(c. 1052-c. 1135)

from Songs of Milarepa


Milarepa was a major figure in Tibetan Buddhism and one of Tibet’s most famous yogis and poets. His writings, often referred to as the Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, are canonical Mahayana Buddhist texts. Milarepa was born Mila Thöpaga to a prosperous family, but when his father died and his uncle and aunt took the family’s wealth, Milarepa left home to study sorcery; he engaged in a series of revenge actions against his thieving relatives. Repenting of his violent deeds, he sought guidance under the Lama Marpa. Milarepa is said to have been the first man to achieve Vajradhara (complete enlightenment) within one lifetime.

This brief selection, spoken in the voice of Milarepa (then still known as Thöpaga), refers to his misdeeds and his suicidal regret for them, as well as Marpa’s angry discipline. It captures the assertion by another Lama present at the time, Ngogpa, of the basis for Buddhism’s rejection of suicide.


W. Y. Evans-Wentz, ed., Tibet’s Great Yogi Milarepa. A Biography from the TibetanPart II, Ch. 5. London: Oxford University Press, 1928, pp. 126-128.


‘One day during a feast given to some of his disciples from the most distant parts and to the members of his own family, Lāma Marpa sat, with a long staff by his side, looking with fierce eyes at Lāma Ngogpa, who was one of those present.  After a time, pointing at him with his finger, he said, “Ngogdun Chudor, what explanation hast thou to give in the matter of thy having conferred Initiation and the Truths upon this wicked person, Thöpaga?%E

(c. 1052-c. 1135)

from Songs of Milarepa

Filed under Asia, Buddhism, Middle Ages, Milarepa, Jetsun, Selections

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