Milarepa (tib. rje-btsun mi-la-ras-pa), (1052-1135) — born in a western province of Tibet nearby the Nepal border.
At a young age after his father’s death Milarepa learned magic from several lamas to punish relatives for taking away his entire fortune. After committing a crime he deeply regretted later on he started looking for a teacher in order to purify himself from all wrongdoing.
At the age of thirty-eight Milarepa became a disciple of Marpa Lotsawa (1012-1097) who took him but refuse to teach him. For six years Milarepa was treated like a slave doing the hardest work. When testing finished and negative karma was exhausted Milarepa received all the empowerment and admonition how to practice meditation in solitude.
This thangka depicts Milarepa, the key figure of Kagyu tradition. In heaven above him is full line of transmission starting with Vajradhara (the ultimate primordial Buddha), Tilopa and Naropa after him — the two great Indian mahasiddhas who taught Marpa the Translator.
At the bottom are two main protectors of Karma Kagyu lineage: wrathful Mahakala Bernagchen and Tashi Tseringma.