Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Milarepa, fully Jetsun Milarepa NULL

Tibetan Poet Saint and Yogi

"My religion is to live - and die - without regret."

"I am Milarepa, the yogi from Tibet. There is a great purpose to not having possessions." He then explained this in a spiritual song: "I have no desire for wealth or possessions, and so I have nothing. I do not experience the initial suffering of having to accumulate possessions, the intermediate suffering of having to guard and keep up possessions, nor the final suffering of loosing the possessions. This is a wonderful thing. I have no desire for friends or relations. I do not experience the initial suffering of forming an attachment, the intermediate suffering of having disagreements with friends and family, nor the final suffering of parting with them. Therefore it is good to be without friends and relations. I have no desire for pleasant conversation. I do not experience the initial suffering of beginning conversation, the intermediate suffering of wondering whether to continue the conversation, nor the final suffering of the conversation deteriorating. Therefore I do not delight in pleasant conversation. I have no desire for a home land and have no fixed residence. I do not experience the initial suffering of partiality of thinking that 'this is my land and that place isn't.' I do not experience the intermediate suffering of yearning for my land. And I do not experience the final suffering of having to protect my land. Therefore I do not have a fixed abode."

"Those undertaking hardships for the Dharma’s sake build up merit far too great to tell. Those who inspire others to take up this call, their kindness stretches far too far to tell. For those who hear of this austere way to live, blessings gather far too high to pile."

"All the water and drink you've consumed from beginningless time until now has failed to satisfy your thirst or bring you contentment. Drink therefore of this stream Of enlightened mind, Fortunate Ones. "

"When I realize everything’s equality I forget all about my close friends and my relatives It’s OK to forget the objects of your attachment. When I realize wisdom beyond thought I forget everything included in perceiver and perceived It’s OK to forget these causes of happiness and pain. Beyond memory, beyond feelings I forget all about experiences, the good ones and the bad It’s OK to forget them, they just go up and down"

"Maintain the state of undistractedness, and distractions will fly away. Dwell alone, and you shall find the Friend. Take the lowest place, and you shall reach the highest. Hasten slowly, and you shall soon arrive. Renounce all worldly goals, and you shall reach the highest Goal. If you follow this unfrequented path, you will find the shortest way. If you realize Sunyata (the absolute Emptiness), compassion will arise within your hearts; and when you lose all differentiation between yourself and others, then you will be fit to serve others."

"It is difficult to meet success in the effort to insure one's own spiritual welfare, even without seeking to benefit others. If you seek another's spiritual welfare before attaining your own, it would be like a helplessly drowning man trying to save another man in the same predicament. Therefore, one should not be too anxious and hasty in setting out to save others before one has, oneself, realized Truth in Its fullness. That would be like the blind leading the blind. As long as the sky endures, there will be no dearth of sentient beings for you to serve, and your opportunity for such service will come. Till it does, I exhort each one of you to keep but one resolve: namely, to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all living creatures."

"Veiled by ignorance, the minds of man and Buddha appear to be different; yet in the realm of Mind Essence they are both of one taste. Sometimes they will meet each other in the great Dharmadhatu."

"Accustomed long to meditating on the Unborn, the Indestructible, the Unchanging, I have forgotten all definitions of this or that particular goal."

"Accustomed long to applying each new experience to my own spiritual growth, I have forgotten all creeds and dogmas."

"Life is short, and the time of death is uncertain; so apply yourselves to meditation. Avoid doing evil, and acquire merit, to the best of your ability, even at the cost of life itself. In short, act so that you will have no cause to be ashamed of yourselves; and hold fast to this rule."

"All worldly pursuits have but one unavoidable and inevitable end, which is sorrow; acquisitions end in dispersion; buildings in destruction; meetings in separation; births in death. Knowing this, one should, from the very first, renounce acquisitions and storing-up, and building, and meeting; and, faithful to the commands of an eminent Guru, set about realizing the Truth. That alone is the best of religious observances."

"As regards the method of acquiring practical spiritual knowledge, if you find a certain practice increases your evil passions and tends you toward selfishness, abandon it, though it may appear to others virtuous. And if any course of action tends to counteract your evil passions, and to benefit sentient beings, know that to be the true and holy path, and continue it, even though it should appear to others to be sinful."

"May I be far removed from contending creeds and dogmas. Ever since my Lord's grace entered my mind, My mind has never strayed to seek such distractions. Accustomed long to contemplating love and compassion, I have forgotten all difference between myself and others. Accustomed long to meditating on my Guru as enhaloed over my head, I have forgotten all those who rule by power and prestige. Accustomed long to meditating on my guardian deities as inseparable from myself, I have forgotten the lowly fleshly form. Accustomed long to meditating on the secret whispered truths, I have forgotten all that is said in written or printed books. Accustomed, as I have been, to the study of the eternal Truth, I've lost all knowledge of ignorance. Accustomed, as I've been, to contemplating both nirvana and samsara as inherent in myself, I have forgotten to think of hope and fear. Accustomed, as I've been, to meditating on this life and the next as one, I have forgotten the dread of birth and death. Accustomed long to studying, by myself, my own experiences, I have forgotten the need to seek the opinions of friends and brethren. Accustomed long to applying each new experience to my own spiritual growth, I have forgotten all creeds and dogmas. Accustomed long to meditating on the Unborn, the Indestructible, the Unchanging, I have forgotten all definitions of this or that particular goal. Accustomed long to meditating on all visible phenomena as the Dharmakaya, I have forgotten all meditations on what is produced by the mind. Accustomed long to keeping my mind in the uncreated state of freedom, I have forgotten all conventions and artificialities. Accustomed long to humbleness, of body and mind, I have forgotten the pride and haughty manner of the mighty. Accustomed long to regarding my fleshly body as my hermitage, I have forgotten the ease and comfort of retreats and monasteries. Accustomed long to knowing the meaning of the Wordless, I have forgotten the way to trace the roots of verbs, and the sources of words and phrases. You, 0 learned one, may trace out these things in your books [if you wish]."

"The affairs of the world will go on forever. Do not delay the practice of meditation."

"Your own body is a sanctuary and celestial mansion... in the monastery of your heart and body, you have a temple where all buddhas unite... the very basis of his [marpa's] teaching is that this meditation be practiced in solitude... for a life that leads to enlightenment is more precious than a billion worlds filled with gold... having embraced the spirit rather than the letter, I forgot how to play with words... measuring the infinitude of non-duality, he will loose his arrows throughout the world. Those whom he will strike are the faithful ones. that which he will kill is their clinging to self."

"Though you youngsters of the new qeneration dwell in towns infested with deceitful fate, the link of truth still remains."

"I bow down at the feet of my Guru. Oh good patrons! If you wish to realize the Essence of Mind, You should practice the following teachings: Faith, knowledge, and discipline, These three are the Life Tree of Mind. This is the tree you should plant and foster. Non-attachment, non-clinging, and non-blindness, These are the three shields of Mind; They are light to wear, strong for defense, And the shields you should seek. Meditation, diligence, and perseverance, These are the three horses of Mind; They run fast and quickly flee! If you look for horses, these are the right ones. Self-awareness, self-illumination, and self-rapture, These three are the fruits of Mind; Sow the seeds, ripen the fruit, Refine the fluid, and the essence emerges. If you look for fruit, these are the fruit you should seek. Sprung from yogic intuition, This song of the Twelve Meanings of Mind is sung. Inspired by your faith, continue with your practice, my good patrons!"

"Hasten slowly and ye shall soon arrive."

"Indomitable perseverance is the highest offering to my Guru. The best way to please Him is to endure the hardship of meditation! Abiding in this cave, alone, is the noblest service to the Dakinis! To devote myself to the Holy Dharma is the best service to Buddhism -- to devote my life to meditation, thus to aid my helpless, sentient fellow beings! To love death and sickness is a blessing through which to cleanse one's sins; to refuse forbidden food helps one to attain realization and enlightenment; to repay my Father Guru's bounties I meditate, and meditate again."

"When you run after your thoughts, you are like a dog chasing a stick: every time a stick is thrown, you run after it. Instead, be like a lion who, rather than chasing after the stick, turns to face the thrower. One only throws a stick at a lion once."

"A free and resourceful and fully equipped human body that's freed of the eight unfree states is not easy to get. To get to the heart of this free and resourceful occasion and to get past the pleasures of life is not easy to do. To see what is wrong with the phenomenon of samsara and accomplish nirvana is not something easy to do. Although one might practice true dharma extensively the purest conductive conditions don't easily join. A lama who masters instructions and scriptures and logic and has a compassionate heart is not easy to find. A student with faith who does not get fed up or exhausted and is able to actually practice is not easy to find. A practice environment blessed with the proper conditions free of all hazard and fear is not easy to find. Friends with the same motivation and way to apply it who’s thinking accords with your own are not easy to find A body that's able to work with its pain and illness and to do all you bid it is not something easy to find. Although you might get every one of these factors together to practice with one-pointed mind is not easy to do. These are nine things which are difficult to come by. They're difficult, but it's these difficult things you must do."

"When I realize everything’s equality I forget all about my close friends and my relatives It’s OK to forget the objects of your attachment. When I realize wisdom beyond thought I forget everything included in perceiver and perceived It’s OK to forget these causes of happiness and pain. Beyond memory, beyond feelings I forget all about experiences, the good ones and the bad It’s OK to forget them, they just go up and down. When I know the three kayas are present naturally I forget all about the deity’s generation stage practice It’s OK to forget the Dharma made of concepts. When I realize the result’s inside of me I forget all about the results you have to strive and strain to get It’s OK to forget the Dharma of the relative truth. Meditating on the key instructions I forget all other explanations and their conventional terms It’s OK to forget the Dharma that makes you arrogant. When I realize appearances are my texts I forget all about those big books with their letters in black It’s OK to forget the Dharma that’s just a heavy load."

"I make obeisance to you, Marpa the translator. I pray that you grant me increase of Bodhi-Mind. However beautiful a song's words may be, it is but a tune to those who grasp not the words of Truth. If a parable agrees not with Buddha's teaching, however eloquent it may sound, ‘Tis but a booming echo. If one does not practice Dharma, however learned in the Doctrines one may claim to be, one is only self-deceived. Living in solitude is self-imprisonment, if one practices not the instructions of the Oral transmission. Labor on the farm is but self-punishment, if one neglects the teachings of the Buddha. For those who do not guard their morals, prayers are but wishful thinking. For those who do not practice what they preach, oratory is but faithless lying. Wrong-doing shunned, sins of themselves diminish; Good deeds done, merit will be gained. Remain in solitude, and meditate alone; much talking is of no avail. Follow what I sing, and practice Dharma!"

"A fool can never distinguish friend from foe."

"A feast of delight can also serve others."

"A hen hatching her egg; but a falling rock may crush it at any time."

"A painting in gold fades when it is completed."

"A heart made pure is fit, and so may whole-hearted prayer be too."

"A layman's life is like a thief who sneaks into an empty house."

"A perturbed, wandering mind never sees the truth of Mahayana."

"A son, a wife, and flame to extreme, are three great fetters for a yogi. The practitioner should leave them. Prestige, enjoyment and goods like gems, Are three great hindrances to a yogi, the practitioner should renounce them. Relatives, disciples, and rich patrons, are three great obstacles to a yogi. The practitioner should forsake them."

"Affairs and business will drag on forever, so lay them down and practice now the Dharma."

"All meditation must begin with arousing deep compassion. Whatever one does must emerge from an attitude of love and benefitting others."

"All followers are phantoms."

"All the gold that I, Milarepa, have amassed during my lifetime lies hidden here beneath this hearth."

"All the wealth you?ve acquired from beginning-less time until now has failed to fulfill all your desires. Cultivate therefore this wish-granting gem of moderation, O fortunate ones."

"Among one thousand heads, you value most your own."

"All nature serves me for a book."

"As I do not wear the lofty garb of priesthood, I am happy."

"As I need prepare for nothing, I am happy."

"At all times, in every way, keep watch on yourself."

"Are you altruistic in your thoughts and actions?"

"Anger brings one to the Lower Realms, so, never lose your temper."

"Avoid subtle argument."

"Avoid likes and dislikes."

"Babbling and prattling will only disturb others' minds."

"Be ever prosperous (fit for good people)."

"Behold and search your unborn mind; Seek not for satisfaction in samsara. I attain all my knowledge through observing the mind within. Thus all my thoughts become the teachings of dharma, and apparent phenomena are all the books one needs. Seeing the innate face of the self-mind is supreme, How can common meditation match it?"

"Before you have fully mastered the Awareness within, do not engage in blind and foolish acts."