I ran into this quote online:
“Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön… describes how Milarepa reacted when he came home to find his cave filled with demons.
First Milarepa tried reasoning with the demons. But they ignored him. Then he became angry and attacked them. They laughed at him. So he sat down on the floor of his cave and surrendered to them. They all left. Demons only leave when you let go of your resistance.”
This does not mean we give ourselves personally to them. I means surrendering our resistance within, allowing them to be as they are.
To explain, we can use the model of the 3 gunas. The 3 gunas are the fundamental qualities of nature. Their interplay is what gives rise to the qualities of all the forms and phenomena we experience.
If we approach tamasic and rajasic demons with the same energy, we basically feed them. We amplify those qualities of inertia and fire.
If instead we come to them with clarity, sattva, they are repelled. I can add demons are not big fans of pure love either.
I’ve spoken of this prior in how we relate to others. If we put up resistance to someone’s energy, we reflect it back, amplifying it. If instead we allow it to be, it flows on through and dissipates. We defuse conflict. (not a skill most people know)
For background, Milarepa was a famous Yogi in Tibet from the 11th century. In a family feud, his mother urged him to study sorcery and use black magic to bring revenge. He then regretted doing evil and sought a dharma lama. Before teaching him, the lama had him build and demolish a succession of towers. The last one still stands.
Only then was he taught. After obtaining complete enlightenment, he lived in a now-famous cave (that the demons visited) and is said to have subsisted on nettle tea, leading his skin to have a green tint. There is also a statute of him made during his lifetime that was destroyed but rebuilt. The direct line of the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism survives.
He was famous for his writing, poetry and songs, but also for his legendary abilities.
He is said to have sung his instructions with a beautiful voice. There are many stories and his biography was recorded by a direct disciple. This included stories of flight, even sleeping in the air, being in 2 remote places at once, or transforming his body. He taught a number of demons, raising them to guardian angels and helped many people and other beings to enlightenment. Celestial phenomena were often observed around him. Just before death, he is said to have appeared to all his disciples simultaneously in many places.
If you think this odd, all of these abilities are described in the Yoga Sutra, including the formula for achieving them. It is only that most people are not grounded enough in samadhi and pure enough to get the full result. But history is full of stories of people from around the world who have done similar, even in western faiths. And I’ve seen many smaller examples myself.