Milarepa, Milarepa poetry, Buddhist, Buddhist poetry, Tibetan poetry,  poetry,  poetry Milarepa
Tibet (1052 - 1135) Timeline
Buddhist : Tibetan

Poems by Milarepa
Books - Links

Milarepa (often referred to as Jetsun Milarepa, meaning Milarepa the Revered One) is the central figure of early Tibetan Buddhism. He was a Buddhist saint, a yogi, a sorcerer, a trickster, a wanderer, and a poet. He is both folk hero and cultural preceptor, the embodiment of the ideal in Tibetan Buddhism.

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. His life stories and poetry are read devoutly 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 sorcerer 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

Recommended Books: Milarepa

Songs of Spiritual Experience: Tibetan Buddhist Poems of Insight & Awakening The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa: The Life-Story and Teachings of the Greatest Poet-Saint Ever to Appear in the History of Buddhism Songs of Milarepa: (Dover Thrift Edition) Drinking the Mountain Stream: Songs of Tibet's Beloved Saint, Milarepa The Life of Milarepa: A New Translation from the Tibetan
Magnificent Trickster: The Story of Milarepa Tibet's Great Yogi Milarepa: A Biography from the Tibetan

Related Links

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.