Milarepa was a medicant monk and poet. He lived in the begining of the twelfth centruy. He spent his life wandering through Tibet performing miracles, converting the nomadic people to Buddhism and writing his 100000 songs. Milarepa has short, curly hair, and is dressed in monastic garments. He always hold hisright hand with the fingers extended and the palm turned outwards behind his right ear, as if he ws listening to the echoes of nature. His left hand holds a begging bowl.
The life story of Milarepa is one of the most recounted stories of Tibetan history and holy places related to him are scattered across the Tibetan landscape. His life is quite dramatic and connects with the common Tibetan in a special way, the topic being a person with a sinful past overcoming all obstacles and becoming highly realized. In the mid-eleventh century, Milarepa was born in the small Tibetan village of Kya Ngatsa to a wealthy family. At a young age Milarepa's father died and the family was betrayed by the aunt and uncle.
From a young age Milarepa was an extraordinary being with a predisposition directing him toward the dharma. However, the ill treatment of himself, his mother and sister turned his path towards revenge. At the age of fifteen, when he was supposed to inherit his father's fortune, Milarepa was sent out into the world to learn black magic. To save his family living in poverty and despair, Milarepa dedicated himself to the black arts. After going to two powerful lamas Milarepa caste a spell that killed thirty-five people in his uncle's household. He continued to work evil spells and gain great amounts of negative karma.
Finally, Milarepa became disgusted and remorseful of his past actions and sought out a lama. He was lead to the great scholar and translator Marpa and became his disciple. Marpa understood Milarepa's need to cleanse his sins before working towards enlightenment so directed him to extreme suffering. After many years of wretched ordeals and backbreaking labor Marpa began to teach him the dharma. The purified Milarepa became an extraordinary student, reaching liberation quickly.
After Marpa taught everything to the advanced student, Milarepa departed. He abandoned the worldly life and began a life of solitude and meditation. He traveled around the mountains of Tibet , singing enlightened songs to teach the common laity. He went to several mountain retreats, all of which are still famous today. By the time he died, Milarepa had many disciples and lay followers that sang his simple and direct songs of enlightenment.