800 years of the Glorious Drukpa Lineage - March 2006

This year (2006) marks the 8th centenary of the founding of the Drukpa Lineage by Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje. "800 years of hard work" as the current Gyalwang Drukpa puts it! Though Tsangpa Gyare was from the area of Tsang in Tibet, he was actually of Chinese (Gya) descent - his grandfather had helped bring the famous statue of Jowo Shakyamuni to Lhasa as a present from the Chinese Emperor to King Songtsen Gampo. He studied under Ling Repa, one of the great masters of the period, a generation after Gampopa and Rechungpa. Ling Repa had taught him much in accordance with the yogic practices of Naropa and Milarepa - the "re" in "Gyare" refers to his accomplishment of the tummo practice that allowed him to wander clothed only in a cotton cloth regardless of the external conditions - a "repa" or "cotton clad one".

Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)It was whilst on retreat sealed in a meditation cell at Lhodrak Kharchu, following Ling Repa’s passing that he acheived the supreme insight – his realisation of Mahamudra became vast and free. He then roamed from place to place meditating in sacred places.
Lama Zhang, founder of the Tshalpa Kagyud, requested Tsangpa Gyare to take ordination in order to benefit more beings. Tsangpa Gyare saw himself giving teachings to many monks in a dream, and dreamt that the lineage of Lord Naphuwa would be held by ordained monks. Shortly afterwards, aged 33, he was ordained as a Bhikshu by Khenchen Zopa and given the name Yeshe Dorje.

Ling Repa had instructed Tsangpa Gyare to teach widely. He founded Shedrub Chokhor Ling monastery at Ralung. Then, in 1206, whilst on the way to U to establish a monastic centre, nine dragons reared up from the earth and flew overhead, roaring like thunder whilst it rained flowers. Tsangpa Gyare’s lineage thus became known as the “Drukpa” (Dragon Sect), and he established a monastery at the spot – “Druk Sewa Jangchub Ling” (The Awakening Place of the Ultimate Dragon Lineage). Within one year there were 1000 huts on the site.


Now, 800 years and eleven reincarnations later, His Holiness the 12th Gyalwang Drupa would like his students, friends and all those spiritually and physically involved in the lineage to mark this special occasion, not only this year, but for at least 10 years to come. On the 8th November 2006, there will be a gala dinner in Hong Kong to celebrate in style - full details at www.namdruk.org Also in November 2006, during the Ngöndro teachings at Druk Amithaba Mountain in Kathmandu, there will be a Long Life Ceremony for His Holiness, attended by many of the great masters of the lineage. See the Events and Teachings page for further information. It may still be possible to go to Kullu for the 6th-12th September 2006 to see Tsangpa Gyare's Relic and receive the Avalokiteshvara initiation from Choegon Rinpoche. See www.dcm2006.org for details. Drukpa UK will be organising an event with the "800 years old" theme annually for the next 10 years. Make sure you are are on the mailing/email list for news updates. �