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Words of Wisdom

Selections from the Holy Text of Tibetan Buddhism: Sixty Songs of Milarepa (vegetarian) – Songs 2-4, 6, 14-15, 51-52, Part 1 of 2

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One of the renowned Masters of this religion is Jetsun Milarepa, meaning Milarepa the Revered One. A former magician who became a yogi, poet, and hermit, this spiritual hero of Tibet lived from 1052 to 1135, and His story of personal redemption has inspired lives across many generations. Through songs called dohas, Jetsun Milarepa imparted Divine teachings on spiritual devotion and wisdom. Supreme Master Ching Hai has spoken about the venerated Milarepa on several occasions, as during this lecture given in 1992 at the Hsihu Ashram in Taiwan, also known as Formosa. “Milarepa, His faith in seeking the Truth was very firm. He was terrified of hell and knew that His karma was unimaginable. So no matter how much His Master scolded Him, He endured it. His faith was from inside. He wasn't taught to do so. No one taught Him to do so and no one forced Him. From the hardships that He underwent, we can see why He was able to attain the Truth.” Today, we present to you an excerpt from the holy text of Tibetan Buddhism titled, “Sixty Songs of Milarepa (vegetarian).” “On His way to Shri Ri to meditate, Milarepa lodged at an inn where a merchant, Dhawa Norbu (the Moon jewel), was also staying with a great retinue. Milarepa begged alms from him, upon which the merchant remarked that it would be better for him to work to support himself. Milarepa pointed out that enjoying pleasures now is the source for more suffering in the future. Then He said: ‘Now listen to my song.’ ‘Castles and crowded cities are the places Where now you love to stay; But remember that they will fall to ruins After you have departed from this Earth! Pride and vain glory are the lure Which now you love to follow; But remember, when you are about to die, They offer you no shelter and no refuge! Kinsmen and relatives are the people now With whom you love to live; But remember that you must leave them all behind, When from this world you pass away! Servants, wealth and children Are things you love to hold; But remember, at the time of your death, Your empty hands can take nothing with you! Vigor and health Are dearest to you now; But remember, at the moment of your death, Your corpse will be bundled up and borne away! Now your organs are clear, Your flesh and blood are strong and vigorous; But remember, at the moment of your death, They will no longer be at your disposal! Sweet and delicious foods are things That now you love to eat; But remember, at the moment of your death, Your mouth will let the spittle flow! When of all this I think, I cannot help but seek the Buddha’s Teachings! The enjoyments and the pleasures of this world, For me, have no attraction. I, Milarepa, sing of the Eight Reminders, At the Guest House in Garakhache of Tsang. With these clear words I give this helpful warning; I urge you to observe and practise them!’”
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