Milarepa is most of the most famous Tibetan Yogic in Our Tibetan History. When you travel to Tibet, you will often find his statues and Thangka in almost all the Monasteries and temples. Since he is the only person to achieve full enlightenment in one lifetime, We consider him a great source of inspiration and Veneration. He is one of first few masters in Kagyu sect and Most famous in Tibetan Buddhism
The early life of Milarepa
He is the only son of a very Sherab Gyaltsen. Sherab is a very successful merchant in the area. His wife Nyangtsa Kargyen gave birth to a son while he was away traveling for business. When he received the news, he named his son Töpah Gah, which means Joyous to hear.
Milarepa lives a very luxurious childhood along with his younger sister. The family had lots of, and they were raised with great love and care. His father was very humble, and everyone respected him.
When Milarepa reach seven years of age, his father fell sick and soon died. Before his death, he called all the elderly in the town and announced his will after his death. His father assigns his brother and sister in law as the guardians of his estate until his son Milarepa reach the age of maturity. Hence, he places his son, daughter, and wife under the care of his brother.
On contrary Milarepa’s Aunt and Uncle didn’t honor his father’s wishes. Owning all of his wealth for themselves and forces his family to become their servant. In Words Milarepa, they gave food for dogs and made them work as Donkey.
The revenge of Milarepa
When the boy Milarepa turned fifteen (the age of maturity), his mother summons all the relatives, neighbors, his uncle, and aunt for dinner. At the dinner, she announced the age of her son and pleaded them to honor her husband will. The Uncle and Aunt become furious, and they refuse to hand them the wealth humiliate her even further. They said they didn’t have anything, and if they did, they would not give to them. They also went on saying “if you are many, wage war; If you are few, cast magic.”
These words will come back to haunt them. In her grief, Milarepa mother develops to take revenge. She sends her son to learn black magic. While he was leaving, she told him. He is different from the other boys going with him. She would kill her self if he did return with the magical skill to kill them all.
Milarepa learned the black magic so diligently and returned his home soon. On his return, he found his uncle’s family are gathering in his father house for the marriage of his cousin brother. This was when he Performed black magic to destroy the entire home killing everyone in the house. Then he destroyed an entire field in response to their neighbors for the treatment his family received.
Milarepa’s magic destroyed his uncle and aunt’s house and killed thirty-five people who were attending a wedding feast in the home, including the uncle and aunt’s sons and their wives. Then, at his mother’s insistence, Milarepa sent hailstorms to destroy the local harvest in response to their neighbors’ threats of reprisal. They were an old lady how saw him performing his deed, and she was crying as he had also destroyed her field too. That was his first remorse.
The path to the enlightenment.
Though he made his revenge and Pacified his enemies, his conscience is not appeased. Remorse intensified. He knew the teaching of Buddhism could liberate him from the sins he has committed. He went out to search for the guru to show him the path. First, he met a guru who didn’t see him fit for his teachings and he recommends him a Marpa the great Translator. Marpa’s guidance could help him reach the zenith of awareness.
After meeting with Marpa, he gave Milarepa ultimate rigorous test to push his physical and emotional limits. For Marpa it was apparent with regular training, Milarepa ‘s big heart with a shattered and shamed mind could not gain desired achievements. Marpa makes him build fortification border around his property, a small fort for his son for four-time without anyone assistance.
Whenever Milarepa requested him for teaching, Teacher would often beat and berated him. With these torments, Marpa finally gave him instructions when Milarepa was on the blink of killing himself.
Though Milarepa’s wish to practice what Marpa had taught him was strong, his need to reunite with his mother was stronger — he left his teacher and went back to his homeland. When he arrived, he found his house in ruins, with the bones of his mother inside.
Meditation and enlightenment
After a few years in the presence of Marpa, though he wants to continue studying and practicing. His growing need to see his mother once again made him leave his teaching and head home.
Upon arriving back at home, he could only find a human bone in his home. Which he realize it was his mothers bone. He recognizes thought the practicing the teaching of his master he could liberate his mother and father. This lesson of the impermanence of life gave Milarepa a final push he needed to follow his master guidance to meditate in Mountain retreat.
Milarepa meditates there for many years until bone protruded and his clothes turned to rags. He only eats nettles which grow nearby; this made his skin color change to green. Many time he was attacked by hunters and thieves thinking he was a ghost. When he went to the village for alms, everyone attacks him for his past deed. His sister had also become a beggar.
Milarepa achieved enlightenment and had won love and reverence for all people in the land. He went around the westward to preach and meditate. He gathers small groups of students. Gompapo was his most famous student and a lineage holder which would later become Kagyupa sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
Some dharma teachers were jealous of him, and few became his teacher. Gesh Taskpuwa conspired to poison him. Milarepa knew about the plot yet he eat the poisoned food as he knows he would pass away at the age of eighty-four anyhow. He uses his miracle power to let Geshe understand about the pain he is enduring by break beam of the house with his illness.
At his funeral, the attendees could see a lot of miraculous signs. Many students received teaching from God, goddess, and Milarepa himself.
There is no greater example of an ordinary human being achieving sudden enlightenment in one lifetime then Milarepa. His story is a great encouragement for all of us to practice and achieve liberation from the end circle of samsara (wheel of Life). You will have to need the genuine teacher and path.