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November 2, 2010

1

Milarepa on the nature of mind

by Repa Dorje Odzer

This is a particularly intimate and moving song of instruction by Milarepa for his student Gampopa.  The imagery of a parent concerned for his child contributes to the sense of closeness between the teacher and student in this song, it also shows how subtle some of the maras (perceptual delusions) that we experience along the way can be.  Milarepa as the tender father helps to point out some of the pitfalls that obscure the natural luminosity of the mind’s essential nature.

Following along with the parenting metaphor for a moment, I am reminded of a teacher who once reminded a friend and I that once one begins to meditate, no matter how much time spent in meditation, or its frequency, we should act as if we are pregnant; or we should know that we are pregnant with the innumerable qualities and benefits of Buddhahood. How long the gestation period will be is hard to know, but one day we will give birth to the clear and stainless realization of our mind.  All it takes is to begin a meditation practice and examine what effects it has on our perception and our relative well-being; once we are pregnant with this potential awakening, we should guard ourselves against that which complicates and distracts our meditation practice.  The tone that Milarepa sets in this song is gentle and supportive; how can we be this way with ourselves in our practice?

 

A Song of Instruction to Gampopa

By Milarepa

 

 

Son, when simplicity dawns in the mind,

Do not follow after conventional terms.

There’s a danger you’ll get trapped in the eight Dharma’s circle.

Rest in a state free of pride.

Do you understand this, Teacher from Central Tibet?

Do you understand this, Takpo Lhajey?

 

When self-liberation dawns from within,

Do not engage in the reasonings of logic.

There’s a danger you’ll just waste your energy.

Son, rest free of thoughts.

Do you understand this, Teacher from Central Tibet?

Do you understand this, Takpo Lhajey?

 

When you realize your own mind is emptiness,

Do not engage in the reasoning “beyond one or many”.

There is a danger that you’ll fall into a nihilistic emptiness.

Do you understand this, Teacher from Central Tibet?

Do you understand this, Takpo Lhajey?

 

When immersed in Mahamudra meditaion,

Do not exert yourself in virtuous acts of body and speech.

There’s a danger the wisdom of nonthought will disappear.

Son, rest uncontrived and loose.

Do you understand this, Teacher from Central Tibet?

Do you understand this, Takpo Lhajey?

When the signs foretold by the scriptures arise,

Do not boast with joy or cling to them.

There’s a danger you’ll get the prophecy of maras instead.

Rest free of clinging.

Do you understand this, Teacher from Central Tibet?

Do you understand this, Takpo Lhajey?

 

When you gain resolution regarding your mind,

Do not yearn for the higher cognitive powers.

There’s a danger you’ll be carried away by the mara of pretentiousness.

Son, rest free of fear and hope.

Do you understand this, Teacher from Central Tibet?

Do you understand this, Takpo Lhajey?[i]


[i] Songs and Instructions of the Karmapas.  Nalandabodhi Publications.  2006.  Pg. 25-26.


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1 Comment Post a comment
  1. loki
    Mar 31 2011

    beautiful lines

    Reply

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