Thursday, March 25, 2010

Radiant Beatitude

Upon leaving Chilly Grove, Padma seeks out the best minds of his time and becomes learned in astrology, medicine, language and letters, alchemy, lapidary, sculpting, casting, tailoring, carpentry, distillation, metalworking, weaving, haberdashery, shoemaking, pottery and other useful arts and sciences. This is followed by ordination as a buddhist monk and an extensive course in study of the Tripitaka and mantrayana teachings. At this time, he was known as Guru Shakya Senge, 'Lion of the Shakyas'.

At the end of this period the text states,
"By means of the external Formulas and those which are esoteric and of great meaning in their conciseness, he knew how to wish and to obtain, attaching the spiritual chain of perfect effort. But he knew not at all how to perceive the meaning of the inferior mind." ~ Padma bKa'i Thang, c. 27

This inability to fathom the common mind is borne out in the following which details events resulting in the naming of the second manifestation associated with this month, Guru Loden Chogse.

Padma settles in a cemetery known as Radiant Beatitude in Kashmir.

Far to the east, a Bon priest gets drunk on millet beer and loses his gong 'with the 3000 sounds' but finds a cow. Hungryman has lost his cow but finds the gong and takes it home where his hungry children beat it. The Bonpo leads the cow home and milks it. When they finally meet, each accuses the other of stealing and wants their possession back AS IT WAS (the cow unmilked, the drum unbeaten). Not being able to come to terms, these two reasonable men eventually present their argument to the king who apparently isn't listening very closely, summarily declaring, Yes, So be it!

After leaving the palace unsatisfied, Hungryman murders the Bonpo and takes up with his wife. Upon learning of the crime, the Kashmiri King's words are unmistakable; "Let the guilty one keep company with the corpse!"

Hungryman is forced to ride the cow while being beaten with the gong on the way to exile in the cemetery Radiant Beatitude. Upon arrival, Padmasambhava asks, "What was the crime?"

Hungryman lies, "A Bonpo has killed my father and I the son am accompanying his body here."

Granted refuge in the cemetery, he is told to live by means of the cow's milk and is invited to study the Dharma with Padmasambhava. Hungryman is not at all interested but has no other options at the moment. He is very opinionated about the guru and his retinue and has no faith but he plays along.

The cow soon dies and the guru asks the local monkeys not to harm Hungryman but to let him eat of the great tree of the tombs. While gathering fruit one day he falls from its branches and the monkeys go to great lengths to save him from the creatures lurking in 'the waters of the tomb Horrible Decay'.

Soon after this, Hungryman longs for a reunion with his family, and decides to shake the trunk of the tree to gather fruit in dreamy anticipation of their reunion, causing the sleeping monkeys to tumble into the lake where they are promptly seized and killed.

Hungryman tells Padma that a great wind blew the monkeys to their deaths and he alone managed to hang on. The guru knows the truth and is disgusted. He says that because of this, Hungryman will not be able to leave the cemetery without attracting man-killing demons. Hungryman is resentful and does not believe it. Recognizing his willfulness, Padma assures him he will soon be with his family. Hungryman leaves the cemetery and rejoins his wife and children. Leading them back toward Radiant Beatitude to harvest fruit, he is attacked and devoured by wild beasts.

In consequence of Padma's training in many worldly arts and sciences and his attitude of parental caring, compassion and loving-kindness for all beings, he was named Loden Chogse, 'one possessing intelligence and supreme desire.'

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