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The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa Hardcover – 14 Jul 1999


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 736 pages
  • Publisher: City Lights Books; New edition edition (14 July 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570624763
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570624766
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 5.8 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 674,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Call it mystic superhero hagiography if you want, but the punch lines in "The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa "pack enough wattage to blow out the lights of the universe. . . . What a magnificent gift this book is! If there's justice at all in this precious home we call life, then may we all get to taste Milarepa's wild nettles and pure mountain water before we die."— "Manoa"

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ONCE the great Yogi Milarepa was staying at the Eagle Castle of [Red Rock] Jewel Valley, absorbing himself in the practice of the Mahamudra meditation. Read the first page
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ShiDaDao Ph.D on 6 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is an extraordinary Dharma book. Its production involves two equally extraordinary spiritual beings - Garma CC Chang (1920-1988), and Jetsun Milarepa (1052-1135). Remarkably, Garma Chang - the son of a Chinese general, travelled to old Tibet at just 16 years of age and spent around 8 years in Buddhist study under Tibetan lamas. Following his family's retreat to Taiwan in the wake of the Communist victory on the Mainland of China, Chang eventually settled in the USA, and became the professor of Eastern Philosophy at Pennsylvania State University.

This book is the English translation of the Tibetan book entitled the 'Mila Grubum'. This term translates literally as 'Milarepa's Hundred Thousand Songs'. Milarepa was the student of Marpa - a Tibetan man who had travelled to India to study the Dharma. These kind of highly spiritualised beings became known as 'mahasiddhi', or 'those who possess great spiritual powers'. This work is a collection of the spiritual utterances of the enlightened Milarepa. They are recorded in 'poem' format, with each poem presented within the narrative of a short story. The book itself contains the translation of the entire 61 poems of the Mila Grubum - the number 'one hundred thousand' merely refers to the concept of a 'large number', in the Tibetan language. This book contains 3 sections:

Part I - Milarepa's Subjugation and Conversion of Demons.
Part II - Milarepa and His Human Disciples.
Part III - Miscellaneous Stories.

The hardback (1962) edition contains 730 numbered pages. Chang is of the opinion that Milarepa, and his tradition has been one of the most effective Buddhist lineages, and has been able to assist countless beings in their spiritual development.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. B. Kinnes on 30 July 2009
Format: Hardcover
"For women, the primary source of suffering, I have no appetite," sings Milarepa, the saint the book is about (p. 121).

Instead he settled as a starveling cave-man and stuck to nettle soup till his fairly naked body and hair turned greenish-blue, but he learnt to fly in the air in a yogi way and without wings too. "Every man to his taste." And "He who talks down on woman, forgets Mother. (Norwegian proverb)."

Later the Buddhist yogi realised that his life of extreme penance was hardly ideal for him after all, not fit for the Buddhist Gentle Middle Way of avoiding extremes, and not for anyone either. The hermit Milarepa learnt the value of good and nourishing food and a bit of clothing. His sister Peta helped him, even though her way of life at the time was harldy ideal. She was not his primary source of suffering, it stands out. It was rather his taking to sorcery that was in his case. We get many sayings about that.

Milarepa lived to be 84. In the meantime he got several disciples and his line of transmission - of teachings that encompass practices and attitudes - is intact to this day as one of the main Tibetan sects of Buddhism, Kagya.

Are women the primary source of suffering? I should say no. It is carnal desire for mating. There are very sound biological reasons for such lust - propagation of the species. Such an urge has to compete with and balance the urge of self-preservation too, and may not be pleasant to the individual. Carnal desire can be hard to resist or desist, and it brings on family, children, grandchildren and other relatives. They are key sources of joys and sorrows, to be true. As sources of suffering, some of their effects are estimated in a much used stress scale devised by Rahe and Holmes.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Jun. 1999
Format: Hardcover
Garma C.C. Chang, the translator of these songs, single-handedly preserved this book for the West, for it surely would have disappeared, overlooked by religious popularizers. The degree, Cha Gyur Khan-po, 'professor of translation,' was conferred upon the late Professor Chen-Chi Chang by his guru, a living Buddha, Kong Ka Lama, at the Kong Ka Monestary at Meia Nya, Tibet. The monastery is of the Kargyutpa School, which descended directly from Milarepa's line of gurus. C.C. Chang was more than a translator, however. He was among the greatest Buddhist scholars and teachers of the twentieth century. His studies of both exoteric and esoteric Buddhism are powerful because they are unvarnished. Unfortunately, not all his works are still in print. As he brought Milarepa to the West, he also brought what is perhaps China's greatest contribution to Buddhism (and recall, it was China that gave us Zen), the teachings of the 8th century Hwa Yen school, which is contained in C.C. Chang's book, still in print: The Teaching of Totality. I was deeply fortunate to have known Professor Chang, and I remember his reverence for Milarepa, his delight at the songs. I remember him imploring his students to delve deep into these teachings, from one of Tibet's greatest masters. Now there is this new edition. By itself, the story of Milarepa is magnificent, a tale of naive cruelty, healing, heroic effort and finally mercy and enlightenment. Milarepa is the psalmist of the Himalayas, and the late Professor's translation is a triumph of the heart. The book is a monument and a refuge.
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