Tibet (1052 - 1135) Timeline
Buddhist : Tibetan
Poems by Milarepa
Books - Links
The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, an extensive collection of stories and poetry from the life of Milarepa, is a central text of popular Tibetan Buddhism, in some ways comparable to the Bhagavad Gita in Hinduism and the New Testament within Christianity. His life stories and poetry are read devoutly even today to inspire determination in meditation and spiritual practice.
Milarepa's father died when he was still a boy, and the land that should have passed to him was seized by relatives who treated the young Milarepa and his mother and sister as slaves. After several years of this cruelty and hard labor, Milarepa's mother convinced the teenaged boy to study magic with a local sorceror in order to take revenge on their relatives. Milarepa was so successful in this purpose that, it is said, a great hailstorm occurred, destroying the house during a wedding ceremony, killing several members of the family. In the aftermath of this incident, Milarepa felt such guilt for his actions that he vowed to cleanse himself of the evil karma he had accumulated.
In his search for a pure spiritual teacher, Milarepa eventually met his guru, the Buddhist yogi and translator, Marpa, who was himself a disciple of the famous Indian Buddhist master Naropa. Marpa, seeing Milarepa's great potential mixed with dark karma, put Milarepa through many years of severe trials and tests before he would formally accept Milarepa as a student.
Milarepa then spent several years meditating in seclusion in remote mountain caves, struggling, at times, against the demonic forces of the mind, until he achieved the ultimate enlightenment.
Rejecting the formalism of religious position and the endless squabbles of theological discourse, he adopted the life of a mendicant, traveling from village to village, speaking directly with the people he met, singing spontaneous songs of enlightenment and wisdom.
Poems by Milarepa
- Response to a Logician
- Song to the Rock Demoness
- The Profound Definitive Meaning
- The Song of Food and Dwelling
- The Song of Perfect Assurance (to the Demons)
- The Song of the Twelve Deceptions
- The Song of View, Practice, and Action
- The Song on Reaching the Mountain Peak
- Upon this earth, the land of the Victorious Ones
The Magic Life of Milarepa
Several highlights from the life of Milarepa, illustrated by Dutch graphic artist Eva van Dam.
Milarepa, Yogi of Tibet - Buddhist Saint
Several stories from the life of Milarepa and a few brief poems.
KTD - Jetsun Milarepa
Brief summary of the life of Jetsun Milarepa. The site contains biographies of other bearers of the Kagyu lineage.
The Kagyu Lineage: Marpa the Translator and Milarepa
Biography of Milarepa and other teachers of the Kagyu lineage.
Life of Milarepa
An extended biography of Milarepa online. Elsewhere on the site they have a nice Milarepa image gallery.
The Essential Songs of Milarepa
Several of Milarepa's poems online.
Songs of Milarepa: Sung by Kashimey Geshe Nawang Jinpa
Listen to several of Milarepa's songs sung in Tibetan. This site also displays the words written in both English and Tibetan.
Sixty Songs of Milarepa eBook
Download this free eBook in PDF format from Buddhanet containing 60 of Milarepa's poems, translated by Garma C. C. Chang.