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The Kagyu, Kagyü, or Kagyud (Tibetan: བཀའ་བརྒྱུད།, Wylie: bka' brgyud) school, also known as the "Oral Lineage" or Whispered Transmission school, is today regarded as one of six main schools (chos lugs) of Himalayan or Tibetan Buddhism. The central teaching of Kagyu
is the doctrine of Mahamudra, "the Great Seal". The early Kagyu
tradition soon gave rise to a bewildering number of independent sub-schools or sub-sects. The principle Dagpo Kagyu lineages existing today as organized schools are the Karma Kagyu, Drikung Kagyu
Drikung Kagyu
and the Drukpa Lineage.


1 Nomenclature, orthography and etymology

1.1 "Kagyu" and "Kargyu"

2 Origins

2.1 Indian Origins 2.2 Marpa and his successors (Marpa Kagyu) 2.3 Milarepa
and his disciples 2.4 Gampopa

3 Dagpo Kagyu

3.1 Four primary branches of the Dagpo Kagyu

3.1.1 Karma Kamtsang (Karma Kagyu) Karmapa

3.1.2 Barom Kagyu 3.1.3 Tshalpa Kagyu 3.1.4 Phagdru Kagyu

3.2 Eight Secondary branches of the Dagpo Kagyu

3.2.1 Drikung Kagyu 3.2.2 Lingre Kagyu 3.2.3 Drukpa Lineage 3.2.4 Shuksep Kagyu 3.2.5 Taklung Kagyu 3.2.6 Trophu Kagyu 3.2.7 Yazang Kagyu 3.2.8 Yelpa Kagyu

4 Shangpa Kagyu 5 Kagyu

5.1 Mahāmudrā 5.2 The Six Yogas of Naropa 5.3 Shentong

6 Kagyu
Literature 7 Notes 8 References 9 Sources 10 Further reading 11 External links

11.1 Barom Kagyu 11.2 Drikung Kagyu
Drikung Kagyu
sites 11.3 Drukpa Kagyu 11.4 Karma (Kamtsang) Kagyu

11.4.1 Sites associated with Trinlay Thaye Dorje 11.4.2 Sites associated with Urgyen Trinley Dorje 11.4.3 Karma Kagyu
Karma Kagyu

11.5 Taklung Kagyu 11.6 Shangpa Kagyu

Nomenclature, orthography and etymology[edit] Strictly speaking, the term bka' brgyud "oral lineage", "precept transmission" applies to any line of transmission of an esoteric teaching from teacher to disciple. There are references to the "Atiśa kagyu" for the Kadam or to " Jonang
kagyu" for the Jonang
and "Ganden kagyu" for the Gelug
sects.[1] Today, however, the term Kagyu
almost always refers to the Dagpo Kagyu
Dagpo Kagyu
and, less often, to the Shangpa Kagyu. "Kagyu" and "Kargyu"[edit] In his 1970 article Golden Rosaries of the Bka' brgyud schools, E. Gene Smith discusses the two forms of the name, Wylie: bka' brgyud and Wylie: dkar brgyud:

A note is in order regarding the two forms Dkar brgyud pa and Bka' brgyud pa. The term Bka' brgyud pa simply applies to any line of transmission of an esoteric teaching from teacher to disciple. We can properly speak of a Jo nang Bka' brgyud pa or Dge ldan Bka' brgyud pa for the Jo nang pa and Dge lugs pa sects. The adherents of the sects that practice the teachings centering around the Phyag rgya chen po and the Nā ro chos drug are properly referred to as the Dwags po Bka' brgyud pa because these teachings were all transmitted through Sgam po pa. Similar teachings and practices centering around the Ni gu chos drug are distinctive of the Shangs pa Bka' brgyud pa. These two traditions with their offshoots are often incorrectly referred to simply as Bka' brgyud pa. Some of the more careful Tibetan scholars suggested that the term Dkar brgyud pa be used to refer to the Dwags po Bka' brgyud pa, Shangs pa Bka' brgyud pa and a few minor traditions transmitted by Nā ro pa, Mar pa, Mi la ras pa, or Ras chung pa but did not pass through Sgam po pa. The term Dkar brgyud pa refers to the use of the white cotton meditation garment by all these lineages. This complex is what is normally known, inaccuratly, as the Bka' brgyud pa. Thu'u kwan Blo bzang chos kyi nyi ma sums up the matter: "In some later 'Brug pa texts the written form 'Dkar brgyud' indeed appears, because Mar pa, Mi la, Gling ras, and others wore only white cotton cloth. Nevertheless, it is fine if [they] are all called Bka' brgyud." At Thu'u kwan's suggestion, then, we will side with convention and use the term "Bka' brgyud."[2]

One source indicates:

[T]he term "Kagyu" derives from the Tibetan phrase meaning "Lineage of the Four Commissioners" (ka-bab-shi'i-gyu-pa). This four-fold lineage is

the illusory body and transference yogas of the Guhyasamaja and Chatushpitha Tantra, transmitted through Tilopa, Nagarjuna, Indrabhuti, and Saraha; the dream yoga practice of the Mahamaya from Tilopa, Charyapa, and Kukuripa; the clear-light yoga of the Chakrasamvara, Hevajra, and other Mother Tantras, as transmitted from Hevajra, Dombipa, and Lavapa; and the inner-heat yoga, Kamadevavajra, Padmavajra, Dakini, Kalpabhadra, and Tilopa.[3]

Origins[edit] Kagyu
begins in Tibet
with Marpa Lotsawa
Marpa Lotsawa
(1012–1097) who trained as a translator with lotsawa Drogmi Shākya Yeshe (Wylie: 'brog mi lo tsā ba shākya ye shes, 993–1050), and then traveled three times to India and four times to Nepal in search of religious teachings. His principal gurus were the siddhas Nāropa - from whom he received the "close lineage" of mahāmudrā and tantric teachings, and Maitrīpāda - from whom he received the "distant lineage" of mahāmudrā. Together Marpa, Milarepa
and Gampopa
are known as "Mar-Mi-Dag Sum" (Wylie: mar mi dwags gsum) and together these three are considered the founders of the Kagyu
school of Buddhism
in Tibet. Indian Origins[edit] Marpa's guru Nāropa (1016–1100) was the principal disciple of Tilopa (988-1089) from East Bengal. From his own teachers Tilopa received the Four Lineages of Instructions (bka' babs bzhi),[4] which he passed on to Nāropa who codified them into what became known as the Six Doctrines or Six Yogas of Nāropa. These instructions consist a combination of the completion stage (Skt. sampannakrama; Tib. rdzogs rim) practices of different Buddhist highest yoga tantras (Skt. Anuttarayoga Tantra; Wylie: bla med rgyud), which use the energy-winds (Skt. vāyu, Wylie: rlung), energy-channels (Skt. nāḍi, Wylie: rtsa) and energy-drops of the subtle vajra-body in order to achieve the four types of bliss, the clear-light mind and realize the state of Mahāmudrā. The Mahāmudrā lineage of Tilopa and Nāropa is called the "direct lineage" or "close lineage" as it is said that Tilopa received this Mahāmudrā realisation directly from the Dharmakāya
Buddha Vajradhara
and this was transmitted only through Nāropa to Marpa. The "distant lineage" of Mahāmudrā is said to have come from the Buddha in the form of Vajradara through incarnations of the bodhisattvas Avalokiteśvara
and Mañjuśrī
to Saraha, then from him through Nagarjuna, Shavaripa, and Maitripada to Marpa. The Mahāmudrā teachings from Saraha
that Maitripa transmitted to Marpa include the "Essence Mahāmudrā" (Wylie: snying po'i phyag chen) where Mahāmudrā is introduced directly without relying on philosophical reasoning or yogic practices. According to some accounts, on his third journey to India Marpa also met Atiśa
(982–1054) who later came to Tibet
and helped found the Kadam lineage[5] Marpa and his successors (Marpa Kagyu)[edit]


Marpa established his "seat" at Drowolung (Wylie: gro bo lung) in Lhodrak in southern Tibet
just north of Bhutan. Marpa married the Lady Dagmema, and took eight other concubines as mudras. Collectively they embodied the main consort and eight wisdom dakini in the mandala of his Yidam, Hevajra. Marpa wanted to entrust the transmission lineage to his oldest son, Darma Dode, following the usual Tibetan practice of the time to transmit of lineages of esoteric teachings via hereditary lineage (father-son or uncle-nephew), but his son died at an early age and consequently he passed his main lineage on through Milarepa. Darma Dode's incarnation as Indian master Tiphupa
became important for the future development of Kagyu
in Tibet. Marpa's four most outstanding students were known as the "Four Great Pillars" (Wylie: ka chen bzhi):[6]

(1040–1123), born in Gungthang province of western Tibet, the most celebrated and accomplished of Tibet's yogis, who achieved the ultimate goal of enlightenment in one lifetime became the holder of Marpa's meditation or practice lineage. Ngok Choku Dorje (Wylie: rngog chos sku rdo rje)[7] (1036–1102) - was the principal recipient of Marpa's explanatory lineages and particularly important in Marpa's transmission of the Hevajra
Tantra. Ngok Choku Dorje founded the Langmalung temple in the Tang valley of Bumthang district, Bhutan—which stands today.[8] The Ngok branch of the Marpa Kagyu
was an independent lineage carried on by his descendants at least up to the time of the Second Drukchen Gyalwang Kunga Paljor (Wylie: 'brug chen kun dga' dpal 'byor, 1428-1476) who received this transmission, and 1476 when Go Lotsawa
composed the Blue Annals.[9] Tshurton Wangi Dorje (Wylie: mtshur ston dbang gi rdo rje)[10] - (or Tshurton Wangdor) was the principal recipient of Marpa's transmission of the teachings of the Guhyasamāja Tantra. Tshurton's lineage eventually merged with the Shalu Monastery
Shalu Monastery
tradition and subsequently passed this down to the Gelug
founder Je Tsongkhapa, who wrote extensive commentaries on the Guhyasamāja Tantra. Meton Tsonpo (Wylie: mes ston tshon po)

Other important students of Marpa include:

Marpa Dowa Chokyi Wangchuck (Wylie: mar pa do ba chos kyi dbang phyug). Marpa Goleg (Wylie: mar pa mgo legs) who along with Tshurton Wangdor received the Guhyasamāja Tantra. Barang Bawacen (Wylie: ba rang lba ba can) - who received lineage of the explanatory teachings of the Mahāmāyā Tantra.

Jamgon Kongtrul
Jamgon Kongtrul
(1813–1899) collected the initiations and sadhanas of surviving transmissions of Marpa's teachings together in the collection known as the Kagyu
Ngak Dzö (Tibetan: བཀའ་བརྒྱུད་སྔགས་མཛོད་, Wylie: bka' brgyud sngags mdzod, "Treasury of Kagyu
Tantras"). Milarepa
and his disciples[edit] Main article: Milarepa Among Milarepa's many students were Gampopa
(1079–1153), a great scholar, and the great yogi Rechung Dorje Drakpa, also known as Rechungpa. Gampopa[edit] Main article: Gampopa Gampopa
(1079–1153) combined the stages of the path tradition of the Kadam order with teaching and practice of the Mahāmudrā and the Six Yogas of Naropa
he received from Milarepa
synthesizing them into one lineage, which came to be known as Dagpo Kagyu—the main lineage of the Kagyu
tradition passed down via Naropa
as we know it today. The other main lineage of the Kagyu
is the Shangpa Kagyu, passed down via Niguma. Following Gampopa's teachings, there evolved the so-called "Four Major and Eight Minor" lineages of the Dagpo (sometimes rendered "Tagpo" or "Dakpo") Kagyu
School. This phrase is descriptive of the generation or order in which the schools were founded, not of their importance. Dagpo Kagyu[edit] Main article: Dagpo Kagyu The principle Dagpo Kagyu
Dagpo Kagyu
lineages existing today as organized schools are the Karma Kagyu, Drikung Kagyu
Drikung Kagyu
and the Drukpa Lineage. For the most part, the teachings and main esoteric transmissions of the other Dagpo Kagyu
Dagpo Kagyu
lineages have been absorbed into one or another of these three independent schools. There were twelve main sub schools of the Dagpo Kagyu
Dagpo Kagyu
derived from Gampopa
and his disciples. Four primary branches stemmed from direct disciples of Gampopa
and his nephew; and eight secondary branches derived from Gampopa's disciple Phagmo Drupa.[11] Several of these Kagyu
traditions in turn developed their own branches or sub-schools. The terminology "primary and secondary" (che chung) for the Kagyu schools can only be traced back as far as Kongtrul's writings (19th century).[citation needed] The Tibetan terminology "che chung", literally "large (and) small," does not reflect the size or influence of the schools, as for instance the Drikung school was in the 13th century probably the largest and most influential of them, although it is, according to Kongtrul, "secondary".[citation needed] Four primary branches of the Dagpo Kagyu[edit] Karma Kamtsang (Karma Kagyu)[edit] Main article: Karma Kagyu The Drubgyu Karma Kamtsang, often known simply as Karma Kagyu, was founded by one of Gampopa's main disciples Düsum Khyenpa, 1st Karmapa Lama
(1110–1193). The Karma Kagyu
Karma Kagyu
itself has three subschools in addition to the main branch:[12]

Surmang, founded by Trungmase, 1st Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche, a student of Deshin Shekpa, 5th Karmapa
Lama, this sub-sect was centered on Surmang Monastery, in what is now Qinghai Nédo Kagyu
(Wylie: gnas mdo), founded by Karma Chagme (Wylie: kar ma chags med, 1613–1678), a disciple of the 6th Shamarpa
(Wylie: zhwa dmar chos kyi dbang phyug, 1584–1630) Gyaltön Kagyu

Rangjung Dorje, 3rd Karmapa
Lama, was influential in the spread of Buddha-nature
teachings, which are still being taught in contemporary Kagyu. He also influenced Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen, the founder of the Jonang
school who systematized the shentong teachings.[13] Karmapa
controversy[edit] Main article: Karmapa
controversy Following the death of Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, 16th Karmapa
in 1981, followers came to disagree over the identity of his successor. In the early 1990s two main candidates, Ogyen Trinley Dorje
Ogyen Trinley Dorje
and Trinley Thaye Dorje, were publicly identified. The 14th Shamarpa, recognized Trinley Thaye Dorje as the 17th Karmapa; while other senior Karma Kagyu incarnates, including the 12th Tai Situpa and 12th Goshir Gyaltsab, recognized Ogyen Trinley Dorje
Ogyen Trinley Dorje
as the 17th Karmapa, as did the Dalai Lama
and majority senior monks of the karma kagyu school. Both of these candidates underwent enthronement ceremonies and each is now considered by his respective followers as the 17th Karmapa.[14][15] A minority of Karma Kagyu
Karma Kagyu
adherents recognize both candidates as legitimate incarnations of the previous Karmapa. Barom Kagyu[edit] The Barom Kagyu
was founded by Gampopa's disciple Barompa Darma Wangchuk (Wylie: 'ba' rom pa dar ma dbang phyug, 1127–1199/1200), who established the Nak River Barom Riwoche Monastery (Wylie: nag chu 'ba' rom ri bo che) in 1160. An important early master of this school was Tishri Repa Sherab Senge (Wylie: 'gro mgon ti shri ras pa rab seng ge, 1164–1236). This school was popular in the Principality of Nangchen in Kham (modern Nangqên County, Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, southern Qinghai) where it has survived in one or two pockets to the present day. Tulku
Urgyen Rinpoche
(1920–1996) was a holder of the Barom Kagyu Lineage. Tshalpa Kagyu[edit] The Tshalpa Kagyu
was established by Zhang Yudrakpa Tsöndru Drakpa (Wylie: zhang g.yu brag pa brtson 'gru brags pa, 1123–1193), who founded Tsel Gungtang Monastery (Wylie: tshal gung thang).[16] Lama Zhang was a disciple of Gampopa's nephew Dagpo Gomtsul Tsultim Nyingpo (Wylie: dwags sgom tshul khrims snying po, 1116–1169). The Tshalpa Kagyu
tradition continued to function independently until the 15th century when it was absorbed by the Gelug, who still maintain many of its transmissions.[17] All of the former Tshelpa properties became Gelug
possessions under the administration of Sera monastery. Phagdru Kagyu[edit] The Phagmo Drupa Kagyu
(Tibetan: ཕག་མོ་གྲུ་པ་བཀའ་བརྒྱུད, Wylie: phag mo gru pa bka' brgyud) or Phagdru Kagyu (ཕག་གྲུ་བཀའ་བརྒྱུད) was founded by Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo
Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo
(Tibetan: ཕག་མོ་གྲུ་པ་རྡོ་རྗེ་རྒྱལ་པོ, Wylie: phag mo gru pa rdo rje rgyal po, 1110–1170) who was the elder brother of the famous Nyingma
lama Ka Dampa Deshek (1122–1192) founder of Katok Monastery. Before meeting Gampopa, Dorje Gyalpo studied with Sachen Kunga Nyingpo
Sachen Kunga Nyingpo
(sa chen kun dga' snying po) (1092–1158) from whom he received lamdre transmission.[18] From 1435 to 1481 the power of the Phagmodrupa declined and they were eclipsed by the Rinpungpa
(Wylie: rin spungs pa) of Tsang, who patronized the Karma Kagyu. The Phagmo Drupa monastery of Dentsa Thel "was completely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution in 1966-1978"[19] Eight Secondary branches of the Dagpo Kagyu[edit] The eight secondary lineages (zung bzhi ya brgyad or chung brgyad) of the Dagpo Kagyu
Dagpo Kagyu
all trace themselves to disciples of Phagmo Drupa. Some of these secondary schools, notably the Drikung Kagyu
Drikung Kagyu
and Drukpa Kagyu, became more important and influential than others. Drikung Kagyu[edit]

Drikung Monastery

Main article: Drikung Kagyu One of the most important of the Kagyu
sects still remaining today, the Drikung Kagyu (འབྲི་གུང་བཀའ་པརྒྱུད་པ) takes its name from Drigung Monastery
Drigung Monastery
founded by Jigten Sumgön, also known as Drikung Kyopa. The special Kagyu
teachings of the Drikung tradition include the "Single Intention" (Wylie: dgongs gcig), "The Essence of Mahāyāna Teachings" (Wylie: theg chen bstan pa'i snying po), and the "Fivefold Profound Path of Mahāmudrā" (Wylie: lam zab mo phyag chen lnga ldan). Since the 15th century the Drikung Kagyupa received influence from the "northern terma" (Wylie: byang gter) teachings of the Nyingma tradition. Lingre Kagyu[edit] Lingre Kagyu
refers to the lineages founded by Lingrepa Pema Dorje (Wylie: gling ras pa padma rdo rje) [1128-1188][20] also known as Nephupa after Nephu monastery (sna phu dgon) he founded near Dorje Drak (rdo rje brag) in Central Tibet
(dbus). Lingrepa's teachers were Gampopa's disciple Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo; Rechungpa's disciple Sumpa Repa; and Ra Yeshe Senge, a lineage holder of Ra Lotsawa. Drukpa Lineage[edit] Main article: Drukpa Lineage The Drukpa Lineage
Drukpa Lineage
was established by Ling Repa's main disciple, Tsangpa Gyare
Tsangpa Gyare
(1161–1211), who established monasteries at Longbol (Wylie: klong rbol) and Ralung Monastery
Ralung Monastery
(Wylie: rwa lung). Later, Tsangpa Gyare
Tsangpa Gyare
went to a place called Nam Phu where, legend has it, nine roaring dragons rose from the ground and soared into the sky. The Tibetan word for dragon is Druk (Wylie: 'brug), so Tsangpa
Gyare's lineage and the monastery he established at the place became known as the Drukpa and he became known as the Gyalwang Drukpa. This school became widespread in Tibet
and in surrounding regions. Today the Southern Drukpa Lineage
Drukpa Lineage
is the state religion of Bhutan, and in the western Himalayas, Drukpa Lineage
Drukpa Lineage
monasteries are found in Ladakh, Zanskar, Lahaul and Kinnaur. Along with the Mahamudra
teachings inherited from Gampopa
and Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo, particular teachings of the Drukpa Lineage
Drukpa Lineage
include the "Six Cycles of Equal Taste" (Wylie: ro snyom skor drug), a cycle of instructions said to have been hidden by Rechung Dorje Drakpa and discovered by Tsangpa
Gyare, and the "Seven Auspicious Teachings" (Wylie: rten 'brel rab bdun) revealed to Tsangpa Gyare
Tsangpa Gyare
by seven Buddhas who appeared to him in a vision at Tsari. Shuksep Kagyu[edit] The Shuksep Kagyu
(Wylie: shug gseb bka' brgyud) was established by Gyergom Chenpo Zhönnu Drakpa (Wylie: gyer sgom chen po gzhon nu grags pa, 1090–1171), who founded the Shuksep Monastery in Nyiphu.[21] The Shuksep Kagyu
emphasized the Mahamudra
teachings of the Dohas, spiritual songs of realization by Indian masters such as Saraha, Shavaripa, Tilopa, Naropa
and Maitripa. A notable member of this lineage was the nun Shukseb Jetsun Choying Zangmo. Taklung Kagyu[edit] Main article: Taklung Kagyu The Taklung Kagyu
Taklung Kagyu
(Wylie: stag lungs bka' brgyud), named after Taklung Monastery established in 1180 by Taklung Thangpa Tashi Pal (1142–1210). Trophu Kagyu[edit] The Trophu Kagyu
(Wylie: khro phu bka' brgyud) was established by Gyeltsa Rinchen Gön (Wylie: rgyal tsha rin chen mgon, 1118–1195) and Künden Repa (Wylie: kun ldan ras pa, 1148–1217). The tradition was developed by their nephew, Thropu Lotsawa, who invited Pandit Shakyasri of Kashmir, Buddhasri and Mitrayogin to Tibet. The most renowned adherent of this lineage was Buton Rinchen Drub (1290–1364) of Zhalu,[22] who was a student of Trophupa Sonam Sengge (Wylie: khro phu ba bsod nams sengge)[23] and Trophu Khenchen Rinchen Senge (Wylie: khro phu mkhan chen rin chen sengge).[24] Other notable teachers of this tradition include Chegompa Sherab Dorje (1130?-1200)[25] Yazang Kagyu[edit] The Yazang Kagyu
(Wylie: g.ya' bzang bka' brgyud) founded by Sharawa Kalden Yeshe Sengge (d. 1207). His foremost disciple was Yazang Chöje Chö Mönlam (1169–1233) who in 1206 established the monastery of Yabzang, also known as Nedong Dzong, in Yarlung. The Yazang Kagyu survived as an independent school at least until the 16th century. Yelpa Kagyu[edit] The Yelpa Kagyu
(Wylie: yel pa bka' rgyud) was established by Druptop Yéshé Tsekpa (Wylie: drub thob ye shes brtsegs pa, b. 1134).[26] He established two monasteries, Shar Yelphuk (Wylie: shar yel phug)[27] and Jang Tana (Wylie: byang rta rna dgon). Shangpa Kagyu[edit] Main article: Shangpa Kagyu The Shangpa Kagyu
Shangpa Kagyu
(Wylie: shangs pa bka' brgyud) differs in origin from the better known Marpa or Dagpo school that is the source of all present-day Kagyu
schools. The Dagpo school and its branches primarily came from the lineage of the Indian siddhas Tilopa and Naropa transmitted in Tibet
through Marpa, Milarepa, Gampopa
and their successors. In contrast, the Shangpa lineage descended from two female siddhas, Naropa's consort Niguma[28] and Virupa's disciple Sukhasiddhi, transmitted in Tibet
in the 11th century through Khyungpo Nenjor. The tradition takes its name from the Shang Valley where Khyungpo Nenjor established the gompa of Zhongzhong or Zhangzhong. For seven generations, the Shangpa Kagyu
Shangpa Kagyu
lineage remained a one-to-one transmission.[29] Although there were a few temples and retreat centres in Tibet
and Bhutan
associated with the Shangpa transmission, it never really was established as an independent religious institution or sect. Rather, its teachings were transmitted down through the centuries by lamas belonging to many different schools. In the 20th century, the Shangpa teachings were transmitted by the first Kalu Rinpoche, who studied at Palpung Monastery, the seat of the Tai Situpa. Kagyu
Doctrines[edit] Mahāmudrā[edit] Main article: Mahamudra The central teaching of Kagyu
is the doctrine of Mahamudra, "the Great Seal", as elucidated by Gampopa
in his various works. This doctrine focuses on four principal stages of meditative practice (the Four Yogas of Mahamudra), namely:

The development of single-pointedness of mind The transcendence of all conceptual elaboration The cultivation of the perspective that all phenomena are of a "single taste" The fruition of the path, which is beyond any contrived acts of meditation

It is through these four stages of development that the practitioner is said to attain the perfect realization of Mahamudra. The Six Yogas of Naropa[edit] Main article: Six Yogas of Naropa Important practices in all Kagyu
schools are the tantric practices of Cakrasaṃvara and Vajravārāhī, and particularly the Six Yogas of Naropa. Shentong[edit] See also: Buddha-nature
and Two Truths doctrine in China Shentong views the two truths doctrine as distinguishing between relative and absolute reality, agreeing that relative reality is empty of self-nature, but stating that absolute reality is "empty" (Wylie: stong) only of "other" (Wylie: gzhan) relative phenomena, but is itself not empty.[30] This absolute reality is the "ground or substratum" which is "uncreated and undestructible, noncomposite and beyond the chain of dependent origination."[31] Dolpopa identified this absolute reality with the Buddha-nature.[30] The shentong-view is related to the Ratnagotravibhāga
sutra and the Yogacara- Madhyamaka
synthesis of Śāntarakṣita. The truth of sunyata is acknowledged, but not considered to be the highest truth, which is the empty nature of mind. Insight into sunyata is preparatory for the recognition of the nature of mind. Hookham explains the Shentong position, referring to her Karma Kagyu teacher Khenpo Tsultrim's Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness.[32] Khenpo Tsultrim presents five stages of meditation, which he relates to five different schools or approaches:[33][34]

"Sravaka meditation on non-self" - meditation on the emptiness of the skandhas and the non-existence of a personal self; "Cittamatra-approach" - meditation on the mind-stream, the ever-continuing process of perception, and the non-duality of perceived and perceiver; "Svatantrika- Madhyamaka
approach" - meditation on all dhammas, which are empty of self-nature, and the negation of any "substance"; "Prasangika-Mdhyamaka approach" - meditation on "the non-conceptual (nisprapanca) nature of both the appearance of phenomena and their self-emptiness." In this approach, all concepts are to be abandoned; Shentong ( Yogacara
Madhyamaka) - meditation on Paramarthasatya ("Absolute Reality"),[35][note 1] Buddhajnana,[note 2] which is beyond concepts, and described by terms as "truly existing."[37] This approach helps "to overcome certain residual subtle concepts,"[37] and "the habit - fosterd on the earlier stages of the path - of negating whatever experience arises in his/her mind."[38] It destroys false concepts, as does prasangika, but it also alerts the practitioner "to the presence of a dynamic, positive Reality that is to be experienced once the conceptual mind is defeated."[38]


This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (June 2008)

In terms of view, the Kagyu
(particularly the Karma Kagyu) emphasize the Hevajra
tantra with commentaries by Jamgon Kongtrul
Jamgon Kongtrul
Lodro Thaye and Dakpo Tashi Namgyal, the Uttaratantra
with commentaries by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye and another by Gölo Shönu Pal as a basis for studying buddha nature, and the Third Karmapa
Rangjung Dorje's Profound Inner Principles (Tib. Zabmo Nangdon) with commentaries by Rangjung Dorje
Rangjung Dorje
and Jamgon Kongtrul
Jamgon Kongtrul
as a basis for tantra. Notes[edit]

^ According to Hookham, non-dual experience is Ultimate Reality.[36] ^ According to Hookham, "The Chinese Tathagarba schools describe Buddhajnana as the totality of all that is, which pervades every part of all that is in its totality."[36] According to Hookham, for Shentong Buddhajnana is "the non-dual nature of Mind completely unobscured and endowed with its countless Buddha Qualities (Buddhagunas).[36]


^ Schaeffer 2001, p. 40. ^ Smith & Schaeffer 2001, p. 40. ^ Thurman 2003, p. 42. ^ These four lineages of instruction are enumerated by Situ Panchen as: 1. The instructions on mahāmudrā (Wylie: phyag rgya chen po'i gdam ngags); 2. The instructions on tummo or "heat yoga" (Wylie: gtum mo'i bka' babs, Sanskrit
caṇḍāli); 3. The instructions on luminosity (Wylie: 'od gsal kyi bka' babs); 4. The instructions on Karmamudrā
(Wylie: las kyi phyags rgya'i bka babs) ^ "Atisha and the Restoration of Buddhism
in Tibet
by Gurugana Dharmakaranama". Lamayeshe.com. 2010-04-11. Retrieved 2012-09-10.  ^ Roerich, George N. (Translator) The Blue Annals. Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi 1988. [reprint of Calcutta, 1949] p. 403 ^ TBRC P0RK1289 ^ Dargey, Yonten. History of the Drukpa Kagyud in Bhutan. Thimphu 2001. pg. 58 ^ The hereditary lineages starting from Ngok Choku Dorje's son Ngok Dode (Wylie: rngog mdo sde, b. 1090) up to 1476 AD are detailed on pp. 406-414 in Roerich's translation of the Blue Annals. ^ TBRC P3074 ^ Tenzin Gyatsho, Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama
XIV. The Gelug
/ Kagyü Tradition of Mahamudra
p. 262 ^ "Transcriptions of teachings given by His Eminence the 12th Kenting Tai Situpa (2005),". Nic.fi.  ^ Stearns, Cyrus (1999). The Buddha from Dolpo: A Study of the Life and Thought of the Tibetan Master Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen, pp. 17, 47-48, 51-52, 61. State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-4191-1 (hc); ISBN 0-7914-4192-X (pbk). ^ "The Karmapa's Return To Tsurphu In Tibet, The Historic Seat Of The Karmapas" Archived 18 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on December 22, 2008. ^ "The 17th Gyalwa Karmapa
Trinley Thaye Dorje" Retrieved on December 22, 2008. ^ Martin, Dan (2008). "Zhang Yudrakpa Tsondru Drakpa". The Treasury of Lives. Retrieved 2017-08-06.  ^ Dorje, Gyurme. Jokhang: Tibets most sacred Buddhist Temple . 2010 London, Thames and Hudson . pg. 12 ^ Stearns, Cyrus. Luminous Lives: The Story of the Early Masters of the Lam dre in Tibet. Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-307-9 ^ Stoddard, E Heather (2002) Golden Buddhas from Tibet: Reconstruction of the Façade of a Stupa
from Densathil. ^ TBRC P910 ^ Martin, Dan (2008). "Gyergom Tsultrim Sengge". The Treasury of Lives. Retrieved 2017-08-06.  ^ Gyurme Dorje 1999, p. 200. ^ TBRC P3098 ^ TBRC P3099 ^ "Chegompa Sherab Dorje - The Treasury of Lives: Biographies of Himalayan Religious Masters". Tibetanlineages.org. Archived from the original on July 28, 2011. Retrieved 2012-09-10.  ^ "Yelpa Kagyu". The Treasury of Lives. Retrieved 2017-08-06.  ^ Martin, Dan (2008). "Yelpa Yeshe Tsek". The Treasury of Lives. Retrieved 2017-08-06.  ^ Niguma
Story ^ Jamgon Kongtrul
Jamgon Kongtrul
2003, p. 16. ^ a b Stearns 1999, p. 3. ^ Stearns 1999, p. 82. ^ Hookham 1991, p. 19. ^ Hookham 1991, p. 19-26. ^ Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso 1994. ^ Hookham 1991, p. 21. ^ a b c Hookham 1991, p. 37. ^ a b Hookham 1991, p. 22. ^ a b Hookham 1991, p. 23.


Berzin, Alexander (2003). "A Brief History of Drug Sang-ngag Choling Monastery". Retrieved 2013-08-19.  Dargye, Yonten (2001). History of the Drukpa Kagyud School in Bhutan (12th to 17th Century A.D.). Thimphu, Bhutan. ISBN 99936-616-0-0.  Gyurme Dorje (1999). Tibet
Handbook: With Bhutan. Footprint Handbooks. ISBN 978-1-900949-33-0.  Huntington, John C.; Bangdel, Dina; Thurman, Robert (2003). The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art. Serindia Publications, Inc. ISBN 978-1-932476-01-9.  Hookham, S.K. (1991), The Buddha within : Tathagatagarbha doctrine according to the Shentong interpretation of the Ratnagotravibhaga, Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791403587  Jamgon Kongtrul
Jamgon Kongtrul
(5 November 2003). Timeless Rapture: Inspired Verse of the Shangpa Masters. Snow Lion Publications. ISBN 978-1-55939-960-9.  Martin, Dan (May 2006). "A Bronze Portrait Image of Lo-ras-pa's Disciple: Tibetological Remarks on an Item in a Recent Asian Art Catalog". Tibetan Mongolian Museum Society. Retrieved 2009-05-20.  Powers, John (1994). Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism. Snow Lion. ISBN 1-55939-026-3.  rdo rje gdan pa mi pham tshe dbang btsan 'dzin (2001). The biography of Pha ʾBrug-sgom-zhig-po called the current of compassion. National Library of Bhutan. ISBN 978-99936-17-00-6.  Roerich, George N. (1988). The Blue Annals. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 978-81-208-0471-5.  Smith, E. Gene; Schaeffer, Kurtis R (2001). Among Tibetan Texts: History and Literature of the Himalayan Plateau. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-86171-179-6.  Stearns, Cyrus (1999), The Buddha from Dolpo: A Study of the Life and Thought of the Tibetan Master Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen, State University of New York Press, ISBN 0-7914-4191-1  Stearns, Cyrus (2003), The Buddha from Dolpo: A Study of the Life and Thought of the Tibetan Master Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., ISBN 81-208-1833-4  Thondup (1987). Buddhist Civilization in Tibet. Routledge & Kegan Paul. ISBN 978-0-7102-1087-6. 

Further reading[edit]

Kapstein, Matthew. "The Shangs-pa bKa'-brgyud: an unknown school of Tibetan Buddhism" in M. Aris and Aung San Suu Kyi (eds.), Studies in Honor of Hugh Richardson Warminster: Aris and Phillips, 1980, pp. 138–44. Khenpo Konchog Gyaltsen. The Great Kagyu
Masters: The Golden Lineage Treasury. Ithica: Snow Lion Publications, 1990. [A translation of part of the Bka' brgyud kyi rnam thar chen mo- a collection of 'Bri gung Bka' brgyud hagiographies by Rdo rje mdzes 'od] Quintman, Andrew, transl. The Life of Milarepa. Penguin Classics, 2010. ISBN 978-0-14-310622-7 Roberts, Peter Alan. The Biographies of Rechungpa: The Evolution of a Tibetan hagiography. London: Routledge, 2007. ISBN 0-415-76995-7 Smith, E. Gene. "Golden Rosaries of the Bka' brgyud Schools." in Among Tibetan Texts: History and Literature of the Himalayan Plateau, ed. Kurtis R. Schaeffer, 39-52. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2001. ISBN 0-86171-179-3 Smith, E. Gene. "The Shangs pa Bka' brgyud Tradition." in Among Tibetan Texts: History and Literature of the Himalayan Plateau, ed. Kurtis R. Schaeffer, 53-57. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2001. ISBN 0-86171-179-3 Smith, E. Gene. "Padma dkar po and His History of Buddhism" in Among Tibetan Texts: History and Literature of the Himalayan Plateau, ed. Kurtis R. Schaeffer, 81-86. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2001. ISBN 0-86171-179-3 Thaye, Jampa A Garland of Gold. Bristol: Ganesha Press, 1990. ISBN 0-9509119-3-3 Thinley, Karma. The History of the Sixteen Karmapas of Tibet
(1980) ISBN 1-57062-644-8 Brunnholzl, Karl. Luminous Heart: The Third Karmapa
on Consciousness, Wisdom, and Buddha Nature Snow Lion Publications, 2009. Rinpoche, Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. The Practice of Mahamudra
Snow Lion Publications 2009. Rinpoche, Khenpo Konchog Gyaltsen. The Great Kagyu
Masters: The Golden Lineage Treasury Snow Lion Publications 2006.

External links[edit]

Martin, Dan The Kagyu
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