Marpa (1012-1097)
  See it in the Museum
Orientation 3
Display 6

ABS 131

 Code: ABS 131

  Country: Tibet


  Date: 1700 - 1800

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: 7.2 x 9 x 4.4

  Materials: Lacquered wood

Marpa (1012-1097) is the founder of the Kagyü tradition, and the principal teacher of Milarepa (1040-1123). Marpa is never shown clad in monk’s garment, but usually wearing the voluminous garments of a lay tantric master.

Marpa Chökyi Lodrö was born in Lhodrak Chukhyer to a well-to-do family. He began studying at a young age, and yet he was wild and untamed compared to other children. Marpa first received training for three years at Mangkhar with Drokmi Shakya Yeshe and mastered the Sanskrit language. He decided to travel to India to study the dharma with renowned Indian buddhist masters. At great personal peril he traversed the Himalayan chain in order to study with his principal teachers, Naropa and Maitripa. In order to honour his teacher after twelve years of studies, he offered a great ritual feast (ganachakra) and sang his first song of realization to his guru, Naropa. On his return home to Lhodrak, he converted his entire inheritance into gold to cover his travel expenses and in order to make offerings to his Indian gurus for the requested teachings.

Later, Naropa prophesied that the lineage would not continue through Marpas family, but that it would be carried on by disciples – especially one with the appearance of a monk and the inner realization of Mahayana. This prophecy foretold of the arrival of Gampopa.