The Biographies
Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche Long Biography
Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche, Thutop Choekyi Wangchuk4.jpg
H.E. The 9th Kyabje Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche, Thutop Choekyi Wangchuk - the spiritual head of Dechen Choekhor Lineage of Drukpa Kargyu

Birth and Recognition:

Eminence The 9th and present Druk Shabdrung Choekyi Gonpo or in short, Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche, was born in northern India, in the remote Himalayan region of Kinnaur. Both Rinpoche's parents were the devoted and accomplished disciples of previous Choegon Rinpoche. His father is a remarkable yogi who had completed more than 20 years of retreat in Dechen Choekhor Tibet under the guidance of the 8th Kyabgon Choegon Rinpoche. His mother too, in her early life, had also spent years studied and practiced Dharma in Dechen Cheokhor Tibet.

Rinpoche was recognized at the age of four by the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa and the 8th Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche as the emanation of Shabdrung Choekyi Gonpo, one of the two main lineage masters of the Drukpa Kagyu tradition, and the holder of the lineage of Dechen Choekhor. The Karmapa wrote three letters to Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche, who traditionally has responsibility for the enthronement of masters of the Choegon Rinpoche lineage. The letters stated the precise location of Choegon Rinpoche's whereabouts, his house, his family's names, and the year of his birth. In the company of many yogis, Khamtrul Rinpoche visited Rinpoche's yogic parents at their home in a distant village of Kinnaur.

* Shabdrung (Tib: ཞབས་དྲུང་ ; also Zhabsdrung, means "at the feet of"), is an honorific title in Tibetan Buddhism, mostly used to address the second high-ranked lama of a lineage, who is the important lineage or throne-holder.   

Enthronement and Formal Education:

At the age of six, Rinpoche was enthroned by the 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche at Khampagar, Tashi Jong, India. He then began his formal comprehensive traditional monastic training and education, which included reading, writing, calligraphy, rituals, sand mandala, visualization, and meditation, etc.

The 9th Choegon Rinpoche Enthronement by His Root Guru, The 8th Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche.jpg
The present Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche's enthronement rituals and ceremony conducted by his first root guru, the 8th Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpocheat Khampagar, Tashi Jong, Northern India

When he was nineteen, Rinpoche began the nine-years studies in Buddhist philosophy, focused on the Sutrayana study of the Kagyu and Nyingma tradition, and was awarded with a Khenpo's degree, which equivalent to a PhD at the age of twenty-eight.

Root-Gurus and Spiritual Practices:

The First Root-Guru - The 8th Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche

From the age of six at enthronement until fourteen years old, Rinpoche learn under the close guidance of his first root guru, Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche. At the age of fourteen, Khamtrul Rinpoche sent an urgent invitation for the young Choegon Rinpoche to get to Bhutan immediately, where he completed the transmission of the most vital teachings of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage of Dechen Choekhor to Rinpoche. Khamtrul Rinpoche had previously received the same teachings from the 8th Kyabgon Choegon Rinpoche at Nangchen Garh in Tibet, along with the 8th Kyabje Adeu Rinpoche. Shortly thereafter, Khamtrul Rinpoche passed away in Bhutan at the age of forty-nine in year 1980. H.H. the late Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche was still in Bhutan at that time, took on the mantle of teacher, and became Rinpoche second root guru until he passed on in 1991.

The Second Root-Guru - The late Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Rinpoche received many empowerments, teachings and retreat instructions from the late Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, especially his inner practices. Under his spiritual guidance, Rinpoche has completed numerous practices in retreats, including Vajrakilaya, Green Tara, Buddha Amitayus, Vajrapani, Kurukulle and Padmasambhava, etc. Studying with Khyentse Rinpoche, between the ages of fourteen and twenty-five Rinpoche eventually received teachings of all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism, including the Damngak Dzod (twenty-five volumes), Chetsun Nyingthig, Jatson Choekhor (six volumes), Gyud Sangwa Nyingpo, the works of Mipham Rinpoche (twenty-five volumes), Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (twenty-five volumes) and Shechen Gyaltsab (twenty volumes), and other essential Nyingma teachings. Most importantly, he received the Dzogchen pointing-out instructions from Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

Choegon Rinpoche Root Gurus - Khamtrul Rinpoche, Adeu Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.jpg
The three root-gurus of present Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche (from left: The 8th Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche, The 8th Kyabje Adeu Rinpoche & H.H. Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche)

The Third Root-Guru - The 8th Kyabje Adeu Rinpoche

Rinpoche most important and instrumental root guru of this life-time was the 8th Kyabje Adeu Rinpoche, where he spent over twenty years, between the ages of twenty and forty, learning and accomplished all the important practices and retreats of the Drukpa Kagyu under the spiritual blessings and dear guidance of this third root-guru. In 1989, Adeu Rinpoche, the main holder of Choegon Rinpoche's spiritual lineage, transmitted the entire Drukpa Kagyu canon to him over one year at Tashi Jong. Since then, Rinpoche has also received many precious Nyingma teachings, including the complete Ratna Lingpa cycle and Chokgyur Lingpa's Lamrim Yeshe Nyingpo. Adeu Rinpoche welcomed Rinpoche many times in Tibet and China, treating him as his only heart-son, and never refusing to grant any precious teaching he requested.

Other Important Gurus:

In addition to these three root-guru, Rinpoche's other important teachers, according to its chronological order, have been H.H. the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa, H.H. the 68th Kyabje Je Khenpo of Bhutan, H.E. Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, H.E. Trulshik Choekyi Lodro Rinpoche and H.H. Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche.

Rinpoche's early life in Khampagar:

From age of six to fourteen, Rinpoche underwent the formal monastic training and learned under the spiritual guidance of the 8th Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche in Khampagar. Later, from age nineteen to twenty eight, Rinpoche engaged in the studies of Buddhist Philosophy, while serving as the Vajra Master of Khampagar Monastery for five years, where he took responsibility for all the great annual pujas and went deeply into the practices of Vajrayana.

At late twenties, Rinpoche was elected the spiritual director of Khampagar and its community of more than 600 Tibetans in Tashi Jong. During that time, he did much to improve the facilities at the monastery and the standard of living of the local community, helping to develop the educational and medical facilities, built a new school for the lamas and improved their education, renovated temples, ensured financial support for the great annual pujas, and helps secured a source of clean water for the community, initiated the sponsorship programs, bettered the salaries of the lay workers and inspired young people to work for the community.

Rinpoche as the Main Lineage Holder of Drukpa Kargyu

As with all His predecessors, the sublime master and Lineage Holder of Drukpa Kagyu, Rinpoche is working tirelessly and selflessly for the preservation and propagation of the authentic teachings and essence of the Drukpa Kagyu Lineage. He has contributed much of his effort to frame The Grand Drukpa Kargyu Lineage Empowerment and Transmissions by H.E. the 8th Kyabje Adeu Rinpoche to almost every Drukpa Kargyu Rinpoches, tulkus, monks and nuns in Tibet, Nepal and India. This fulfilled the prophecy made by the previous Choegon Rinpoche in 1940s that Adeu Rinpoche will be his successor, to hold and propagate the lineage after his parinirvana. In this way, Adeu Rinpoche ascended to the Lineage Holder's Throne of Drukpa Kargyu, and became the 46th Golden Rosary Masters.

The two Heartsons of The 8th Kyabgon Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche-E.jpg
The two heart-sons of the 8th Kyabgon Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche - The 8th Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche and the 8th Kyabje Adeu Rinpoche

Being the main and most revered lineage holder of Drukpa Kagyu, Rinpoche shoulders great responsibility to preserve the purity and continuity of the lineage. Despite with the conditions of his health, Rinpoche has never hesitated to strive towards the noble aspiration of preserving the authentic teachings and spiritual essence of the pure unbroken lineage of Drukpa Kagyu for the benefit of all beings.

Rinpoche and the Jana Vajra Foundation

Rinpoche currently residing in the United States, and in line with the visions and missions of Jana-Vajra Foundation, Rinpoche has been travelling extensively to propagate the lineage teachings and practices, as well as training the sanghas of Dechen Choekhor Monastery and its branch monasteries.

Rinpoche's profound realization and ability to communicate the Buddha's wisdom to others with great precision and clarity, together with his warmth and humour makes him a much adored and revered teacher. He has been teaching in Asia, Europe, North America and South America for over two decades, and is renowned for his sharpness and proficiency to present the teachings in a way that is perfectly attuned to the minds of students of all levels and backgrounds. Rinpoche is very much loved by all. Through his selfless dedication, his transcendent wisdom and skills, Rinpoche has inspired and guided many to embark on the spiritual journey to ultimate happiness laid before us by Lord Buddha.

The Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche Lineage:

The Lineage of Drukpa Choegon came into existence in the early 16th century when the first Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche, Druk Shabdrung Choekyi Gonpo became the successor of Ngawang Choekyi Gyalpo, and then root guru to Drukchen Pema Karpo and Lhatsewa Ngawang Zangpo.

The Drukpa Choegon Rinpoches, is one of the, three most important lamas and lineage holder of Drukpa Kargyu Lineage. He is an emanation of Vajrapani, and Rinpoche previous lifetimes can be traced back to ancient India where he was Lord Shakyamuni Buddha´s disciple and personal attendant, Ananda.

The nearer sources of emanation or the line of incarnations of the Drukpa Choegon Rinpoches were King Indra Bhuti (the King of Oddiyana, who adopted Guru Rinpoche when he was a child), Mahasiddha Tilopa, King Tri Ralpachen (one of the three great Dharma Kings of Tibet), Lochen Verotsana (the great Tibetan translator in 8th century), Rechung Dorje Drakpa (Milarepa's heart son), Palchen Galo (widely known as Ga Lotsawa, the great Tibetan mahasiddha and translator who visited India and brought back many precious teachings to Tibet), Phuljung Samgyal Khache (the great accomplished master of Mahakala practice) and Sangdak Namkha Palzang (also an incomparable accomplished Mahakala master of his time).

The Drukpa Choegon Lineage is renowned as the incomparable accomplished master in the practice of Mahakala, Chakrasamvara and Vajrapani. The Drukpa Choegons is being revered as the most powerful Mahakala practitioner of Drukpa Kagyu.

Read more about the Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche Lineage

View Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche's Long Life Supplication

Note to Reader:

Some readers might be confused by the term "Kagyu" vs "Kargyu" use in this website. Below are the short explanations on the actual denotation of these 2 terms. However, nowadays Drukpa 'Kargyu' and Drukpa 'Kagyu' are used interchangeably in the English media.

Kagyu - can be translated as "The Lineage of the Oral Instructions." The first syllable "Ka" refers to the scriptures of the Buddha and the oral instructions of the guru. "Ka" has the sense both of the enlightened meaning conveyed through the instructions of the realised master, as well as the power and the blessing such words of insight carries; and "Gyu" simply means lineage or tradition.

Kargyu - The Kar (white) Gyu (lineage) of Marpa, Milarepa, and their followers; many of which dressed in white robes. Kewang Sangye Dorje, one of the foremost disciples of Pema Karpo, suggested this name for our Drukpa Kargyu Lineage.

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