from The Banner of the Pleasing Biography of Gampopa (kun-khyab-snyen-pa'i-ba-den)
by the eighth Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje
was born in Nyal in East Tibet. His father was a physician who brought
up his son to follow in his foot-steps. Gampopa married in his early
twenties and had two children, who both fell prey to an epidemic
in the region. Gampopa was very distraught, especially when his
wife also fell ill. He did all he could but there was no way to
cure her and as she died she begged him to devote his life to the
practice of Buddhism.
the age of twenty-six Gampopa took ordination as a novice monk in
the Kadampa tradition. He studied with many masters and developed
a good understanding of the teachings. At the age of thirty-two
he heard of Milarepa. At once he had an experience of intense devotion
and realized that Milarepa must be his destined teacher.
set out in search of Milarepa and was able to find him after many
hardships. He received the complete Kagyu teachings from him. Then
he travelled to Dagpo in the South Eastern part of Central Tibet,
where he remained in meditation retreat for many years and founded
the monastery Daglha Gampo. He soon attracted many disciples. Gampopa
was also a fine writer noted for his deep insight.
among the main disciples of Milarepa he was entrusted with the complete
four main disciples founded the four 'greater' branches of the Kagyu
lineage. The eight 'lesser' divisions developed later. Gampopa passed
away at the age of seventy-five, having spread the Kagyu teachings
far and wide.
among his foremost disciples, Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa became the next
First Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa (1110-1193)