Pervasive Triumph -- Scramble for Food with Wild Dogs
作者:krmzz    发布时间:2011/6/16      点击率:12458

  In the history of Tibetan Buddhism, it’s not difficult to find records of extraordinary masters who practiced in extreme hardship. However, it has become rarer and rarer to find such an austerity practitioner at the age of sixteen in today’s economically abundant society. Most youngsters nowadays at the age of 16 are typically still being spoiled and sheltered under their parents’ wings.  However, in extreme poverty as he was, Phurba Tashi Rinpoche had commenced his vigorous study of Buddha-dharma when he was only sixteen.

  In the winter of 1984, Rinpoche went to Seda Larong Five Sciences Buddhist University with Old Monk Achung Ngzhul (the personal attendant to Rinpoche’s previous life - Namgyal Rinpoche) to attend the Kalachakra Empowerment bestowed by Khenchen Jigme Phuntsog Rinpoche. They took an arduous journey in the freezing wind and begged all along the way to Seda.

  Upon arrival, they found accommodation a big problem as they did not know of anybody there to get boarding with, nor did they have any money to rent a cabin. They did not even have a single set of bedding. The Principal - Khenchen Jigme Phuntsog compassionately found a sheep barn as a temporary shelter for them. Though the barn was empty and basically nothing better than a circle of fences, Rinpoche and Achung Ngzhul were so gratified because they had found somewhere to shelter themselves. Otherwise they might have had to sleep in the snow on the ice-covered mountains.

  The temperature changes drastically during Tibet’s winter. It usually drops to -30 degree at night. The wind continually howled through the fences as well as their bones. Rinpoche was concerned that Achung Ngzhul was too old to sustain the freezing weather. So he found some used cardboard for Achung to lie on and covered Achung with his cassock and outer skirt at night. Then Rinpoche lay on a piece of rock as pillow. He kept being woken up by the cold and trembled in the storm from time to time until the sun rose the next morning. Then in the day time they attended the ceremony with joy.

  As time went by, food became another big issue. Only several days after they started with the ceremony they had reached the bottom of their haversack. They tried to conserve their food by dunking a little baked barley flour in their tea to make a “soup” for meals. It continued for about a month during which their hunger for dharma had overcome their hunger for food. But the teachings and practices would last two months. They had to find sources of food for the second month.

  Just as Rinpoche worried about where to find food, he observed that a Tsog offering was made every three or four days. When it was finished, the dorma was carried out by two monks and put on the altar outside the shrine to feed wild birds and dogs. In Rinpoche’s eyes, that was terrific food. The starving wild dogs and birds rushed to the dorma as soon as the monks left. But Rinpoche had to wait just in case the monks found him eating the dorma because if found they would beat him. So when he had had the chance to approach the dorma, there was almost nothing left. Even if sometimes he snatched something from the dogs and birds’ mouths and paws, it was already dirty with soil, dogs’ saliva, bird droppings and other dirtier things. But such disgusting ‘food’ tasted so delicious in Rinpoche’s mouth.

  However, the Tsog was not offered every day. Rinpoche could not eat up the dorma he scrambled under the dogs’ paws just at one meal. He had to save some for the next couple of days. He then wrapped it up in a plastic bag and buried it in a secret place. Then he walked back to the barn and told Achung Ngzhul happily that he did not need to have dinner from then on. He served the clean baked barley flour to the old monk for dinner every day and then sought those leftovers after it became dark.

  One evening just as Rinpoche was eating a mouldy dorma, somebody clapped his shoulder from behind. Rinpoche was terrified. He turned around and saw that it was an old Yogi. The old Yogi asked him a lot of questions however Rinpoche could not understand the local dialect. Rinpoche was very frightened and told the Yogi gingerly ‘I will not eat the dorma any more. You can take all this back.’

  The Yogi was deeply touched that he could not speak a word but stared at the mouldy dorma with his teary eyes. The next day, the Yogi sent a whole bag of baked barley flour to Rinpoche and Achung Ngzhul. He also spread in the monastery the story of their focused and hungry pursuit of dharma teachings. Then some warm-hearted monks would donate some food to them so that they could finally complete their receiving of the empowerment and teachings in Seda.

  Obedience under the Guru is the foundation to practice Buddha dharma. It is easy to show one’s obedience in favourable circumstances but it is much more difficult in adversity. It would be extremely hard for someone to maintain ultimate reverence to the Guru and dharma in such harsh circumstances as those that Rinpoche had experienced. If anyone can follow Rinpoche’s model of devoting oneself to the guru and dharma, then he will accumulate innumerable merits for the ultimate enlightenment.

[Post Script]

  Rinpoche says, “Reflecting on impermanence inspires us to seek the path to ultimate liberation from the Three Realms. We have been bound in those daily affairs for such a long time. Perhaps we own a residential property no matter if it is a small studio in the gutter or a double-storey house in a superior suburb. Perhaps we manage a profit-making enterprise or have a lovely pet at home. Perhaps we have countless responsibilities to our family and others. No matter what we have to face every day, we just think we can manage it. Everything can be fixed and repaired like stained teeth can be whitened and flecks can be removed or covered. We’ve just avoided thinking about impermanence. Due to the habits that we’ve accumulated since the very beginning we have gained immunity to signs of decaying in our rigid attached mind. We cheat ourselves all the time. At our birthday party each year we blow out the candles on the cake but no one would think that we have lost another year to death. While we are anticipating a more wonderful tomorrow, the God of Death is approaching us at any time of which we are not aware. Upon his invitation, no one is exempt even after trying to bribe him with all the wealth in the Three Realms.
  Therefore, the people that have given up their worldly enjoyment and triviality for the ultimate liberation are not focused on the aim of avoiding worldly responsibilities or seeking romantic dreams. They sacrifice their enjoyable lives for the permanent happiness of all sentient beings. This is the utmost virtue. Their activities shall not be regarded as insane.”


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