Jetsun Drukpa Kunley

One of the most influential Yogi from Tibet is the Drukpa Kunley. His spiritual attainment can be compared with the 84 great Maha Siddhas. 

1. Introduction

Drukpa Kunley came into our world between the year (1455–1529) in the Shigatse Tsang area at a village namely Kyishoe. His father's name was Nangso Rinchen Sangpo and his mother was Ponmo Gonmokyi.

His sect was Drukpa Kagyu school from Buddhism in Tibet. Even though he was from Drukpa Kagyu school, he was one of the only masters during that time focusing on non-sectarian movement with spreading the skylike compassion and wisdom of Buddha towards all the schools of Buddhism in Tibet. 

His childhood name was Tsewang Gyalpo. During his youth, he was very wise.

At the age of thirteen, in the year 1568, his father passed away, and he became an orphanage. His aunt's husband helps him to become an attendant of Rinpungpa. He stayed there for around six years. Later he traveled to central Tibet. Rinpungpa Kuntu Sangpo gave him gifts of amber beads, precious jades, and a horse. He then gave the jade to his elder sister and the horse to one of the attendants and wandered everywhere.

Video: My Tibetan Audio Book of Yogi  Drukpa Kunley Short Biography

2. Taking Monastic Vows

When he was wandering, Druk Ralung Rinpoche told him to stay at Ralung. He spent nearly eight months there learning and practicing the teachings. At that time, he met the great realized Yogi Tokden Latsunpa came to the Ralung monastery. He received many precious teachings from him.

Then he traveled to Tsang Rongdrak Choeding monastery. He received the teachings on Mahamudra from the monk Gelong Sonam Chokden and spent six months practicing the teachings. He also received teachings on Dzogchen from Lama Sonam Sangpo. After he traveled to Nening monastery and took the monastic vows. He received the spiritual name Kunga Lekpay Paljor Sangpo. He became a fully ordained monk from the Shalu Kenrap.

3. Hearing and Learning teachings

From the two above masters, he received many teachings. He traveled to the Kongpo Nyingchi area, met the 7th Gyalwang Karmapa, received the teachings on Tantra, and also attain a great realization. He also received the teachings from Taklungpa, Drampa Kachupa, Tokden Latsunpa, and Sangpo. He became a great realized being both spiritual and worldly.

4. Emphasize on Practice 

He traveled to the Monyul area and built the Sip Temple. Around 30 Monpa people were ordained as a monk. When his father was assassinated, soon his mother passed away. His three cousins were separated so a great sadness on Samsara has arisen in his mind and he completely give up the thoughts of having a samsaric family. 

In his biography,

Father Rinchen Sangpo has passed away,

Mother Gonpokyi was also passed away,

Kunley wanting to have samsaric families ropes has been cut.

Where ever I wander, May the Drukpa protectors protect me. 

He left the samsaric life and wandered central Tibet, western Tibet, Eastern Tibet, Lhasa, Shigatse, and many retreats areas and practiced extraordinary spiritual activity.

Sometimes he will be dressed as a householder, and sometimes dressed as a man, woman, and hunter. At that time, many people believed him as a great Yogi and were devoted to him. Some took him as a Crazy Mad man and criticized him. 

He later had a consort namely TsewangZom and had a son namely Shingkong Drukdra. He was offered land from a novel family, but he was different from other samsaric people, so he keeps wandering everywhere in Tibet as a wandering Yogi. 

5. Negate Non-Dharmic deeds

The places where he wandered, some reincarnated Lamas, Geshes, Ngakpa Yogis were selling Dharma for wealth, doing many deeds against the Dharma. He felt sad to see non-dharmic deeds, so he completely renounces worldly deeds.

In his teachings, 

Taking hardship practitioner is very rare. 

Negating non-dharmic practitioners everywhere.

Named as a spiritual person and doing worldly deeds.

Named as Lama and becoming the worldly leader.

Named as great Yogi and braggart everywhere.

What's the point of leaving your hometown, when you still haven't let go of your attachment. 


In brief, during his time, many spiritual practitioners were involved in worldly deeds, so he focused almost his whole life exposing the non-dharmic deeds from those spiritual practitioners. His composed teachings were very much different than other masters. 


Drukpa Kunley has shown many spiritual attainments with deeds that are very hard to digest for ordinary people. Once he pissed on an old man's Thangka, the old man was crying, but later he saw a golden color on the Thangka area where he had pissed. 

Once he told an old man to chant a mantra that has many dirty words, the old man was thrown from home by the family when the family heard the dirty words. After around a month, the old man has attained a rainbow body. 

They are so many incidents that are in the short biography above in the Tibetan language. I have seen two different biographies of him, and I love them a lot. 

He was also very popular in Bhutan, and the sign of the male part is painted on many houses as a protector. 

Drukpa Kunley is one of the masters who cannot be forgotten. May hearing the name of Drukpa Kunley compassion and wisdom arise in your mind. 

Written By :Tenzin

Mar 22, 2019


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