In this excerpt, Milarepa is visited by eight goddesses who arrive in the form of pigeons to hide themselves “from people with negativity.” The goddesses perform magic that reveals their bodily forms, and request that Milarepa come to the divine world to teach them the dharma. Milarepa explains the fleeting pleasures of both the divine and material worlds, states his dedication to the realm of humans, and warns that trusting the dharma through suffering and confusion will be difficult. The goddesses offer Milarepa white rice, “the food of meditative concentration and siddhi,” and he offers instructions to remedy the state of samsara through mindfulness.

Chapter Eight: The Offering of the Pigeon Goddess Girl (pp. 87-92)


“The Jetsun Milarepa left Yolmo and journeyed to Tibet according to prophecy. In a cave in Kutang, while alone like a rhinoceros, residing in a state of luminosity, there came a pigeon wearing a dangling gold earring. As though prostrating, the pigeon bowed her body and nodded her head as she circumambulated Milarepa many times. Then she flew in the direction of Immaculate Rock. Knowing that this was the invitation of a spirit, the Jetsun went over to her. There sat a pile of white rice, which the pigeon began offering to him with her beak. As before, she prostrated and circumambulated, and then flew away. The Jetsun, with great joy and amazement, sang this song of realization:

Bhtanese Painted Thanka of Milarepa

Marpa of Lhodrak, who has been so kind,  

By remembering you from my heart, I meditate with you there.  

Again and again I supplicate you to never be separate from me.  

Mixing one’s mind with the guru’s is so blissful.  


A la la! The nature of appearances  

Is pointed out as birthless dharmakaya,  

And they merge, uncontrived, with the state of dharmakaya.  

I’m not concerned whether some views are high and others low.  

This uncontrived mind is so blissful indeed!


This nature of mind is luminosity-emptiness.  

That luminosity-emptiness is pointed out as awareness  

And they merge in the uncontrived, innate state.

I’m not concerned over good or bad meditation.  

This uncontrived mind is so blissful indeed!  


The sixfold collection clear right in its own place.

Is pointed out as nondual, free of perceiver and perceived,  

And both pleasure and pain are merged into one.  

With this body, uncontrived, in its primordial state,  

I’m not concerned over right or wrong conduct.  

This uncontrived mind is so blissful indeed!  


The fruition is the nature of dharmakaya.  

The variety is pointed out as nirmanakaya.  

Everything, when encountered, is merged with the state of liberation,  

But I have no hope of any fruition.  

This uncontrived mind is so blissful indeed!  

Indian Pigeons and Doves

When Milarepa had sung this, the pigeon returned, this time with seven companions. Just as before, they prostrated and circumambulated the Jetsun. He thought, “These are most certainly spirits. I will have to see if they speak honestly or not.”

“Who are you all, and why have you come here?” he asked them. The devis performed magic revealing their own bodily forms. The leader of them, who had come previously, said, “We are all devis who have faith in you and have come to request the dharma. Please teach us.”

In response to this request, the Jetsun sang this song of realization:  

Lord, emanated guru who is so wondrous

With no small compassion, please grant your blessing.  


You whose miraculous conduct is in accord with the dharma,  

Who appeared before in a pigeon’s form,  

You eight wondrously beautiful devis,

If you wish to practice the sublime pure dharma,  

Please keep the meaning of this song within your minds.  


Generally, the mundane comfort in the world,  

Though it seems very pleasant, quickly departs.


In particular, the view of you noble ladies,  

Though it seems high, there’s nothing stable about that.  


The householder’s way with its suffering of samsara,  

Though it seems very good, there is much pain involved.  


Excellent children of noble bloodlines,

If they’ve no resourcefulness themselves, they’ll have much  



Students who have an excellent guru,

If their conduct is poor, then to samsara they fall.  


You emanated pigeon goddesses,  

Though you request the dharma, really trusting it is hard.


If you must practice the genuine dharma,  

You must see as faulty beyond any doubt  

The good qualities of this mundane world.  

Understand adverse conditions that arise in this life  

To be the companion to enlightenment.  

For this man, adverse conditions are incredibly kind;  

You should also understand it this way!  

Thus he sang. Then the devis, smiling, all said, “Yes, we will do so!” and they prostrated and circumambulated him.

The Jetsun asked, “Why is it that you appeared before as pigeons?”  

They replied, “You have no attachment at all to this life or your own benefit. In order to accomplish enlightenment for the benefit of others, you have abandoned distractions and remain alone, engaged in meditative concentration without interruption. Seeing this with our own divine eye, with faith, we came to request the dharma. We appeared in this way to hide ourselves from people with negativity. Now, please come to our divine realm and teach the dharma.”

The Jetsun then said, “For the entirety of this life, I will remain in the realm of humans to benefit beings. Since the divine realms are also without any essence, there is no need for them. Even if I were to go there, I would have nothing different to say than this. You all should practice in this way.”

Then he sang this song of realization:

I bow at the feet of Marpa from Lhodrak.

Father guru, with your blessing, please grant me siddhi.  


You eight beautiful female goddesses:  

This white rice, the food of meditative concentration and siddhi,  

Has revived my body, and my practice will flourish.  

I’ll repay this kindness with the dharma.  

Listen attentively and keep it in your minds.  


The white and radiant celestial royal seat,  

Though you’ve managed to get to it, is without any essence.  

The youthfulness and beauty of you devis,  

Though it’s a pleasant appearance, will quickly go.  

This illusory deception, a magical display,  

Though the enjoyment is great, is a cause for downfall.


The sufferings of the six beings of samsara,  

When one ponders them, are deeply disheartening.  

Should you wish to practice dharma for their sake,  

Then supplicate the three precious jewels;  

Meditate on the six beings as your own parents;  

Make offerings to the guru lord;  

Give generously to the impoverished;  

Dedicate your virtue for the six beings’ benefit;  

Always meditate on the uncertainty of the time of death;  

With one’s body as the yidam deity,  

Utter the profound speech of mantra;  

Meditate on self-aware emptiness wisdom;  

And continuously place your own mind as your witness.

Then they said, “We are ignorant sentient beings with afflictions firmly entrenched within our minds. Please teach us a method on which to rely for remedying this state with mindfulness.”

Then he sang this song of realization in reply:

I bow at the feet of Marpa who is so kind.

Grant your blessing that remedies arise well in my mind-stream.


You devis who are endowed with faith,

If you want to practice in a continual way:


Inside, meditate with the concentration of shamatha;  

To abandon activity is one great ornament.


Outside, stably take hold of the antidote;

To relax body and speech is one great ornament.


Continuously take the seat of mindfulness;  

To have few affairs is one great ornament.


When adverse conditions give the mind difficulty,  

Be on the lookout for the arising of aggression.


When encountering money and things of desire,  

Be on the lookout for the arising of attachment.


When the weapons of harsh speech fall upon you,  

Be on the lookout for your ears’ delusion.


When accompanying friends that are equal to yourself,  

Be on the lookout for the arising of jealousy.


When praise and honor come your way,  

Be on the lookout for the arising of pride.


At all times and in every way

Tame the evil demons within your mind-stream.


Should a hundred learned and righteous ones speak,  

ere would be no better advice than this.

Now practice with joy in meditation!

When Milarepa had sung that, the devis rejoiced with great delight. Then, again transforming into pigeons, they went off to the celestial realm.”