Sep 08 2017

Milarepa – The Profound Definitive Meaning

Published by at 9:12 am under Poetry

The Profound Definitive Meaning
by Milarepa

English version by Marpa Translation Committee

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.

/ Image by Hartwig HKD /

A seer and seen refined until they’re gone…

Witness and thing witnessed. Look deeply enough, with your whole being, and the two merge. The object disappears into you. You disappear into it. Seer and seen are gone! What is left but a field living awareness?

…it works quite well.

A few words of special meaning–

Samaya are the vows of initiation within Vajrayana Buddhism. The phrase about keeping samaya is a reference to upholding one’s spiritual vows. But the poet is speaking of the vows as mental and energetic discipline. Seeing how all the categories of mind and philosophy vanish into space, one is no longer a keeper of vows and the vows are no longer there to be kept. Those vows are a way of navigating the confusions of the mind. When the mind settles, the truth simply is and there are no misperceptions to stumble through. That is the real way to fulfill the vows of samaya.

Dharmakaya can be translated as the “body of truth.” It is the perceived re-integrated wholeness of reality. Discovering that your mind is dharmakaya is the goal. One who attains this state of realization might be said to have “won.” Not just glimpsing this goal, but refining self and experience until the artificial distinction is lost. One becomes it, and it becomes oneself, until there is no goal and no separate self that attains. We are left with a boundless Reality that simply is, everywhere, and no artificially separate viewpoint that claims victory.

This way… it works quite well.

Who knows what adventure an open glance at the world might initiate?

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
More Books >>

Milarepa, Milarepa poetry, Buddhist poetry Milarepa

Tibet (1052 – 1135) Timeline
Buddhist : Tibetan

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.

More poetry by Milarepa

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Milarepa – The Profound Definitive Meaning”

  1. jeaan de bonton 08 Sep 2017 at 10:02 am

    thanx ivan,

    a thousand times
    are broken the vows
    still singing inner welcomes…

    munay, jeaan

  2. Amardeep Singhon 09 Sep 2017 at 4:37 am

    Hi, Ivan. How are you today?

    That life story is amazing. Thank you.


  3. Annaon 09 Sep 2017 at 11:47 am

    There is an inspiring approach available to assist us in developing insight about our true nature in the work of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. “The name Rangjung Yeshe means self-existing wakefulness, the natural wisdom that is the spiritual potential innate in everyone”.

    This excerpt is some of the finest of teachings which bring
    the essence of ancient wisdom into modern focus: “As It Is”

    “To cling to a particular concept is like a bird that flaps its wings and tries to fly but cannot, because it’s bound by a chain. The training in the true view is not a training in holding concepts, even the subtle types. It is a matter of recognizing what already is, by itself. Our nature of mind is naturally empty and cognizant; it is not of our making. There is no need to hold a concept about it. In other words, when you remember to recognize, you see immediately that there is no thing to see. That’s it. At other times one has forgotten, and it is lost.”

    “In the meantime, you will be distracted when you go about your daily affairs – there is no way around this. Dharmakaya is in ourselves, but since we have not stabilized the recognition of it, we get caught up in thoughts. Yet the essence of thoughts, when acknowledged, is dharmakaya. A thought is simply the extroverted expression of knowing, of awareness. In the moment of recognizing the nature of what thinks, there is no way for this expression, the thought, to remain.

    Your naked essence is then an actuality. In this experience, there is no way for a thought to remain, just as a drop of water cannot remain in mid-air. Once you are familiar with this way of dealing with a thought, you do not need to suppress thinking. You do not need to correct it. You do not need any hope of gaining or fear of losing the awakened state. That is why it is said that ‘the confidence of the view is free of hope and fear’. You do not have to hope for freedom or fear having thoughts, because in the moment of seeing the essence, the thought has dissolved. Do you understand this? Is it clear?

    “Don’t ever expect that anything spectacular will be experienced. Honestly, there is nothing more amazing than this recognition of rigpa in which no thought can remain. The five poisons and habitual tendencies lose their power to rigpa. If we do not know this, we become caught up in thought. Most sentient beings do not know how to recognize; they are carried away by thoughts. In the moment you remind yourself to recognize mind nature, you have already seen the essence. ‘Seeing no thing is the sublime sight.’ This is so close that it is hard to believe. It is not an act of imagining. It’s because it’s so easy that it is hard to trust in! There is not even as much as a hair-tip to cultivate by meditating. But we need to grow used to it; we need to grow used to recognizing this nature of empty cognizance.

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