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Buddhadharma : Winter 2010
Scorned, Pitied, and triumPhant the Life of MiLarepa By tsangnyön heruka translated by andrew Quintman penguin Books, 2010 $16; 262 pages reviewed by ari Goldfield Andrew Quintman has produced a good new translation of The Life of Milarepa by the fifteenth-century Tibetan master Tsangnyön Heruka. Heruka based his biography on stories of Milarepa and his songs that had been collected over the cen- turies, including accounts by Milarepa’s students, particularly Ngendzong Tönpa. Clear and readable, Quintman’s transla- tion easily allows the events of Milarepa’s remarkable life to engross the reader. Quintman’s is the third English translation of this classic biography. It was first translated by Lama Kazi Dawa Samdup, a Sikkimese scholar, and published in 1928 by Oxford Univer- sity Press in a version titled Tibet’s Great Yogi Milarepa. It was compiled and edited by W.Y. Evans-Wentz, who, Quintman notes, could not read Tibetan. Half a century later, The Life of Milarepa—freshly translated from the Tibetan by Lobsang P. Lhalungpa—was published, and it became the modern stan- dard, until now. Milarepa was born in the mid-eleventh century in the region of Gung-tang in southern Tibet, near the Nepalese border. Quintman reports that various scholars give slightly different dates for Milarepa’s birth, though their range is all within the twenty-five-year period of 1028–1053. “Mila” was his family’s surname, deriving from the expression “Mila! Ari Goldfield is a Buddhist teacher and translator who studied under Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso rinpoche for many years. He translated Khenpo Tsültrim’s books Stars of Wisdom and The Sun of Wisdom, and is a contributing author to Freeing the Body, Freeing the Mind. Reviews Even in the best of times, no one could describe the life of ordinary Tibetans on their high mountain plateau as easy. But whatever hardships Tibetans have faced, the famous story of one man among them has for a thousand years provided his people with a source of deep solace and great inspiration. This man is known as the Lord of Yogis, Milarepa, and his story is one of intense and varied sufferings, unwavering commitment to dharma practice, and ultimate, supreme triumph. 73 winter 2 01 0 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly