Dharmapala Thangka CentreSchool of Thangka Painting

10.1 Milarepa

Scenes from his Life

Full  View Detail 1: Milarepa Detail 2: Tilopa with a golden fish Detail 3: Darkblue Vajradhara below Marpa Detail 4: Naropa Detail 5: Rechungpa Detail 6: Gampopa Detail 7: Tseringma on a snow lion with her four sisters Detail 8 Nyangsta Kargyen gives birth to her son, the late Milarepa Detail 9 A messenger was send to inform the father Detail 10: The messenger tells the father of the birth Detail 11: The father returns home Detail 12: The mother shows the returning husband their common son. The father gives him the name Thöpaga

Milarepa together with his direct predecessors and successors of his lineageas well as scenes of his birth

Milarepa, the "cotton-clad" yogi saint of Tibet, is shown here in his Pure Land of the Himayan mountains, the location of his many ascetic abodes. Milarepa is considered by the whole Tibetan populace to be the first ordinary Tibetan to become a perfect Buddha in the Great Adept pattern. Through Milarepa's suffering, effort, and eventual triumph, the Tibetan landscape itself became his Pure Land, within which his beloved Tibetans could begin to find their own way to Buddhahood.

Snow-covered peaks and blue-green rocky cliffs with tumbling waterfalls rise behind Milarepa as he sits at ease on a splendidly colourful lotus with his white robe loosely draped around him. Surrounding him are the main personages and deities of his life experience. On the central axis, above his head, which is beautifully framed by a lilac-coloured halo, is the seated figure of Marpa, his teacher.

Above Marpa is the dark blue Vajradhara, the supremely eminent Buddha, Tilopa, with the golden fish. and Naropa, with the skull bowl, the two Indian Great Adepts special to the lineage of Marpa and Milarepa, are to the left and right respectively, amid the profusion of clear-cut clouds. These figures are the spiritual lineage of the Kagyupa school; as Milarepa has said: "Great Dorje Chang is my origin, Wise and good Tilo my ancestor, Great Pandit Naro my Grandfather, Marpa the Translator my honoured father, I myself am Milarepa" [Shmid, 1952, p. 15].

On Milarepa's right is Rechungpa and to his left Gampopa, his two main, "moon and sun," disciples respectively. Below his lotus pedestal, which rests on a rocky plateau spread with offerings, are the five fierce flesh-eating Dakinis [Tseringma and her sisters], who threatened Milarepa with demonic visions during his meditation, but whom he conquered in the famous episode at Medicine Valley. Tseringma, chief of the sisters, rides an orange and white snow lion. Two dark blue and green snowlions lounge beside the group. In the lower left corner the birth of Milarepa is depicted. A messenger is shown going to get the father at the market place, who returns home to give his son the name Töpaga.

This painting is the first in a series of nineteen tangkas on the life of Milarepa. The paintings of this series come from Ihe later period of Tibetan painting, which highly idealises the colours and figures yet effectively utilises a more three-dimensional landscape setting. The shadowless figures seem to exist in a very pure world, one that irrevocably draws the viewer into its lovely environment and intriguing scenes. The perfection of the style in this set of Thangkas makes it one of the most important examples of later Tibetan painting; and its completeness makes it an especially cherished series on Milarepa.

Detailed content of the painting

Measurements: 23.6 x 36.2" | 60 x 92 cm
Price: on request
Shipment: Parcel Service from Germany or Nepal
Color: Color Version
Material: Natural Stone Colors