Song of Spiritual Gain ~ Milarepa

I prostrate myself at the feet of Marpa the Translator.
Disciples gathered in this place,
Listen to this song of final instruction.
By the compassion of Marpa of the Southern Cliffs,
The aged hermit Milarepa
Has accomplished the whole of his task.

All of you, disciples and monks,
If you heed my words,
You will accomplish in this life
A great task for yourselves and others,
And so achieve the intentions of past Buddhas and myself.
All other actions
Go against the needs of oneself and others,
And fail to satisfy my wish.

Without the guidance of a lama who has lineage
What benefit is there in seeking initiation?
Without the inner consciousness of the Dharma
What is the use of memorizing the Tantras?
What is the use of meditating according to instructions
If you do not renounce worldly aims?

What good are ceremonies
Without attuning your body, speech, and mind to the Dharma.

What good is meditating on patience
If you will not tolerate insult?
What use are sacrifices
If you do not overcome attachment and revulsion?
What good is giving alms
If you do not root out selfishness?
What good is governing a great monastery
If you do not regard all beings as your beloved parents?

What use is there in building stupas
If faith does not grow in your mind?
What use is there in molding figurines
If one cannot meditate in the four divisions of the day?

What good is it to commemorate my death
If you do not invoke me with deep veneration?
What good is it to lament my death
If you do not heed my instructions?
What good is it to view my dead body
Without venerating me when alive?

Without disgust for samsara and the urge for liberation
What good is the virtue of renunciation?
Without learning to love others more than oneself
What good are sweet words of pity?
Without uprooting delusion and desire
What profit in serving the lama?
What good are great numbers of disciples
If they do not listen to my words?

Give up all useless action,
It can only bring you harm.
A hermit who has fulfilled his goal,
I no longer need to strive.


from the book The Life of Milarepa

translated by Lobsang P. Lhalungpa

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