Tibetan Opera “Life of Milarepa”


by Bella Chao

Finally had a chance to see this play written by HH 17th Karmapa. Due to the time constraint, what we saw was an abbreviated version of less than 3 hours vs. the 5-hour original. Also thanks to Ani J. who spotted this great seat for me though I was quite late to the venue after the dharma talk hosted by Robert Thurman.
Since it was all in Tibetan, the interpretation below is purely based on my guess work. So a big disclaimer here…
Probably because Tibetan opera was invented by Tangtong Gyalpo, so in the very beginning of the show, they paid respect to his statue and had some mask dance. 
110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 104110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 105
(Coincidentally I was chatting with this lady sitting next to me about the way they sing and promised to share with her some of my fav tunes. It turned out that one of the chant which reminded me of Gregorian chant and I thought she would enjoy is actually a prayer of Tangtong Gyalpo’s lineage on Combined Amitayus and Hayagriva:https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=12c681d04f03de08#cid=12C681D04F03DE08&id=12C681D04F03DE08%213924=>2nd file.
Also very surprising to find that this nice and humble lady is actually a Tony Award winner! )


So it started with Milarepa’s father was ill, about to die and asked his brother and sister to take care of his wife and 2 children. 
110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 116

Yet these aunt and uncle took over the whole property and mistreated Milarepa and his mother and sister.
110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 121110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 124110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 127

So Milarepa’s mother sent him away to learn black magic for revenge.   
110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 141110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 145

Upon Milarepa finishing his study, in accordance to his mother’s wish, he performed some sorcery to cause a hailstorm and had many people killed on the day of his cousin’s wedding. 
110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 157110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 158110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 162

Knowing his revenge was wrong, Milarepa set out to look for a real teacher for dharma and eventually found Marpa. In order to purify his past deeds, he was told to build towers here and there and suffered a lot. 
110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 172110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 173

Marpa’s wife Damema felt sorry for him and tried to help but still he ended up with more work. 
110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 185110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 196110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 191

Damema assisted him to join a teaching session but still he got kicked out by Marpa. Eventually Marpa thought it was the right time for him to receive the long-awaited teachings. 
110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 204110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 206110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 195110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 210

After completing his studies, he bid farewell to his master and Damema. 
110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 223110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 225

He first went home and sadly found that his mother passed away already. Then he gave up everything to remain a recluse practitioner. Even his aunt turned to follow him with great remorse. 
110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 229110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 236110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 248

And more and more disciples came. Eventually he became a great master and the most beloved, inspiring, legendary saint in the Tibetan Buddhist history. 
110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 269
Curtain Call 
110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 273110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 271 
Going home 
110712 HHDL DC and Milarepa 275

Comments

  1. I was very encouraged to find this site. I wanted to thank you for this special read. I definitely savored every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.
    Black magic for love

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