The Four Teachings of Gampopa
Gampopa (1079 -1153 C.E.) was a great scholar and tantric practitioner at an early age. A physician by profession, he entered a happy marriage and fathered two children. Tragically, his wife and children died in an epidemic, after which he became a monk. Later, he began to dream of a “green” yogi (legend has it that Milarepa became green from eating only nettles). When they met, Milarepa’s first instruction to Gampopa was to drink a cup of chang (Tibetan beer). Gampopa hesitated—as a monk he was forbidden to drink alcohol—but Milarepa admonished him: “Don’t think so much. Just drink it.” Gampopa drained the cup and was embraced as a son by Milarepa.
Gampopa was the author of The Jewel Ornament of Liberation. In this text he merged and actualized the wisdom of his teachers and their lineages. Gampopa taught extensively, passing down his wisdom and realization through unbroken lineages and writings collected in five volumes. He is highly venerated and praised by all.
Gampopa’s Four Dharmas distill the essence of the Buddhist path into four profound lines that can be easily remembered:
Let my heart turn to practice.
Let practice become a path.
Let this path dissolve confusion.
Let confusion become wisdom.