མི་མནོ། – Don’t remember.
མི་བསམ། – Don’t think.
མི་ཤེས། – Don’t understand.
མི་དཔྱོད། – Don’t act.
མི་སྒོམ། – Don’t meditate.
རང་སར་བཞག།   Remain restful.
—Tilopa’s Six Words of Advice [i]

“Like space gazing at space, both the ‘gazer’ and the ‘gazed at’, are naturally dissolved in purity.”-‘Wisdom Ḍākinī’s Oral Instructions on the Bardo to Tilopa 

“With these two pith instructions, Tilopa attained a degree of realization and the dakini said, “Now throw out your bhikshu ordination and go about acting like a madman, practicing in secret so that nobody knows what you are doing,” and then she vanished into the sky.” – Instructions from dakini, Karpo Zangmo to Tilopa

“Because of the obscurations and negative accumulations of sentient beings they are not able to perceive the form of Chakrasamvara directly. So Chakrasamvara emanates as an impure being, an ordinary manifestation being born among humans so he is visible to human beings who need to be caught about how co gain liberation. Without any doubt Tilopa was an emanation of Chakrasamvara.” —Thrangu Rinpoche (2019)

Here is a page for new translations and research on Indian Mahasiddha and Kagyu forefather, Tilopa (Talika or Tilopadā; 988–1069) who was originally an Indian Buddhist monk but is considered to have been an emanation of Buddha and Chakrasamvara. He was told to leave the monastery and become a tantric practitioner by a dakini teacher, Karpo Zangmo. During the night, he worked as a servant for a low-caste, poor prostitute for twelve years after being told to do so to reduce his pride. During the day, he ground sesame seeds to make a living. Mahasiddha Naropa is one of his main students. For more on his life-story and female teachers and companions, see below.

Tilopa statue said to be by the 10th Karmapa, Choying Dorje
Research and Translations

GRINDING SESAME SEEDS TO EXTRACT THE ESSENCE: THE SACRED SPACE OF CHAKRASAMVARA, MAHASIDDHA TILOPA. New translation of Tilopa and Dharima’s ‘Vajra Song on Sesame Oil’, his cave in India and wooden sesame-seed grinder.

DISCOVERING HIDDEN TREASURES: THE RARE GEMS OF LIVING TIBETAN BUDDHIST FULLY ORDAINED NUNS. A Pilgrimage and Field Study of Two Nunneries in Himachal Pradesh and fully ordained nuns within the Tibetan tradition (Tilogpur Nunnery]


Mahāsiddha Tilopa: Catalogue of Biographies and ‘Ḍākinī’s Instruction to Tilopa on the Bardo

NEW TRANSLATION: Tilopa’s Gangama Māhamudrā Instructions

Further Reading
  • Thrangu Rinpoche (2019). Tilopa’s Wisdom: His Life and Teaching on the Ganges Mahamudra, Snow Lion Publications.
  • Lodro Marpa; Tr. Fabrizio Torricelli and Acharya Sangye T. Naga (1995). The Life of the Mahāsiddha TilopaLibrary of Tibetan Works and Archives.
  • Torricelli Fabrizio (1998), A Thirteenth Century Tibetan Hymn to the Siddha Tilopa, The Tibet Journal, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 3-17, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives.
  • 12th Khentin Tai Situpa (1988) Tilopa, Some Glimpses Of His Life, Dzalendra Publishing.