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Milarepa (1040–1123)

  • The singing ascetic

    The Tibetan yogi and meditation master Milarepa is highly venerated by all schools of Tantric Buddhism. His dramatic life story, which includes his failings and weaknesses, remains a source of inspiration for many believers to this day.

    In his youth Milarepa learned sorcery and brought death and misery to the enemies of his family. Filled with remorse he turned to Buddhism and tried to gain liberation through this path. But only after his teacher through almost unbearable duties and humiliations had frequently driven him to his physical and mental limits were his misdeeds worked off so that he was ready to be introduced to the teachings.

    Whereas many orthodox Buddhists of his time enjoyed displaying their erudition and were
    showered with gifts by disciples and believers, Milarepa retreated into the loneliness of the mountains. He lived as an ascetic without any possessions and dedicated himself entirely to meditation. Some regarded him as a fool; others venerated him as an enlightened master. His experiences and insights are passed on in poetic songs.

    I remain happy in the unchangeable brilliant clarity,
    Free from thinking.
    I remain happy in the pure dimension of great happiness.
    I remain happy in the space of unhindered perception.

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