Guru Marpa Thangka Painting was the founder of the Kagyudpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Guru Marpa was born in 1012 A.D. in the region of Lobrak Tibet, right above the border of Bhutan.
In his childhood, he quickly learned reading and writing. Guru Marpa learned Sanskrit from Drogmi Lotsava who was well versed in the Path and Fruition doctrine of Sakyapa tradition.
Having been frustrated with his inability to learn more teachings from Drogmi he toured India three times via Nepal.
Guru Marpa had two Nepali Gurus, Paindapa and Chitherpa from whom he learned the Chakrasamvara and Chatuhpith Tantras for three years. These two Nepalese teachers gave Guru Marpa a great deal of dharma instruction and language.
Guru Marpa with his great zeal and assiduity learned the vast range of Tantric teachings from Naropa, Maitripa, Kukkuripa, and others. Guru Marpa came back to Tibet with these vast resources and taught his disciples extensively.
Among his disciples, Tibet’s great yogi Milarepa was the foremost and he had many outstanding disciples of his own through whom Kagyudpa lineage is continued uninterruptedly till today.
Guru Marpa is said to be a very fat one with hair standing five fingers straight up off his head and with an angry-looking face.
But in some commentaries of Venerable Karma Chagme, he is described as having matted hair and wearing a Chuba with big Chinese style sleeves and a large-cap.