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祖师大德故事

Sacrificed Clothes to Save Lives
作者:柯日密咒洲    发布时间:2011/6/12      点击率:12009

——The Story of Phurba Tashi Rinpoche’s Previous Life-Namgyal Rinpoche

  Rinpoche’s previous life was a renowned Terton in Litang, named Namgyal Rinpoche. Although born in a local noble family, Namgyal Rinpoche showed no aspiration for wealthy worldly life in his childhood due to inherence of profound merits and willingness from his previous lives. He became ordained when he was a young child. As a recognized Tulku (reincarnation), he did not like to wander around in the temporal world for physical benefits and had no interest in managing the temples or conducting construction works. Instead, He devoted most of his time to meditation and retreat in quiet forests.

  A local nobleman was very confident in Namgyal Rinpoche. He went to Rinpoche’s retreat to invite Rinpoche to enjoy his offering at his home for many times. When Namgyal Rinpoche saw the correct karma, he accepted the invitation. To welcome Rinpoche, the noble man had ablution for several days and had his courtyard entirely cleaned, scent burnt and flowers offered in the rooms to make his place magnificent. On the very day that Namgyal Rinpoche was to come, he prepared a banquet and then rode to welcome Rinpoche by himself.

  At that time, Namgyal Rinpoche was practicing meditation in a cave in the Kure Mountain. His eyes looked into the empty space and just stayed in a state of superior experience. That was a pleasant and quiet place for meditation. Wild flowers were flourishing in tussocks. Birds were flying in the bush and singing happily with accompaniment of the chatter of creeks nearby. Everything was emerging and disappearing without any trace like the cloud in the sky and the swan’s shadow on the surface of lake. What a tranquil and pleasant garden in Shangri-La! 

  The nobleman stopped outside the cave and waited there with cap in hand. Not too long Rinpoche stepped out in a tattered cassock. He held a mala in his left hand and smiled confidently. The sunshine coming from behind outlined his sacred body with a circle of aurora. He commanded all the respect and awe of a sage. The nobleman could not hold his tears as soon as he saw Rinpoche standing in front of him.

  He offered a gorgeous and very expensive cassock and a pair of luxuriant boots decorated with gem stones to Rinpoche when they arrived at his home. Rinpoche accepted his offerings happily.

  Several days later, Rinpoche went out in that new cassock and boots. Hours later when he came back, his companions were astonished to see him only wearing a short inner skirt and coming back on bare feet. The beautiful robe and boots were all gone. They wondered that perhaps Rinpoche was robbed but who on earth had dared to do that?

  On enquiry Rinpoche told them the whole story. On his way back he saw a yak tied up by some men and one of them was grinding his knife. The yak was old and weak. Perhaps its owner thought it was already useless and wasting food. So the owner decided to kill it. The yak seemed to know what was happening. Tears overflew from its sad eyes. The pupils had lost gloss due to fear and senility. The yak mourned and whined as if confiding all the labor it had done for the owner and begging him to change his mind immediately. But unfortunately the owner did not notice it at all. Instead, he was pretty satisfied with the sharpness of his blade, which was shining the chilling of mercilessness.

  As the owner commanded his help hands, the yak started to scream and twist its body with its last strength trying to break the ropes. However, the ropes just tied even tighter and caused more pain to the yak. Desperate for survival, the yak was trying for a last chance.

  Namgyal Rinpoche was tearful on seeing this tragedy. His heart was deeply hurt by the desperate yak on the edge of being butchered as well as those butchers who had lost their original awareness and mercy but would soon be punished by such karma. How painful it is to drown in the ocean of Samsara! How stupid and pathetic the sentient beings are! How the sentient beings would be without the light of Buddha-dharma in such an evil age?

  No more waiting and hesitation. Namgyal Rinpoche stepped forward and shouted loudly and sternly “Stop it! I would like to swap my cassock for this yak’s life.” The people recognized him immediately and prostrated to him. Namgyal Rinpoche patted their heads to bestow blessing and preached, “All animals have the same feelings as human being - they also prefer happiness to suffering, families to enemies, benefits to harm and living to dying. So we should treat animals equally and compassionately. But there is a basic difference between human beings and animals. That is the intelligence to command action. Animals do not have the ability to choose virtuous deeds but only can drift in the ocean of Samsara determined by their karma. However, human beings have the intelligence and conditions to command virtuous deeds. So we must strive to abandon all negative deeds, apply all positive actions and stay away from any defilement. Otherwise, it will be too late when the results of negative karmas ripen. Gaining a human existence is more difficult than finding a needle in a haystack. Now you have had one. But if you waste this human body in committing negative deeds or only nurturing your own body, the precious opportunity is wasted and your human body and mind just become a cause of Samsara. I can think of nothing sillier than this.”

  Those men were very repentant on hearing this. They decided not to kill this yak yet they would not accept the cassock as price. But Namgyal Rinpoche insisted on giving the cassock to them as he said he had to keep his words. These men were even moved and swore to Rinpoche that they would not commit killing any more. Namgyal Rinpoche then left in a short skirt and the new boots.

  Later on his way home, he saw another group of people preparing to kill a goat to feast their guests. Then Rinpoche exchanged his boots for the goat’s life and gave them Buddhist teachings about the consequences of slaughter. This renowned Rinpoche in Litang area then went back home only in short inner skirt on bare feet. In such a way he had spent his whole life on benefiting all sentient beings with unbiased compassion and put Buddha’s teachings into reality with his uncompromised actions.

  Download Electronic Version:Sacrificed Clothes to Save Lives

[Post Script]

  Phurba Tashi Rinpoche says “In earch pursuit of the ultimate liberation we have to gain the power of abandoning our desire for Samsara and the courage to proceed on the path towards enlightenment. But in the eyes of ordinary people, such actions may seem to be abnormal or maniac. However, the practitioners do not compromise to worldly views. They are not allured or dominated by physical benefits. They always abstain from excitement. They never feel vacuous or bored. They never do harmful things to entertain others.

  But rather they would dedicate to doing anything for the benefits of other people, no matter how tiny it is. A real practitioner cannot be judged on their exterior behavior. Perhaps they appear to follow any complicated table manner or to rebel against orthodoxy. Perhaps they remain in their meditation in a secluded forest or manage a giant enterprise in the human society. In the 2,500 years history of Buddhism, there has never been a genuine qualified practitioner exiled for insanity. Only those hysterical persons who allege themselves to have crazy ’wisdom‘ would be punished by their own behavior. They are really crazy because they are confused and disoriented by the praise from others as meaningless as resonance, disappointed by criticism and attach themselves to objects for their own happiness.”
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