The Invitation from the King of Kathmandu of Mön
From the songs of Milarepa
commentated on by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
In chapter twenty-seven of The One Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, the yogi Milarepa was staying in solitude in a cave on Katya mountain of Nyishang Gurta (present-day Manang, Nepal), in the area of Mön, keeping silence and resting in a continuous stream of meditation.
Some hunters came along and saw Milarepa, motionless and staring. They thought he was a demon, and ran away, but then summoning up their courage, they returned, ready to shoot him with their poisoned arrows. They asked him, “Are you a human being or a demon?” But, Milarepa did not respond at all. They fired their arrows at him but they could not pierce his body. They decided to throw him over a cliff, but they couldn’t lift his body. They stacked wood around him and set it on fire, but Milarepa didn’t burn. They carried him to a wide river and threw him in, but Milarepa, rose up out of the water, perfectly dry, still in the vajra posture (crossed legged meditation posture), and floated back up to his cave and back onto his meditation seat.
The astounded hunters left the mountain and told the nearby inhabitants about this amazing yogin that was living there.
One man named Chirarepa recently became Milarepa's pupil; he was a hunter and had come across Milarepa on the mountain as described in the preceding chapter of The One Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa. Chirarepa said to the other hunters, “That must be my Tibetan lama that you are talking about. He is a true siddha. He even taught the Dharma to my dog and the deer when I was hunting, making them sit together and meditate.”
The reputation of Milarepa spread throughout Nepal. The King of Patan and Bhaktapur developed great faith and devotion towards Milarepa. The King dreamt that Tara, a female Bodhisattva, told him, “You have Benares cotton and a yellow myrobalan fruit. There is a great Tibetan yogin presently staying at the Katya cave. If you offer these things to him it will be of great benefit to you.”
The king sent a man who could speak Tibetan to find Milarepa. When he came to Milarepa’s cave and saw how Mila had forsaken material life and was remaining in meditation all the time, he felt great faith and was certain that he had found Milarepa. Nevertheless, in order to avoid any mistake he asked, “What is your name? Isn’t it terrible to live like this, without anything to eat or drink? Why have you given up all possessions?”
Milarepa replied, “I am Milarepa, the yogin from Tibet. There is a great purpose to not having possessions.” He then explained what he meant in a song:
When Milarepa had sung this song, the man felt great faith in him and returned to the king and gave a detailed account of his meeting with Milarepa. The king said, “You must go back and invite Milarepa to come here. If he refuses, offer him this Benares cotton and yellow myrobolan from me.
The king’s emissary returned to Milarepa and said to him, “A Dharma king is reigning in Kathmandu and Patan. He has sent me to invite you there. You must come there.”
Milarepa replied, “I don’t go into towns, and I don’t know anyone who lives there. I certainly don’t know any kings. I don’t like fine food or drinks and I don’t like having any possessions. I don’t know any stories about Dharma practitioners who die of hunger or cold. A lama who stays with a king will become lost. In obedience to Marpa Lotsawa’s commands, I travel from place to place, practicing. It is best if you return to your king.”
The emissary said, “He is a very great king. You’re just an ordinary lama, so he has only sent one man on foot to invite you. It would be better if you came back with me.” Milarepa replied, “No, that’s not how it is. I’m not an ordinary person, I am a great king, a world-emperor, a Chakravartin. There is no one who is my equal, no one who is as powerful as me.”
The king’s man said, “If you’re a world-emperor, you must have the seven royal possessions of a chakravartin (a world-emperor or chakravartin is said in Indian tradition to have seven particularly outstanding possessions). So where are they? No, you’re just an ordinary person. If you’re a wealthy king you’ll have to prove it to me.” In reply Milarepa sang a song that taught the seven aspects of enlightenment as the seven royal possessions of a chakravartin:
The king’s messenger said, “You truly follow the Dharma. It is marvelous. The king told me to give you these offerings if you refused to come.” He then gave Milarepa the cotton and the yellow myrobalan. Milarepa accepted the offering and recited a dedication and wishing prayer.
Some time later, Rechungpa and a pupil of Milarepa named Shengomrepa came searching for Milarepa to bring him back to Tibet. They couldn’t find him until they met some hunters who said to them, “You’re not real yogins. A yogin should be like Milarepa. Weapons can’t pierce him, fire can’t burn him, throw him in the water and he won’t sink, throw him off a cliff and he’ll float right back up. The king even invited him to court and he refused to go. That’s what a real siddha is like.” Rechungpa and Shengomrepa gave the hunters a gift, asked them where Milarepa was, and then came to him.
When they arrived, Milarepa gave Rechungpa and Shengomrepa a teaching on practice being essential and then returned to Tibet with them.
Ten Teachings from the 100,000 Songs of Milarepa. translated by Peter Roberts.
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