Marpa Lotsawa

Year of birth : 1012
Place of birth : Lhodak Tibet
Parents : Wangchuk Oser, Gyamo Sa Dode
Teacher/Guru : Naropa

Books by the Master

“ Of all the Buddhas of the three times,

the Guru is the root of all accomplishments. ”


Marpa Lotsawa, sometimes known fully as Lhodak Marpa Choski Lodos or commonly as Marpa the Translator, was a Tibetan Buddhist teacher credited with the transmission of many Vajrayana teachings from India, including the teachings and lineages of Mahamudra. Due to this the Kagyu lineage, which he founded, is often called Marpa Kagyu in his honour.

From birth Marpa was naturally very powerful, and he displayed many energies and strengths. Just as the nature of fire is warmth, the nature of Marpa was to be powerful. As a fire grows, its warmth increases; and as Marpa grew, his power too increased. His natural magnetic power was so great that even his own parents, if they looked directly into his eyes, were unable to bear the feeling of strength coming from him.

Despite all these hardships, Marpa prevailed and met his teacher. And because of the hardships that Marpa was willing to go through, all the Karma Kagyu traditions and teachings became available, and are available in the same way now. Without him they would not be available; without him the Kagyu tradition would not exist. 

Marpa translated the teachings from Sanskrit to Tibetan, translating did not mean only the literal word-for-word translation. Marpa himself went through all the hardships of the practice and communicated in the translation the experience of the teachings as well. He experienced it for himself. In Tibetan this is called "tasting the realization." Then he made the teachings available in their fullness. In that manner, Marpa really studied, worked, translated, and practiced for over forty years, and made all that he experienced available to others.

Marpa gave many teachings. He was especially trying to spread the teaching of ejection of consciousness, of which he had had a very special transmission. With the accomplishment of this practice one can enter into the physical body of any dead being, and then become that being.