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Brass Statue

7.0" X 5.6" X 4.0"
1.6 kg
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Viewed 8227 times since 2nd Oct, 2008
Although Milarepa is a progenitor of the Kagyu lineage, he is perceived by Tibetans of all orders as the archetypal yogin and is held in the highest esteem for his heroic quest for knowledge. In his youth, he mastered the arts of black magic, but became disillusioned by these destructive practises and resolved to seek the Dharma. His first Buddhist teacher was unable to impart effective instruction and referred him to a man called Marpa from Wheat Valley in Lhodrak. His trials while apprenticed to Marpa are legendary. Frustrated by his lack of progress and unable to understand why Marpa seemed to be withholding teachings, Milarepa gave up and left on several occasions. Finding no satisfaction elsewhere, he always returned. For his persistence, he was finally granted the teachings he so desperately sought. Milarepa had suffered greatly during his training; yet, once enlightened, he achieved a sublime perception:

In harvesting of evil deeds, the human
race is busy; And the doing so is to taste the pangs
of Hell...
The piling up of wealth is the piling up
of others' property;
What one thus storeth formeth but
provision for one's enemies.

I wash off scandal by devotion true;
And by zeal, I satisfy the Deities.

By compassion, I subdue the demons;
All blame I scatter to the wind,
And upward turn my face.

Milarepa's sublime state is captured in this portrait. Parted lips suggest the singing of the songs for which he is famed throughout Tibet. The skull cup that he holds in his left hand is a symbol of the transient nature of existence, which Milarepa came so profoundly to understand.

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