The Life of Milarepa
By Tsangnyön Heruka
Translated by Andrew Quintman
Penguin Books, 2010
$16; 262 pages
Reviewed by Ari Goldfield
Even in the best of times, no one could describe the life of ordinary Tibetans on their high mountain plateau as easy. But whatever hardships Tibetans have faced, the famous story of one man among them has for a thousand years provided his people with a source of deep solace and great inspiration. This man is known as the Lord of Yogis, Milarepa, and his story is one of intense and varied sufferings, unwavering commitment to dharma practice, and ultimate, supreme triumph.
Then I walked across the doorstep and found a heap of rags caked with dirt over which many weeds had grown. When I gathered them up, a number of human bones, bleached white, slipped out. When I realized they were the bones of my mother, I was so overcome with grief that I could hardly stand it. I could not think, I could not speak, and an overwhelming sense of longing and sadness swept over me… But at that moment I remembered my lama’s oral instructions. I then blended my mother’s consciousness with my mind and the wisdom mind of the Kagyu lamas… I saw the true possibility of liberating both my mother and my father from life’s round.
Ari Goldfield is a Buddhist teacher and translator who studied under Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche for many years. He translated Khenpo Tsültrim’s books Stars of Wisdom and The Sun of Wisdom, and is a contributing author to Freeing the Body, Freeing the Mind.