Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Anecdotal Antidote to Pride

This is an excerpt of a story about the Three Khampas, Dorje Gyalpo, U Se and Saltong Shogum. They were pre-eminent among Gampopa's disciples and, though they were yogis, gathered with 50,000 others around Gampopa in a strict Kadampa monastic setting. Dorje Gyalpo, from Dege, was an emanation of Buddha Shakyamuni himself, coming in fulfillment of the Buddha's promise to support Gampopa in spreading the dharma. Dorje Gyalpo later came to be known as Phagmo Drupa, from who sprang the Phagmo Kagyu and eight later Kagyu schools. Kyopba Jigten Sumgon, founder of the Drikung Kagyu, was Phagmo Drupa's primary disciple. U Se, from Do Kham, was an emanation of Chenrezig and later came to be known as the great Dusum Khyenpa (Knower of the Three Times), the first Karmapa, from whom sprang the Karma Kagyu. Saltong Shogum was from Nangchen.

This story appeared in The Life of Gampopa by Jampa MacKenzie Stewart.

In order to practice the tantric ceremony of the ganachakra feast properly, they requested of Gampopa over and over again to be allowed to drink alcohol. . . . They continued to make their request of Gampopa, until finally the guru relented and gave them each permission to make a chang offering from three skull cups of barley. Together they took their nine skull cups full of barley and brewed up some very delicious beer.

On Dakini Day they took the beer up to a beautiful spot on a nearby mountain. They also brought with them all of the other sacred substances necessary for the ganachakra. Then they demonstrated their siddhis and performed miraculous acts to show that the beer could not affect them. Dorgyal of Dege herded and chased logs for the fire as if they were animals, driving them up the hill with his slingshot and the logs ran from him as if in terror. U Se of Do Kham carried water for their meal up the hill in a fish net. Saltong Shogum of Nangchen started their cooking fire by sending forth wind from the fingertips of one hand and fire from the tips of the other.

They had a great day on top of the mountain. In the evening they performed the Vajrayogini sadhana in a spirit of exhilaration and bliss. They drank beer, performed miracles, sang many doha songs and danced the sacred offering dances. . . . They were still very excited and in high spirits, singing doha songs and dancing as they entered the monastery compound. The head disciplinary monk heard them and he was greatly annoyed. . . . He came out and beat the three Khampas with a stick, saying, "You three have broken the law of the sangha! You cannot stay here anymore. You must leave this monastery immediately!" So, before dawn broke the next morning, the three yogis of Kham left the monastery. . . . They were ushered out so early and so brusquely that they did not even have time to prostrate to their guru, Gampopa, nor to ask his permission to leave. . . .

Gampopa, further above the monastery in retreat had a vision and saw that the dakas and dakinis surrounding Dakla Gampo were preparing to leave and asked his attendant, Gomtsul, to look outside. Looking down the mountain, Gomtsul saw the three yogis of Kham down the valley making their final prostrations of respect to Gampopa as they left. Lord Gomtsul then noticed that . . . all the birds were flying away from the mountain toward the valley where the three yogis were. Not only were the dakas and dakinis leaving, not only were the birds leaving, but Gomtsul saw that even all the grass and trees were bending in the direction of the yogis, as if they wanted to uproot themselves and leave the mountain too!

The story ends with Gampopa going out to spontaneously sing out a song inviting the three yogis to "Come back up" and the yogis responding in the distance with a joyful doha song and sacred dance "Going back up."

I find this helpful to kind of maintain a little perspective on my encounter with the dharma when I inexplicably start puffing up or thinking I am entitled to something Although I need even more than this, I think it helps some. lol


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