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Milarepa: Inspiration From the Lineage Retreat

a series of talks by Saddhanandi

A series of six informal talks by Saddhanandi exploring themes from one of Milarepa’s Songs: The Song of Self-Examination, found in the Chapter’ Meeting Rechunga’ one of Milarepa’s female disciples. The song offers an uncompromising criterion for the spiritual life: endurance of hardships, renunciation of ‘nature lands’ property, friends and lovers; and a willingness to follow the instructions of a Guru. Saddhanandi discusses the themes using extracts from Sangharakshita’s seminars on other Songs of Milarepa.

Talk One: Life of Milarepa An introduction to Milarepa and the opening talk to a week-long retreat at Taraloka in 2022 based around Milarepa’s teachings. Also highlights the significance of Milarepa within the history of Triratna and Bhante’s engagement with his own disciples.

Talk Two: Motivation, Faith, Guru, Disciple An introduction to the song of Milarepa: ‘The Song of Self-Examination’ on which the retreat is based. The talk unpacks the first couple of verses looking at Milarepa’s faith towards Marpa and the nature of discipleship.

Talk Three: Milarepa and Going Forth Exploring the next verse of the Milarepa Song, looking at the need to ‘go forth’ – to step away from conditions that don’t support our spiritual aspirations, and to set up a lifestyle that is supportive.

Talk Four: Renunciation and Aloneness Exploring themes from the next verse in Milarepa’s song: attachment in its various forms. Also, the need to move towards the positive whilst practicing non-attachment. The talk then explores the loneliness inherent in conditioned existence – what Bhante calls ‘existential aloneness’.

Talk Five: Worldly Winds, Personal Precepts and Reaction Practice This talk explores the effect of the Worldly Winds in our lives, and the need to know what are susceptible to. Then the need for personal instructions in the area of Dharma Practice and where we might get that input from: reflection, a Kalyana Mitra, Reaction Practice.

Talk Six: Milarepa’s Understanding and Perspective The last verse of the Milarepa song – the themes of the transiency and precariousness of life, and then Bhante’s seminar exploration of Milarepa’s perspective on the nature of change, and of the ‘building of self’, and the importance to know the Dharma for ourselves and not just through