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Lineage Transmission
1. Vajradhara
2. Tilopa
3. Naropa
4. Marpa
5. Milarepa
6. Gampopa
7. Dusum Khyenpa
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14.Rolpe Dorje
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16.Dezhin Shegpa
17.Rinchen Zangpo 
18.Thongwa Donden
19.Paljor Döndrup
20.Chodrag Gyatsho
21.Sangye Nyenpa
22.Mikyo Dorje
23.Könchog Yenlag
24.Wangchuk Dorje
25.Chökyi Wangchuk
26.Choying Dorje
27.Yeshe Nyingpo
28.Yeshe Dorje
29.Chökyi Döndrub
30.Changchub Dorje
31.Chökyi Jungne
32.Dudul Dorje
33.Chödrub Gyamtso
34.Pema Nyinche
35.Thegchog Dorje
36.Lodrö Thaye
37.Khakhyab Dorje
38.Pema Wangchuk
39.Palden Khyentse
40.Rangjung Rigpe
41.Pema Dhonyö
42.Urgyen Trinley

Varanasi Shreda

H.H. The Dalai Lama
& Thrangu Rinpoche

AT TDSPJ ON THE 19TH & 20TH MAY, 2000 
Transcribed & edited by TDSPJ Translation Team

Also in Audio Format, proceed here

Page 02 of 03
Soon after the vow, Naropa left behind his work at Nalanda University and went off in search of Tilopa. After many months and years of search, still he could not locate Tilopa even though traces and words of Tilopa were seen and widely heard along the way.  Finally he met up with Tilopa from whom he received the complete Oral Transmission.

After receiving all the pith instruction, Naropa practiced with pure diligence and attained realization.  Tilopa through his clairvoyance predicted that the future proper vessel who would uphold the lineage would be one by the name of Marpa Chokyi Lodoe, a future disciple of Naropa.  Therefore he instructed Naropa that he should transmit all his teachings to Marpa.  Tilopa also predicted that under Marpa, the Kagyu Lineage would flourish tenfold.  As predicted by Tilopa, Marpa soon found Naropa and requested teachings from him. Marpa received the complete Oral Transmission and also the responsibility of lineage holder from Naropa.
The great scholar Marpa Chokyi Lodoe was from Tibet.  At that time back in Tibet, there were few teachers from whom he could study and receive teachings.  From deep within his heart he felt that it was not sufficient.  He therefore decided to travel to India to obtain more precious teachings. 
 In ancient times, it was not easy to travel to India.  One had to walk a distance that took months and sometimes years to cover.  Not to mention the Himalayan Mountainous range which one had to cross.  Also in India the climate was hot and humid.  One must have great strength and courage to undertake this challenge.  Unlike nowadays, one can fly into Lhasa from India in just 45 minutes.

One could also read from the Lineage Prayers which say Marpa had the three great qualities for the successful quest of the Dharma, namely:

1. Great Heart
2. Great Wisdom
3. Great Practice / Realization

The quality of ‘Great Heart’ refers to the courage, bravery and determination to cross the freezing cold Himalayan Mountains, to cross gigantic rivers, and to endure the effect of temperature difference while in India as well as many other hardship throughout the mission. 

Marpa went to India no once but three times in all.  His fearless state of mind to search for Naropa was undiminished.  For this tenacity he is praised in the Lineage Prayers.

Marpa studied the Dharma with utmost diligence.  For this he is praised for having ‘Great Wisdom’

Finally he found Naropa and received precious teachings from him, and with great diligence in his practice he achieved great realization.  For this he is praised for ‘Great Practice’.

Marpa had also to carry all the Dharma Texts from India back to Tibet and later he and many others translated them into Tibetan for the benefit of future generations of Buddhist practitioners. 

This may also be related back to Benefits of performing merits’ which states that the benefits and merits reaped are immeasurable for generations to come. The importance of having a Buddhist University and Dharma Library will help tremendously future students at the Vajra-Vidya Varanasi Shreda.

Going to India during that time was not an easy task especially when one was in search of a teacher.  It was a common practice to bring along gold as offering to great Mahasiddhas in return for precious teachings.  Being born into a poor family, Marpa did not have the ability to raise any gold for his trip to India.  Therefore he sought out friends for help and finally he approached Nyür Lotsawa.  He told Marpa that if he did not have any gold, he might not be able to receive teachings from Mahasiddhas or Panditas in India.  This Nyür was not a good guy either.  He then told Marpa that he could share some gold with Marpa provided that Marpa became his attendant and servant.  Marpa agreed and they both proceed as planned.  When they arrived in Nepal, they looked around for teachers before proceeding into India.

Finally Marpa met a disciple of Naropa who told him the location where Naropa was residing.  Upon hearing the name Naropa, Marpa was filled with great joy, a good sign (of a root lama) to any Vajrayana Buddhist practitioners.  Marpa then told Nyür Lotsawa the good news with the hope that Nyür Lotsawa could go along with him.  But Nyür Lotsawa did not agree with Marpa.  He claimed that in India there were many other Great Mahasiddhas and Great Panditas and this Naropa was not any better.  He said that Marpa could go to Naropa alone, but without any gold pieces from him.

Then Nyür Lotsawa and Marpa went on separate ways from Nepal into India.  Marpa finally found Naropa and received the Yidam Kyepa Dorje practice from him.  Marpa practiced for 3 years in strict retreat with Naropa.  After the retreat, Marpa met Nyür Lotsawa.  These two old friends discussed the teachers they met and the teachings they received.  Marpa told Nyür Lotsawa that he had received the Kyepa Dorje Yidam practice from Naropa.  Detailed discussion on their practice revealed that Marpa had attained higher realization that Nyür Lotsawa.  This caused Nyür Lotsawa to become jealous of Marpa.  He then said that there was no big deal in the Kyepa Dorje Yidam practice.  He continued by saying that Sangwa Dupa (of Father Tantra group) was more profound than the Kyepa Dorje.

Marpa who had not received the Sangwa Dupa teachings went back to Naropa and told him about his encounter with his friend.  He then requested for the teaching from Naropa.

Again Marpa went into another 3 years retreat on the Sangwa Dupa Yidam practice.  After 3 years had passed, Marpa again met Nyür Lotsawa and both discussed their practice and level of attainment.  Again Marpa came out victorous.  Nyür Lotsawa then claimed that he had another better teaching from the Union Lineage, the Kalachakra Tantra.  This practice Marpa still had not aquired.  He requested the teaching from Naropa and meditated for 3 years.  Again after 3 years, he met Nyür Lotsawa and discussed the Kalachakra Yidam practice.  Again Marpa came out victorous.  Then Nyür Lotsawa said that both of them had already been in India for nine years and it was time for them to go back to Tibet.

Both of them departed together for Tibet.  On the way Nyür Lotsawa, out of jealousy, bribed an Indian Sadhu, responsible to ferry them across the Ganges River, to throw all the Dharma Texts of Marpa into the river when they reached the centre.  Nyür Lotsawa was jealous of Marpa because when they were coming to India, Marpa was only an attendant to him; but when leaving for home, Marpa was more learned.  The Indian Sadhu did what he had been instructed to do and his act made Marpa furious.  Marpa then decided to take the Sadhu to court to settle that matter in front of the King.  The Sadhu begged for forgiveness and told Marpa he should not be held responsible as he was only doing his job paid for by Nyür Lotsawa.

Then Marpa out of compassion realized that it was a sign that he had to stay in India, even though he had stored the teachings in his heart, the texts wre important to him.  Marpa thought the Indian Sadhu was indeed a good friend who encouraged him to go to India again to collect the texts.

All in all, Marpa Lotsawa went to India three times and his stay in India totaled 16 years.  He brought back to Tibet many Buddha’s teachings and later translated them into Tibetan.  Marpa had many disciples and among them were 4 main disciples as indicated in one of his dreams.  They were described as the 4 main pillars as they were the 4 great disciples who later propagated his teachings which flourished into the future.  Amongst the four was Milarepa who acquired the complete lineage transmission from the master, Marpa Lotsawa.
There were 3 special qualities in Milarepa.  He was born into a very rich family, but his father passed away when he and his sister were still young.  Before passing away, Milarepa’s father requested his brother to look after his assets and his family on his behalf and Milarepa’s uncle agreed.  There was also a will by Milarepa’s father stating that all his assets and belongings were to be returned to his family when his children grew up into adulthood.
Not long after the passing away of Milarepa’s father, the uncle out of greed took over all the assets and returned none to the family of Milarepa.  The uncle also treated them like servants. When Milarepa and his sister turn adults and requested his uncle to return all their father’s properties, the uncle lied that all those properties were his and Milarepa’s father merely borrowed them from him.  Therefore it was only appropriate that Milarepa’s father returned all of them to him when he died.  Then Milarepa’s uncle said that if they wanted the properties back, they had to arrange a large number of men to grab them back from him.  If they were unable to gather the men, then they would have to learn black magic to curse him and his family.  This further angered Milarepa’s mother who sent Milarepa to learn and practice black magic to revenge his father loss.

After many years of black magic studies, Milarepa was successful in his practice and ready to return for his revenge.  His vengeful action caused many deaths.  On top of it, he created hailstorms to destroy villages and hurt many more villagers he did not like.  After all that had happen, Milarepa realized that he had committed great sins and regretted all his negative deeds.  In order to cleanse his negative Karma he had committed, Milarepa sought for Buddha Dharma.  Someone recommended to Milarepa that he should seek teachings from a great master named Lhontun Haga.  Milarepa then found the great master and told him all the misdeeds he had done that reaped him tons of negative Karma.  He also told the master that he wanted to achieve realization to set him free from suffering resulting from his negative Karmas.  The Great Master then said that he had this profound teaching called the Dzogpa Chenpo (Great Perfection or normally called Dzogchen). This practice was so profound that if one practiced it in the morning, one would achieve enlightenment in the morning; and if one practiced it in the evening, one would likewise achieve enlightenment in the evening. Some people with pure Karma would achieve enlightenment even without the need to practice it at all.

Milarepa was so happy upon hearing what the master had said.  He immediately went to a cave and started to meditate.  While doing that, he thought to himself that he was a fortunate person to have met this great master and received from him this profound teaching.  He also thought that since learning black magic was of no difficulty to him, likewise this Dzogchen practice would not pose him any problem either.  Since he thought that was the case, he went to sleep without practicing at all.  After a few days, the master visited Milarepa to check on his progress.  He inquired if Milarepa had had any sign of accomplishment.  Milarepa responded, ‘No’.  The master then realized because of the heavy negative Karma, the Dzogchen teachings were of no use to Milarepa.  Because of this the master could no longer take Milarepa as his disciple as he had not the ability to liberate him.  The master then recommended to Milarepa another master by the name of Marpa Lotsawa.  Upon hearing the name of Marpa who was the disciple of Siddha Naropa, Milarepa was filled with great devotion and faith.

Milarepa then set out in search of Marpa Lotsawa and finally he found Marpa’s residence.  After putting Milarepa through many tests and hard work, Marpa transmitted to Milarepa the complete lineage teachings.  Milarepa practiced diligently and attained realization. 

Because of Milarepa’s great achievement in attaining realization, his disciples thought that he was an emanation of a Bodhisattva or a Buddha and wanted a confirmation from Milarepa.  They thought that if it were not the case, Milarepa could not have attained enlightenment in a single lifetime.  On the one hand, Milarepa’s disciples were worthy of praise for they held their Lama in the greatest regard and respect.  On the other hand, they held a wrong Buddhist view.  They had doubted the Buddhas and their teachings by thinking that Milarepa could manage to attain enlightenment in a single lifetime because he was some sort of emanation or reincarnation. 

In order to correct the thinking of his disciples, Milarepa told them all the negative deeds he had done.  Some disciples still did not believe him and kept thinking that he was an emanation of some great Bodhisattvas or Buddhas.  Milarepa then continued by telling them that he was not any emanation of any kind.  He was only an ordinary being who had created much negative Karma in killing and hailing storms that wiped out many villages.  To prove that he was worse than an ordinary human being, he recounted again the details of the negative deeds he had done to prove once more that he was not of any emanation or reincarnation of great Bodhisattva and Buddha.  Milarepa stressed that if one practiced diligently what one had learned from one’s Lama and had great faith and devotion in all the Lineage Lamas, then one should be able to achieve enlightenment like him.  This applied to all beings.  If one were to think that only human beings of such and such emanation could attain enlightenment, then one held the wrong perverted view, which contradicted the Buddha’s teachings. Therefore if any of his disciples practiced with pure diligence, then he would attain enlightenment one day.   For that, there was no doubt.

Why did the name Milarepa end with the word ‘repa’?  In fact, Milarepa’s original name was Mila.  After he received the teaching of the Six Yoga of Naropa from Marpa, Mila concentrated on one of the practices called the Yoga of Inner Heat (Tunmo).  From this practice Mila attained realization.  Also this Yoga practice enabled one to generate body heat warm enough to counter the cold blazing winds of Tibet.  When he meditated between the snowy edges of the mountains which were extremely chilling, Mila had no need for warm clothing to protect him from the extreme cold.  Mila was also known for not requiring any mattress or blanket when he slept in such harsh weather.  He merely wore a thin white cotton cloth throughout.  A piece of thin white cloth is called ‘repa’ in Tibetan.  That was how Mila became widely known as Milarepa.  He had many disciples who also bore the Repa title.  For example, Rechungpa and many others. 

After Milarepa, the Karma Kagyu Lineage was carried on by Dakpo Rinpoche (Gampopa Dakpo Lharje).

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Dedicated to the impeccable perpetuation of the glorious Kagyu lineage
and to the success of its leaders and followers in accomplishing their commitment
to bring all sentient beings to the state of enlightened awareness.

May all mother sentient beings, boundless as the sky, have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they be liberated from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be separated from the happiness which is free from sorrow.
May they rest in equanimity, free from attachment and aversion.

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