From the Gungthang province of Western Tibet, close to Nepal, Milarepa ( ) had a hard childhood and a dark youth. He was only seven when his. Jetsun Milarepa (). Famed yogi and patriarch of the Kagyu lineage. One of the most famous yogis and poets in Tibetan religious. Jetsun Milarepa. Why We Practice the Dharma · On Attachment · Manifestation of True Mind · A Departing Aspiration Prayer · Equality and Seven Things to.

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Genuine Dharma can cleanse whatever impure or confused concept we may have, and in this way the Dharma pacifies kleshas, or the afflicting emotions. The word in Tibetan “cho” milaepa has many different meanings, and one of them is phenomena or something that appears like this.

The phrase can also mean the Dharma that appears like this, because the word for phenomenon and Dharma is the same in Tibetan.

The dual meaning here points to whatever appears and also to the true nature of whatever it is that appears. The term operates on both an ultimate and relative level of meaning.

In this context cho refers to the external and the internal world which belong to the level of apparent reality. The external world, which is often called the environment or the vessel, refers to phenomena such as mountains, valleys, rivers and so forth–what milatepa generally know as the environment in which we live.

The internal world refers to the inhabitants of this environment, or the sentient beings of the six different realms. How is it, then, that we become confused or deluded by samsara and so remain caught within it?

Clinging to samsara deludes us. As Jetsin spoke to Naropa: If we do not examine or analyze samsara, using our intelligence to see what it really is, we could remain in a certain kind of happiness or pleasure.

The life of Milarepa: a short life-story of the yogi Milarepa

This would indicate, however, that we have not looked directly into samsara and analyzed it carefully. We must use our intelligence to look into the many different forms in which sentient beings appear: We could analyze all these to discover the cause and conditions for their arising.

To look at the existence of beings, we can look at our minds and body and see how it is that they create karma. If we investigate like this, we will begin to understand how our realm of existence comes into being, and we will see that the nature of samsara is suffering.

Traditionally, suffering is divided into three different types: How then do we liberate ourselves from samsara? It is not through our body, but through our mind. All the various kinds of suffering that could possibly appear are experienced by the mind, and so it is through the mind that we are liberated from them.

The karma that we have is not something substantial or material; it is of a mental nature. For example, if we take the metaphor of the body as a car and the mind as the driver, then it is clear that whether a car goes to the north or the west, or whether it goes up the mountain or down into the valley, depends upon the driver.

It is the mind that determines what actually happens. The body has various experiences which are the basis for accumulating virtue or unwholesome karma, but what kind of karma it is really depends upon the mind. Whether we attain liberation or the Buddha’s omniscience depends upon the mind.

Our birth into any of the six realms also depends on the mind. For all these reasons, it is very important to train our mind, to familiarize it with the authentic Dharma.

Jetsun Milarepa Biography

There are many different ways of doing this: Another way to train our mind is to read spiritual biographies of the masters, called “namthar. So there are many different ways of practicing the Dharma, and the goal of them all is to blend our mindstream together with authentic Dharma. In this teaching, following the tradition of listening to spiritual biographies, we will be looking at that of Jetsun Milarepa.


Famous and revered among all four lineages in Tibet, Jetsun Milarepa belongs in particular to the Kagyu lineage, which is especially known for faith and devotion.

It is often through faith and devotion that the true nature of the mind is discussed. Tilopa passed his lineage on to Naropa, and these three figures belong to the Indian history of the lineage. Vajradhara, of course, is the symbol or the visualized form of the dharmakaya which has no form, so when we speak of meeting the lama face to face as Tilopa met Vajradhara, it is not as if two people are meeting on a street comer. It means that Tilopa realized the dharmakaya, and it is out of this realization that the lineage flows.

The Tibetan part of the lineage starts with Marpa the translator Marpa Lotsawawho went to India many times to obtain teachings from Naropa. Marpa passed on this lineage to his disciple Milarepa, who then transmitted it to Gampopa. These jstsun are often called in Tibetan milareoa sum”: These three are considered the fathers of the Kagyu lineage within Tibet. As we have discussed, attaining the level of Buddhahood and practicing the genuine Dharma depends mainly upon the mind.

From beginningless time to the present, we have accumulated negative karma, which includes two main kinds of obstructions: Both of these depend on habitual mental patterns. To purify all of these we must purify the mind, jetskn when this is accomplished we attain the tathagatagarbha, or Buddha nature, the level of Buddhahood which is also called stable peace or stable bliss.

One way to move towards Buddhahood is to listen to spiritual biographies. Milarepa’s spiritual biography is divided into fifteen sections and we will look at the first nine of milardpa.

The first tells of how he was born and of his family history. The second deals with his study of black magic, how he destroyed the house of his aunt and uncle and sent hail into the valley. The third molarepa how he met the genuine Dharma. The fourth covers how he practiced strictly according to his master’s word.

The fifth concerns the initiations he received and his yidam practice, including how the deities directly appeared to him. The sixth chapter deals with his first retreat, where he stayed for eleven months. The seventh shows how he came out of retreat, met Marpa for the last time, and returned to his home country. The eighth tells how he came home, experienced the suffering of having lost his parents and his family, and then travelled to White Horse Tooth Rock Cave to practice.

The ninth chapter covers the various austerities in which he engaged. From a Dharmic point of view, Milarepa’s lineage comes through Vajradhara, Tilopa, and Naropa, but in terms of his family lineage, he was born in a northern area of Tibet in a place called Kya Ngatsa, and his father’s name ejtsun Sherab Gyaltsen. How did the name Mila come into his family?

The Treasury of Lives

The earliest record of the family goes back to Khyungpo Josay, who was the son of a Nyingma lama. He was a naljorpa, or a practitioner very skilled in mantra. Khyungpo Josay went on milraepa pilgrimage to another country, which was plagued by many ghosts and elemental spirits. If you believe in these beings, you are prone to see them. Apparently in this area there were many people who believed milaarepa them and Kyungpo Josay, who was skilled in subduing spirits, gained quite a reputation and also financial rewards from his ability.


Once there was a family who was plagued by a powerful demon, but they had no faith in Khyungpo Josay’s skill. They called on many other lamas who did numerous prayers and performed many ceremonies, but nothing helped. A friend of the family told them: He probably won’t help very much, but if you have a wound and dog fat will help to heal it, well then, you’d better try some.

Maybe he can do something. So Khyungpo Josay was invited, and as he was coming along, he sang a song: No one can ever escape me! He came to Khyungpo Josay and said: Just don’t put any obstacles in my way. Please don’t give me a hard time. This milarepaa how Milarepa’s ancestors received the name Mila. Mila Dhoton Senge and his son, Mila Dorje Senge, migrated to Kya Ngatsa, where they remained, accumulating a great deal jeteun wealth and possessions.

Mila Dorje Senge married a young woman from his village, and they had a son, Mila Sherab Gyaltsen, who was the father of Milarepa. The couple lived in their village of Kya Ngatsa also known as Tsa where they were very happy and lived a life of ease. If we go back one generation from Milarepa’s father to Mila Dorje Senge, it is important to know that jetsuh cousins also moved to Tsa. Milarpa names were Yungdrup Gyaltsen, who was the evil uncle, and Khyung Tsha Peydon who was the evil aunt.

When this aunt and uncle arrived in Tsa, Milarepa’s family, who had been settled there a long time, had a wonderful house, land, jjetsun a thriving business in trade.

Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre – Jetsun Milarepa ()

According to the custom, Milarepa’s family helped their relatives to establish a business, to find land and to build a house, and so things went well for these relatives as well.

When Milarea Kargyen was pregnant with Milarepa, her husband was away on a trading tour, and during this time the child was born. A messenger was sent to find the father, who informed him that he had a new son. The messenger also asked if he would give a name and if he would return for a festival. It is considered auspicious to have a special festival to celebrate the birth of a child. Within each generation of milrepa family, there is only one son born. I am milarrpa to hear that this son has been born, and I will call him Thopa Ga.

After a while, the father returned home and gave a big celebration in honor of their son. A few years after Milarepa’s birth, a daughter was born into the family and she was called Peta Gonkyi. When Milarepa was seven years old, his father, Sherab Gyaltsen, became very sick.

Realizing that he was not going to recover from his illness, he called together all the relatives for a meeting, which included Yungdrung Gyaltsen and Khyung Tsha [Peydm], the evil uncle and uetsun.

The milxrepa told them: Mi,arepa must take care of everything until my two children come of age. Please see to it that no harm comes to them, protect them from difficulties, and help them in whatever way you can. He also said that Zessay, a young woman from the village, had been promised Milarepa as his future wife through arrangements made with her parents. When Milarepa was of age, he was to be married to her, and all the property was to be given over to them.

A letter was written as a testament, and signed and sealed.

The aunt and uncle agreed to carry out these wishes, and having settled his affairs, Sherab Gyaltsen died. Afterwards, the aunt and uncle took the money and the land, everything entrusted to them, and used it for their own benefit.