Drikung Kagyu or Drigung Kagyu (Wylie: 'bri-kung bka'-brgyud) is one of the eight "minor" lineages of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. "Major" here refers to those Kagyu lineages founded by the immediate disciples of Gampopa (1079-1153) while "minor" refers to all the lineages founded by disciples of Phagmo Drupa (1110-1170), one of the three main disciples of Gampopa.
The first and main Drigung Kagyu monastery is Drikung Thil Monastery, founded in 1179 by Drikung Kyobpa Jigten Gönpo Rinchen Päl (1143-1217) approximately 150 kilometers northeast of Lhasa. Aside from the Drigung Valley in Central Tibet, Drikung Kagyu has a strong presence in Nangchen in eastern Tibet, in western Tibet (including Kailash) and Ladakh. Tsari and Lapchi - two important sacred sites for all Tibetan Buddhists - also have a strong Drikung Kagyu presence. Among the so-called "four major and eight minor" Kagyu lineages, Drikung Kagyu is one of four Kagyu lineages that continue to exist as independent institutions (the other three being, Karma Kagyu, Drukpa Kagyu and Taklung Kagyu).
A sub-school of the Drikung was the Lhapa or Lhanangpa sect which was influential in western Bhutan from the arrival of Gyalwa Lhanangpa (b.1164) in 1194 down to the time of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Members of the Lhapa tradition built some of the earliest dzongs in Bhutan. In 1640 or 1641 members of the Lhapa sect were expelled from Bhutan together with followers of the Nenyingpa school  as they had sided with the Tsangpa forces against the Drukpas during their three invasions of Bhutan.
From the founding of Drikung Thil Monastery in 1179 to the present day, the Drikung Kagyu lineage has been led by a succession of spiritual heads ("throne-holders"). One of the two current heads of the lineage, His Holiness Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang Rinpoche, Könchok Tenzin Kunzang Trinlay Lhundrup (b. 1946), the 37th Drikungpa resides at Drikung Kagyu Institute at Dehra Dun, India. The other head of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage, the 36th Drikungpa, His Holiness Drikung Kyabgön Chungtsang Rinpoche, Könchok Tenzin Chökyi Nangwa (b. 1942) lives in Lhasa, Tibet.
The unique doctrines of Drikung Kagyu as taught by its founder, Jigten Sumgön is preserved in "The Single Intention" (Wylie: dgongs gcig) and "The Essence of Mahāyāna Teachings" (Wylie: theg chen bstan pa'i snying po). The main practices of Drikung Kagyu are “The Five-fold Profound Path of Mahamudrā,” and “The Six Dharmas of Nāropa.”
The Drikung lineage is popularly known for its development of the practice of Phowa, in which a practitioner learns how to expel his/her consciousness or mindstream through the posterior fontanelle at the top of the skull at the moment of death. One of the Six Yogas of Naropa, this practice is said to aid the practitioner in remaining aware through the death experience, thus aiding one in attaining enlightenment in the Bardo (the state in between death and the next rebirth) or in achieving a birth conducive to the practice of Dharma.
Another unique feature of the Drikung lineage is its female protector Achi Chokyi Drolma. The great-grandmother of Drigung Kyobpa Jigten Sumgön Rinchen Päl, she prophesied Jigten Gönpo's birth and vowed to protect those in his lineage. She is unusual in that she is both a female protector and an enlightened bodhisattva that can be taken as one's personal yidam in meditation practice. She is depicted either sitting on a horse or standing with a kapala in her left hand and a mirror in her right hand. Achi's practice became so popular that she has been included in other lineages, such as the Karma Kagyu.
First Buddhist nun
In 2002 Khenmo Drolma, an American woman, became the first bhikkhuni (a fully ordained Buddhist nun) in the Drikung Kagyu lineage. She is also the first westerner, male or female, to be installed as an abbot in the Drikung Kagyu lineage, having been installed as the abbot of the Vajra Dakini Nunnery (America's first Tibetan Buddhist nunnery, located in Vermont) in 2004.
Drikung Kagyu lineage timeline
|Name||Date of Birth||Date of Death||Year Lineage Holding Begun||Year Lineage Holding Relinquished|
|Lord Jigten Sumgon||1143||1217||1179||1217|
|Kenchen Gurawa Tsultrim Dorje||1154||1221||1217||1221|
|On Rinpoche Sonam Drakpa||1187||1234||1221||1234|
|Chen-nga Rinpoche Drakpa Jungne||1175||1255||1234||1255|
|Telo Dorje Drakpa||1210||1278||1255||1278|
|Thog-khawa Rinchen Senge||1226||1284||1278||1284|
|Chen-nga tsamchedpa Drakpa Sonam||1238||1286||1284||1286|
|Chu-nyipa Dorje Rinchen||1278||1314||1293||1314|
|Nyer-gyepa Dorje Gyalpo||1283||1350||1314||1350|
|Nyermyipa Chökyi Gyalpo||1335||1407||1350||1395|
|Shenyen Dondrup Gyalpo||1369||1427||1395||1427|
|Chogyal Rinchen Pal Zangpo||1421||1469||1428||1469|
|Rinchen Chökyi Gyaltsen||1449||1484||1469||1484|
|Gyalwang Kunga Rinchen||1475||1527||1484||1527|
|Gyalwang Rinchen Phuntsok||1509||1557||1527||1534|
|Rinchen Namgyal Chodak Gyaltsen||1527||1570||1565||1570|
|Tsungme Chogyal Phuntsok||1547||1602||1579||1602|
|Naro Nyipa Tashi Phuntsok||1574||1628||1602||1615|
|Jetsǖn Könchog Rinchen (1st Chetsang) ||1580||1654||1615||1626|
|Kunkhyen Chökyi Dragpa (1st Chungtsang) ||1595||1659||1626||1659|
|Könchog trinley Sangpo (Chetsang)||1656||1718||1659||1718|
|Trinley Dondrub Chogyal (Chungtsang)||1704||1754||1704||1754|
|Kônchog Tenzin Drodul (Chetsang)||1724||1766||1724||1766|
|Könchog Tenzin Chökyi Nyima (Chuntsang)||1755||1792||1755||1792|
|Tenzin Padme Gyaltsen (Chetsang)||1770||1826||1770||1826|
|Tenzin Chöwang Lodrô (Regent)||1826||1827|
|Jetsǖn Chonyi Norbu (Chungtsang)||1827||1865||1827||1865|
|Könchog Thukie Nyima (Chetsang)||1828||1881||1828||1881|
|Könchog Tenzin Chôkyi Lodrö (Chungtsang)||1868||1906||1868||1906|
|Könchog Tenzin Zhiwe Lodrö (Chetsang)||1886||1943||1886||1943|
|Tenzin Chökyi Jungme (Chungtsang)||1909||1940||1909||1940|
|Tenzin Thuben Wangpo (Regent)||1940||1942|
|Tenzin Chökyi Nangwa (Chungtsang)||1942||1942|
|Könchog Tenzin Kunzang Thinley Lhundrub (Chetsang)||1946||1946|
- A Brief History of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism
- * Dorji, Sangay (Dasho); Kinga, Sonam (translator) (2008). The Biography of Zhabdrung Nga wang Namgyal: Pal Drukpa Rinpoche. Thimphu, Bhutan: KMT Publications. pp. 146–7. ISBN 99936-22-40-0.
- His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, Head of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, will visit St. Petersburg September 14-15, 2010
- His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang
- For the Gongchig see the blog by Jan-Ulrich Sobisch (Copenhagen University) dgongs1.com.
- Achi Chokyi Drolma
- Worldly Protector (Buddhist) - Achi Chokyi Drolma
- Women Making History
- According to The Great Kagyu Masters (Gyaltsen, 270) "he went to Five Peaked Mountain in China and achieved the state of immortality."
- A Brief History of the Drikung Kagyu"A system of two lineage holders was established, that of the elder (Chetsang) and the younger (Chungtsang) brother." They aren't considered brothers by blood, but by lineage. Chetsang Rinpoche is considered an emanation of Chenrezig.
- Chungtsang Rinpoche is considered the emanation of both Padmasambhava and Manjushri. Also, one of the Drikung Kyabgŏns.
- Gyaltsen, Khenpo Könchog, Edited by Victoria Huckenpahler. The Great Kagyu Master: The Golden Lineage Treasury. Snow Lion Publications, 2006 2nd Edition. ISBN 1-55939-244-4