Recently, HH 17th Karmapa gave an eight day teaching on the Four Dharmas of Gampopa. Edited transcripts of the complete teachings are now available on this website (based on the original Tibetan and English translation). See links here:
‘Dismantling Artificial Boundaries’: Concepts of nations, ‘self’ and ‘other’; developing great love and compassion and ‘without borders’ ultimate nature. ‘Four Dharmas of Gampopa’ by 17th Karmapa (Day 8)
I will soon be compiling all into a single document (.pdf) and make available for free download.
As another offering to this Dharma activity on the life and works of Je Gampopa, here I translate and publish for the first time, a Supplication to the Dagpo Kagyu by the 15th Karmapa, Khakyab Dorje[i]. This will be followed shortly by a translation of a Supplication to Gampopa by the 7th Karmapa. In addition, there is a new section of this website dedicated to Gampopa and his works and other Kagyu lineages founded by his students (other than Karma Kagyu, for which there is already the section on the Karmapas).
The Dagpo Kagyu
The Dagpo Kagyu (dwags po bka’ brgyud) are called such because they originate from Gampopa (1079-1153), who was also known as Dagpo Lhaje (dwags po lha rje) “the Physician from Dagpo” and Nyamed Dakpo Rinpoche “Incomparable Precious One from Dagpo”. All the lineages of the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism surviving today, including the Drikung Kagyu, the Drukpa Lineage and the Karma Kagyu, are branches of the Dagpo Kagyu.
The term Dagpo Kagyu is sometimes used to refer specifically to the lineage of Gampopa’s own monastery of Dagla Gampo. This lineage passed from Gampopa to his own nephew Dagpo Gomtsul. Dagpo Tashi Namgyal (1511-1587) was an important lama in this lineage[ii] (see Bibliography below).
‘Four Primary and Eight Secondary’ lineages
In terms of the students of Gampopa who went on to found the so-called ‘Four Primary and Eight Secondary’ lineages of the Dagpo Kagyu School, there are:
The four primary sub-schools of the Dagpo Kagyu
- Tshalpa Kagyu founded by Zhang Yudrakpa Tsöndru Drakpa, whose main teacher was Wangom Tsultrim Nyingpo, a student of Gampopa.. He is also the founder of Gungthang monastery and had many learned students.
- Karma Kagyu or Karma Kamtsang founded by the first Karmapa, Düsum Khyenpa.
- Barom (‘Ba’ Rom) Kagyu founded by Barompa Darma Wangchug, a student of Gampopa. He was also the founder of Barom monastery in the northern Latö region of Tibet and the name of the tradition came from this.
- Phagdru (phag mo gru pa) Kagyu founded by Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo (phag mo gru pa rdo rje rgyal po, 1110–1170)[iii], who was one of the main students of Gampopa and is especially known for his realization and transmission of the Mahamudra lineage. He also founded a monastery in the Phakmo area, which was later called Densa Thil. Many additional schools of Kagyu lineage grew from Phakmo Trupa’s disciples (see below).
The eight secondary sub-schools of the Dagpo Kagyu
The eight secondary lineages (zung bzhi ya brgyad or chung brgyad) of the Dagpo Kagyu all stem from the Phagdru Kagyu tradition and were founded by senior disciples of Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo, or their immediate successors.
- Drigung Kagyu founded by Drigung Kyobpa Jikten Gönpo Rinchen Päl (1143-1217).
- Lingre Kagyu founded by Lingrepa Pema Dorje (1128-1188).
- Martsang (smar tshang) Kagyu founded by Marpa Drupthob Sherab Yeshe who established Sho Monastery (ཤོ་དགོན) in E. Tibet. His Holiness the twelfth Gangri Karma Rinpoche has begun the task of reviving Martsang Kagyu . In early 2009, he founded a Martsang Kagyu Dharma Center in Taiwan, and in the same year, held a commemoration to mark the 843rd anniversary of the founding of the Martsang Kagyu as well as establishing Martsang Kagyu International to organize and promote all Martsang Kagyu events and teachings.
- Shugseb Kagyu founded by Gyergom Tsultrim Sengge (1144-1204).
- Taklung (stag lung) Kagyu founded by Taklung Tangpa Tashi Pal (1142-1210). Taklung Shapdrung Rinpoche, is presently heads the lineage, along with Taklung Matul Rinpoche and Tsatrul Rinpoche.
- Trophu Kagyu tradition was developed by their nephew, Thropu Lotsawa. (khro phu) Kagyu was founded by Rinpoche Gyatsa, nephew and a student of Phakmo Trupa, and his disciple Trophu Lotsawa Champa Pal (1173-1225). Trophu Lotsawa founded the Trophu monastery and institute in the Tsang region of central Tibet and the name of the lineage derives from this.
- Yabzang (g.y’a bzang) Kagyu was founded by Zarawa Kalden Yeshe Senge (? – 1207 d.), a student of Phakmo Trupa, and his disciple Yasang Chöje Chökyi Mönlam (1169-1233). Yasang Chöje founded the Yasang or Yamsang (g.yam bzang) monastery in 1206 C.E. and the name of the lineage came from that. founded by Zarawa Kelden Yeshe Sengge (1168?-1207).
- Yelpa (yel pa) Kagyu was established by Yelpa Yeshe Tsek (1134-1194).
The Drukpa Kagyu Lineage
The Drukpa (‘brug pa) Kagyu was founded by Drupchen Lingrepa Pema Dorje (1128-1188), a student of Phagmo Trupa, and his disciple Chöje Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje, (1161-1211). They founded the first seat of this lineage, Namdruk Monastery in central Tibet. Later, Kunkhyen Pema Karpo (1527-1592) founded the Druk Sang-ngak Chöling in southern Tibet, which became the main seat of this lineage. Kapgön Drukchen Rinpoche, who lives in Darjeeling, India, is the present head of the lineage. This lineage, adopted as the state religion of the Kingdom Of Bhutan, originally was brought there by the great Drukpa Kagyu master Shaptrung Ngakwang Namgyal and flourished in Bhutan throughout the centuries. His Holiness Je Khenpo of Bhutan and the present King of Bhutan Jigme Senge Wangchuk are the head of Drukpa Kagyu in Bhutan.
The Zurmang Kagyu lineage
The Zurmang Kagyu originated from Trung Mase, a student of the 5th Karmapa, Dezhin Shegpa. As it explains on the Zurmang Kagyu website: “The great Jamgon Kongtrol in his Treasury of Knowledge explains:
The Zurmang tradition began with Mase Tokden Lodro Rinchen (b. 1386), also known as Trung Mase, who was a student of the fifth Karmapa Dezhin Shekpa (1384-1415). He received the transmission of the Chakrasṃvara Hearing Lineage. The succession of the incarnations of his students that have held the seat of the dharma lineage constitute the Zurmang Kagyu.
15th Karmapa’s Supplication to Dagpo Kagyu
In this supplication to the Dagpo lineage masters, which the 15th Karmapa composed at Tshurpu Monastery, it recites the places and names of some of the main Dagpo teachers including Saraha [Great Bhramin], Marpa the Translator, Milarepa [the laughing Vajra], Je Gampopa, the 1st Karmapa [the bald Khampa] and Karma Pakshi, 2nd Karmapa, Thegchog Dorje [6th Karmapa], Vajravarahi and Mahakala. It was composed at Tshurphu
jé lama nam la chaktsal lo pal dagpo kagyü la solwa deb
Bow down to the Lord Gurus! Glorious Dagpo Kagyu, I supplicate!
palchen gyi ri yi tsemo né khepa dramzé chenpo la solwa deb
From the peak of the spectacular, great mountain, wise Saraha [Great Brahmin], I supplicate!
lho dro lung gi shyalyé né marpa lotsawa la solwa deb
From the incomparable palace of the southern Drolung, Marpa Lotsawa, I supplicate!
dechen gyi sipé rolpa né wangchuk zhepa dorjé la solwa deb
From the playful display of cosmic, great bliss, powerful ‘Laughing Vajra’ [Milarepa], I supplicate!
མཆོག་བྱིན་རླབས་དངོས་གྲུབ་དཀྱིལ་འཁོར་ནས༎ རྗེ་སྒམ་པོ་པ་ལ གསོལ་བ་འདེབས༎
chog jinlab ngödrub kyilkhor né jé gampopa la solwa deb
From the mandala of supreme blessings and siddhi, Lord Gampopa, I supplicate!
shar tré shö gang kyi rawa né drubthob khampa usé la solwa deb
From the Eastern, Tresho Gangirawa, the bald, Khampa siddha [1st Karmapa], I supplicate!
nangsi wangdü kyi shyalyé né drubchen karma pakshi la solwa deb
From the palace of the condensed power of appearance-existence, mahasiddha Karma Pakshi [2nd Karmapa], I supplicate!
chöying kyemé kyi long yang né jé thek chok dorjé la solwa deb
From the expanse of birthless, dharmadhātu, Lord Thegchog Dorje [6th Karmapa], I supplicate!
nyimé chöjung gi shyalyé né yum dorjé pakpo la solwa deb
From the non-dual Dharmodaya , mother Vajravarahi [Dorje Phagmo] I supplicate!
tumdrak gi mé lung trukpa né mahakala chamdral solwa deb
From the raging fiery winds of intense heat, Mahākāla and retinue, I supplicate!
detar du solwa tabpé tü dak sok la sönam rab phel zhing
By the power of supplicating like this, may the merit of myself and others, totally flourish!
sangye kyi tenpa dar shying gyé semchen la dekyi phelwa dang
May the Buddha’s teachings increase and spread, and the blissful happiness of sentient beings grow!
rangzhin dakpa yi chökü sem namtok kün dechen ying su zhuk
The mind, naturally pure Dharmakaya, the expanse of great bliss in which all concepts remain!
tarpa chenpö lam chok tu né dechen gyi ngödrub dak la tsol
Abiding on the supreme path of great liberation, please bestow on me the great bliss of siddhis!
zhenyang chi nang dang sangwa yi barché malü zhiwar dzö
Moreover, please pacify, without exception, the outer, inner and secret obstacles!
chö dang tashi phelwa dang döpa tham ché drubpar dzö
May the Dharma and auspiciousness flourish and may all wishes be accomplished.
ཅེས་པའང་མཁའ་ཁྱབ་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཡིས༎ ལྕགས་འབྲུག་ལོར་འབུམ་འགྱུར་ཟླ་བ་ཡི་ཚེས་གསུམ་ལ་མཚུར་གྱི་གདན་ས་ནས༎ སྤྲུལ་པའི་སྐུས་མགུར་དུ་བླངས་པ་དགེ༎
In the iron-dragon year (1880), on the third day of the month of 100-thousand accumulations [Saga Dawa], from the seat of Tshurphu, the manifested form of this song was taken up by [15th Karmapa] Khakhyab Dorje. Virtue!
Translated and edited by Adele Tomlin, 12th January 2021.
“The rise of Changchub Gyaltsen and the Phagmo Drupa Period″ in Bulletin of Tibetology, 1981 Gangtok: Namgyal Institute of Tibetology 
Dakpo Tashi Namgyal; Elizabeth Callahan (translator) (2019). Moonbeams of Mahamudra (Tsadra) (1st ed.). Snow Lion.
Dakpo Tashi Namgyal; Traleg Kyabgon (translator) (2016). Moonbeams of Mahamudra: The Classic Meditation Manual (1st ed.). Australia: Shogam Publications.
[i] Dwags po bka’ brgyud gsol ‘debs/ In Karma pa sku phreng rim byon gyi gsung ‘bum phyogs bsgrigs/ 52-53, Volume 95, TBRC W3PD1288.
[ii] Dakpo Tashi Namgyal (Dakpo Paṇchen Tashi Namgyel, dwags po paN chen bkra shis rnam rgyal) (1511, 1512, or 1513–1587) was a lineage holder of the Dagpo Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. He was also trained in the Sakya lineage, and “was renowned as both a scholar and yogi. Later in life he served as chief abbot of the Kagyu Daklha Gampo Monastery in southern Tibet. His “most famous works” were two Mahamudra texts, Moonlight of Mahamudra and Clarifying the Natural State. He was one of the teachers of Mikyö Dorje, the 8th Karmapa Lama.
[iii] Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo (phag mo gru pa rdo rje rgyal po) [1110-1170], was one of the three main disciples of Gampopa Sonam Rinchen who established the Dagpo Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism; and a disciple of Sachen Kunga Nyingpo [1092-1158] one of the founders of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism. He was the elder brother of Kathog Dampa Deshek [1122-1192], who founded Kathog monastery and the Kathog branch of the Nyingma school.