An Overview of the maturing and liberating Lineages of Transmission and Support of the Kagyü Ngagdzö
by Drubwang Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche
The principal traditions and currents of explanation through which the dharma of scripture flourished in the snowy realm of Tibet are based upon the efforts of the masters of old, known as the Ten Pillars (Thönmi Sambhota, Vairocana, Kawa Paltsek, Chokro Lui Gyaltsen, Shang Yeshe De, Rinchen Sangpo, Dromtön Gyalwa Jungne, Ngok Lotsawa Loden Sherab, Sakya Pandita and Gokhukpa Lhatse). The dharma of spiritual accomplishment was spread in principal by the long lineages of upholders of the transmissions of realized ones which are renowned everywhere as the masters of the Eight Great Chariots of the Practice Lineages. The teachings of one of these chariots are included in the collection known as the Kagyü Ngagdzö.
The King of Translators, Marpa Chökyi Lodrö, fearing neither dangers nor hardships of any kind, journeyed to India several times to obtain the dharma. He met numerous lords of siddhas, at the feet of whom he studied and received both ordinary and extraordinary profound dharmas of the Secret Mantrayana of the Four Classes of Tantra (Kriya-, Charya-, Yoga- and Anuttarayogatantra). In particular he received the perfect vital essence of unsurpassable oral instructions of the secret mantra from the glorious masters Naropa and Maitripa.
Having returned to the snowland of Tibet, Marpa Chökyi Lodrö eventually met with his four destined disciples who are widely renowned as the Four Pillars. Having bestowed upon them most profound dharma instructions, without any thought for profit, there sprung up in all directions lineages of accomplished ones of indisputable realization who became summarily renowned as the Marpa Kagyü. Stemming from these, the lineages of later times were received in an authentic way. The general and specific teachings of the Doctrines of the Victorious Ones were thus passed down in an unexcelled way, not dependent on others. Particularly marvellous in this regard was the supreme master Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye, through the activities of his great kindness, by which he persevered and received the support of all these maturing and liberating instructions and gathered them into this great and excellent compilation of teachings. It is this collection which became thus famed as the Great Treasury of Kagyü Instructions or the Kagyü Ngagdzö Chenmo.
From the very mouth of my one sufficient root master, the Great Vajradhara Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, whose name is difficult to utter and the meaning of which is hard to comprehend, Gyurme Thegchog Tenpai Gyaltsen Palsangpo, I have been fortunate to receive this support of maturing and liberating instructions in their entirety, having been fortunate enough to be the least to be included among his disciples. In the same way I have been fortunate to receive this transmission in all its aspects from the loving protector, the Great Kenting Tai Situ Rinpoche, Pema Dönyö Drubpa Thrinle Künkhyab Chogle Nampar Gyalwai De in person.
Thus the line of transmission (of empowerments) came from Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye to the King of the Dharma Jamgön Pema Wangchok Gyalpo (the 11th Tai Situpa) and from him to the one who is like the flower of our destined deity that alights upon our heads, the Lord of the Victorious Ones who is known as the Buddha Karmapa, Rangjung Khyabdag Rigpe Dorje (the 16th Karmapa) and on to the Great Vajradhara Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, through whose kindness I was so fortunate to receive it myself.
The line of oral reading transmission for both the eight volumes of the Treasury of Kagyü Instructions as well as the three volumes of supportive scriptures comes from Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye to Jamgön Situ Pema Wangchok Gyalpo, the 9th Sangye Nyenpa Karma Shedrub Tenpai Nyima and the Great Vajradhara Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche from whom I respectfully had the fortune to hear it.
Yet another lineage of transmission comes from Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye to the 15th Lord of Victorious Ones, the Karmapa Khakhyab Dewai Dorje, the supreme incarnation of Ladro Norbu called Karma Gyurme Tsültrim Damchö Wangpo and from him on to the Great Vajradhara Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, which I also received from him.
And finally there is the lineage coming from Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye to Jamgön Situ Pema Wangchok Gyalpo, the Glorious Lord of Victorious Ones Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje and the King of the Dharma Jamgön Situpa Pema Dönyö Drubpa Thrinle Künkhyab Chogle Nampar Gyalwai De from whom I myself also had the great fortune to receive it yet again.
May it be auspicious!