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The Taklung Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism was founded by the Dharma Lord Taklung Thangpa Tashi Pal in 1180 AD. He was the first lineage holder of this tradition. This is an unbroken lineage, directly passed down from the Buddha Vajradhara to the contemporary masters of the order.
Henceforth, this unique tradition was passed down from guru to disciple. There have already been 33 lineage holders, up to the current lineage holders who are His Holiness Taklung Shabdrung Rinpoche and His Holiness Taklung Ma Rinpoche.
The main seat of Taklung Kagyu is located in the northern part of Tibet in a place called Taklung. In the 13th century, Choejey Sangye Won, the fourth lineage holder, established a monastery in eastern Tibet in a place called Riwoche Monastery. This tradition later came to be known as Marthang Taklung. Eventually, Taklung Kagyu spread throughout Tibet, parts of Mongolia, China and even India.
The great translator Lhodrak Marpa brought with him the Kagyu tradition from India, after accomplishing his training with his main teacher Mahasiddha Naropa. This happened during the emergence of the new tantric system of Buddhism in Tibet, among which the Kagyu is one.
Lhodrak Marpa the great translator was the main disciple of Mahasiddha Naropa, who in turn was the disciple of Mahasiddha Tilopa, who received the transmission directly from Vajradhara and Vajrayogini appearing before him in person.
Lhodrak Marpa Choeki Lodro's main disciple was Jetsun Milarepa, who is one of the most famous yogis in Tibetan history. Milarepa transmitted this lineage to the matchless master Gampopa who was already a prominent teacher of the Kadampa school before he met Jetsun Milarepa.
The matchless master Gampopa transmitted it to Dogon Phagmo Drupa who was also a Kadampa master himself. Then the Dharma Lord Taklung Thangpa Tashi Pal who was also a Kadampa master met Dogon Phagmo Drupa and became his main disciple.
It was Taklung Thangpa Tashi Pal who founded the Taklung Kagyu tradition.
- Pal taklung kagyupe denrab lodru dordu su jodpa chushel karpö thengwa - Tenzin Kunga (translated: The brief history of Taklung Kagyu lineage called white crystal mala) (Tenzin Kunga is a scholar living in Dharamsala)