0
go back

Milarepa- Famous Yogis and Poets

By Devik Balami at
Milarepa

Ujetsun Milarepa was born in the mid 11th century in the village of Kya Ngatsa which is also known as Tsa, in Gungthang province. He was named Mila Thopaga early in his life which translates Joy to hear. He is a major figure in the history of Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism and is considered as one of the Tibetan's famous yogis and poets.

Brief life history of Milarepa

He was from Josay family, a division of the Khyungpo or eagle clan. His family was very reputable and descent in the village which also confirms the meaning of the word Josay. But when he was young, his father died. His uncle and aunt didn't care about Milarepa and his mother and took all of the family's wealth. Due to this behavior, Milarepa's mother requested him to study sorcery. Therefore, he leaves his home and studied sorcery.

He practiced a lot to learn about the sorcery and when he heard that his cousin was having the marriage and they were having a party to celebrate, he thought to get a revenge. Therefore, he summoned a giant hailstorm to demolish their house. In this act, 35 people were killed but his uncle and aunt survived the destruction. Seeing this the villagers were very angry, they set off to look for Milarepa but his mother warned about the motive of the villagers on time. Milarepa, in anger, also sent a hailstorm to destroy their crops.

Later Milarepa lamented his revenge, therefore he set out to find a lama to learn from him. In this process, he was let to Marpa, the Translator. He was known hard taskmaster then. It was very hard for someone to study under him. Therefore even Milarepa had to do things just to impress Marpa and make him agree to teach Milarepa. But all the efforts were in vain and lastly, Marpa's wife recommended Lama Ngogdun Chudor. Milarepa learned and practiced meditation but he realized that there was no progress. Upon analyzing the circumstances, Lama Ngogdun Chudor concluded that without the Marpa's approval, it was vain to hope for spiritual growth.

Milarepa returned to the Marpa and again tried to get approval as a disciple. This time Marpa agreed and took him as a student. He finally taught the spiritual teachings. After 12 years of hardship, he attained the state of Vajradhara or complete enlightenment. At the age of 45, he started to practice at Drakar Taso Cave which was later known as Milarepa's Cave.

Milarepa later lamented his evil works and hence he began to do the good deeds. Mostly his deeds took place in the homeland of Cho Kyi Dronma, the Samding Dorje Phagmo. Later he also wrote many songs which were compiled by Tsangnyon Heruka and sponsored by her brother, the Gungthang and King Thri Namgyal De.

As mentioned in the book, "Magic and Mystery in Tibet" which was written by French explorer Alexandra David-Neel, Milarepa boasted about having extraordinary skills. One of the skill helped him to reach certain distant location in a few days which would take more, before his training in sorcery. He also ascribed himself about his gift to the clever control of the Internal air.

Lineage

In the ancient times and even today, the learnings, wisdom, and knowledge are handed down to the future generation just to help the future generation to teach that knowledge. The spiritual teachings that Milarepa got were directly from Marpa Lotsawa. Marpa learned from his teacher Naropa and Naropa learned from the guru Tilopa. Also, Milarepa had many disciples and among them, Gampopa became his spiritual successor. Gampopa continued the lineage and became one of the main lineage masters in Milarepa's tradition. Hence this way the learnings, wisdom, and knowledge of this tradition is handed to future generation and they are learning the value as well.

Note: FYI, we also manage and sale huge collection of various period and regional Buddhist arts and statues of Thai Buddhas are one of them. Please feel free to visit our online Buddha statues gallery to know more about the Buddha statues.