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Tibetan name
Tibetan script :
བཀའ་ བརྒྱུད
Wylie transliteration :
bka 'brgyud
Pronunciation in IPA :
[ kacy ]
Official transcription of the PRCh :
THDL transcription :
Other spellings:
Kagyu, Kargyu, Kargyu
Chinese name
Traditional :
白 教 、 噶舉派
Simplified :
白 教 、 噶举派
Pinyin :
Báijiào, Gájǔpài

Along with Nyingma , Sakya and Gelug, Kagyu is one of the great school traditions of Tibetan Buddhism .


The Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism go to Marpa the translator (1012-1097) back of the Mahamudra - lineage of Tilopa (988-1069) and Naropa (1016-1100) led further. He is one of the great translators who started the New Translations ( Sarma ) tradition. The Sarma schools of the new translation period today include the Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug schools , in contrast to the old translations from the 9th century, from which the tradition of the ancient translations ( Nyingma ) developed.

Milarepa, tempera on cotton, 21 × 30 cm, Otgonbayar Ershuu

Marpa's main pupil was Yogi Milarepa (1042–1123), who was widely known in Tibet because of his hard teaching time and his spiritual chants . Milarepa's most important students were the later Tertön Rechung Dorje Dragpa (Rechungpa) (1084–1161), who handed down the life story of Milarepas, and the monk Gampopa (1079–1153) from Dagpo . Gampopa became famous for his scholarship. His work on the stepped path ( Lamrim ) " Jewelery of Liberation " is also known in the West . He established the form of teaching typical of the Kagyu schools by merging the monastic tradition of the earlier Kadampa and the yogi tradition of the Indian masters.

Schools of the Kagyu tradition

Gampopa Dagpo Lhaje, the large and small Kagyu schools go back to him

The schools of the Kagyu tradition are traditionally divided into the “four large” and “eight small” Kagyu schools. In addition, there are other lines closely related to the Kagyu schooling, as well as branches that have emerged from the Kagyu traditions.

The four great Kagyu schools:

Gampopa Dagpo Lhaje had four main students who subsequently founded four schools. These schools include:

  1. Barom-Kagyü (tib .: 'ba' rom bka 'brgyud ): founded by Barom Darma Wangchug (tib .: ' ba 'rom pa dar ma dbang phyug ), also founder of the Barom monastery in the northern region of Latö .
  2. Phagdru-Kagyü (tib .: phag gru bka 'brgyud ): founded by Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyelpo (tib .: phag mo gru pa rdo rje rgyal po ; 1110–1170), also founder of the Densa Thil monastery in Phagmodru .
  3. Karma-Kagyü (Tib .: kar ma bka 'brgyud , also called Kamtshang-Kagyü (Tib .: kam tshang bka' brgyud )): founded by the 1st Karmapa Je Düsum Khyenpa (1110–1193), also founder of the Karma Densa monastery north of Qamdo .
  4. Tshelpa-Kagyü (Tib .: tshal pa bka 'brgyud ): founded by Lama Shang ( bla ma zhang ; Zhang' Gro-ba'i-mgon-po ; 1123–1193), also founder of the monasteries Tshelpa (Yanggön) and Tshel Gungthang .

The eight small Kagyu schools:

From Gampopa's pupil Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyelpo (1110–1170) eight more, the so-called “small” Kagyu schools, go out. Although they are historically referred to as “small” schools, some of them have since become more important than some of the large Kagyu schools. The eight small Kagyu schools are:

  1. Drigung-Kagyü (Tib .: 'bri gung bka' brgyud ): founded by Juchten Gönpo (Tib .: 'jig rten mgon po ; 1143–1217).
  2. Drugpa-Kagyü (tib .: 'brug pa bka' brgyud ): founded by Lingrepa Pema Dorje (tib .: gling ras pa pad ma rdo rje ; 1128–1188) and his disciple Tsangpa Gyare (tib .: gtsang pa rgya ras ; 1161-1211).
  3. Shugseb-Kagyü (Tib .: shug gseb bka 'brgyud ): founded by Gyergom Tshälthrim Sengge (1144–1204), who also founded the Shugsen Monastery in 1181.
  4. Throphu-Kagyü (Tib .: khro phu bka 'brgyud ): founded by Rinpoche Gyatsa, nephew and disciple of Phagmo Drupa and his disciple Throphu Lotsawa Champa Pel (1173-1225), who also founded the Throphu monastery in Tsang .
  5. Taglung -Kagyü (Tib .: stag lungs bka 'brgyud ): founded by Taglung Thangpa Trashi Pel (Tib .: stag lung thang pa bkra shis dpal ; 1142–1210).
  6. Marpa-Kagyü (tib .: smar pa bka 'brgyud ) or Martshang-Kagyü (tib .: smar tshang bka' brgyud ): founded by Marpa Drubthob Sherab Yeshe (tib .: smar pa grub thob shes rab ye shes ) also founder of the Sho monastery in Kham .
  7. Yasang-Kagyü (Tib .: g.ya 'bzang bka' brgyud ): founded by Sarawa Kelden Yeshe Sengge († 1207).
  8. Yelpa-Kagyü (Tib .: yel pa bka 'brgyud ): founded by Yelpa Drubthop Yeshe Tsegpa (dates uncertain), also founder of the monasteries of Yelphug .

Only a few of these Kagyu lines have survived as independent schools.

Other schools related to the Kagyu tradition:

  • From Rechungpa , next to Gampopa's main pupil of Milarepa, an independent, strongly yogically oriented transmission line emerges within the framework of the Kagyu school tradition.
  • Shangpa -Kagyü (Tib .: shangs pa bka 'brgyud ): is the name of another lineage that is close to the Kagyü tradition of Marpa in its teachings. In its origins, however, this school was independent and did not emerge from Marpa's transmission. Today it only exists as part of other schools.
  • Dagpo-Kagyü (Tib .: dwags po bka 'brgyud ): is used on the one hand as a collective name for the four large Kagyü schools, on the other hand "Dagpo-Kagyü" denotes a line that is probably only partially independent, that of an uncle and the Nephew of Gampopa.

to teach

The main transmission of the Kagyu schools is the teaching of Mahamudra , which was transmitted from Naropa to Marpa and which Gampopa expounded in various works. The so-called “ Six Yogas of Naropa ”, which can be found in almost all school traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, are also of great importance in the Kagyu schools. Important tantric practices that are passed on in the Kagyu schools are the yidam practice via Chakrasamvara , Hevajra and Vajravarahi .


In the 19th century, under the master Jamgön Kongtrül Lodrö Thaye and others from the Kagyu lineage, the so-called " Rime Movement" arose, which collected group-wide teachings from all areas of Tibet and from masters of all traditions.


In 1958 the Kagyu School had 103 monasteries and around 9,600 monks. At the end of 1995 there were 105 monasteries and 3,643 monks.

In addition to the original Tibetan-Mongolian distribution area, Kagyu schools can also be found in Europe and America, as well as parts of North Asia. In Europe, some schools of the Kagyu tradition can also be found in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

See also


Web links

Commons : Kagyü  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. 噶举派 : 噶 举 是 藏语 “口授 传承” 的 意思 故 称 噶举派 (中国 广播 网 / China National Radio).