Masters of the Golden Rosary Lineage

Masters of the Golden Rosary Lineage recounts the life stories of the Drikung Kagyu throne-holders from the beginning of the lineage until the present day. Subtitled Life and Liberation Stories of Drigung Kagyü Throne-holders, this fine book is based on texts translated and edited by Khenpo Tsültrim Tenzin and Dr. Hun Lye.

The first part of the biographies up to the 28th throne-holder, the 3rd Drikung Chungtsang, Tenzin Chökyi Nyima (1755-1792), are based on The Golden Garland of the Throne Lineage (Denrab Chöjung Serthreng, gdan rabs chos byung gser phreng). This famous work had been composed by the 4th Drikung Chetsang, Tenzin Peme Gyaltsen (1770-1826) in the early nineteenth century. Peme Gyaltsen’s sources were chronicles and works by earlier Drikung lineage holders as well as the Dharma history of Pawo Tsuglag Threngwa (1504–1566). Peme Gyaltsen’s text had been extensively revised by the present Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang.

For the biographies from Peme Gyaltsen up to the present throne-holders, Drikung Kyabgön Chungtsang and Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang, the authors have mostly relied on the voluminous Religious History of Drikung Kagyu (‘Bri gung chos byung) by Dakpo Chenga Rinpoche.

Of course this book does not present a history in the strict sense of the word, as it is a compilation of so called Namthar (rnam thar), “lives of liberation”. Namthar is a special genre in Tibetan Buddhist literature of spiritual careers of eminent individuals as religious biographies. These comprise the “outer” career of external deeds and the “inner” and “secret” life stories of learning, reflection, meditative experience, and realization. Although these accounts are embedded in a historical framework, history is only one aspect of the narrative. Nonetheless Masters of the Golden Rosary Lineage is an indispensable source for those who want to gain a deeper understanding of the roots of the Drikung Kagyu lineage in its historical and spiritual dimension.

The marvelously produced book is illustrated with brilliant full-page color plates of an exquisite set of thangkas depicting the Drikung Kagyu throne-holders as well as numerous additional pictures, thus making it not only a highly recommended read, but also an intriguing iconographical discovery.

The first edition was published as a special limited edition of 108 copies at the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Tibetan Meditation Center, Frederick, ML. As the authors received many requests for the book, they were able to produce this magnificent revised edition primarily thanks to the generous financial support of Dr. and Mrs. Hoh Shu Chin from Malaysia, while Millard Pate of Vajra Publications shouldered the burden of producing this second edition. May this work reach the large audience it certainly deserves.

Masters of the Golden Rosary Lineage
Life and Liberation Stories of Drigung Kagyü Throne-holders

Khenpo Tsültrim Tenzin & Hun Lye
Vajra Publications, Gainesville, FL
ISBN 0-9655988-6-1, 114pp.

Price: US $45.00

For purchasing the book, individuals and centers should contact Tibetan Meditation Center at