Marpa Chökyi Lodrö

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Marpa Lotsawa courtesy of Shechen Archives

Marpa Chökyi Lodrö (Tib. མར་པ་ཆོས་ཀྱི་བློ་གྲོས་, Wyl. mar pa chos kyi blo gros) or Marpa Lotsawa (1012-1097) was a great Tibetan master and translator, and a disciple of Naropa and other great siddhas. He brought many tantras from India to Tibet and translated them. These teachings were passed down through Milarepa and his other disciples, and are the basis of the teachings of the Kagyü lineage.


The four great pillars (Tib. ཀ་བ་ཆེན་པོ་བཞི་, Wyl. ka ba chen po bzhi) or four great students of Marpa Lotsawa are:

  1. Milarepa (1040-1123), the holder of Marpa's meditation or practice lineage.
  2. Ngok Chöku Dorje (1036-1102), the principal recipient of Marpa's lineages of explanation, and particularly important in Marpa's transmission lineage of the Hevajra Tantra.
  3. Tsurtön Wangi Dorje, the principal recipient of Marpa's transmission of the teachings of the Guhyasamaja Tantra. Tsurton's lineage eventually merged with the Zhalu tradition and subsequently passed down to Tsongkhapa who wrote extensive commentaries on Guhyasamaja.
  4. Metön Tsönpo


The collected writings of Marpa Lotsawa were recently published in seven volumes.[1]


  1. lHo brag mar pa lo tsā’i gsung ’bum. 7 vols. (330, 313, 313, 319, 342, 293, 304 pp.). dPal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ’jug khang (ed.). Mes po’i shul bzhag, no. 210–216; bKa’ brgyud gsung ’bum phyogs bsgrigs, no. 2–8. Krung go’i bod rig pa dpe skrun khang, 2011. ISBN 978-7-80253-327-1. A pdf of the dkar chag (index) is available at

Further Reading

  • Nalanda Translation Committee, The Life of Marpa the Translator (Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1995), ISBN 978-1570620874

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