Pervasive Triumph -- Bleeding Knees
作者:krmzz    发布时间:2011/6/16      点击率:12733

  The snowy field of Tibet Plateau is a holy place blessed by Buddhas and bodhisattvas. Legends of great mahasiddhas have been eulogized for more than a thousand years. For example, the great yogi Milarepa conducted unprecedented austerity then obtained the ultimate Buddhahood within one lifetime. The first Guru of Gelukpa - Je Tsongkhapa kept on practice of mandala offering even after his hand was galled to bone. Such stories have inspired the followers in Tibetan Buddhism from generation to generation.

  In the Information Age today, it has been difficult to hear such story about austerity. However, Phurba Tashi Rinpoche is just such a practitioner who has exhibited unremitting diligence in cultivating the Preliminary Practices.

  In Tibetan Buddhism traditions, there are very strict requirements for the practitioners. Take Nyingmapa as an example. An entry-level practitioner must first complete the Five Preliminary Practices: Taking Refuge, Raising Bodhicitta, Reciting the Hundred-Syllable Mantra of Vajrasattva, Making Mandala Offerings and Prostration, at least one hundred thousand times for each of these practices. Only after completing these Preliminary Practices can he then commence the main practice stage.

  There are also very detailed requirements for the location of cultivating these practices. As praised by many great masters, secluded forests on mountaintops far away from the din of the world are perfect places for practitioners. In such quiet places there is only the clear sky and white clouds. Sometimes a couple of birds’ singing adds hollowness and tranquillity. All great masters in the history of Tibetan Buddhism have chosen quiet places as the only location for their spiritual practices.

  Phurba Tashi Rinpoche chose a secluded holy place to cultivate the Preliminary Practices. That place is believed to be an assembly for hundreds of thousands dakas and dakinis. Having understood the essence of the Common Outer Preliminary Practices: human rebirth is rare, life is impermanent, the nature of Samsara is suffering and the law of karma prevails, Rinpoche showed unimaginable diligence in practicing the Five Preliminary Practices.

  Very early in the morning every day, when other people were still sleeping, Rinpoche had already woken up and started the first session of his daily practice. Until midnight when all had become quiet, he was still continuing on practice. Considering all sentient beings suffering in Samsara and in need of help, he could not just stop. Bethinking of the examples of those lineage gurus who had achieved ultimate enlightenment through austerity, he felt that he was yet to be more diligent. He completed the practice of refuge, raising Bodhicitta, Hundred-Syllable Mantra recitation and mandala offerings in a short period of time. For the most difficult one - prostration, Rinpoche conducted averagely six thousand times in four continuous sessions each day.

  At the beginning he could easily finish the numbers on schedule. As he continued, blood bubbles as large as his palm appeared in his knees. The skin then separated from flesh. Each time he kneeled down on the board, he was experiencing the agony as being peeled alive. The skin on the bubbles peeled very soon. Then it was the skinless flesh that touched the board and it was the blood more than sweat that flew down his legs. Each time he bent down onto the board he was experiencing a visit to purgatory.

  In the evening, the flesh would be covered by a thin layer of scab, which would then be broken by his prostration on the next morning. As time went on, the wound expanded. Rinpoche enswathed it with a piece of cloth and continued his practice. The wound kept bleeding. The cloth was always soaked with blood. In each session, the first hundred times were the thorniest as his legs had swollen and been unmovable like pillars. Rinpoche was entirely exhausted by pain and fatigue. Then he could not walk without crutches.

  In such a situation Rinpoche completed the Five Hundred Thousand Preliminary Practices within four months. Such a trial would have vanquished the most unvanquishable. What kind of spiritual power inspired him to overcome all those difficulties? Rinpoche told us: to visualize impermanence is the sharpest sword to conquer the devil of indolence. It is also the impetus to pursuit of enlightenment. Anyone that always reflects on impermanence and cultivates practice diligently can obtain ultimate enlightenment quickly too.

  We must have accumulated vast profound merits in our previous lives so that we have met with such a great guru and obtained such rare teachings from him. How lucky we are.

  Download Electronic Version:Bleeding Knees

[Post Script]

  Rinpoche says “Putting palms together is a gesture to show respect and greetings. Perhaps it does not necessarily mean sanctity or invoking the magic power. But it is an indispensible manner in the stages of path. In the texts of many sutras, the praying gesture of both hands put together or prostration with all limbs can be found here and there. Similarly, other Buddhist rituals like burning incense or lamps are also full of religion sense. They are easy ways to attract enthusiasm as they provide you with certain circumstances to gain some understanding of Buddhism.

  Of course, the omniscient Buddha said that the best worship is to simply reflect on the Four Seals of Dharma: all compounded things are impermanent, all emotions are painful, all phenomena are of emptiness and without inherent existence, and nirvana is beyond extremes. However, Buddhism or Buddhists may still appear to be ceremonial and religious. For example, prostration, incense burning, flower offerings or visiting temples are still an important part of a Buddhist’s life. But you must be aware that all these actions are methods for the beginners to enter the path to enlightenment. So a beginner in dharma practice should not neglect such actions but should do them with diligence.”


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