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Milarepa, sfântul din munţi

Milarepa întrupează poetul, sfântul, ascetul şi stăpânul spiritual. S-a născut în anul 1040 în sud-
vestul Tibetului, într-o familie de nobili. Tatăl său a murit când el avea doar şapte ani. Împreună
cu mama şi sora sa, cad pe mâinile unui unchi şi unei mătuşi tiranici şi lacomi, care îi sărăcesc.
Când s-a făcut mare, să se răzbune, mama sa l-a trimis să înveţe magia neagră. Tânărul a pornit
spre Thun Lou Ka, regiune muntoasă sălbatică, în căutarea unui vraci priceput la vrăjitorii,
farmece şi incantaţii. Ajuns în faţa lui, Milarepa, i-a zis:
– Vrăjitor vestit, suntem trei persoane: mama, sora mea şi cu mine. Unchiul şi mătuşa mea, nişte
oameni de rând, şi câţiva vecini au devenit duşmanii noştri. Tratându-ne ca pe nişte animale, ne-
au adus în sapă de lemn. Nu aveam forţa necesară să ne apărăm. Din acest motiv, mama m-a
trimis să învăţ magia. Dacă mă întorc acasă fără să fiu în stare să realizez cea mai neînsemnată
magie, mama se va sinucide sub ochii mei.
– Primesc cererea ta şi a părinţilor tăi, a răspuns vrăjitorul. Eu cunosc tot
felul de vrăjitorii. Du-te şi construieşte o chilie pe creasta acestui munte,
unde să poţi recita incantaţia magică, timp de mai multe zile, complet izolat.
Foarte înzestrat, Milarepa stăpâneşte destul de repede această practică întunecoasă şi face să se
dărâme casa unchiului său în timpul căsătoriei fi ului lui, provocând
moartea a treizeci şi cinci de persoane. Datorită recitării unei alte incantaţii malefi ce, Milarepa
provoacă o ploaie cu grindină peste câmpurile satului, distrugând recoltele celor care nu-l
ajutaseră atunci când nu avea ce să pună pe masă.
Cuprins de profunde remuşcări şi de tristeţe, Milarepa, în vârstă de treizeci şi opt de ani, se
hotărăşte să studieze Dharma, pe lângă marele maestru budist Marpa, lama
laic, născut în anul 1012, în Lhobrak, la frontiera dintre Tibet şi Bhutan. El a primit în India
învăţăturile şi iniţierile celor mai importanţi maeştri ai budismului tantric,
cum ar fi Naropa, călugăr al faimoasei Universităţi din Nalanda, India. Pentru a-l ajuta pe
Milarepa să-şi purifi ce karma negativă, Marpa l-a supus la numeroase încercări, făcându-l să
construiască, apoi să demoleze mai multe turnuri din piatră, până ce spatele lui Milarepa s-a
umplut de răni. Nu i se oferă iniţierea timp de şase ani, având ca singură consolare prietenia
maternă a lui Dakmema, soţia lui Marpa. În cel din urmă, Marpa îl învaţă budismul. Îmbrăcat cu
un veşmânt simplu din bumbac, Milarepa trebuie să meargă în mai multe schituri izolate, în
munţi, pentru a practica meditaţia.
Marpa profetizează înaintea plecării discipolului său: „Pentru a te purifi ca de lucrările tale din
trecut, nu te-am iniţiat şi te-am supus unor încercări cumplite,
iar tu nu te-ai revoltat. De aceea, fi ii tăi spirituali vor fi nişte discipoli perfecţi, bogaţi înainte de
toate în credinţă, energie, înţelepciune şi compasiune. Detaşarea de plăcerile acestei lumi le va
permite să îndure în munţi duritatea meditaţiei. Stăpâniţi, în cele din urmă, de dragoste, iertare şi
de experienţă, ei vor deveni maeştri spirituali perfecţi.
Învăţătura Kagyupa, calea orală de transmitere, va lumina ca luna pe cer. Bucură-te, Milarepa!“
Karma reprezintă legea de la cauză la efect, adică legătura strânsă care există între un act şi
rezultatul acestuia. O acţiune negativă are ca singur rezultat suferinţa. O acţiune pozitivă are un
rezultat pozitiv şi fericit. Ea este înţelegerea că ceea ce noi experimentăm în această viaţă este
rezultatul actelor noastre anterioare şi
că ceea ce vom cunoaşte în viitor va depinde de acţiunile noastre prezente. Totuşi, ideea de karma
nu are nimic fatalist. Este foarte posibilă modifi carea karmei negative prin înfăptuirea unor acte
pozitive. Budismul ne ajută să nu mai cădem în capcanele obişnuite ale mentalului, cum ar fi
orgoliul, ura, gelozia, lăcomia, egoismul, ignoranţa... şi să le înlocuim, treptat, cu bunăvoinţă,
răbdare, iertare, generozitate şi bucuria altruistă în faţa fericirii aproapelui.
Ideea de karma nu este deci pesimistă, fatalistă sau statică, ea reprezintă legea naturală şi
adevărată a răsplatei pentru toate actele săvârşite.
De la vârsta de patruzeci şi cinci de ani şi până la moartea sa, în anul 1123, Milarepa va practica
doar meditaţia, împărtăşind învăţăturile sale a numeroşi discipoli. După nouă ani de meditaţie în
grotele din munţi, Milarepa reuşeşte să atingă starea de Trezire totală. Află de moartea mamei
sale, o primeşte pe sora sa, se împacă cu mătuşa lui, oferindu-i pământurile şi toate bunurile sale.
În faţa lui se manifestă diferite divinităţi tantrice, care îl ghidează în practica sa. El face multe
minuni. Poate traversa munţii, poate merge pe apă, plana în aer şi zbura la înălţime cu picioarele
încrucişate, poate rezista luni întregi fără mâncare şi băutură. El dobândeşte memoria vieţilor
anterioare, capacitatea de a mobiliza şi deplasa energia vitală prin diferite centre ale corpului
pentru a vindeca sau a ajunge la o transformare personală. Îşi dezvoltă puteri precum clarviziunea
şi poate deplasa obiectele fără să le atingă. Milarepa demonstrează astfel superioritatea spiritului
asupra materiei: diferenţa dintre Realitatea Absolută şi Realitatea Relativă.

Milarepa
“Sunt un yoghin care cântă de bucurie şi care nu doreşte o bucurie mai mare ca aceasta”

„Stăpâne, din Sfera solară a Graţiei Tale,


Luminoasele Raze de Lumină au strălucit,
Şi-au deschis larg petalele Lotusului Inimii mele,
Încât ea respiră parfumul născut din Cunoaştere,
Pentru care ţie-ţi voi fi mereu îndatorat.
Şi prin constantă veneraţie Te voi adora.
Binecuvântează-mă în eforturile mele,
Încât binele să revină fiecărei fiinţe,
Şi iartă vreun desfrâu al vorbelor mele.”

MILAREPA (mi la ras pa, tib.). (1025-1135). Numele lui se traduce prin „Mila,
Cel Înfăşurat în (Hainele de) Bumbac ale Asceţilor”. Yoghin faimos considerat a
fi persoana cea mai celebră din întreaga tradiţie spirituală tibetană. Ceea ce
fascinează şi uimeşte în cazul lui Milarepa este atingerea realizării spirituale
ultime, deşi el a practicat magia neagră şi a ucis mai mulţi oameni.

El s-a născut în vestul Tibetului, aproape de graniţa cu Nepalul. Când Milarepa avea şapte ani, tatăl său a murit şi
întreaga lor avere a trecut în mâinile unor rude lacome care s-au purtat foarte urât atât cu el cât şi cu mama sa.
Legenda spune că, pentru a împlini dorinţa de răzbunare a mamei sale el a pus în aplicare mai multe ritualuri de magie
neagră prin care, cu ajutorul forţelor naturii pe care deja le supusese, a ucis numeroase persoane.

Mai târziu, plin de remuşcări, el s-a întors către practica DHARMA-ei şi l-a întâlnit pe maestrul NYINGMAPA pe nume
Rongton. Acesta din urmă l-a trimis însă la cel care avea să-i devină cu adevărat maestru, la Marpa. Milarepa a devenit
discipolul lui Marpa la vârsta de 38 de ani însă, timp de şase ani a jucat rolul de servitor al maestrului.

Acesta l-a supus l-a nenumărate probe spirituale, unele ce păreau de o cruzime cumplită, cu scopul de a-l purifica de
KARMA negativă pe care o acumulase, pentru a putea astfel primi învăţăturile sacre. După ce întraega sa KARMA
negativă a fost purificată, Marpa l-a trimis pe Milarepa pentru a medita, timp de mulţi ani, izolat în grote, până când a
atins starea de BUDDHA.

Milarepa a primit de-a lungul acestor ani învăţăturile lui NAROPA, acordând o deosebită importanţă practicii dezvoltării
şi amplificării „căldurii interioare“ (gtum mo, tib.). După o perioadă de nouă ani de completă solitudine, el a început să
accepte discipoli.

Strălucirea sa i-a atras un număr foarte mare de discipoli, iar Milarepa şi-a câştigat renumele nu doar datorită
realizărilor sale spirituale, ci şi numeroaselor cânturi spirituale pe care le-a compus cu scopul de a ajuta fiinţele umane
să acceadă cât mai repede la starea de eliberare spirituală. Cel mai important discipol al lui Milarepa, care a şi continuat
transmiterea învăţăturilor spirituale din această linie, a fost Gampopa.

Viaţa lui Milarepa - copilaria şi tinereţea


Copilăria. Practica magiei negre. În cătarea unui Maestru spiritual.

Cel care avea să fie cunoscut mai târziu ca Milarepa, s-a născut în anul 1052,
în Tibet, sub numele de Thopaga (“Încântător de Ascultat”). Provenind dintr-o
familie bogată, Milarepa, împreună cu sora şi părinţii săi, se bucurau de
admiraţia şi respectul tuturor celor care îi cunoşteau. Când tatăl său, Mila-
Dorje-Senge s-a îmbolnăvit grav, a chemat întreaga familie pentru a face
cunoscute ultimele sale dorinţe. El voia ca proprietatea sa şi toate bunurile să
fie trecute în grija fratelui şi a surorii sale, până când Milarepa va creşte şi se
va căsători cu fata cu care fusese logodit încă din copilărie, conform tradiţiei
acelor timpuri. După moartea tatălui, mătuşa şi unchiul cei avari ai lui
Milarepa au împărţit întreaga avere între ei, deposedând-o pe văduvă şi pe cei
doi copii de toate drepturile. Au fost astfel forţaţi să trăiască în cele mai
precare condiţii, li se oferea mâncare foarte proastă şi erau trimişi să
muncească pe câmp. De-a lungul anilor sănătatea lor s-a şubrezit şi, din cei
mai îndrăgiţi oameni ai satului, au devenit obiectul batjocurii tuturor.

Şi-a distrus toţi duşmanii

Când Milarepa a atins vârsta de 15 ani, mama sa a pus laolaltă tot ce a putut
procura de la vecini şi a pregătit un festin, invitându-i pe toţi cei care fuseseră prezenţi la moartea soţului ei. A amintit
atunci surorii şi fratelui soţului său că ei fuseseră rugaţi să aibă grijă de avere pentru un timp, dar acum, pentru că
Milarepa a devenit major, proprietatea şi întreaga avere trebuie restituite. Însă rudele avare au pretins că ei fuseseră
primii proprietari, că ei de fapt împrumutaseră fratelui lor întreaga avere şi deci familia lui Milarepa nu avea nici un
drept. Mai mult, cu această ocazie ei au fost alungaţi din casa în care locuiseră întreaga viaţă. Pentru a se răzbuna pe
cei care îi ruinaseră viaţa, mama l-a trimis pe Milarepa să înveţe magia neagră de la un vrăjitor vestit, ameninţându-l
că altfel se va sinucide.

Milarepa a petrecut aproape un an studiind ritualuri de magie neagră de la acest


magician. La sfârşitul anului, i-a spus acestuia despre dorinţa de răzbunare a mamei
sale şi l-a rugat să îi ofere iniţierea într-un ritual prin care să poată îndeplini această
dorinţă. Cu ajutorul magicianului, el a pus în practică acest ritual timp de 14 zile, după
care zeităţile tutelare i-au apărut într-o viziune oferindu-i inimile şi capetele
însângerate ale 35 dintre rudele sale, mai puţin doi (chiar unchiul şi mătuşa sa). Vraja
lui Milarepa s-a manifestat la nunta unei rude când, din cauza unei diversiuni create
afară, caii din faţa casei au început să lovească foarte puternic în pereţi, până ce casa
s-a prăbuşit cu un zgomot teribil, provocând moartea tuturor celor prezenţi. Pentru ca
rudele celor ucişi să nu caute, la rândul lor, răzbunare, Milarepa a realizat un alt ritual
de avertisment, prin care a făcut ca o ploaie puternică însoţită cu grindină să distrugă
întreaga recoltă a duşmanilor săi. Magicianul şi-a lăudat discipolul, care dobândise
astfel reputaţia unui vrăjitor temut. Când mama sa a aflat de dezastrele produse, a
fost cuprinsă de o bucurie crudă, spunând tuturor ce fericire i-a oferit fiul ei,
provocând moartea şi distrugerea celor pe care îi dispreţuia atât de mult.

A trebuit să înveţe umilinţa perfectă

Însă Milarepa regreta profund toate faptele pe care mama sa îl obligase să le comită. Hotărât
să renunţe la orice nouă acţiunea rea şi, implicit, la magia neagră, Milarepa a plecat în
căutarea unui maestru care să îi ofere învăţătura cea adevărată, calea spre desăvârşirea
spirituală. A fost îndrumat spre marele yoghin cunoscut sub numele de Marpa Traducătorul.
Acesta era renumit pentru călătoriile sale în India, de unde aducea în Tibet învăţăturile sacre şi
fusese iniţiat de către faimosul yoghin Naropa.

Marpa avea capacitatea de a prevedea evenimentele viitoare, interpretând semnele ce se


manifestau în diferite situaţii. În acea perioadă a avut un vis prin care înţelese că urma să îl
întâlnească pe cel ce va deveni principalul său discipol, pe care trebuia să îl ajute să “ardă” o
mare parte din karma negativă ce o acumulase chiar în această viaţă, iar în final să îl conducă
la starea de iluminare. De aceea, încă de la început el s-a manifestat ca un învăţător dur şi
Viaţa lui Milarepa - asceza
Iniţierea şi asceza. Atingerea stării de samadhi

Însă într-o zi, descurajat, Milarepa se hotărî să plece în căutarea unui alt
maestru. I-a împărtăşit Damemei temerile şi planurile sale. Fiind de acord cu
decizia lui, aceasta i-a oferit câteva din lucrurile lui Naropa, care acum se
aflau în grija soţului său, şi l-a trimis la un alt Lama, se spune la fel de
evoluat spiritual, numit Ngogpa, care făcea parte din aceeaşi grupare
spirituală ca şi Marpa, pentru a i le dărui acestuia ca venind din partea soţului
său. A scris un bilet, prin care îl ruga pe acest Lama să îi ofere lui Milarepa
învăţăturile sacre, apoi l-a marcat cu propriul sigiliu al lui Marpa.

S-a întors să primească binecuvântarea maestrului

Ajuns la locuinţa noului său maestru, Milarepa i-a oferit acestuia darurile
sfinte aduse cu el şi i-a cerut învăţătura. Însă Ngogpa i-a promis că îi va oferi
ceea ce cerea abia după ce va realiza un ritual de magie neagră pentru a
apăra discipolii care veneau să-l vadă din satele mai îndepărtate, care, în
drumul lor către maestru, erau atacaţi şi jefuiţi de toate darurile pe care le
aveau la ei. Milarepa îşi regreta profund soarta pentru că, în loc să obţină
învăţătura spirituală pentru care venise, trebuia să comită în continuare acţiuni malefice. A reuşit în ritualul său, prin
care a provocat o mare inundaţie în acea zonă, iar localnicii au fost profund impresionaţi de puterea sa şi atacurile au
încetat; mulţi dintre jefuitori au devenit discipolii sinceri ai maestrului Ngogpa.

Respectându-şi promisiunea, Lama Ngogpa i-a oferit lui Milarepa iniţierea într-un ritual secret, după care l-a condus
într-o peşteră, a cărei intrare urma să fie blocată cu o piatră foarte mare, lăsând liberă doar o porţiune prin care să
poată primi hrană şi apă. Milarepa a început astfel meditaţiile sale zilnice, urmărind cu precizie şi perseverenţă
instrucţiunile oferite de noul său maestru. Cu toate acestea, deşi practica intens, nu a obţinut nici un efect sau
transformare spirituală. Când Lama i-a spus cu uimire că, în urma acestei iniţieri, şi după o practică atât de asiduă,
oricine ar trebui să obţină rezultate, el şi-a dat seama că motivul real pentru stagnarea sa spirituală era lipsa
binecuvântării adevăratului său maestru. În această perioadă, Ngogpa a primit de la Marpa o scrisoare prin care acesta
îl invita să ia parte alături de el la un mare eveniment religios. De asemenea, îl ruga să îi aducă înapoi discipolul.

A meditat continuu 11 luni

Când au ajuns cu toţii la casa lui Marpa, întregul “complot” a fost demascat, iar
Milarepa a fugit într-un colţ al casei pentru a scăpa de furia maestrului. Încă o dată,
se simţea plin de disperare şi teamă, iar gândul sinuciderii îi apăruse ca fiind singura
salvare. Însă Marpa nu era mânios, ba chiar a trimis pe unul dintre discipolii săi să îl
aducă pe Milarepa. Deşi plin de îndoială, Milarepa a acceptat să meargă şi, împreună
cu ceilalţi şi-a ocupat locul lângă maestrul său. Atunci Marpa a început să povestească
detaliat tot ce se petrecuse din momentul în care şi-a întâlnit devotatul discipol. A
mărturisit că, dacă reuşea să îşi aducă discipolul într-o stare de disperare profundă de
nouă ori la rând, va putea astfel să îl purifice complet de toată karma sa negativă.
Dar, din cauza înţelegerii greşite a soţiei, care a intervenit în planurile sale, a putut
face acest lucru doar de opt ori. Oricum, suferinţele pe care Milarepa le-a întâmpinat l-
au purificat de cea mai mare parte a greşelilor sale.

Acum Marpa l-a anunţat că îi va oferi în sfârşit acele iniţieri şi învăţături care
aduc eliberarea într-o singură viaţă, după care urma să îl închidă într-o
peşteră, pentru a-şi începe meditaţiile. Fără a şti dacă visează sau nu,
Milarepa îşi dorea ca această stare de bucurie inexprimabilă ce îi cuprindea
sufletul să nu se mai oprească niciodată. “Zilele fericirii au început” – spunea
el.

După ce a invocat zeităţile care guvernează succesiunea de maeştri spirituali


ai căii sale spirituale, Marpa i-a oferit discipolului său iniţierea în tehnicile de
meditaţie. Cu această ocazie i-a revelat lui Milarepa faptul că va avea, la
rândul său, discipoli plini de aspiraţie, inteligenţă, energie, conform răbdării şi
Viaţa lui Milarepa - asceza
Iniţierea şi asceza. Atingerea stării de samadhi

Însă într-o zi, descurajat, Milarepa se hotărî să plece în căutarea unui alt
maestru. I-a împărtăşit Damemei temerile şi planurile sale. Fiind de acord cu
decizia lui, aceasta i-a oferit câteva din lucrurile lui Naropa, care acum se
aflau în grija soţului său, şi l-a trimis la un alt Lama, se spune la fel de
evoluat spiritual, numit Ngogpa, care făcea parte din aceeaşi grupare
spirituală ca şi Marpa, pentru a i le dărui acestuia ca venind din partea soţului
său. A scris un bilet, prin care îl ruga pe acest Lama să îi ofere lui Milarepa
învăţăturile sacre, apoi l-a marcat cu propriul sigiliu al lui Marpa.

S-a întors să primească binecuvântarea maestrului

Ajuns la locuinţa noului său maestru, Milarepa i-a oferit acestuia darurile
sfinte aduse cu el şi i-a cerut învăţătura. Însă Ngogpa i-a promis că îi va oferi
ceea ce cerea abia după ce va realiza un ritual de magie neagră pentru a
apăra discipolii care veneau să-l vadă din satele mai îndepărtate, care, în
drumul lor către maestru, erau atacaţi şi jefuiţi de toate darurile pe care le
aveau la ei. Milarepa îşi regreta profund soarta pentru că, în loc să obţină
învăţătura spirituală pentru care venise, trebuia să comită în continuare acţiuni malefice. A reuşit în ritualul său, prin
care a provocat o mare inundaţie în acea zonă, iar localnicii au fost profund impresionaţi de puterea sa şi atacurile au
încetat; mulţi dintre jefuitori au devenit discipolii sinceri ai maestrului Ngogpa.

Respectându-şi promisiunea, Lama Ngogpa i-a oferit lui Milarepa iniţierea într-un ritual secret, după care l-a condus
într-o peşteră, a cărei intrare urma să fie blocată cu o piatră foarte mare, lăsând liberă doar o porţiune prin care să
poată primi hrană şi apă. Milarepa a început astfel meditaţiile sale zilnice, urmărind cu precizie şi perseverenţă
instrucţiunile oferite de noul său maestru. Cu toate acestea, deşi practica intens, nu a obţinut nici un efect sau
transformare spirituală. Când Lama i-a spus cu uimire că, în urma acestei iniţieri, şi după o practică atât de asiduă,
oricine ar trebui să obţină rezultate, el şi-a dat seama că motivul real pentru stagnarea sa spirituală era lipsa
binecuvântării adevăratului său maestru. În această perioadă, Ngogpa a primit de la Marpa o scrisoare prin care acesta
îl invita să ia parte alături de el la un mare eveniment religios. De asemenea, îl ruga să îi aducă înapoi discipolul.

A meditat continuu 11 luni

Când au ajuns cu toţii la casa lui Marpa, întregul “complot” a fost demascat, iar
Milarepa a fugit într-un colţ al casei pentru a scăpa de furia maestrului. Încă o dată,
se simţea plin de disperare şi teamă, iar gândul sinuciderii îi apăruse ca fiind singura
salvare. Însă Marpa nu era mânios, ba chiar a trimis pe unul dintre discipolii săi să îl
aducă pe Milarepa. Deşi plin de îndoială, Milarepa a acceptat să meargă şi, împreună
cu ceilalţi şi-a ocupat locul lângă maestrul său. Atunci Marpa a început să povestească
detaliat tot ce se petrecuse din momentul în care şi-a întâlnit devotatul discipol. A
mărturisit că, dacă reuşea să îşi aducă discipolul într-o stare de disperare profundă de
nouă ori la rând, va putea astfel să îl purifice complet de toată karma sa negativă.
Dar, din cauza înţelegerii greşite a soţiei, care a intervenit în planurile sale, a putut
face acest lucru doar de opt ori. Oricum, suferinţele pe care Milarepa le-a întâmpinat l-
au purificat de cea mai mare parte a greşelilor sale.

Acum Marpa l-a anunţat că îi va oferi în sfârşit acele iniţieri şi învăţături care
aduc eliberarea într-o singură viaţă, după care urma să îl închidă într-o
peşteră, pentru a-şi începe meditaţiile. Fără a şti dacă visează sau nu,
Milarepa îşi dorea ca această stare de bucurie inexprimabilă ce îi cuprindea
sufletul să nu se mai oprească niciodată. “Zilele fericirii au început” – spunea
el.

După ce a invocat zeităţile care guvernează succesiunea de maeştri spirituali


ai căii sale spirituale, Marpa i-a oferit discipolului său iniţierea în tehnicile de
meditaţie. Cu această ocazie i-a revelat lui Milarepa faptul că va avea, la
rândul său, discipoli plini de aspiraţie, inteligenţă, energie, conform răbdării şi
Milarepa, Tibet’s Great Yogi-Sage and Singing Saint
Tibet’s Great Yogi-Sage and Singing Saint, Milarepa (1040-1123)

Biographical text and endnotes copyright © 2006 by Timothy Conway.

---------

Milarepa (repa, “cotton clad”), “by far the most famous saint of Tibet,”[1]
established, with the help of his guru Marpa and his own disciples, the strongly
meditative, mystical and devotional Kagyü school of tantric Vajrayâna Buddhism in
Tibet.[2]

Jetsün Milarepa is universally venerated throughout that country as its most powerful
and heroic yogi-sage. He is certainly one of the most interesting and beloved figures
in all of spirituality—an outstanding exemplar of Jesus and the Buddha’s
commandment to “love thy enemy.” Mila’s case is paradigmatic: he overcame evil—
others’ evil and his own evil —to become a superhuman Buddha in one lifetime. His
is a life of sincere effort, tireless dedication, and amazing austerity culminating in
supremely enlightened wisdom and all-embracing compassion.

Born in southwest Tibet near the Nepal border,[3] Mila Thöpaga (“a joy to hear”) lost
his father Sherab Gyaltsen at age seven. Mila’s uncle and aunt were to care for Mila,
his younger sister Peta, and their bereaved mother, Nyangtsha Kargyen, but instead
the greedy kin took over the family estate and callously subjected Mila’s family to
servitude, persecution, and humiliation. Mila’s mother gave her son a terrible
ultimatum—either he learn black magic as a means to eliminate the uncle and aunt,
or she would commit suicide. And so Mila spent years training among black
magicians to the east, eventually returning with new sorcerer skills to wreak
vengeance, at the behest of his hapless, vindictive mother, on those who had so
disfranchised and hurt their family. With his magic power and the help of some
subtle-plane demon allies, he caused a house to collapse, killing 35 persons at a
party held by the aunt and uncle for his son—as fate would have it, only the uncle
and aunt were spared by the demons. Next, he created a bad hailstorm that
destroyed the villagers’ crops.

Now, with their attempts to find and kill him, and his own massive guilt tormenting
him over what he had done, a desperate Mila left home in search of a Buddhist
teacher who could help him completely atone for and overcome in one lifetime his
load of evil karma, otherwise he’d be going to hell for his misdeeds. He met Nyingma
Buddhist teacher Rongton, who sent Mila to meet householder sage Marpa Lotsâwa
(c.1012-98) at Trowo Lung in southern Tibet (near Bhutan).[4] Marpa had twice
bravely journeyed over the mountain passes down into India, spending 21 years in
all, to obtain initiations, teachings and texts from the tantric scholar-adept-monk
Nâropa (1016-1100).

Nâropa, a Bengali layman, married for eight years, studied Buddhism in the Kashmir
valley on and off from age 11 to 17; later, from 1049 to 1057 he served as abbot of
prestigious Nâlandâ Buddhist university in north India. He then left to practice tantra
for twelve long years of trials as faithful disciple under Tilopa (988-1069), a strange,
liminal thaumaturge, a former monk turned itinerant “crazy wisdom” mahâ-siddha
Great Adept, whom Nâropa had first met in a vision.[5] Tilopa allegedly was inspired
by the primordial Buddha, Vajradhara (Dorje Chang, prime Deity of the Kagyü
school) and directly given the mahâmudrâ (Great Symbol/Final Seal) teachings of
true awakening to Buddha-nature. Nâropa became deeply enlightened under Tilopa.
Marpa, who attended Nâropa for 16 years, brought back to Tibet the mahâmudrâ
wisdom and the nâro chodrug, “Six Yogas of Nâropa.”

A hefty, fiery, yet dignified man, Marpa “quarreled with his colleagues and
preoccupied himself with building and agriculture.” In their auspicious first meeting,
Marpa appeared incognito, plowing as a farmhand, to size Mila up, then formally
accepted him as disciple after hearing Mila’s past and testing him to see whether he
wanted spiritual instruction or a more comfortable life of food and lodging in the
Guru’s home. Mila vowed to do whatever it took to become a Buddha in one lifetime.
In their first six years together, Marpa (nearly 30 years older than Mila) treated Mila
like a servant: demanding, aloof, harsh, even seemingly cruel—he later admitted he
was only purifying Mila’s karma, his earlier sins of sorcery. For instance, a famous
episode tells of Marpa making Mila arduously build and then completely disassemble
not one but four successive buildings—for no good reason. Finally, a disconsolate
Mila, judging himself too evil to be given any teachings by Marpa, after almost
committing suicide in despair, left to find another teacher, despite repeated
reassurances from Marpa’s gentle wife Damema to stay and be patient. Though she
knew that her husband thought extremely highly of Mila, nevertheless, she forged a
letter of introduction for Mila to another teacher, Lama Ngogdun Chudor, under
whose tutelage he began to meditate.

Not making any progress, he confessed the forgery and the Lâma said that it is futile
to aim for spiritual growth without approval from one’s root-Guru. So Mila journeyed
back and was this time lovingly received by Marpa, who began to treat him as his
most honored spiritual son along with his own son, a saintly young man who
unfortunately died within a year or so.

Marpa granted Mila secret, powerful initiations into the loftiest levels of Buddhist
tantra view and practice. This tantra system aims to 1) divinize the yogi’s body,
speech, and mind through mudrâs/gestures, mantras, meditations and visualizations
of Vajradhara and other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas; and 2) help the male or female
yogin realize the highest spiritual truth: the illusory nature of all appearances and
the transcendent-immanent quality of Buddha-nature (buddhatâ, dharmakâya) or
Pure Awareness: utterly formless yet pervading all forms. This Awareness or Buddha-
nature is the “continuum” or “thread” (the literal meaning of tantra) underlying all
phenomena, just as a single thread unifies all the flowers of a garland or the beads
of a necklace.

Mila then meditated in virtual solitude for 11 months, supported by Marpa and
Damema, coming out only at his Guru’s behest for more teachings. He then returned
to the mountains for years of further meditation and austerities, interspersed with
visits from his Guru. Marpa made one last arduous trip to India to find Nâropa and
get a tantric teaching to benefit Mila’s practice.
In a classic style of thangka or Tibetan sacred painting, Milarepa is shown with his
Tibetan guru Marpa above his head, and the Indian tantra sages Tilopa and Nâropa
to left and right; Milarepa's disciple Gampopa is to the lower left, and, to the lower
right, the first Karmapa (head of the "Black Hat" Kagyü order of Tibetan Buddhists
founded or inspired by Milarepa)

The Mila Khabum, the candid autobiographical account given by Mila to his disciple
Rechung, tells how Mila was impelled by a sad dream of his mother and sister to go
find and comfort them; so, in a bittersweet farewell to Marpa and Damema,
reassured by Marpa that they would meet again in another world, Mila set out west
for home, but found only an empty house and his mother’s bones. He went into
samâdhi (meditative absorption) for an entire week to invoke blessings for his late
mother and father. Collecting alms from a few friends in the vicinity (and almost
being killed by the aunt and uncle when he chanced near their tents), he retired into
the big Dakar Taso cave in the nearby hills, vowing to refuse householder life for a
life of total renunciation and perpetual meditation.

The faithful Zesay, to whom Milarepa had been betrothed when they were children,
came to see him, and was deeply impressed by his spiritual vow. To her he offered
his deserted family home and field until his sister Peta could be found, but she
graciously refused. Mila’s conniving aunt then came to see if she could take the
property without being cursed by her nephew—he generously agreed and sang
spiritual instruction to her, fearless in the face of her insidious hints that he might be
killed. He not only forgave his aunt but actually thanked her and his uncle for being
the major factor in his turn to spirituality.

For the next several years, Milarepa, dressed in rags and then just a thin white
cotton cloth or utterly naked, meditated in the often freezing Himâlaya caves near
and on Chomolungma (Earth Mother Mountain, a.k.a. Mt. Everest), not too far from
the family home, honing an inner attunement to Spirit. He ate very little, for one
whole year subsisting only on nettle-broth amidst long periods of fasting; the nettles
turned his skin a greenish hue. It was Mila’s awesome mastery of the Nâropa yoga of
tummo that generates great inner heat, which kept him from freezing to death. In a
poignant scene, his sister Peta and Zesay came to visit him, shocked at the sight of
their emaciated kinsman. He inspired them with high-level spiritual teachings and
over subsequent meetings turned them into ardent practitioners. His aunt came to
him again, now sorry for her past sins; Mila gave her wise counsel that led her to
adopt a pure spiritual life. It was during this period that, near death from extreme
austerities, Mila opened an “emergency” scroll from Marpa: it presciently warned him
to sustain himself with more food. Doing so, Mila was energized to break through
into clear realization of the formless Void (Shîyatâ) at the heart of all existence and
master the inner kundalinî yogic process. Various paranormal siddhi powers began to
unfold in him. A great desire arose to go out and help liberate souls from their
suffering, but his inner Deity counseled him to further hone his meditative mastery.
Finally, his one earthen pot broke, bringing to absolute clarity the Buddhist teachings
on the impermanence of all phenomena. Milarepa underwent full awakening from the
egoic dream into perfect realization of Clear Light Awareness and its boundless,
interdimensional capacities.

The extraordinary Mila Grubum text, relating Milarepa’s career after his time with
Marpa, tells in its first part of many subtle-plane demons that repeatedly tried to
harm or distract Mila during his many years of solitary practice. The fearless Mila
compassionately gazed into their disturbed personalities and converted them into
Buddhist “guardian angels” by telling them of the law of karma, compassion and true
freedom. The Mila Grubum’s three parts feature his meeting, instructing, and
enlightening (to various levels of awakening) scores of humans and non-human
beings. Wherever Milarepa went, word of the great siddha yogi spread among
hunters and herders and then villagers and townspeople. He traveled all over Tibet
and Nepal, staying at a large number of caves, sanctifying them as shrines. “If you
meditate in these caves you will have solitude and favorable conditions. Go there and
meditate and you will have the blessings of my lineage.”

Milarepa manifested astonishing miracles—e.g., healings, control of physical


elements, levitation, bodily transformations, flying, bi-locating his form in remote
places simultaneously. Once he was challenged by a Bön shaman-yogi to a
wonderworking contest; to prove Buddhism a superior spiritual path to authentic
awakening, Milarepa agreed and easily “outperformed” him.

What most endeared Jetsün Milarepa in the hearts of the monks, nuns, yogis, laity,
royalty, peasants and merchants who visited him was his clear, authoritative spiritual
instruction on their behalf. He usually sang these counsels in lilting poetic hymns. A
stirring blend of sublimity and earthiness, soulful strength and gentle humor,
pervades these teachings. Many of his songs speak of the beauty of this dream-like
world, but underline the terrible danger of being enslaved by one’s unwholesome
karmas.

Scholar Reginald Ray sees Milarepa—in his penetrating wisdom and compassion, his
eccentric “mad yogi” ways and mocking of established religion, his awesome powers,
his unpretentiousness and his closeness to the people (often laughing and joking)—
as an indigenous Tibetan version of India’s fabled “84 Mahâsiddhas” (Tilopa, Nâropa,
et al.). “[He] did not know Sanskrit, and was relatively unlearned in the vast Indian
Buddhist academic traditions that so preoccupied many of his Tibetan
contemporaries. His songs reflect the amalgamation of indigenous bardic forms with
the Indian dohâ tradition [most notably, the songs of the 9th century mahâsiddha
Saraha]. His … mountain renunciate life … established a new, major contemplative
option in Tibetan Buddhism. Most important, through his … disciples, Mi-la-ras-pa
[Milarepa] left as legacy a lineage that has played a central role in the religious life of
Tibet.”

In his 84th year, Jetsün Milarepa knew he was ready to leave earth-plane existence.
A jealous, rich scholar-lama, Geshe Tsakpûhwa, tried to show he was more learned
than Milarepa but was instructed by Mila that mere learning is no great achievement.
Feeling humiliated, the Geshe made his concubine go offer Mila some tasty milk-curd
that he laced with poison. Mila, staying up at Drin Cave hermitage with disciples,
clairvoyantly knew of the Geshe’s intent to kill him, but also knew that it was time for
him to pass on—for he was old and his chief disciples were fully enlightened. So,
after insuring that the Geshe fulfilled his promise to give the concubine a valuable
turquoise, Mila went ahead and drank the poisonous curd. No illness seemed to
manifest. The curious Geshe came to see Mila and feigned sympathy when Mila
admitted to being quite ill. Mila, by miraculously transferring the toxic energy to the
nearby wooden door and shattering it, and then transferring just some of the same
energy to the insincere Geshe, stunned the man, reducing him to remorseful tears.

Mila forgave the Geshe, took on his sinful karma and counseled him on living a life of
piety and humility. Despite the illness, Mila then walked down to the town of Chûwar,
along the way showing a “multi-location” miracle of simultaneously appearing to his
disciples in various far-flung places. At the Driche Cave above the town of Chûwar,
Milarepa spoke his last spiritual instructions to a throng of devotees, sang a song of
gratitude and enlightenment, and then expired.

Spectacular interdimensional phenomena—rainbows, light shows, flower showers,


unearthly fragrances and sounds, seen around Milarepa on earlier occasions—this
time were seen in abundance as celestials honored him. Mila miraculously revivified
his corpse for the sake of his disciple Rechung (1088-1158), who had hastened
from afar to see his Master. Grief turned to joy as Mila sang for him one final song of
Truth. Then Mila dropped the body, resuming his Formless Dharmakâya Identity and
his subtle-energy Sambhogakâya “enjoyment” body for personally blessing and
guiding disciples and future followers. Dâkinûs, female deities, flew off with Mila’s
remains for themselves, leaving no relics in the cremation area, only a sphere of
light. A will left by Mila directed disciples to his “stash of buried gold”: they found
just a white cotton cloth, a lump of brown sugar, a cutting knife, and a note
explaining how these would be miraculously transformed by him so as to yield
unending pieces of cotton and sugar for all his devotees as talismans of blessing. The
note also joked, “for me, the entire cosmos has been transmuted into gold; no need
have I to tie gold up in hidden packets!” He lovingly, reassuringly promised eternal
guidance from on high to all who thought of him.

Milarepa had foretold that among his celestial disciples, goddess Tserinma, and
among his 27 fully awakened male/female human disciples, the Kadampa monk-
scholar-physician Gampopa (1079-1153) would be the two chief propagators of his
mahâmudrâ wisdom and the Kagyü school in Tibet.[6] The teachings were
synthesized by Gampopa and his successors (Pakdru Dorje Gyalpo, Jigten
Sumgön, et al.) as the “fivefold path of mahâmudrâ”: 1) generating selfless love,
compassion and bodhicitta (a mind of enlightenment for benefiting all beings); 2)
yidam visualization / Deity Yoga; 3) devotional Guru Yoga; 4) mahâmudrâ wisdom
realization; and 5) generous dedication of merit accrued from these practice for the
welfare of all beings.

These practices are the heart of the Kagyü school of Tibetan Vajrayâna Buddhism,
which has been spiritually led for the last 800 years by Tibet’s longest-running line of
tulkus (consciously reincarnating lamas), the Gyalwa Karmapas. (Karma Pakshi,
1206-83, the second Karmapa, was Tibet’s first declared tulku, or reinarnate
lama/guru.) All Karmapas and Kagyü practitioners look to Jetsün Milarepa as their
great inspiration.

*********
In this thangka image, Milarepa is shown surrounded by four of his leading disciples;
above his head sits Marpa, showering blessings; above and to the left and right are
the Indian tantric sages Tilopa and Nâropa. Above them all is Vajradhara, a
personification of the primordial Buddha-principle. Note that Milarepa is usually
shown iconographically with his hand to his ear. This symbolizes both his reception of
the secret tantra teachings/practices from the lineage via Marpa, and also his own
inner connection to the Source of all inspirational and liberating wisdom, which, in
turn, Milarepa expressed to his followers in his spontaneous songs of enlightenment.
Milarepa’s Songs and Teachings [7]

[A hymn of praise to Marpa when Mila was still practicing under him:] To the impure
eyes of those you seek to liberate, / you manifest yourself in a variety of shapes; /
But to those of your followers who’ve been purified, / You, Lord, appear as a
Perfected Being; obeisance to You! … In the heavenly radiance of Dharmakâya
[Absolute] Awareness, / there exists not shadow of thing or concept, / Yet It
pervades all objects of knowledge. / Obeisance to the Changeless, Eternal
Awareness. (Evans-Wentz, 137)
[Later odes to Marpa:] I pay homage to you, Marpa the Translator. / In the immense
sky of your compassion / are gathered from all sides the clouds of mercy / from
which fell the productive rain of grace. (59) Oh, my Guru, he who shows / the
unmistakable path to Liberation, / Perfect Savior, great Compassionate One, / never
leave me, ever remain / above my head as my crest-jewel! (75)

Indomitable perseverance / is the highest offering to my Guru. / The best way to


please him / is to endure the hardship of meditation! / Abiding in this cave, alone, /
is the noblest service to the Dâkinîs! (4)

I realize all forms are but illusions [mâyâ]. / I thus free myself from the illness of
ego-clinging, / I thus cut off the subject-object fetter [e.g., self-other, seer-seen,
doer-deed] of Samsâra [rebirth cycle], / and reach the Buddha’s realm, the
immutable Dharmakâya. (60)

In his solitary meditations, demons began to afflict him:] Ye local demons, ghosts,
and [troubled] gods, / all friends of Milarepa, / Drink the nectar of kindness and
compassion, / then return to your abodes. [But they wouldn’t leave, despite his
recitation of potent incantations. He finally declared:] Through the mercy of Marpa, I
have already fully realized that all beings and all phenomena are of the mind. The
mind itself is a transparency of Voidness. What, therefore, is the use of all this
[resistance], and how foolish I am to try to dispel these manifestations physically.
[He sang:] Though the storm on the snow peak is awesome, / I have no fear. /
Though the precipice is steep and perilous, / I am not afraid! / … Though demons,
ghosts, and devils multiply, / I am not afraid. / … Ye ghosts and demons, enemies of
the Dharma, / I welcome you today! / It is my pleasure to receive you! / I pray you,
stay; do not hasten to leave; / We will discourse and play together. / … We will pit
the Black against the White Dharma, / and see who plays best! [They all vanished in
the face of his confidence.] (4-7)

[On another occasion, a terrible army of hideous, malevolent demons threatened him
with destruction:] I take refuge in all gracious Gurus / and pay homage to them. /
Through mirages and illusions, / you pernicious male and female devils / can create
these fantastic terrors. / You pitiable demons and hungry ghosts / you can never
harm me. / Because your sinful karma in the past / has fully ripened, you have
received / demonic bodies for this life. / With minds and bodies so deformed, / you
wander in the sky [seemingly] forever. / Driven by the fiery kleías [defilements], /
your minds are filled with hostile and vicious thoughts. / Your deeds and words are
malignant and destructive. / You screamed, “Kill him! Chop him! Beat him! Cut him
up!” / I am a yogi who is devoid of [egoic] thoughts, / knowing there is no such thing
as mind. / … My body merges with the Body of Buddha, / my words are like the true
words of the Tathâgata [Buddha], / my mind is absorbed in the Realm of Great Light
[Buddhahood]. / I see clearly the void nature of the Six Consciousnesses [five senses
and mind] / … It is distressing and woeful that you ghosts and demons / should not
understand the Truth. / … All sentient beings who live by nourishment / are my
fathers and my mothers! / … Would it not be a happy and joyous act / if you were to
renounce your vicious thoughts? / Would it not be a blessed and joyful thing / if you
were to practice the Ten Virtues? /… By renouncing the Ten Evils / know that you will
win joy and liberation. / If you follow my teachings, / your accomplishments will
increase greatly; / if you practice the Dharma now, / everlasting joy will at last
enfold you. (13-16) [Most of the demons were converted to the path of good by this
song. A few were not, including the demon leader. So Mila sang:] The Law of Karma
never fails to function; / no one escapes from its ripening. / You are only bringing
trouble on yourselves, / you hungry ghosts, confused and sinful! / I feel only sorrow
and pity for you. / … Your sinful deeds led you / to the depths of the lower path. /
Turn back, my friends, from this ensnaring karma, / and try to attain true happiness
which is / beyond all hope and fear. / … You cannot understand the meaning / of
Ultimate Truth [that only Awareness exists]. / Listen, therefore, to the Expedient
Truth. / … All the Buddhas in the past, repeatedly admonished / with the eternal
truth of Karma: / every sentient being is one’s kinsman…. Outer hindrances are but a
shadow-show, / and the phantasmal world / a magic play of mind unborn. / By
looking inward into the mind is seen / Mind-nature—without substance, intrinsically
void. / … The inner truth of the Buddha / should be the object of meditation. / …
When in one’s own mind one ponders / on the original state of Mind, / illusory
thoughts of themselves dissolve / into the Realm of Dharmadhâtu [Absolute Totality].
Neither afflicter nor afflicted can be seen. / Exhaustive study of the Sûtras
[scriptures] / teaches us no more than this. [Hearing this, all the other demons
converted to goodness and began to honor and bless Milarepa in his work.] (17-19)

If one doesn’t practice Dharma, / however learned in the Doctrines one may claim to
be, / one is only self-deceived. / … For those who don’t guard their morals, / prayers
are but wishful thinking. / For those who don’t practice what they preach, / oratory is
but faithless lying. (16-7)

Mind has no substance; / it is void, less than a smallest atom. / When seer and seen
are both eliminated, / the View is truly realized. / As for the Practice—in the Stream
of Illumination, / no stages can be found. / Perseverance in Practice is confirmed /
when actor and acting are both annulled. / In the Realm of Illumination, / where
subject and object are one, / I see no cause, for all is void. / When acting and actor
disappear, / all actions become correct. / The finite thoughts dissolve in
Dharmadhâtu; / the eight worldly winds [loss-gain, pleasure-pain, praise-blame,
health-illness] bring neither hope nor fear. / When the precept and the precept-
keeper disappear, / the [moral] disciplines are best observed. / By knowing that the
Self-mind is Dharmakâya— / Buddha’s Body Absolute— / deed and doer disappear. /
Thus the glorious Dharma triumphs. / In answer to his disciples’ questioning, / this is
the happy song the old man sings! / … Perfection is attained through the Guru’s
grace; / this bounty is repaid by Dharma practice. (29-30)

The limits of the definite / limit understanding. / Drowsiness and distractions / are
not meditation. / … A constant flow of thought / is not Yoga. / If there be East and
West [the idea of direction], / it is not Wisdom. / If birth and death, / it is not
Buddha. // … Great faith, / reliance on a wise and strict Guru, / good discipline, /
solitude in a beings are eternally hermitage, / determined, persevering practice, /
and meditation— / these are the Six Ways leading to Liberation. // The Original
Inborn Wisdom is / the Primordial Sphere. / Without “exterior” or “interior” is the
sphere of Awareness; / Without brightness or darkness is the sphere of Insight; /
Omnipresent and all-embracing is the sphere of Dharma; / Without mutation or
transition is the sphere of Tig Le (Skt.: Bindu—here meaning the Essence or Absolute
Truth); / Without interruption is the sphere of Pure Experience / These are the Six
Unshakable Realms of Essence. / … May all at this delightful meeting [of disciples] /
drink the heavenly nectar of my song. / May everyone be gay and full of joy. / May
your pure wishes be fulfilled. / This is the silly song sung by this old man; / do not
belittle it, this gift of Dharma, / but with joyous hearts stride forward / on the Path of
the Blessed Doctrine! // … At the feet of the Translator Marpa I prostrate myself, /
and sing to you, my faithful patrons. / How stupid it is to sin with recklessness /
while the pure Dharma spreads all about you. / How foolish to spend your lifetime
without meaning, / when a precious human body is so rare a gift. / … How ridiculous
it is to beautify and deck the body, / which is a vessel full of filth. / How silly to strain
each nerve for wealth and goods, / and neglect the nectar of the inner teachings!
(31-4)

[Milarepa converted the clever but karma-caught demoness Draug Srin Mo with a
song; here are excerpts:] When I contemplate the rainbow-like [illusions of
existence], / I clearly realize the identity of Form and Voidness. / Of the nihilistic and
realistic wrong-views [heresies identified by the Buddha: thinking Emptiness means
mere nothingness and thinking beings are eternally existent], / I have no trouble.
(43-4) Habitual-thinking, clingings, and desires, / arising as they do from the Âlaya
Vijñâna [Storage Consciousness], / all vanish and return to the Âlaya. / …
Phantasms, hallucinations, and visions of demons, / all are produced from Yoga, /
and all go back and vanish into it again. / Should one cling to the reality of visions, /
he would be confused in his meditation. / If he knew not that all obstacles / reveal
the Void, the manifestation of Mind, / he would be misled in his meditation. / The
very root of all confusion / also comes out of the mind. / He who realizes the nature
of all outer forms, / he realizes that they are but illusory visions of mind. / He sees
also the identity of the Void and Form. / Moreover, to meditate is an illusory thought;
/ not to meditate is illusory, too. / It is the same whether or not you meditate. /
Discrimination of “the two” is the source of all wrong views. / From the ultimate
viewpoint there is no view whatsoever. / This is the nature of Mind. / … Enter the
non-distracted realm in meditation; / act naturally and spontaneously, / ever
conscious of the Essence. / Beyond words is the Accomplishment, free from hope and
fear. (52-3)

[Mila accepted from a patron some food, but refused a fur coat, despite the cold. He
sang:] As a child who loses his way home, / the confused mind wanders in the six
delusive realms [human, animal, deva heavens, demonic asura realms, ghost and
hell realms]. / By the force of illusory karma, / one sees a myriad visions and feels
endless emotions. / Sometimes I have illusory feelings of hunger, / therefore I
prepare my food and dinner. / … Sometimes I eat the food of Shûnyatâ [Voidness]; /
or I change my ways and do not eat at all. / At times when I feel thirsty, I drink pure
blue water; / at others, I rely on my own secretions. / Frequently I drink the flow
from the Fountain of Compassion; / quite often I sip enchanting nectar of goddesses.
/ Sometimes I feel cold, so I wear the clothes of the Two Channels [the polar
energies of inner kundalinî yoga]; / at others, Heat Yoga (tummo) gives burning bliss
and warmness. / … I am the Yogi Milarepa—an eagle among men. / … I soar to the
sky of Two-in-One [nondual] Suchness, / I sleep in the cave of transcendental Truth.
/ … I am a man who cares not what may happen. / I am an almsbeggar who has no
food, / a nude hermit without clothes, / … I have no place to lay my head; / I am the
one who never thinks of external objects / —the master of all yogic action. / Like a
madman, I am happy if death comes; / I have nothing and want naught. / … To a
yogi, all is fine and splendid! (62-3)

[To his sister, offended by his nudity:] Since I was born naked, I have no cause for
shame. Worldly people do not know how to feel shame. They feel ashamed of things
which are natural [e.g., a naked body] while unashamedly indulging in evil deeds and
hypocrisy that are truly shameful. (Lhalungpa 139) (see a song on this in Chang,
176)
Deep in the forest by man untrod, / I, Milarepa, happily practice meditation. / With
no attachment and no clinging, / Walking and tranquility [seated meditation] are
both pleasing. / Free from sickness and disorder, I willingly sustain this body of
illusion; / never sleeping, I sit in the comfort of quietude. / … Continuance in Heat-
Yoga without cold is indeed felicitous. / … Joyfully I follow the Tantric practice; / with
no effort I perfect the cultivation; / with no distraction whatsoever, / remaining in
solitude, I am truly happy. / … Happy is the illumination with no thought and no
mutation! / Happy the great bliss in the purity of the Dharmadhâtu [Infinite/Totality]!
/ Happy the non-ceasing Realm of Form! / This little song of great happiness / that
flows freely from my heart, / is inspired by meditation, by the merging of act and
knowledge. [Disciples asked him how this happiness resulted. Mila replied:] By the
realization of Mind. (70-1)

Here is the Bodhi [Awake] Place, quiet and peaceful. / The snow mountain, dwelling
place of deities, stands high above; / below, far from here in the village, my faithful
patrons live; / surrounding it are mountains nestling in white snow. / In the
foreground stand the wish-granting trees; / in the valley lie vast meadows, blooming
wild. / Around the pleasant, sweet-scented lotus, insects hum; / along the banks of
the stream / and in the middle of the lake, / cranes bend their necks, enjoy the
scene, and are content. / On the branches of the trees, the wild birds sing; / when
the wind blows gently, slow dances the weeping willow; / in the treetops monkeys
bound and leap with joy; / in the wild green pastures graze the scattered herds, /
and merry shepherds, gay and free from worry, / sing cheerful songs and play upon
their reeds. / The people of the world, with burning desires and craving, / distracted
by affairs, become the slaves of earth. / From the top of the resplendent Gem Rock,
/ I, the Yogi, see these things. / Observing them, I know that they are fleeting and
transient; / contemplating them, I realize that comforts and pleasures / are merely
mirages and water-reflections. / I see this life as a conjuration and a dream. / Great
compassion arises in my heart / for those without a knowledge of this truth. / The
food I eat is the Space-Void; / my meditation is Dhyâna —beyond distraction. /
Myriad visions and various feelings all appear before me— / strange indeed are
samsâra’s [worldly life's] phenomena! / Truly amusing are the dharmas [events] in
the Three Worlds [Desire, Form and Nonform; or physical, subtle, causal], / Oh, what
a wonder, what a marvel! / Void is their nature, yet everything is manifested. (65)

Manifestation, the Void, and Non-differentiation, / these three are the quintessence
of the View. / Illumination, Non-thought, and Non-distraction / are the quintessence
of the Meditation. / Non-clinging, Non-attachment, and complete Indifference / are
the quintessence of Action. / No Hope, no Fear, and no Confusion / are the
quintessence of Accomplishment. / Non-attempt, Non-hiding, and Non-discrimination
/ these three are the quintessence of Precepts. (69-70)

[To Buddhist nuns wanting instruction:] If you wish to become a Buddha in one
lifetime, / you should not crave the things of this life, / nor intensify your self-
longing, / else you will be entangled between good and evil, / and you may fall into
the realm of misery./ … When you engage in study and learning, / do not attach
yourself to words with pride … / When you have acquired Experience and Realization,
/ do not display your miraculous powers, nor prophesy… / Be humble and modest
and you will find your way. / […] Turn inward your mind, / and you will find your way.
/ When you meditate with perseverance and determination, / you should think upon
the evils of samsâra [the rebirth cycle] / and the uncertainty of death. / Shun the
craving for worldly pleasures; / courage and patience will then grow in you, / and
you will find your way. / … Beyond all else remember, at all times and places, / never
be overweening, nor of yourself proud, / else you will be overbearing in your self-
esteem / and overloaded with hypocrisy. / If you abandon deceit and pretense, / you
will find your way. / The person who has found the way / can pass on the gracious
teachings to others; / thus he aids himself and helps the others, too. / To give is
then the only thought / remaining in his heart.// […] All the manifestation, the
universe itself, is contained in the mind; / the nature of Mind is the realm of
illumination / which can neither be conceived nor touched. / These are the key points
of the [right] View. / Errant thoughts are liberated in the Dharmakâya [Absolute]; /
the awareness, the illumination, is always blissful; / meditate in a manner of non-
doing and non-effort. / These are the key points of Practice. / In the action of
naturalness / the Ten Virtues spontaneously grow; / all the Ten Vices are thus
purified. / By corrections or remedies / the Illuminating Void is never disturbed. /
These are the key points of Action. / There is no Nirvâna to attain beyond [as a
special state]; / there is no Samsâra here to renounce; / truly to know the Self-mind
is to be the Buddha Himself. / These are the key points of Accomplishment. / Reduce
inwardly the Three Key-points to One. / This One is the Void Nature of Being, / which
only a wondrous Guru can clearly illustrate. / Much activity is of no avail; / if one
sees the Simultaneously Born Wisdom [innate, eternal Wisdom, always with oneself
before and after birth], / he reaches his goal. / … It is my direct experience from
yogic meditation. / Think carefully and bear it in your minds, / Oh, my children and
disciples. (76-80)

[To some bejeweled young girls passing by, offended by his sight:] In these dark
days of the Kali-Yuga period, / deceitful people are honored like gods, / hypocrites
are prized more than gold; / true devotees are cast aside, like stones from off a
path. / Pity these poor ignorant beings. / … False teachers are preferred, authentic
teachers are ignored. / In the dreg-like remainder of these evil times, / good men
are not prized, but the wicked are. / In the eyes of gay young women, / not the
hermit, but the handsome is prized. / Unto the ears of youthful maidens, / prosaic
sermons on religion sound not sweet, / but love songs do. (Evans-Wentz, 218-9 and
Lhalungpa, 133-4)

I, the Yogi with the wish-fulfilling gem, / feel happiness and joy wherever I stay. /
Because of the fear of cold, I sought for clothes; / the clothing I found is the Vital
Heat. / Now I’ve no fear of cold. / … Because of the fear of hunger, I sought for food;
/ the food I found is the Samâdhi of Suchness. / Now I’ve no fear of hunger. /
Because of the fear of thirst, I sought for drink; / the heavenly drink I found is the
wine of mindfulness. / Now I’ve no fear of thirst. / Because of the fear of loneliness, I
searched for a friend; / the friend I found is the bliss of perpetual Shûnyatâ [Void,
Openness]. / Now I’ve no fear of loneliness. / Because of the fear of going astray, / I
sought for the right path to follow. / The wide path I found is the Path of Two-in-One
[Wisdom / Compassion]. / Now I do not fear to lose my way. / I am a yogi with all
desirable possessions, / a man always happy wherever he stays. (84-5)

The tigress howling with a pathetic, trembling cry, / reminds me that her helpless
cubs are innocently playing. / I cannot help but feel a great compassion for them, / I
cannot help but practice more diligently; / I cannot help but augment thus my Bodhi-
Mind. / The touching cry of the monkey, / so impressive and so moving, / cannot
help but raise in me deep pity. / The little monkey’s chattering is amusing and
pathetic; / as I hear it, I cannot but think of it with compassion. / The voice of the
cuckoo is so moving, / and so tuneful is the lark’s sweet singing, / that when I hear
them I cannot help but listen— / when I listen to them, I cannot help but shed my
tears. / … With joy flowing from my heart, I sing this happy song. / May the dark
shadow of all beings’ sorrows / be dispelled by my joyful singing. (85)

[To a group of heavenly maidens initially disguised as a flock of pidgeons:] Merging


the Self-mind with the Guru is indeed a happy thing. / Manifestation itself is the
essence of Reality. / Through the realization of this unborn Dharmakâya, / I merge
myself in the Realm of Non-effort. / … The nature of Mind is the Light and the Void. /
By realizing the awareness of Light-Void, / I merge myself in the original state of
Non-effort. / To good and bad experiences am I indifferent. / With a mind of Non-
effort, I feel happiness and joy. / The Six Senses and Sense Objects of themselves
dissolve [into the Dharmadhâtu], / where the Non-differentiation of subject and
object is realized. / I merge happiness and sorrow into one; / I enter the original
state of Non-effort. / … The very nature of the Dharmakâya / is identified through its
myriad forms; / the myriad forms are the Nirmânakâya [physical body] of Buddha. /
With this understanding in mind, / whatever circumstances I may encounter, / I am
free in the happy realm of Liberation! / To return to the home of Buddha
[Formlessness] / I have no longing! Happy indeed is this mind of Non-effort. // (88-
9) […] Though worldly happiness and pleasure seem delightful and pleasing, / they
soon will pass away. / Though high-ranking ladies are proud and exultant / in their
lofty dignity, / what refuge and shelter do they have? / To dwell in the fiery home of
samsâra / sometimes seems pleasant, but is mostly misery. // You must know that
Heaven is far from dependable; it is not eternal, and one should not rely on it. To be
born in Heaven is not necessarily a wonderful thing. […] Even though one reaches
the highest Heaven of the White Devas, / it has no permanent value and meaning! /
… However pleasant it may seem to be, / in the end comes separation. / Although
the bliss in Heaven seems to be very great, / it is merely a deceitful mirage, a
bewildering hallucination; / in fact, it is the very cause of the return to suffering!
[Because one did not get fully enlightened, one must eventually return to another
realm, as dictated by one’s other, non-deva karmic tendencies.] / Thinking of the
miseries of the Six Realms in samsâra, / I cannot help but have a feeling of …
anguish and distressed emotion! // (90-1) Should you intend to practice the teaching
of Buddha, / take refuge in the Three Precious Ones [Buddha, or awakening;
Dharma, the wisdom teaching; Sangha, the community of practitioners]. / Sentient
beings in the Six Realms / you should consider as your parents. / Give to the poor,
and offer to the Guru! / For the benefit of all, dedicate your merits. / Always
remember that death may come at any moment. / Identify your body with Buddha’s
body. / Identify your own voice with Buddha’s mantra. / Contemplate the Shûnyatâ
[Void] of self-awakening Wisdom, / and always try to be master of your mind! //
Inwardly practice concentration and contemplation. / The renunciation of external
affairs is your adornment. / … With self-composure and mindfulness, remain serene.
/ Glory is the equanimity of mind and speech! / Glory is the resignation from many
actions! / Should you meet disagreeable conditions, / disturbing to your mind, / keep
watch upon yourself and be alert: / keep warning yourself: / “the danger of anger is
on its way.” / When you meet with enticing wealth [or pleasure], / keep watch upon
yourself and be alert; / keep a check upon yourself: / “the danger of craving is on its
way.” / … Whatever you may meet in your daily doings, / you should contemplate its
void and illusory nature. / Were even one hundred saints and scholars gathered here,
/ more than this they could not say. / May you all be happy and prosperous! / May
you all, with joyful hearts, / devote yourselves to the practice of the Dharma! (92-3)

[To a tantric yogi:] To cling to the actuality of mind is the cause of samsâra [rebirth
cycle]; / to realize that non-clinging and illuminating Self-awareness / is unborn and
immanent, / is the consummation sign of the Stage of One-Pointedness. / If one
talks about the Two-In-One / but still meditates on from, / If one acknowledges the
truth of Karma / but still commits wrong-doing, / he is actually meditating with
blindness and passion! / Things, as such, are never found / in the true Stage of One-
Pointedness. / … The non-differentiation of manifestation and Voidness / is the
Dharmakâya / in which Samsâra and Nirvâna are felt to be the same, / It is a
complete merging of Buddha and sentient beings. / These are the signs of the Stage
of One Taste [one Absolute Awareness comprising all experiencing]. (98-9)

Easy it is to glimpse the Dharmakâya, / but hard to stabilize its realization. / If the
realization is stable, / the organs and senses move freely but do not cling. / … See
that all appearance / is like mist and fog; / though one has vowed to liberate all
sentient beings, / know that all manifestations / are like reflections of the moon in
water. (101-2)

[To a young shepherd interested in the mind, who became Milarepa’s disciple Repa
Sangje Jhap:] Clinging to the notion of ego is characteristic of this consciousness. / If
one looks into this consciousness itself, / he sees no ego; of it nothing is seen! (126)
… Those who practice the Dharma with their mouths / talk much and seem to know
much teaching, / but when the time comes for the perceiver to leave the deadened
body, / the mouth-bound preacher into space is thrown. / When the Clear Light
shines [for a precious moment in the intermediate bardo state, a chance for anyone
to awaken to the Absolute], it is cloaked by [the ignorant one’s] blindness; / the
chance to see the Dharmakâya at the time of death / is lost through fear and
confusion. / Even though one spends his life in studying the Canon, / it helps not at
the moment of the mind’s departure. / Alas! Those proficient yogis who long have
practiced meditation / mistake the psychic experience of illumination / for
Transcendental Wisdom, / and are happy with this form of self-deception. / [At
death] they are still in danger of rebirth in lower realms. / When your body is rightly
posed, and your mind absorbed deep in meditation, / you may feel that thought and
mind both disappear. / Yet this is but the surface experience of Dhyâna [meditation].
/ By constant practice and mindfulness thereon, / one feels radiant Self-awareness
shining like a brilliant lamp. / It is pure and bright as a flower, / it is like the feeling
of staring / into the vast and empty sky. / The Awareness of Voidness is limpid and
transparent, yet vivid. / This Non-thought, this radiant and transparent experience /
it but the feeling of Dhyâna. / With this good foundation, one should further pray to
the Three Precious Ones / and penetrate to Reality by deep thinking and
contemplation. / He thus can tie the non-ego Wisdom / with the beneficial life-rope
of deep Dhyâna. / With the power of kindness and compassion, / and with the
altruistic vow of the Awake-Heart, / he can see direct and clear / the truth of the
Enlightened Path, / of which nothing can be seen, yet all is clearly visioned. / …
Without arrival, he reaches the place of Buddha; / without seeing, he visions the
Dharmakâya; / without effort, he does all things naturally. (128-9)

[The monk-disciple Shaja Guna asked Mila about his realization:] I realized that
nothing is; / I freed myself from the duality of past and future; / I apprehended that
the Six Realms do not exist. / I was delivered once and for all from life and death, /
and understood that all things are equal. / … I realized as illusion all that I perceive,
/ and was freed from taking and leaving. / I realized the truth of Non-difference, /
and was freed from both Samsâra and Nirvâna. / I also realized as illusions the
Practice, Steps, and Stages. / My mind is thus devoid of hope and fear. (131) If one
sees something happen, it is merely clinging. / The nature of Samsâra is the absence
of substance; / if one sees substance therein, it is merely an illusion. (133) Is not
this life uncertain and delusive? / Are not its pleasures and enjoyments like a
mirage? / Is there any peace here in Samsâra? / Is not its false felicity as unreal as a
dream? /… Are not all forms the same as the Mind-nature? / Are not Self-mind and
the Buddha identical? / … The enlightened one knows that all things are mental. /
Therefore, one should observe one’s mind by day and night. / If you watch it, you
can still see nothing. / Fix then your [attention] in this non-seeing state…. All things
are of the Self-mind, which is void. / He who never departs from the Experience and
Realization [of the Void], / without effort has accomplished all practices of worship
and discipline, / in this are found all merits and marvels. (134-5)

[To the 15-year-old farm-girl Barbardom, soon a devoted disciple, one of his four
female heirs:] The Guru who indicates the true knowledge from without / is your
Outer Guru. / The Guru who elucidates the Awareness of Mind within, / is your Inner
Guru…. The illumination of the self-recognition of Mind-Essence / is the real
Initiation. (140) Meditate on the Vastness with no center and no edge…. Like the
ocean, infinitely great and unfathomably deep, / absorb yourself in deepest
contemplation. / Thus meditate on your Self-mind. (146) [She later came to him and
complained of being distracted by thoughts. Mila sang:] If you felt fine in meditating
on the sky, so be it with the clouds. / Clouds are but manifestations of the sky; /
Therefore, rest right in the sphere of the sky! / … Waves are but the movement of
the ocean; / if you can meditate well on that, why not on the waves? / Therefore,
dissolve yourself right in the ocean! / The disturbing thought-flow manifests the
mind; / if you can meditate well on that, so be it with the thought-flow! / Therefore,
dissolve yourself into the very Essence of Mind! (147-8)

[To some scholar-monks chiding him at a wayside inn for not outwardly saying
Buddhist prayers, etc.] The Three Precious Ones, supporting all / in the realm of
Non-doing Awareness— / I realize them all! / Why then should I pray to them? /
Happy is the practice of Yoga / without mantra and muttering! / … In the realm of
Great Illumination, / I have completely realized the Buddha of Non-existence, / and
so I need not practice the Arising Yoga! / … In the realm of Self-essence … / I have
no need to make the ritual offering. / Happy is the Yoga / in which the six sense-
organs relax at ease! / … The words and writing, the dogmas and logic / I absorb in
the Realm of Illuminating Consciousness. / For me, there is no need of learning. /
Happy is the experience of Yoga, / the source of all the Scriptures. (153-4)

[A rich young man, later Mila’s close disciple Repa Shiwa Aui, offered all he had to
Mila after seeing him walk on water; but Mila wouldn’t accept his clothes, his temple,
his angelic sister, or anything:] Do you not know that this world is transient and
unreal? / When you come before the King of the Dead / your rich man’s money is of
no avail. / The temple wherein I dwell is the inner unborn Mind… The experiences of
Bliss, Illumination, and Non-thought / are the lovely flowers in my garden! /
Encircling the pagoda of Ten Virtues / is my ditch of Voidness. / This is mine, the
Yogi’s temple. //… To have angelic [female] company on the Bodhi Path / is a wonder
and a marvel; / Yet … my wonder woman is the lust-free Shûnyatâ [Void]. / There is
compassion on her face, / and kindness in her smile. … This is my wife, the yogi’s
mate. / I have no interest in your samsâric women. //… Delight in pleasures is the
devil’s rope; / think, then, of death to conquer your desires. (173-82) [Mila later
taught Shiwa Aui:] Yearn not to become a Guru; / be humble and practice diligently;
/ never hope quickly to attain Enlightenment, / but meditate until you die. / … Seven
dangers you should watch: / falling into the [egoic] blissful peace; / using your
Buddhist knowledge to get food [or money]; / inflating yourself with pride of
priesthood; / falling into yogic madness; / indulging in empty speeches; / falling into
the trap of nothingness. (185)

The foundation of all Dharma practice lies in belief in the law of karma [what you
reap, you sow], and therefore it is very important for you to devote yourself
wholeheartedly to the elimination of harmful deeds and to the practice of virtue.
Even though I was at first incapable of understanding the meaning of Emptiness, I
trusted the law of karma. This is why, after having accumulated many crimes, … I
was compelled to venerate my lama and dedicate myself to meditation. [A disciple:
“I beg you to tell us if you are the incarnation of a Buddha or Bodhisattva.”] … Maybe
I am the incarnation of a being from the three lower realms, but if you see me as
Buddha you will receive his blessing by virtue of your faith…. Actually, there is no
greater impediment to your practice [than this kind of belief]. The fault lies in not
recognizing the true nature of the achievement of great yogins. The Dharma is so
effective that even a great sinner like myself has reached a stage not far from
[Buddha’s perfect] Enlightenment due to my belief in karma, my subsequent
renunciation of the aims of worldly life, and due especially to my single-minded
devotion to meditation.… It is possible for every ordinary person to persevere as I
have done. To consider a man of such perseverance [a Buddha reincarnate] is a sign
of not believing in the [Dharma’s] short path. Put your faith in the great law of cause
and effect. Contemplate the lives of enlightened teachers; reflect upon karma, the
misery of the rebirth cycle, the true value of human life, and not knowing the hour of
death. Devote yourselves to the practice of the Vajrayâna. (Lhalungpa 144-5)

As a result of my [years of] meditation, I have achieved total awakening wherein the
object meditated upon, the action of meditating, and the subject who meditates
merge into one, so that now I no longer know how to meditate. (Ibid., 146)

[A song to the jealous Geshe who later poisoned Milarepa:] [Since] the blessing of
my Lama penetrated my mind, / I have never been overcome by distractions. /
Having meditated on love and compassion, I forgot the difference between myself
and others. / Having meditated on my lama, / I forgot those who are influential and
powerful. / Having meditated constantly on my yidam [Deity], / I forgot the coarse
world of the senses. / Having meditated on the instruction of the secret tradition, / I
forgot the books of dialectic. / Having maintained pure awareness, / I forgot the
illusions of ignorance. / Having meditated on the essential nature of mind as Trikâya
[3 Bodies of Buddha: Absolute, subtle, physical], / I forgot my hopes and fears. /
Having meditated on this life and the life beyond, / I forgot the fear of birth and
death. / Having tasted the joys of solitude, / I forgot the need to please my relatives
and friends. / Having assimilated the teaching in the stream of consciousness, / I
forgot to engage in doctrinal polemics. / Having meditated on that which is non-
arising, non-ceasing, and non-abiding, / I disregarded all conventional forms. /
Having meditated on the perception of phenomena as the Dharmakâya [Absolute
Buddha-body], / I forgot all conceptual forms of meditation. / Having dwelt in the
unaltered state of naturalness, / I forgot the ways of hypocrisy. / Having lived in
humility in body and mind, / I forgot the arrogant disdain of the great. / Having
made a monastery within my body, / I forgot the monastery outside. / Having
embraced the spirit rather than the letter, / I forgot how to play with words.
(Lhalungpa 154-5)
[Excerpts from one of his last songs to disciples, at which the evil Geshe who had
poisoned him was present:] Without the inner consciousness of the Dharma, / what
is the use of memorizing the Tantras? / What is the use of meditating according to
instructions / if you do not renounce worldly aims? / What good are ceremonies /
without attuning your body, speech and mind to the Dharma? / What good is
meditating on patience / if you will not tolerate insult? / What use are sacrifices if
you do not overcome attachment and revulsion? / What good is giving alms / if you
do not root out selfishness? / What good is governing a monastery / if you do not
regard all beings as your parents? / … What good to lament my death / if you do not
heed my instructions? / … Without learning to love others more than oneself, / what
good are sweet words of pity? / Without uprooting delusion and desire, / what profit
in serving the Lama? (Lhalungpa 166)

[His last song:] … Without being guided by the true meaning of the Tantras, / all
your practices will lead you astray. / Without meditation according to the profound
instruction, / he who practices asceticism only torments himself. / He who does not
subdue desire and illusion / only speaks sterile and empty words…. / He who
accumulates no merit and seeks only his own liberation, reaps rebirth. / He who
doesn’t give up what he has accumulated for the sake of the Dharma / won’t achieve
perfection, however much he meditates. /… Selfish desires stir up the five poisons. /
… Humility leads to the highest goal. /… Realization of emptiness engenders
compassion. / Compassion abolishes the difference between oneself and others. / If
there is no duality between oneself and others, / one fulfills the aim of all sentient
beings. / He who recognizes the need of others will discover me. / He who finds me
will achieve Enlightenment. / To me, to the Buddha, and to the disciples / you should
pray as one, considering them as one. (ibid. 171-3)

[The concluding section of his very last words, sung to Rechung:] Lama [Guru],
Yidam [Deity], and Dâkinîs, three united in one—/ invoke them! / Perfect seeing,
contemplation, and practice, three united in one—/ master them! / This life, the
next, and the intermediate [the bardo states], three united in one— / unify them!
(Lhalungpa 182)

Endnotes
1. See W.Y. Evans-Wentz (Ed.), Tibet’s Great Yogi Milarepa: A Biography from the
Tibetan, being the Jetsün Kahbum or Biographical History of Jetsün Milarepa (Lama
Kazi Dawa-Samdup, Tr.), Oxford U. Press, 2nd ed., 1951; and Lobsang Lhalungpa
(Tr.), The Life of Milarepa, Boulder, CO: Shambhala ed., 1984, a more readable
version largely based on Jacques Bacot’s French translation of the Jetsün/Mila
Khabum. This wonderful Tibetan work purports to be Milarepa’s autobiography
recorded by his close disciple Rechung. For a complete translation of another
important text, “perhaps the most outstanding masterpiece of Tibetan literature,” the
Mila Grubum, with its 61 stories of Mila and extensive teachings, see Garma C.C.
Chang (Tr. & Ed.), The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa: The life-story and
teachings of the greatest Poet-Saint ever to appear in the history of Buddhism (2
vols.), Shambhala ed., 1977 (now in a new edition by Kessinger Publ., 2006; first
publ. in 1962 by University Books). Both the Mila Khabum and Mila Grubum
apparently were written by an unknown author, the “Mad Yogi of Tsang” (1452-
1507). See also Lama Kunga Rimpoche & Brian Cutillo (Tr.), Drinking the Mountain
Stream: Further Stories & Songs of Milarepa, Yogin, Poet, & Teacher of Tibet, NY:
Lotsawa, 1978, and Miraculous Journey: New Stories & Songs by Milarepa, Lotsawa,
1986 (the first has 18 selections, the second has 35 selections of songs and stories
of Milarepa not found in the Mila Khabum or Mila Grubum). A beautifully illustrated
children’s book is Eva Van Dam’s The Magic Life of Milarepa, Tibet’s Great Yogi,
Shambhala, 1991, excerpts at http://c-level.com/milarepa/. Reginald Ray, “Mi-la-ras-
pa,” Encyclopedia of Religion (Mircea Eliade, Ed.), NY: Macmillan, 1987. Milarepa’s
story is told at several websites: e.g., www.kagyu.org/karmapa/kag/kag05.html.

2. In addition to the Kagyü, three other major schools of Tibetan Buddhism persist:
1) the oldest, the Nyingma school (founded by the legendary Padma Sambhava
and his consort Yeshe Tsogyel in the 8th century); 2) the Kadam / Gelug school
(founded by Atisha, 982-1054 and Tsong Khapa, 1357-1419), which the Dalai
Lamas have led; and 3) the Sakya (f. by Konchok Gyalpo and son Kunga
Nyingpo in the late 11th century, based on the teachings of the yogin Drokmi).

3. The town of Kya Ngatsa or Tsa is in the highlands of Gungthang, a bit west of the
north side of Mt. Everest.

4. Nalanda Translation Committee, The Life of Marpa the Translator, Boulder, CO:
Prajna Press, 1982.

5. On Tilopa and Naropa, see Herbert Guenther, The Life & Teachings of Naropa,
Oxford U., 1972; Keith Dowman (Tr.), Masters of Enchantment: The Lives & Legends
of the Mahasiddhas (Robert Beer, illus.), Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 1988 /
London: Arkana, 1989.

6. See Gampopa, The Jewel Ornament of Liberation (Herbert Guenther, Tr.),


Berkeley, CA: Shambhala, 1971. Descriptions of the meetings and exchanges
between Milarepa and the 27 enlightened disciples can be found throughout the
Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa. Mila’s travels and meetings with disciples are
very briefly synopsized in Ch. 8 of the Jetsün Kahbum autobiography. An anthology
of hymns of gratitude and enlightenment by later Kagyü masters, read annually to
celebrate Milarepa, is the Kagyü Gurtso, “Ocean of Songs of the Ka-gyüs,” composed
by the 8th Karmapa, Mikyö Dorje, c.1542; an English transl. by the Nalanda
Translation Committee is The Rain of Wisdom, Shambhala, 1980. Of the many works
on the “fivefold path of mahamudra,” see Kunga Rinchen’s (1475-1527) Clarifying
the Jewel Rosary of the Profound Five-Fold Path, translated as The Garland of
Mahamudra Practices (Khenpo Könchog Gyaltsen & Katherine Rogers, Tr.), Ithaca,
NY: Snow Lion, 1986. A fine short synopsis of Kagyü mahamudra teachings is by
Garma C.C. Chang’s mentor, Lama Kong Ka, in “The Essentials of Mahamudra
Practice as given by the Venerable Lama Kong Ka,” in Chang (Tr.), Teachings of
Tibetan Yoga, University Books, 1963.

7. Except where a different translator is noted (e.g., Evans-Wentz or Lhalungpa’s


translation of the Mila Khabum), all translations are by Chang from the Mila Grubum,
with page numbers identified.

Milarepa
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For films with the same name, see Milarepa (film).

Milarepa statue, Pango Chorten, Gyantse, Tibet.


[show]

Part of a series on Tibetan Buddhism


Jetsun Milarepa (Tibetan: རེ་བཙུན་མི་ལ་རས་པ; Wylie: Rje-btsun Mi-la-ras-pa), (c. 1052-c.
1135 CE) is generally considered one of Tibet's most famous yogis and poets, a student of
Marpa Lotsawa, and a major figure in the history of the Kagyu (Bka'-brgyud) school of
Tibetan Buddhism.

The essence of Milarepa lies in his writings rather than the legends that have grown up
around him. The writings, often referred to as the Songs of Milarepa, are canonical
Mahayana Buddhist texts and in particular emphasize the temporary nature of the
physical body and the need for non-attachment. In contrast, the legends of Milarepa's life
are full of references to magic and lack the same sense of devout non-attachment. They
are popularly known from the romanticized biography Mi-la-rnam-thar by Gtsang-smyon
he-ru-ka rus-pa'i-rgyan-can (1452-1507); although they may be of questionable historic
validity, the biographical details given in this article are based upon this account or its
derivatives.

Contents
[hide]

• 1 Life
o 1.1 Supernatural running
• 2 Tutelage under Marpa
• 3 Lineage
• 4 See also
• 5 External links
• 6 Notes

• 7 References

[edit] Life

Born in the village of Kya Ngatsa - also known as Tsa - in Gungthang province of
western Tibet to a prosperous family he was named Mila Thöpaga (Thos-pa-dga'), which
means "A joy to hear." The name of his clan was Khyungpo, his family name was Josay.
When his father died, Milarepa's uncle and aunt took all of the family's wealth. At his
mother's request, Milarepa left home and studied sorcery. While his aunt and uncle were
having a party to celebrate the impending marriage of their son, he took his revenge by
summoning a giant scorpion to demolish their house, killing 35 people, although the
uncle and aunt are supposed to have survived. The villagers were angry and set off to
look for Milarepa, but his mother got word to him and he sent a hailstorm to destroy their
crops.
Many of Milarepa's deeds took place in Chokyi Dronma's homeland and his life and
songs were compiled by Tsangnyon Heruka, sponsored by Chokyi Dronma's brother, the
Gungthang king Thri Namgyal De. [1]

Milarepa later lamented his evil ways in his older years: "In my youth I committed black
deeds. In maturity I practiced innocence. Now, released from both good and evil, I have
destroyed the root of karmic action and shall have no reason for action in the future. To
say more than this would only cause weeping and laughter. What good would it do to tell
you? I am an old man. Leave me in peace."[2]

[edit] Supernatural running

According to the book Magic and Mystery in Tibet by French explorer Alexandra David-
Néel, Milarepa boasted of having “crossed in a few days, a distance which, before his
training in black magic, had taken him more than a month. He ascribes his gift to the
clever control of ‘internal air’.” David-Néel comments “that at the house of the lama who
taught him black magic there lived a trapa [monk] who was fleeter than a horse” using
the same skill.[3]

This esoteric skill, which is known as Lung-gom-pa ("Wind Meditation", lung = “wind,[4]
gom-pa = “meditation”[5]) in Tibet, allows a practitioner to run at an extraordinary speed
for days without stopping. This technique could be compared to that practiced by the
Kaihigyo Monks of Mt. Hiei in Kyoto, Japan.[6]

[edit] Tutelage under Marpa

Overlooking Pelgyeling Gompa at Milarepa's Cave, Tibet.

Knowing that his revenge was wrong, Milarepa set out to find a lama and was led to
Marpa the translator. Marpa proved a hard task master. Before Marpa would teach
Milarepa he had him build and then demolish three towers in turn. When Marpa still
refused to teach Milarepa he went to Marpa's wife, who took pity on him. She forged a
letter of introduction to another teacher, Lama Ngogdun Chudor, under whose tutelage he
began to practice meditation. However when he was making no progress, he confessed
the forgery and Ngogdun Chudor said that it was vain to hope for spiritual growth
without the guru Marpa's approval. Milarepa returned to Marpa, and after practicing very
diligently for twelve years Milarepa attained the state of Vajradhara (complete
enlightenment). He is said to be the first to achieve this state within one lifetime. He then
became known as Milarepa, which means the "Mila, the cotton clad one" (the suffix
"repa" is given to many tantric yogis since they wear white robes) At the age of forty-
five, he started to practice at Drakar Taso (White Rock Horse Tooth) cave - 'Milarepa's
Cave', as well as becoming a wandering teacher. Here, he subsisted on nettle tea, leading
his skin to turn green, hence the greenish color he is often depicted as having in paintings
and sculpture.

Pyenzhangling Monastery, also known as Pelgye Ling Gompa, is a small Tibetan


Buddhist monastery in a tiny village called Zhonggang, Tibet that is consecrated to
Milarepa. It is built around the cave where he once lived. "It was destroyed but has now
been rebuilt and decorated by Nepali artisans. This is one of many caves associated with
Milarepa between Langtang and Jomolungma."[7]

[edit] Lineage

A statue of Milarepa from the Milarepa Gompa, Halambu valley, Nepal.

Milarepa is famous for many of his songs and poems, in which he expresses the
profundity of his realization of the dharma with extraordinary clarity and beauty. He also
had many disciples, male and female [8],[9], which include Rechung Dorje Drakpa (Ras-
chung Rdo-rje Grags-pa), Gampopa (Sgam-po-pa) or Dhakpo Lhaje. His female disciples
include Rechungma, Padarbum, Sahle Aui and Tseringma [10]. It was Gampopa who
became his spiritual successor who continued his lineage and became one of the main
lineage masters in Milarepa's tradition.

[edit] See also

• Machig Labdron
• Milarepa's Cave
• the four karmas - the four enlightened activities
• Detachment
[edit] External links

• Biography on Kagyu website


• The life of Milarepa
• Milarepa meets Padampa Sangye
• The Magic life of Milarepa in comic book form.
• Text of 'Sixty Songs of Milarepa'
• Text, The Essential Songs of Milarepa
• Inviting the demon. (Milarepa, Tibetan Buddhism)(The Shadowissue) Judith
Simmer-Brown, Parabola Vol.22 No.2 (Summer 1997) pp.12-18
• Movie, Milarepa, 1 of 2
• Gallery of Milarepa

[edit] Notes

Bhutanese painted thanka of Milarepa (1052-1135), Late 19th-early 20th Century,


Dhodeydrag Gonpa, Thimphu, Bhutan

1. ^ see fn8 on page 3


2. ^ [1]
3. ^ David-Neel, Alexandra. Magic and Mystery in Tibet. New York: Dover
Publications, Inc., 1971 (ISBN 0-486-22682-4)
4. ^ Lung Ta - The Wind Horse
5. ^ Hopkins, Jeffrey. Cultivating Compassion: A Buddhist Perspective. Broadway;
1st ed edition, 2001 (ISBN 0-7679-0499-0)
6. ^ The run of a lifetime
7. ^ Dowman, Keith. 1988. The Power-places of Central Tibet: The Pilgrim's Guide.
Routledge & Kegan Paul, London & New York. ISBN 0-7102-1370-0, p. 282.
8. ^ [2]
9. ^ Rechungma
10. ^ Website of Gyalwa Karmapa, see: Women Disciples of Milarepa

Milarepa's Cave
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Overlooking Pelgyeling Gompa at Milarepa's cave, Tibet

Milarepa's Cave is a cave where the great Tibetan Buddhist philosopher and Vajrayana
Mahasiddha Milarepa spent many years of his life in the eleventh century, 10km north of
Nyalam in the roadside near a tiny village called Zhonggang in Tibet.

A path leads down from the roadside through the village and down a hillside where a
small monastery (gompa) named Pelgye Ling[1] has been built. (The name of the gompa
is sometimes spelt Phelgye Ling[2]). Milarepa's cave is entered from the gompa's
vestibule. Pilgrim's offerings of decorated stones along the path and sweet-smelling herbs
and wild flowers growing all around make this a place of great peace and beauty. The
cave itself is kept as a shrine by two monks, guarding a statue of Milarepa enclosed in a
glass case.

Restoration work within the cave and the monastery was undertaken by artists and
craftsmen from Nepal[3] and was financed by the Chinese government in the 1970's.
Milarepa statue, Pango Chorten, Gyantse, Tibet

[edit] In art

The cave and the Pelgye Ling temple hae been the subject of Richard Gere's artistic photo
work, Milarepa's Cave, Nyelam Pelgye Ling Temple, Tibet (1993).[4] I didn't heard the
story but i seen the movie.. this is a real story happen in Tibet.

[edit] External links

• Photos

1. ^ Tibet: Highlights in Brief


2. ^ Karl-Heinz Everding, "Tibet: lamaistische Klosterkulturen, nomadische
Lebensformen und bäuerlicher Alltag ...", p. 260. ISBN 3770148037
3. ^ Dowman, Keith. 1988. The Power-places of Central Tibet: The Pilgrim's Guide.
Routledge & Kegan Paul, London & New York. ISBN 0-7102-1370-0, p. 282.
4. ^ MARGARETT LOKE, "Art In Review" Column New York Times, November
28, 1997

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Detachment
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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For other uses, see Detachment (disambiguation).
The lotus symbolizes non-attachment in some religions in Asia owing to its ability to soar
over the muddy waters and producing an immaculate flower.

Detachment, also expressed as non-attachment, is a state in which a person overcomes


his or her attachment to desire for things, people or concepts of the world and thus attains
a heightened perspective.

Contents
[hide]

• 1 Importance of the term


• 2 Types of Detachment
o 2.1 Buddhism
o 2.2 Christianity
o 2.3 Hinduism
o 2.4 Jainism
o 2.5 Judaism
o 2.6 Taoism

• 3 References

[edit] Importance of the term

Detachment as release from desire and consequently from suffering is an important


principle, or even ideal, in the Bahá'í Faith, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism,
Jainism, Kabbalah and Taoism.

Translators of religious and philosophical texts have endeavoured to transfer the concept
of detachment or/and non-attachment[1] [2] from one language, and one culture, to the
other with more or less fortunate results. It is difficult, however, to come up with a word
that is able to reflect all shades of the ideal or principle and that can satisfy the
particularities of the diverse spiritual and philosophical cultural traditions.

In Buddhist and Hindu religious texts the opposite concept is expressed as upādāna,
translated as "attachment". Attachment, that is the unability to practice or embrace
detachment, is viewed as the main obstacle towards a serene and fulfilled life. Many
other spiritual traditions identify the lack of detachment with the continuous worries and
restlessness produced by desire and personal ambitions.

[edit] Types of Detachment


[edit] Buddhism
Main article: Nekkhamma

Regarding the concept of detachment, or non-attachment, Buddhist texts in Pali mention


Nekkhamma, a word generally translated as "renunciation". This word also conveys more
specifically the meaning of "giving up the world and leading a holy life" or "freedom
from lust, craving and desires."[3]

The writings of Milarepa, are canonical Mahayana Buddhist texts that emphasize the
temporary nature of the physical body and the need for non-attachment.

Detachment is a central concept in Zen Buddhist philosophy. One of the most important
technical Chinese terms for detachment is "wu nian" (無念), which literally means "no
thought." This does not signify the literal absence of thought, but rather the state of being
"unstained" (bu ran 不然) by thought. Therefore, "detachment" is being detached from
one's thoughts. It is to separate oneself from one's own thoughts and opinions as to not be
harmed mentally and emotionally by them.[4]

[edit] Christianity

Several stories in the New Testament teach the importance of detachment. Jesus made it
clear that attachment leads to worries and eventual ruin in the New Testament, Matt.
6:19-21 and Matt. 6:24-26. Other texts emphasizing non-attachment are:

• The Beatitudes - "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of
heaven"
• The Widow's Gift - a poor widow gave a humble gift of two coins but was
considered to be the most generous gift as it was everything she had.
• The Undetached Official - a rich man asked Jesus what else should he do outside
not committing adultery, not stealing, not bearing false witness, not defrauding,
honoring his father and mother -- to inherit eternal life. Jesus answered by saying:
"...sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor...". Upon hearing this the
official became sad, because he was not ready to give up so much.
The Christian teaching of life after death denotes an important concept where life on
earth is temporary and that everything that causes us to be selfish, such as material gain
and possessions, are inconsequential regarding our eventual destiny.

[edit] Hinduism

The Hindu view of detachment comes from the understanding of the nature of existence
and the true ultimate state sought is that of being in the moment. In other words, while
one is responsible and active, one does not worry about the past or future. The
detachment is towards the result of one's actions rather than towards everything in life.
This concept is cited extensively within Puranic and Vedic literature, for example:

One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord,
is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus is untouched by water.

—Bhagavad Gita 5.10:

[edit] Jainism

Detachement is one of the supreme ideals of Jainism, together with non-violence. Non-
possession/Non-attachment is one of the Mahavratas, the five great vows Jain monks
observe.[5]

[edit] Judaism

The Jewish teaching on detachment as mentioned in the Old Testament is: "You shall not
covet...anything that is your neighbor's... You shall not desire your neighbor's house, his
field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or anything that is your neighbor's.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also".

[edit] Taoism

The Tao Te Ching expressed the concept (in chapter 44) as:

Fame or Self: Which matters more? Self or Wealth: Which is more precious? Gain or Loss:
Which is more painful? He who is attached to things will suffer much. He who saves will suffer
heavy loss. A contented man is rarely disappointed. He who knows when to stop does not find
himself in trouble. He will stay forever safe.

[edit] References

1. ^ Charles Wilkins, English translation of the Bhagavad-Gita. 1785


2. ^ Wilhelm von Humboldt, German translation of the Bhagavad-Gitá. 1826
3. ^ entry for "Nekkhamma"
4. ^ The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch translated by Philip B. Yampolsky
5. ^ Five Great Vows