|The founder of the Drukpa Kagyu
Lineage was Lingshen Repa, Pema Dorje (1128-1188). He was
a disciple of Pagmo Drugpa, Dharma brother of the 1st. Karmapa.
Through his extraordinary openness to devotion, Lingshen Repa
achieved realization naturally and effortlessly. For this
quality he was known as the Saraha of Tibet. (Saraha was the
greatest realized Master among the 84 mahasiddhas in India).
His principal disciple was Tsangpa
Gya Repa, Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211). He was the first Drukchen
Rinpoche. His Dharma activity and achievements were so great
that during his lifetime it was said: Half of Tibets
population is Drukpa Kagyu, half of those are mendicants,
half of the mendicants are realized masters.
Tsangpa Gyare went to a place
called Nam between Lhasa and Tsurphu and saw nine dragons
there. They flew up from there to the sky and begun
roaring. In that place, in 1205, Tsangpa Gyare established
his Dharma seat and he called it Namdruk Center. Thus it became
known as Namdruk Monastery and Tsangpa Gyare decided to name
the lineage that spread from it as Drukpa Kagyu.
His lineage pervaded Ladakh, Kashmir
and the Swat Valley of todays Pakistan, as well as Western
Tibet and China. From his lineage there was a continuous line
of great-realized Masters.
In the early 15th. Century came Pema Karpo White Lotus,
the fourth Drukchen Rinpoche, one of the best-known Drukpa
Kagyu lineage holders, acknowledged as an emanation of Avalokiteshvara.
One of his many disciples, Yongzin Ngawang Zangpo, a lineage
holder of meditation and realization, had numerous disciples
among whom 45 principal ones reached the level of realization
where there is no distinction between meditation and no meditation
a skillful integration of meditation into mundane life.
The three supreme disciples among
these 45 realized masters were Taktsang Repa, Khampa Karma
Tenphel (1548-1627) (the 1st. Khamtrul Rinpoche) and Konchok
Gyalpo (the 1st. Kyabje Dorzong Rinpoche). Prophecies were given
to each by their teacher. Taksang Repa went on to establish
Hemis Monastery in Ladakh and from there spread the Drukpa
Kagyu teachings throughout the North-Western region of Tibet.
Karma Tenphel established retreat
centers in Kham and had many great disciples. From there he
founded Khampagar Monastery and institutes, retreat centers,
branch monasteries and nunneries that were finally, through
his later incarnations, to number almost 200. And Konchok
Gyalpo was sent to spread the teachings in China, but on the
way he was attacked by very aggressive robbers from Rongmi
in Kham and due to his apparent invincibility the robbers
developed a spontaneous and devote faith in him and asked
him to stay in Rongmi. The 1st. Kyabje Dorzong Rinpoche established
there his first retreat place, Dorje Dzong.
According to the records and history
of the Drukpa Kagyu monasteries in Kham written by the 8th
Khamtrul Rinpoche in 1961, Taktsang Repa, Khampa Karma Tenphel
and Konchok Gyalpo were the most important at the time.
Khamtrul Rinpoche in turn had
three main disciples: Zigar Sonam Gyamtso, the 1st Zigar Rinpoche;
Trulshig Trinley Gyamtso, the 1st in the line of Adeu Rinpoche,
and Drukpa Choegyal Gyamtso (b.1578), the 1st Drugu Choegyal
Rinpoche. These three Dharma brothers were known as the three