The Palyul Lineage

The Throne-holders of Palyul Monastery

The First Throne-holder, Mahasiddha Kunzang Sherab, was the combined reincarnation of the Lord Buddha’s son, Rahula, and the siddhis Arya Udasaka Dharmata, Shree Sinha, and so forth. Under his leadership Palyul monastery was expanded to hold three thousand monks and the Buddha’s teachings were widely propagated through the means of study and practice.

Among his countless disciples, his foremost spiritual sons were Padma Lhundrup Gyatso and the four great sons of Hor: Serpa Yeshe, Jangang Ahphel, Shugang Bading, and Tsangda Dorje Thar, who established the following monasteries as their own seat. Serpa Yeshe established Lhatse monastery which grew to hold seven hundred monks, Jangang Ahpel established Jangang monastery with four hundred monks, Shugang Bading established Shugang monastery with three hundred monks, and Tsangda Dorje established Tsangda monastery with four hundred monks. These four monasteries and the Oseling monastery of Tsakog became principal monasteries which gave rise to many branch monasteries. Over time these five branched into one hundred great monasteries which further branched into one thousand branch-monasteries which further branched into countless sub-branch monasteries.

At Darthang Monastery of Golog there were one thousand monks and nuns and over time this monastery gave rise to the branch monasteries of Padma Oedling in China which held five hundred monks, and Tsundru Monastery of Khosi which held three hundred monks. From these three main monasteries further branches were established in Markham, Sangen, Rangshab, Throm, Chagdud, lower and upper regions of Hor, the eastern Gyalmorong, and Drago in China. These branches pervaded all the areas of Golog, Ngakhog, Serkhog, Dokhog, Nyikhog, Lotsang, Jerong, Dege, Dzakhog and Gojo and every monastery was fully furnished with statues and religious images. Even today it is seen that the mother Palyul Monastery and its branches are upholding the Buddha Dharma through the three wheels of study, contemplation, and conduct.

Padma Lhundrup Gyatso, the reincarnation of the Sokpo Lhapal, was the second throne-holder. The third throne-holder was Drubwang Padma Norbu, who was the combined manifestation of the great pandita Vimalamitra and the treasure revealer Jatson Nyingpo. Karma Chophel Zangpo was the fourth throne-holder and he was the incarnation of Mahasiddha Migyur Dorje. The fifth throne-holder was Karma Lhawang and he was born from the decedents of the nephew of the first throne holder Kunzang Sherab. Shree Sinha’s manifestation, Karma Gyurmed Ngeden Tenzin, was the sixth throne-holder. The seventh throne-holder was Gyatrul Padma Dongag Tenzin, a reincarnation of Gar, King Trisong Deutsen’s Dharma minister. Ogyen Dongag Chokyi Nyima was the eighth throne-holder and was the reincarnation of Ogyen Dongag Chokyi Nyima. The ninth throne-holder was the manifestation of the Lord of Secrets, Vajrapani, known as Drubwang Rinpoche Padma Kunzang Tenzin or Drubwang Palchen Dudpa Tsal, and was the second Drubwang Rinpoche. The fourth reincarnation of Karma Tashi known as Karma Thekchog Nyingpo was the tenth throne-holder. The eleventh throne holder was our root guru, Jigme Shedrup Chokyi Drayang, the third Drubwang Rinpoche, who was a manifestation of Vimalamitra. The current and twelfth throne-holder of the Palyul tradition is His Holiness Karma Kuchen Rinpoche. His main residence is in Palyul.

Arising from pure morality which is like an oyster,
Are the pearls of the throne-holders of Palyul monastery,
which form a glorious rosary of an unbroken lineage,
ornamenting and beautifying the enlightened tradition.

Full lineage list

Resources: About The Palyul Lineage
Excerpted from Oasis of Liberation,
published in 1999 in honor of the new temple opening ceremonies, page 41-48.
©1999 Ngagyur Rigzöd Editions, all rights reserved.

1999 Ngagyur Rigzöd Editorial Committee:

Khenchen Pema Sherab
Khenchen Tsewang Gyatso
Khenpo Wangchuk Sonam
Khenpo Tsewang Sonam
Thupten Nyima

English & Com. Layout
Sonam Tsewang
Phuntsok Gyaltshen
James Essence
Special thanks to Jann Ronis for proof-reading and making helpful suggestions.