog Chönyi Norbu
5th Chungtsang

dkon mchog chos nyid nor bu




Konchog Thukje Nyima
5th Chetsang

dkon mchog thugs rje nyi ma




Tenzin Chökyi Lodrö
6th Chungtsang

bstan 'dzin chos kyi blo gros




Tenzin Shiwe Lodrö
6th Chetsang

bstan 'dzin zhi ba'i blo gros




Tenzin Chökyi Jungne
7th Chungtsang

bstan 'dzin chos kyi 'byung gnas




Tritsab Tenzin Thubten [regent]

khri tshab bstan 'dzin thub bstan




Tenzin Chökyi Nangwa
8th Chungtsang

bstan 'dzin chos kyi snang ba




Tenzin Thrinle Lhündrub
7th Chetsang

bstan 'dzin 'phrin las lhun grub




The Treasure Cycle of Yangzab Dzogchen TOP


The Yangzab Dzogchen Terma (The treasure cycle of the Very Profound Vision) was revealed by the Drikung hidden treasure revealer, Rinchen Phuntsog (1509 – 1557), the 17th throne holder of the Glorious Drikung Kagyu Order.

 During the eighth century, King Trisong Deutsen of Tibet, an emanation of Manjushri, invited Guru Rinpoche to the Land of Snows in order to subdue demonic forces hostile to the Dharma. Having accomplished his wishes and having founded Samye Monastery, the king showed signs of approaching death, and soon passed away. The king's son, Prince Mutik Tsenpo became king, and received the Yangzab empowerments and instructions from Guru Rinpoche. The youthful king found his duties so numerous that he had little time to practice Dharma. Guru Rinpoche foresaw a time in the future when the teachings of Dharma would degenerate due to the increasing power of ignorance and afflictive emotions in the minds of sentient beings. Guru Rinpoche bestowed the teachings of the "Very Profound” (Yangzab) practices that he received through Kuntungzangpo (dharmakaya), the 100 peaceful and wrathful deities and the five Buddha families (sambhogakaya), and from Tulku Garab Dorje (nirmanakaya). Prophesizing that these teachings would be most effective in future times of spiritual darkness, he gave the teachings to Mandarava, who attained rainbow body, and to Yeshe Tsogyal. Guru Rinpoche instructed him to put the practice into text form and prepare six copies on durable sheets of gold, turquoise, copper and other materials. These were then wrapped in precious materials and hidden by Yeshe Tsogyal in the Sky Dancers cave in Terdrom valley in Drikung area.

 The terma, Damcho Gongpa Yangzab, was revealed in that same cave of the Terdrom valley in Drikung by the great omniscient Drikung Tertön Rinchen Phuntsog. Thus he became a renowned Dharma Treasure Revealer. The Dzogchen tradition of the Nyingma Order entered the Drikung Kagyu tradition in this way. This cycle of teachings is supreme as it covers all aspects of Dzogchen practice culminating in the teachings of Trekcho “cutting through” and Thogal “crossing over”. 

The Yangzab has been transmitted uninterruptedly down through the Drikung lineage to the present.

History of Yangzab Dzogchen Transmission

From the pure realm of the complete purity of basic space, the expanse of the dharmata that is free from all elaboration, the primordially self-arisen spontaneous Buddha known as Samantabhadra, without transition or change manifests clearly in the form of Vajradhara, along with the vast assembly of peaceful and wrathful ones who are no different in nature. This (empowerment) holds the blessings of all the 60 million categories of the extremely profound enlightened intent of Dzogpachenpo, the distilled essence of the pure changeless pith instructions, and the pinnacle of all vehicles.

While abiding within the great equality of the Dharmadhatu, the enlightened intent of the vast expanse of peaceful and wrathful deities, with omniscient wisdom he understood the needs of beings, and so the master Vidyadhara Pema Jungne emanated and was born from a lotus flower on Dhanakosha lake in Uddiyana. Having been introduced to naked awareness he directly discovered, once again, the basic space of awareness, the nectar of Samantabhadra’s enlightened intent, from which manifest all the diverse multiplying and consolidating forms of peaceful and wrathful deities.

The definitive crucial point regarding these instructions of the sublime dharma of the completely profound enlightened intent was revealed through mere symbols, and he received the transmission of meaning though he was already endowed with unhindered powers of ripening and liberation. Still however, in order to foster belief in doubtful ones, relying on the premonitions of the five dakinis at the charnel ground of Sosaling, he traveled to the great charnel ground of the blazing fire-mountain. There he heard the essence of all categories of the Great Perfection’s sublime dharma from the nirmanakaya emanation Garab Dorje. Bringing to consummation both words and the meaning, he then traveled to Bodhgaya where he sustained the teachings.

Traveling to the land of Zahor he revealed the Yangzab Dzogchen instructions to the divine consort Mandarava who was liberated without leaving behind any physical remains.

At that time in the land of Tibet an emanation of Manjushri, King Trisong Detsen was propagating the dharma. With the intention to build Samye, he invited Guru Rinpoche to Tibet who then subdued all the humans and nonhuman spirits and brought them under his power binding them by oath. Pacifying the site for Samye he blessed the main temple and meditation sites.

Numerous great pandits were invited from India and Zahor, and many of the sutras and tantras were translated. The precious teachings of the Buddha flourished and spread.  When Trisong Detsen passed into parinirvana his divine son Mutik Tsepo took over in governing the kingdom. At that time, in the turquoise covered room of the main temple at Samye, in the presence of Guru Rinpoche, all the main disciples performed an elaborate ganachakra and made offerings. Having supplicated single pointedly, Guru Rinpoche gave them the ripening and liberating instructions of the sublime dharma of the completely profound enlightened intent (Yangzab). He also made prophecies and designated that which would be entrusted for the future.

Having bestowed everything in its entirety Guru Rinpoche explained that while presently the divine son was distracted by many kingly duties, and didn’t have sufficient time for practice, in future lives he would have the fortune to accomplish Dharma. So Guru Rinpoche , Yeshe Tsogyal and the divine son Mutik Tsepo  assembled the materials and wrote down the six classes of colored scrolls, the white conch scrolls, the light green turquoise scrolls, the yellow gold scrolls, the blue iron scrolls, the red copper scrolls, and the purple agate scrolls. They then bound them together into a single volume and sealed them for preservation. Together with it in a separate package they enclosed two pills of red and white bodhicitta. The treasures were then wrapped in reddish leather and concealed in the middle of a round shaped rock at the center of the white rock cave called “the summit of the great gathering hall for the supreme accomplishment of the secret Dakini,” also known as “keyu yangdzong sky cave”, in Zhoto Terdrom.

Many years later the divine son took birth as Drikung Gyalwang Ratna, and when the time had come, he extracted (the terma). For many years he kept it without revealing it.  Then due to the urging signs given by the terma guardians it became clear that it was time, and through his experience and realization he beheld a pure vision in which he traveled to the copper colored mountain of Ngayab Ling where he received the progressive stages of empowerments, transmission, and teachings once again, directly from Guru Rinpoche.

Yangzab Dzogchen Unbroken Lineage Holders

Dharmakaya Samtanabhadra, the Sambogakaya expanse of peaceful and wrathful ones, Nirmanakaya  Padmasambava, The divine son Mutik Tsepo, Gyalwang Rinchen Puntsok, the unequaled Chogyal Puntsok, Sangye  Konchog Rinchen, Vidyadhara Chos gyi Drakpa, Konchog Trinle Namgyal, Konchok Trinley Zangpo, Four Kaya Wangchuk Dhamraradza, all pevading master Tenzin Drodul, lho Cho kyi Gyaltsen and Gar Chokyi Nyima, je Dharma Suresen, Korlo wangchuk Tenzin pemay Gyaltsen, Tenzin Chokyi Gyaltsen, Garchen Jangchub Wangpo, Jetsun Chonyi Norbu, Lhotrul Chowang Lodro Gyaltsen. I (Drikungpa Dharmamati) then received thorough empowerment and transmission for this profound dharma from the root lama Lhotul Chowang Lodro Gyaltsen.

This History was translated by Virginia Bloom for Lho Ontul Rinpoche when he gave the Yangzab Three Roots Empowerment.

Yangzab Dzogchen Renaissance:

Gyalwang Rinchen Phuntsog

Gyalwang Rinchen Phuntsog was the 17th throne holder of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage. As it says on the website of HH, Rinchen Phuntsog "was a great reformer" of the lineage. Rinchen Phuntsog, "after receiving transmissions from various lineages, he integrated doctrines, rituals, and meditation above all of the Nyingma Order into the traditional Drikung Kagyu teachings, thereby augmenting it's dogmatic orientation." Rinchen Phuntsog lived a life which embodied what would come to be known as the non-sectarian or Rime movement of the 19th century.

Rinchen Phuntsog's grandchildren included both the 1st Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, an emanation of Chenrizig, and the 1st HH Drikung Kyabgon Chungsang Rinpoche, who was said to be the reincarnation of Rinchen Phuntsog.

Jigme Lingpa

Jigme Lingpa grew up in the monastery founded by Rinchen Phuntsog's most important student, Sherab Ozer. Jigme Lingpa received the Yangzab as well as another treasure teaching revealed by Sherab Ozer and Rinchen Phuntsog. Jigme Lingpa did this practice in retreat and during this time revealed the the Longchen Nyingtig. Jigme Lingpa's son was recognized and enthroned as an incarnation of HH Drikung Kyabgon Chungsang Rinpoche.

The 5th Dalai Lama

The 5th Dalai Lam received the Gongpa Yangzab as well as many important Nyingma Transmissions that came down through Gyalwang Rinchen Phuntsog The 5th Dalai Lama aligned himself with the Nyingma line that came through Rinchen Phuntsog. In the 5th Dalai Lama's autobiography he wrote that "Drikung Rinchen Phuntsog was the source of all people in this place of religious practice, benefitting each person in conformity with the doctrine of and sentient beings." The 5th Dalal Lama received teachings teachings directly from Rinchen Phuntsog's grandson, the 1st HH Drikung Kyabgon Chungsang Rinpoche

More on Yangzab Dzogchen Teaching





May all sentient beings forever be rid of the body of sickness and attain the body of the enlightened.
May all sentient beings become great medicines themselves, annihilating the sickness of all that is not good.
May all sentient beings perfect the medicine that relieves all illness
and abide securely in the enlightening beings' stage of nonregression.
May all sentient beings develop the medicines of enlightenment
and be able to extract the poison arrows of all afflictions.
May all sentient beings be indestructible trees of medicine able to cure all sentient beings.
May all sentient beings attain the light of omniscience and remove the myriad arrows of sickness.


Last updated on 2015-08-02.