As It Was
|The following entry is from The Way of the White Clouds, by Lama Anagarika Govinda. It relates his observations on being dropped unexpectedly into the strange universe of a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery. He tells of his encounter with a devoted old monk, follower of his future guru, and of the impact on his outlook and consciousness which subsequently changed the entire future direction of his life.
|The previous story continues on to describe Anagarika Govinda's future master, the hermit monk known as Tomo Geshe Rimpoche, who attained enlightenment and then returned to the world of his fellow men, to purify and rejuvenate the spiritual forces of Tibet.
|In Tibet the concept of a continuation of lives is a common belief. In the Tibetan religious system the heads of monasteries and other great spiritual leaders bridge the chasm between life and death and consciously guide their after death journey to take embodiment in a new form. The monastic leaders then search the country side, taking clues left by the departing dignitary to discover his new incarnation. He is then returned to his monastery to take up the reigns of leadership once again after a rapid relearning of his previous schooling. The Tibetan word for this new embodiment is Tulku and Tibetan literature is filled with references to the various Tulku's and the stories of their rediscovery.
|In this segment, Lama Anagarika Govinda was staying in an isolated village in Tibet when a strange visitor arrived unexpectedly. Although the visitor appeared to be an ordinary humble and dusty traveler, his quiet reserve and inner strength allowed him to tap into a deep spiritual power.
The next story is an excerpt from the biography: Tibet's Great Yogi, Milarepa (W.Y. Evans-Wentz editor). The incidents of the story took place almost a thousand years ago. As a child Milarepa was sent away by his mother to learn the black arts so that he might avenge the actions of their cruel relatives who had cheated them out of the family inheritance and treated them miserably. The sincere and devoted Milarepa becomes a proficient sorcerer, learning to call on the tutelary deities through magic rites in order to invoke their powers at controlling the elements. So well does he learn his art that almost the entire clan of heartless relatives is wiped out. Milarapa is devastated by the evil and suffering he has caused and sets out to find a teacher who can set him on the path to salvation. Eventually he finds his way to his destined teacher, Marpa the Translator, who brought to Tibet the sacred teachings of the Buddha in three arduous trips to India.
Marpa put Milarepa through immense physical and psychic trials over a period of years in order to purify him and lessen his load of karma which he had heaped up unwittingly as a young sorcerer. But after years of having his hopes for initiation crushed, Milarepa finally concludes (wrongly) that Marpa will never give him the teachings he so earnestly wants so that he may escape a hellish purgatory for his evil deeds. So he sets out to find another teacher who will impart the mystic teachings that will enable him to obtain liberation in this very lifetime. At his first encounter with his new guru, Lama Ngogpa, the Lama is impressed with his young disciple because of certain omens pointing to the exceptional future in store for Milarepa.