The Shab-Yong Lineage

The 1st Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche, Druk Shabdrung Choekyi Gonpo; renowned as the Dorje Dzinpa of Tsari

The 1st Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche, Druk Shabdrung Choekyi Gonpo; renowned as the Dorje Dzinpa of Tsari

The 1st Drukpa Yongzin Rinpoche, Lhatsewa Ngawang Zangpo

The 1st Drukpa Yongzin Rinpoche, Lhatsewa Ngawang Zangpo

Shabdrung Choekyi Gonpo and Drukpa Yongzin are traditionally being addressed as the 'Shab-Yong'. The Shab-Yong Lineage is highly revered as the Sun and Moon of the Drukpa Kagyu Lineage.

Together they founded the monastery of Druk Dechen Choekhor Ling, which for centuries became the source of teaching and inspiration of our lineage. Since then, many of the Drukpa Kagyu's masters took Drukpa Choegon and Drukpa Yongzin Rinpoches as their spiritual root gurus; honoured and revered them as the main lineage holders. Subsequently, over three hundred monasteries were established as the direct or indirect branch of Dechen Choekhor.

The three main disciples of Druk Shabdrung Choekyi Gonpo and Lhatsewa Ngawang Zangpo founded three key branch monasteries of Dechen Choekhor Ling:

  1. Taktsang Repa Rinpoche - propagate the Dechen Choekhor Lineage of Drukpa Kargyu and founded the Hemis Monastery in upper part of Tibet as instructed by his root gurus, Shabdrung Choekyi Gonpo and Lhatsewa. Its branches spread across the Ladakh region.

  2. Drubwang Dorzong Rinpoche - propagate the Dechen Choekhor Lineage of Drukpa Kargyu and founded his monasterery in lower part of Tibet as told by his gurus.

  3. Khamtrul Rinpoche - started his Dharma activities in Eastern Tibet and spreaded Dechen Choekhor Lineage of Drukpa Kargyu through his nine enlightened disciples. Subsequently the 4th Khamtrul - Maha Pandita Choekyi Nyima, a disciple of Shabdrung Jamgon Gyepa (the 4th Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche) and Drukpa Yongzin Jampal Pawo, founded the Khampagar Monastery.

The 1st Khamtrul Ngawang Tenphel was a disciple of Shabdrung Choekyi Gonpo and Lhatsewa Ngawang Zangpo; the 2nd Khamtrul Kunga Tenphel was a disciple of Yongzin Kunga Lhundrup. The 3rd Khamtrul Kunga Tenzin was a disciple of the 3rd Drukpa Choegon Choekyi Wangchuk and lived in Dechen Choekhorling.

Khamtrul Rinpoche's nine disciples, also called "The Gyatsos", founded their own monastic institutes: Dzigar Sonam Gyatso who formed Dzigar Monastery; Drugu Choegyal Gyatso formed Drugu Monastery; Nangchen Trulshik Thenley Gyatso formed Trulshik Monastery; Gonphu Shenphen Gyatso formed Gonphu monastery; Mani Jampa Gyatso formed his monastery - Diphu Monastery and Guphu Monastery; and subsequently spreaded to over three hundred monasteries under the banner of Shab-Yong Lineages.

It all started as the direct branches or sub-branches, holding the Drukpa 'Shab-Yong' Lineage through direct patronage from 'Shab-Yong', or through Khamtrul Rinpoches, who himself represents the Dharma heir of Shab-Yong in Eastern Tibet for over three centuries.

H.E. Kyabgon Adeu Rinpoche wrote: "In Drukpa Kagyu Lineage, Dechen Choekhor completely held to the lineage of the Drukpa Kagyu like its ancestral origin or the source of river. It was the cultural focal point for the entire Drukpa Kagyu Lineage. It was well known for its supreme skills and capacity in the training of lineage holding Rinpoches and monks. Students came from far and wide across Tibet and the Himalayan regions to study and practice the sublime Dharma. H.H. the 5th Drukchen Pagsam Wangpo, H.H. the 8th Drukchen Kunzig Choenang, and every single Khamtrul Rinpoches lineages primarily received transmission and teachings in this Monastery from Shabdrung Choekyi Gonpo or Drukpa Yongzin Rinpoche".

Present H.H. 12th Gyalwang Drukpa writes: "Dechen Choekhor in Tibet has played a very important role in guiding numerous practitioners on the path to enlightenment. It was the source of many great teachings and many important monasteries of Drukpa Kagyu Lineage".


Note to Reader:

1. Brief explanation of the names used to address Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche:

Druk Shabdrung Choekyi Gonpo, Jetsun Choekyi Gonpo, Choekyi Gonpo, Dorje Jinpa Choegon Rinpoche, Kyabje Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche, etc are commonly used to address the Choegon Rinpoche Lineage’s masters.

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

* Jetsun (Tib: རྗེ་བཙུན་) is an honorific Tibetan term traditional use to address great saints and lamas. It carry the denotation of The Exalted One, The Foremost Venerable, Lord, Most Reverend, etc.

* Dorje Dzinpa or Dorje Jinpa (Tib: རྡོ་རྗེ་འཛིན་པ་) is a respectful title for an accomplished master. Vajra-holder, Vajradhara or Holder of Indestructible Reality is what it denotes.

2. 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 the 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.

Acknowledgement: The above Choegon Rinpoche and Yongzin Rinpoche statues image are provided courtesy of Khampagar Monastery of Khamtrul Rinpoche