The Life of Milarepa
(Book Quiz Study Guide)


Please read the introduction and entire book by Friday September 7. You will be given approximately 20 minutes to complete the quiz which will be followed by discussion.

ESSAY (70 points): the following are three questions that you should keep in your mind as you read the book. I will choose one of the following to put on the book quiz (and we will discuss the others).

  1. Like many stories about religious saints, Milarepa's success is never in question. Rather the account emphasizes the path he took to achieve his success. Selecting several key moments from Milarepa's life, examine what aspects make The Life of Milarepa such a potent story. As part of your answer highlight how it reveals fundamental characteristics about Tibetan life, culture and history.


  1. There can be little question that at its base, The Life of Milarepa  is a religious text, yet the story also encodes the cultural values of Tibetan civilization by inculcating the notions of a stratified religious order, a patriarchy, and the extended family structure.  Select several specific events/scenes which you feel typify Tibetan society, and describe why you feel they are central to Tibetan society. 


  1. As Lobsang P. Lhalungpa indicates in the introduction to The Life of Milarepa "the fulfillment of a seeker's higher aspirations is not so much dependent on accumulating knowledge as on overcoming mental obstacles and gaining insight into the truth in oneself" (xiii).  In what ways does Milarepa's lessons under Marpa reflect this?


ID Terms (30 points: 10 terms - 3 pts each): In addition, you should be able to identify the main characters, places, and other significant terms listed in the glossary for the matching ID section on the quiz.


According to a blessing Milarepa uttered towards the end of his life, anyone who but hears the name Milarepa even once attracts an instant blessing and will not take rebirth in a lower state of existence during seven consecutive lifetimes.