Lineage Introduction
The Drukpa Choegon Lineage
8th Kunzig Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche Image in Kinnaur Monastery.jpg
The 8th Shabdrung Druk Choekyi Gonpo, Thutop Chokyi Gyatso
  (a precious hand-painted coloured image in a branch monastery of Dechen Choekhorling in Kinnaur)

Brief Introduction of The Drukpa Choegon Lineage

The Lineage of Drukpa Choegon came into existence in the early 16th century when the 1st Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche became the successor of Ngawang Choekyi Gyalpo, and then the root guru to the great Drukchen Pema Karpo and Lhatsewa Ngawang Zangpo.

The Drukpa Choegon Rinpoches, is one of the, the three most important Lamas and Lineage Holders of Drukpa Kargyu Lineage. He is an emanation of Vajrapani, and Rinpoche previous lifetimes can be traced back to ancient India where he was the Lord Shakyamuni Buddha's disciple and personal attendant, Ananda.

The nearer sources of emanation of the Drukpa Choegon Rinpoches are King Indra Bhuti (the King of Oddiyana, who adopted Guru Rinpoche when he was a child), Mahasiddha Tilopa, King Tri Ralpachen (one of the three great Dharma Kings of Tibet, who firmly rooted the Dharma in The Land of Snow), Lochen Verotsana (the great Tibetan translator in 8th century), Rechung Dorje Drakpa (Milarepa's moon-like heart son), Palchen Galo (widely known as Ga Lotsawa, the great Tibetan mahasiddha and translator who visited India and brought back many precious teachings to Tibet), Phuljung Samgyal Khache (the great accomplished master of Mahakala practice) and Sangdak Namkha Palzang (a great Mahakala practitioner).

The Drukpa Choegon Lineage is renowned as the incomparable accomplished master in the practice of Mahakala, Chakrasamvara and Vajrapani. The Drukpa Choegons is revered as the most powerful Mahakala practitioner of Drukpa Kagyu.

The 1st Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche is renowned for his life-long practice and accomplishments as a peerless master of Vajrapani and Mahakala. His lineage blessings have remained intact through a succession of unbroken lineage holders. The 1st Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche is venerated as "The Dorje Zinpa of Tsari", means The Lord of All Vajra Holders in the sacred holy-land of Tsari Chigchar. Tsari Chigchar is the most renowned retreat place of Drukpa Kagyu, where every Choegon Rinpoche spent many years of retreat.

It's recorded that the 1st Druk Shabdrung Choekyi Gonpo have recited the mantras of Chakrasamvara, Vajrapani, Vajrayogini, and Mahakala each for well over 100 million times. He is therefore, unanimously recognized as to have attained a very high level of realization. Drukpa Choegon's Lineage plays an absolutely vital role in Drukpa Kagyu, and they are known as the Regents of Drukpa Kagyu Lineage under the banner of Dorje Dzinpa of Tsari.

Commanding the spiritual influence from his main seat in Druk Dechen Choekhor Monastery near Lhasa, every successive Drukpa Choegon Lineage has made tremendous and invaluable contributions, further embellishing this unique tradition of Yogic practice of Mahamudra, and transmitted it to innumerable Drukpa Kagyu's tulkus for generations ever since the 16th century. The Drukpa Choegon's Lineage is highly revered as the very source and essence of the Drukpa Kagyu, for keeping this enlightened Lineage pure and vibrant for centuries; passing this blessed teachings to his dharma heir - Khamtrul Rinpoches, and thus spreading it throughout the entire region of Eastern Tibet.

The Centuries Gurus-Disciples Relationship of The Choegon Rinpoche Lineage 

The 1st Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche was root guru to the 4th Gyalwang Druckchen Pema Karpo and the 1st Yongzin Lhatsewa Ngawang Zangpo. The 3rd Drukpa Choegon Choekyi Wangchuk was root guru to Yongzin Geleg Sherpa and the 3rd Khamtrul Ngawang Kunga Tenzin, who subsequently, under the instruction of his root guru, spread the Drukpa Kagyu Lineage to entire Eastern Tibet. The 4th Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche was master to Yongzin Jampal Pawo, who was the root guru to Drukchen Kunzig Choekyi Nangwa. The 5th Drukpa Choegon Jampal Dorje was root guru to the 5th Khamtrul Drubgyu Nyima. The 6th Drukpa Choegon Choekyi Shenyen was root guru to the 6th Yongzin Sheja Kunchen. The 7th Choegon Rinpoche's disciples include the 6th Khamtrul Tenpe Nyima, the 1st Drubwang Tsoknyi, the 6th Nangchen Adeu Rinpoche.

The 8th Choegon Rinpoche was disciple of the 6th Khamtrul Tenpe Nyima. He dedicated his entire life to the practice and preservation of the Drukpa Kagyu Lineage. There is no master in the Drukpa Kagyu today that has not been under the tutelage of the 8th Kyabgon Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche's spiritual empowerment. His disciples include, H.H. the 11th Gyalwang Drukpa, the 7th & 8th Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoches, the 8th Kyabje Nangchen Adeu Rinpoche, Thuksey Rinpoche, H.H. Je Khenpo Kunleg of Bhutan, Drubwang Shakya Shri, Apo Rinpoche, the 2nd Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Sendrak Rinpoche, and almost every Drukpa master that existed around that period of time. Today Drukpa Kagyu Lineage Holders are mainly holding the lineage of the 8th Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche. Thus, he has not only maintained the pure lineage but also became the embodiment of Vajradhara.

The Prophesis of The 8th Kyabgon Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche

In 1940, when the 8th Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche was first invited to Khampagar by the 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche; subsequently, he was requested by the King of Nangchen to confer the empowerment and transmissions of the complete Drukpa Kagyu Lineage in that region. At that time, the 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche and hundreds of other Drukpa Kagyu masters from far and wide, received the transmissions of the entire Drukpa Kagyu Lineage from the 8th Kyabgon Choegon Rinpoche in Nangchen Garh.

At that time, Rinpoche prophesied  that the reason he chooses to give empowerment in Nangchen Garh rather than Khampagar was because Adeu Rinpoche will, in future be responsible for the propagation and transmission of our lineage. At that time, the 8th Adeu Rinpoche was the head of our lineage in Nangchen. Prophetically, later when Adeu Rinpoche was invited to India in early 1990s, he conferred the grand lineage transmissions to almost all Drukpa Kagyu rinpoches, tulkus, khenpos and monks. Later in Tibet, Nangchen Adeu Rinpoche transmitted the Six Yogas of Naropas to monks in over 60 monasteries; guided thousands of practitioners to practice Mahamudra and Dzogchen; performed hundreds of Drubchens in different monasteries; compiled more than 120 volumes of Drukpa Kargyu texts and established numerous retreat centers. Later, he visited Bhutan and India once again, and gave empowerment to the Drukpa Kagyu Masters, from the Je Khenpos of Bhutan to almost all Drukpa Kargyu Rinpoches and Sanghas.

The two Heartsons of The 8th Kyabgon Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche-E.jpg

The two heart-sons of the 8th Kyabgon Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche - The 8th Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche and the 8th Kyabje Adeu Rinpoche

Shabdrung Choekyi Gonpo's another heartson, the 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche visited Bhutan numerous times, and became the first ever Tibetan master to hold the yellow scarf formally. He was requested by the King of Bhutan to lead the Drukpa Kagyu order in the Vajrayana nation of Bhutan. Both the 8th Nangchen Adeu Rinpoche and the 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche are the two main lineage holders of Drukpa Kagyu Lineage from the 8th Druk Shabdrung Choekyi Gonpo.

In the late 1950s, the 8th Kyabgon Choegon Rinpoche arrived at Kinnaur in Northern India, where he had many devoted disciples incuding the yogic parents of the current Choegon Rinpoche; and later enter into parinirvana in year 1964 in his eighties.

The Present Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche

The current 9th Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche, Thutop Choekyi Wangchuk was born in 1966, took birth in a yogic family in the remote Himalayan town of Kinnaur. At the age of 3, he was recognized by H.H. the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa and H.E. the 8th Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche as the reincarnation of previous Choegon Rinpoche, Thutop Choekyi Gyatso. Formal enthronement was held at Khampagar Monastery in northern India at the age of six by the 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche, and was then followed by years of rigorous training. His main teachers were the 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche, from whom he received the main Drukpa Kagyu Lineage, and H.H. the late Dilgo Khyenste Rinpoche, who gave him the teachings of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche Root Gurus, Khamtrul Rinpoche, Adeu Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.jpg

The three root gurus of Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche (from left: The 8th Kyabgon Khamtrul Rinpoche, The 8th Kyabgon Adeu Rinpoche & H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche)

His most important root guru in this life time is the 8th Kyabje Adeu Rinpoche, where he received the complete Drukpa Choegon Lineage's practice transmission. After completion of his training, he served as the Vajra Master of Khampagar Monastery for 10 years, and as the president of the Khampagar Monastery for 3 years. His other teachers include H.H. the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, Trulshik Rinpoche, the 68th Je Khenpo of Bhutan, and H.H. Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche. Rinpoche's clarity in teaching, and his warm presence and humor makes him a much-admired  teacher. He is currently teaches around the world, including India, South-East Asia, Europe, North and South America.

His present residences are in Kullu valley, northern India and Seattle, WA where he is selflessly and tirelessly endeavor to propagate the sublime Dharma as well as working toward the reestablishment of the great mother monastery of Drukpa Kargyu and the Monastic Institute of Higher Buddhist Learning, to provide education for the Tibetan and Himalayan Buddhist community. The center aims to preserve and promote the Tibetan cultures and traditions, and the authentic teachings of Lord Buddha in this part of the world where its survival is under increasing pressure.


Note to Reader:

Brief explanation on the names used to address Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche:

Shabdrung Druk Choekyi Gonpo   or   Kyabje Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche

* Shabdrung (Tib: ཞབས་དྲུང་ ; also Zhabsdrung, means "at the feet of"), is an honorific title in Tibetan Buddhism, mostly used to address the second high-ranked lama of a lineage, who is the important lineage or throne-holder.

Acknowledgement: The above Choegon Rinpoche Image is provided courtesy of Dechen Choekhorling main branch monasteries in Kinnaur, Northern India.

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