Review: “The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa”

We review “The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa: A New Translation” by Tsangnyön Heruka, translated by Christopher Stagg.

Andrea Miller
26 December 2017

The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa

A New Translation

By Tsangnyön Heruka,
translated by Christopher Stagg
Shambhala Publications, 2017; 840 pp. $39.95 (paper)

Milarepa (1051–1135) is one of the most celebrated figures in Tibetan culture. A perpetrator of crimes and black magic, he turned to the dharma and, through unwavering devotion to his guru and practice, managed to achieve enlightenment in a single lifetime. After his awakening, Milarepa taught the dharma through spontaneously composed songs, which were collected by his students as he neared death. About 350 years later, a wandering Tibetan yogi, Tsangnyön Heruka, penned The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa. This text, which integrates Milarepa’s songs with his biography, became both a literary and spiritual classic. Christopher Stagg’s new translation reflects the liveliness of the original Tibetan.

Andrea Miller

Andrea Miller

Andrea Miller is the editor of Lion’s Roar magazine. She’s the author of Awakening My Heart: Essays, Articles, and Interviews on the Buddhist Life, as well as the picture book The Day the Buddha Woke Up.