What sadhana did Marpa and Milarepa really practice?

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What sadhana did Marpa and Milarepa really practice?

Postby Kelwin » Thu Oct 10, 2013 5:42 pm

Hi friends,

I wondered, how much is known about the practices of the old Kagyu masters, like Marpa and Milarepa? We know that they got the Phagmo en Demchok sadhanas from India, but were they the same as the ones we have in the Karma Kagyu lineage these days? What is similar, what is different?

Thanks for any info!
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Re: What sadhana did Marpa and Milarepa really practice?

Postby smcj » Thu Oct 10, 2013 5:49 pm

Well, the 6 Yogas of Naropa and Mahamudra for sure. Which deity practices are probably in the biographies, but it has been a long time since I've read them.
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Re: What sadhana did Marpa and Milarepa really practice?

Postby Kelwin » Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:05 pm

Ah yes, in general the practices and deities are well known. I just wonder about which specific sadhanas they might have used?
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Re: What sadhana did Marpa and Milarepa really practice?

Postby KonchokZoepa » Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:26 pm

my information on this matter is that Milarepa accomplished enlightenment through mahamudra and the deity was Chakrasamvara. i dont remember if it was Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche where the exact deity information came from.

and one of Marpa's main deities was Namgyalma aka Usnisha Vijaya. this i know cause i received her initation and it was mentioned there.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: What sadhana did Marpa and Milarepa really practice?

Postby KonchokZoepa » Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:27 pm

oh i didnt read your last post, ignore my message then.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: What sadhana did Marpa and Milarepa really practice?

Postby Kelwin » Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:59 pm

That's ok, I appreciate it! Anyone else got more?
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Re: What sadhana did Marpa and Milarepa really practice?

Postby Matylda » Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:51 pm

As far as I heard Marpa pratices Hevajra and Nairatmya... so HV was his personal diety and main practice. As for Milarepa I remember Chakrasamvara and VY.
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Re: What sadhana did Marpa and Milarepa really practice?

Postby conebeckham » Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:51 pm

Mila had empowerment into Chakrasamvara, and other yidam deities...but he said, in a song, his yidam, if you asked him, was the "little red one." The gloss is that he was referring to Vajravarahi.

Marpa's main Yidam was said to be Hevajra, though he had many transmissions. Ngok's collection of practices were incorporated by Kongtrul in the Kagyu NgakDzo--they reflect Marpa's inheritence most fully. But large parts of those texts were written by Kongtrul, ostensibly based on oral and written transmissions.

Parts of the current Karma Kagyu sadhanas we use for two of the three main yidams--Chakrasamvara and Vajravarahi--come from Marpa's liturgy, but it seems the liturgies back then were much more terse, much of it was oral tranmission rather than written sadhana. The written words of many masters have been incorporated into our current sadhanas.
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Re: What sadhana did Marpa and Milarepa really practice?

Postby Kelwin » Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:11 pm

Excellent Cone, thank you so much. Do we know if any of these terse / concise sadhanas still exist? Are maybe even still being practiced in their more original form?

To me it seems there's a great tendency to increase the length of sadhanas, including more and more ritual and prayers over the generations. Kongtrul, such a great lord of dharma, is certainly one who did that :) My mind prefers it simple somehow, although that might change over time.
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Re: What sadhana did Marpa and Milarepa really practice?

Postby conebeckham » Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:31 pm

Actually, Kongtrul kept many sadhanas terse, when compared to some others. I think he was influenced by the terma tradition in that regard.

Vajrayogini sadhana is "composed" by Karmapa Tongwa Donden, mainly....the praises and offerings go back to original sadhanas from India. The "self generation" is Marpa's oral tradition, or so it is said. The "preliminaries" of the refuge, Vajrasattva, 7 branch prayer (from Avatamsaka Sutra, originally), Guru Yoga, are specific to earlier Karma Kagyu liturgy, much of which is based on various Indian sources. Same with the remaining parts--the Preliminary Torma, the Hand blessing, the torma offering, Front and Vase generations, and "dak Shuk," etc.

Kamtsang's Chakrasamvara sadhana is composed mainly by Mikyo Dorje, but is based on DuSumKhyenpa's tradition of the "Five Mandalas of Five," as well as earlier Indian sources from which these are drawn, as well. There's quite a bit of Sanskrit included, in the praises and offerings, especially.

In addition to these, there are appended liturgical and visualization manuals that are added in, at various places, and that either replace parts of the texts, or supplement them, depending on what practice one is doing.

It is said that the longer sadhanas are for beginners, while the shorter ones are for experts. The longer sadhanas spell out, explicitly, many different visualizations and ritual functions. Short, pithy sadhanas presuppose one is familiar with all the complex visualization stages, etc., already.

Kongtrul wrote most of the empowerment manuals, as well as the actual sadhanas, for the practices in the Rinchen Terdzo, as well as the Kagyu Ngakdzo, and much of the Dam Ngak Dzo, in addition to his own "writings" in his collection Gya Chen Ka Dzo. Often, he was just fleshing out, or completing, work that had been started or outlined by someone before him. But some of his writings were based on his own experience and the requests of others--Milarepa LaDrup is a good example of this.
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Re: What sadhana did Marpa and Milarepa really practice?

Postby Karma Jinpa » Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:02 am

This thread is nothing short of epic. Thank you all for the Q&A. It has been most illuminating!

:good: :good: :good:
"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, it happens that a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme

དྲིན་ཆེན་རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་རཱ་ག་ཨ་སྱ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།
ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།


:namaste:
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Re: What sadhana did Marpa and Milarepa really practice?

Postby invisiblediamond » Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:13 am

Kelwin wrote:Do we know if any of these terse / concise sadhanas still exist? Are maybe even still being practiced in their more original form?

Yeah but only in retreat. Or in secret. They show the image or give brief description and you run with that.
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Re: What sadhana did Marpa and Milarepa really practice?

Postby Glyn » Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:50 am

One needs all three aspects, ideally from the same Lama, or at least from Lamas authorised/recommended by the one who gave us the wang. But that is also no guarantee as it's possible to pick up all sorts of wangs these days from travelling Lamas and they are given quite freely. The best thing"do is to stick with what one is given by ones main Lama rather than cutting corners simply to "do practice" X motivated by some form of spiritual materialism.
"It's not ok to practice Dharma sometimes, just when you feel like it. You have to practice all the time" - Lama Rigzin Rinpoche.
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Re: What sadhana did Marpa and Milarepa really practice?

Postby Kelwin » Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:33 pm

Glyn wrote:One needs all three aspects, ideally from the same Lama, or at least from Lamas authorised/recommended by the one who gave us the wang. But that is also no guarantee as it's possible to pick up all sorts of wangs these days from travelling Lamas and they are given quite freely. The best thing"do is to stick with what one is given by ones main Lama rather than cutting corners simply to "do practice" X motivated by some form of spiritual materialism.

Excellent advice Glyn! Not sure at who it is directed, but it would certainly be senseless to indulge in these practices without proper Wang, Lung, Tri, and personal guidance of a lama.
invisiblediamond wrote:
Kelwin wrote:Do we know if any of these terse / concise sadhanas still exist? Are maybe even still being practiced in their more original form?

Yeah but only in retreat. Or in secret. They show the image or give brief description and you run with that.

Ok I see, that would make sense. Can I ask you how you know this? Although obviously the answer could be that it's secret :smile:

conebeckham wrote:Actually, Kongtrul kept many sadhanas terse, when compared to some others. I think he was influenced by the terma tradition in that regard.

Vajrayogini sadhana is "composed" by Karmapa Tongwa Donden, mainly....the praises and offerings go back to original sadhanas from India. The "self generation" is Marpa's oral tradition, or so it is said. The "preliminaries" of the refuge, Vajrasattva, 7 branch prayer (from Avatamsaka Sutra, originally), Guru Yoga, are specific to earlier Karma Kagyu liturgy, much of which is based on various Indian sources. Same with the remaining parts--the Preliminary Torma, the Hand blessing, the torma offering, Front and Vase generations, and "dak Shuk," etc.

Kamtsang's Chakrasamvara sadhana is composed mainly by Mikyo Dorje, but is based on DuSumKhyenpa's tradition of the "Five Mandalas of Five," as well as earlier Indian sources from which these are drawn, as well. There's quite a bit of Sanskrit included, in the praises and offerings, especially.

In addition to these, there are appended liturgical and visualization manuals that are added in, at various places, and that either replace parts of the texts, or supplement them, depending on what practice one is doing.

It is said that the longer sadhanas are for beginners, while the shorter ones are for experts. The longer sadhanas spell out, explicitly, many different visualizations and ritual functions. Short, pithy sadhanas presuppose one is familiar with all the complex visualization stages, etc., already.

Kongtrul wrote most of the empowerment manuals, as well as the actual sadhanas, for the practices in the Rinchen Terdzo, as well as the Kagyu Ngakdzo, and much of the Dam Ngak Dzo, in addition to his own "writings" in his collection Gya Chen Ka Dzo. Often, he was just fleshing out, or completing, work that had been started or outlined by someone before him. But some of his writings were based on his own experience and the requests of others--Milarepa LaDrup is a good example of this.

Thanks again Cone, that's really all I could ever publicly ask for
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