Where have all the Kagyupas gone?

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Palzang Jangchub
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Where have all the Kagyupas gone?

Post by Palzang Jangchub » Thu Dec 24, 2015 4:17 am

Traditionally, we are taught that there were, at one time, the Four Elder and Eight Younger Lineages of the Dakpo Kagyu, named so because they stem from Gampopa (a.k.a. Dakpo Lhaje), who synthesized Milarepa's teachings with the monastic tradition of the Kadampas. Thus the Dakpo Kagyu lineages have historically been mainly monastic, in contrast to the primarily yogic/repa lineages of the Rechung Kagyu (a.k.a. the Rechung Nyengyu), which stem from Rechungpa.


The elder lineages stem from direct disciples of Gampopa:
  • Barom Kagyu, established by Barom Darma Wangchuk
  • Tsalpa Kagyu, established by Shang Tsalpa Tsöndu Drukpa (a.k.a. Zhang Yudakpa Tsondru Dakpa)
  • Karma Kagyu (a.k.a. Karma Kamtsang or Tolung Kagyu), founded by the 1st Gyalwang Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa
  • Phagdru Kagyu, founded by Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo

Whereas the younger lineages stem mainly from the disciples of Phagmo Drupa:
  • Taklung Kagyu, founded by Taklung Thangpa Tashi Pal
  • Drukpa Kagyu, established by Lingrepa Pema Dorje and the 1st Drukchen, Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje
  • Drikung Kagyu, founded by Drikung Kyobpa JIgten Gönpo (a.k.a. Jigten Sumgön, Lord Ratnashri)
  • Martsang Kagyu, established by the 1st Martsang Rinpoche, Chöje Marpa Sherab Yeshe
  • Trophu Kagyu, founded by Gyeltsa Rinchen Gön and Künden Repa
  • Yerpa Kagyu, established by Drubthob Yeshe Tsekpa (a.k.a. Yelpa Yeshe Tsek)
  • Yabzang Kagyu, founded by Sharawa Kalden Yeshe Sengé and Yabzang Chöje Chökyi Mönlam
  • Shugseb (or Shuksep) Kagyu, established by Gyergom Chenpo Zhönnu Drakpa

Additionally, there are sub-lineages of the Karma Kagyu with their own distinct practices which not included in the traditional list:
  • Neydo Kagyu, founded by the 1st Karma Chagme, Raga Asya (sometimes Raga Asye)
  • Surmang (or zurmang) Kagyu, founded by the 1st Surmang Gharwang Rinpoche, Trungmasé
  • Gyaltön Kagyu, on which there is no extant information

However, it is said that only a few of these lineages are still extant. Karma Kagyu, Drukpa Kagyu, and Drikung Kagyu are said to comprise approximately 90% of the Kagyupas in the Western world. Barom Kagyu is being propagated by Bardor Tulku Rinpoche---a reincarnation Tertön Barway Dorje---in Redhook, NY, and by Sönam Tenzin Rinpoche in Australia. The Taklung lineage of Riwoche is held by the 7th Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche, a grandson of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche who teaches worldwide, and is being established in Canada by Khenpo Lophel. Neydo Kagyu is being taught mainly in Nepal by the sons of the late 7th Karma Chagme Rinpoche, though they have many affiliated centers around Asia and the Neydo Foundation is represented in New York. Surmang Kagyu was transported to the US by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and has since morphed in Shambhala Buddhism, while retaining its more traditional form elsewhere. And despite claims to the contrary, the 12th Gangri Karma Rinpoche says that the Martsang Kagyu lineage is unbroken. He is propagating it mainly in the UK.

My question is, what happened to the other Dakpo Kagyu lineages which are said to have died out? Were there catastrophic occurrences in the histories of the Trophu, Yelpa, Yabzang, and Shuksep lineages, or did they simply get absorbed into the others, much like the distinct Shangpa Kagyu lineage became held largely by the Karma Kagyupas at Palpung? Up until the recent revelation that the Martsang Kagyu was still alive, I had been taught that it had been mainly been subsumed into the Palyul lineage of Nyingma.

For that matter, what became of the Rechung Kagyu lineage? Are there yogis currently practicing it, or has it disappeared as well? Perhaps some of these lesser known lineages haven't actually died out, but like the Jonang, have been limited to a local area of Tibet and are merely hidden? I'd love to here more about the histories of these lineages if you know about them. Please post links to resources you know of!


Barom in Exile: http://www.kunzang.org/ (US) and http://baromkagyu.org/ (Australia)

Taklung in Exile: http://www.phakchokrinpoche.org and http://www.mangalashrifoundation.org/ (Canada)
Taklung in Tibet: http://www.taklungkagyu.org/

Martsang in Exile: http://www.martsangkagyuofficial.org/en/ and http://www.martsangkagyu.co.uk/ (UK)

Rechung in Exile: http://www.lotusspeech.ca/lineages/rech ... u-lineage/ (Canada)
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"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme

དྲིན་ཆེན་རྩ་བའི་བླ་མ་སྐྱབས་རྗེ་མགར་ཆེན་ཁྲི་སྤྲུལ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་ཁྱེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ།།
རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་མཁས་གྲུབ་ཀརྨ་ཆགས་མེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ། ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོཿ

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Tom
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Re: Where have all the Kagyupas gone?

Post by Tom » Thu Dec 24, 2015 3:08 pm

Surmang/Zurmang Kagyu did not morph into Shambhala Buddhism. The Zurmang tradition is a completely different tradition to Shambhala Buddhism. Also, I could be wrong, but I heard that Trungpa Rinpoche decided not to teach much from the Zurmang tradition in the west.

However, the head of Zurmang Kagyu, the 12th Gharwang Rinpoche, has set up many Zurmang Kagyu centers around the world. It is true that the Zurmang Kagyu whispered lineage is not spread so widely and this is because the lineage holders of these teachings have said that every teaching has a life span and that it is better that the teachings come to their natural end than attempting to try to preserve them by spreading them more widely because this weakens them. Fortunately, the Zurmang Kagyu whispered lineage continues uninterrupted and is practice by many yogis and yoginis in Tibet and Sikkim. Also, the Rechung Whispered tradition is passed on as part of the Zurmang tradition. The main seat of Gharwang Rinpoche and Zurmang Kagyu is Namgyal Tse Monastery and its Shedra (Buddhist University) is arguably the best Kagyu learning institution in Tibet. The history of Zurmang Kagyu and the texts of the Whispered lineage are currently being translated into English and will be made available for practitioners of this tradition.

More info here: http://www.zurmangkagyu.org

Below are some photos from the Zurmang Kagyu Monlam which was held in Zurmang, Tibet last July:
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Left to right: 12th Tenga Rinpoche, 12th Gharwang Rinpoche, 12th Trungpa Rinpoche
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Left to right: 12th Tenga Rinpoche, 12th Gharwang Rinpoche, 12th Trungpa Rinpoche
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11885039_933511356722032_7826307769174305552_o.jpg (160.83 KiB) Viewed 3424 times

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Palzang Jangchub
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Re: Where have all the Kagyupas gone?

Post by Palzang Jangchub » Thu Dec 24, 2015 5:59 pm

Tom, thank you for correcting my error. I had assumed that Trungpa Rinpoche, being a Zurmang tulku, had drawn mainly from the lineage he was educated in when he brought the Buddhadharma to the West. I did not mean to imply that the Zurmang lineage had been adulterated, just to try and point out that perhaps Shambhala had origins in Zurmang, unbeknownst to many (both Shambhalaists and outside observers). I wonder why Trungpa Rinpoche made the conscious decision not to teach his lineage?

In fact, in my most recent trip to India, I was fortunate enough to receive several teachings from a Zurmang lama due to the blessings of the Gyalwang Karmapa. Khenpo Rinchen Rinpoche is one of HH's shedra teachers and a hidden jewel in his own right, focusing more on the Dzogchen side of the Zurmang lineage from what I saw. He is currently building his own gompa in Gopalpur, a holy site of Tilopa not far from Dharamshala. If anyone would like to connect with him, please PM me for his contact info, especially if you'd like to do some retreat. Rinpoche is well-known to the Chinese community, but is a relative unknown to English-speaking practitioners, and is very keen on teaching more Western students.
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"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme

དྲིན་ཆེན་རྩ་བའི་བླ་མ་སྐྱབས་རྗེ་མགར་ཆེན་ཁྲི་སྤྲུལ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་ཁྱེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ།།
རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་མཁས་གྲུབ་ཀརྨ་ཆགས་མེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ། ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོཿ

dzoki
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Re: Where have all the Kagyupas gone?

Post by dzoki » Thu Dec 24, 2015 6:36 pm

Karma Jinpa wrote: For that matter, what became of the Rechung Kagyu lineage? Are there yogis currently practicing it, or has it disappeared as well? Perhaps some of these lesser known lineages haven't actually died out, but like the Jonang, have been limited to a local area of Tibet and are merely hidden? I'd love to here more about the histories of these lineages if you know about them. Please post links to resources you know of!
Rechung Kagyu Lineage has one small monastery run by the exile Changling Rinpoche in Nepal, and there is one monastery in Tibet headed by Tibetan Changling Rinpoche. Ironically this lineage which has karmamudra practice as one of its core practices is at present practiced exclusively by monastics (at least outside of Tibet).
Much of Rechung Kagyu teachings were lost during cultural revolution, though recently there was a publication of 19 volumes of Rechung Nyengyu texts in Peking. Rechung Kagyu is not only nyengyu, though it is one of its core teachings, there is also of course mahamudra and other things such as Vajrapani Chandamaharoshana, Amitayus, Garuda, etc. Much of Rechungpa´s lineage was absorbed into Drugpa Kagyu. I have not seen the Peking edition, but I think it is mostly Drugpa redaction of Rechungpa´s transmissions. TBRC will probably make it available one day.

In my opinion the tragedy of Kagyu lineage(s) is that although originally it was a lineage of tantric yogis it has increasingly become monastic institution, building huge monasteries, engaging in politics and power struggles, much of its original spirit has been lost. All of that despite Milarepa´s warning not to build monasteries, stupas etc. but to build one´s own Dharma practice in remote mountains instead. So that´s where Kagyus have gone, swallowed up by time and circumstances. Institution is never a place where Dharma can be kept, especially in the times of turmoil.

I think Kagyu school needs some vastly realized, powerful and charismatic master similar to Milarepa, who will collect all the common and rare teachings and reinstate the original style of practice. This person should strip the tantra naked - that is take away that sutra dress that monastics put on Marpa, Mila and Rechungpa´s teaching, which is clearly in contradiction with what they taught and lived. Then if he/she has some strong students the lineage can flourish again, otherwise it will continue to diminish in quality and in quantity.

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heart
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Re: Where have all the Kagyupas gone?

Post by heart » Thu Dec 24, 2015 10:29 pm

Karma Jinpa wrote:Tom, thank you for correcting my error. I had assumed that Trungpa Rinpoche, being a Zurmang tulku, had drawn mainly from the lineage he was educated in when he brought the Buddhadharma to the West. I did not mean to imply that the Zurmang lineage had been adulterated, just to try and point out that perhaps Shambhala had origins in Zurmang, unbeknownst to many (both Shambhalaists and outside observers). I wonder why Trungpa Rinpoche made the conscious decision not to teach his lineage?
The Vajradhatu sangha do the Karma Kamtsang Ngondro, that could be a hint what Trungpa Rinpoche was teaching.

/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)

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Re: Where have all the Kagyupas gone?

Post by Tom » Fri Dec 25, 2015 1:11 am

heart wrote:
Karma Jinpa wrote:Tom, thank you for correcting my error. I had assumed that Trungpa Rinpoche, being a Zurmang tulku, had drawn mainly from the lineage he was educated in when he brought the Buddhadharma to the West. I did not mean to imply that the Zurmang lineage had been adulterated, just to try and point out that perhaps Shambhala had origins in Zurmang, unbeknownst to many (both Shambhalaists and outside observers). I wonder why Trungpa Rinpoche made the conscious decision not to teach his lineage?
The Vajradhatu sangha do the Karma Kamtsang Ngondro, that could be a hint what Trungpa Rinpoche was teaching.

/magnus
Yes, and the yidams taught were Karma Kamtsang.

Zurmang has unique ngondro and yidam practices.

Also, has a unique mahamudra practice among other teachings.

It is said in Tibet that Trungpa Rinpoche taught based on what the Westerners were ready for.

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Re: Where have all the Kagyupas gone?

Post by sherabpa » Fri Dec 25, 2015 2:50 am

dzoki wrote:
Karma Jinpa wrote: I think Kagyu school needs some vastly realized, powerful and charismatic master similar to Milarepa, who will collect all the common and rare teachings and reinstate the original style of practice. This person should strip the tantra naked - that is take away that sutra dress that monastics put on Marpa, Mila and Rechungpa´s teaching, which is clearly in contradiction with what they taught and lived. Then if he/she has some strong students the lineage can flourish again, otherwise it will continue to diminish in quality and in quantity.
Jamgon Kongtrul already compiled all the Kagyu mandalas and key oral instructions.

Regarding your comments on monasticism in Kagyu, this goes against everything Gampopa introduced to the lineage. Given than Gampopa's enlightenment was predicted by Milarepa himself, your ideas are ridiculous. However, check out the life of Drukpa Kunley.

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Re: Where have all the Kagyupas gone?

Post by Palzang Jangchub » Fri Dec 25, 2015 6:24 am

dzoki wrote:In my opinion the tragedy of Kagyu lineage(s) is that although originally it was a lineage of tantric yogis it has increasingly become monastic institution, building huge monasteries, engaging in politics and power struggles, much of its original spirit has been lost. All of that despite Milarepa´s warning not to build monasteries, stupas etc. but to build one´s own Dharma practice in remote mountains instead. So that´s where Kagyus have gone, swallowed up by time and circumstances. Institution is never a place where Dharma can be kept, especially in the times of turmoil.

I think Kagyu school needs some vastly realized, powerful and charismatic master similar to Milarepa, who will collect all the common and rare teachings and reinstate the original style of practice. This person should strip the tantra naked - that is take away that sutra dress that monastics put on Marpa, Mila and Rechungpa´s teaching, which is clearly in contradiction with what they taught and lived. Then if he/she has some strong students the lineage can flourish again, otherwise it will continue to diminish in quality and in quantity.
I disagree somewhat regarding the monasticization of Kagyu, since Buddha Shakyamuni noted that monastic Sangha is required for the Dharma to remain firm, as did Guru Rinpoche and Khenpo Shantarakshita when asked how to establish the Dharma in Tibet. And people like me have benefited greatly from the Kadam teachings such as Lamrim, which we wouldn't have in the Kagyu lineage without Gampopa having been a Kadampa monk. Also, what's to say that monastics can't be yogis, too? Most of the great yogis out there today are both, especially in the Drikung lineage from what I've seen. I'm definitely curious about your sources for Jetsun Mila's injunction not to build monasteries, as I'd never heard that before. Then again, I've only read Tsangnyön Heruka's The Biography of Milarepa as published by Penguin Classics.

However, I certainly understand and am of the same mind when it comes to the need for a resurgence in the lay yogic tradition. Indeed, I think this could be the key to a real flourishing of Vajrayana in the West, since our cultures are much more prone to creating householders than monastics, and identifying with our gurus rather than holding them far off on a pedestal is an integral part of this. There is a real danger of romanticizing Tibetan monks and nuns as the "holy Asian other," and not believing ourselves able to reach the same realization due to the responsibilities of daily life due to the responsibilities of work, family, etc.

Despite your critique of monastic Kagyu, it seems that the desire to revive the yogic traditions of Milarepa has come from mainly monastics to my knowledge. For Karma Kagyu, it has been Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and Goshir Gyaltsab RInpoche in particular. The latter empowered a number of his students as Repas several years back, and one of them in particular seems to be doing exactly what you feel needs to be done, though I'm sure Justin Von Bujdoss (a.k.a. Lama Repa Dorje Odzer) would be too humble to make such a claim.

If you haven't been following his activities, I can't recommend his website, Ganachakra, highly enough. It's a real treasure trove of Dharma, taught from his fresh perspective and through his own experience. You might be interested to note that he has also questioned the building of ornate monasteries when the same effort could be spent enriching our understanding and practice of the teachings. See especially the entry where he analyzes and questions the re-telling of the Kagyu story from the prevailing monastic perspective. In addition to being a great blogger, he also runs a prison chaplaincy program, and even a center in the urban jungle that is NYC: Tsurphu Goshir Dharma Center

Circling back to the Rechung Kagyu, Repa Dorje Odzer mentions its absorption into the Drikung Kagyu lineage. I'll have to ask my Drikung lamas about this the next chance I get, but this certainly is supported by my personal experience. Probably doesn't hurt that the Drikungpas have historically had control over many of Milarepa's meditation sites, such as Lapchi. Many Drikungpas continue to do long retreat there to this day.
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"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme

དྲིན་ཆེན་རྩ་བའི་བླ་མ་སྐྱབས་རྗེ་མགར་ཆེན་ཁྲི་སྤྲུལ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་ཁྱེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ།།
རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་མཁས་གྲུབ་ཀརྨ་ཆགས་མེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ། ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོཿ

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Re: Where have all the Kagyupas gone?

Post by Losal Samten » Fri Dec 25, 2015 6:42 am

Karma Jinpa wrote:Circling back to the Rechung Kagyu, Repa Dorje Odzer mentions its absorption into the Drikung Kagyu lineage. I'll have to ask my Drikung lamas about this the next chance I get, but this certainly is supported by my personal experience. Probably doesn't hurt that the Drikungpas have historically had control over many of Milarepa's meditation sites, such as Lapchi. Many Drikungpas continue to do long retreat there to this day.
The Garchen Rinpoches are considered to be Rechungpa's emanations; the previous Garchen was a lay person and the present one nearly was too.
Lacking mindfulness, we commit every wrong. - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔
ཨཱོཾ་མ་ཏྲི་མུ་ཡེ་སལེ་འདུ།།

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Re: Where have all the Kagyupas gone?

Post by Palzang Jangchub » Fri Dec 25, 2015 7:34 am

If you don't mind me asking, where did you hear that the Garchen Rinpoches are an emanation of Rechungpa? I knew that they are traced back to Nagarjuna's disciple Aryadeva, King Songtsen Gampo's minister Lönpo Gar, and eventually to Kyobpa Jigten Sumgön's heart disciple Gar Chödingpa, but not about the Rechungpa bit. You'd think they'd mention that more prominently!

Kyabje Garchen Rinpoche is exactly who I had in mind when I mentioned yogis in Drikung, as his nearly 20 years in prison were effectively one long retreat (complete with all sorts of obstacles arising). Though of course he wouldn't be the only example. Drubwang Könchok Norbu Rinpoche also comes to mind. Heck, the film Yogis of Tibet features almost exclusively Drikung lamas!

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"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme

དྲིན་ཆེན་རྩ་བའི་བླ་མ་སྐྱབས་རྗེ་མགར་ཆེན་ཁྲི་སྤྲུལ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་ཁྱེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ།།
རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་མཁས་གྲུབ་ཀརྨ་ཆགས་མེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ། ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོཿ

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Re: Where have all the Kagyupas gone?

Post by Losal Samten » Fri Dec 25, 2015 7:55 am

Karma Jinpa wrote:If you don't mind me asking, where did you hear that the Garchen Rinpoches are an emanation of Rechungpa? I knew that they are traced back to Nagarjuna's disciple Aryadeva, King Songtsen Gampo's minister Lönpo Gar, and eventually to Kyobpa Jigten Sumgön's heart disciple Gar Chödingpa, but not about the Rechungpa bit. You'd think they'd mention that more prominently!
His biography, The Lama of Many Lifetimes (Book One).
Lacking mindfulness, we commit every wrong. - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔
ཨཱོཾ་མ་ཏྲི་མུ་ཡེ་སལེ་འདུ།།

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Re: Where have all the Kagyupas gone?

Post by dzoki » Fri Dec 25, 2015 9:08 am

Karma Jinpa wrote: I disagree somewhat regarding the monasticization of Kagyu, since Buddha Shakyamuni noted that monastic Sangha is required for the Dharma to remain firm, as did Guru Rinpoche and Khenpo Shantarakshita when asked how to establish the Dharma in Tibet. And people like me have benefited greatly from the Kadam teachings such as Lamrim, which we wouldn't have in the Kagyu lineage without Gampopa having been a Kadampa monk. Also, what's to say that monastics can't be yogis, too? Most of the great yogis out there today are both, especially in the Drikung lineage from what I've seen. I'm definitely curious about your sources for Jetsun Mila's injunction not to build monasteries, as I'd never heard that before. Then again, I've only read Tsangnyön Heruka's The Biography of Milarepa as published by Penguin Classics.
I agree that monastic sangha is important and required for Dharma to flourish, but Buddha´s idea of monastic sangha was completely different from what we see in Tibetan community. For example, Buddha said that no more than 5 monks should live under one roof and that they should live at least one earshot (about 100m) from another group of max. 5 monks. When they enter Dharma hall they should either remain silent or discuss the Dharma. So no big monastery with hundreds of monks, many of whom are basically orphans or children from poor families who did not want to be monks at all, but nobody cared to ask them.

Lamrim is useful, I am not denigrating sutra teachings, they are useful and important for both lay and monastic practitioners. But what happened with Gampopa and his lineage is that they tried to make tantra into sutra, for example Gampopa even proposed that milk should be used instead of alcohol for the empowerment. And I have heard on several occasions monastic teachers of Karma Kagyu lineage to give advice to lay people that they better remain celibate :D So there definitely is this idea of rejecting sensory pleasures, while the original tantric teaching of Kagyu is to use them as a path. Also I heard several times that Milarepa was a celibate practitioner, which is of course non-sense. There is also in some degree in Kagyu texts that came out of monasteries a trend to vilify women. For example a namthar of Lingje Repa suggests that he had always wanted to be a monk, but those evil women seduced him and bothered him greatly :D This is quite laughable.

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Tom
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Re: Where have all the Kagyupas gone?

Post by Tom » Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:07 pm

sherabpa wrote:
dzoki wrote:
Karma Jinpa wrote: I think Kagyu school needs some vastly realized, powerful and charismatic master similar to Milarepa, who will collect all the common and rare teachings and reinstate the original style of practice. This person should strip the tantra naked - that is take away that sutra dress that monastics put on Marpa, Mila and Rechungpa´s teaching, which is clearly in contradiction with what they taught and lived. Then if he/she has some strong students the lineage can flourish again, otherwise it will continue to diminish in quality and in quantity.
Jamgon Kongtrul already compiled all the Kagyu mandalas and key oral instructions.
Just as an aside... a previous Gharwang Rinpoche did not allow Jamgon Kongtrul to include the Zurmang Whispered Lineage practices and instructions in his collections. This was for the purpose of maintaining the secrecy of these practices.

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Re: Where have all the Kagyupas gone?

Post by dzoki » Mon Dec 28, 2015 12:41 pm

sherabpa wrote: Jamgon Kongtrul already compiled all the Kagyu mandalas and key oral instructions.

Regarding your comments on monasticism in Kagyu, this goes against everything Gampopa introduced to the lineage. Given than Gampopa's enlightenment was predicted by Milarepa himself, your ideas are ridiculous. However, check out the life of Drukpa Kunley.
Well, no, Jamgon Kongtrul did compile a great deal, but it is a mere selection and not everything was included, his Kagyu Ngagdzo is rather like a digest, for example he did not include four mandalas taught by Marpa Lotsawa, these are however well preserved in Drikung lineage. Also Vajrsattva was not included apart from a short practice according to lower tantras, only a thorso of Rechungpa´s Amitayus is there etc.

I don´t know whether Gampopa was enlightened, the said prediction by Milarepa might have been of later production. Gampopa was not at all an important student of Milarepa, nor was he his major lineage holder. He was without a doubt a great master, but great masters can also make mistakes, bending vajrayana teaching to fit into monastic environment was in my opinion a mistake and there are reasons, why I see it this way.

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Re: Where have all the Kagyupas gone?

Post by dzoki » Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:05 pm

A little more on past and surviving Kagyu lineages:

Ngogpa Kagyu was a lineage of the teachings of Ngog Choku Dorje, one of Marpa Lotsawa´s 4 heart disciples. The essence of their teachings form the core of Kagyu Ngagdzo. Their teachings were taken into Kamtsang, Drikung and very likely other Kagyus as well. Ngogpa Kagyu was a lineage of lay vajrayana practitioners and was headed by Ngog clan, with the dying out of the Ngog family it disappeared as an independent lineage.
The lineage went like this: Indian Siddhas, Marpa Lotsawa, Ngog Choku Dorje, Ngog Dode, Ngog Jo Tsultrim and Ngog Kunga Dorje (both studied with Ngog Dode, Ngog Jo Tsultrim was father of Kunga Dorje, but he died young), Ngog Ziji Dragpa, then TBRC lists Rinchen Zangpo as a student of Ngog Ziji Dragpa, whose student was Sanggye Senge, then Palgyi Dorje, Lobpon Palzang and the last one that I found was Ngog Changchub Pal, so I guess that all of these between Ziji Dragpa nad Changchub Pal were also members of Ngog clan, but I am not sure about that. Changchub Pal lived in 15th century, which is time of appearance of Gelugpa school which marks rise of ever larger monastic commuties in Tibet and decline of lay tantric communities. I am not sure, whether he was the last one, but he most likely was one of the last ones in his lineage.

Rechung Kagyu lineage:
Indian Siddhas, Marpa Lotsawa, Milarepa, Rechung Dorje Dragpa, Khyungtsang Repa, Machig Ongjo, Zhang Lotsawa Drubpa Pal, Rwa Dharashri, Sonam Gyaltsen, Kundan Rema, Ziji Gyaltsen, Wangchug Sherab, Zhonnu Gyaltsen, Great Repa Zhunnu Pal, Namkha Gyaltsen, Ngaggi Wangpo, Shara Sanggye Sengge, Tsangnyon Heruka, Gotsang Repa,

from Gotsang Repa lieage went to 1.)Jampa Phuntsog, Drubchog Wangpo, Thrinle Gyatso, Kagyu Dronme (2nd Rechung Tulku at Rechung Phug), Thrinle Gyatso and Choje Lingpa after that probably to Yeshe Kalzang (or he recieved it from Thrinle Gyatso), Palden Gyatso (4th Rechung Tulku), Ngedon Tendzin Chokyi Gyatso, Thutob Gyatso (5th and last? Rechung Tulku of Rechung Phug), Rinchen Ozer, Kagyu Thrinle Wangchug who gave it to Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. This is Rechungphug lineage.

and to 2.) Gothugpa aka first Changling Rinpoche then onto the 14 Changling Tulku and the present two Changling Tulkus. This is Changling Lineage.

Ngendzong Kagyu derives from another heart student of Milarepa - Ngendzong repa Changchug Gyalpo, who recieved middle length collection of Nyengyu.

There were three collections of Demchog Khandro Nyengyu, which were recieved from Milarepa and Rechungpa - Rechung Nyengyu, Ngendzong Nyengyu and Dakpo Nyengyu. Thrangu Rinpoche's biography of Rechungpa claims that Rechung Nyengyu was less concise than Dagpo Nyengyu, which Gampopa supposedly recieved from Milarepa. With all respect I have to call this a propaganda, because

1. Rechungpa was the only source of complete Nyengyu teachings, even Milarepa had to receive it in full from Rechungpa.
2. Rechung Nyengyu fills 13 volumes in its less extensive form and 19 volumes in the recent publication. Dagpo Nyengyu makes up at best a couple of volumes.
3. Gampopa stayed with Milarepa only for short time and received only the root transmissions, such as Varahi, six yogas and mahamudra upadeshas. He had to attend to Rechungpa to recieve Chakrasamvara and other transmissions (probably including some outline of Nyengyu, which later became Dagpo Nyengyu) after Milarepa passed away.
Gampopa in fact received the most concise teaching on Nyengyu, while Rechungpa had the full collection and Ngendzong repa recieved a middling one directly from Milarepa. Biography of Ngendzong Repa was written down by 3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje, who wrote it based on the words of certain lama Dombupa Yontan Zangpo, who was probably lineage holder of Ngendzong Repa. This lineage was later absorbed into other Kagyu lineages.

Yelpa Kagyu became more connected to Gesar lineage and practice and took in a lot of Nyingma teachings at some point their monastery in Tana (rta rna) became affiliated with Palpung, so they kind of merged with Karma Kagyu.
I don´t know whether they still preserve original Yelpa Kagyu teachings, they do keep Gesar lineage alive.
Tana monastery in Tibet was rebuilt and also a new one was established in south India.
http://tanamonastery.org/

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Re: Where have all the Kagyupas gone?

Post by Greg » Thu Jan 14, 2016 6:57 pm

I made an effort at one point to try to find out what happened to the Phagmodrupa Kagyu. From what I could gather from academic sources, the Phagmodrupa political dynasty were early supporters of the Gelugpa movement. But I couldn't tell if that meant that they basically converted their religious institutions to Gelug - I think so, but I never found a source that explicitly said that.

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Re: Where have all the Kagyupas gone?

Post by Palzang Jangchub » Wed Jan 20, 2016 2:15 am

Greg, I'm guessing you mean the Phagdru Kagyu lineage proper, rather than including the sub-lineages like Drikung. Interesting that your research reflects that Phagdrupas were aligned with the Gelukpas. I wouldn't have thought that to be the case, especially since there was pretty open conflict between Kagyu and Geluk for some time.
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"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme

དྲིན་ཆེན་རྩ་བའི་བླ་མ་སྐྱབས་རྗེ་མགར་ཆེན་ཁྲི་སྤྲུལ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་ཁྱེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ།།
རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་མཁས་གྲུབ་ཀརྨ་ཆགས་མེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ། ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོཿ

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Re: Where have all the Kagyupas gone?

Post by conebeckham » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:05 pm

We have to differentiate between the institutions of these different lineages--many of which are nonexistent--and the Dharma transmissions, the teachings and practices that are the Pith of lineage.

Phagdru transmissions were basically subsumed into the later offspring, but were also collected in Kongtrul's Dam Ngak Dzo. Anyone who has received the complete transmission of Kongtrul's Dam Ngak Dzo therefore holds some of the essential lineage transmissions of the Phagdru, Drikung, Tselpa,even Drukpa and Rechung NyenGyu, though not all of the transmissions are found in the Dam Ngak Dzo.

Regarding the institutions, we can say that most of these have not survived as viable institutions. The Kamtsang, Drikung, and Drukpa can be identified as separate institutions, surviving today, with temples, tulkus, and infrastructure, so to speak. There have been Lamas identified as holders of "Taklung" or "Yelpa," etc., as well as of various subschools like the Surmang, a branch of the Karma Kagyu. Much of the history of these institutions is not "pretty."

What's a shame, IMO, is that some of the pith instructions have been lost, due to the institutional history.
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It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
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Re: Where have all the Kagyupas gone?

Post by Palzang Jangchub » Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:53 pm

Yes, this is a very salient point, Cone. I, too, am more interested in the lineages of practice rather than the institutions; that was more the focus in my asking these questions in the first place. There are some amazing tulkus, and yet there are several problems with the tulku system and how it is utilized. There are some wonderful gompas out there, replete with all the supports and relics, but having a hall filled with immense golden statues is not nearly as useful as realizing the treasure of buddha-nature within each of us. For lack of a better way to reference the different methods that developed, I used the terms for the institutions that said practices were identified with. Thank you for pointing out this distinction and causing me to clarify my own intention.

I wonder what precious pith instructions have disappeared from this world due to the mixing of Dharma with politics and all too human ambition, or a preference in Tibetan culture for monastic lineages over lay? How different would the Kagyu tradition be if, for instance, Rechungpa the naldjorpa was said to be a the Sun disciple of Jetsun Mila, and Gampopa the gelong to be the Moon disciple? What if they had been treated equally by history, with one not held higher than the other? Would we have more Rechung Nyengyu being practiced in the present day, by a more prevalent repa community? I believe Peter Alan Roberts has treated the issue of whether the Sun/Moon disciple story has monastic bias in his The Biographies of Rechungpa: The Evolution of a Tibetan Hagiography, which I've been meaning to read...

To be perfectly honest, this is a curiosity to me more than anything else. I have been given more than enough to practice from my lamas within the Kamtsang, Drikung, and Surmang (not to mention Palyul in Nyingma). The historian in me wondered about why the various methods of these Kagyu masters may have disappeared, and the practitioner in me was curious as to what the worldwide sangha might be missing out on because of that.

However, I will say that I have always felt a strong pull towards Karma Chagme Rinpoche, and he seems to pervade the lineages I am most involved in. The 1st Chagme, Raga Asya, was a major figure in Kamtsang, even said by some to be the activity emanation of the 10th Karmapa due to his inability to be present in Tibet's political climate at the time, and was the root guru and principle student of Tertön MIngyur Dorje, whose Namchö terma form the very heart of Palyul. And due to the 2nd Chagme Rinpoche's connection to a Drikung monastery, there has been both a Kamtsang Chagme and Drikung Chagme tulku ever since. The practices he has authored/edited call out to me, and the texts of his I've read speak to me in a way that feels rare, precious, and quite pithy for someone whom I've not met in this life. If my merit hadn't been lacking, I would've been able to meet the 7th Neydo Chagme Rinpoche in Nepal, but he passed into parinirvana before I was able to return. The 9th Drikung Chagme Rinpoche currently is inaccessible to me, too, living in Tibet to administer to his monastery there.

If anyone has information about the Neydo Kagyu lineage of practices beyond what I can find on their official website, I would be very grateful for whatever they felt willing to share. I am especially interested in hearing from students of either Chagme Rinpoche (or Sangtrul Rinpoche, Karma Khenchen Rinpoche, the Neydo lineage lamas, etc.) and learning about how I can connect with this supreme guru from afar. Both the Neydo and Drikung Chagmes seem to maintain very minimal web presences, so there is perhaps less readily available for someone like me who wants to forge a stronger bond. Feel free to PM me if you feel that this is best suited to private conversation rather than in a public forum.

:thanks:
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"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme

དྲིན་ཆེན་རྩ་བའི་བླ་མ་སྐྱབས་རྗེ་མགར་ཆེན་ཁྲི་སྤྲུལ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་ཁྱེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ།།
རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་མཁས་གྲུབ་ཀརྨ་ཆགས་མེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ། ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོཿ

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Re: Where have all the Kagyupas gone?

Post by Crazywisdom » Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:02 am

Karma Jinpa wrote:
dzoki wrote:In my opinion the tragedy of Kagyu lineage(s) is that although originally it was a lineage of tantric yogis it has increasingly become monastic institution, building huge monasteries, engaging in politics and power struggles, much of its original spirit has been lost. All of that despite Milarepa´s warning not to build monasteries, stupas etc. but to build one´s own Dharma practice in remote mountains instead. So that´s where Kagyus have gone, swallowed up by time and circumstances. Institution is never a place where Dharma can be kept, especially in the times of turmoil.

I think Kagyu school needs some vastly realized, powerful and charismatic master similar to Milarepa, who will collect all the common and rare teachings and reinstate the original style of practice. This person should strip the tantra naked - that is take away that sutra dress that monastics put on Marpa, Mila and Rechungpa´s teaching, which is clearly in contradiction with what they taught and lived. Then if he/she has some strong students the lineage can flourish again, otherwise it will continue to diminish in quality and in quantity.
I disagree somewhat regarding the monasticization of Kagyu, since Buddha Shakyamuni noted that monastic Sangha is required for the Dharma to remain firm, as did Guru Rinpoche and Khenpo Shantarakshita when asked how to establish the Dharma in Tibet. And people like me have benefited greatly from the Kadam teachings such as Lamrim, which we wouldn't have in the Kagyu lineage without Gampopa having been a Kadampa monk. Also, what's to say that monastics can't be yogis, too? Most of the great yogis out there today are both, especially in the Drikung lineage from what I've seen. I'm definitely curious about your sources for Jetsun Mila's injunction not to build monasteries, as I'd never heard that before. Then again, I've only read Tsangnyön Heruka's The Biography of Milarepa as published by Penguin Classics.

However, I certainly understand and am of the same mind when it comes to the need for a resurgence in the lay yogic tradition. Indeed, I think this could be the key to a real flourishing of Vajrayana in the West, since our cultures are much more prone to creating householders than monastics, and identifying with our gurus rather than holding them far off on a pedestal is an integral part of this. There is a real danger of romanticizing Tibetan monks and nuns as the "holy Asian other," and not believing ourselves able to reach the same realization due to the responsibilities of daily life due to the responsibilities of work, family, etc.

Despite your critique of monastic Kagyu, it seems that the desire to revive the yogic traditions of Milarepa has come from mainly monastics to my knowledge. For Karma Kagyu, it has been Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and Goshir Gyaltsab RInpoche in particular. The latter empowered a number of his students as Repas several years back, and one of them in particular seems to be doing exactly what you feel needs to be done, though I'm sure Justin Von Bujdoss (a.k.a. Lama Repa Dorje Odzer) would be too humble to make such a claim.

If you haven't been following his activities, I can't recommend his website, Ganachakra, highly enough. It's a real treasure trove of Dharma, taught from his fresh perspective and through his own experience. You might be interested to note that he has also questioned the building of ornate monasteries when the same effort could be spent enriching our understanding and practice of the teachings. See especially the entry where he analyzes and questions the re-telling of the Kagyu story from the prevailing monastic perspective. In addition to being a great blogger, he also runs a prison chaplaincy program, and even a center in the urban jungle that is NYC: Tsurphu Goshir Dharma Center

Circling back to the Rechung Kagyu, Repa Dorje Odzer mentions its absorption into the Drikung Kagyu lineage. I'll have to ask my Drikung lamas about this the next chance I get, but this certainly is supported by my personal experience. Probably doesn't hurt that the Drikungpas have historically had control over many of Milarepa's meditation sites, such as Lapchi. Many Drikungpas continue to do long retreat there to this day.
Drikung Kagyu does not have karmamudra as a lineage. Mila gave that to Rechungpa not Gampopa. After Milarepa died Gampopa went back and got some more stuff from Rechungpa. Gampopa has some teachings about karmamudra that I think he told to the first karmapa and others, but not Phagmodrupa. Anyway, Drikung specifically teaches karmamudra as a course and lesser method to samayamudra and mahamudra. And do not have anyone practicing karmamudra.
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