The Lineage Practices of Drukpa Kargyu

The lineage practices of Drukpa Kargyu are vast and profound. Generally, it can be categorized into the practices related to "The Generation or Developing Stage," "The Four Essential Dharma," "The Completion Stage," "Guru Yoga" and other renowned Nyingma practices.

I) Generation or Developing Stage:

In Drukpa Kargyu, the “Developing Stage” practices are grouped into five categories according to “The Process of Realisation”. Developing Stage refers to the Deity visualization part of the practice, called 'Kyed-Rim' in Tibetan (Kyed' means creating or developing; 'Rim' means stage).

The Five Categories of Developing Stage of Practices are:

1.      Chakrasamvara of Co-emergent – the Kusali section; single mandala.

2.      Chakrasamvara – the Source of Siddhi section; 62 mandalas.

3.      Vajra Varahi – the Source of Blessings section.

4.      Wrathful Vajrapani – the Source of Competent section (to accomplish enlightenment).

5.      Mahakala – the Dharma Protection and Propagation section.

This Five Process of Realization of the Developing Stage practices has been kept intact, pure and vibrant for centuries through the successive incarnations of Choekyi Gonpo and Yongzin. It is due to their perseverance and life-long diligent practices that the essences of Drukpa Kargyu Lineage Practices are completely preserved and kept alive from Vajradhara down to our present root guru, the IX Jetsun Choekyi Gonpo. Today, Choekyi Gonpo is the main lineage holder of these practices.

Countless enlightened yogis and great masters have been born from these sublime practices. All Drukpa Kargyu practitioners are compulsory to complete these five practices in retreat.

A) The Five Deities Correspond to the Five Process of Realization in Developing Stage

Two-armed Chakrasamvara

Two-armed Chakrasamvara

1) Two-Armed Chakrasamvara Of Co-Emergent - The Kusali Section

Heruka Chakrasamvara (Tib: Khorlo Dompa; 'Wheel of Perfect Bliss') is a tantric meditational deity (Yidam) of the Mothe Tantra of Vajrayana Buddhism. Chakrasamvara, along with Hevajra and Vajrayogini, are the three main meditational Yidam practices of the Kagyu …

Dechen Choekhor’s Twelve-armed Chakrasamvara thangka

Dechen Choekhor’s Twelve-armed Chakrasamvara thangka

2) Twelve-Armed Chakrasamvara - the Source of Siddhis Section

There are many different forms of Chakrasamvara appearing with different number of faces, hands, and number of surrounding retinues. Although there are quite a diversity in the Chakrasamvara lineages and practices, the iconographical differences of the main deity are minor …

Dechen Choekhor’s Vajrayogini thangka

Dechen Choekhor’s Vajrayogini thangka

3) Vajra Varahi – the Source of Blessings section

Vajrayogini is a female Sambhogakaya form of Buddha. She is a Yidam (meditation deity) of the Anuttarayoga Tantra - the highest tantra, and appears in many Tantric practices. She appear as the spiritual consort to Heruka Chakrasamvara. She is the female Secret Mantra Holder …

Dechen Choekhor’s wrathful Vajrapani thangka

Dechen Choekhor’s wrathful Vajrapani thangka

4) Wrathful Vajrapani – the Source of competent section

Vajrapani is a Bodhisattva who represents the Power of all the Buddhas. He is the tantric aspect of the enlightened mind, transforming the energy of negative emotion into active wisdom and magical perfection. He symbolizes the indestructible Vajra-mind of all Buddhas …

Dechen Choekhor’s Four-armed Mahakala thangka

Dechen Choekhor’s Four-armed Mahakala thangka

5) Mahakala – the Dharma protection and propagation section

Mahakala practices were taught by Lord Buddha Sakyamuni in the tantra teachings. Any teachings that are taught in the tantra is the ultimate practice; which means, through such practices, one can achieves enlightenment. Thus, Mahakala can be practiced as the Three Roots …


B) The Four Essential Dharma of Drukpa Kargyu

The Four Essential Deities of Drukpa Kargyu (Tib: དཔལ་འབྲུག་པའི་འཕྲལ་དགོས་ཆོས་བཞི་ནི། )

The Four Essential Deities of Drukpa Kargyu (Tib: དཔལ་འབྲུག་པའི་འཕྲལ་དགོས་ཆོས་བཞི་ནི། )

These four Buddhas practices, called "PAL DRUG PEI THRAL GOI CHOE SHYI NI དཔལ་འབྲུག་པའི་འཕྲལ་དགོས་ཆོས་བཞི་ནི།" in Tibetan, is The Four Essential Dharma of Drukpa Kargyu, which are extensively practice in our lineage. They belong to the Generation Stage practices …

II) Perfection or Completion Stage:

It's known as 'Dzog-Rim' in Tibetan ('Rim' means stage; 'Dzog' can be literally translated as perfection). In the Completion Stage, which is the Inner Practices of Meditation:

We use Mahamudra as View;

In order to realize the view,

We use The Six Yogas of Naropa as Method;

In order to dealt with the meditation and view,

We apply The Six Equal Taste as Conduct.

Along with the view, meditation and conduct, we also practice 'The Seven Interdependent Practices'.

III) Guru Yoga:

In Drukpa Kagyu, the most vital and essential of all practices is the practice of Guru Yoga, which is very intensively practice in our lineage.

Only with the blessing of one's Guru, through his presence, his teachings, and his guidance, is capable of fully ripening and liberating our minds before we could understand the deeper meaning of Mahamudra and realize our true nature of mind.

In our lineage, there is special Guru Yoga Retreat Practices for 4 months, 7 months and Lama Kusum Guru Yoga Practices for 3 years 3 months. This is not a common or ordinary Guru Yoga but a very profound and complete practice unique to Drukpa Kagyu which includes Yogas and Inner Tummo Practices.

These are only methods, however in Vajrayana, the only way to realize the true nature of mind is only through realizing and seeing one's guru as Lama Dorje Chang, the ultimate Buddha. Until one develop the genuine unshakable devotion and seeing one guru as the living embodiment of the realization and compassion of all Buddhas, there is no way one could achieve the inner realisation of the ultimate Dharma. Seeing or dealing with a human master, one can never attain the ultimate wisdom.

IV) Other Practices:

The above are Dechen Choekhor's main Drukpa Kagyu Practices. Our monastery not only practice the Drukpa Kagyu Practices, but also engages in substantial Nyingma Practices such as:

1. Shitro, the 100 Deities

2. Vajrakilaya, Dorje Phurba

3. The Immortal Arya Tara, Chimey Phagma

4. Kabgyed, the Great Eight Herukas of Nyingma

In Dechen Choekhor and its branched monasteries in Tibet, our monks are trained even more widely in other Nyingma practices. We shall provide more explanation on these practices when time and conditions permit.


Note to Reader:

Some readers might be confused by the term "Kagyu" vs "Kargyu" use in this website. Below are the short explanations on the actual denotation of these 2 terms. However, nowadays Drukpa 'Kargyu' and Drukpa 'Kagyu' are used interchangeably in English media.

Kagyu - can be translated as "The Lineage of the Oral Instructions." The first syllable "Ka" refers to the scriptures of the Buddha and the oral instructions of the guru. "Ka" has the sense both of the enlightened meaning conveyed through the instructions of the realised master, as well as the power and the blessing such words of insight carries; and "gyu" simply means lineage or tradition.

Kargyu - The Kar (white) Gyu (lineage) of Marpa, Milarepa, and their followers; many of which dressed in white robes. Kewang Sangye Dorje, one of the foremost disciples of Pema Karpo, suggested this name for our Drukpa Kargyu Lineage.