MARPA

THE TRANSLATOR

1012–1097

Marpa

Marpa came to Nepal in search of the dharma. Buddhist from his earliest youth, he had learnt Sanskrit from the Sakyapa Lama Drogmi, then exchanged all his belongings for gold in preparation for his quest. So impressed was he by Naropa’s disciples, he decided to become one himself.For many years he received Naropa’s teachings, as well as studying with a variety of famous Indian masters including Jnanagarbha, Kukuripa and Maitripa. Having practiced and mastered the teachings, Marpa returned to Lhodrag in South Tibet, where he lived with his wife Dagmema and their two sons, and spent several years translating the Buddhist scriptures from Sanskrit into the vernacular Tibetan. Because of his great translation activity he is known as “Marpa the Translator“.Having achieved renown, he attracted a group of students, to whom he passed on the fruits of his Indian research. After two further expeditions to India, from which he carried yet more teachings back over the mountain passes to Tibet, he returned to find a student named Milarepa had been sent to him. Marpa subjected Milarepa to very difficult trials, so that Milarepa rivalled Naropa in his suffering in the service of his teacher and the pursuit of the Dharma, and in the end appointed Milarepa his successor.