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The Life of Milarepa

by Heruka Tsangnyon

  • Paperback
    $27.38
ISBN: 9780143106227
ANNOTATION:
A new translation of the classic biography of the most renowned saint in Tibetan Buddhist history "The Life of Milarepa" is one of the most beloved stories of the Tibetan people and a great literary example of the contemplative life. This biography, a dramatic tale from a culture now in crisis, can be read on several levels. A personal and moving introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, it is also a detailed guide to the search for liberation. It presents a quest for purification and buddhahood in a single lifetime, tracing the path of a great sinner who became a great saint. It is also a powerfully evocative narrative, full of magic, miracles, suspense, and humor, while reflecting the religious and social life of medieval Tibet.
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  • Paperback
    $27.38
ISBN: 9780143106227
ANNOTATION:
A new translation of the classic biography of the most renowned saint in Tibetan Buddhist history "The Life of Milarepa" is one of the most beloved stories of the Tibetan people and a great literary example of the contemplative life. This biography, a dramatic tale from a culture now in crisis, can be read on several levels. A personal and moving introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, it is also a detailed guide to the search for liberation. It presents a quest for purification and buddhahood in a single lifetime, tracing the path of a great sinner who became a great saint. It is also a powerfully evocative narrative, full of magic, miracles, suspense, and humor, while reflecting the religious and social life of medieval Tibet.

Annotation

A new translation of the classic biography of the most renowned saint in Tibetan Buddhist history "The Life of Milarepa" is one of the most beloved stories of the Tibetan people and a great literary example of the contemplative life. This biography, a dramatic tale from a culture now in crisis, can be read on several levels. A personal and moving introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, it is also a detailed guide to the search for liberation. It presents a quest for purification and buddhahood in a single lifetime, tracing the path of a great sinner who became a great saint. It is also a powerfully evocative narrative, full of magic, miracles, suspense, and humor, while reflecting the religious and social life of medieval Tibet.

Publisher Description

The Life of Milarepa is one of the most beloved stories of the Tibetan people and a great literary example of the contemplative life. This biography, a dramatic tale from a culture now in crisis, can be read on several levels. A personal and moving introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, it is also a detailed guide to the search for liberation. It presents a quest for purification and buddhahood in a single lifetime, tracing the path of a great sinner who became a great saint. It is also a powerfully evocative narrative, full of magic, miracles, suspense, and humor, while reflecting the religious and social life of medieval Tibet.

Author Biography

Tsangnyon Heruka (Gtsang smyon Heruka, 1452-1507), the self- proclaimed "madman of Central Tibet," was both an iconoclastic tantric master and a celebrated author, best known for his versions of The Life of Milarepa and The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa. Andrew Quintman is an assistant professor of religious studies at Yale. He served as the academic director of the School of International Training's Tibetan studies program based in Katmandu for seven years. Donald S. Lopez, Jr., specializes in late Indian Mahayana Buddhism and in Tibetan Buddhism. He is Arthur E. Link Distinguished Professor and department chair at the University of Michigan, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000.

Excerpt from Book

Table of Contents Contents About the Authors Title Page Copyright Page Dedication Introduction Translator''s Introduction Acknowledgments PART I CHAPTER ONE CHAPTER TWO CHAPTER THREE PART II CHAPTER FOUR CHAPTER FIVE CHAPTER SIX CHAPTER SEVEN CHAPTER EIGHT CHAPTER NINE CHAPTER TEN CHAPTER ELEVEN CHAPTER TWELVE MILAREPA''S DISCIPLES COLOPHON Appendix - Tibetan Terms Notes Glossary of Buddhist Terminology PENGUIN CLASSICS THE LIFE OF MILAREPA TSANGNYÖN HERUKA (Gtsang Smyon Heruka, 1452-1507), the self-proclaimed "Madman of Central Tibet," was both an iconoclastic tantric master and a celebrated author, best known for his versions of The Life of Milarepa and The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa. ANDREW QUINTMAN is assistant professor of religious studies at Yale University. He specializes in the Buddhist traditions of Tibet and the Himalayas, with his teaching and research focusing on Buddhist doctrinal literature and sacred biography, visual and ritual cultures of the wider Himalayan region, and the esoteric Buddhist traditions of tantra in Tibet and South Asia. He served as the academic director of the School of International Training''s Tibetan Studies program based in Kathmandu for seven years and also held the Cotsen-Melon Fellowship in the History of the Book through Princeton University''s Society of Fellows. He currently serves as the co-chair of the Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Group of the American Academy of Religion and is leading a five-year seminar at the AAR on "Religion and the Literary in Tibet." DONALD S. LOPEZ JR. specializes in late Indian Mahayana Buddhism and in Tibetan Buddhism. He is an Arthur E. Link Distinguished Professor and department chair at the University of Michigan and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000. He is the author of The Madman''s Middle Way: Reflections on Reality of the Tibetan Monk Gendun Chopel, and he was also the editor of Penguin Classics'' Buddhist Scriptures. PENGUIN BOOKS Published by the Penguin Group Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A. Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen''s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd) Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd) Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi-110 017, India Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd) Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England This translation first published in Penguin Books 2010 Cover art: Collection of Dr. David Nalin, © Dr. David Nalin Translation copyright © Andrew Quintman, 2010 Introduction copyright © Donald S. Lopez Jr., 2010 All rights reserved LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA Gtsan-smyon He-ru-ka, 1452-1507. [Mi-la-ras-pa''i rnam thar. English] The life of Milarepa / Tsangnyön Heruka ; translated by Andrew Quintman ; introduction by Donald S. Lopez Jr. p. cm.--(Penguin classics) ISBN: 978-1-101-45904-1 1. Mi-la-ras-pa, 1040-1123. 2. Lamas--China--Tibet--Biography. I. Quintman, Andrew (Andrew H.) II. Title. BQ7950.M557G813 2010 294.3''923092--dc22 [B] 2010018244 The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author''s rights is appreciated. For Maya Introduction The Buddhism of Milarepa In his eightieth year, as the Buddha was about to pass into nirvana, he told his disciples that after his death they should cremate his body and then build a stupa or reliquary at a crossroads, explaining that those who visited his stupa and venerated his relics would be reborn in heaven. After his passage, his body was duly cremated. But a dispute arose among his lay followers over who should receive the remains, and so the Buddha''s relics were divided into eight portions and distributed among the various groups. The ashes from the pyre made a ninth object of veneration, and the bucket used to apportion the relics made a tenth. Thus not one but ten stupas were erected. Not long after the Buddha''s death, one of his chief disciples overheard a monk expressing relief that the Buddha was no longer around to scold the monks. Aghast at the sentiment, the disciple convened an assembly of five hundred monks in a cave on Vulture Peak outside the city of Rajagrha, the site of many of the Buddha''s most famous sermons. The purpose of the assembly was to recite what the Buddha had taught, both his discourses as well as the code of monastic discipline. First to speak was Ananda, the Buddha''s cousin and personal attendant. He had spent more time with the Buddha than any other monk, and the Buddha had promised to repeat to him any discourse he had delivered on those occasions when Ananda was absent. Ananda was also renowned for his prodigious memory. At this first assembly, Ananda was called upon to recite everything he had heard the Buddha teach. He began the recitation of each discourse with his personal testimony, "Thus did I hear." All texts that purport to be the word of the Buddha begin with this famous phrase. A consideration of the Buddhism of Milarepa, as presented in the biography translated here, might begin by noting that the first chapter of the text starts with the phrase "Thus did I hear," and that it ends with a dispute over Milarepa''s relics. These are clear signs that Milarepa was regarded as a buddha by his lineage, and that the author of the biography, Tsangnyön Heruka, made effective use of the tropes of Buddhist literature in the composition of the biography; the story of the distribution of the Buddha''s relics and the opening formula of a sutra are renowned among all the Buddhist traditions of Asia. A Buddhist sutra begins with "Thus did I hear," and then names the place where the Buddha was residing and who was seated in the audience at the time of the discourse. But here the Buddha is absent, or perhaps more precisely, Milarepa is the Buddha. The scene is not Vulture Peak in India but Belly Cave in Tibet, and the members of the audience are not the famous monks and bodhisattvas of Indian Buddhism, but Milarepa''s Tibetan disciples, joined by some local Tibetan deities. The implication of the scene is that there was the Indian Buddha, Sakyamu∋ there was Padmasambhava, the Indian tantric master who brought Buddhism to Tibet in the eighth century, sometimes referred to by Tibetans as "the second Buddha"; and there is Milarepa, a Tibetan buddha, born and enlightened in Tibet, without going to India or receiving the direct instructions of an Indian master. One of the standard elements of the Mahayana sutras is for Sakyamuni Buddha to praise a buddha who resides in another universe, telling stories of his former lives as a bodhisattva, describing the glories of the buddha field or pure land that he inhabits. In the biography of Milarepa, his disciple Rechungpa (Ras chung pa, 1084-1161) has a dream in which he finds himself in what seems like a pure land, with buildings made of precious stones and inhabitants dressed in fine brocades. The place is called "Oddiyana, Garden of Dakinis ," indicating that it is a special place for tantric practice; Oddiyana in northwest India was considered by Tibetans to be the birthplace of Padmasambhava and the place of origin of many important tantric texts and lineages. In this sacred place, Rechungpa is invited to attend the teachings of Aksobhya ("Imperturbable"), the buddha of the East. As Sakyamuni so often did, the buddha Aksobhya recounts the lives of other buddhas and bodhisattvas. He concludes his discourse by saying, "Tomorrow I shall narrate the life story of Milarepa, which is even more excellent than those I have just described, so come and listen." The members of the audience leave the discourse wondering where this buddha Milarepa might reside. Perhaps it is Abhirati, the eastern buddha field of Aksobhya himself, perhaps it is Akanistha, the heaven that is the eighth and highest level of the Realm of Form ( rupadhatu ) and, according to many Mahayana texts, the abode of the enjoyment body ( sambhogaka ya ) of the Buddha. Rechungpa knows, however, that Milarepa is in neither place, but is rather in Belly Cave, just a few feet away from where he is sleeping. Rechungpa''s dream introduces a theme that runs throughout The Life of Milarepa: that there are two

Product Details

Author
Heruka Tsangnyon
Short Title
LIFE OF MILAREPA
Publisher
Penguin Books
Language
English
Translator
Andrew Quintman
ISBN-10
0143106228
ISBN-13
9780143106227
Media
Book
Format
Paperback
Audience Age
17-17
Pages
262
Series
Penguin Classics
Translated from
Tibetan
Year
2010
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Publication Date
2010-10-25
Audience
General/Trade