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Gampopa Sonam Rinchen (Tibetan: སྒམ་པོ་པ་བསོད་ནམས་རིན་ཆེན, Wylie: sgam po pa bsod nams rin chen) (1079–1153) "Sonam Rinchen from Gampo" — who was equally well known in Tibet as Dagpo Lhaje (Tibetan: དྭགས་པོ་ལྷ་རྗེ, Wylie: dwags po lha rje) ("the Physician from Dagpo"), Nyamed Dakpo Rinpoche ("Incomparible Precious One from Dagpo"), and Da'od Zhonnu (Tibetan: ཟླ་འོད་ཞུན་ནུ, Wylie: zla 'od gzhon nu), (the Tibetan for Candraprabhakumara) — established the Kagyu school, one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism today, as an institution.
Another name for Gampopa was Ü-pa Tönpa. "Ü" is central Tibet, and "pa" means "person," so "Ü-pa" means a person who comes from central Tibet, and "Tönpa" means "teacher.".
Gampopa, a physician from Dagpo region in S. Tibet, was the foremost student of the Tibetan Buddhist teacher Milarepa. Gampopa was renowned for the clarity of his perception and his knowledge of both Kadampa and, later, Mahamudra methods.
He studied medicine as a youth, married a daughter of a man named Chim Jose Darma Wo (mchims jo sras dar ma 'od) and had a child, but they both died, causing him to renounce the householder's life.
In 1104, at the age of twenty-five he took ordination, either in Dakpo (dwags po) or in Penyul, at Gyachak Ri monastery ('phan yul rgya lcags ri), receiving the name Sonam Rinchen (bsod nams rin chen).
- Tilopa (988-1069), the Indian yogi who experienced the original transmission of the Mahamudra
- Naropa (1016–1100), who perfected the methods of accelerated enlightenment, described in his six yogas of Naropa.
- Marpa (1012–1097), the first Tibetan in the lineage, who translated the Vajrayana and Mahamudra texts into Old Tibetan
- Milarepa (1052–1135), poet and master who overcame Marpa's reluctance to teach but nonetheless attained enlightenment in a single lifetime
- Gampopa, Milarepa's most important student, who integrated Atisha's Kadampa teaching and Tilopa's Mahamudra teaching to establish the Kagyu school
This lineage sequence, taken together, is called the "Five Founding Masters" by the Kagyu followers.
Prior to studying under Milarepa, Gampopa had studied the Kadampa traditions, which is a gradual path based on the lamrim teachings. He searched for, and eventually met Milarepa, and attained realization of ultimate reality under his guidance.
Gampopa wrote The Jewel Ornament of Liberation and founded the Dagpo Kagyud school in 1125. It was the integrative teaching of Gampopa which unified Kadampa and Mahamudra teachings into the distinctive Kagyu approach.
Gampopa also established various monastic institutions, taught extensively, and attracted many students. Four of his disciples founded the four "major" Kagyu schools:
- Barom Kagyu founded by Barompa Darma Wangchug (1127-1194?) 
- Phagdru Kagyu founded by Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo (1110-1170)
- Karma Kagyu, also known as the Kamtsang Kagyu School, founded by Düsum Khyenpa the 1st Karmapa (1110-1193)
- Tsalpa Kagyu founded by Zhang Yudragpa Tsondru Drag (1123-1193) 
The succession of Gampopa's own monastery passed to his nephew Dagpo Gomtsul Tsultim Nyingpo (dwags sgom tshul khrims snying po) (1116-1169).
- Sgam-po-pa and Guenther, Herbert V. (trans). The Jewel Ornament of Liberation p. ix (Preface). Shambhala Publications (2001) ISBN 1-57062-614-6
- TBRC RID P1844
- Gampopa (1079-1153) Lifestory in details
- Gardner, Alexander (2009-12). "Gampopa Sonam Rinchen". The Treasury of Lives: Biographies of Himalayan Religious Masters. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
- Martin, Dan (2008-08). "Barompa Darma Wangchuk". The Treasury of Lives: Biographies of Himalayan Religious Masters. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
- Martin, Dan (2008-08). "Pakmodrupa Dorje Gyelpo". The Treasury of Lives: Biographies of Himalayan Religious Masters. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
- Gardner, Alexander (2009-12). "The First Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa". The Treasury of Lives: Biographies of Himalayan Religious Masters. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
- Martin, Dan (2008-08). "Zhang Yudrakpa Tsondru Drakpa". The Treasury of Lives: Biographies of Himalayan Religious Masters. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
- Gampopa (1079-1153) Lifestory in detail
- དྭགས་པོ་ཐར་རྒྱན། - Gampopa's Jewel Ornament of Liberation in Tibetan
|Kagyupa school||Succeeded by
Dusum Khyenpa, Phagmo Drupa, Barom Darma Wangchug, Dagpo Gomtsul