The four great pillars (Wyl. ka ba chen po bzhi) or four great students of Marpa Lotsawa are:
- Milarepa (1040-1123), the holder of Marpa's meditation or practice lineage.
- Ngok Chöku Dorje (1036-1102), the principal recipient of Marpa's lineages of explanation, and particularly important in Marpa's transmission lineage of the Hevajra Tantra.
- Tsurtön Wangi Dorje, the principal recipient of Marpa's transmission of the teachings of the Guhyasamaja Tantra. Tsurton's lineage eventually merged with the Zhalu tradition and subsequently passed down to Tsongkhapa who wrote extensive commentaries on Guhyasamaja.
- Metön Tsönpo