Dorje Zinpa Choekyi Gonpo, an emanation of Vajrapani, was born in the early 16th century. This inconceivable teacher attained full realization through his devotion to his teachers and practice of the buddhadharma. His disciples included Lhatsewa Ngawang Zangpo and the fourth Gyalwang Drukpa Kunkhyen Pema Karpo who saw him as inseparable from Padmasambhava.
Dudjom Dorje, a Mahasiddha was a disciple of Pema Karpo and Drukpa Yongdzin Ngawang Zangpo, and attained perfect realization by practicing in remote and haunted places.
Thutop Chokyi Wangchuk spent many years practicing at the sacred retreat center, Tsari Chinchar. While in retreat the 3rd Choegon received teachings directly from the deities. Vajrayogini then appeared and instructed him to go out into the world and benefit others. Among his disciples was the 3rd Khamtrul Rinpoche. The 3rd Choegon Rinpoche instructed Khamtrul Rinpoche to go to Eastern Tibet in order to benefit countless beings. With the blessings of the 3rd Choegon and Guru Rinpoche, the 3rd Khamtrul became the main successor of the Dechen Choekhor lineage in Eastern Tibet.
The 4th Choegon, Thubchen Jamgon Gyepa, was said to be blessed by Manjushri. He was an extremely learned Lama and spent his entire life at Dechen Choekhor Monastery dedicating tremendous time to preserving the teachings of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage. He had many wonderful disciples, including the renowned Jampal Pawo, an emanation of Chakrasambhava renown for his vital instructions on tsalung practice, one of the Six Yogas of Naropa.
Thubchen Jampal Dorje was a child when a statue of Guru Rinpoche raised its hand and touched his head three times, after this experience he understood the subtlest points of Dharma. As a highly accomplished yogi he founded branch monasteries throughout Tibet as well as in the Himalayas, where he trained many lamas and benefited countless beings. His main disciple, the 5th Khamtrul Rinpoche, Drubgyu Nyima, was a terton.
Chokzig Chokyi Shenyen spent over twelve years in retreat in Tsari Chigchar. He would travel for days by foot to transmit the teachings; in this way he visited many monasteries in East Tibet. This incarnation founded nunneries and supported the nun’s tradition; he was also responsible for the preservation of rare texts.
Dorje Zinpa Shedrup Chokyi Nyingye spent most of his life in East Tibet and had many superior students, among them Khamtrul Tenpe Nyima and the fifth Adeu. Mahakala appeared to him in visions and with further study his knowledge of the Mahakala tantra became extremely profound. The king of Nangchen invited him to Nangchen, a vast area of East Tibet, and there he spread the teachings, further propogating the Drukpa Kagyud lineage and benefiting many beings.
Thubten Chokyi Gyatso received the transmissions of the lineage from the sixth Khamtrul Rinpoche, Tenpe Nyima, and then went into retreat. He was well known for his devotion and it is said he perfectly followed every instruction of his guru. He diligently collected and preserved teachings of the lineage and transmitted these teachings and transmissions in the most remote regions.
Following the Chinese invasion of Tibet he went to Kinnaur in India where he had many disciples, passing away in 1964 in his eighties. Among his disciples were the 11th Gyalwang Drukpa, the 7th and 8th Khamtrul Rinpoches, Trulshik Adeu Rinpoche, Sengdak Rinpoche and Apho Yeshe Rangdrol Rinpoche. It is due to his kindness and exertion that the Drukpa Kargyud lineage flourishes today in Tibet, Nepal and India.