The beautiful Thangka of Milarepa is handpainted by the Master Thangka artist from Nepal. Milarepa is a famous Himalayan Yogi and teacher in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. During his life, he composed hundreds of songs and poems about the dharma and the beauty of his words are still admired today.
This thangka painting describes one of the main episodes of the life of the Buddhist poet. Milarepa meditated for six years in a cave in the mountains of Nepal where he attained enlightenment. Here he is depicted in an elegant and relaxed pose. His skin is pale and grey because of his diet based only on green nettles.
The life of Milarepa
From the Gungthang province of Western Tibet, close to Nepal, Milarepa (1052-1135) had a hard childhood and a dark youth. He was only seven when his father died. Relatives had taken over his father’s property and mistreated the bereaved family. His mother, bitter, sent Milarepa to train in black magic, to wreak revenge on those who had blighted her life. She was given her wish – Milarepa proved adept at the practices he was taught, and unleashed a tide of destruction, killing many.
But he came to regret his actions and looked for help in shedding the bad karma he had acquired during his vengeful adolescence. He first attached himself to the Nyingmapa Lama Rongton, who, observing that Milarepa had a karmic connection to Marpa, sent him to learn with him. Marpa, being aware that Milarepa had, first of all, to purify himself from the negative karma he had accumulated, exposed him to an extremely hard apprenticeship. Among other trials, he had to build towers out of rocks to Marpa’s specifications with his bare hands, only to be ordered to tear them down again. But finally, Marpa gave Milarepa full transmissions of all the Mahamudra teachings from Naropa, Maitripa and other Indian masters.
Practicing these teachings for many years in isolated mountain retreats, Milarepa attained enlightenment. He gained fame for his incredible perseverance in practice and for his spontaneous songs of realization. Of his many students, Gampopa became his main lineage holder.
LINAGE Milarepa is famous for many of his songs and poems, in which he expresses the profundity of his realization of the dharma. He also had many disciples, male and female, including Rechung Dorje Drakpa (Ras-chung Rdo-rje Grags-pa) and Gampopa (Sgam-po-pa, Dhakpo Lhaje). His female disciples include Rechungma, Padarbum, Sahle Aui, and Tsheringma. It was Gampopa who became Milarepa’s spiritual successor, continued his lineage, and became one of the main lineage masters in Milarepa’s tradition.