Dagmema came and asked him why he was crying, but Milarepa did not reply. She lifted up his chin and said: Don't cry; you will get the Dharma teaching. Milarepa finally told her his real feelings: You are kind to me as a mother. And in order to obtain the precious Dharma, I must build this house. Yet in building this house my body is becoming nothing but a huge wound. Until now I have worked as hard as I can carrying stones and earth, but it is extremely painful. Dagmema now looked at Milarepa's body which had been covered before, and seeing all his festering, open sores, she cried: You are right. I've never seen such wounds on a human being before. Your situation is even worse than an animal's. A horse only gets saddle sores on its back, but you have them all over your body. I don't understand why Marpa is making you go through all of this.
One day Marpa was giving the initiation of Chakrasamvara (Demchok). Many of his students had come and brought wonderful offerings. Milarepa also went and happily joined the crowd. But Marpa looked at him and said, What do you have to offer? Milarepa replied, Well, I've been building this house and that's my offering. Marpa admonished him: You're building this house but it's not finished. It's a finished house that you must offer. And he chased Milarepa away, but Milarepa did not leave immediately even though he'd been told to. He made his request again: Please, let me stay and receive this initiation. Marpa came up to him, cuffed him across the face and tossed him outside. Milarepa went sobbing to Dagmema, who comforted him, Don't worry. Slowly, with time, you will receive the Dharma. Sometime after this initiation, Marpa came to Milarepa. We had a little bit of a set-to the other day. Has your mind not turned against me for this? Milarepa replied, I have committed monstrous negative actions. They are the cause of the bad things that happen to me. My faith in the lama has not changed, not at all.
If Marpa had 1000 students who he gave such methods there would be 1000 stories of abuse. In our lifetime there have been Tibetan Buddhist Masters who have been very hard with their students. So we need to decide, are we going to disparage these great masters or are we going to allow these sometimes quite outrageous teacher-disciple relationships a place in our society. When is it abuse and when is it qualified practice of Buddhism?