The Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism was founded by the great Tibetan teacher and translator Marpa (1012-1097) whose teacher was the Indian Pandita Naropa. Naropa was a disciple of the Mahasiddha Tilopa, who had received teachings directly from Buddha Vajadhara. Marpa’s main disciple was the enlightened yogi Milarepa (1040-1123) and Milarepa transmitted his teachings to Gampopa (1079-1153), whose disciple was Phakmo Drukpa (1110-1170). Phakmo Drukpa’s main disciple was Lord Jigten Sumgon (1143 1217), who was considered to be a reincarnation of Nagarjuna. In 1179 Jigten Sumgon established the great Drikung Thil Monastery in Tibet, which became the main seat of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage.
Since Lord Jigten Sumgon founded the Drikung Kagyu Order of Tibetan Buddhsim, the Drikung Kagyu practice lineage has been transmitted in an unbroken line through thirty-five enlightened masters. Presently, the Drikung Kagyu Lineage is jointly headed by Their Holinesses the 36th Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang Konchok Tenzin Chokyi Nangwa (1942-) who resides in Tibet, and the 37th Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Konchok Tenzin Kunzang Trinley Lhundrup (1946-) who resides in India.
H.H. Kyabgön Chungtsang
He is a manifestation of Jampalyang (Wisdom), also known as Manjushri.
H.H. Kyabgön Chetsang
He is a manifestation of Chenrezig (Compassion), also known as Avalokitesvara.