Shelves: dpr-booklist , buddhism , religion , meditation , philosophy , sacred-texts , translated-into-english , reference In all his studies, The Jewel Ornament of Liberation is one of the texts that Khenpo [Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche, the translator of this edition] found to be most inspiring. Lord Gampopa lays out the teachings in a clear and systematic way that is understandable to beginners. At the same time, the work is of such profound depth that scholars and practitioners can study it over and over and still not fully grasp its meaning. Khenpo Rinpoche has said on several occasions, "Anyone who knows the In all his studies, The Jewel Ornament of Liberation is one of the texts that Khenpo [Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche, the translator of this edition] found to be most inspiring.
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Arrow down Arrow up Before Milarepa received his various disciples, the Buddha-figure Vajrayogini appeared to him in a vision and prophesied that in the not too distant future he would receive a sun-like disciple, a moon-like disciple, and many other disciples who would be like the stars in the sky. The sun-like disciple turned out to be Gampopa sGam-po-pa bSod-nams rin-chen , who is also known as the Great Doctor of Dagpo Dvags-po lha-rje.
Gampopa was not an ordinary person. His presence in this time and universe had been prophesied in many sutras, specifically in the White Lotus Sutra, in which there is a clear prediction of his coming, as follows: One day, at the time of Buddha Shakyamuni, Buddha turned to his disciple Ananda and said, "Ananda, after my entrance into parinirvana, in the northern direction of this hemisphere there will be a fully ordained monk who will be known as the Bhikshu Doctor.
His father was a greatly renowned medical doctor of that village. His parents had two sons, and Gampopa was the older of the two. As a child, Gampopa was extremely clever. When he was about fifteen years old, he studied many Nyingma scriptures and so had tremendous knowledge of the Nyingma tradition. He pursued many spiritual studies and when he reached the age of twenty-two, he married Chogmey mChog-med , the daughter of a very rich family in a neighboring village.
After their marriage, they had a son and daughter of their own. After some years, his son died suddenly. When he returned home from the funeral, he found his daughter dead too.
Not too long after the death of his daughter, his wife came down with many sicknesses. Gampopa, being a doctor himself, gave her all kinds of medicines, consulted other doctors and tried various pujas for her recovery, but none of them succeeded. As she grew worse and worse, they lost hope. Finally, Gampopa sat by her bed and read her a sutra in preparation for her death. What was keeping her from death? What was it that she could not give up in this life, a life with no hope, only the promise of continual pain and suffering?
Feeling great compassion for his wife lying there so ill, Gampopa gently asked, "I have done whatever I could to heal you. I have tried many doctors, remedies and all types of prayers and rituals for your recovery, but all of them have failed.
They have not been effective because of your own previous actions. The karmic forces and prayers of our former lives unite you and me. But now, although I have a great deal of affection and love for you, I must ask what is it that is actually keeping you here? Any wealth that we have in the house, any material possessions we have accumulated together, if they are holding you or if you have a great deal of attachment for any of them, I will give them all away.
I will get rid of anything that might be holding you back from dying. Whatever you wish me to do, I shall do. This is not what is holding me back. My great concern is for your future and, because of that, I cannot die.
After my death, it will be easy for you to remarry and have many daughters and sons, more than we had together. I see, however, that this kind of life does not have any kind of meaning for you. That is why my concern is so great for you.
Otherwise, I shall remain like this for a long time. Standing before his beloved wife, with his uncle as witness, Gampopa made his pledge to dedicate his life to the Dharma.
This made Chogmey very happy, and she said, "Even after my death, I will be looking after you. Out of the ashes, bones and clay, he made many votive tablets with the impressions of the statues of Enlightened Beings. The stupa he built in her honor, "The Stupa of Chogmey" mChog-med mchod-rten , stands to this day in Tibet.
Now that Gampopa was left alone, he divided all his wealth into two equal parts. One part he sold and, with the money, made offerings to the Three Jewels and distributed alms to the poor and needy. He kept the second portion for the maintenance of his life and religious practices. One day his uncle, who had been the witness when Gampopa gave his pledge to Chogmey, visited Gampopa, expecting him to be deep in mourning for his beloved wife.
He came to give him advice, to tell him not to be worried, and to console him by explaining his situation in the light of the law of karma. Gampopa replied that he was not at all worried. On the contrary, he was quite happy that she had died. At this, the uncle became very, very ashamed and said, "That is quite true. I would be so happy if I could help you in any way.
Soon afterwards, he met Shawa-lingpa Sha-ba gling-pa , a compassionate teacher from the Kadam tradition and requested novice and full monk vows. He received the ordination name Sonam-rinchen bSod-nams rin-chen. As a monk, he practiced intensively with a series of Kadampa Geshes, meditating and studying with these great masters. He often spent days without food or a drop of water, absorbed in the blissful mental and physical feeling of perfect concentration. Gampopa reached such a level of attainment of samadhi concentration that he was able to sit for seven days completely absorbed in meditation.
Thus, Gampopa already had a great deal of insight and confidence in his Dharma practice before he set out on his quest for his guru, Milarepa. He had mastered the complete Kadam teachings and had extraordinary dreams, such as that he was a tenth-level bodhisattva. He frequently dreamt that a blue yogi with a walking stick placed his right hand over his head and would sometimes spit at him.
Thinking that this strange dream was an indication of a harmful spirit who was trying to cause him a great deal of interference and obstacles for his Dharma practice, he did an intense retreat on Achala Mi-g. Achala is a fierce-looking figure specially meditated on in the Kadam tradition to eliminate all obstacles to practice. After his retreat, however, the same dream came more often, stronger and more vivid that ever.
Little did he know that this dream was a sign that he would soon be meeting his future teacher, the great yogi Milarepa. Meeting Milarepa Arrow down Arrow up The first time Gampopa heard the name of Milarepa he was circumambulating a stupa monument on the road and overheard a discussion among three beggars.
One was complaining all the time about the current famine in the country and how he had not eaten for a long time. Another replied that they should be ashamed of themselves and not talk about food all the time, lest this bhikshu circumambulating the stupa should hear, which would be very embarrassing. There is the great, renowned saint yogi, Milarepa, who never has any food at all and who just lives in the mountains dedicating himself completely to Dharma practice.
He never complains about food. We all need to pray that we may develop the sincere wish to lead a life as simple as his. He reported this to his teacher, who said, "I have known all along that you had a close karmic relationship with such a meditation master. Go to him and all will be successful.
Most of the night, he offered intense prayers and wishes that he might immediately meet the great yogi Milarepa. When he finally did doze, he had a very special dream in which he heard the sound of a white conch, the loudest on earth.
He reported this as well to his teacher, who said, "This is an extremely auspicious sign. You should go to find Milarepa immediately. He told them he had sixteen ounces of gold dust and would give half of it to them and half he would keep as an offering to the great guru, when he met him.
The old beggar was deceitful, and, on the way, admitted that he did not know the way to the cave. He claimed that he was not well, and could not guide Gampopa any further. They had arrived at a place where there were no houses, people or animals; it was completely deserted. The beggar left and Gampopa found himself all alone. He wandered on and on for many days, without food, until finally he met a group of merchants.
Gampopa asked one of them if he knew where Milarepa could be found. The merchant replied that he knew Milarepa well and that Milarepa was a great meditator and a great yogi. He told Gampopa that he switched his abode often, moving from cave to cave, and town to town, but that nowadays he was staying in this particular town and this particular cave.
The man pointed toward the cave, and gave the aspiring disciple clear directions to the great yogi. Overcome by joy, Gampopa hugged the merchant in gratitude and did not let go for a long while.
It was a journey of several days and, as he was traveling without any food, he finally fell unconscious to the ground. When he revived, he thought that he had no karma to meet this great yogi and that he was going to die now for sure. While Gampopa was lying on the ground, waiting for death, one of the Kadampa masters saw him. Seeing that Gampopa had fallen there on the hard ground, he came over to help. He asked, "What are you doing here?
When he reached the town, he asked many people how to meet this guru and how to receive the specific types of teachings he was looking for. Finally, he met a person who was a great master and who was a disciple of the accomplished yogi. Gampopa told him that he had a strong desire to meet this guru and to receive his teachings.
The master told him that he could not see the great yogi immediately. He said that he must wait a few days and be tested before he could actually receive teachings. A few days before, Milarepa had had a meeting with his disciples, and he told them of the coming of Gampopa. He said that he was expecting the arrival of a bhikshu doctor who, after studying with him, would receive the complete teachings and spread them in all ten directions.
Milarepa told them of a dream he had had the previous night, in which the bhikshu doctor brought him an empty glass vase. Milarepa filled the vase with water, signifying that he would come with a completely open and receptive mind to receive the teachings, and Milarepa would fill the vase of his mind with the nectar of his complete teachings and insights. You must taste for yourself — even only a drop — and then you can appreciate the nutritious effects.
The same is true with my teachings. First you must develop the experience of it, the taste of it, and then it will be so nutritious. Only after meditating on them and developing genuine experience can you fathom their depths. My great fatherly guru, Marpa, has brought them from India and I, the yogi, have meditated on them.
The Life of Gampopa
The Jewel Ornament of Liberation
The Jewel Ornament of Liberation: The Wish-Fulfilling Gem of the Noble Teachings
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