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祖师大德故事

Freedom on Dying– The Story of Mahasiddha Gyachung Lama
作者:柯日密咒洲    发布时间:2011/6/12      点击率:11931
  Litang County, which is located in the picturesque plateau of Kham and surrounded by boundless grassland, has enjoyed the fame of “the Town on Top of the World”. Blessed by the great compassion of Buddhas and bodhisattvas, many great masters of the Tibetan Buddhism were born there. The Buddhist traditions have also been handed down continuously, so has their unsophisticated folkways.

  It was a June afternoon in the Tibetan calendar. Without any trace of clouds in the sky, the sunshine was baking the land. In a tattered tent on the prairie of Lamaya in Litang County, an old lama was practicing meditation on a cushion. He was the famous Old Monk Gyachung, as the local people would call him. On a simple altar in his tent there were placed several dark bronze-colored Buddha statues, which denoted the lengthy years he had been practicing the dharma. As the butter-fueled lamps were burning silently in front of the statues, the old monk was sitting in a static and tranquil posture. His hair was already grizzled. His overcoat was already ragged. His eyes gazed into the sky. All of his calmness and bearing revealed his profound wisdom and venerability.

  The next day, Old Monk Gyachung called in his personal attendant and asked him to wash all the old clothes. It was normal in the pasturing area not to have dirty clothes washed everyday. So those dirty clothes had been put away in a corner of the tent. Thus, the attendant would not think there might be any other implications but just to wash all those clothes as he said.

  Several days later, Old Monk Gyachung got up very early in the morning as usual. He finished his daily meditation and praying and made some offerings and donations. After completing all of these practices, he called all his attendants into his tent. They found that the tent had been cleaned up and that the washed clothes had been folded up in the bed. Old Monk Gyachung was sitting up royally on a little thin cushion, wearing the cassock that he had only worn in formal ceremonies. The attendants felt strange and could not help asking him “What’s up? Are you going somewhere far?” Old Monk Gyachung took a fatherly look at his disciples and told them slowly: “I am already too old. Though I am not sick yet, my living will generate no benefits but only cost your labor. I am fully prepared to leave today.” He then started to give away his baked barley flour, cream and butter to the attendants that had been serving him for years, and then delivered his last teaching: “Life is impermanent. Everyone will eventually return to the soil. It’s just the time for me to leave freely. Please do not be sad.” Then he told the attendants to shut the tent and keep quiet outside. The old monk kept sitting up facing east, wearing his cassock, and passed away in total peace.

  It was the hottest time of the year in Tibet. The temperature in an enclosed tent might reach 40 degrees Celsius at noon. In such a high temperature, an ordinary corpse would definitely start decaying and smelling after just a couple of hours. However, lots of preternatural phenomena occurred to the body of Old Monk Gyachung. After he passed away, a sandalwood scent emerged in the tent. It was very light at first and gradually became stronger and clearer, so refreshing and enjoyable to everyone present! There used to be wrinkles all over his face. However, as time went on, the wrinkles disappeared and his face became younger and younger like a boy’s face. He looked no difference from a living man, except that he had no heart beating and he wasn’t breathing. On the seventh day, red and white bodhicitta liquid flew down from his nostrils. That is a symbol of having achieved the ultimate Enlightenment. Gradually wrinkles came back to his face again.

  According to the local customs, if a mahasiddha’s body is buried in an auspicious place, it will bring common and uncommon benefits to the local area. So after Old Monk Gyachung passed away, some local Buddhist monks, together with a number of reliable people, buried his body in a secret auspicious place. They also built a fake tomb in another place in case someone stole it.
Several months passed. Autumn came to the Eastern Tibet Plateau. In the morning of a clear and crisp autumn day, our guru Phurba Tashi Rinpoche was in the process of the Five Preliminary Practices on the hilltop above Kure Temple with Achung Ngzhul. That place was said to be a pure land of Green Tara and also a holy place where Phurba Tashi Rinpoche’s previous life - Namgyal Rinpoche had taken retreat. Many pilgrims went to worship the sacred mountain where Old Monk Gyachung’s body was buried. They talked about the news of a body found in the mountain “it is covered with pieces of greensward. Perhaps some animal dug it out. Whose would it be?” Overheard this, Phurba Tashi Rinpoche consulted Achung Ngzhul if that could be the dharma remains of Gyachung. Achung thought it could be. So they decided to go to have a look the next morning.

  Early next morning, Rinpoche and Achung Ngzhul arrived at the holy mountain and found that the body was covered in a yellow cassock. It was exactly Gyachung’s body, which had already decayed. Achung Ngzhul told Rinpoche “Since Gyachung was a great master, there should be some self-emerged sculptures of Buddha or Dakini’s characters. You should check it out.” Phurba Tashi Rinpoche approached the body and cleaned the skull with a piece of rag. Although the body was highly decayed, Rinpoche did not smell any stench nor did he feel any fear.

  The Old Monk Gyachung had devoted his whole life to the practice of dharma and finally migrated to the pure land as he had worshiped. That was a perfect demonstration of the errorless Buddha dharma and a good example of enlightenment from uncompromised dedication. We have met the fully qualified master from whom we have received the pure lineage. We have accumulated all the conditions for Enlightenment within this very lifetime. What we need is the dedication that Old Monk Gyachung had demonstrated to us.

[Post Script]

  Rinpoche says that many people think the ultimate achievement of our mind path can only be obtained at the end of our lives. The reason is that we have been besieged by the defiled environment and our own physical body. So we can only experience the bliss of nirvana after death. All that we can do while we are still alive is to make as much preparation as we can. This argument sounds reasonable but it is incomprehensive. The ultimate achievement or destination does not mean a particular time-space. Instead, it means to liberate oneself from the confusion of ignorance. One does not have to wait to realize it after death. The Sixth Master of Zen said that the Amitabha’s Realm is within an arms length to those dedicated to doing virtues but millions of miles away from those committing all sorts of wickedness. All Buddhists know that sentient beings and Buddha share exactly the same ultimate nature. If you can accumulate sufficient virtue, wisdom and dedication, the golden door to the Buddhahood is always open to you. Gyachung and other great mahasiddhas in Tibet and the Han Area of China have set us good examples.
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