Songs of Milarepa

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Response to a Logician

I bow at the feet of my teacher Marpa.
And sing this song in response to you.
Listen, pay heed to what I say,
forget your critique for a while.

The best seeing is the way of "nonseeing" --
the radiance of the mind itself.
The best prize is what cannot be looked for --
the priceless treasure of the mind itself.

The most nourishing food is "noneating" --
the transcendent food of samadhi.
The most thirst-quenching drink is "nondrinking" --
the nectar of heartfelt compassion.

Oh, this self-realizing awareness
is beyond words and description!
The mind is not the world of children,
nor is it that of logicians.

Attaining the truth of "nonattainment,"
you receive the highest initiation.
Perceiving the void of high and low,
you reach the sublime stage.

Approaching the truth of "nonmovement,"
you follow the supreme path.
Knowing the end of birth and death,
the ultimate purpose is fulfilled.

Seeing the emptiness of reason,
supreme logic is perfected.
When you know that great and small are groundless,
you have entered the highest gateway.

Comprehending beyond good and evil
opens the way to perfect skill.
Experiencing the dissolution of duality,
you embrace the highest view.

Observing the truth of "nonobservation"
opens the way to meditating.
Comprehending beyond "ought" and "oughtn't"
opens the way to perfect action.

When you realize the truth of "noneffort,"
you are approaching the highest fruition.
Ignorant are those who lack this truth:
arrogant teachers inflated by learning,
scholars bewitched by mere words,
and yogis seduced by prejudice.
For though they yearn for freedom,
they find only enslavement.

Song to the Rock Demoness

River, ripples, and waves, these three,
When emerging, arise from the ocean itself.
When disappearing, they disappear into the ocean itself.

Habitual thinking, love, and possessiveness, these three,
When arising, arise from the alaya consciousness itself.
When disappearing, they disappear into the alaya consciousness itself.

Self-awareness, self-illumination, self-liberation, these three,
When arising, arise from the mind itself.
When disappearing, they disappear into the mind itself.

The unborn, unceasing, and unexpressed, these three,
When emerging, arise from the nature of being itself.
When disappearing, they disappear into the nature of being itself.

The visions of demons, clinging to demons, and thoughts of demons,
When arising, arise from the Yogin himself.
When disappearing, they disappear into the Yogin himself.

Since demons are the phantoms of the mind,
If it is not understood by the Yogin that they are empty appearances,
And even if he thinks they are real, meditation is confused.

But the root of the delusion is in his own mind.
By observation of the nature of manifestations,
He realizes the identity of manifestation and void,
And by understanding, he knows that the two are not different.

Meditation and not meditation are not two but one,
The cause of all errors is to look upon the two things as different.
From the ultimate point of view, there is no view.

If you make comparison between the nature of the mind
And the nature of the heavens,
Then the true nature of being itself is penetrated.

See, now, that you look into the true meaning which is beyond thought.
Arrange to enter into undisturbed meditation.
And be mindful of the Unceasing Intuitive Sensation!

The Profound Definitive Meaning

For the mind that masters view the emptiness dawns
In the content seen not even an atom exists
A seer and seen refined until they're gone
This way of realizing view, it works quite well

When meditation is clear light river flow
There is no need to confine it to sessions and breaks
Meditator and object refined until they're gone
This heart bone of meditation, it beats quite well

When you're sure that conducts work is luminous light
And you're sure that interdependence is emptiness
A doer and deed refined until they're gone
This way of working with conduct, it works quite well

When biased thinking has vanished into space
No phony facades, eight dharmas, nor hopes and fears,
A keeper and kept refined until they're gone
This way of keeping samaya, it works quite well

When you've finally discovered your mind is dharmakaya
And you're really doing yourself and others good
A winner and won refined until they're gone
This way of winning results, it works quite well.

The Song of Food and Dwelling

I bow down at the feet of the wish-fulfilling Guru.
Pray vouchsafe me your grace in bestowing beneficial food,
Pray make me realize my own body as the house of Buddha,
Pray grant me this knowledge.

I built the house through fear,
The house of Sunyata, the void nature of being;
Now I have no fear of its collapsing.
I, the Yogi with the wish-fulfilling gem,
Feel happiness and joy where'er I stay.

Because of the fear of cold, I sought for clothes;
The clothing I found is the Ah Shea Vital Heat.
Now I have no fear of coldness.

Because of the fear of poverty, I sought for riches;
The riches I found are the inexhaustible Seven Holy Jewels.
Now I have no fear of poverty.

Because of the fear of hunger, I sought for food;
The food I found is the Samadhi of Suchness.
Now I have no fear of hunger.

Because of the fear of thirst, I sought for drink;
The heavenly drink I found is the wine of mindfulness.
Now I have no fear of thirst.

Because of the fear of loneliness, I searched for a friend;
The friend I found is the bliss of perpetual Sunyata.
Now I have no fear of loneliness.

Because of the fear of going astray,
I sought for the right path to follow.
The wide path I found is the Path of Two-in-One.
Now I do not fear to lose my way.

I am a yogi with all desirable possessions,
A man always happy where'er he stays.

Here at Yolmo Tagpu Senge Tson,
The tigress howling with a pathetic, trembling cry,
Reminds me that her helpless cubs are innocently playing.
I cannot help but feel a great compassion for them,
I cannot help but practice more diligently,
I cannot help but augment thus my Bodhi-Mind.

The touching cry of the monkey,
So impressive and so moving,
Cannot help but raise in me deep pity.
The little monkey's chattering is amusing and pathetic;
As I hear it, I cannot but think of it with compassion.

The voice of the cuckoo is so moving,
And so tuneful is the lark's sweet singing,
That when I hear them I cannot help but listen --
When I listen to them,
I cannot help but shed tears.

The varied cries and cawings of the crow,
Are a good and helpful friend unto the yogi.
Even without a single friend,
To remain here is a pleasure.
With joy flowing from my heart, I sing this happy song;
May the dark shadow of all men's sorrows
Be dispelled by my joyful singing.

The Song of the Twelve Deceptions

Worldly affairs are all deceptive;
So I seek the Truth Divine.

Excitements and distractions are illusions;
So I meditate on the Non-dual Truth.

Companions and servants are deceptive;
So I remain in solitude.

Money and possessions are also deceptive;
So if I have them, I give them away.

Things in the outer world are all illusion;
The Inner Mind is that which I observe.

Wandering thoughts are all deceptive;
So I only tread the Path of Wisdom.

Deceptive are the teachings of Expedient Truth;
The Final Truth is that on which I meditate.

Books written in black ink are all misleading;
I only meditate on the Pith-Instructions of the Whispered Lineage.

Words and sayings, too, are but illusion;
At ease, I rest my mind in the effortless state.

Birth and death are both illusions;
I observe but the truth of No-Arising.

The common mind is in every way misleading;
And so I practice how to animate Awareness.

The Mind-holding Practice is misleading and deceptive;
And so I rest in the realm of Reality.

The Song of View, Practice, and Action

Oh, my Guru! The Exemplar of the View, Practice, and Action,
Pray vouchsafe me your grace, and enable me
To be absorbed in the realm of Self-nature!

For the View, Practice, Action, and Accomplishment
There are three Key-points you should know:

All the manifestation, the Universe itself, is contained in the mind;
The nature of Mind is the realm of illumination
Which can neither be conceived nor touched.
These are the Key-points of the View.

Errant thoughts are liberated in the Dharmakaya;
The awareness, the illumination, is always blissful;
Meditate in a manner of non-doing and non-effort.
These are the Key-points of Practice.

In the action of naturalness
The Ten Virtues spontaneously grow;
All the Ten Vices are thus purified.
By corrections or remedies
The Illuminating Void is ne'er disturbed.
These are the Key-points of Action.

There is no Nivana to attain beyond;
There is no Samsara here to renounce;
Truly to know the Self-mind
It is to be the Buddha Himself.
These are the Key-points of Accomplishment.

Reduce inwardly the Three Key-points to One.
This One is the Void Nature of Being,
Which only a wondrous Guru
Can clearly illustrate.

Much activity is of no avail;
If one sees the Simultaneously Born Wisdom,
He reaches the goal.

For all practioners of Dharma
The preaching is a precious gem;
It is my direct experience from yogic meditation.
Think carefully and bear it in your minds,
Oh, my children and disciples.

The Song on Reaching the Mountain Peak

Hearken, my sons! If you want
To climb the mountain peak
You should hold the Self-mind's light,
Tie it with a great "Knot,"
And catch it with a firm "Hook."
If you practice thus
You can climb the mountain peak
To enjoy the view.

Come, you gifted men and women,
Drink the brew of Experience!
Come "inside" to enjoy the scene --
See it and enjoy it to the full!
The Incapable remain outside;
Those who cannot drink pure
Beer may quaff small beer.
He who cannot strive for Bodhi,
Should strive for superior birth.

Upon this earth, the land of the Victorious Ones,

Upon this earth, the land of the Victorious Ones,
Once lived a Saint, known as the second Buddha;
His fame was heard in all the Ten Directions.
To Him, the Jewel a'top the eternal Banner of Dharma
I pay homage and give offerings.
Is He not the holy Master, the great Midripa?

Upon the Lotus-seat of Midripa
My Father Guru places his reliance;
He drinks heavenly nectar
With the supreme view of Mahamudra;
He has realized the innate Truth in utter freedom.
He is the supreme one, Jetsun Marpa.
Undefiled by faults or vices,
He is the Transformation Body of Buddha.

He says: "Before Enlightenment,
All things in the outer world
Are deceptive and confusing;
Clinging to outer forms,
One is ever thus entangled.
After Enlightenment, one sees all things and objects
As but magic shadow-plays,
And all objective things
Become his helpful friends.
In the uncreated Dharmakaya all are pure;
Nothing has ever manifested
In the Realm of Ultimate Truth."

He says: "Before Enlightenment,
The ever-running Mind-consciousness within
Is shut in a confusing blindness
Which is the source of passions, actions, and desires.
After Enlightenment, it becomes the
Self-illuminating Wisdom --
All merits and virtues spring from it.
In Ultimate Truth there is not even Wisdom;
Here one enters the Realm where Dharma is exhausted."

The coproreal form
Is built of the Four Elements;
Before one attains Enlightenment,
All illness and all suffering come from it.
After Enlightenment, it becomes the two-in-one Body
Of Buddha clear as the cloudless firmament!
Thus rooted out are the base Samsaric clingings.
In Absolute Truth there is no body.

The malignant male and femal demons
Who create myriad troubles and obstructions,
Seem real before one has Enlightenment;
But when one realizes their nature truly,
They become Protectors of the Dharma,
And by their help and freely-given assistance
One attains to numerous accomplishments.

In Ultimate Truth there are no Buddhas and no demons;
One enters here the Realm where Dharma is exhausted.
Among all Vehicles, this ultimate teaching
Is found only in the Tantras.
It says in the Highest Division of the Tantra:
"When the various elements gather in the Nadis,
One sees the demon-forms appear.
If one knows not that they are but mind-created
Visions, and deems them to be real,
One is indeed most foolish and most stupid."

In time past, wrapped up in clinging blindness,
I lingered in the den of confusion,
Deeming benevolent deities and malignant
Demons to be real and subsistent.
Now, through the Holy One's grace and blessing
I realize that both Samsara and Nirvana
Are neither existent nor non-existent;
And I see all forms as Mahamudra.

Realizing the groundless nature of ignorance,
My former awareness, clouded and unstable
Like reflections of the moon in rippling water,
Becomes transparent, clear as shining crystal.
Its sun-like brilliance is free from obscuring clouds,
Its light transcends all forms of blindness,
Ignorance and confusion thus vanish without trace.
This is the truth I have experienced within.

Again, the foolish concept "demons" iself
Is groundless, void, and yet illuminating!
Oh, this indeed is marvelous and wonderful!

The Song of Perfect Assurance (to the Demons)

Obeisance to the perfect Marpa.

I am the Yogi who perceives the Ultimate Truth.
In the Origin of the Unborn, I first gain assurance;
On the Path of Non-extinction, slowly
I perfect my pwer;
With meainingful symbols and words
Flowing from my great compassion,
I now sing this song
From the absolute realm of Dharma Essence.

Because your sinful Karma has created
Dense blindness and impenetrable obstruction,
You cannot understand the meaning
Of Ultimate Truth.
Listen, therefore, to the Expedient Truth.

In their spotless, ancient Sutras,
All the Buddhas in the past, repeatedly
Admonished with the eternal Truth of Karma --
That every sentient being is one's kinsman.
This is eternal Truth which never fails.
Listen closely to the teaching of Compassion.

I, the Yogi who developed by his practices,
Know that outer hindrances are but a shadow-show,
And the phantasmal world
A magic play of mind unborn.

By looking inward into the mind is seen
Mind-nature -- without substance, intrinsically void.
Through meditation in solitude, the grace
Of the Succession Gurus and the teaching
Of the great Naropa are attained.
The inner truth of the Buddha
Should be the object of meditation.

By the gracious instruction of my Guru,
Is the abstruse inner meaning of Tantra understood.
Through the practice of Arising and
Perfecting Yoga,
Is the Vital Power engendered
And the inner reason for the microcosm realized.
Thus in the outer world I do not fear
The illusory obstacles.

To the Great Divine Lineage I belong,
With innumberable yogis great as all Space.

When in one's own mind one ponders
On the original state of Mind,
Illusory thoughts of themselves dissolve
Into the Realm of Dharmadhatu.
Neither afflicter nor afflicted can be seen.
Exhaustive study of the Sutras
Teaches us no more than this.