Milarepa: Practicing the Dharma alone makes Buddhas

Milarepa replied, "That you see me as an incarnation of a bodhisattva or as a buddha in person is, from one standpoint, quite good. It shows that you have pure perception, devotion and faith in me, and that you appreciate the qualities of a master. But, on the other hand, maybe this is actually bad. To possess this kind of appreciation is perhaps even a wrong view. This means you believe that enlightenment was not reached due to the power and blessings of the extraordinary teachings and the practice of realizing them, but because I was already enlightened long ago, being an emanation of a former buddha or bodhisattva. This is a completely misguided attitude. It means the teachings have no power and that practicing them has no effect. That is a wrong view.

I am definitely not an incarnation of a buddha or bodhisattva. I am an ordinary person. Among ordinary people, I am one of the lowest. When I was young, I learned black magic and used it against others. By bringing down hailstorms, destroying my enemies and so forth I accumulated immense negative karma and obscurations. I was a great sinner, and yet due to some remarkable fortune I was able to meet a truly qualified master. I was able to receive the authentic teachings and apply them very earnestly through the extraordinary means of practice. Through that practice, and the power and strength of the Dharma, my negative karma, obscurations and disturbing emotions were totally purified. It is because of this purification that I was able to reach the state of complete enlightenment, the unified state of a vajra-holder, within a single lifetime, without having to hope for some fruition in a later rebirth. It is truly and solely due to the power of the oral instructions of Mahamudra and their practice, not because of my being an emanation of a buddha or a bodhisattva."

(From: King of Samadhi, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche)