The Noble Quest: Milarepa 2024
Meaning is not a thing that you can grasp by looking in a dictionary. Meaning must be meaning for you,
something that you personally experience.
Our quest for meaning is therefore our quest for ourselves, our quest for totality, the wholeness of our own being.
A noble quest is a quest for meaning and freedom. Milarepa, the celebrated Tibetan yogi of the eleventh century, gives us teachings that offer some indication of where ‘meaning and freedom’ is to be found. His teachings, characterized by a direct and spontaneous wisdom, are a bold and uncompromising communication of a life of beauty and liberation. A life based on ethics and the seeing-through of worldly ambitions.
In his commentary on Milarepa’s Songs, Sangharakshita describes how the noble quest is often obscured within the activity of our life: an everyday life where each one of us is ‘enmeshed in a constant succession of petty likes and dislikes which make up a kind of network of reactivity’. He tells us that within this reactivity something else is revealed, a ‘gestalt’ – an overarching pattern, an overarching quest – that is embedded in the decisions and choices of our life and that reveal to us our deepest values.
So, we’ll use this retreat to hear the stories and songs of Milarepa, and then, through presentations and discussion, we’ll explore their relevance and importance to our lives. Later in the retreat, during a day of silence, we will take time to reflect on our lives and the hidden pattern of meaning and freedom and deepest values.
Our meditation will focus on the quality of equanimity, the insight aspect of the Brahma Viharas and the basis of both wisdom and compassion. Through this quality of equanimity there is a level of freedom that goes beyond the ‘succession of petty likes and dislikes’. In this way, our lives and the noble quest are no longer separate: we have found a ‘totality’ that is expressed very naturally as a dedication to awakening!