There are 18 known lineages of Tibetan Buddhism but only four major lineages within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition that are known to the western hemisphere. Nyingma is the oldest of the four lineages. The others – Sakya, Kagyu and Geluk – emerged after the 11th century during what is called “the latter propagation” of Buddhism in Tibet.
Barom Kagyu is one of many branches within the Kagyu lineage. The Kagyu lineage is known for it’s oral instructions and focus on experiential meditation. Founders of these schools or their teachers have had Indian Mahasiddhas or Panditas as their root gurus.
Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa, Milarepa and Gampopa are also known as the “Kagyu Gongma Nam-nga” – the Five Founding Masters of the Kagyupa lineage.
The Barom Kagyu is one of the four great Kagyu lineages which traces its history to one of Gampopa’s main disciples, Barom Dharma Wangchuk (Barompa). His heart disciple Tishri Repa propagated the lineage particularly in the Nangchen district and Kham. Nangchen at one time covered a large area of Tibet and was known as Gomdhe-Nangchen. In Tibetan Gomdhe means a powerful conducive meditation area for a practitioner. Gomdhe-Nangchen was a place famous for “the 13 flying mystics” that flew across the Nangchen valley. At one time, Gomdhe-Nangchens’ population consisted of numerous realized Barom Kagyu yogis, Lamas and practitioners attaining high levels of siddhis.