SEVERAL years ago, I received a telephone call from a friend, the movie actor and UFO enthusiast-turned-environmentalist Roy Alvarez, who had an unexpected question. “Jimmy,” he asked, “who is Milarepa?”
I never expected anybody, much less a down-to-earth movie actor, to be interested in Milarepa.
In turn, I asked Roy, “Why do you want to know?”
He replied that he was talking with some friends when someone mentioned a mystic named Milarepa, and he said that if there was somebody who would know about him, it was me.
I told him I don’t know much about Milarepa, except that he was the greatest or most famous Tibetan mystic, yogi and poet who lived around the 11th century.
I also read that after he died he was alive again three days later, just like Jesus Christ. But I didn’t know how true that story was.
Our conversation ended there, and Roy thanked me for the information.
At that time, one could hardly find any information about Tibetan Buddhism and its famous religious lamas with extraordinary powers. Now, with the internet and social media, we have information on just about any topic under the sun.
A brief research revealed some little-known but interesting facts about Milarepa and Tibetan Buddhism practices.
I learned, for example about the phenomenon of the “Rainbow Body,” in which the dead bodies of spiritually developed or enlightened individuals reportedly vanish within days of their death and are later seen by their disciples, again just like Jesus Christ, as written in the Christian Bible.
And so it seems that Jesus’ death and resurrection is not unique after all, as claimed by conservative Christians. Other highly spiritual persons of ancient cultures have performed the same “miracle.”
Fr. Francis Tiso, an Italian Catholic priest, stated that after Milarepa died, his body completely disappeared, and added that even the earliest biographies of Milarepa attest to this story.
Fr. Tiso has a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard and a Doctorate from Columbia University and the Union Theological Seminary. He also has a degree in Oriental Languages and Cultures from the Oriental University in Naples. His book “The Rainbow Body and Resurrection,” raises the intriguing question of “whether there is a connection between the ‘Rainbow Body’ phenomenon of Tibetan Buddhism and the Resurrection of Jesus.”
Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Catholic Benedictine monk, investigated and verified the most recent case of the “Rainbow Body” phenomenon in person. The story appeared in the March-May 2002 journal of the Institute of Noetic Science, founded by the American Astronaut, Edgar Mitchell.
According to the article written by Gail Holand, Lama Khenpo A-chos died in 1988, but he wasn’t sick. “He was reciting the mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum” over and over. After his breath stopped, his flesh became pinkish. One person said it became brilliant white and all said it started to shine.
“His body was wrapped in a yellow robe. As days passed, they could see through the robe that his bones and body were shrinking. They also heard beautiful music coming from the sky, and they smelled perfume.
“After seven days they removed the yellow cloth, and no body remained. La Norta and a few other individuals claimed that after his death Khenpo A-chos appeared to them in visions and dreams.”
The possibility of highly spiritual and enlightened individuals dying and resurrecting, other than Jesus Christ, is not really surprising. Didn’t Jesus himself say in John 14:12: “All the works I have done you can do, and much more than these”?
Here are some words of wisdom from Milarepa which are worth contemplating:
1) All worldly pursuits have but one unavoidable end, which is sorrow.”
2) “Everything in the universe with name is basically illusory in nature.”
3) “When you run after your thoughts, you are like a dog chasing a stick: every time a stick is thrown, you run after it. Instead, be like a lion who, rather than chasing after the stick, turns to face the thrower. One only throws a stick at a lion once.”
4) “Act so that you have no cause to be ashamed of yourselves and hold fast to this rule.”
5) “Accustomed long to contemplating love and compassion, I have forgotten all difference between myself and others.”
6) “In the gap between thoughts, non-conceptual wisdom shines continuously.”
7) “In tormenting others, you are only tormenting yourself.”
The next Inner Mind Development seminar is on Oct. 8-9, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The Soulmates, Karma and Reincarnation seminar is on Oct. 15, 1-7 p.m. Call 8107245 or 0998-9886292; e-mail: [email protected]