His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, Konchok Tenzin Kunzang Thrinle Lhundrup was born to the prominent Tsarong family in Lhasa, on the 4th day of the 6th Tibetan month in the Fire Dog Year, 1946. This auspicious day marks the anniversary of the Lord Buddha's first turning the Wheel of Dharma at Sarnath.
After the passing of the previous Drikung Kyabgon and after extensive tests, including identifying the ritual objects from his former incarnations, Drikung Kyabgon was recognized and escorted to Drikung Thil, the main monastery of the Drikung Kagyu order, where he was formally enthroned. Representatives from all the Buddhist orders and from the Tibetan government were present.
Studying grammar, astrology and medicine with the Venerable Yongzin Thubten Rinpoche, he received all the general Kagyu teachings and transmissions. Other important teachings came from H.E. Nyindzong Tripa Rinpoche and H.E. Lho Drongdrul Rinpoche. At the age of eleven, the Drikung Kyabgon gave his first public teachings and transmission of the Great Drikung Phowa.
Drikung Kyabgon remained in Tibet at the Drikung monastery, until Communist China closed the monastery in 1959. He was then adopted by his former tutor, H.E. Gyabra Rinpoche and completed his early education in Lhasa. After years of planning, he escaped alone in 1975 to Nepal. It took eight days for him to reach Kathmandu, and he went on to Dharamsala, India, where he was formally enthroned. Three months later, his father accompanied him to the United States, where he was reunited with his family after eighteen years of separation, and where he learned English.
In 1978, he went back to India to resume his monastic life, and took up residence at Phiyang monastery, near Leh, Ladakh. He completed the strict three year retreat at Lama Yuru Monastery, under the guidance of the Meditation Master, Kyunga Rinpoche, and received full monk's ordination from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in 1985, during the Kalachakra initiation in Bodh Gaya.
Since then, Drikung Kyabgon has received teachings and initiations from many accomplished lamas and Rinpoches of different traditions, including His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa, His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, H.E. Taglung Shabtrung, Khenpo Noryang, His Eminence Garchen Tritrul Rinpoche, and Druwang Konchok Norbu.
In 1985 he founded the Drikung Kagyu Institute, at Jangchubling, located in the foothills of the Himalayas outside Dehra Dun, India. He has collected a vast number of sacred texts for preservation at the Institute, and initiated a project of assembling a "Computer Library", where documentation materials on the ways of living, philosophy and religious thought of the peoples of the Himalayas are being compiled.
His Holiness now resides primarily at Jangchubling in Dehra Dun, Northern India.