Books & Literature

Literary masterpieces of 11th-century Buddhist poet explored

Agency | August 25, 2018 01:25 PM

Thimphu: The final day of the ninth edition of Bhutan's distinctive Mountain Echoes literary festival saw an insightful discussion on an 11th-century Tibetan mystic who had a harrowing past but later became an accomplished poet.

The final day started with the session "The Songs of Milarepa", which saw acclaimed author Andrew Quintman and eminent Bhutanese playback singer Chimi Wangmo in conversation with Deki Choden, founder of the Thimphu-based Early Learning Centre Primary School and Educating for Lifelong Citizenship High School.

They spoke about the life of the Buddhist poet and sage Milarepa considered one of Tibet's greatest mystics.

Jetsun Milarepa was a Tibetan mystic who was a murderer as a young man and then turned to Buddhism to atone for his act. He went on to become an accomplished poet.

The story of his dramatic and troubled life, his enlightenment, the songs and poems he composed continue to inspire generations of spiritually inclined people.

Quitman said Milarepa's songs and poems were "literary masterpieces" and remain relevant even today.

Chimi Wangmo sang a few verses from Milarepa's songs, transporting the audience to the time of the mystic saint.

The melodious performance received a standing ovation from everyone present, including the Royal Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck.

Talking about what drew her to singing religious songs, Chimi Wangmo said she "feels blessed" when she sings religious songs. She added that the songs and tales of Milarepa were even relevant to young people.

The three-day cultural extravaganza will culminate on Saturday evening.

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