Tagged: Milarepa

Jetsun Milarepa (Tibetan: རྗེ་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. He was a student of Marpa Lotsawa, and a major figure in the history of the Kagyu (Bka’-brgyud) school of Tibetan Buddhism.

The Profound Definitive Meaning

Milarepa (1052 – 1135)

For the mind that masters view the emptiness dawns
In the content seen not even an atom exists
A seer and seen refined until they’re gone
This way of realizing view, it works quite well

When meditation is clear light river flow
There is no need to confine it to sessions and breaks
Meditator and object refined until they’re gone
This heart bone of meditation, it beats quite well

When you’re sure that conducts work is luminous light
And you’re sure that interdependence is emptiness
A doer and deed refined until they’re gone
This way of working with conduct, it works quite well

When biased thinking has vanished into space
No phony facades, eight dharmas, nor hopes and fears,
A keeper and kept refined until they’re gone
This way of keeping samaya, it works quite well

When you’ve finally discovered your mind is dharmakaya
And you’re really doing yourself and others good
A winner and won refined until they’re gone
This way of winning results, it works quite well.

TRANSLATION : Marpa Translation Committee
LANGUAGE : Tibetan

The Song of Perfect Assurance (to the Demons)

Milarepa (1052 – 1135)

Obeisance to the perfect Marpa.

I am the Yogi who perceives the Ultimate Truth.
In the Origin of the Unborn, I first gain assurance;
On the Path of Non-extinction, slowly
I perfect my pwer;
With meainingful symbols and words
Flowing from my great compassion,
I now sing this song
From the absolute realm of Dharma Essence.

Because your sinful Karma has created
Dense blindness and impenetrable obstruction,
You cannot understand the meaning
Of Ultimate Truth.
Listen, therefore, to the Expedient Truth.

In their spotless, ancient Sutras,
All the Buddhas in the past, repeatedly
Admonished with the eternal Truth of Karma –
That every sentient being is one’s kinsman.
This is eternal Truth which never fails.
Listen closely to the teaching of Compassion.

I, the Yogi who developed by his practices,
Know that 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.
Through meditation in solitude, the grace
Of the Succession Gurus and the teaching
Of the great Naropa are attained.
The inner truth of the Buddha
Should be the object of meditation.

By the gracious instruction of my Guru,
Is the abstruse inner meaning of Tantra understood.
Through the practice of Arising and
Perfecting Yoga,
Is the Vital Power engendered
And the inner reason for the microcosm realized.
Thus in the outer world I do not fear
The illusory obstacles.

To the Great Divine Lineage I belong,
With innumberable yogis great as all Space.

When in one’s own mind one ponders
On the original state of Mind,
Illusory thoughts of themselves dissolve
Into the Realm of Dharmadhatu.
Neither afflicter nor afflicted can be seen.
Exhaustive study of the Sutras
Teaches us no more than this.

TRANSLATION : Garma C. C. Chang
LANGUAGE : Tibetan

The Song of Food and Dwelling

Milarepa (1052 – 1135)

I bow down at the feet of the wish-fulfilling Guru.
Pray vouchsafe me your grace in bestowing beneficial food,
Pray make me realize my own body as the house of Buddha,
Pray grant me this knowledge.

I built the house through fear,
The house of Sunyata, the void nature of being;
Now I have no fear of its collapsing.
I, the Yogi with the wish-fulfilling gem,
Feel happiness and joy where’er I stay.

Because of the fear of cold, I sought for clothes;
The clothing I found is the Ah Shea Vital Heat.
Now I have no fear of coldness.

Because of the fear of poverty, I sought for riches;
The riches I found are the inexhaustible Seven Holy Jewels.
Now I have no fear of poverty.

Because of the fear of hunger, I sought for food;
The food I found is the Samadhi of Suchness.
Now I have 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 have no fear of thirst.

Because of the fear of loneliness, I searched for a friend;
The friend I found is the bliss of perpetual Sunyata.
Now I have 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.
Now I do not fear to lose my way.

I am a yogi with all desirable possessions,
A man always happy where’er he stays.

Here at Yolmo Tagpu Senge Tson,
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 tears.

The varied cries and cawings of the crow,
Are a good and helpful friend unto the yogi.
Even without a single friend,
To remain here is a pleasure.
With joy flowing from my heart, I sing this happy song;
May the dark shadow of all men’s sorrows
Be dispelled by my joyful singing.

TRANSLATION : Garma C. C. Chang
LANGUAGE : Tibetan

The Song of View, Practice, and Action

Milarepa (1052 – 1135)

Oh, my Guru! The Exemplar of the View, Practice, and Action,
Pray vouchsafe me your grace, and enable me
To be absorbed in the realm of Self-nature!

For the View, Practice, Action, and Accomplishment
There are three Key-points you should know:

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 View.

Errant thoughts are liberated in the Dharmakaya;
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 ne’er disturbed.
These are the Key-points of Action.

There is no Nirvana to attain beyond;
There is no Samsara here to renounce;
Truly to know the Self-mind
It 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,
He reaches the goal.

For all practitioners of Dharma
The preaching is a precious gem;
It is my direct experience from yogic meditation.
Think carefully and bear it in your minds,
Oh, my children and disciples.

TRANSLATION : Garma C. C. Chang
LANGUAGE : Tibetan

The Song of the Twelve Deceptions

Milarepa (1052 – 1135)

Worldly affairs are all deceptive;
So I seek the Truth Divine.

Excitements and distractions are illusions;
So I meditate on the Non-dual Truth.

Companions and servants are deceptive;
So I remain in solitude.

Money and possessions are also deceptive;
So if I have them, I give them away.

Things in the outer world are all illusion;
The Inner Mind is that which I observe.

Wandering thoughts are all deceptive;
So I only tread the Path of Wisdom.

Deceptive are the teachings of Expedient Truth;
The Final Truth is that on which I meditate.

Books written in black ink are all misleading;
I only meditate on the Pith-Instructions of the Whispered Lineage.

Words and sayings, too, are but illusion;
At ease, I rest my mind in the effortless state.

Birth and death are both illusions;
I observe but the truth of No-Arising.

The common mind is in every way misleading;
And so I practice how to animate Awareness.

The Mind-holding Practice is misleading and deceptive;
And so I rest in the realm of Reality.

TRANSLATION : Garma C. C. Chang
LANGUAGE : Tibetan

The Song on Reaching the Mountain Peak

Milarepa (1052 – 1135)

Hearken, my sons! If you want
To climb the mountain peak
You should hold the Self-mind’s light,
Tie it with a great “Knot,”
And catch it with a firm “Hook.”
If you practice thus
You can climb the mountain peak
To enjoy the view.

Come, you gifted men and women,
Drink the brew of Experience!
Come “inside” to enjoy the scene –
See it and enjoy it to the full!
The Incapable remain outside;
Those who cannot drink pure
Beer may quaff small beer.
He who cannot strive for Bodhi,
Should strive for superior birth.

TRANSLATION : Garma C. C. Chang
LANGUAGE : Tibetan

Response to a Logician

Milarepa (1052 – 1135)

I bow at the feet of my teacher Marpa.
And sing this song in response to you.
Listen, pay heed to what I say,
forget your critique for a while.

The best seeing is the way of “nonseeing” –
the radiance of the mind itself.
The best prize is what cannot be looked for –
the priceless treasure of the mind itself.

The most nourishing food is “noneating” –
the transcendent food of samadhi.
The most thirst-quenching drink is “nondrinking” –
the nectar of heartfelt compassion.

Oh, this self-realizing awareness
is beyond words and description!
The mind is not the world of children,
nor is it that of logicians.

Attaining the truth of “nonattainment,”
you receive the highest initiation.
Perceiving the void of high and low,
you reach the sublime stage.

Approaching the truth of “nonmovement,”
you follow the supreme path.
Knowing the end of birth and death,
the ultimate purpose is fulfilled.

Seeing the emptiness of reason,
supreme logic is perfected.
When you know that great and small are groundless,
you have entered the highest gateway.

Comprehending beyond good and evil
opens the way to perfect skill.
Experiencing the dissolution of duality,
you embrace the highest view.

Observing the truth of “nonobservation”
opens the way to meditating.
Comprehending beyond “ought” and “oughtn’t”
opens the way to perfect action.

When you realize the truth of “noneffort,”
you are approaching the highest fruition.
Ignorant are those who lack this truth:
arrogant teachers inflated by learning,
scholars bewitched by mere words,
and yogis seduced by prejudice.
For though they yearn for freedom,
they find only enslavement.

TRANSLATION : Thupten Jinpa & Jas Elsner
LANGUAGE : Tibetan

Gyalwang Karmapa’s Teaching on The Life of Milarepa

SOURCE - Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya, report by Jo Gibson, photos taken by Karma Lekcho, Karma Norbu, Pema Orser Dorje

The second session of the first day began with a mandala offering to His Holiness, after which he resumed the oral transmission of The Life of Milarepa beginning at Chapter Seven, which is titled “Meditation”.

In Chapter Seven, in response to a question from his disciple Rechungpa, Milarepa describes the hardships that he underwent  when he went on a meditation retreat in the mountains for several months. He  took a sack of tsampa and dried meat with him, meditated for several months and then his provisions ran out. He was loathe to curtail his meditation practice so he decided to beg meat from local nomads and grain from farmers in the valley. Continue reading