Click on image of master for his biography.
The Tibetan Patriarchs of the Kagyu Lineage
Detailed hagiographies can be had by clicking on the image of the master in the thangka above, or else on the hyperlink in the very brief resume which follows.
Marpa was the Tibetan who spent over 20 years in India, studying under the great masters Naropa and Maitripa, in order to bring the Kagyu teachings to Tibet. The wealth of yogic and mahamudra teachings he gathered, mastered and translated were transmitted in their entirety to Jetsun Milarepa, famous for his arduous practice in icy mountain caves. His main disciple was Gampopa, the emanation of a very great bodhisattva. Gampopa combined the special teachings of Marpa's lineage with those of the Khadampa tradition and established the first Kagyu monastery in Tibet. Of his four main disciples, the most illustrious was the first Gyalwa Karmapa, Dusum Chenpa, an emanation of Buddha activity itself. Since then, Karmapas have emanated 16 more times in Tibet to assure the integral transmission of the lineage, i.e. the Kagyu teachings of mahamudra and the six yogas, as well as those of all the other lineages which have since been integrated in the Karma Kamtsang tradition.