The Incident at Chuzang, on the Journey to Lachi.
The great Yogi Milarepa himself, after having stayed at the ‘Rock of Jewel valley’ went forth via the Thong la pass to the snow ranges of Lachi to meditate in order to fulfill the words of his master. When he arrived at Nyanang Tsarma, the entrance to Lachi, the inhabitants of Tsarma were preoccupied with a grand wedding. In the conversation of the gathering it was remarked, “There is at the present moment a person called Milarepa who relies solely on an austere life of hardships in hermitages far removed from humans. He is a truly excellent Dharma practitioner.”
While he was being acclaimed in this manner, Jetsun arrived in front of their door. A beautiful and young maiden with fine adornments came out. She was Lesebum.
She enquired, “O yogi, where are you from?”
“I am a meditator called Milarepa who resides in the unknown mountains. Patroness, I have come to request of you some provisions to eat and drink,” Jetsun answered.
“Food I can offer you,” she said and then asked, “Are you really the person called Milarepa?” “There is no reason for me to lie,” Jetsun said.
She was delighted and excitedly hurried inside to tell all the people that the wonderful practitioner living far away, of whom they had spoken of earlier had arrived at their very door.
Everyone came out. Some offered prostrations. Some enquired of further details of his life. When they were certain that he was Jetsun, they invited him inside, showed him great respect and reverence and offered him food. All of them were filled with fervent faith and admirable devotion.
At the head of those at the gathering was Shindormo, a young and wealthy lady. After receiving detailed counsel from him she asked, “Lama, where are you going presently?”
“I am going to Lachi to meditate” he replied.
“In that case, please stay at our place Drelung Kyokmo and bless the earth there,” she requested and added, “We will offer you provisions so that there will be no trouble for you.”
There was among them a teacher, who remarked, “Both the patron and the object of offering are in accord – that is the meaning of Lachi and Drelung Kyokmo. If the Lama does stay there, I will offer whatever provisions I can muster and receive teachings from you.” It was the teacher Shakya Guna.
Then the patroness Shindormo said, “How wonderful that would be! I have a lovely pastureland there, but the demon spirits have actually caused too much harm and the fear there has made the land unusable as a grazing ground since the very beginning. Now I request you to go there speedily.” Then all of them prostrated to him.
Jetsun said, “Now I will go quickly although it is not for the sake of your grazing ground. I have a command from my master and to fulfil that I go.”
“That is sufficient for us. We will serve you with excellent provisions and send servants,” they all said.
“Since I am accustomed to hermitages without excellent friends and food, to begin with I will go alone. Accept my gratitude for your service and let us see later on.” Jetsun said.
Jetsun then set forth towards the Lachi range and when he was near the pass the Non-humans produced violent magical manifestations. Approaching the top of the pass the skies became stormy, ferocious thunder sounded, lightning flashed and the hill on both sides broke up into landslides. The waters of the interiors flooded and formed a huge lake with raging waves. Jetsun cast a wrathful gaze and gestured with his walking stick. The lake leaked from the bottom and disappeared and became known as the ‘Vicious Pond’.
Then he descended a little and where the Non-humans had created landslides from both sides, the raging waves had left boulders; there the dakinis offered a path between the hillsides like a hill-snake slithering down swiftly. The path where the boulders subsided became known as the ‘Ridge Route of the Dakinis’.
The less powerful Non-humans then calmed down. The more powerful ones bereft on an opportunity to harm went in search of one. At the end of the ‘Ridge Route of the Dakinis’ Jetsun cast a wrathful gaze – the ‘Escorting Back with Charismatic Power’. All the magical manifestations subsided and a footprint in stone appeared in the stone where he stood.
When he had advanced a little further, the sky had cleared and he felt delighted. He sat on an elevation. A one-pointed concentration of love for all sentient beings arose in him and there was an immense enhancement of his meditation. This site became known as the ‘Ridge of Love’.
After this he proceeded to Chuzang and while in the state of the ‘Yoga of the Flowing River’ on the evening of the tenth day of the first Autumn month of the Male Fire Tiger year an army of non-humans lead by the great Don with the appearance of the Nepalese ‘Bharo’ filled the sky and grounds of Chuzang. They attacked Jetsun by bringing down the hillsides, hail and a shower of weapons. They called out his name and shouted viciously, “Hold him. Kill him.” They displayed numerous ugly and repulsive forms. Milarepa thought the Non-humans were in search of an opportunity to harm and sang this teaching called ‘The Truth of Cause and Effect’:
To the Lamas I bow down.
In the Compassionate Lord, I seek refuge.
All mistaken perceptions of the eye consciousness
Appear as the manifestations of the Don and Noejin.
Atsama hungry ghosts – oh how pitiable!
As for me, you beings cannot harm.
The fruit of past negative actions collected,
Now fully ripens into bodily activities.
The forms of minds that move about in space
Motivated by negative thoughts of delusion
And acting viciously with body and speech
Cry, “Kill. Chop. Hit. Beat.”
This cotton-clad yogi, free of conceptual thoughts;
Mind free of fear is the confidence of the view.
Hero, with the snowlion’s mien and movements;
Body, to the fortress of deities attached;
Speech, to the fortress of mantra attached;
Mind, to the fortress of Clear Light attached;
The Six groups are empty of their own nature;
Me, a yogi of such stature,
You hungry ghosts can never harm.
In general, the fruition of positive and negative acts is true;
Amassing and amassing fully ripened effects similar to causes
Result and to the Lower realms one goes; oh what sadness!
All you Atsama hungry ghosts engulfed in delusion,
Not understanding the nature of Reality – oh what suffering!
This Milarepa looking thin and repulsive;
Expounding Dharma with songs of intelligent speech;
Of sentient beings – the collection of the universe’s inner contents,
None there are, who have not been parents and relatives;
Having received their kindness; how regrettable their suffering!
You whose harmful thoughts have returned to you again;
To think of Cause and Effect; how wonderful it would be!
To practice the ten virtuous dharmas; how excellent it would be!
Hold onto excellent words and examine them well;
Comprehend the essential meaning and for that listen.
After he had sung, the armies of the Demon spirits said, “Though your speech is cunning, we will not be deceived. Though the magical manifestations have subsided we will not let you off happily.”
The forces increased in numbers. The magical conjurations enhanced. Jetsun then spoke his thoughts, “You forces of Demon spirits, for me a yogi who due to the kind compassion of my master understand the true nature of Reality, all obstacles – the manifestations of Demons are but adornments of my mind. Increase your harm so that I may swiftly merge with the Supreme enlightenment.
Then he sang this song of ‘The Seven Great Adornments’:
At the feet of Lord Marpa the Translator, I pay homage.
I, the yogi who understands the nature of Reality
Sing a song of ‘The Seven Adornments’.
You male and female harmful spirits assembled here;
Do not be distracted and with your ears attuned, listen well.
On the supremely perfect stupa of the mountain in the centre,
Radiate the rays of the southern vaidurya;
The earth is an adornment of the heavens.
High above Sumeru that holds the Great Tree,
Shine beams of the sun and moon in unison;
They are the adornments of all the ‘Four continents’.
The Naga’s mind of enlightenment, miraculously
Bring down rains from the empty heavens;
It’s an adornment of congested earth.
From the water vapours of the outer oceans,
Appear Southern clouds over all of intermediate space;
Southern clouds are an adornment of space.
The interdependence of the elements – heat and moisture
Beautify summer slopes of hills and vales with rainbows;
Rainbows are an adornment of mounts and meadows.
From the West bereft of warmth, waters descended
And in Southern Zambuling vegetations flourish;
That’s an adornment of all live forms and beings.
For me the yogi, holding fast to hermitages;
By the power of meditating on the void nature of mind,
Appeared conjurations of spirits and Noejins – male and female;
The magical manifestations are the adornment of the yogi.
Listen well, you Non-human beings.
Me a human, do you recognize my face?
If my face, you do not recognize;
I am the yogi, Milarepa.
From deep down within arose the flower of a loving mind;
With songs of sweet melody do unite words;
With truthful speech have expounded the Dharma
And with an altruistic mind have discussed.
Though you don’t cultivate your mind towards enlightenment,
And are unable to accomplish the welfare of others;
At least renounce the ten non-virtues
And the liberation of self-peace and happiness will certainly attain.
If you do heed my words, great meaning your life will accomplish;
Now the holy Dharma practice and long-term happiness achieve.
After he had spoken these words, most of the Non-humans were transformed and developed faith and reverence towards Jetsun. The manifestations subsided.
“Wondrous yogi, if the symbols of the nature of reality had not been untied and the signs had not been seen even we could not have understood. Now we will not create obstacles for you. Though we are grateful to you for the earlier teachings on Cause and Effect, as a result of our heavy negative imprints and feeble intellect we cannot retain it in our minds. Now kindly grant a teaching that is of few words yet of great meaning; easy to understand yet undemanding in practice.”
Jetsun then sang this song of ‘The Seven Truths’:
At the feet of Marpa the Translator, I pay homage.
Bless me to become accomplished in bodhicitta.
If not related to the words of Ultimate truth,
However pleasing and melodious the song, ’tis but a piwang.
If not demonstrated by similes that accord with Dharma,
Though expert in combining words, ’tis but a dram-nyen.
If Dharma practice is not carried on the mind-stream,
Though claiming, “I know”, ’tis but deception.
If meditating not on instructions of the Hearing lineage,
Though holding fast to solitude, ’tis but self-mortification.
If not practicing holy Dharma that truly benefits,
Though diligently labouring now, ’tis but creating suffering.
If not paying heed to Causality in its finer details,
Though words be great counsels, ’tis but wishful prayers.
If the meaning of words is not internalized and truly acted out,
Though expounding for years, ’tis but slander.
Non-virtuous actions avoided, gradually one accomplishes;
Virtuous actions practised, with energy one accomplishes.
Into one essential point gather and internalize it;
Talking of many words is of little benefit;
These points into your own experience, internalize.
After these words, the congregation was transformed and they were filled with faith and reverence for Jetsun. They prostrated and circumambulated him numerous times. All of them returned to their own abodes but a few of the principal demon Bharo’s followers and companions once again created magical conjurations.
Jetsun again sang this song of ‘The teaching of Causality’:
At the feet of Compassionate Marpa, I pay homage.
Continue to listen, you Non-human beings.
For bodies to travel through space, there are no impediments;
Imprints of negative thoughts, on the mind-streams solidified;
With the fangs of delusion, you thirst for and rage at others;
The negativities of creating suffering for others, only tortures oneself.
The truth of Cause and Effect is never scattered or lost;
From the complete ripening power of deeds, no possibility of escape;
By your own self, you are tortured and hated.
For the confusion and mistakes of Atsama hungry ghosts;
O what sadness! On the power of negative actions
If you contemplate thus, the energy winds of the heart rise.
In the past too, negative karma you amassed and amassed;
Even now you desire to accumulate negative karma.
Caught by the evil sins of killing and cutting,
For food, flesh and blood you relish;
For occupation, lives of sentient beings you take.
From among the six realms, the form of hungry ghosts;
Having committed evil acts, to the lower realms descend.
Oh how regrettable! To the Dharma, turn your minds;
Swiftly accomplish the joy that’s free of hopes and doubts.
When he had sung, they questioned him saying, “You have so expertly expounded the Dharma to us. Now we understand it. Speak to us of the conviction you have gained by practicing and internalizing into your experience what we have just heard.”
Jetsun then sang this song of ‘Confident Conviction’:
At the feet of renowned Marpa, I pay homage.
I, the yogi realizing the Ultimate truth
In the unborn ground state, have assurances gained;
On the unobstructed path, its skills have gradually perfected;
With the method of Great compassion have words united;
And from the expanse of the Ultimate Reality, I sing a song.
You with negative karma, veiled by thick obscurations;
Though you cannot understand the real nature of Absolute truth,
I will expound a teaching of Expedient truth.
In times past, the all-knowing Buddha
In the sutras and tantras with stainless instructions
Spoke with emphasis on the Dharma of Causality.
It’s the sole companion of all sentient beings;
It’s the undeceiving point; the ‘Words of Truth’ with certainty.
You too, to the words of Lord of Love listen.
I, this yogi trained in the Experiential lineage,
To the external, mistaken appearance of hindrances, I looked about;
Understood them as being the manifestations of Unborn mind.
To the internal Awareness Rigpa of mind, I looked within;
Saw the Nature of Mind, rootless and primordially empty.
Through the blessings of the Lama;
The virtuous qualities of meditating in solitude;
And the great lineage of Lord Naropa have realized.
The meaning unmistaken, on the Conqueror’s intent meditated.
The intents of the lineages and divisions of the profound method,
The Lord Lama untied the essential points.
By the power of constant meditation on the two stages
To understand the interdependence of inner channels and points,
For the hindrances of external manifestations, I have no fear.
Among us the lineage of the Great Brahmin,
Innumerable yogis there are, like the glorious heavens;
Having trained and trained on the meaning of the Simplicity of Mind,
Awareness of mistaken appearances into the expanse vanish;
Harmful acts and harmful actors, I do not see;
Even opening the scriptures of the Tripitaka Dharma,
No meaning other than this is there; of this one can be certain.
After hearing these, the formless spirit Bharo and his followers took off their headdresses, prostrated and circumambulated him many times, offered to provide a month’s supply of provisions and then left, vanishing like a rainbow.
Early the next morning at day break, just as the sun came up the spirit Bharo and his earlier retinue surrounded by a large number of beautifully ornamented feminine Bharima spirits appeared. They brought vessels of precious gems filled with grape wine and other drinks and excellent brass receptacles of rice and meat and other delicacies. They volunteered henceforth to be subjects at his command and gave their word to accomplish whatever he ordered. Then prostrating and circumambulating a large number of times they vanished out of sight. This formless spirit was also known as Gyalpo Thangdrem and he was a leader of a vast horde of spirit deities.
Following this Jetsun’s meditation progressed immensely, his health continued to be excellent and for a period of one month he remained totally free from feelings of thirst and hunger.
Then as Jetsun had internalized the holy site of Lachi Chuzang he set forth to visit the Base of the Lachi site. In his path he encountered a vast plain of Tamarisk with a huge rock possessing an overhanging shelter. While he stayed there for a brief period numerous Dakinis appeared, prostrated themselves, offered various objects pleasing to the senses and circumambulated him. The Dakinis left two footprints on stone and then left in the way rainbows vanish.
Going on a little further, the Non-humans created magical manifestations that displayed enormous female organs which appeared all along the route. Jetsun too in his state of wrathful gaze activated the ‘Pliant Secret Vajra’ and travelled on. At the point where he passed by nine organs the essence of the site was assembled in stone. He applied the wrathful gaze and placed a Secret Vajra organ in stone within it. This place where all the magical manifestations subsided became known as the ‘Nine Passes and Valleys’.
As he approached the Base of the holy site, the earlier spirit leader – Bharo was present to welcome him. He presented offerings, then built up a teaching throne and requested teachings. Jetsun gave many teachings on Cause and Effect, at the end of which the spirits were absorbed into a large boulder in front of the teaching throne.
Jetsun then went to the Base of the holy site and in a mood of tremendous joyfulness he stayed there for about a month after which he went to Nyanang Tsarma and proclaimed to the patrons, “Staying at Drelung Kyokmo itself, I have tamed the Demon spirits and it has become a holy site of accomplishment. Now it’s turned to its origins, a place of meditation.” They all developed supreme faith in him. This is the account of the incident at Chuzang on the journey to Lachi.