Milarepa is one of the lineage holders of the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. He is one of the heroes, one of the brave ones, a very crazy, unusual fellow. He was a loner who lived in caves by himself and meditated wholeheartedly for years. He was extremely stubborn and determined. If he could not find anything to eat for a couple of years, he just ate nettles and turned green, but he never stopped practicing.
One evening Milarepa returned to his cave after gathering firewood, only to find it filled with demons. They were cooking his food, reading his books, sleeping in his bed. They had taken over the joint. He knew about non duality of self and other, but he still did not quite know how to get these guys out of his cave. Even though he had the sense that they were just a projection of his own mind – all the unwanted parts of himself – he did not know to get rid of them.
So, first he taught them the dharma. He sat on a seat that was higher than they were and said things to them about how we are all one. He talked about compassion and shunyata and how poison is medicine. Nothing happened. The demons were still there. Then he lost his patience and got very angry and ran at them. They just laughed at him. Finally, he gave up and just sat down on the floor, saying, “I am not going away and it looks like you are not either, so let us just live here together.“
And at that point, all of them left except one. Milarepa said, “Oh, this one is particularly vicious.“ (We all know that one. Sometimes we have lots of them like that. Sometimes we feel that is all we have got.) He did not know what to do, so he just surrendered himself even further. He walked over and put himself right into the mouth of the demon and said, “Just eat me up, if you want to.“ Then the demon left too. The moral of the story is, when the resistance is gone, so are the demons.
From : Stand Where You Are
By : Pema Chodron
Once upon a time, a long time ago, and very far from here, a great Tibetan poet named Milarepa studied and meditated for decades. He traveled the countryside, teaching the practice of compassion and mercy to the villagers he met. He faced many hardships, difficulties, and sorrows, and transformed them into the path of his awakening.
Finally, it was time to return to the small hut he called home. He had carried its memory in his heart through all the years of his journey. Much to his surprise, upon entering he found it filled with enemies of every kind. Terrifying, horrifying, monstrous demons that would make most people run. But Milarepa was not most people.
Inhaling and exhaling slowly three times, he turned towards the demons, fully present and aware. He looked deeply into the eyes of each, bowing in respect, and said, “You are here in my home now. I honor you, and open myself to what you have to teach me.”
As soon as he uttered these words, all of the enemies save five disappeared. The ones that remained were grisly, raw, huge monsters. Milarepa bowed once more and began to sing a song to them, a sweet melody resonant with caring for the ways these beasts had suffered, and curiosity about what they needed and how he could help them. As the last notes left his lips, four of the demons disappeared into thin air.
Now only one nasty creature was left, fangs dripping evil, nostrils flaming, opened jaws revealing a dark, foul black throat. Milarepa stepped closer to this huge demon, breathed deeply into his own belly, and said with quiet compassion, “I must understand your pain and what it is you need in order to be healed.” Then he put his head in the mouth of this enemy.
In that instant, the demon disappeared and Milarepa was home at last.