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 Post subject: Was Milarepa a Buddhist
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:52 am 
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I was reading through a book titled 'A Buddhist Bible' and while reading a chapter on the life of Milarepa I read about how he entered into 'Dagkar Taso' cave where he performed austerities causing his body to become very emaciated. Concerned relatives would try to get him to refrain from the strenuous austerities but failed to do so.I recall that Shakyamuni Buddha exhorted his followers to refrain from excessive austerity and to instead follow a 'Middle Path'. Was Milarepa Buddhist ?
Perhaps the author of the book didn't provide an accurate excerpt of the story.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:19 am 
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ananda wrote:
Was Milarepa Buddhist ?


Milarepa was a buddha.

His austerities etc. were a means to an end, not the end in itself. There are some spiritual traditions that think pain and suffering are good and necessary, but this wasn't Marpa or Milarepa's view.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:53 am 
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Milarepa took a vow to remain in retreat in the mountains until enlightenment. He wasn't fasting or performing austerities for their own sake. It's just that there were very few sources of food and clothing in his isolated retreat. He took the little that was offered to him gratefully and did not spurn it.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:28 pm 
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ananda wrote:
I was reading through a book titled 'A Buddhist Bible' and while reading a chapter on the life of Milarepa I read about how he entered into 'Dagkar Taso' cave where he performed austerities causing his body to become very emaciated. Concerned relatives would try to get him to refrain from the strenuous austerities but failed to do so.I recall that Shakyamuni Buddha exhorted his followers to refrain from excessive austerity and to instead follow a 'Middle Path'. Was Milarepa Buddhist ?
Perhaps the author of the book didn't provide an accurate excerpt of the story.


You may need to read the Life of Milarepa to clarify your doubt. His life story is very inspiring and enjoyable to be read.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 5:14 pm 
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ananda wrote:
I was reading through a book titled 'A Buddhist Bible' and while reading a chapter on the life of Milarepa I read about how he entered into 'Dagkar Taso' cave where he performed austerities causing his body to become very emaciated.


That was because he didn't always have a lot of food to eat, especially in winter. He was not emaciated because of an imposed fast. Tradition holds that he ate a lot of nettle soup. This gave his skin a greenish color (perhaps because of the Chlorophyl in the nettles). He's often depicted that way in Thangkas


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Concerned relatives would try to get him to refrain from the strenuous austerities but failed to do so.I recall that Shakyamuni Buddha exhorted his followers to refrain from excessive austerity and to instead follow a 'Middle Path'. Was Milarepa Buddhist ?
Perhaps the author of the book didn't provide an accurate excerpt of the story.


Milarepa was a Yogin. He's often referred to as "Lord of the Yogins" because of his extended retreat practice. The austerities, as another pointed out were not the purpose of Milarepa's retreat. The austerities were a side-effect. He was also a Buddhist.

You should read Thrangu Rinpoche's biography of Milarepa. You should also read and meditate on the 100,000 songs of realization that Milarepa composed. This would be especially good to do if you have any interest in the Kagyu lineage or Mahamudra practice.


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