3 – The Magic Life of Milarepa: Perceiving the inherent simplicity of the Dharmakaya, Renouncing the Eight Worldly Reactions and Meditating, The conquest of non-human beings, Meeting His Spiritual Sons, Poisoning Milarepa with Curdled Milk, Geshe Making Confession, Leaving The Final Will To His Spiritual Sons, Nirvana.
Perceiving the inherent simplicity of the Dharmakaya
They left, and Milarepa ate the good food they had brought. The sensation of pleasure and pain and the feelings of hunger increased so much that he could no longer meditate. He thought that there was no greater obstacle for me than this inability to meditate. Breaking the seal of the scroll that the lama had given him, He looked at it. It contained the essential instructions to overcome obstacles and improve practice, instructions for transforming vice into virtue, and more especially the advice to take good food at this time.
Due to his inferior food the energy remained inactive. Peta’s beer had stimulated his nerves to some extent and Zessay’s beer and food had completed the process. Following the directions on the scroll, he worked hard on the vital exercises recommended for body, breathing, and meditation. As a result, the obstructions in the smaller nerves as well, as those in the median nerves were cleared away. He attained an experience of joy, lucidity, and pure awareness similar to what he had known about in theory. In fact, it was an extraordinary experience of illumination, which was very powerful and stable. Having overcome the obstacles, He realized imperfections as perfection; even through discriminating thought, He perceived the inherent simplicity of the Dharmakaya. He understood that in general all things related to samsara and nirvana are interdependent.
Futhermore, he perceived that the source consciousness is neutral. Samsara is the result of a wrong point of view. Nirvana is realized through perfect awareness. He perceived that the essence of both lay in an empty and luminous awareness. More particularly, this special experience of my illumination was the fruit of my previous meditations and the immediate effects of the food and the profound instructions of the lama. He also had a very special understanding that the methods of the Esoteric Path (Vajrayana) are for the transformation of all sensory experience into spiritual attainment. Because he owed all this to Peta and Zessay, he expressed his appreciation in meditation so that their merit would contribute to their Enlightenment.
During the day he had the sensation of being able to change his body at will and of levitating through space and of performing miracles. At night in his dreams, he could freely and without obstacles explore the entire universe from one end to the other visited all the Buddha realms and listened to the teaching there. He was actually able to fly through space. He thought that he should now work for the good of sentient beings. But the prophecy of the yidam told him to devote himself wholly to meditation in this life in accordance with the lama’s instructions. He would be setting the best example for future disciples to renounce the world and meditate.
People saw him flying after my experience of illumination.There existsed a risk of encountering Mara’s obstacles, and the Eight Worldly Reactions would disturb his meditation. He left and meditated at Chuwar according to the prophecy of the lama.
But he was weakened by privation during long meditation and his foot stumbled on the uneven ground outside the cave, and he fell. The handle of the pot broke off. From the broken pot the layers of residue deposited by nettle broth broke loose in a single green piece. He consoled himself with the thought that all composite things were impermanent. Understanding that this was an exhortation to meditate.
When Milarepa arrived at Dingri, by the Chuwar road going through Peykhu, he sat down by the side of the road and watched what was going on. Some pretty young girls wearing jewels passed me on their way to Nokme. Seeing his emaciated body, one of them said, ” Look! What misery! May I never be reborn as such a creature.”
He stood up and said to them, ” Daughters, do not speak in this way. There is no reason for you to be so distressed. You could not be born like me, even if you wished. It is astonishing that you feel compassion, but your compassion comes from pride and a wrong understanding. ” Thus he sang a Doha to them.
The young girl who had been moved to pity for him replied, ‘It is he who is called Milarepa. We are all full of self-esteem. We have said many unwise things. Now,let us ask his forgiveness.” Then she offered him seven shells and all the girls prostrated themselves and asked for pardon. In response to their request for instruction.
Renouncing the Eight Worldly Reactions and Meditating
Then he arrived at the region of Drin and. He stayed at the cave Castle of the Sun, at Kyipuhk, and meditated there. People came once or twice and brought me food and drink. This he saw as a distraction and he thought,” I must go to an isolated wilderness. According to the lama’s instructions, I must go to Lachi.
While he was having such thoughts, Peta,his sister came to Horse Tooth White Rock bringing the cloth she had woven for him from the wool and goat hair she had collected. She wept and said, “At Dingri she saw Lama Bari Lotsawa dressed in rich garments of silk, seated upon a high throne and sheltered beneath a canopy. When his monks blew on the trumpets, a great crowd of men surrounded him and deluged him with offerings of tea and beer. This is the way other people treat their lama. My brother’s religion is one of misery for which other people have only contempt. Even his relatives blush for him. Try to see if Lama Bari Lotsawa will take you into his service. Even were you the least of his monks you would be happy from now on. Otherwise, this religion and my impoverished condition will not sustain our life.
Milarepa replied,” Do not speak like that. My nakedness and my unconventional behaviour embarrass you. But I am content with this body of mine which enabled me to encounter religion. So I have no cause for shame. Those who live off the lama’s wealth and temple offerings, and those who injure beings by crafty means to achieve their own aims. All these only injure themselves and others and displease the gods and holy men. They are a cause for shame both in this life and the next. In the following instructions of Lama Marpa, I was advised to renounce indulgence in the Eight Worldly Reactions. In so doing not only do I assure the happiness of those who follow me but also lasting happiness for all other beings.” Then he sang her a song of renouncing the Eight Worldly Reactions.
But Peta could not understand his realization. She asked him to stay for a few days and make himself a loincloth from the material she brought. When his sister had gone to Dingri, Milarepa made a hood to cover his head and sewed a sleeve for each of his fingers and for his feet. Then he sewed a sheath for his organ.
After few day, Peta returned from Dingri and came to see him. She exclaimed,” You are completely without shame ! “
He replied,”I am the holy man who seeks the essential good from this precious human life. Knowing what real shame is, I remain faithful to my vows and precepts. I fashioned a modest covering for it just as you asked me, even though it interrupted my meditation. Since I consider all the parts of my body to be of equal worth, I made these sheaths. Moreover, worldly people do not know how to feel shame. They feel ashamed of things, which are natural while unashamedly indulging in evil deeds and hypocrisy, which are truly shameful.
During the time that she stayed with him, Milarepa explained as much as I could about the law of karma. His sister gained a definite understanding of the Dharma and her desire for worldly things began to decrease.
In the meantime, his uncle died, and thereafter his aunt began to feel sincere remorse. She, carrying as much as she could, arrived at Drin and saw Milarepa. She wept and sincerelyconfessed her guilt. And then, he sang a doha of Shame to her. Milarepa spoke to her at length about the law of karma. She turned her whole attention to Dharma practice. Afterward, she became a yogini who achieved her own liberation through meditation.
The conquest of non-human beings
The Master gave the Demon King Binayaka at the Red Rock of Chonglung the teaching on the Six Ways of Being Aware of One’s Lama. (note 2) Following Lama Marpa’s instructions, the Master went to Lachi to meditate. In the course of compelling the great god Ganesha (King of Obstructing Forces) to accept the precepts, the Master sang of Lachi Chuzang. The following year, when he traveled to Neti in Lachi, he sang his famous Song of the Snows. In accordance with the lama’s instructions, and wishing to go to Mount Peybar in Mangyul and to Yolmo Gangra in Nepal, he passed through Gungthang. Attracted by Lingpa Cave, he stayed there for some time and sang a song to the Demoness of the Lingpa Cave. At Ragma, Cave of Enlightenment, close to Mount Peybar, he sang the song that pacified the Goddess of Earth and a local spirit inhabiting the Ragma Cave.
While living at Kyangphen Namkha Dzong (Banner of the Sky), the Master worked for the benefit of many human and non-human beings. From there he went to Mount Yolmo Gangra and lived in Takpuhk Senge Dzong (Cave of the Lion and Tiger) in the forest of Singala, doing work beneficial to many human and non-human beings. Meanwhile he received a sign directing him to go back to Tibet, to meditate in mountain solitude and work for the benefit of all beings. Having returned to Tibet, he dwelt in a cave in Gungthang and sang the Song of the Pigeons.
Meeting His Spiritual Sons
While the Master was living in the cave Dagkya Dorje Dzong (Gray Rock Vajra) and was meditating for the benefit of sentient beings, his yidam predicted the coming of all his disciples, particularly of the disciple Retchung Dorje Drakpa, whose mission would be to bring the secret oral instruction of the dakinis from specified places. And when the Master was at Ralai Zaok Puhk (Silk Cave of Goat Mountain) in Gungthang, he met his spiritual son, Retchung. Later Retchung went to India to be cured of an illness, and on returning, the Master and his disciple met again.
In the cave Ronpuhi Osey Puhk (Cave of Luminous Clarity) he met Tsakuph Repa, and on going to Ragma Jangchub Dzong (Cave of Enlightenment), he met Sangye Kyab Repa (Enlightened Protector). He then went to the Cave of Nyanang, where he met Shakya-guna of Kyo, who was already a devotee, and set him upon the path of liberation by giving him initiation and instruction.
On the way to Tago in the north, he met a woman, Pey Dar Bum (Hundred Thousand Glorious Flags), at Losum below Chung.
On his return he met Repa of Seban at the Inn of Yeru in the north.While proceeding to Gyalgyi Sri of Lato, he met Repa of Digom.
Having gone to beg during the autumn, he met Shiwa O Repa (Calm Light) at Chumig Ngulchu Bum (Hundred Thousand Beads of Mercury).
Then, at Bachak Gora in Chenlung, he met Repa of Ngandzong (Evil Cave).
While living at Lachi, he was urged by the dakinis to fulfill a certain prophecy of the lama. On the way to Mount Kailas, he met Dampa Gyakpuhwa. When he came to Mount Lowokere, he met Repa of Karchung. While passing the winter on the snowy slopes of Ditse (Summit of Di) in Purang, he met Darma Ouangchuk Repa. In the spring, having gone to Mount Kailas, he sang of Kailas, where he defeated the Bon priest Naro Bonchung in a contest of miracles.
He then returned to Dagkya Dorje Dzong (Gray Rock Vajra), where he met Repa of Rongchung. Directed on his way by the dakinis, he came to Beypuhk Mamo Dzong (Secret Cave of the Goddess). Staying there for several days, he was sought out by a herdsman called Lukdzi Repa. who later became a sage. He then met Repa the Hermit of Shen at Lapuhk Pema Dzong (Lotus of the Grotto). These two men served him later, while he was living at the Lango Ludu Cave (Elephant Gate of Serpent-Gods) and at the Secret Cave of the Goddess.
While traveling to Chorodig, he met a woman named Retch-ungma. And at Nyishang Gurta of Mon, he met Repa the Hunter. It was he who spread the renown of the Master in Nepal. Prompted by a message from the goddess Tara, the King of Khokhom honored the Master.
At the invitation of Retchung and Repa the Hermit of Shen, the Master dwelt in a cave called Dho Nyenyon-puhk in Lachi. and the following year he lived on the cliff of Chonglung.
When he had gone to Chuwar, he instructed his disciples in three propitiatory rites for invoking the goddess Tseringma. Going down to Drinding, he met Dorje Ouangchuk Repa. When Master and disciples were dwelling in the Beypo Cave at Nyanang, he met the Indian saint Dharma Bodhi, who paid homage to the Master. Since Milarepa’s fame was increasing, Darlo, a master of metaphysics, became envious and challenged him to a debate. The Master victoriously answered with higher spirtual wisdom and with the performance of miraculous feats. Afterward he sang songs about Retchung and Tibu. During this time he met Repa of Megom at the Stomach-like Cave. At Naktra (Black Stripes), a cave of Nyanang, he met a young girl called Sallay O Rema (Shining Light).
Then the Master withdrew to the Cave of Red Rock on a high ridge. He had foreknowledge that Retchung was returning from India and he went to meet him. This was a special occasion for the Song of the Yak Horn and the Song of the Wild Ass.
Then having gone to Chuwar, he met Repa Hermit of Len from Dagpo. On the hill of Trode Tashigang (Blessed Happiness), he met Gampopa Dao Shonnu, the incomparable monk physician from Dagpo, who was a Master of the Vajrayana. A great Bodhisattva, he reincarnated in human form for the benefit of sentient beings, as was prophesied by the Buddha. Gampopa became the Master’s greatest disciple.
Since the Master was living at Omchung (Little Tamarisk) in Chuwar, he met the monk Loton, who at first opposed him and later became his disciple. Then, while living at the Cave Kyipuhk Nyima Dzong (Sun Castle of joy), he met Dreton Trashibar. During the period when the Master engaged in the exercise of great yogic powers, a monk called Charuwa of Likor followed and served him.
As prophesied by the dakinis, the Master had among his disciples eight spiritual sons, thirteen close disciples, and four sisters. All these twenty-five became awakened Masters. There are extensive accounts of his meetings with each of these disciples, very rich in exchange and experience (The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa).
At Tsarma, he met two women disciples, Shen Dormo and Legse Bum. There he gave instruction on Chidro Thigtsakma for preparing oneself for death. He then went with Retchung to Lachi, stopped at the cave Dudiil Puhk (Demon Conqueror), and wandered about in the vicinity.
He continued his journey and visited the cave Nampuhkma of Ramdig. Finally, while dwelling in the Stomach-like Cave of Nyanang, at the request of lay followers, the Master related some episodes in his life and sang of Retchung’s departure for the U Province. Urged by the dakini named Sengdhongma (Lion Face), he met with Dampa, an Indian saint, at Thongla
At Leshing he performed for his mother, in order to repay her kindness, a special rite called Compassionately Guiding the Dead through the Bardo State. At Tsarma he gave his last instructions to the lay disciples and to other inhabitants of Nyanang. During his journey to Chuwar, he met Lhaje Yangde, an inhabitant of Dingri. When he arrived at Chuwar, he sang about the second departure of Retchung for the 0 Province. He met the benefactor Tashi Tsek at Lharo in Drin. At Dakkhar in Drin he met Zessay Bum (his former betrothed), Khujuk, and other lay followers.
Innumerable people received teachings, both known and unknown, during the period in which the Master set in motion the Wheel of the Law. Guided by the Master, the most highly developed disciples achieved Enlightenment. The less developed disciples were brought to the stage of awakening and shown the path to liberation. The least developed he set on the path to Bodhichitta. Through a diligent application of the Bodhisattvas’ precepts, they were brought to a firm level of awareness. Even in the very least developed ones he sowed the seed of virtue and assured them of attaining the peace of the higher realms in their lives.
With compassion limitless as the sky, the Master protected innumerable beings from the misery of samsara and of the lower realms by bringing the light of the Buddha’s teaching.
Poisoning Milarepa with Curdled Milk
Then At the time when these words were being fulfilled, there was a very rich and influential lama named Geshe Tsakpuhwa who lived at Drin. At first, he made a show of honoring the Master. But later, succumbing to envy and wanting to embarrass the Master before the crowd of his benefactors, he pretended to be troubled by doubts and asked him many questions.
During the first month of autumn in the year of the Wood Tiger, the Master had been invited to preside at a wedding feast at Drin. Geshe Tsakpuhwa also attended. He prostrated himself, hoping that the Master would return his prostration in the presence of the gathering. The Master had never prostrated himself before anyone, nor returned anyone’s prostration except in the case of his lama Marpa. He did not return the prostration.
The geshe thought, ” What! A Master as learned as myself paying homage to an ignorant fool and receiving no homage in return! I shall make him pay for my embarrassment. “
And handing him a text on Buddhist logic, he said, ” Master, would you be kind enough to clear up my uncertainty and explain this to me, word by word?”
The Master replied, ” You know very well the conceptual meaning of this text. But real spiritual meaning is found in abandoning the Eight Worldly Reactions and the personal ego, through destroying false perceptions of reality by realizing the single flavor of samsara and nirvana, and through meditating in mountain solitude. Apart from that, arguing over words, and pointing out what comes after what, is totally useless if one does not practice the Dharma. I have never studied logic. I know nothing about it and if I ever did, I have forgotten it now. I will tell you why.” Then, Master sang him a Doha.
The geshe continued and said,” This may be the hermit’s way, but if I were to challenge it with my learned arguments, your discourses would go no further. I had hoped you were a noble man. That is why I prostrated myself before you.”
These words did not please the benefactors. With one voice they said to him, “Master Geshe, however learned you may be, there are many more like you on earth. You are not equal to the Master, not even to a pore of the skin of his body. Just preside and be silent. Increase your wealth as much as you can, since you do not possess even the smell of religion. “
The geshe could not protest since everyone supported Milarepa. His face darkened and red.Then he mixed some poison with curdled milk and promised his concubine the gift of a large turquoise, he sent her with the poison to Drin Cave, where the Master was staying.
The Master knew that his foremost disciples were already enlightened and that, even if he were not to take the poison, his time to die had come. He knew also that, unless the woman were given the turquoise before he drank the poison, she would never get it. So he said to her, ” I shall not drink this now. Bring it back later, and then I will drink it.” Wondering if the Master suspected her, the woman, worried and ashamed, went back to Geshe Tsakpuhwa.
The woman told Geshe that Master suspected and refused to drink because of his clairvoyance.The geshe replied, ” If he really had clairvoyance, he would not have told you to bring it back. He would have told you to drink it yourself. Since he did not, that proves he does not possess clairvoyance. Take this turquoise. Go find the Master and make sure he drinks the poison.” Then, he gave her the turquoise.
She then mixed some poison with curds and took it to the Master, who was now staying at Trode Tashigang. The Master smiled and asked,” So you have been given the turquoise for the deed you are carrying out?”
Overwhelmed with confusion, she prostrated herself, and said in a weeping and trembling voice, “I do have the turquoise, but I beg you, do not take the drink. Give it back to me. I am a thoughtless evil-doer.”
Master replied,” First of all, I have too much compassion to let you drink it. It would violate the essence of the Bodhisattva precepts and would bring with it grave spiritual consequences. My mission is complete and my life is coming to an end. My time has come to go to another realm. By itself the drink could not harm me in the least. It does not matter whether I drink it or not. But if I had drunk it the first time, you would not have received the turquoise as payment for your crime. Now that the turquoise is in your hands, I will drink, both to satisfy the geshe’s desire and to be sure that you earn the turquoise. As for the geshe’s other promises, they will not be fulfilled. He said many things about my behavior. There is no truth in what he said, so both of you will experience terrible remorse. When this happens, in order to purify yourself, strive toward self-realization in this life. Even to save your life, do not commit any similar crimes. Call upon me and my spiritual sons with a sincere heart. Although you have neither seen with your eyes nor heard with your ears the truth of my previous sayings, keep well in mind these words I speak now. The moment will come when you will see that they are true. ” Having thus spoken, he drank the poison.
Meanwhile the Master spoke,” Men of Nyanang and Dingri, and all benefactors and followers, prepare a ritual feast and gather round me. Let all other men in the region, who have not seen me but wish to meet me, come also.”
All the disciples spread the word. Many of those who heard these words did not believe the Master had actually said them. But faithful laymen and disciples who followed the teaching, as well as other people who wished to meet the Master, gathered at Chuwar. Then for many days the Master spoke to them of the doctrine of karma on the ordinary level and of the essential nature of reality on a higher level.
During this time, several of the chief disciples clearly saw that the sky was filled with gods listening to the words of the Master. Many others, intuitively feeling that the sky and the earth were filled with gods and men listening to the teaching, experienced a state of great joy. In plain view of everyone, a rainbow canopy appeared in a limpid sky. Sacrificial offerings, parasols, and innumerable banners took form in the five-colored clouds, filling the atmosphere. There fell a rain of flowers in five different colors. Exquisite music could be heard and there was the fragrance of exotic perfumes.
Among the godly and human listeners assembled at that place, the most highly developed of them realized the true meaning of the Dharmakaya. The less highly developed experienced awareness of non-duality in a lucid and joyful state, and were set upon the path of liberation. Among the least developed, there was not one who did not embrace the practice of Bodhichitta.
Then the Master said to them, ” Monks and disciples, gods and men, and all assembled here, our coming together in pursuit of the Dharma has been due to our spiritual aspirations in previous lives. Now that I am old, I do not know if I will see you many more times. Try your best to practice the teaching I have given you. Do not waste your time. If you follow my instructions, you will be the first of my disciples to be reborn in the Pure Land of my Buddhahood.”
Upon receiving these blessings , the lay devotees were overjoyed. The people from Nyanang and Dingri, still fearful that the Master might die, came to ask for his blessing and devoted themselves to the Dharma as never before. Each returned to his home and immedi-ately the rainbow and the other visions disappeared. The people of Drin, supported by Calm Light Repa and other great disciples, im-plored the Master not to abandon them. The Master went to live in Drin, in a cell built for him at the top of a rock, shaped like the hood of a snake, called Rekpa Dukchen (Poisonous to Touch), in order to subdue the serpent-god Dolpa Nakpo (Black Executioner). While there, he instructed the benefactors of Drin. At the end of his discourse the Master said, ” Monks, if some of you have doubts about my instructions, hasten, because it is not certain that I will live much longer “
The monks first conducted a ritual feast and then received the complete instructions. Among the rows of monks gathered around the Master were Repa of Digom and Repa of Seban, who said, ” Judging from your words, we do not believe that you will soon pass into nirvana. Perhaps your life is not yet over.”
Master replied,” My life is over and my mission has been completed. Signs of my death will soon become apparent.”
Geshe Making Confession
A few days later, the Master showed increasingly grave symptoms of illness. Geshe Tsakpuhwa brought a little meat and beer, and pretending to inquire about his health, said to the Master, ” It is really a pity that such an illness befalls a saint like the Master. If it is possible to share it, divide it among your disciples. If there is a way to transfer it, give it to a man such as myself. But since that is impossible, what should be done? “
The Master smiled and said,” You know very well that my illness has no natural cause or provocation. And in any case, illness in an ordinary man is not the same as illness in a spiritual man. I should accept it as a special opportunity for inner transformation. For this reason, I bear my sickness as an ornament. A certain being is possessed by the demon of egotism, which is the worst one of all. It is he who has caused my illness. You could neither exorcize the demon nor cure me. If I shared my sickness with you, you could not bear it for an instant. I shall not transfer it.” But Geshe Tsakpuhwa insisted.
Master said, ” Well then, I will not transfer it to you, but I will transfer it to that door. Watch carefully.” And he transferred it to the door of the cell. Immediately there was a loud crack and, shaking violently, the door began to break apart. At this moment, the Master was without illness.
The Master withdrew the sickness from the door and gave it to Tsakpuhwa, who collapsed in pain. Paralyzed and choking, he was on the verge of death. Then the Master took back a large part of the sickness and said, ” I have only given you half of my sickness and you could not bear it.”
Full of remorse for having inflicted such suffering, the geshe threw himself sobbing at the Master’s feet and said, ” O Precious Master, O Saint, it is just as you said. one who was possessed did this evil to you. I offer you my house, wealth, and property. Help me to free myself from the consequences of my actions. I sincerely beg for your forgiveness.”
Milarepa was very pleased and took back the rest of the sickness and said, ” All my life I have had no desire for house, wealth, and property. Now that I am approaching the end of my life, I certainly have no need for them, so take back your gifts. Never again act contrary to the Dharma, even at the cost of your own life. I will invoke my lama to keep you from suffering the consequences of your action. ” Then he sang him a Doha.
At these words the geshe was overwhelmed with joy and said, ” In the future I will do nothing contrary to the Dharma, but will meditate to the end of my life, as the Master has commanded. Formerly, I sinned for the sake of wealth. Therefore I no longer want my worldly goods. If the Master refuses them, let his disciples accept the goods to provide for their needs during meditation.”
The disciples accepted the gifts, which were used later at Chuwar each year to commemorate the Master’s death. The Geshe Tsakpuhwa then became a devotee.
The Master said, ” I came to live in this place in order to accept the remorse of this sinner and help him to achieve liberation from the consequences of his crime. For a hermit to die in a village would be like a king dying in a hovel. Now I am going to Chuwar. “
Leaving The Final Will To His Spiritual Sons
Then he stayed at Driche Cave, manifesting sickness. At this time, the rainbow and all the other signs that had appeared during the Master’s previous discourse could be seen in the sky over Chuwar and on the mountaintops. Everyone was then certain that the Master was going to depart for another realm. Calm Light Repa, the Master of Ngandzong and Repa of Seban all asked,” To which Buddha realm does the Master expect to go? Where shall we direct our invocation? What last instructions will the Master give us? What form of practice should we follow?”
The Master answered, ” Invoke me wherever you wish. Wherever you invoke me with faith I will be with you. Whatever your aims, they will be fulfilled. In an instant I will be in the Pure Land of the Buddha Immutable. After my death, give Retchung the things that you know I have used, my staff, and my robe. They will serve as auspicious symbols for his meditation through the control of breath. Retchung will be here soon. Do not touch my body until he arrives.”
” This hat of the Master Maitrepa, and this staff of black aloe wood, are signs that the teaching of the Buddha will be maintained through profound meditation and perfect seeing. Therefore, give these things without fail to Tonpa of U [Gampopa]. Calm Light Repa, take this wooden bowl. Ngandzong Tonpa, take this skull-cap. Repa of Seban, take this tinderbox. Repa Hermit of Di, take this bone spoon. You other initiated disciples, each take a strip of my cotton robe. These are not great riches, but all are equally tokens. “
“Now, here are very important instructions concerning something which you disciples have not known about. Hidden under the hearth lies all the gold that I have amassed during my lifetime, and a will that distributes it among you. After my death, read the will and follow its directions.”
“As for the manner of practicing the Dharma, there are rich people who consider themselves good devotees. They may give a hundred useful or useless things as alms, but only with the motive of getting back one thousand in return. This is only their way of glorifying worldly life. Human beings indulge covertly in harmful deeds without regard to displeasing their all-seeing guardian deities. Afraid they will not achieve their worldly aims, they try to do good; but since they are unable to renounce the desire for recognition, they are actually consuming poison with their food. Do not drink this poison of the desire for recognition. Abandon everything you call Dharma practice but which actually is directed toward glorifying the worldly life. Devote yourself to true spiritual practice.”
The Repas asked, ” Can we engage in an active life if it proves beneficial to other beings? “
The Master answered,” If there is no attachment to selfish aims, you can. But that is difficult. Those who are full of worldly desires can do nothing to help others. They do not even profit themselves. It is as if a man, carried away by a torrent, pretended to save others. Nobody can do anything for sentient beings without first attaining transcendent insight into Reality. Like the blind leading the blind, one would risk being carried away by desires. Because space is limitless and sentient beings innumerable, you will always have a chance to help others when you become capable of doing so. Until then, cultivate the aspiration toward Complete Enlightenment by loving others more than yourselves while practicing the Dharma. Dress in rags, and content yourselves with little food, clothing, and recognition. Discipline your body and be mindful of your spiritual goal. This should be done for the sake of all sentient beings. To guide you on this path, remember these words.”
Then he added ,” I do not know if I have much longer to live. Now that you have heard me, do as I have done.” He spoke and entered into a deep state of meditation. And so, at the age of eighty-four, at sunrise on the fourteenth day of the twelfth month in the year of the Wood Hare, under the ninth lunar constellation, the Master passed into nirvana.
At that time, over this region there appeared widespread and wonderful signs indicating that the dakas and dakinis had assembled. The clear sky was adorned with a design of interlacing squares in all the colors of the rainbow. At the center of every square was a lotus with eight multicolored petals, four of which, in sacred colors, pointed to the four cardinal directions. Upon each lotus were mandalas which in their geometry and architecture were far more marvelously designed than the works of skilled artists and builders. There appeared in the firmament above them an inconceivable variety of offerings from the gods, such as rainbows and five-colored clouds, forming themselves into parasols, banners, canopies, bunting, and billowing silk. There was a great shower of blossoms in different shapes and colors. The melody of the celestial orchestra was sung in praise of Jetsun, while the most fragrant incense permeated the whole place.
Meanwhile, at Chuwar, the chief disciples and lay followers worshipped the Master’s body. After six days they examined it and found it transformed into a radiant celestial body, as youthful as a child eight years old.
At that time Retchung was residing at the monastery of Loro Dol in Southern Tibet. One morning, in the early dawn, while he was in a mixed state of contemplation and sleep, he perceived a host of dakinis who were about to carry away to another realm a crystal stupa radiating light throughout the heavens. He saw the crystal stupa being praised in song and worshipped with offerings beyond imagination by the comnrunity of the Vajrayana tradition and lay benefactors who filled the earth, and by the celestial beings and dakinis who permeated the sky.
Retchung prostrated himself on seeing Jetsun leaning from the stupa and heard the Master say, ‘Retchung, my son, even though you did not arrive in time as I asked you, my mind is full of joy that we, father and son, are together at last. It is uncertain when we shall meet again, so let us treasure this rare occasion.’ Radiating a joyful smile, the Master repeatedly touched Retchung’s head. Retchung realized the uniqueness of this meeting and a faith arose in him such as he had never known.
Retchung awoke. He recalled the Master’s previous words. Hoping that his lama had not yet died, he felt he must go quickly to see him even though he might not reach Chuwar in time. As he was invoking Jetsun with a faith of unbearable intensity, two women appeared before him in the sky and said, ” Retchung, your lama has passed into the Pure Land of the dakinis. If you do not go quickly you may never see him again in this life. Go now, without delay. ” The warning in the dream and seeing the sky filled with rainbows and lights aroused in him a memory of the lama and a yearning to go to him.
He left Loro Dol at early dawn as the cocks were crowing. Retchung arrived at Chuwar. At the Master’s cave he saw the great disciples, monks, and lay followers mournfully worshipping the Master’s body. Not knowing who this man was, some new monks stopped Retchung and prevented him from going toward the body.
Saddened by this, Retchung sang in an aggrieved tone this Song of Sevenfold Devotion. At the sound of Retchung’s voice. the radiance in the face of the Master’s corpse faded out, and at the same time a fire emerged from the body. Upon hearing the voice of Retchung, Calm Light Repa, Master Repa of Ngandzong, Seban Repa, and several others of the Vajra brethren with the lay devotees came to welcome Retchung. Resenting the action of the young Repas who had prevented him from seeing Jetsun’s body, Retchung would not move forward until his song was finished.
At that time, though the Great Master had passed into the crystal clarity of the Dharmakaya, he came back and said to the young Repas, ” Do not behave like that toward Retchung. One live lion is better than a hundred masks! Let him come to me.”
To Retchung, he said,” My son, do not feel frustration. Do not be overcome by resentment. Come before your father! “
Everyone was astounded and filled with immense joy. Retchung embraced Jetsun’s body, weeping with such joy that he fainted. When he came to himself, he found the great disciples, monks, and lay devotees all seated in front of the cremation cell. The Master was completely free from any illness. Appearing as an indestructible manifestation which united form and emptiness into one, and enthroned upon an eight-petaled lotus, the Master radiated like the anthers of a flower. Sitting in the asana of royal ease, his right hand extended in the preaching mudra, pressing down the flame, the left hand in a supporting mudra at the left cheek, he said to all disciples and devotees, ” Listen to this answer to Retchung’s song and to the final words of this old man.” The Master sang from the cremation cell this indestructible song called Six Essential Principles.
Having thus spoken, Jetsun dissolved himself into the All-Embracing Emptiness. The funeral pyre was instantly transformed into a celestial mansion, square in shape, having four entrances with ornate porticos. Above it gleamed a rainbow and a canopy of light. The parapet of the roof was surmounted by parasols, banners, and other ornamental offerings. The flame at the base took the form of an eight-petaled lotus blossom, and the curling tips of the fire unfolded into the eight auspicious emblems and the seven royal insignia. Even the sparks took the form of goddesses bearing many offerings. The chants of worship and the crackling of the dazzling fire sounded like the melodious tones of various musical instruments, such as iolins, flutes, and tambourines. The smoke permeated everything with the fragrance of perfume and, in the sky above the funeral pyre, young gods and goddesses poured a stream of nectar from the vases they held, and offered abundant delights for the five senses. The lamas and the venerable lay people were filled with joy. All the disciples, monks, and lay devotees saw the funeral pyre in the form of a resplendent celestial mansion, while the corpse itself was seen variously as Hevajra, Chakrasamvara, Guhyasamaja, or Vajravarahi. Then, the dakinis sang a song with one voice.
After this song, day passed into evening. The form of a dazzling flame disappeared. Everyone saw the creamtion cell as completely transparent. Disciples, and lay people, looked at the relics of the corpse. Some saw a huge stupa of light standing in the cremation cell, while others saw such forms as Hevajra, Chakrasamvara, Guhyasamaja, or Vajravarahi. Some others saw sacred implements, such as a vajra, bell, vase, and seed syllables of mantras representing enlightened body, speech, and mind. Others saw in the cremation cell a white light with its golden rays, a placid pool of water, a burning flame, a swirling wind, and invisible offerings delightful to the senses and beyond imagining. Yet others saw the expanse of empty space.
The disciples opened the entrance of the cremation cell, and then all slept beside it in the joyful expectation that a great quantity of sacred relics and evolved crystals would appear in many wonderful forms .
In the early dawn Retchung dreamed of five dakinis in colors of blue. yellow, green, red, and white, draped in silken robes and adorned with ornaments, some made of bone and others of jewels. They were surrounded by their female-retinues in similar colors. All were carrying innumerable offerings of the five sensory ecstasies and were worshipping the cremation cell. The chief dakinis were carrying away a sphere of white light from the cell, draped in a curtain of white silk.
Retchung was fascinated by the spectacular scene. Then he moved toward the cell wondering if the dakinis were taking away the relics and the evolved crystals. The dakinis flew upward into the sky. He awakened all his Vajra brethren. As they began examining the cell, they saw that the dakinis had carried away all the sacred relics, leaving nothing, not even the ashes. Saddened by this, Retchung demanded from the dakinis a portion of the relics as the due share of human beings.
The dakinis replied, saying, “If you, great son of Jetsun, are not content with the direct awakening of your consciousness in its Dharmakaya state, this being the most sacred of all relics, you should invoke the Master so that out of his compassion he might grant your wish! As for those human beings without veneration for the Master – who shone like the sun and moon – no relics or evolved crystals will be left for them either. They never valued him, not even at the level of a glow-worm. These relics therefore belong to us.”
After saying this the dakinis remained motionless in the sky. Then Retchung, recognizing the truth of what the dakinis had said, sang an invocation.
Retchung thus invoked his Master by singing tearfully in a mournful tone. Thereupon the chief dakini cast from her hand a sacred object, as large as a hen’s egg, which projected a stream of light in five colors and descended toward the cremation cell. All the chief disciples stretched out their hands, each claiming it for himself. Then the object ascended again and was absorbed into the light which the chief dakini was holding. The light then split in two, one part becoming a lion throne with a lotus cushion surmounted by moon and sun. A crystal stupa took shape from the other part of the light and came to rest upon the throne. Lights in five colors began to shine forth from the stupa. The stupa was one foot high and was surrounded by the Thousand and Two Buddhas. Its four terraces were occupied by resplendent yidams of the four classes of the Tantra in their natural order. Seated inside its spherical chamber was the form of Milarepa, about six inches in height.
The dakinis who were prostrating themselves and worshipping him, supported by two others who were guarding the stupa. The dakinis moved the stupa through the space above the foremost disciples. Projecting downward a stream of light that touched each head, the stupa thereby endowed each one with power. Most people saw a form of Milarepa emerge from the stupa and ascend to the space above. Each group saw him differently. Some saw him as Hevajra, others as Chakrasamvara, Guhyasamaja, or Vajravarahi. Each yidam was surrounded by a mandala of emanations, male and female, which were then absorbed into the chest of the principal yidam. The mandala itself was transformed into a mass of light in the sky, and moved toward the east. Everyone present saw the dakinis adorn the stupa with silken attire of various kinds, put it in a jeweled casket, and then carry it away to the east.
Some of the disciples saw Milarepa in the form of a Sambhoga-kaya Buddha adorned with jeweled ornaments and seated upon a lion, whose four feet were being supported by four dakinis while Vajravarahi was leading the lion on a halter. They were proceeding toward the east, attended by innumerable dakas and dakinis carrying an assortment of celestial offerings such as parasols and banners, and giving forth a great sound of music. Others saw the stupa being carried away by a white dakini in a palanquin lined with white silk. And there were other wonderful visions of many kinds.
The disciples, monks, nuns, and lay people were heartbroken at having no share of the sacred relics. Mournfully they cried out in heart-stirring prayer. Though his form was invisible, out of space came a voice resembling that of Jetsun, saying, ” O sons, do not allow yourselves to be overcome with so much grief and despair. As for your share of the sacred objects, there is a marble slab on which have appeared four sacred syllables carved in relief. Go and search for it below the rock base of the cremation cell.” The disciples accordingly searched the rock and found exactly what had been foretold. This wonderful stone slab is enshrined for the devotion of human beings at the solitary temple of Chuwar. Font http://www.thranguhk.org/buddhism/en_milarepa.html