Although a hermitage was first built on this site by the Kagyu yogi Minyak Gomrim in 1167,in 1179 it became the base of the Drigung suborder of the Kagyu tradition. The monastery was founded by a monk from Kham (1143-1217),a disciple of the great Kagyu lama Pamotrupa,subsequently known as Jigten Samgon,lord protector of Drigung. Due to his influence,the monastery quickly grew in size and reputation and by the thirteenth century was vying with the powerful Sakya order for political power over Tibet. Although Drigung managed to survive an attack in 1240 by the Mongol patrons of the Sakyapa,in 1290 it was burned to the ground by a Sakya army.While Drigung never again aspired to national political power,it continued to be a monastery renowned for training monks in the contemplative tradition.The first twenty three successors of Jigten Sumgon were appointed by a hereditary lineage.Since then Drigung has been headed by two lines of reincarnate lamas,the Chetsang Rinpoche and the Chungtsang Rinpoche. The present Chetsang Rinpoche is the seventh inthe line and lives in Piyang monastery in Ladhak,having escaped from Tibet in 1975. He speaks english and has started teaching in the west. The present Chungtsang Rinpoche resites in Lhasa.