"Druk" in Tibetan means "Dragon" and it also refers to the sound of thunder. In 1206, 800 years ago, Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje saw nine dragons fly up into the sky from the ground of Namdruk. After this auspicious event he named his lineage "Drukpa" or "lineage of the Dragons". Tsangpa Gyare therefore became the founder of the lineage and was known as the First Gyalwang Drukpa. The current Gyalwang Drukpa is the twelfth, and he engages in many worthy humanitarian and spiritual projects.
It is worthwhile noting that the Kingdom of Bhutan also takes the name of "Druk" or "Druk Yul", meaning "the Land of the Thunder Dragons" and its people are also known as "Drukpa". This is because in the 17th century, one of Tsangpa Gyare's fourth incarnations, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (1594-1651), united warring regions and established Bhutan as a country.
The contribution of Drubwang Shakya Shiri’s life and teachings (1853-1919) makes him indispensable to the Drukpa lineage, in particular to its yogic tradition. He inspired people to continue and deepen the practice at a very critical time, and thus the lineage of Togden (Yogi) and Togdenma (Yogini) whether in Bhutan, Tibet, or the Indian Himalayas, can always be traced back to him.
Shakya Shri is well known for his Rime or non-sectarian approach. In particular he is renowned for his uniting the views of Mahamudra and Dzogchen.
Many of his students were ordinary beings, who, like himself, attained a high level of realization and practice in one lifetime. He also had silk-robed high lamas as students, including Taktsang Rinpoche from Ladakh, the seventh Drukpa Yongzin Rinpoche Ngagkyi Wangpo and the eighth Drukpa Chogon Rinpoche Thutop Choekyi Gyatso, as well as royalty and scholars. His down -to -earth, simple and diligent practice inspired thousands of ordinary beings to attain the highest level of realization.
Khandro Thrinlay Chodon, being from the Shakya Shri family, and married to the IXth Shabdrung of Bhutan in exile, holds a very significant place from which to serve the Drukpa lineage. Through marriage and family she is a link between the two prominent lines within the Drukpa tradition