Main CategoriesTibetan BuddhismTilopa and the Kagyu School Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, The

Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, The

Product no.: 1-57062-476-3
Tibetans accord The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa a classic status comparable to that of the Mahabharata and the Bible.

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Publisher's Synopsis
Milarepa was an eleventh-century Buddhist poet and saint, a cotton-clad yogi who avoided the scholarly institutions of his time and wandered from village to village, teaching enlightenment and the path to Buddhahood through his spontaneously composed songs. Wherever he went, crowds of people gathered to hear his sweet sounding voice "singing the Dharma."

Milrepa's poems are filled with fascinating tales of miraculous encounters and colorful imagery, and present a valuable insight into the living quality of Tibetan Buddhism. Central as this book is to Tibetan culture, the arcane dialect and obscurity of many original passages daunted translators for centuries; this was the first complete version of the classic to appear in the West.

Reviews
"Known in Tibetan as the Mila Grubum, the sixty-one stories comprising this epic biography unfold for our edification in the manner of a miracle play. Covering an exhaustive range of spiritual problems, solutions, and instruction, the stories were drawn from the life and travels of this yogic ragamuffin par excellence. Their original author - known to Tibetan scholars as the Insane Yogi - was a student of Gampopa, the chief disciple of Milarepa and himself the author of The Jewel Ornament of Liberation, another core Tibetan Buddhist text. As Chang informs us, the stories are organized into three streams: descriptions of Milarepa's extensive encounters with 'malignant' spirits and demons; accounts of the master among his disciples; and assorted apocrypha, including advice to physicians, beer-drinking songs, evidence of spiritual accomplishment, heartfelt advice, and the like. A vast compendium of medieval Tibetan cultural lore, the Mila Grubum is as sumptuous a feast for Western readers as The Canterbury Tales; a holy book as well, it continues to serve as a fountain of wisdom in Tibetan Tantrist practice.

This edition arrives not unknown to readers of English. A previous edition was published forty years ago and still appears from time to time at antiquarian booksellers (and often at higher cost than this far more exquisite, new edition). Garma Chang wrote his peerless translation in the 1930s, during an eight-year tenure in Buddhist monasteries in the Kham region of inner Tibet. A scholar of China's Hua Yen Buddhist tradition, based upon the Avatamsaka Sutra, Master Chang is equally renowned for The Buddhist Teaching of Totality and was compiling - alas, at the time of his death - a dictionary of Buddhism for Western readers. Nonetheless, in fathoming the Mila Grubum's manifold obscure passages he left us with an encyclopedic tour de force of primary Buddhist doctrine, terminology, psychology, and technical instruction."         ~Manoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing, Volume 12, Number 2, 2000

Excerpt
"Listen with care, my son Rechungpa,
Your old father Mila sometimes sleeps,
But in sleeping he also practises,
For he knows how to illumine Blindness;
But not all men know this Instruction.
I shall be happy if all can share this teaching.

Your old father, Mila, sometimes eats,
But in eating he also practices,
For he knows how to identify
His food and drink with the Holy Feast;
But not all men know this Instruction.
I shall be happy if all can share this teaching.

Sometimes your old father, Mila, walks,
But in marching he also practices,
For he knows that walking
Is to circle round the Buddhas;
But not all men know this Instruction.
I shall be happy if all can share this teaching.

Rechungpa, you should practice in this way."

Biography
The translator, Garma C. C. Chang, traveled extensively in Tibet and studied Buddhism in several monasteries there for more than eight years. His translation of The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa is the fruit of many years of extensive study.

Author Milarepa
Translator Chang, Garma C. C.
Book Type Hardcover
Page Count 752 pp.
Publisher Shambhala Publications 1999
Browse these categories as well: Tilopa and the Kagyu School, Vajrayana and Crazy Wisdom Masters, Termas, Tantras and Sutras, Inspirational Poetry, Prose and Sacred Art, Spiritual Biography and Autobiography

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