Part II Chapter 9 - The Nirvana
At the time when these words were being fulfilled, there was a very rich and influential lama named Geshe (1) Tsakpuhwa who lived at Drin. At first, he made a show of honoring the Master. But later, succumbing to envy and wanting to embarrass the Master before the crowd of his benefactors, he pretended to be troubled by doubts and asked him many questions. 

During the first month of autumn in the year of the Wood Tiger, the Master had been invited to preside at a wedding feast at Drin. Geshe Tsakpuhwa also attended. He prostrated himself, hoping that the Master would return his prostration in the presence of the gathering. The Master had never prostrated himself before anyone, nor returned anyone's prostration except in the case of his lama, and, following his custom, he did not return the prostration. 

The gestie thought, 'What! A Master as learned as myself paying homage to an ignorant fool and receiving no homage in return! I shall make him pay for my embarrassment.' And, handing him a text on Buddhist logic, he said, 'Master, would you be kind enough to clear up my uncertainty and explain this to me, word by word?'
The Master replied, 'You know very well the conceptual meaning of this text. But real spiritual meaning is found in abandoning the Eight Worldly Reactions and the personal ego, through destroying false perceptions of reality by realizing the single flavor of samsara and nirvana, and through meditating in mountain solitude. Apart from that, arguing over words, and pointing out what comes after what, is totally useless if one does not practice the Dharma. I have never studied logic. I know nothing about it and if I ever did, I have forgotten it now. I will tell you why. Listen to this song: 

          "I prostrate myself before Marpa the Translator, 
          May he bless me and keep me from dispute. 

          The blessing of my lama penetrated my mind. 
          I have never been overcome by distractions. 

          Having meditated on love and compassion, 
          I forgot the difference between myself and others. 

          Having meditated on my lama, 
          I forgot those who are influential and powerful. 
          Having meditated constantly on my yidam, 
          I forgot the coarse world of the senses. 

          Having meditated on the instruction of the secret tradition, 
          I forgot the books of dialectic. 

          Having maintained pure awareness, 
          I forgot the illusions of ignorance. 

          Having meditated on the essential nature of mind as Trikaya, 
          I forgot my hopes and fears. 

          Having meditated on this life and the life beyond, 
          I forgot the fear of birth and death. 

          Having tasted the joys of solitude, 
          I forgot the need to please my relatives and friends. 

          Having assimilated the teaching in the stream of my consciousness, 
          I forgot to engage in doctrinal polemics. 

          Having meditated on that which is non-arising, non-ceasing, and non-abiding, 
          I disregarded all conventional forms. 

          Having meditated on the perception of phenomena as the Dharmakaya, 
          I forgot all conceptual forms of meditation. 

          Having dwelt in the unaltered state of naturalness, 
          I forgot the ways of hypocrisy. 

          Having lived in humility in body and mind, 
          I forgot the disdain and arrogance of the great. 

          Having made a monastery within my body, 
          I forgot the monastery outside. 

          Having embraced the spirit rather than the letter, 
          I forgot how to play with words. 

          As you are a Master, explain the treatise yourself.' 

Thus he spoke. 
The geshe continued. 'This may be the hermit's way, but if I were to challenge it with my learned arguments, your discourses would go no further. I had hoped you were a noble man. That is why I prostrated myself before you.' 

These words did not please the benefactors. With one voice they said to him, 'Master Geshe, however learned you may be, there are many more like you on earth. You are not equal to the Master, not even to a pore of the skin of his body. Just preside and be silent. Increase your wealth as much as you can, since you do not possess even the smell of religion.' 

In spite of his growing irritation, the geshe could not protest since everyone supported Milarepa. His face darkened and he thought, "Milarepa acts and jests like a madman who knows nothing. Through his lies and imposture he is degrading the teaching of the Buddha, and living on gifts obtained by deceit. I, who have got so much knowledge and am the richest and most influential man in this region, now count for less than a dog in religious matters. I must do something about this.' 

Then he mixed some poison with curdled milk. Promising his concubine the gift of a large turquoise, he sent her with the poison to Drin Cave, where the Master was staying. 

The Master knew that his foremost disciples were already enlightened and that, even if he were not to take the poison, his time to die had come. He knew also that, unless the woman were given the turquoise before he drank the poison, she would never get it. So he said to her, 'I shall not drink this now. Bring it back later, and then I will drink it.' 

Wondering if the Master suspected her, the woman, worried and ashamed, went back to Geshe Tsakpuhwa. 
'Because of his clairvoyance,' she said, 'the Master suspected me and refused to drink.' 

The geshe replied, 'If he really had clairvoyance, he would not have told you to bring it back. He would have told you to drink it yourself. Since he did not, that proves he does not possess clairvoyance. Take this turquoise. Go find the Master and make sure he drinks the poison.' 

He gave her the turquoise, and she answered, 'Everyone believes he is clairvoyant, so it must be true. That is why he did not take the drink in the first place, and I am sure he will not take it now. What's more, I am too afraid to do it. I will not go! I do not want your turquoise.' 

The geshe answered, 'Laymen believe he is clairvoyant because they have not read the scriptures, and because they have been led astray by his lies. In my books, men gifted with clairvoyance are not like that. I assure you that he is not clairvoyant. Once I have seen proof that you have given him the drink, we shall be married. We have been living together for a long time and, as they say, there is not much to choose between eating a little garlic or a lot. Besides having this turquoise, you will be entrusted with the care of all my possessions, both within my household and without, and we will share all our joys and sorrows and be one family. So do your best.' 

Hoping that these promises would be fulfilled, she then mixed some poison with curds and took it to the Master, who was now staying at Trode Tashigang. The Master smiled and took the vessel in his hands. She thought. The geshe is right, he does not seem to have clairvoyance.' Even while she was thinking this, the Master said to her, 'So you have been given the turquoise for the deed you are carrying out?' 

Overwhelmed with confusion, she prostrated herself, and said in a weeping and trembling voice, 'I do have the turquoise, but I beg you, do not take the drink. Give it back to me. I am a thoughtless evil-doer.' 

'What are you going to do with it?' 

'I myself will drink it since I am guilty.' 

The Master continued: 
'First of all, I have too much compassion to let you drink it. It would violate the essence of the Bodhisattva precepts (2) and would bring with it grave spiritual consequences. My mission is complete and my life is coming to an end. My time has come to go to another realm. By itself the drink could not harm me in the least. It does not matter whether I drink it or not. But if I had drunk it the first time, you would not have received the turquoise as payment for your crime. Now that the turquoise is in your hands, I will drink, both to satisfy the geshe's desire and to be sure that you earn the turquoise. 

'As for the geshe's other promises, they will not be fulfilled. He said many things about my behavior. There is no truth in what he said, so both of you will experience terrible remorse. When this happens, in order to purify yourself, strive toward self-realization in this life. Even to save your life, do not commit any similar crimes. Call upon me and my spiritual sons with a sincere heart. Both you and the geshe have always cut yourselves off from happiness and sought out sorrow. This time I will see if I can purify you of your evil karma. Speak to no one of this while I am alive. After-ward, everyone will hear about it. Although you have neither seen with your eyes nor heard with your ears the truth of my previous sayings, keep well in mind these words I speak now. The moment will come when you will see that they are true.' 

Having thus spoken, he drank the poison. 
When the woman related all this to Geshe Tsakpuhwa, he answered, 'Not all that he says is true, just as not all food is fit to eat. It is enough for me that he has taken the poison. Now remember, keep quiet about it.' 

Meanwhile the Master spoke. 'Men of Nyanang and Dingri, and all benefactors and followers, prepare a ritual feast and gather round me. Let all other men in the region, who have not seen me but wish to meet me, come also.' 

All the disciples spread the word. Many of those who heard these words did not believe the Master had actually said them. But faithful laymen and disciples who followed the teaching, as well as other people who wished to meet the Master, gathered at Chuwar. Then for many days the Master spoke to them of the doctrine of karma on the ordinary level and of the essential nature of reality on a higher level. 

During this time, several of the chief disciples clearly saw that the sky was filled with gods listening to the words of the Master. Many others, intuitively feeling that the sky and the earth were filled with gods and men listening to the teaching, experienced a state of great joy. In plain view of everyone, a rainbow canopy appeared in a limpid sky. Sacrificial offerings, parasols, and innumerable banners took form in the five-colored clouds, filling the atmosphere. There fell a rain of flowers in five different colors. Exquisite music could be heard and there was the fragrance of exotic perfumes. 

The lesser disciples, having perceived these miracles, asked the Master, 'We have the impression that the sky and earth are filled with gods and men listening to the Dharma, and we are overcome with joy. What is the cause of these miracles?' 

The Master replied, "Good human disciples like you, enlightened yogins and lay devotees, are few, but celestial listeners fill the entire space of the skies and are offering me the five objects (3) of sensory joy, and this is what evokes well-being in you. This is the reason for the signs around you which some of you sense and others perceive directly.' 

'Well then,' they said. 'why don't we all see the signs?' 

'Among the gods there are many who have achieved awakened states of "non-returning" and others who have attained awakened insight. One needs subtle vision to see the gods, or else one needs intense yearning for virtue and awareness, and a mind unstained by delusion and defilement. If you are able to see the chief gods, you will see their followers. If you strive in this way, you will see the nature of your own mind, which is the ultimate god.' And he sang this Song on How to See the Gods: 

          'Homage to Marpa, the Compassionate One! 
          Blessed be your lineage, may it be noble. 
          The celestial listeners 
          Come from the joyful realm of the gods 
          To hear the hermit Milarepa, 
          And fill the boundless sky. 
          Except for those who possess the five levels of vision,(4) 
          No mortals can see them. I see them all clearly. 
          But common folk see only the celestial offerings. 
          The sky is filled with rainbows and light; 
          A shower of celestial blossoms falls; 
          Fragrant incense fills the air and harmonious music resounds. 

'Joy and happiness abound in all those present due to the compassion of the Kagyupa lamas. Those of you, under their protection, who wish to see the gods and dakinis who are listening to my teaching, first hear my song: 

          'Owing to karma accumulated in past lives, 
          You have delighted in evil since the day you were born. 
          You have no longing for virtue. 
          Even in old age your minds are impure. 
          You will surely reap the fruit of your actions. 
          If you ask yourselves whether your sins will be purified, 
          Your longing for virtue wipes away your defilements. 
          But he who knowingly commits evil 
          Obtains a crumb of food at the price of shame. 
          He who poses as a guide for others 
          And himself knows not where to go, 
          Harms himself as well as others. 
          If you sincerely wish to avoid suffering, 
          Avoid all evil intent toward other beings. 
          In your devotion to lama and yidam, 
          Feel remorse for your past sins. 
          Vow never to commit them again. 
          This is the instruction for purifying yourself. 
          Most sinners are clever, 
          They lack high aim and indulge themselves. 
          If they have no spiritual impulse, 
          It proves they are still burdened with defilements. 
          Strive unceasingly for purification, 
          Dispel ignorance and accumulate merit. 
          If you do so, you will not only see 
          The Dharma-loving gods who come to listen, 
          But you will even perceive within yourself 
          The Dharmakaya, the holiest and highest of all gods. 
          If you see that, you will also see 
          The whole truth of samsara and nirvana 
          And you will free yourself from karma.' 

Among the godly and human listeners assembled at that place, the most highly developed of them realized the true meaning of the Dharmakaya. The less highly developed experienced awareness of non-duality in a lucid and joyful state, and were set upon the path of liberation. Among the least developed, there was not one who did not embrace the practice of Bodhichitta. 

Then the Master said to them, 'O you monks and disciples, gods and men, and all assembled here, our coming together in pursuit of the Dharma has been due to our spiritual aspirations in previous lives. Now that I am old, I do not know if I will see you many more times. Try your best to practice the teaching I have given you. Do not waste your time. If you follow my instructions, you will be the first of my disciples to be reborn in the Pure Land of my Buddhahood. Therefore rejoice!' Thus he spoke. 

The lay devotees from Nyanang wondered if this kind of talk by the Master indicated his intention to depart from the world for the benefit of beings in other realms. They fervently begged him, were that so, to leave for the Realm of Ultimate Reality from Nyanang. If it were not so, they entreated him to come back there once again. Tearfully beseeching him in this way and overcome with intense veneration, they clasped his feet, uttering cries and groans. Likewise the followers from Dingri earnestly begged the Master to come to their country. 

The Master said, 'I am old, and I will go neither to Nyanang nor to Dingri. I will wait for my death near Drin and Chuwar. Intensify your longing for liberation. We will meet again in the Realm of Ultimate Reality.' 

'If the Master is not coming, may he bless each of the places he has visited so that they may have peace and prosperity. May he bless the land so that it will have spiritual harmony. May he bless all sentient beings and those who have met him and heard his name and his teaching.' 

The Master replied, 'I am indebted to you for the provisions you have given me out of veneration, and I have repaid you by copassionately giving you the teaching. As a yogin who has achieved the special power of blessing, I shall bless you all so that you may have peace and happiness throughout your lives.' And he sang this song: 

          'I prostrate myself at the feet of Marpa the Translator, 
          Father protector of all beings, who has realized his aim. 
          O my disciples, assembled here, listen to me. 
          You have been kind to me, 
          And I have felt compassion for you. 
          May Master and disciples, thankful to each other. 
          Meet in the Buddha's Pure Land. 
          May all the followers and benefactors here present 
          Have happiness and long life. 
          May their spiritual aspirations be fulfilled, 
          Without harmful thoughts arising. 
          May this region be blessed, 
          May it be free from sickness and war, 
          And endowed with rich harvests and increasing good fortune. 
          May the followers always devote themselves to the Dharma. 
          May I meet again in the Buddha's Pure Land 
          Those who saw or heard me, 
          Those who remember my story, 
          Those who have only heard of it and of my name. 
          May those who emulate my life and meditate, 
          Those who ask for, narrate, and listen to my story, 
          Those who read and venerate it, 
          Those who follow my example in their lives, 
          May they find me in the Buddha's Pure Land. 
          May men of the future, 
          If they are capable of meditating 
          With the asceticism I have practiced, 
          Be spared all impediments and errors. 
          May those who practice the Dharma through asceticism 
          Harvest immeasurable merits. 
          To those who encourage others to follow this path, 
          Immeasurable gratitude is due. 
          May those who hear my story receive immeasurable blessings. 
          Through these three immeasurable blessings, 
          May those who only hear my story achieve liberation, 
          May those who meditate upon it fulfill their aim. 
          May those who meditate in my caves, 
          May those who enshrine the few objects I possess, 
          May they all bring happiness wherever they may be. 
          May I embrace all space 
          Just as space embraces earth, water, fire, and wind. 
          May the eight orders of gods and nagas,(5)  
          And the host of local gods, not create obstacles. 
          May the wishes of the devotees 
          Be fulfilled in harmony with the Dharma. 
          May all sentient beings, even the least of them, 
          Be guided by me toward liberation.' 

Upon receiving these blessings, the lay devotees were overjoyed. The people from Nyanang and Dingri, still fearful that the Master might die, came to ask for his blessing and devoted themselves to the Dharma as never before. Each returned to his home and immediately the rainbow and the other visions disappeared. The people of Drin, supported by Calm Light Repa and other great disciples, implored the Master not to abandon them. The Master went to live in Drin, in a cell built for him at the top of a rock, shaped like the hood of a snake, called Rekpa Dukchen (Poisonous to Touch), in order to subdue the serpent-god Dolpa Nakpo (Black Executioner). While there, he instructed the benefactors of Drin. At the end of his discourse the Master said, 'Monks, if some of you have doubts about my instructions, hasten, because it is not certain that I will live much longer.' 

The monks first conducted a ritual feast and then received the complete instructions. Among the rows of monks gathered around the Master were Repa of Digom and Repa of Seban, who said, 'Judging from your words, we do not believe that you will soon pass into nirvana. Perhaps your life is not yet over.' 

"My life is over and my mission has been completed. Signs of my death will soon become apparent.' 

A few days later, the Master showed signs of his illness. Repa of Ngandzong said to him, 'Master, for this sickness, we, your disciples, will sacrifice offerings to the lamas, yidams, dakinis, and guardian deities. We will also perform the ritual of longevity and give you treatment and medicine.' 

Repa of Ngandzong called other disciples to help with preparations for the ritual. The Master then said to him: 
'For a hermit, sickness is usually an exhortation to spiritual practice. Without performing any ritual, he must transform all experiences of adverse conditions into sublime attainment and must be able to face sickness and even death itself. In particular, because I, Milarepa, have already performed all the rituals in accordance with the instructions of my compassionate lama, Marpa, I have no need for the first or the second ritual.

Because I have transformed adverse conditions into favorable factors, I have no need for ceremonies, propitiatory rites, or drum calls. Spirits of evil who appeared before me have been subdued and transformed into protective forces to aid us in the realization of the Fourfold Power of Action.(6) I do not want the remedy of six medicinal herbs,(7) because the sickness of five poisons(8) has become in me the dawn of the Five Aspects of Transcendental Awareness.(9) And so I need no remedies. 

'Now that my time has come, my earthly body has been transformed into a more subtle form, dissolved into a totally awakened state of emptiness. Worldly men experience the consequences of their defilements through the cycle of birth, old age, sickness, and death. They cannot avoid it through remedies or rituals. Inexorably they must confront it. Nothing can stop it, neither the power of kings, nor the deeds of heroes, the beauty of woman, the wealth of the rich, the speed of the cowardly, nor clever entreaty. If you are afraid of this suffering and desire happiness, I know an effective means to remove' misery and achieve permanent peace.' 

'Please give this to us.' 

'Very well. The nature of samsara is such that wealth which has been accumulated is dispersed, houses that have been built are destroyed, unions are broken, and all that is born must die. Since inevitably one suffers for one's acts, one must abandon worldly aims and give up accumulating, building, and uniting. The best remedy is to realize the ultimate truth of reality under the direction of an enlightened lama. Furthermore, I have very important instructions to give you later as my last testament. Do not forget.' 

Calm Light Repa and Repa of Ngandzong continued to urge, 'Master, were you in good health, you would fulfill the aims of many more sentient beings. Even if you do not grant our wish, we implore you to perform a ritual according to the secret tradition, to take some medicine, and also to allow us to offer prayers for your long life, so that at least we have no remorse.' 

The Master replied: 
'Had my time not come, I would do as you both have asked. But performing such a rite to invoke a yidam in order to prolong life without concern for the benefit of sentient beings is like asking a king to step down from his throne to sweep the floor. 

'Never use the secret method of the Vajrayana for your worldly aims. In mountain solitude I unceasingly performed the highest rites for the sake of unenlightened creatures, so there is no need for any other ritual. 

'Since my inner consciousness is not a separate entity from the All-Embracing Emptiness, there is no need for any prayers for longevity. Marpa's remedies extirpated the five poisons at their roots. These remedies were enough. 

'But if you have no capability for turning adversity into favorable conditions for achieving your aims, and if your time to depart has not yet come, then it is not wrong to take medical treatment and apply spiritual remedies in order to surmount obstacles, since a possibility of doing so still exists. It was thus long ago that the Buddha, with the thought of suffering creatures in mind, showed his hand to Shonnu (10) the physician and took his remedies. Even though he was a Buddha, when his time came, he died. My time has also come. That is why I will not take these remedies.' 

Then the two Repa disciples asked, 'If you must leave for the sake of other beings, how shall we perform the devotional ceremonies, funeral rites, and the cremation of your body? How shall we make the figurines from the ashes and build a stupa? Who will guide the order of our tradition? How shall we commemorate your death? What offering should be made to you on your anniversary? Tell us how we should pursue our search through listening, questioning, and meditating.' The Master replied: 

'With the guidance of the Compassionate Marpa, I have completed the work of liberation. It is not at all certain that an awakened hermit, whose body, speech, and mind have attained to the highest state, will persist in the form of a corpse. Do not cast figurines or build a stupa. I have no monastery, hence there is no established center for the Order. Adopt as your abode of solitude both the arid and the snow-covered mountains. Consider the beings of the six universal realms as your followers and give them spiritual protection and compassion. Rather than molding figurines, meditate four times a day. Rather than building a stupa, develop higher perceptions of the cosmic universe and raise the banner of meditation. The best commemoration of my death is to have veneration for your lama. 

'Concerning the way of pursuing your inner search, reject all that which increases self-clinging and inner poison, even if it appears to be good. On the contrary, practice all that which counteracts the five poisons and helps other beings, even though it appears to be bad. This is essentially in accord with the Dharma. However learned you may be, if you lack deep experience and knowingly indulge in harmful deeds, you will only throw yourself deeper into the lower realms through self-delusion. Since life is short and the time of death unknown, devote yourself wholly to meditation. Act wisely and courageously according to your inborn sense of discrimination, even at the cost of your life. In a word, act in a way you will not be ashamed of. 

'If you follow these directions attentively, even if you go against the letter of the sacred books, you will not be going against the intentions of the Buddhas of the past and will also fulfill the wish of this old man. Such is the essence of all listening, questioning, and meditating. If my wish is fulfilled, you will complete the work of your liberation. On the other hand, all efforts to satisfy worldly desires are useless.' After he had said this, he sang the Song of Spiritual Gain: 

          'I prostrate myself at the feet of Marpa the Translator. 
          Disciples gathered in this place, 
          Listen to this song of final instruction. 
          By the compassion of Marpa of the Southern Cliffs, 
          The aged hermit Milarepa 
          Has accomplished the whole of his task. 
          All of you, disciples and monks, 
          If you heed my words, 
          You will accomplish in this life 
          A great task for yourselves and others, 
          And so achieve the intentions of past Buddhas and myself. 
          All other actions 
          Go against the needs of oneself and others, 
          And fail to satisfy my wish. 
          Without the guidance of a lama who has lineage 
          What benefit is there in seeking initiation? 
          Without the inner consciousness of the Dharma 
          What is the use of memorizing the Tantras? 
          What is the use of meditating according to instructions 
          If you do not renounce worldly aims? 
          What good are ceremonies 
          Without attuning your body, speech, and mind to the Dharma? 
          What good is meditating on patience 
          If you will not tolerate insult? 
          What use are sacrifices 
          If you do not overcome attachment and revulsion? 
          What good is giving alms 
          If you do not root out selfishness? 
          What good is governing a great monastery 
          If you do not regard all beings as your beloved parents? 
          What use is there in building stupas 
          If faith does not grow in your mind? 
          What use is there in molding figurines 
          If one cannot meditate in the tow divisions of the day? (11) 
          What good is it to commemorate my death 
          If you do not invoke me with deep veneration? 
          What good to lament my death - 
          If you do not heed my instructions? 
          What good to view my dead body 
          Without venerating me when alive? 
          Without disgust for samsara and the urge for liberation 
          What good is the virtue of renunciation? 
          Without learning to love others more than oneself 
          What good are sweet words of pity? 
          Without uprooting delusion and desire 
          What profit in serving the lama? 
          What good are great numbers of disciples 
          If they do not listen to my words? 
          Give up all useless action, 
          It can only bring you harm. 
          A hermit who has fulfilled his goal, 
          I no longer need to strive.' 

The disciples were deeply moved by these words. Since the Master showed increasingly grave symptoms of illness, the Geshe Tsakpuhwa brought a little meat and beer, and pretending to inquire about his health, said to the Master, 'It is really a pity that such an illness befalls a saint like the Master. If it is possible to share it, divide it among your disciples. If there is a way to transfer it, give it to a man such as myself. But since that is impossible, what should be done?' 

The Master smiled and said, 'You know very well that my illness has no natural cause or provocation. And in any case, illness in an ordinary man is not the same as illness in a spiritual man. I should accept it as a special opportunity for inner transformation. For this reason, I bear my sickness as an ornament.' Having thus spoken, the Master sang: 

          'Samsara and nirvana are perceived as one single reality 
          In the State of Ultimate Awareness. 
          To perceive the Ultimate Reality, 
          I mark everything with the Great Seal of Emptiness.(12) 
          This is the quintessence of non-duality. 
          I work on myself with no regard for obstacles. 
          Sickness, evil spirits, harmful deeds, and delusion 
          Are my ornaments, hermit that I am. 
          In me, they are the nervous system, vital fluids, and psychic energies. 
          For me, generosity and the other virtues 
          Are the one hundred and twelve signs of Buddhahood. 
          May the sinner be absolved of his crimes. 
          This sickness greatly becomes me; 
          I could transfer it, but have no reason to do so.' 

The geshe thought, 'He suspects that I gave him the poison, but he is not sure. Although he has reason to transfer his sickness, he cannot.' 

So he said, 'If I knew the source of the Master's sickness, and if it were an evil spirit, I would exorcize it. Were it a physical disorder, I would cure you. But I do not know what you have. So if you can transfer your disease, transfer it to me.' 

And the Master said, 'A certain being is possessed by the demon of egotism, which is the worst one of all. It is he who has caused my illness. You could neither exorcize the demon nor cure me. If I shared my sickness with you, you could not bear it for an instant. I shall not transfer it.' 

The geshe thought, 'He cannot transfer it. He is pretending.' So he insisted. Transfer it anyway.' 

'Well then, I will not transfer it to you, but I will transfer it to that door. Watch carefully." 

And he transferred it to the door of the cell. Immediately there was a loud crack and, shaking violently, the door began to break apart. At this moment the Master was without illness. 

The geshe suspected that it was a magician's trick and said, 'Very strange! Now transfer it to me.' 

'Good! I will give the geshe a little taste of it." The Master withdrew the sickness from the door and gave it to Tsakpuhwa, who collapsed in pain. Paralyzed and choking, he was on the verge of death. Then the Master took back a large part of the sickness and said, 'I have only given you half of my sickness and you could not bear it.' 

Full of remorse for having inflicted such suffering, the geshe threw himself sobbing at the Master's feet. 

'O Precious Master, O Saint, it is just as you said. one who was possessed did this evil to you. I offer you my house, wealth, and property. Help me to free myself from the consequences of my actions. I sincerely beg for your forgiveness.' 

Milarepa was very pleased and took back the rest of the sickness and said, 'All my life I have had no desire for house, wealth, and property. Now that I am approaching the end of my life, I certainly have no need for them, so take back your gifts. Never again act contrary to the Dharma, even at the cost of your own life. I will invoke my lama to keep you from suffering the consequences of your action.' And the Master sang: 

          'I prostrate myself at the feet of Marpa, the Enlightened One. 
          May the five inexpiable sins(13) 
          Be wiped out through remorse. 
          May the sins of all beings be wiped out 
          By virtue of my merits 
          And those of the Buddhas of the three periods of time. 
          May all your sufferings 
          Be assumed and transformed by me. 
          I have compassion for him who offends 
          His master, teacher, and parents. 
          May the consequences of his karma 
          Be assumed and transformed by me. 
          In all times and circumstances 
          May he avoid the company of the sinful. 
          But in lives to come 
          May he meet with virtuous companions. 
          May he avoid bad thoughts, destructive of merit. 
          May he abstain from harming others. 
          May all creatures attain to Bodhichitta.' 

At these words the geshe was overwhelmed with joy and said, 'In the future I will do nothing contrary to the Dharma, but will meditate to the end of my life, as the Master has commanded. Formerly, I sinned for the sake of wealth. Therefore I no longer want my worldly goods. If the Master refuses them, let his disciples accept the goods to provide for their needs during meditation.' 

The disciples accepted the gifts, which were used later at Chuwar each year to commemorate the Master's death. The Geshe Tsakpuhwa then renounced the world and became a devotee. 

The Master said, 'I came to live in this place in order to accept the remorse of this sinner and help him to achieve liberation from the consequences of his crime. For a hermit to die in a village would be like a king dying in a hovel. Now I am going to Chuwar.' 

Repa of Seban said, 'As the Master would be exhausted by his sickness, we will carry him in a palanquin.' 

The Master replied. There is no reality in my sickness. There is no reality in my death. I have manifested here the appearance of sickness. At Chuwar I am going to manifest the appearance of death. There is no need for a palanquin. Some of you go ahead to Chuwar.' 

Then some of the young Repas went ahead, but the Master was the first to arrive at Driche Cave. At the same time another Milarepa left, accompanied by the older monks. Another appeared at Poisonous-to-Touch Rock and manifested the symptoms of illness. Another was served by the disciples who had come to meet him at Chuwar. Another preached to benefactors on an outcrop at Rock Cave. Inside different houses, one Milarepa appeared to each occupant who presented him with offerings. 

Then those who had left in advance for Chuwar said. The Master has arrived in Chuwar before us! ' The old monks said, 'He was accompanied by us on the journey.' 

As the others arrived, each one said. The Master is here. We have been with him.' 

Some said, "He is in my house,' 

Other disciples said, 'He is teaching at Dahkhar (Ruck Cave).' 

Each of the worshippers said, 'I invited him into my house to receive offerings.' 

Everyone told a different story. Then they questioned the Master and he replied, 'All of you are right. I tricked you.' 

Then he stayed at Driche Cave, manifesting sickness. 

At this time, the rainbow and all the other signs that had appeared during the Master's previous discourse could be seen in the sky over Chuwar and on the mountaintops. Everyone was then certain that the Master was going to depart for another realm. 

Calm Light Repa, the Master of Ngandzong, and Repa of Seban asked. To which Buddha realm does the Master expect to go? Where shall we direct our invocation? What last instructions will the Master give us? What form of practice should we follow?' The Master answered: 

'Invoke me wherever you wish. Wherever you invoke me with faith I will be with you. Whatever your aims, they will be fulfilled. In an instant I will be in the Pure Land of the Buddha Immutable. Here are the instructions I promised you: After my death, give Retchung the things that you know I have used, my staff, and my robe. They will serve as auspicious symbols for his meditation through the control of breath. Retchung will be here soon. Do not touch my body until he arrives. This hat of the Master Maitrepa, and this staff of black aloe wood, are signs that the teaching of the Buddha will be maintained through profound meditation and perfect seeing. Therefore, give these things without fail to Tonpa of U [Gampopa]. Calm Light, take this wooden bowl. Ngandzong Tonpa, take this skull-cap. Repa of Seban, take this tinderbox. Repa Hermit of Di, take this bone spoon. You other initiated disciples, each take a strip of my cotton robe. These are not great riches, but all are equally tokens. 

'NOW, here are very important instructions concerning something which you disciples have not known about. Hidden under the hearth lies all the gold that I have amassed during my lifetime, and a will that distributes it among you. After my death, read the will and follow its directions. 

'As for the manner of practicing the Dharma, there are rich people who consider themselves good devotees. They may give a hundred useful or useless things as alms, but only with the motive of getting back one thousand in return. This is only their way of glorifying worldly life. Human beings indulge covertly in harmful deeds without regard to displeasing their all-seeing guardian deities. Afraid they will not achieve their worldly aims, they try to do good; but since they are unable to renounce the desire for recognition, they are actually consuming poison with their food. Do not drink this poison of the desire for recognition. Abandon everything you call Dharma practice but which actually is directed toward glorifying the worldly life. Devote yourself to true spiritual practice.' 

The Repas asked, 'Can we engage in an active life if it proves beneficial to other beings?' 

The Master answered: 
'If there is no attachment to selfish aims, you can. But that is difficult. Those who are full of worldly desires can do nothing to help others.- They do not even profit themselves. It is as if a man, carried away by a torrent, pretended to save others. Nobody can do anything for sentient beings without first attaining transcendent insight into Reality. Like the blind leading the blind, one would risk being carried away by desires. Because space is limitless and sentient beings innumerable, you will always have a chance to help others when you become capable of doing so. Until then, cultivate the aspiration toward Complete Enlightenment by loving others more than yourselves while practicing the Dharma. Dress in rags, and content yourselves with little food, clothing, and recognition. Discipline your body and be mindful of your spiritual goal. This should be done for the sake of all sentient beings. To guide you on this path, remember these words.' And he sang this song: 

          'I prostrate myself at the feet of Marpa the Translator. 
          Those who wish to know and practice the Dharma, 
          Who merely venerate their lama 
          Without fully entrusting themselves to him, 
          Will be but slightly benefited. 
          Without receiving true initiation, 
          Mere words of Tantra will blind you. 
          Without being guided by the true meaning of the Tantras, 
          All your practices will lead you astray. 
          Without meditation according to the profound instruction, 
          He who practices asceticism only torments himself. 

          He who does not subdue desire and illusion 
          Only speaks sterile and empty words. 
          He who does not know profound skillful means 
          Will fail, however great his effort. 
          He who does not have the key to the profound meaning of the Dharma 
          Will be long upon the Path, however great his courage. 
          He who accumulates no merit and seeks only his own liberation, reaps rebirth. 

          He who does not give up what he has accumulated for the sake of the Dharma 
          Will not achieve perfection, however much he meditates. 
          He who is not deeply content with what he has 
          Sees the wealth he accumulates taken by others. 
          He who lacks in himself the source of happiness 
          Finds only pain in outer pleasures. 
          He who does not subdue his demon of ambition 
          Finds only ruination and strife in his desire for glory. 
          Selfish desires stir up the five poisons. 
          Temporal desires separate the dearest of friends. 
          Self-glorification evokes resentment in others. 
          Keeping silent about oneself will prevent conflicts. 
          By maintaining tranquillity and avoiding distraction, 
          In solitude you will find your companion. 
          Humility leads to the highest goal. 
          He who works with care will quickly achieve results. 

          Renunciation brings great fulfillment. 
          The practice of the secret path is the shortest way. 
          Realization of emptiness engenders compassion. 
          Compassion abolishes the difference between oneself and others. 
          If there is no duality between oneself and others, 
          One fulfills the aim of all sentient beings. 
          He who recognizes the need of others will discover me. 
          He who finds me will achieve Enlightenment. 
          To me, to the Buddha, and to the disciples 
          You should pray as one, considering them as one." 

Thus he sang. Then he added these words: 'I do not know if I have much longer to live. Now that you have heard me, do as I have done.' He spoke and entered into a deep state of meditation. And so, at the age of eighty-four, at sunrise on the fourteenth day of the twelfth month in the year of the Wood Hare,(14) under the ninth lunar constellation,(15) the Master passed into nirvana. 

At that time, over this region there appeared widespread and wonderful signs indicating that the dakas and dakinis had assembled. The clear sky was adorned with a design of interlacing squares in all the colors of the rainbow. At the center of every square was a lotus with eight multicolored petals, four of which, in sacred colors, pointed to the four cardinal directions. Upon each lotus were mandalas which in their geometry and architecture were far more marvelously designed than the works of skilled artists and builders. 

There appeared in the firmament above them an inconceivable variety of offerings from the gods, such as rainbows and five-colored clouds, forming themselves into parasols, banners, canopies, bunting, and billowing silk. 

There was a great shower of blossoms in different shapes and colors. Over the mountaintops clouds in five colors formed themselves into stupas with their pinnacles pointing toward Chuwar. The melody of the celestial orchestra was sung in praise of Jetsun,* while the most fragrant incense permeated the whole place. Everyone witnessed these signs, and many human disciples saw dakas and dakinis welcoming Jetsun with many offerings. Human beings did not look upon the naked bodies of celestial beings as indecent, nor did the gods sense the unpleasant odor of human beings. Moreover. gods and men communicated with each other, engaging in conversation and jokes. These marvelous signs lasted until the completion of the Master's funeral. 

During this time the benefactors in Nyanang came to know about the death of the Master. They went to Chuwar and spoke to the chief disciples and to the benefactors of Drin about bringing the Master's body to Nyanang. The people from Drin refused and made preparations for the cremation. The followers from Nyanang said that the cremation should be delayed until all the benefactors from Nyanang arrived in Chuwar to look at the body. Then they went away and came back with a large band of men to claim the body. 

Thereupon the chief disciples attempted to settle the dispute, speaking in this manner: The followers from Nyanang and Drin are equally faithful disciples of the Master. Since Jetsun passed away at Chuwar it is not proper to take his body to Nyanang, but the people from Nyanang should remain here to observe the cremation. The relics should be distributed equally to all.' 

Even after the intervention of the disciples, the men from Nyanang, proud on account of their stronger force, were preparing to fight. At that moment, a celestial youth appeared in the sky at the center of the light and rainbow and sang this song in a voice resembling that of the Master: 

          "O great disciples and lay followers gathered here, 
          Contending over the corpse! 
          Hear this verdict: 
          I, a celestial disciple of Jetsun, will settle this dispute. 
          The mind of Milarepa, supreme among men, has merged into the non-arising Dharmakaya. 
          Without mind, no physical vehicle exists. 
          The Master's body will soon dissolve into the Dharmakaya. 
          No substance or relics will remain. 
          Therefore, it is foolish to quarrel over the corpse. 
          All you who do so are acting foolishly. 
          Since you will not get it by fighting, 
          Invoke Jetsun with deep veneration. 
          If you call upon him from the depths of your heart, 
          His will and compassion will manifest without hindrance, 
          Even though his Dharmakaya is Non-arising Emptiness. 
          Then you will receive the relics of his Nirmanakaya (Earthly Body).' 
          With this, the youth vanished like a rainbow. 

The lay followers were overjoyed at the thought of seeing Jetsun. Ignoring their quarrel, they invoked the Master. Great disciples and lay followers from Drin no longer feared that the body would be taken away by force. 

At the same time, it so happened that the people from Nyanang found they had another body of Jetsun which they carried away to Lachi and cremated at the Eagle's Egg in the Great Cave of the Conquered Demon. All the signs, such as the arch of rainbow and light, the shower of blossoms, the fragrance of perfume, and the sound of music, appeared there just as at Chuwar. 

Meanwhile, at Chuwar, the chief disciples and lay followers worshipped the Master's body. After six days they examined it and found it transformed into a radiant celestial body, as youthful as a child eight years old. 

The great disciples discussed the matter and came to the conclusion that the Venerable Retchung would not arrive in time. They agreed that if the body were kept any longer, there would be a risk of not having any remains as objects for worship and devotion. The best course would be to cremate the body immediately. 
The face of the body was shown to all. Then the body was moved to a cremation cell erected upon the rock which had served as the Dharma throne for Jetsun's discourses. At the base of the rock a mandala was created out of colored powders. Around it were placed the finest offerings that human beings could produce, although these were surpassed by the celestial offerings which appeared in the heavens. At dawn the cremation ceremony began and the funeral pyre was lighted. But the body would not receive the fire. 

At that moment five dakinis, one from each of the five orders,(16) appeared before them and sang this song: 

          'Ram,(17) all-perceiving Tummo is the Supreme Fire. 
          Since the Great Sage meditated throughout his life, 
          What need is there for a man-made fire? 

          Having unceasingly perceived the earthly body in the form of a yidam, 
          How can there be a dead body today? 

          Since the mandala of the yidam in its exquisite beauty is inherent in the body of this yogin, 
          What need is there for an earthly mandala? 

          Since the lamp of his inseparable mind-energy is ceaselessly burning, 
          What need is there for a paltry butter lamp? 

          Since he partakes increasingly of the five elixirs, 
          For whom is this sacrificial cake? 

          Through adorning himself with the purity of morality 
          He removed the stain of the two defilements. 
          For whom is the purifying vase to be held? 
          The sky is filled with clouds of fragrant perfume 
          And the whole mandala of offerings. 
          Today, there is no need to bum your incense. 

          Four orders of dakinis are singing chants of praise 
          While the chief dakinis are offering worship. 
          Today, in what manner do you perform the ritual? 

          Since a host of awakened Masters encircle him 
          And a multitude of great yogins pay their homage, 
          What need is there now to touch his body? 

          Since the Master has realized ultimate reality, 
          What need is there to beautify his dead body? 

          Since it is an object of both celestial and human veneration, 
          There is no need for you to own it! 
          Devote yourself instead to the universal veneration. 

          Observing the precepts of the lama and yidam 
          There is no need for other instruction. 
          Continue to follow the precepts. 

          Since the Master's body is a heap of priceless gems, 
          Give up the dispute over ownership and be calm. 

          Since the instructions of the enlightened lama are secret, 
          Abandon the desire to talk about them. Keep silent! 

          The secret instructions are the living breath of the dakinis, 
          Practice them in complete retreat, or risk pollution in its many forms. 

          In a concentrated striving toward liberation, 
          Many obstacles arise, so meditate in complete secrecy. 

          Through the rebukes of your wonderful father 
          Realization will emerge, 
          So cast away your doubts. 

          As for the story of the Master's liberation, 
          There is no need to proclaim its fame. 

          Blessings will flow from the song of the supreme dakinis, 
          So increase your faith. 

          O fortunate disciples, there are many realized saints 
          Among the spiritual descendants of Milarepa. 

          O gods and men, 
          No epidemic shall ravage the people and animals of this land. 
          All you people gathered here tonight 
          Will never again be born in lower realms. 

          In the mandala of the Suchness of Sunyata(18)  
          Perception and awareness are one. 
          So break your clinging to dualities. 

          There is special significance in the final instruction of the dying Master, 
          So strive to fulfill his words. 

          May all of you live forever in the supreme Dharma, 
          The source of peace and joy!' 

As the song ended, the Master of Ngandzong said, 'Even though the Master's instruction to delay the cremation until after the arrival of Retchung agrees with the content of the dakinis' song, we do not know when Retchung will arrive. The body might soon dissolve itself into Emptiness.' Calm Light Repa said he was sure that Retchung would come soon, as indicated by the Master and the dakinis, and also because of the way the Master's body defied the fire. 'Until then, let us devote ourselves to the worship and veneration of the Master.' 

At that time Retchung was residing at the monastery of Loro Dol in Southern Tibet. One morning, in the early dawn, while he was in a mixed state of contemplation and sleep, he perceived a host of dakinis who were about to carry away to another realm a crystal stupa radiating light throughout the heavens. He saw the crystal stupa being praised in song and worshipped with offerings beyond imagination by the comnrunity of the Vajrayana tradition and lay benefactors who filled the earth, and by the celestial beings and dakinis who permeated the sky. 

Retchung prostrated himself on seeing Jetsun leaning from the stupa and heard the Master say, 'Retchung, my son, even though you did not arrive in time as I asked you, my mind is full of joy that we, father and son, are together at last. It is uncertain when we shall meet again, so let us treasure this rare occasion.' Radiating a joyful smile, the Master repeatedly touched Retchung's head. Retchung realized the uniqueness of this meeting and a faith arose in him such as he had never known. 

Retchung awoke. He recalled the Master's previous words. Hoping that his lama had not yet died, he felt he must go quickly to see him even though he might not reach Chuwar in time. As he was invoking Jetsun with a faith of unbearable intensity, two women appeared before him in the sky and said, 'Retchung, your lama has passed into the Pure Land of the dakinis. If you do not go quickly you may never see him again in this life. Go now, without delay.' The warning in the dream and seeing the sky filled with rainbows and lights aroused in him a memory of the lama and a yearning to go to him. 

He left Loro Dol at early dawn as the cocks were crowing. Maintaining harmonious unity with the purest awareness of the lama, Retchung, in an act of devotion, drew air into his body and, retaining it, with the force of a well-shot arrow covered in one morning a distance that for ordinary travelers would take two months. At sunrise, arriving at the pass on the ridge of Mount Podzi between Dingri and Drin, he rested a moment. He saw signs of inconceivable wonders which filled the entire space of the heavens, the mountains, and the surface of the earth. He was overjoyed. Over the sumit of Mount Jowo Razang he saw innumerable celestial sons and daughters amid the domes of lights and rainbows, bearing innumerable offerings of the five sensory ecstasies, worshipping fervently and prostrating themselves toward Chuwar. 

Seeing these signs, Retchung was filled with apprehension. He asked the celestial beings the significance of these spectacular signs, and particularly who was being worshipped. Some goddesses said, 'Have you been cut off from the world, seeing nothing and hearing nothing? These offerings are being made by celestial beings of higher realms to the holiest Master on "this earth, Mila Laughing Vajra, who is being worshipped by both gods and men at Chuwar as he enters into the Pure Land of the dakinis.' 

Hearing this, Retchung felt as if his heart were being torn out. He hurried on his way. When he was very near Chuwar he saw Jetsun sitting on a big rock shaped like the square base of a stupa. Just as in the dream,the Master showed his joy and greeted him, saying, 'My son, now you are here.' 

Thinking that the Master had not really died, Retchung felt an inconceivable joy arising in him. He bowed at the Master's feet and spoke with veneration. The Master answered all his questions. 

'Retchung, my son, I will lead the way, follow me.' So saying, the Master went ahead and instantly disappeared! 

Retchung continued his journey and arrived at Chuwar. At the Master's cave he saw the great disciples, monks, and lay followers mournfully worshipping the Master's body. Not knowing who this man was, some new monks stopped Retchung and prevented him from going toward the body. Saddened by this, Retchung sang in an aggrieved tone this Song of Sevenfold Devotion: 

          'O Master, protector of sentient beings, 
          O Master, Buddha of the Three Ages. 
          While in the realm of your Dharmakaya wisdom and compassion, 
          Hear this song of lamentation 
          From your unfortunate disciple Retchung. 

          O Venerable Lama! Miserable and tormented, I cry out through this song, 
          Longing to be near your body I went forward 
          But this unfortunate son could not see your face. 
          Look at me with compassion, O Gracious Father. 

          To you, the Buddha of the Three Ages 
          Who possesses Wisdom, Compassion, and Power, 
          I, a mendicant, prostrate myself through the three entrances of body, speech, and mind, 
          And make the offering of meditation according to your teaching. 
          I purify the harmful deeds arising from imperfect and distorted perceptions 
          And take a great delight in all your perfect actions. 
          May you continue to turn the Wheel of the Sacred Law, 
          May you be ever-present and not dissolve into nirvana. 
          May I dedicate the virtues of my meditation and realization to the fulfillment of your intention. 
          May I realize the result of this dedication, and 
          May I see your face. 
          I, whom you first treated with compassion, 
          Am now being prevented from seeing your body. 
          Unfortunate am I, not to see the living Master; 
          Yet may I behold your face in death, 
          And after seeing your face 
          May I receive directly or through visions your most valuable instruction for overcoming obstacles in the two higher stages of meditation. 
          This is the content of my invocation. 
          Master, if you do not act out of compassion for your son, 
          Whom else will you protect with your fatherly wisdom and love? 
          O Father, do not take away from me the hook of your compassion. 
          Look at me from the expanse of the invisible realm. 
          May the Master, Seer of the three modes of time, look at Retchung, your servant who is ignorant of wisdom. 
          Your son, Retchung, is tormented by the five poisons. 
          Look down on me, O Father, possessor of the Five Supreme Awarenesses. 
          Look with compassion on all sentient beings. 
          Look at Retchung out of your love." 
So Retchung sang in sorrow. At the sound of Retchung's voice. the radiance in the face of the Master's corpse faded out, and at the same time a fire emerged from the body. 

Upon hearing the voice of Retchung, Calm Light Repa, Master Repa of Ngandzong, Seban Repa, and several others of the Vajra brethren with the lay devotees came to welcome Retchung. Resenting the action of the young Repas who had prevented him from seeing Jetsun's body, Retchung would not move forward until his song was finished. 

At that time, though the Great Master had passed into the crystal clarity of the Dharmakaya, he came back and said to the young Repas, 'Do not behave like that toward Retchung. "One live lion is better than a hundred masks!" Let him come to me.' 

To Retchung, he said, 'My son, do not feel frustration. Do not be overcome by resentment. Come before your father!' 

Everyone was astounded and filled with immense joy. Retchung embraced Jetsun's body, weeping with such joy that he fainted. When he came to himself, he found the great disciples, monks, and lay devotees all seated in front of the cremation cell. The Master was completely free from any illness. Appearing as an indestructible manifestation which united form and emptiness into one, and enthroned upon an eight-petaled lotus, the Master radiated like the anthers of a flower. Sitting in the asana of royal ease, his right hand extended in the preaching mudra, pressing down the flame, the left hand in a supporting mudra at the left cheek, he said to all disciples and devotees, 'Listen to this answer to Retchung's song and to the final words of this old man.' 

The Master sang from the cremation cell this indestructible song called Six Essential Principles: 

          'Listen, Retchung, dearest to my heart, to this Song of My Last Will of Instructions. 
          In the ocean of three samsaric levels 
          The illusory body is the great culprit, 
          Striving toward fufillment of material aims, 
          With little time to renounce worldly efforts. 
          O Retchung, renounce worldly endeavor. 

          In the city of the illusory body, 
          The illusory mind is the great culprit, 
          Enslaved by the flesh and blood of the body, 
          With little time to realize the Ultimate Reality. 
          O Retchung, discern the true nature of mind. 

          On the border between mind and matter, inner consciousness is the great culprit, 
          Drawn into the realm of conditioned perceptions, 
          With little time to realize the uncreated nature of reality. 
          O Retchung, capture the fortress of unborn emptiness. 

          On the border between this world and the next, consciousness in the intermediate state of the Bardo(19) is the great culprit, 
          Seeking a body even though deprived of body, 
          With little time to realize Ultimate Reality. 
          O Retchung, work your way toward that realization. 

          In the deceptive dty of the six classes of beings, 
          There is a great accumulation of defilements and evil karma following impulses of desire and hatred, 
          With little time to perceive the All-Encompassing Emptiness. 
          O Retchung, abandon desire and hatred. 

          In the invisible realm of the heavens, 
          There is a Buddha who skillfully uses falsehoods,(20) 
          Guiding sentient beings toward relative truth. 
          Little time have they to realize ultimate truth. 
          O Retchung, abandon concepts. 

          Lama, yidam, and dakinis, three united in one - 
          Invoke them! 
          Perfect seeing, contemplation, and practice, three united in one – 
          Master them! 
          This life, the next, and the intermediate, three united in one- 
          Unify them! 

          This is my final instruction and my very last will. 
          O Retchung, there is nothing more to say. 
          My son, devote yourself to this instruction." 
Having thus spoken, Jetsun dissolved himself into the All-Embracing Emptiness. The funeral pyre was instantly transformed into a celestial mansion, square in shape, having four entrances with ornate porticos. Above it gleamed a rainbow and a canopy of light. The parapet of the roof was surmounted by parasols, banners, and other ornamental offerings. 

The flame at the base took the form of an eight-petaled lotus blossom, and the curling tips of the fire unfolded into the eight auspicious emblems(21) and the seven royal insignia.(22) Even the sparks took the form of goddesses bearing many offerings. The chants of worship and the crackling of the dazzling fire sounded like the melodious tones of various musical instruments, such as violins, flutes, and tambourines. The smoke permeated everything with the fragrance of perfume and, in the sky above the funeral pyre, young gods and goddesses poured a stream of nectar from the vases they held, and offered abundant delights for the five senses. 

The lamas and the venerable lay people were filled with joy. All the disciples, monks, and lay devotees saw the funeral pyre in the form of a resplendent celestial mansion, while the corpse itself was seen variously as Hevajra, Chakrasamvara, Guhyasamaja, or Vajravarahi. Then the dakinis sang with one voice: 

          'After the passing away of the Master - the Wish-fulfilling Gem - 
          Some weep and others lament. 
          At this time of their grief and mourning 
          There springs up by itself a dazzling fire, 
          The flame in the form of an eight-petaled lotus blossom, 
          Eight auspicious emblems, seven royal insignia, and many other delightful offerings. 
          The roar of the flames is orchestrated into melodious tones 
          Resembling the music of conch shells, cymbals, violins, flutes, miniature cymbals, tambourines, and hand drums. 
          Out of the glittering sparks emerge dakinis of three levels - outer, inner, and inmost, 
          Worshipping and bearing offerings of a myriad kind. 
          Amidst the smoke, rainbows, and light, there are clouds of offerings, 
          Such as parasols, banners, glorious knots, and swastikas.(23)  
          Innumerable dakinis of enchanting beauty carry away the relics of bone from the funeral pyre, 
          Astonished that the Master's body is being cremated even though it has been rendered formless, leaving no residuum. 
          In the expanse of the Lama's Dharmakaya, there gathers the cloud of Sambhogakaya through his resolute will and compassion, 
          Producing actions of Nirmanakaya like an unceasing rain of flowers. 
          He thereby brings the crop of seekers to their fruition. 
          The Dharmadhatu, the ultimate nature of all things, is empty, unconditioned, and devoid of becoming. 
          The emptiness is without coming to be and passing away. 
          Even the conditioned arising and dissolution are empty in their innate nature. 
          So cast away your doubts and misgivings.' 

After this song, day passed into evening. The form of a dazzling flame disappeared. Everyone saw the creamtion cell as completely transparent. Disciples, and lay people, looked at the relics of the corpse. Some saw a huge stupa of light standing in the cremation cell, while others saw such forms as Hevajra, Chakrasamvara, Guhyasamaja, or Vajravarahi. Some others saw sacred implements, such as a vajra, bell, vase, and seed syllables(24) of mantras representing enlightened body, speech, and mind. Others saw in the cremation cell a white light with its golden rays, a placid pool of water, a burning flame, a swirling wind, and invisible offerings delightful to the senses and beyond imagining. Yet others saw the expanse of empty space. 

The disciples opened the entrance of the cremation cell, and then all slept beside it in the joyful expectation that a great quantity of sacred relics and evolved crystals(25) would appear in many wonderful forms. 

In the early dawn Retchung dreamed of five dakinis in colors of blue, yellow, green, red, and white, draped in silken robes and adorned with ornaments, some made of bone and others of jewels. They were surrounded by their female-retinues in similar colors. All were carrying innumerable offerings of the five sensory ecstasies and were worshipping the cremation cell. The chief dakinis were carrying away a sphere of white light from the cell, draped in a curtain of white silk. 

Retchung was fascinated by the spectacular scene. Then he moved toward the cell wondering if the dakinis were taking away the relics and the evolved crystals. The dakinis flew upward into the sky. He awakened all his Vajra brethren. As they began examining the cell, they saw that the dakinis had carried away all the sacred relics, leaving nothing, not even the ashes. Saddened by this, Retchung demanded from the dakinis a portion of the relics as the due share of human beings. The dakinis replied, saying, 'If you, great son of Jetsun, are not content with the direct awakening of your consciousness in its Dharmakaya state, this being the most sacred of all relics, you should invoke the Master so that out of his compassion he might grant your wish! As for those human beings without veneration for the Master - who shone like the sun and moon - no relics or evolved crystals will be left for them either. They never valued him, not even at the level of a glow-worm. These relics therefore belong to us.' 

After saying this the dakinis remained motionless in the sky. Then Retchung, recognizing the truth of what the dakinis had said, sang this invocation: 

          'O Master, when you were with your Lama Marpa 
          You strove faithfully to fulfill all his commands. 
          Because of that you were given teachings bearing the profound truth. 
          Then you awakened and liberated all fortunate seekers. 
          Embrace us and all sentient beings with your compassion, and 
          Grant us your relics for our devotion. 

          O Master, when you lived in mountain solitude, 
          Through your persevering meditation 
          You achieved the power to cause miraculous manifestations 
          As the sign of your realization, 
          And your fame spread throughout the land. 
          Embrace us who have seen you or heard you, and 
          Grant us your relics for our devotion. 

          O Master, when you were amidst your disciples 
          You were compassionate for all without partiality. 
          In you we beheld the complete flowering of insight and foreknowledge. 
          You were filled with loving kindness for sentient beings. 
          Embrace us, the fortunate seekers, with your compassion, and 
          Grant us your relics for our devotion. 

          O Master, when you were among the multitudes you mercifully evoked in them the unfolding of an enlightened attitude. 
          You led all who sought you to the path of liberation. 
          To those in misery you were particularly compassionate. 
          Embrace us, the fortunate seekers, with your compassion, and 
          Grant us your relics for our devotion. 

          O Master, when you abandoned your illusory body you were fully awakened to inmost truth. 
          Inwardly you perceived all phenomena as the 'Dharmakaya and became supreme among all dakinis. 
          Embrace us, the fortunate seekers, with your compassion, and 
          Grant us your relics for our devotion. 
          Embrace us, your children, who are assembled here.' 

Retchung thus invoked his Master by singing tearfully in a mournful tone. Thereupon the chief dakini cast from her hand a sacred object, as large as a hen's egg, which projected a stream of light in five colors and descended toward the cremation cell. All the chief disciples stretched out their hands, each claiming it for himself. Then the object ascended again and was absorbed into the light which the chief dakini was holding. The light then split in two, one part becoming a lion throne with a lotus cushion surmounted by moon and sun. A crystal stupa took shape from the other part of the light and came to rest upon the throne. Lights in five colors began to shine forth from the stupa. The stupa was one foot high and was surrounded by the Thousand and Two Buddhas.(26) Its four terraces were occupied by resplendent yidams of the four classes of the Tantra in their natural order. Seated inside its spherical chamber was the form of Milarepa, about six inches in height.

The dakinis who were prostrating themselves and worshipping him sang this song, supported by two others who were guarding the stupa: 

"Oh sons! Dewa Kyong (Sustainer of Joyful Peace), Shiwa O (Calm Light), Master of Ngandzong, and other blessed disciples clad in cotton. 
With the intensity of your veneration and yearning you call upon the name of your spiritual father, that he may grant you, and all human beings, the relics and the evolved crystals as objects of your devotion. 

By the force of your invocations coming from the depths of your hearts, and by the power of Milarepa's compassion, you have seen the emanation of his Trikaya and thus you need not return to the cycle of birth and death. 
If you devote yourselves faithfully you will attain full Enlightenment. 

From the unique sphere of the Dharmakaya emerged the sacred relic as big as a hen's egg. 
It is an object of devotion for all human beings. 
Yet you cannot get it by seizing it. 
Why should it remain amidst profanity? 
But if you earnestly invoke Jetsun again, his compassion for you will never diminish, for there is a solemn commitment of all Buddhas for your sake. 
Through their ever-unfolding actions arising out of the Dharmakaya, earthly manifestations emerge in their diverse forms. 

Your Yidam Chakrasamvara appeared together with his consort in the posture of union, adorning themselves magnificently with ornaments of sepulchral bones. 
The sky was filled with a mandala of deities.(27) 
The offerings of the dakas and dakinis spread like a cloud. 
The supremely manifested Sambhogakaya gave the initiation which enables you rapidly to achieve realization. 
If you are capable of invoking them, their spiritual influences will never diminish, for there is a solemn commitment of all dakinis for your sake. 

By the ever-unfolding actions of the Buddhas in the Dharmakaya their reincarnations take on diverse forms. 
Therefore, there appeared a crystal stupa one foot in height, surrounded by the Thousand and Two Buddhas, as depicted in the Sutras, and ornamented with the yidam described in the four classes of the Tantra. 
What a wonderful vision before our eyes! 
If you are capable of invoking them without being distracted, their unfolding actions will never diminish, for there is a solemn commitment of all guardian deities for your sake. 

The lama who has unified all three aspects of Enlightenment acts by appearing in many miraculous forms. 
It is indeed wonderful that he manifests himself in this small but visible form as an object for our devotion. 
If you are capable of invoking him from the recesses of your heart with an intense veneration and yearning, 
His influence on your direct realization will never diminish, for there is a solemn commitment of all awakened Masters for your sake. 

If you sincerely abide by your own spiritual vows, all guardian deities will support you. 
If you can live in mountain solitude, the upholders of wisdom, dakas and dakinis, will naturally gather around you. 
Applying yourself sincerely to the Dharma is the advance sign of your rapid realization. 
If you are free from desire for pleasure, you have removed the root of your mental defilements. 
If you do not cling to the notion of personal self and universal substance as true reality, obstacles and disruptive forces will be banished. 

If you no longer cling to duality, your insight has reached its perfection. 
If you can perceive samsara and nirvana as empty, your meditation has reached its perfection. 
If self-denial springs forth from the depths of your consciousness your practice has reached its perfection. 
If your lama foretells your destined task, your commitment has reached its perfection. 
If you seek to serve all sentient beings, your aim has reached its perfection. 

If Master and disciples achieve a spiritual harmony, their relationship has reached its perfection. 
If you recognize the signs and state of your realization, your perceptive visions have reached their perfection. 
The quality of your communal harmony, your awakened experience with its inner warmth and all its signs, let these, my children, serve as your share of the relics.' 

After this song, the dakinis showed the stupa to all disciples. When the dakinis were about to depart to other realms, they placed the stupa upon a throne of precious jewels. Wishing to beg of the dakinis, who were holding the stupa, that they leave it as an object for human devotion, Shiwa O (Calm Light) Repa invoked them with this song: 

          'O Father, you assumed the Nirmanakaya form in order to serve others. 
          You are the awakened seer as the Sambhogakaya. 
          As the invisible Dharmakaya you embrace the expanse of the cosmic universe. 
          I invoke you, the ultimate state of reality. 
          The stupa the dakinis are holding in their hands, 
          Give it to us, your children. 

          O Venerable One, when encountering other enlightened saints, 
          You were like a casket filled with precious jewels, 
          You are the priceless seer, O Venerable One. 
          I offer my devotion to you, who achieved the perfect knowledge. 
          The stupa the dakinis are holding in their hands, 
          Give it to us, your children. 

          O Venerable One, when you were serving your lama, 
          You were like the wool of white sheep, 
          You, the awakened seer, bestowed benefits on all beings. 
          I offer my devotion to you, the Compassionate One. 
          The stupa the dakinis are holding in their hands, 
          Give it to us, your children. 

          O Venerable One, when you were renouncing worldly pursuits, 
          You, immutable seer, were like the king of all ascetics. 
          I offer my devotion to you, the Indomitable One. 
          The stupa the dakinis are holding in their hands, 
          Give it to us, your children. 

          O Venerable One, when you were meditating upon your lama's instructions, 
          You were like a tigress feeding upon the flesh of a corpse. 
          An awakened seer, you were free from all doubts. 
          I offer my devotion to you, the Persevering One. 
          The stupa the dakinis are holding in their hands, 
          Give it to us, your children. 

          O Venerable One, when you were in complete solitude, 
          You were like a block of flawless iron, 
          Never wavering, the awakened, seer. 
          I offer my devotion to you who are free from falsity. 
          The stupa the dakinis are holding in their hands, 
          Give it to us, your children. 

          O Venerable One, when you were producing signs of your inner power, 
          You, the awakened seer, were like the elephant and snow-lion, 
          Free from all frailty. 
          I offer my devotion to you, the Fearless One. 
          The stupa the dakinis are holding in their hands, 
          Give it to us, your children. 

          When you were gaining illumination with joyful warmth, 
          You, the awakened seer, were like the full moon permeating the whole earth. 

          I offer my devotion to you, the Selfless One. 
          The stupa the dakinis are holding in their hands, 
          Give it to us, your children. 

          O Venerable One, when you were guiding your foremost disciples, 
          The encounter was like a fire-glass under sunlight, 
          You, the great seer, brought them to the awakened state. 
          I offer my devotion to you, the Gracious One. 
          The stupa the dakinis are holding in their hands, 
          Give it to us, your children. 

          O Venerable One, when you encountered material wealth, 
          You, the awakened seer, were like mercury fallen on the ground, 
          You, the awakened seer, were never stained. 
          I offer my devotion to you, the Perfect One. 
          The stupa the dakinis are holding in their hands, 
          Give it to us, your children. 

          O Venerable One, when you were guiding a multitude of people, 
          You, the awakened seer, were like the sun rising over the earth, dispelling darkness. 
          I offer my devotion to you, the Wise and Merciful One. 
          The stupa the dakinis are holding in their hands, 
          Give it to us, your children. 

          O Venerable One, when you encountered a vast multitude, 
          You, the awakened seer, were like a mother meeting her only son, 
          Seeking to do your utmost for their good. 
          I offer my devotion to you, the Most Loving One. 
          The stupa the dakinis are holding in their hands, 
          Give it to us, your children. 

          O Venerable One, when proceeding toward the realm of the dakinis, 
          You, the awakened seer, are like a wish-fulfilling vase, satisfying the wishes of all. 
          I offer my devotion to you, the Marvelous One. 
          The stupa the dakinis are holding in their hands, 
          Give it to us, your children. 

          O Venerable One, when giving prophetic directions, 
          You, the awakened seer, were like a finger pointing, never erring. 
          I offer my devotion to you, Knower of the Three Modes of Time. 
          The stupa the dakinis are holding in their hands, 
          Give it to us, your children. 

          O Venerable One, when you were giving instructions to hasten our realization, 
          You, the awakened seer, were like a father giving away riches to his son, free from attachment. 
          I offer my devotion to you, the Compassionate One. 
          The stupa the dakinis are holding in their hands, 
          Give it to us, your children.' 

To this invocation of Calm Light Repa came the answer in a song from the form of Jetsun in the stupa, dispelling errors of judgment about things that appear to be alike. 
          'O you who are faithful and well-destined, 
          Who invoke me in resounding tones of distress, 
          Listen, excellent disciples, clad in cotton, 
          I am Milarepa. 
          In the emptiness of my all-pervading Dharmakaya, 
          There is neither gain nor loss. 
          My earthly body was dissolved into All-Embracing Emptiness. 
          All its ordinary relics and the evolved crystals became a single stupa emitting lights. 
          For all sentient beings who seek to earn merit this is the sacred object. 
          Its seat of dwelling will be the Buddha realms and its guardians the five classes of dakinis. 
          Celestial beings and dakinis will revere and worship it. 
          It will vanish if left behind in the realm of human beings. 
          As for your share, my disciples, 
          I awakened your inmost awareness, identical with the Dharmakaya. 
          For this is the holiest of all sacred relics and evolved crystals. 
          In your striving toward illumination, you will face errors of judgment regarding similarities and differences. 
          Absorb them without forgetting, and discriminate accordingly. 
          Associating yourself with a spiritual father who is a perfect lama, and 
          Associating with a person of good quality resulting from his past karma, 
          Even though the two appear alike, beware of misjudgment. 
          Perceiving the innate emptiness of your awareness, and 
          Dwelling in a non-conceptual state induced by mind, 
          Even though the two appear alike, beware of misjudgment. 
          Reaching an original state of naturalness in meditation, and 
          Clinging to a mere shell of quietude which mind has enforced, 
          Even though the two appear alike, beware of misjudgment. 
          The inward dawning of a spontaneous self-release, and 
          Being mentally aware of concepts that seem right, 
          Even though the two appear alike, beware of misjudgment. 
          Perceiving the stainless nature of mind in its nakedness, and 
          Serving others out of kindness for their benefit, 
          Even though the two appear alike, beware of misjudgment. 
          Signs of attainment emerging from one's efforts in inward realization, and 
          Gaining material wealth in abundance owing to one's past karma, 
          Even though the two appear alike, beware of misjudgment. 
          Prophecies of the dakinis, upholders of supreme wisdom, and 
          The resounding call of supernatural forces, 
          Even though the two appear alike, beware of misjudgment. 
          Unfailing support of the guardian dakinis, and 
          Tempting obstacles schemed by the forces of Mara, 
          Even though the two appear alike, beware of misjudgment. 
          The stainless sphere of the Dharmakaya, and 
          The relics of earthly substance, 
          Even though the two appear equally worthy of veneration, beware of misjudgment. 
          The blossom of the Nirmanakaya arising out of All-Encompassing Emptiness, and 
          The celestial flower from the heavenly realm of sensory ecstasy. 
          Even though the two appear alike, beware of misjudgment. 

          A stupa contrived by obstructive forces, and 
          Another created through the miraculous acts of the yidam, 
          Even though the two appear to be alike, beware of misjudgment. 

          The cosmic mansion with its dome of light and rainbow arch. and 
          The rainbow and light of natural phenomena, 
          Even though the two appear alike, beware of misjudgment. 

          Faith originating from past karmic links, and 
          Faith induced by circumstances, 
          Even though the two appear alike, beware of misjudgment. 

          Veneration arising from the depths of the heart, and 
          Veneration produced out of modesty and concern for conformity, 
          Even though the two appear alike, beware of misjudgment. 

          Striving most earnestly toward Enlightenment, and 
          Hypocritically pleasing one's lama for the material pursuit of this life, 
          Even though the two appear alike, beware of misjudgment. 

          Seeking to realize one's aim through perseverance, and 
          Throwing verbal resolutions to the wind, 
          Even though the two appear alike, beware of misjudgment. 

          This stupa in the custody of dakinis, keepers of wisdom, 
          Being in the realm of Enlightened Ones, past, present, and future, 
          Is the celestial mansion for awakened dakas and dakinis 
          And is the meditation cell of your Lama Jetsun. 

          There is in the east a Buddha realm where a mandala of dakinis is gathered. 
          In this supremely joyful realm dwell the glorious Chakrasamvara, Avaloketsvara,(28) and Tara. 
          In this absolutely peaceful realm awaits the multitude of dakinis to welcome this stupa. 

          If you make invocations from the recesses of your heart, 
          Then do so with spontaneous tears of joy. 
          This object of veneration is so wonderful, shower it with wisdom, 
          Sprinkle it with water of enlightened attitude and 
          Let your excellent and unwavering faith be your protection. 
          If you wish to receive initiation into the non-dual illumination, 
          Place your head directly beneath the stupa.' 

When the song was over, the dakinis moved the stupa through the space above the foremost disciples. Projecting downward a stream of light that touched each head, the stupa thereby endowed each one with power. Most people saw a form of Milarepa emerge from the stupa and ascend to the space above. Each group saw him differently. Some saw him as Hevajra, others as Chakrasamvara, Guhyasamaja, or Vajravarahi. Each yidam was surrounded by a mandala of emanations, male and female, which were then absorbed into the chest of the principal yidam. The mandala itself was transformed into a mass of light in the sky, and moved toward the east. Everyone present saw the dakinis adorn the stupa with silken attire of various kinds, put it in a jeweled casket, and then carry it away to the east. 

Some of the disciples saw Milarepa in the form of a Sambhoga-kaya Buddha adorned with jeweled ornaments and seated upon a lion, whose four feet were being supported by four dakinis while Vajravarahi was leading the lion on a halter. They were proceeding toward the east, attended by innumerable dakas and dakinis carrying an assortment of celestial offerings such as parasols and banners, and giving forth a great sound of music. Others saw the stupa being carried away by a white dakini in a palanquin lined with white silk. And there were other wonderful visions of many kinds. 

The disciples, monks, nuns, and lay people were heartbroken at having no share of the sacred relics. Mournfully they cried out in heart-stirring prayer. Though his form was invisible, out of space came a voice resembling that of Jetsun, saying, 'O sons, do not allow yourselves to be overcome with so much grief and despair. As for your share of the sacred objects, there is a marble slab on which have appeared four sacred syllables carved in relief. Go and search for it below the rock base of the cremation cell.' 

The disciples accordingly searched the rock and found exactly what had been foretold. All were relieved of their grievance about the lack of sacred relics. This wonderful stone slab is enshrined for the devotion of human beings at the solitary temple of Chuwar. 

The chief disciples were certain that they would be born among the foremost future disciples of Jetsun wherever he attained his Supreme Enlightenment, even though for the time being they were aggrieved at his departure to another realm. They were also certain that all aspects of Jetsun's life would fulfill the great purpose of the Dharma and satisfy the need of sentient beings. The foremost disciples were even confident of achieving their goals for themselves and for others through their dedication to the path of liberation. 

The disciples reached a unanimous agreement that they should search for gold beneath the hearth as directed by Jetsun in his will, even though, judging from his way of living, the gold as such might not exist. On digging up the hearth they found a square piece of white cloth. Wrapped in this was a knife with a cutting blade, the point being an awl, and the back arranged as a steel for striking fire. There was also a piece of raw sugar, together with a note which read as follows: "When cut with this knife, the cloth and sugar will never be exhausted. 'Cut as many strips from the cloth and as many bits from the sugar as you can, and distribute them among all the people. Everyone who tastes the sugar and touches the cloth will gain liberation from the lower realms, because these things, being the food and clothing of Milarepa throughout his meditative awakening, were blessed by the Buddhas who appeared in the past. Any sentient being who has heard the name Milarepa even once, and in whom it produced veneration, will not go through the cycle of rebirth in the lower realms for seven lifetimes. These things were prophesied by the Buddhas of the past. Whoever says that Milarepa had possessed gold, "stuff his mouth with shit." This particular expression of Milarepa's caused laughter among the foremost disciples, even though they were aggrieved by his death. At the bottom of the note the disciples saw this message: 

          'This was my yogin's food throughout my meditation, 
          It has sustained me all my life. 
          It is the food of compassion which produces yogic power and Enlightenment. 
          Sentient beings who eat this food will close the door of rebirth 
          Into the realm of hungry ghosts. 

          The white cotton cloth is the robe of Tummo-Wisdom. 
          All those who wear it on their body or around the neck 
          Will close the door of rebirth Into the burning and freezing realms. 

          Those who receive my blessing through my relics 
          Will gain liberation from the three lower realms. 
          All those who already have a spiritual bond with me 
          Will henceforth never be reborn into the lower realms, 
          And will gradually attain to Complete Enlightenment. 

          Those who are capable of responding with trust 
          Even when they only hear the name of Milarepa 
          Will remember their past names and family lineage through seven past lives. 

          To Milarepa, your undaunted father, the whole universe is gold. 
          What need have I for a packet of gold dust? 
          My children, strive to live according to my instructions and 
          You will fully realize your immediate and ultimate goals.' 

The piece of raw sugar was then sliced with the knife into countless pieces. Each part was as big as the original piece. Similarly, as the white cloth was cut into many pieces, each square became the same size as the original. They were then distributed to all who partook of the sugar and touched the cloth. The sick and miserable were relieved of their sufferings; those who were full of evil intent, of passions and prejudices, found themselves possessing the qualities of faith, striving, wisdom, and compassion, and finally even achieved their liberation from the realms of misery. The sugar and the cloth each person received lasted his lifetime without being exhausted. 

On the occasion of the funeral, when the disciples were worshipping the corpse of Milarepa, there fell a shower of four-colored and five-colored blossoms. The blossoms, descending nearly within the reach of man, reascended toward the sky and disappeared. A few that landed vanished when touched by human hands, but the blossoms that lasted were of exquisite beauty. Those in three colors, being as delicate as the wings of bees, lay ankle deep at Chuwar, and in other places the ground was covered by them, giving a different hue to the earth. After the cremation the spectacular signs, such as lights and rainbows, slowly grew dimmer and dimmer until they all disappeared. 

On every anniversary of Milarepa's death all the phenomenal signs such as rainbows and lights, the smell of celestial fragrances, and the sound of music appeared in the clear sky in the same way as on the day of Jetsun's passing. The wonderful signs appearing on each occasion were so fantastic that they could not be identified in terms of our concepts or be expressed through our speech. For example, even in freezing winter, flowers bloomed, the region enjoyed abundant harvests and prosperity, and no violence or epidemics ravaged the earth. These signs were not recorded for fear of appearing exaggerated. 

In summary, after the final departure for the Buddha realm of Milarepa, the greatest of saints, the story of his life became a clear example of supreme liberation, and the result of his infinite compassion and universal concern was seen in the emergence of his spiritual descendants. Those disciples who achieved Complete Enlightenment were as numerous as the stars in the night; those who achieved non-return to samsara were also many, as particles of dust on the face of the earth. Those men and women who had entered the path of liberation were too numerous to be counted. He caused the teachings of Buddha to blaze forth like bright sunshine and guided these sentient beings away from temporary and permanent miseries toward happiness and the root of happiness. 

This is the ninth chapter of the life of the great saint Milarepa, dealing with the dissolution of his earthly body into All-Encompassing Emptiness on his having completed his enlightened tasks, in order to arouse a spiritual urge and awakening in sentient beings. Furthermore, it deals with how, through his unceasing and everunfolding actions, he will serve sentient beings till the end of samsara throughout cosmic space! 


1. Geshe. A monastic title conferred upon lamas or monks who have successfully passed a series of examinations in the form of public debates in subjects ranging from the Buddhist canon to metaphysics and logic. 
2. Boddhisattva precepts. See Note 13. Prologue. 

3. Five objects of sensory joy. Form, sound, smell, taste, and touch. 
4. The five levels of vision. The physical eye, the heavenly eye, the wisdom eye, the Dharma eye, and the Buddha eye. 
5. The eight orders of gods and nagas. The same as the eight armies of gods and demons. 
6. Fourfold Power of Action. A ‘powerful guardian deity,’ a Boddhisattva who has achieved extraordinary power, sets upon himself the task of bringing about the fulfillment of various aims for himself and others through the Fourfold Action, namely: 

  1. The Action of Pacification: refers to the purification of mind, elimination of suffering and healing of diseases; 
  2. The Action of Progressive Achievement: refers to practices for expanding the faculties of the intellect, increasing happiness, achieving longevity, and so on; 
  3. The Action of Inspiring Potential Seekers: refers to the drawing in of all universes and being toward oneself so as to place them under one’s spiritual influence, or in order to enhance one’s spiritual service for their benefit; 
  4. Wrathful Action: refers to the wielding of negative power in order to eliminate all adverse influences and to protect humanity from the tyranny of counter-spirituality. 

7. Six medicinal herbs. This refers to (1) saffron (gurkum), (2) cardamom (kakola), (3) nutmeg (dzati), (4) bamboomana, similar to sandalwood (chugang), (5) clove (lishi), (6) dried ruta (sugmail). 

8. The five poisons. A reference to five basic mental deficiencies or emotive tendencies: delusion, desire, hatred, jealousy, and conceit. 

9. Five Aspects of Transcendental Awareness. Same as the Five Transcendent Awarenesses.  (See Note 5, First Part, Chapter 3) 

10. Shonnu (Kumara). This refers to a simile Milarepa used to derive home the point that the hour of death is inevitable and irreversible. Even the Buddha was overcome with a fatal disease and allowed his physician Shonnu to feel his pulse in order to diagnose the disease.   
11. The four divisions of the day. Dawn, morning, afternoon, and duck, These periods are chosen for meditation every day, especially when as initiate does into retreat for a fixed period of time. 
12. The Great Seal of Emptiness. Emptiness is identified with Mahamudra as being the ultimate nature of reality, so that an awakened mind perceives the indelible imprint of emptiness on all things, conditioned and unconditioned. (See also Note 9, Second Part, Chapter 4) 
13. The five inexpiable sins. Willfulle murdering or causing the death of (a) one’s father, (b) mother, (c) an arhat, or (d) injuring the Buddha, and (e) communal dissension among members of the spiritual community wich interrupts the struggle for liberation. In the post-Buddha era, (d) and (e) were understood to mean the killing of one’s spiritual master and the instigation of civil war within the sacred community of Dharma. 

14. The year of the Wood Hare. The year 1136. 

15. The ninth lunar constellation. A constellation whose characteristics are firmness and fulfillment. The day thus marks Milarepa’s great fulfillment, his passing into the emptiness of Dharmakaya, 
* Honorific religious title used for both men and women. 
16. The five orders of dakinis. The assembly of dakinis who represent five spiritual characteristics or psychological attributes both in their transcendent nature and their physical manifestation. The five form of dakinis are like the five families of Buddha and the five aspects of transcendent awareness. 

17. Ram. This sacred syllable represent the source of the Fire Element in its ultimate nature of Emptiness inherent in the fire. 
18. Sunyata. A term meaning emptiness as distinct from nothingness. Buddhist schools perceive sunyata as being either the inherent emptiness of self or substance, or the emptiness of both self and substance, The latter represents Madhyamika’s concept of reality as being total emptiness, without any real identity even down to an infinitesimal atom. Yet such emptiness is also understood as the source of all possible causes and effects in the material or mental world, The interdependence of phenomenal causes and conditions is synonymous with the inherent emptiness of all things. 
19. Bardo. The intermediate state of the life-cycle between the present and future lives, The events of the Bardo state are said to begin at the final phase of death when disintegration of the elements and forces within man’s psycho-physical aggregate takes place. Tibetan tradition considers the understanding of death and Bardo as an equally indispensable element in the transformation of one’s living experiences. 

20. A Buddha who skillfully uses falsehoods. Here is a case, one of many in this text, where a translator even with the best intention can easily make a serious mistake through a literal or arbitrary interpretation. An enigmatic stanza such as this has to be examined thoroughly on the basis of both a sound knowledge of exoteric Mahayana teachings and the intricate Buddhist system of elucidating texts in terms of eigher apparent or actual meaning – just as the esoteric teaching of Vajrayana needs to be elucidated in terms of the six modes and four methods (see Note 16, Second Part, Chapter 4). The reference in the song to ‘Fully Enlightened in the Invisible Heaven’ is an allusion to Maitreya – who in reality is a Buddha, considered to be the Buddha of the coming age. According to the Sutras, he presides over the Joyous Heaven (Gadan Lhainey). Milarepa is here gauging the level of the audience, the celestial beings who can understand only the teaching concerning relative truth. His reference to ‘Buddha who speaks falsehood’ is no doubt an allusion to the skillful means enlightened teaches are capable of employing in order to effect the fullest benefit for their disciples. 

21. The eight auspicious emblems. They are (1) a parasol, (2) a pair of goldfish, (3) a conch shell with a rightward spiral, (4) the knot that has no end, (5) the banner of supreme excellence, (6) the Wheel of the Law, (7) the vase of great treasure, (8) the lotus. 

22. The seven royal insignia. The precious queen, the minister, the warrior, the wish-fulfilling gem, the wheel, the elephant, and the horse. They symbolize the Seven Jewels of the Awakened Ones. 

23. Swastikas are an ancient Buddhist symbol of truth and eternity. The term means, literally ‘that wich is eternal’. 

24. Seed syllables of mantra. This refers to what is called ‘the root mantra’ (Tsa-ngak). It is the basic mantra associated with every yidam. The root mantra is so called because a few simple syllables can unfold a vast and varied teaching concerning the complete transformation of man’s inbred conditions. 

25. Evolved crystals. The evolved crystals are generally called ‘bodily relics’ – kudoong ringsel. They are of tiny pill size, pearl colored, and are found in the ashes of the corpses of highly attained men and women. It is widely held that the original evolved crystals multiply if preserved in a proper manner. Hence the name ‘multiplying bodigy relics’ – phel doong. Among the types of crystals is that called ‘Sharirum’, which is said to shine in five hunes. 
26. The Thousand and Two Buddhas. This reders to the thousand Buddhas of this aeon. 
27. A mandala of deiteis. Meaning here a conclave of deities. 
28. Avaloketsvara refers to the yidam who embodies the infinite compassion of Buddhas. Chief among the present-day incarnations of Avaloketsvara are the Dalai Lama and Gyalwa Karmapa. 
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