The Kagyu or Kagyupa bo|T="བཀའ་བརྒྱུད་པ|w=bka' brgyud pa" school, also known as the "Oral Lineage" or "Whispered Transmission" school, is one of four main schools of Himalayan or Tibetan Buddhism today, the other three being the Nyingma (རྙིང་མ "Rnying-ma"), Sakya ("Sa-skya"), and Gelug ("Dge-lugs"). Along with the later two the Kagyu is classified as one of the Sarma (གསར་མ) or "New Transmission" schools since it primarily follows the Vajrayāna or Tantric teachings based on the so-called "New Tantras" i.e. those which were translated during the second diffusion of the Buddha Dharma in Tibet.

Like all schools of Tibetan Buddhism the Kagyu consider their practices and teachings to be inclusive of the full range of Buddha's teachings (or three yāna) since they follow the fundamental teachings and vows of individual liberation & monastic discipline (Pratimoksha) which accord with the Mulasarvastivada tradition of the Śrāvakayāna (sometimes called Nikāya Buddhism or "Hīnayāna" ); the Bodhisattva teachings, vows of universal liberation and philosophy of the Mahāyāna; and the profound means and samaya pledges of the Secret Mantra Vajrayāna.

What differentiates the Kagyu from the other schools of Himalayan Buddhism are primarily the particular esoteric instructions and tantras they emphasize and the lineages of transmission which they follow.


Strictly speaking, the term Kagyu (bo|t=བཀའ་བརྒྱུད|w=bka' brgyud|) (“Oral Lineage” or “Precept Transmission”) applies to any line of transmission of an esoteric teaching from teacher to disciple. We sometimes see references to the "Atisha Kagyu" (“the precept transmission from Atiśa”) for the early Kadampa, [ [http://www.thdl.org/xml/show.php?xml=/reference/typologies/relsects.xml&l=6 Encyclopedia of Religions & Sects ] ] or to "Jonang Kagyu" for the Jonangpa and "Ganden Kagyu" (dge ldan bka’ brgyud) for the Gelugpa sects. [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, p.40. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2001]

Today the term Kagyu is almost always used to refer to the Dagpo Kagyu the main branch of the Marpa Kagyu which developed from the teachings transmitted by the translator Marpa Chökyi Lodrö; and sometimes to the separate lesser-known Shangpa Kagyu tradition which developed from the teachings transmitted by Keydrup Khyungpo Naljor.

Kagyu & Kargyu

In his 1970 article "Golden Rosaries of the Bka' brgyud schools" [republished in Smith, E. Gene; "Among Tibetan Texts: History and Literature of the Himalayan Plateau", Wisdom Publications, Boston 2001. ISBN 0-86171-179-3] , (p. 40) E. Gene Smith, discusses the two forms of the name Kagyu bo|t=བཀའ་བརྒྱུད|w=bka' brgyud| and Kargyu bo|t=དཀར་བརྒྱུད|w=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 centring 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.”

Marpa Kagyu & Dagpo Kagyu

The Kagyu begins in Tibet with Marpa Chökyi Lodrö (1012-1097) who trained as a translator with Drogmi Lotsawa Shākya Yeshe "('brog mi lo ts'a ba sh'akya 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 Maitripa - from whom he received the "distant lineage" of Mahāmudrā.

Indian Origins

Marpa's guru Nāropa (1016-1100) was the principal disciple of Tilopa (988-1089) from East Bengal. From his own teachers Tilopa had received the Four Lineages of Instructions (bka' babs bzhi) [These four lineages of instruction are enumerated by Situ Panchen as: 1. The instructions on Mahāmudrā ("phyag rgya chen po'i gdam ngags");2. The instructions on caṇḍāli or 'heat yoga' ("gtum mo'i bka' babs"); 3. The instructions on clear light ('od gsal kyi bka' babs); 4. The instructions on Karma Mudrā (las kyi phyags rgya'i bka babs)] which he passed on to Nāropa who codified them into what became known as the Six Doctorines or Six Yogas of Nāropa. These instructions consist a combination of the completion stage (sampannakrama; rdzogs rim) practices of different Buddhist highest yoga tantras (anuttarayoga tantra; bla-med rgyud) which utilize the energy-winds (Skt.vāyu, Tib. rlung; ), energy-channels (Skt. nāḍi, Tib. rtsa; ) and energy-drops (Tib. ) 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 Dharmakaya 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 Avaokiteshvara and Manjusri to Saraha, then from him through Nagarjuna, Savari, and Maitripa to Marpa. The Mahāmudrā teachings coming from Saraha which Maitripa transmitted to Marpa include the "Essence Mahāmudrā" ("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 Kadampa lineage [http://www.lamayeshe.com/otherteachers/atisha/tibet.shtml]

Marpa's successors

Marpa established his "seat" at Drowolung (gro bo lung) in Lhodrak (lho brag) which is in South Tibet just north of Bhutan. Marpa married the lady Dagmema, and took eight other concubines as mudras. They collectively embodied the main consort and eight wisdom dakini in the mandala of his yidam Hevajra.

Marpa's four most outstanding students were known as the "Four Great Pillars" (ka chen bzhi): [Roerich, George N. (Translator) The Blue Annals. Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi 1988. [reprint of Calcutta, 1949] p. 403 ]

1. Milarepa (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.

2. Ngok Choku Dorje (rngog chos sku rdo rje) [http://www.tbrc-dlms.org/kb/tbrc-detail.xq?RID=P0RK1289 TBRC P0RK1289] (1036-1102)- Was the principal recipient of Marpa's explainitory 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 is still standing today. [Dargey, Yonten. "History of the Drukpa Kagyud in Bhutan". Thimphu 2001. pg. 58] 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 ('brug chen kun dga' dpal 'byor) 1428-1476 who received this transmission, and 1476 when Go Lotsawa composed the Blue Annals. [The hereditary lineages starting from Ngok Choku Dorje's son Ngok Dode (rngog mdo sde) (b.1090) up to 1476 AD are detailed on pp. 406-414 in Roerich's translation of the Blue Annals.]

3. Tshurton Wangi Dorje (mtshur ston dbang gi rdo rje) [http://www.tbrc-dlms.org/kb/tbrc-detail.xq?RID=P3074 TBRC P3074] - was the principal recipient of Marpa's transmission of the teachings of the Guhyasamāja tantra. Tshurton's lineage eventually merged with the Zhalu tradition and subsequently passed down to Tsongkhapa who wrote extensive commentaries on Guhyasamāja.

4. Meton Tsonpo (mes ston tshon po)

Marpa wanted to pass his lineage through his son Darma Dode as the usual transmission of esoteric teachings at the time was via hereditary lineage (father-son or uncle-nephew), but his son died at an early age and the main lineage passed on through Milarepa.

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

In the 19th Century Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye (1813-1899) collected the initiations and sadhanas of surviving transmissions of Marpa's teachings together in the collection known as the Kagyu Ngak Dzö (bo|t="བཀའ་བརྒྱུད་སྔགས་མཛོད"|w=bka' brgyud sngags mdzod|) ("Treasury of Kagyu Tantras").

Milarepa and his disciples

Among Milarepa's many students were Gampopa Sonam Rinchen (sgam po pa bsod nams rin chen) (1079-1153), a great scholar, and the great yogi Rechung Dorje Drakpa, also known as Rechungpa.

Gampopa combined the stages of the path tradition of the Kadampa order with teaching and practice of the Great Seal (Mahamudra) and the Six Yogas of Naropa he received from Milarepa synthesizing them into one lineage which came to be known as Dakpo Kagyu - the main lineage of the Kagyu tradition as we know it today.

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 organization is descriptive of the generation in which the schools were founded, not of their realization or prominence. The Rechung Kagyu school that descended from Rechungpa has always been far smaller and more obscure.

Twelve Dagpo Kagyu Lineages

Although few survive as independent linages today, there were originally twelve main Kagyu lineages derived from Gampopa and his disciples. Four primary ones stemmed from direct disciples of Gampopa and his nephew; and eight secondary ones branched from Gampopa's disciple Phagmo Drupa. [Tenzin Gyatsho, Dalai Lama XIV. "The Gelug / Kagyü Tradition of Mahamudra" p. 262 ] Several of these Kagyu lineages in turn developed their own branches or sub-schools.

The abbatal throne of Gampopa's own monastery of Daglha Gampo, passed to his own nephew Dagpo Gomtsul.

Four primary schools of the Dagpo Kagyu

Karma Kamtsang

The Drubgyu Karma Kamtsang, often known simply as the Karma Kagyu, was founded by Düsum Khyenpa (Dus-gsum Mkhyen-pa), later designated the first Karmapa.

The Karma Kagyu itself has three subschools in addition to the main branch: [" Transcriptions of teachings given by His Eminence the 12th Kenting Tai Situpa (2005)," [http://www.nic.fi/~sherab/chen.htm] ] :*Surmang Kagyu, founded by Trungmase, a student of Deshin Shekpa, the 5th Gyalwa Karmapa:*Nendo Kagyu, founded by Karma Chagme ("kar ma chags med") (1613-1678), a disciple of the 6th Shamarpa ("zhwa dmar chos kyi dbang phyug") (1584-1630):*Gyaltön Kagyu

Karmapa controversy

:The Karmapa is the head of the Karma Kagyu. Following the death of the XVIth Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, in 1981 followers have disputed the identity of his successor. The two main candidates are Ogyen Trinley Dorje and Trinley Thaye Dorje, and others have been identified as well. The Tai Situpa and Goshir Gyaltsab tulkus of the Karma Kagyu order have recognized Ogyen Trinley Dorje and the Shamarpa, Mipham Chokyi Lodro, has recognized Trinley Thaye Dorje.

Barom Kagyu

Barom Kagyu, founded by Gampopa's disciple Barompa Darma Wangchug "('ba' rom pa dar ma dbang phyug)" (1127-1199/1200) who established Barom Riwoche monastery ("nag chu 'ba' rom ri bo che)" 1160.

An important early master of this school was Tishri Repa Sherab Senge "('gro mgon ti shri ras pa rab seng+ge )" (b. 1164 d. 1236). This school was popular in the Nang chen principality of Khams.

Tsalpa Kagyu

The Tsalpa Kagyu was established by Zhang Yudragpa Tsondru Drag "(zhang g.yu brag pa brtson 'gru brags pa)" (1123-1193) or Lama Zhang who founded the monastery of Tsal Gungtang "(tshal gung thang)". Lama Zhang was a dissiple of Gampopa's nephew Dagpo Gomtsul "(dwags sgom tshul khrims snying po)" (1116-1169).

Phagdru Kagyu

The Phagmo Drupa Kagyu (bo|t=ཕག་མོ་གྲུ་པ་བཀའ་བརྒྱུད|w=phag mo gru pa bka’ brgyud|) or Phagdru Kagyu (ཕག་གྲུ་བཀའ་བརྒྱུད) was founded by Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo (bo|t=ཕག་མོ་གྲུ་པ་རྡོ་རྗེ་རྒྱལ་པོ|w=phag mo gru pa rdo rje rgyal po|), (1110-1170) who was the elder brother of Ka Dampa Deshek (1122-1192). Before meeting Gampopa, Dorje Gyalpo studied with Sachen Kunga Nyingpo (sa chen kun dga' snying po) (1092-1158) from whom he received whole Lamdre transmission [Stearns, Cyrus. "Luminous LivesThe Story of the Early Masters of the Lam dre in Tibet". Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0861713079]

In 1158 Dorje Gyalpo built a reed-hut hermitage at Phagmo Drupa ("Sow's Ferry Crossing") in a juniper forest in Nedong (bo|t=སྣེ་གདོང|w=sne gdong|) high above the Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) river. Later, as his fame spread and disciples gathered, this site developed into the major monastic seat of Dentsa Thel (bo|t=གདན་ས་ཐེལ|w=gdan sa thel| ). Following his death the monastery declined and his disciple Jigten Sumgon sent Chenga Drakpa Jungne (bo|t=སྤྱན་སྔ་གྲགས་པ་འབྱུང་གནས|w=spyan snga grags pa 'byung-gnas|) (1175 – 1255), a member of the Lang (rlang) family, to become abbot and look after the monastery. "Chenga Drakpa Jungne was abbot for 21 years and restored the monastery to its former granduer. In 1253 when the Sakyapas came to power they appointed Dorje Pel [(bo|t=རྡོ་རྗེ་དཔལ|w=rdo rje dpal|)] the brother of Chenga Drakpa Jungne as Tripon [hereditary myriarch] of Nedon. From that time on the Tripon who as a monk, assumed the seat of government of Nedon and also ruled as abbot at Dentsa Thel and his brothers married in order to perpetuate the family line. This tie with the monastery founded by Phagmo Drupa led to the Tripons of Nedong to become known as Phagdru (short of Phagmo Drupa) Tripon and their period of rule in Tibet as the Phagmo Drupa period.” ["“The rise of Changchub Gyaltsen and the Phagmo Drupa Period″ " in "Bulletin of Tibetology", 1981 Gangtok: Namgyal Institute of Tibetology [http://www.thdl.org/texts/reprints/bot/bot_1981_01_02.pdf] ]

Changchub Gyaltsen (1302 – 1364) was born into this Lang family. In 1322, he was appointed by the Sakyapa's as the Pagmodru Myriarch of Nedong and given the title “Tai Situ” in the name of the Yuan emperor. Soon he fought with a neighboring myriarchy trying to recover land lost in earlier times. This quarrel displeased the Sakya ruler "(dpon chen)" Gyalwa Zangpo (bo|t=རྒྱལ་བ་བཟང་པོ|w=rgyal ba bzang po|) who dismissed him as myriach. Following a split beween Gyalwa Zangpo and his minister Nangchen Wangtson (bo|t=ནང་ཆེན་དབང་བརྩོན|w=nang chen dbang brtson|), the former restored Changchub Gyaltsen to his position in 1352. Taking advantage of the situation, Changchub Gyaltsen immediately went on the offensive and soon controlled the whole of the Central Tibetan province of U (dbus). Gyalwa Zanpo and Changchub Gyaltsen were reconciled at a meeting with the Sakya Lama Kunpangpa (bo|t=བླ་མ་ཀུན་སྤངས་པ|w=bla ma kun spangs pa|). This angered Nangchen Wangtson who usurped Gyalwa Zanpo as Sakya ruler and imprisoned him.

In 1351 Changchub Gyaltsen established an important Kagyu monastery at the ancient Tibetan capital of Tsetang. This was later dismantled during the time of the 7th Dali Lama Kelzang Gyatso (18th Century) and replaced by a Gelugpa Monastery, Gaden Chokhorling. [Dorje, Gyurme. Tibet Handbook: The Travel Guide. Footprint 1999. p.185 ISBN 1900949334]

In 1358, Wangtson assassinated Lama Kunpangpa. Learning of this, Changchub Gyaltsen then took his forces to Sakya, imprisoned Wangtson, and replaced four hundred court officials and the newly appointed ruling lama. The Pagmodrupa rule of Central Tibet (U, Tsang and Ngari) dates from this coup in 1358. [Berzin, Alexandra [http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/e-books/unpublished_manuscripts/survey_tibetan_history/chapter_4.html A Survey of Tibetan History: 4 The Pagmodru, Rinpung, and Tsangpa Hegemonies] ]

As ruler Changchub Gyaltsen was keen to revive the glories of the Tibetan Empire of Songtsen Gampo and assert Tibetan independence from the Mongol Yuan Dynasty and from Ming Dynasty China. He took the Tibetan title “Desi” (sde-srid), re-organized the thirteen myriarchies of the Yuan-Shakya rulers into numerous districts "(rdzong)", abolished Mongol law in favour of the old Tibetan legal code, and Mongol court dress in favur of traditional Tibetan dress. [Norbu, Dawa "China's Tibet Policy". RoutledgeCurzon 2001. p. 57]

Tai Situ Changchub Gyaltsen died in 1364 and was succeeded as by his nephew Jamyang Shakya Gyeltsen (bo|t=ཇམ་དབྱངས་ཤ་ཀྱ་རྒྱལ་མཚན|w=jam dbyangs sha kya rgyal mtshan|) (1340 – 1373), who was also a monk. The subsequent rule of the Phagmodrupa dynasty lasted until 1435 followed by the Rinpung kings who ruled for four generations from 1435-1565 and the three Tsangpa kings 1566-1641.

In 1406 the ruling Phagmodrupa prince, Dakpa Gyaltsen, turned down the imperialinvitation to him to visit China.

From 1435 to 1481 the power of the Phagmodrupa declined and they were eclipsed by the Rin spungs pa of Tsang, who patronized the Karma Kagyu school.

The Phagmo Drupa monastery of Dentsa Thel "was completely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution in 1966-1978" [ [http://hosting.zkm.de/icon/stories/storyReader$83 E Heather Stoddard ] ]

Eight Secondary schools of the Dagpo Kagyu

The eight secondary lineages ("zung bzhi ya brgyad" or "chung brgyad") of the Dagpo Kagyu all trace themselves to disciples of Phagmo Drupa.

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 Drikung Thil Monastery founded by Jigten Gonpo Rinchen Pal (‘Jig-rten dgon-po rin-chen dpal) (1143-1217) also known as Drikung Kyopa.

Several sub-sects branched off from the Drikung Kagyu including the Lhapa Kagyu, founded by Gyalwa Lhanangpa (1164-1224) which was at one time important in Bhutan but later eclipsed by the Drukpa Kagyu.

The special Kagyu teachings of the Drikung tradition include the "Single Intention" (dgongs gcig), the "The Essence of Mahāyāna Teachings" (theg chen bstan pa'i snying po), and the “Possessing Five" tradition of Mahamudrā.

Since the 15th Century the Drikung Kagyupa were greatly influenced by the teachings of Nyingma tradition.

Lingre Kagyu & Drukpa Kagyu

Lingre Kagyu refers to the lineage founded by Lingrepa Pema Dorje (bo|w=gling ras pa pad+ma rdo rje) [1128-1188] . Lingrepa's teachers were Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo; Ra Yeshe Senge, a lineage holder of Ra Lotsawa; and Sumpa Repa, a disciple of Rechungpa.

The Drukpa Kagyu, which combined lineages from both Gampopa and Rechungpa, is the state religion of Bhutan, giving the country the name "Druk Yul". Drukpa monasteries are also found in Ladakh, Zanskar, Lahoul, Kinnaur, Spiti, and other parts of the Himalayas.

Martsang Kagyu

The Martsang Kagyu (སྨར་ཚང་བཀའ་བརྒྱུད) was founded by Marpa Drupthob Sherab Yeshe (སྨར་པ་ཤེས་རབ་ཡེ་ཤེས) who established Sho Monastery (ཤོ་དགོན) in E. Tibet.

This Kagyu sub-sect was eventually absorbed by the Palyul branch of the Nyingma school.

hugseb Kagyu

*Shugseb Kagyu -

Taklung Kagyu

*Taklung Kagyu ("stag lungs bka' brgyud") named after Taklung monastery established in 1180 by Taklung Tangpa Tashipal ("stag lung thang pa bkra shis dpal") (1142-1210).

Trophu Kagyu

The Trophu Kagyu ("khro phu bka' brgyud") was established by Gyal Tsha Rinchen Gon ("rgyal tsha rin chen mgon") (1118-1195) and Kunden Repa ("kun ldan ras pa") (1148-1217). The tradition was developed by their nephew, Thropu Lotsawa who invited Pandit Shakysri of Kashmir, Buddhasri and Mitrayogin to Tibet.

The most renowned adherent of this lineage was Buton Rinchen Drub "(bu ston rin chen grub)" (1290-1364) of Zhalu [Dorje, Gyurme. "Tibet Handbook: The Travel Guide" p.200] who was a student of Trophupa Sonam Senge "(khro phu ba bsod nams sengge)" [ [http://www.tbrc-dlms.org/kb/tbrc-detail.xq?RID=P3098 TBRC P3098 ] ] and Trophu Khenchen Rinchen Senge "(khro phu mkhan chen rin chen sengge)". [ [http://www.tbrc-dlms.org/kb/tbrc-detail.xq?RID=P3099 TBRC P3099 ] ]

Yabzang Kagyu

*Yabzang Kagyu ("g.ya' bzang bka' brgyud")

Yelpa Kagyu

The Yelpa Kagyu (yel pa bka' rgyud) was established by Drubthob Yeshe Tsegpa (drub thob ye shes brtsegs pa, b. 1134). He established two monasteries, Shar Yelphuk (shar yel phug) and Jang Tana (byang rta rna dgon).



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

Important practices in all Kagyu schools are the tantric practices of Chakrasamvara and Vajrayogini, and particularly the Six Yogas of Naropa.


In terms of view, the Kagyu (particularly the Karma Kagyu) emphasize the Hevajra tantra with commentaries by 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 Reality" (Tib. "Zabmo Nangdon") with commentaries by Rangjung Dorje and Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye as a basis for tantra.

hangpa Kagyu

The Shangpa Kagyu ཤངས་པ་བཀའ་བརྒྱུད (shangs pa bka' brgyud) was founded by Khyungpo Naljor (khyung po rnal ‘byor) in the second half of the eleventh century. The tradition takes its name from the valley of Shang (ཤངས) where Khyungpo Naljor established the monastery of Zhong Zhong ཞོང་ཞོང or Zhang Zhong (ཞོང་ཞོང).



*Dargye, Yonten. "History of the Drukpa Kagyud School in Bhutan (12th to 17th Century)". Bhutan, 2001 ISBN 9993661600

*Dorje, Gyurme. Tibet Handbook: The Travel Guide. Footprint 1999. ISBN 1900949334

*Roerich, George N. (Translator) The Blue Annals. Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi 1988. [reprint of Calcutta, 1949]

*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, Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2001. ISBN 0-86171-179-3

Further reading

*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 Publicaions, 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]

* 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 0950911933

*Thinley, Karma. "The History of the Sixteen Karmapas of Tibet" (1980) ISBN 1-57062-644-8

ee also

External links

* [http://www.tibet.com/Buddhism/kagyu.html The Kagyu Tradition]

Barom Kagyu

* [http://www.baromkagyu.org/ Barom Kagyu Chodrak Pende Ling]

Drikung Kagyu sites

* [http://www.drikung-kagyu.org The Drikung Kagyu Official Site]
* [http://www.dkinstitute.org/ The Drikung Kagyu Insitute (College) Site]
* [http://www.rinpoche.com/stories/phiyang.htm Phiyang Monastery, Ladakh]
* [http://www.drikungkagyu.cl/ The Drikung Kagyu in Chile, South America]
* [http://www.drikungkagyu.com.ar/ The Drikung Kagyu in Argentina, South America]

Drukpa Kagyu

* [http://www.drukpa.org Site of His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa]
* [http://www.khamtrulrinpoche.org site of the Ninth Khamtrul Rinpoche Shedrup Nyima]
* [http://www.khamtrul.org site of the Ninth Khamtrul Rinpoche Jigme Pema Nyinjadh]
* [http://www.dorzongrinpoche.org/drkp_lin.htm Drukpa Kagyu Lineage - Dorzong Rinpoche]
* [http://www.drukpamilacenter.com/ Drukpa Mila Center] ~ a Bhutanese Drukpa Kagyu Center
* [http://www.tenzinpalmo.com/tenzin_palmo/drukpa_kagyu.htm The Glorious Drukpa Kagyu Lineage] ~ Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery
* [http://www.pundarika.org/ Pundarika Foundation ~ Tsoknyi Rinpoche]

Karma Kagyu

ites associated with Trinlay Thaye Dorje

* [http://www.karmapa.org/ Karmapa the Black Hat Lama of Tibet - official homepage]
* [http://www.karma-kagyu.org/ Karma Kagyu Tradition - official website]
* [http://www.dhagpo-kagyu.org/ Dhagpo Kagyu - the main seat of Karmapa in Europe]
* [http://www.kagyu-asia.com/ Kagyu Asia - centers and monasteries in Asia]
* [http://www.bodhipath.org/ Bodhi Path - Karma Kagyu monasteries and centers worldwide]
* [http://www.diamondway-buddhism.org/ Diamond Way Buddhism - over 550 lay western centers under spiritual guidance of Karmapa]
* [http://www.vienna-dharma-projects.org/English/ Karmapa Documentary Project]
* [http://www.karmapa-issue.org/ The Karmapa Issue]
* [http://www.karmapa-institute.org/ Karmapa International Buddhist Institute (KIBI)]
* [http://www.tilopa-institute.org/ Tilopa Institute]

ites associated with Urgyen Trinley Dorje

* [http://www.kagyuoffice.org/ Kagyu Office]
* [http://www.rumtek.org/ Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim, India]
* [http://www.kagyu.org/ Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Monastery, Woodstock, NY, USA]
* [http://www.karmapa.net/ Karmapa Links]
* [http://www.kkcw.org/ Karma Kagyu Cyber World]
* [http://www.mingyur.org/ Mingyur Dorje Rinpoche]
* [http://www.simhas.org/kagyu.html The History of the Karma Kagyu Lineage]
* [http://dpr.info/ Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche]

Unaffiliated sites

(Note: Karma Kagyu related sites that apparently do not take sides on the so called “Karmapa controversy”).
* [http://www.karmapaxvi.com Recalling a Buddha (documentary on the Sixteenth Karmapa)] , includes commentary from all three living Karma Kagyu Regents.
* [http://www.khyenkong-tharjay.org/ Khenkong Tharjay Buddhist Charitable Society]
* [http://www.karmathinleyrinpoche.com/ Karma Thinley Rinpoche]

Taklung Kagyu

* [http://www.taklungkagyu.com/enabouttaklungkagyu.html Takling Kagyu]
* [http://www.phakchokrinpoche.org/TaklungKagyu.htm Taklung Kagyu - HE Pachok Rinpoche]
* [http://www.riwoche.com/ Riwoche Tibetan Buddhist Temple]

hangpa Kagyu

* [http://www.paldenshangpa.org/ Samdrup Dhargay Chuling Monastery]

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