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Gampopa "the man from Gampo" (Tibetan: སྒམ་པོ་པ་) or Sönam Rinchen (Tibetan: བསོད་ནམས་རིན་ཆེན་, Wylie: bsod nams rin chen, 1079–1153), also known by the titles Dakpo Lharjé "the physician from Dakpo" (Tibetan: དྭགས་པོ་ལྷ་རྗེ་, Wylie: dwags po lha rje) and Daö Zhönnu, "Candraprabhakumara" (Tibetan: ཟླ་འོད་ཞོན་ནུ་, Wylie: zla 'od gzhon nu) established the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.
Gampopa, a physician from the premodern region of Dwagspo in southern Tibet, was the foremost student of Milarepa. Gampopa was renowned for the clarity of his perception and his knowledge of both Kadam and 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 Sönam Rinchen (bsod nams rin chen)."
Gampopa's position in the transmission lineage of the Mahamudra teaching is as follows:
- 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 Atiśa's Kadam teachings and Tilopa's Mahamudra teaching to establish the Kagyü lineage
This lineage sequence, taken together, is called the "Five Founding Masters" by the Kagyüpa.
Prior to studying under Milarepa, Gampopa had studied the Kadam school, which is a gradual path based on the lamrim teachings. He eventually met Milarepa and attained realization of ultimate reality under his guidance.
Gampopa wrote The Jewel Ornament of Liberation (Wylie: dam chos yid bzhin nor bu thar pa rin po che'i rgyan) and established various gompas, 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, founded by Düsum Khyenpa, 1st Karmapa Lama (1110-1193)
- Tsalpa Kagyu founded by Zhang Yudragpa Tsondru Drag (1123-1193) 
The succession of Gampopa's own monastery passed to his nephew, Dakgom Tsültrim Nyingpo (Wylie: 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
- Gardner, Alexander (December 2009). "Gampopa Sonam Rinchen". The Treasury of Lives: Biographies of Himalayan Religious Masters. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
- Martin, Dan (August 2008). "Barompa Darma Wangchuk". The Treasury of Lives: Biographies of Himalayan Religious Masters. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
- Martin, Dan (August 2008). "Pakmodrupa Dorje Gyelpo". The Treasury of Lives: Biographies of Himalayan Religious Masters. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
- Gardner, Alexander (December 2009). "The First Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa". The Treasury of Lives: Biographies of Himalayan Religious Masters. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
- Martin, Dan (August 2008). "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
|Kagyu school||Succeeded by
Dusum Khyenpa, Phagmo Drupa, Barom Darma Wangchug, Dagpo Gomtsul