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Gampopa, founder of the Kagyu

Gampopa Sönam Rinchen ( Tib .: sgam po pa bsod nams rin chen ; also: The great doctor of Dagpo , Tib .: dwags po lha rje or Dagpo Rinpoche ; born Dagpo 1079 ; died 1153 ) was next to Rechungpa and numerous other high school students Milarepas . He is the actual founder of the Kagyu schools of Tibetan Buddhism in the sense of a monastic tradition .


Gampopa was born in the southern region of Dagpo, the elder of two sons of doctor Nyiwa Sangye Gyalpo . His mother's name was Shomo Zatse . His birth name was Dharma Drak . At the age of seven he began to study with the Indian doctor Kyeme , with Usil , a doctor from Tsang and with Viji , a Nepalese doctor. He is said to have learned from 13 other doctors from China and Tibet (see also Tibetan medicine ). At the age of 15 he studied the Nyingma scriptures and gained an extraordinary knowledge of the tradition. At the age of 22 he married (after Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey ) Chogme , who came from a very rich family in the neighboring village and had a son and a daughter with her. However, both children died in quick succession and Chogme also became seriously ill. His means of helping her failed and the pujas held to heal her did not help either. At the request of his dying wife and in the presence of an uncle, Gampopa took the vow to dedicate his life to the Dharma . After Chogme's death he had a stupa built in her honor . The Chogme stupa is said to still stand in Tibet today. Gampopa was less saddened by the death of his wife than would have been expected. On the contrary, he was looking forward to becoming a monk . He became a monk of the Kadampa under the name of Sonam Rinchen before he met his main teacher Milarepa .

Gampopa established the type of school tradition typical of the Kagyu schools by linking the monastic tradition of the Kadampa with the Mahamudra tradition of the Indian Siddhas . One of his main works is the jewelery of liberation . The monastery he founded is called Dhaklha Gampo .

Four Dharmas from Gampopa

Gampopa has summarized the Buddhist teachings in the so-called Four Dharmas of Gampopa , these are:

  • the mind turns to the Dharma:

After contemplating the possibilities of the precious human body , the four noble truths and the sufferings of sentient beings in the six realms of existence , about karma and samsara , the mind turns to the Dharma according to Gampopa.

  • the dharma becomes the path of enlightenment

The Dharma is then used to attain Buddhahood . The development of bodhicitta is of great importance .

  • the path removes the confusion

Now we start to get rid of the three poisons of the spirit . This makes the mind clearer, more open, calmer, more patient, more attentive and more intelligent. Also, one should contemplate dependent arising and realize that all phenomena are as unreal as dreams. Without the preparatory exercises ( ngondro ), advanced practices of Vajrayana are said to be unsuccessful.

  • the confusion is turned into wisdom.

The Buddha nature completely permeates all sentient beings . Realizing this is the purpose of studying the Dharma. It is therefore important to purify the disturbing feelings, because only in this way is it possible to recognize this previously unrecognized basic way of being of reality.


Gampopa had many students, from which four large and eight small Kagyu schools emerged. For an overview see schools of the Kagyu tradition .


  • Gampopa, Albrecht Frasch (transl.): Jewelery of Liberation . 2nd Edition. Tashi-Verlag, Elmshorn 2005, ISBN 3-00-004501-5 .
  • Djetsün Gampopa, Lama Sönam Lhundrub (Tilmann Borghardt; transl.): The precious ornament of liberation . 3rd edition. Norbu Verlag, Obermoschel 2007, ISBN 978-3-940269-00-3 .
  • Dschetsün Gampopa, Karmapa Translation Committee (translator): The Precious Garland for the Highest Path - The Book of Wisdom by the great Tibetan scholar Gampopa. With the calligraphy of the Tibetan characters. Theseus-Verl., Berlin 1999, ISBN 978-3-89620-134-8 .


  • Jampa Mackenzie Stewart: The Life of Gampopa: Incomparable Dharma Lord of Tibet . Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca 1995, ISBN 1-55939-038-7
  • The Mahamudra Master Djetsün Gampopa - His Life and Work, translated from the Tibetan by Dr. Tilmann Borghardt, Norbu Verlag, Lenzkirch 2019, ISBN 978-3-944885-24-7

Web links

Gampopa (alternative names of the lemma)
塔布拉杰 • 索南仁钦; 塔波拉杰; Dakpo Rinpoche; Dwags-po rin po che; དྭགས་ པོ་ རིན་ པོ་ ཆེ; Dakpo Rinpoche; dwags po rin po che; Dagpo Rinpoche