[Main ROKPA Homepage]

The aims of our charitable Trusts. How we started.
Kagy Samye Ling and Kagyu Samye Dzong centres in Europe and Africa
Resident and visiting lamas. Other lineage teachers and dharma helpers.
HH the 17th Gyalwa Karma, Urgyen Tinley Dorje. The illustrious Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
A useful collection of Buddhist teachings - theory and meditation.

The Indian masters who developed and maintained the Kagyu lineage Mahamudra and the Six Yogas, the sublime content of the Kagyu lineage
The Tibetan masters of the Karma Kagyu lineageThe Gyalwa Karmapas, supreme masters of the Karma Kagyu lineage

The Spiritual Content of the Kagyu Lineage

Marpa, the Tibetan founder of the Kagyu lineage, had been told by his guru Naropa that the lineage would grow stronger and stronger, from generation to generation. He compared to snow lions and garudas, whose offspring grow up stronger than their parents. Naropa's phophecy turned out true, as the yogas and tantras he taught Marpa became complemented by the complete mahamudra meditation teachings from Saraha. Gampopa combined all these teachings with the mainstream hinayana and mahayana teachings he had mastered through the Khadampa tradition. Then, successive Karmapas integrated other lineages into the Kagyu. A brief summary of the content is given diagramatically below.

With time, we hope to create more hyperlinks from this diagram to take you to comprehensive explanations of each aspect of the lineage.


Buddha Vajradhara

(Ratnamati)            \


  |                     Tilopa (988-1069)

 |                             |

 |                  Naropa (1016-1100)


Marpa (1012-1097)

Jetsun Milarepa (1052-1135)

Gampopa (1079-1153)


The First Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa (1110-1193)

Drogön Rechen (1148-1218)

Pomdrakpa (1170-1249)

The Second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi (1203-1283)

Drubtob Urgyenpa (1230-1300)

The Third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje (1284-1339)

Gyalwa Jungtönpa (1296-1376)

The Fourth Karmapa, Rolpe Dorje (1340-1383)

The Second Shamarpa, Kachö Wangpo (1350-1405)

The Fifth Karmapa, Dezhin Shegpa (1384-1415)

Rinchen Zangpo (Ratnabhadra) (c. 1400)

The Sixth Karmapa, Thongwa Donden (1416-1453)

Bengar Jampal Zangpo Paljor Döndrup (1427-1489)

The Seventh Karmapa, Chodrag Gyatsho (1454-1506)

Sangye Nyenpa, Tashi Paljor (1457-1525)

The Eighth Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje (1507-1554)

samatta & vipasyana aspects of mahamudra


father, mother & non-dual tantras, (tummo, ilusory body, dream, clarity, bardo, powa), dakini teachings, mahamudra

6 yogas of Naropa / powa drunjuk


Khadampa path and fruition (mahayana), monasticism (vinaya)

formless dakini teachings

widespread use of 'mani', Mahakala

3 Vajras lineage

"Peacemaking" (Chö), astrology, Kalachakra view, Nyingmapa nyingtik

many Nyingma linages

6 yogas of Niguma, Mahakala dance

logic system of Dignaga/Dharmakirti

zhentong view of voidness (Jonangpa)