Pervasive Triumph -- The Story about a Steamed Corn Bread
作者:krmzz    发布时间:2011/6/16      点击率:12390

  When spring comes to the snowy plateau of Tibet, the sky clears up, the trees turn green, and the ice in rivers begins to thaw. The clouds in the blue sky change their shapes like the silk scarves swinging in the breeze. Patches of snow on the green grassland glitters in the sunshine like gem stones glowing on a queen’s skirt. The whole world is waking up.

  In the early spring of the Wood Mouse Year (1984), our root guru Phurba Tashi Rinpoche and the Old Monk Achung Ngzhul set out for Yarchen Monastery. The Great Terton Serab Yangzhul had made a prophecy that Phurba Tashi Rinpoche should go to Yarchen Monastery to seek teachings from His Holiness Jamyang Lungtok Gyaltsen, who was recognized as an emanation of the Omniscience Lungchen Rabjam. Then they went on their way with only a little food as Tibet was still a very poor in economy at that time.

  The traffic to Yarchen Monastery was not convenient and the journey was extremely dangerous in those years. They did not have any money. So they could only go there on foot or seldom took a lift on the trucks passing by. Just in a few days they had eaten up the food they took with them. Then they had to beg along the way.

  The nomad areas in Tibet were sparsely inhabited. It was normal to find the next household dozens of miles from the last one. Rinpoche always went out for miles to beg for food and let Achung Ngzhul take a rest along the roadside. The footpaths in the mountains were narrow and meandering. The muddy road surface became very slippery after the snow melted. Rinpoche’s feet had blistered and it made him more difficult to walk. Sometimes he had to tramp over several hills to find a household. If lucky enough, he would have some donations of food, even if very little in quantity. But in most cases the hosts were too poor to make any donation. In this case Rinpoche had to return with disappointment, exhaustion and unbearable hunger. He then had to try a second fortune in the destitute mountains. Day after day Rinpoche tramped over hill and dale to find food. But the quantities were rarely sufficient for the two of them. Rinpoche would offer the better part of the food, if he had got any, to Achung Ngzhul and he himself just ate the leftover.

  One day, on their way, they saw a tent on the roadside in which sat an old monk eating a steamed corn bread. Rinpoche had a flash of excitement in his eyes. He was pervaded by the sudden happiness out of expectation and aspiration, which only those having been starved for very long time could understand. He was magnetized by the corn bread although the old monk was walking away. Rinpoche was still reluctant to move but stared at the corn bread which was becoming smaller and smaller in the old monk’s hand. Young Rinpoche could hardly walk away without a whit of this delicacy. The old monk seemed to test his patience by just biting the bread unhurriedly. Rinpoche became uptight as the bread became smaller and smaller. But Rinpoche was still waiting, quietly. Time stopped at that moment with all his hope fixed in the corn bread.

  Finally the old monk noticed him. Seen his aspiration in his eyes, the old monk handed the corn bread over to Rinpoche. As happy as gained a priceless treasure, Rinpoche could not wait to have a small bite of it. That was the first real food other than baked barley meal he had ever had in a whole month. But he immediately gave up his desire to eat it as he remembered that Achung Ngzhul had not enjoyed such delicacy either. He then offered it to Achung Ngzhul.

  They continued their arduous journey in pursuit of Buddha-dharma. Extreme hunger and hundreds of miles of walking had totally exhausted young Rinpoche physically. At the age of sixteen, most of us are still indulged and treasured by our parents at any moment. But Rinpoche had already left his hometown for dharma. He suffered the hunger. He tramped the hills. He begged from the nomads. Every day at sunset, having settled down Achung Ngzhul, Rinpoche would walk up a highland and look into the direction of his hometown. The silhouette of his young face outlined by the glow of the setting sun showed fortitude and power. The cassock flapped around his gaunt body in the evening wind. It used to be fitted but had become a bit large. He stared at the gold-edged sunset glow at horizon, trying to see his hometown where he had all the good memories of his childhood. Sun was setting down. Ox herds were singing their eclogues. The man far away from home was homesick.

  “Mother’s love is as deep as the Ocean. Requiting it is a practice of the bodhisattva. To benefit all sentient beings, I swear to achieve the ultimate awareness!” Reflecting on that all mother-like sentient beings are still entrapped in the six classes of Samsara, experiencing endless living and dying, suffering all the pains but not aware of utilizing this rare human rebirth to practice Buddha dharma, Rinpoche could not stop his heart aching and his tears scrolled down his face.

  At the early stage of his monastical career he was not very clear of his mission to carry forward the Buddha dharma. But as time went by and the more edification he had, he realised that only the Buddha dharma can bring harmony to the Era of Five Degenerations and real happiness to all sentient beings. Only the Buddha dharma can expel the darkness of ignorance and expose the brightness of wisdom.

  From then on Rinpoche had taken up the mission of transferring the Buddha dharma and benefitting all sentient beings as part of his life.

  Relying on this undeviating faith, he has undertaken all kinds of hardship and afflictions without a single notion of abnegation. He himself is a perfect annotation and proof of eternal vows.

[Post Script]

  Rinpoche says “It is really disturbing that the mental world is becoming more and more materialized in such an abundant time. Generation after generation of the gurus in Buddhism have spent enormous effort and experienced unimaginable austerity in pursuit of the ultimate truth. But such behaviour has received less and less recognition. A lot of masters nowadays with the title of Guru are more interested in building spectacular temples, statues and pagodas. I am afraid the Buddhists in the future may regard temples, statues and pagodas as the whole and only contents of Buddhism. If so, we will lose the core of the dharma taught by Buddha Shakyamuni that ‘Do not do evil but practice virtue; purify your own mind and this is Buddhism’. Therefore we should follow the Buddha’s teachings and the gurus’ footpaths to practice the true core of Buddhism, rather than be deluded by the illusory appearance.”

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