She said…”You are useless!”

DSC00781On another occasion, when Jetsun Milarepa went out [again] for alms, he reached the middle of a great plain and saw many people working on a house. He then lay down on the ground [near-by as if nothing were going on there]. The hostess said to him, “My dear Yogi, you seem to be unoccupied – here are some tools, please use them to work for us a little and I will bring you some hot food.” After a while she returned, and seeing that Milarepa was still lying there, said, “No wonder they say that some people deserve to be treated as good-for-nothing trash! You have plenty of time on your hands, yet you won’t do anything, not even a little patching work. You are useless!” Saying which, she went off and left Milarepa alone.

Then Milarepa followed her into the house where the workers were having their dinner, and begged for some food. The hostess said, “One who does not work with his lazy body should not bother to eat with his lazy mouth.” The Jetsun replied, “I did not help you to patch the walls because I was occupied on other business much more important than yours.” The patrons then asked him what this important business was that had drawn away his attention. In answer, Milarepa sang:

I bow down to all Gurus. Above all,

I take refuge in the Gracious One!

You see me as though I were doing nothing,

But I see myself doing something all the time.

On the plain of the uncreated Beyond-Extremes,

I was building busily the Dhyana Wall;

I had no time to patch clay walls.

On the Northern Plain of Voidness,

I was taming the wild goats of my desires;

I had no time to plough my father’s land.

In the realm of Not-two and the Word-beyond,

I was subduing the demon Ego;

I had no time to fight bitter foes.

In the Palace of Beyond-measure –

The Non-dual Mind-Essence –

I was busily attending my affairs;

I had no time to do household work.

In the Buddha’s Mandala of my own body

I was feeding my little child, “Awareness”;

I had no time to feed others and wipe their noses.

In the courtyard of Great Bliss,

I was gathering the Dharma wealth;

I had no time to make money in this world.

On the mountain of the immutable Dharmakaya,

I was herding the steeds of Self-awareness;

I had no time to tend other sheep and cattle.

With the clay of my flesh and bones,

I was building the Stupa of Immanence;

I had no time to make the Tsa Tsas.

On the triangular Heart Center,

I was kindling the lamp of Illumination;

I had no time to offer butter lamps to deities.

In the chapel of the Bliss-Void,

I was offering Immortality

To the Buddha of Dhyana-Mind;

I had no time to make material offerings.

Upon the paper of Immaculate Mind

I wrote the words of conquering desires;

I had not time to bother with worldly script.

In the Drinking Skull of Sunyata

I was mixing the Three and Five Poisons;

I had not time for priestly rules.

Filled with love and pity,

I was guarding all in the Six Realms;

I had no time to attend my kinsmen.

Before my Father Gurus,

I was brooding over their instructions;

I had no time for worldly actions.

In a quiet hermitage in the remote mountains,

I was practicing the Bodhi teachings;

I had no time to indulge in sleep.

With my triangular, shell-like mouth,

I was singing the song of Dharma;

I had no time for idle talk.

(100,000 Songs of Milarepa, p535-537)


like fog is faith unstable

034Like fog is faith unstable –

When it starts to fade, you should

Strengthen it more than ever.

(100,000 Songs of Milarepa, p627)

Without faith our practice weakens

Without faith Samsara’s illusions reign

Without faith sickness, old age, and death are fearful –

Denied with distractions

Without faith our way to Buddhahood is lost.

Without faith restlessness manifests in countless distractions. (ani drubgyudma)

Milarepa Instructs the Nuns

lotus buds appearing

The nuns then asked Milarepa how they might find their own way, beseeching him for further instruction. In reply Milarepa sang:

I pay homage to my Guru, the gracious one.

I pray you to vouchsafe me your grace-waves.

Pray help me, the mendicant, happily to meditate.


Though you children of the new generation

Dwell in towns infested with deceitful Karma,

The link of Dharma still remains.

Because you have heard the Buddha’s teaching

You now come to me,

And thus avoid going astray.


By constant practice of the Accumulation-of-Merits

You will foster an aptitude for devotion.

The grace-waves will then enter you,

While the corresponding and actual

Realization will grow.


But even if you do all this, it will help but little

If you cannot reach full mastery.

Having pity on you, I now give you this instruction.

Listen closely, my young friends!


When you remain in solitude,

Think not of the amusements in the town,

Else the evil one will rise up in your heart;

Turn inward your mind,

And you will find your way.


When you meditate with perseverance and


You should think upon the evils of Samsara

And the uncertainty of death.

Shun the craving for worldly pleasures;

Courage and patience then will grow in you,

And you will find your way.


When you solicit the deep teachings of the Practice,

Do not long for learning, nor to become a scholar,

Else worldly actions and desires will dominate;

Then this very life will be thrown away.

Be humble and modest,

And you will find your way.


When the various experiences come to you in meditation,

Do not be proud and anxious to tell people,

Else you will disturb the Goddesses and Mothers.

Meditate without distractions,

And you will find your way.


When you accompany your Guru,

Do not look upon his merits or demerits,

Else you will find mountains of faults.

Only with faith and loyalty

Will you find your way.


When you attend holy meetings

With brothers and sisters in the Dharma,

Do not think of heading the row,

Else you will arouse both hate and craving,

And offend against the Precepts.

Adjust yourselves, understand each other,

And you will find your way.


When you beg for alms in the village,

Do not use the Dharma for deceit and exploitation,

Else you will force yourself down to the lower Path.

Be honest and sincere,

And you will find your way.


Beyond all else remember, at all times and all places,

Never be overweening, nor of yourself be proud,

Else you will be overbearing in your self-esteem

And overloaded with hypocrisy.

If you abandon deceit and pretense,

You will find your way.


The person who has found the way

Can pass on the gracious teachings to others;

Thus she aids herself and helps others, too.

To give is then the only thought

Remaining in her heart.