When did you last see a Lama?

When did you last see a Lama?

When Paltrül was a young Lama, he once travelled in the company of the First Dodrüpchen and his friend Gyalwé Jig’mèd Nyu-gu. These two Lamas were amongst the principal disciples of the great Jig’mèd Lingpa, and were themselves highly respected incarnations. They had all donned the nomad-style sheepskin chubas that were the favourite costume of DoKhyentsé Yeshé Dorje Rinpoche (Paltrül’s root teacher, the rebirth of Jig’mèd Lingpa) and were striding out in the direction of Dodrüpchen gompa. After some time of walking they settled down for the evening, and lit a fire against both cold and wolves.

Whilst seated around their campfire they were accosted by some members of a relatively well-to-do family who were at their wits’ end. The family was returning from Dodrüpchen gompa in a state of high anxiety. They burst in on the three travellers and, without so much as an introduction, launched in on what was distressing them: “Old grampa is dead and we can’t find anyone anywhere who can perform the death rites for him. D’you know where there might be any kind of Lama, or some monks at least, who could come to our home and perform the rites?” Dodrüpchen asked them whether they had tried at Dodrüpchen gompa, to which they replied: “Yes, we have just come from there – but three important Lamas are expected soon for a large ceremony, and no one can be spared.” Dodrüpchen asked whether they had requested rites to be performed for them at the gompa, to which they replied: “Yes, but who knows what will happen when these important Lamas arrive – maybe our grampa will be forgotten because of this important event! Are you sure you don’t know of any Lama or monks anywhere who will come to our home?” Dodrüpchen furrowed his brow, and replied – “Well... I’m sure that these important dignitaries will not forget your old grampa... but, tell me – would the Lama need to be a monk to fit your bill?”

The relatives of the deceased were perplexed: “How else could he be a Lama if he were not a monk?” Dodrüpchen pondered the question as if it were the most baffling riddle, and finally said, “Well there’s a thing and no mistake... you have me there... that’s a question to be sure...” and then, turning to Jig’mèd Nyu-gu, he asked: “What do you think, friend?” At that point the two Lamas fell to a pantomime performance in which each kept asking the other: “Lamas?” to which the other would reply: “Lamas...” Then Jig’mèd Nyu-gu sighed in mock consternation, “Now let me think...” and Dodrüpchen sighed: “Monks... now let me consider this problem...” To which Jig’mèd Nyu-gu Dodrüpchen responded “Monks... Mmmm... where would one find monks?” Jig’mèd Nyu-gu shook his head “I really don’t know where you might find monks so far out in the sticks – but may I ask, my friend, when did you last see a Lama?” Dodrüpchen scratched his head, “You’re asking me – ‘when – did – I – last – see – a Lama’. Now that’s a question... When did you last see a Lama?” Jig’mèd Nyu-gu replied: “Well, my friend, I could ask you the same, and I think that I just did – but not to put too fine a point on it, I’d say that the question of ‘time’ doesn’t exactly come into it... does it?” To which Dodrüpchen answered: “Well said! Well said! Yah, yah, yah... I see your point... It’s a sticky question...” And this style of discussion went on for a period of time which nearly drove the relatives insane with frustration. One of them cried out: “Enough already with this ‘Lama’ business! Are you crazy? You’ve either seen Lamas or you haven’t!” At which point Jig’mèd Nyu-gu asked: “Are you sure it’s not better to leave things be? Are you sure it’s not better to rely on the monks at Dodrüpchen to perform rites for you? We’re sure your request won’t be forgotten.” But the relatives were not happy with leaving anything to chance, and sat around in a dejected manner, talking amongst themselves and wondering what to do.

As they were talking, various other stragglers from the family caught up with the main party. One of the latecomers was a young girl who noticed that there were péchas (religious texts) wrapped up in the bundles that the three yogis had placed in a sheltered spot. The wind had whipped up the side of the backpack that Paltrül was carrying, and sure enough there were péchas there. “Maybe they can help!” she called out, “They have péchas!” The eldest of the relatives looked, and sure enough the girl was right. “Can you read these péchas you carry?” The three yogis nodded. Yes – they could all read. “What pécha are these péchas that you have with you?” The three yogis told the old man that they were texts connected to Dodrüpchen gompa, in whose direction they where headed – and that amongst them, there were tödrol (“Book of the Dead”) texts. “Then although you are not monks, will you at least come and chant these texts for us? We will provide you with generous offerings! Please come! Your are our only hope!” Dodrüpchen answered, “Well yes, of course we will come, but you said that you wanted monks? If you want monks, would you be better off remaining here, in case any monks come along?” The eldest of the relatives looked vexed. “That doesn’t matter, you have the texts and that is what counts. As long as you know how to read.” Then over his shoulder he asked, with barely concealed suspicion: “You do know, how to read don’t you?” The three yogis nodded, and Dodrüpchen Rinpoche added: “We can read well enough to recite these texts for you – there is no need to worry if that is all you want from us.”

So it was that the three yogis agreed to help – but said that they could only remain for three days. They were actually on their way to Dodrüpchen gompa. They could not delay by too long because of the important ceremonies that were to take place, and the gompa awaited the arrival of the three great Lamas. They said nothing of this, however, to the party they had agreed to help – they merely said that they would like to be at Dodrüpchen gompa for the event. The relatives agreed and decided to keep quiet about a certain fact which was likely to have influenced the yogis in their decision to stay – namely, the fact that the ceremonies were due to start in two days. It was due to this that no one had been able to come from the gompa to perform rites in their home—

At this point the teller of the tale abruptly stops.

It is for you to finish . . . for now . . .

that's f'sure and f'certain

that’s f’sure and f’certain

One night Dza Paltrül was lying up in the grassy crags above Dzogchen Gompa—easy and relaxed—practising namkha sum-trug (nam mKha’ sum phrug gi dGongs pa) as was his wont. Namkha sum-trug is ‘the self-realisation of the 3 skies’ – and involves staring into the night.

Nyoshul was lying there with him not too far removed – and, after what seemed like several years, Dza Paltrül addressed him: “Hey, Nyoshul m’lad . . . didn’t you once tell me that you hadn’t recognised the nature of the Mind?” Nyoshul replied “That’s right—I am a dolt—that’s f’sure and f’certain.” Dza Paltrül smiled: “No need to be hard on yourself m’lad – but there’s nothing much between you and recognising that.” A moment of silence followed after which Dza Paltrül said: “D’you see the stars?” and Nyoshul replied: “Yes—I see them.” Another moment of silence: “D’you hear them dogs barking down around Dzogchen Gompa?” to which Nyoshul replied: “Yes—I do believe I hear em.” Then suddenly Dza Paltrül snapped his fingers and shouted: “That—is the nature of Mind.” After that Nyoshul knew the nature of Mind – that was f’sure and f’certain.

Damn right Nyoshul

Dza Paltrül was biding his time. He was in mountain retreat with his disciples, doing and saying little apart from what seemed to be needed in the moment. He wasn’t one for shooting the breeze, but then – one day – the wind changed. A breeze laden with the fragrances of highland herbs stirred in the hermitage – but Nyoshul didn’t really notice. Nyoshul looked a little flat and enervated. Dza Paltrül took a sideways glance at him, and perceiving Nyoshul’s dull state of mind, he called out: “Hey! Nyoshul! Get lively!” Nyoshul jumped a little on hearing his Lama’s voice directed at him in such a crisp manner. He apologised for his flatness of affect; but Paltrül waved his hand to indicate that an apology was not necessary. Paltrül grinned, and suggested: “Why don’t you’n me both, take a long walk over yonder?” Nyoshul was still taking in these words when he realised that Paltrül had leapt to his feet and was headed off at a brisk pace in the direction of the high pastures. “Sheep country!” Paltrül quipped over his shoulder, but Nyoshul didn’t have an inkling of what might be amusing in such a statement. He scrambled after his Lama with as much decorum as he could muster.

After about three hours walk without a word exchanged, they heard a crack that echoed ominously amongst the mountains. “Yo!” Paltrül shouted to his disciple’s alarm. “D’you hear that! Do—you—hear—that!” Nyoshul had heard the sound, and proffered the speculation that it might have been distant thunder. “Thunder all right my lad!” Paltrül yelled, and then in a whisper: “But not the sort that brings rain...” Nyoshul looked perplexed, so Paltrül confided in an immense bellow: “That... is the sound of liberation!” Again Nyoshul had no idea what his teacher was talking about; but as Paltrül strode ahead, appearing uninterested in elucidating, Nyoshul enquired no further.

Soon they saw a great herd of sheep in the distance. Nyoshul had some slight sense of foreboding that made him feel he should say something: “There are sheep in the distance,” he observed, at which Paltrül smiled broadly. “Damn right Nyoshul!” he murmured with a conspiratorial air that was almost ludicrous. There was definitely some private joke afoot, but it was not to become apparent. ‘This’ thought Nyoshul ‘must have got something to do with sheep...’ but he could not get any further with his line of reasoning. They continued to walk.

Soon they were up in the high pastures amongst the sheep. They seemed unusually lacking in nervousness for sheep, and Nyoshul remarked on it. But again his teacher’s rejoinder was oblique and impenetrable: “Foregone conclusion, Nyoshul! Just as we should have expected! They! are DoKhyentsé’s flock; make—no—mistake!” Paltrül was obviously elated, and striding vigorously in spite of his advancing years.

Having climbed the ridge that lay before them, they halted momentarily to catch breath. Paltrül shaded his eyes to get a clearer view of the distance. “Yo! Nyoshul!” Paltrül shouted at mighty volume – even though he was right next to his disciple. “There! Look! There is—the—gar—of DoKhyentsé Rinpoche!” Nyoshul almost leapt out of his skin at the shout, but composed himself quickly enough – and, yes, there it was. In the distance he could just make out small white flecks that could quite possibly have been tents. They were a long way off, but it was evident that this was their destination.

Now Nyoshul had heard a lot about DoKhyentsé, and what he had heard was all utterly astonishing. The Lama was an enlightened maniac by all accounts, and held in the very highest esteem by many Nyingma Lamas. It was said by some that he was one of the greatest living masters of his age. He was the incarnation of Jig’mèd Lingpa. Fragments of a picture began to shape themselves – but Nyoshul could not manage to tie them together in a way that made any sense. Paltrül was certainly acting in a singularly strange manner – but why? What was this shouting all about? Something unusual was evidently in the air, but what it could be, Nyoshul could not guess.

DoKhyentsé had known about his visitors since early that morning, and now he espied the pair from a distance. He knew through his innate clarity that his disciple Dza Paltrül Rinpoche was coming. He knew also that with him, Paltrül had a disciple of his own – a man who needed to break through some obstacles. They would have travelled all day by foot, and they would doubtless be tired and hungry – so preparations were made for their comfort. A tent had been arranged for their privacy. Bedding had been appropriated and arranged in a commodious manner. Food had been organised, and was in the process of being cooked. Chang had been allocated, and stood awaiting in wooden pitchers, ready to quaff.

When the two Lamas arrived, disciples of DoKhyentsé came to meet them and escorted them into the maniacal drüpchen’s tent. DoKhyentsé welcomed them in grand style and bade them sit down on the thick pile of sumptuous carpets and sheep skins arranged for them. He was dressed in a fine chuba made of lamb skins and sat on the scattered skins of leopards and tigers. They found DoKhyentsé in the final stages of cleaning, oiling, and re-assembling his rifle. The sight of the rifle was a bit much for Nyoshul – he had certain ideas about that kind of thing. Nonetheless, he sat down along with Paltrül, and the three Lamas talked. They talked about the way things had been, the way things were going, and the way things might turn out. A somewhat matter-of-fact conversation, with no particularly spiritual inclination as far as Nyoshul could ascertain – but every time DoKhyentsé addressed him, it was with some extraordinary appellation such as ‘dangerous ruffian’, ‘savage barbarian’, ‘audacious scallywag’, ‘incongruous reprobate’, ‘degenerate miscreant’, or ‘impetuous rapscallion’.

“Nice rifle, Rinpoche,” commented Paltrül. “Certainly! British – not an Indian rifle or an old smoothbore – this – is an Enfield – a ‘Pattern 1853’ with a rifled barrel! Came from India last month... I’ve been waiting on this for a good while now – damnedest thing I ever saw,” DoKhyentsé chuckled, passing the gun to Paltrül. “Shoots well?” Paltrül enquired, whilst examining the various functional components of the weapon. “Damn right!” laughed DoKhyentsé. Each phrase that DoKhyentsé turned was delivered with shocking volume. It was eerily similar to the style Paltrül had employed during their trek up to the gar. The pieces of picture in Nyoshul’s mind looked as if they were going to assemble themselves coherently for an instant – but they didn’t. Nyoshul’s bewilderment simply escalated.

DoKhyentsé was continuing with some discussion of powder, shot, and muzzle velocity, when he caught sight of attendants in his peripheral vision. “Ah!” he yelled, “But I see a feast is ready! And...” he interjected, “dispatched! With—this—very—gun; in honour of—your visit!” Paltrül had passed the rifle to Nyoshul, only moments before, and he was engaged in a personal struggle to find something interesting about this ‘horrible implement of death’, when DoKhyentsé made his announcement about its recent use. “Butchered! Jus—for, you. What d’you think about that, eh Nyoshul m’boy?” Nyoshul was mortified; and, finding himself minutely observed by both Lamas, squirmed grievously. He gave a sickly smile as he passed the weapon back to its ferocious owner, “Thank you Rinpoche,” being all he could manage to say. He was now feeling monstrously uncomfortable, and wondering why Paltrül had brought him into the presence of this Lama who was doing his best to manifest as the most frightfully depraved hedonist one could imagine. He had heard that DoKhyentsé was a wrathful, mercurial teacher; but this had gone long past anything he could have imagined. The whole affair was beyond his understanding to say the least.

Now Nyoshul knew Paltrül to be vegetarian, and so things started looking even worse when his master started slamming into the lamb with unconcealed gusto. Nyoshul knew that not only was Dza Paltrül vegetarian, but that his teacher would always go out of his way to save life where ever he could. Nyoshul had often seen Dza Paltrül refuse to visit nomad camps if he knew there was any chance of an animal being killed for the specific purposes of feeding his party. He was not one of those Lamas who believed in the concept of ‘the heart not grieving over anything the eye had not seen’. Paltrül did not believe in innocence through contrived ignorance, and yet here he was acting completely out of character. It was like a bad dream or some kind of wildly incongruous nyam.

Looking at Nyoshul’s dazed expression, DoKhyentsé hacked off an enormous steak of lamb and hefted it deftly into Nyoshul’s bowl, yelling “Hey, Nyoshul! You murderous little devil, get your mincers round this!” Nyoshul gasped – but his devotion to Paltrül was such that he thanked his utterly shocking host and proceeded to nibble at the slaughtered flesh as if it had been roasted for his personal anguish. It was so evident that he was not enjoying his food, that Paltrül noticed his timid lack-lustre style, and nudged him in the ribs: “Eat! eat!” Paltrül encouraged. Poor Nyoshul. This was an abhorrent ordeal for him. He was practically bug-eyed with confusion as DoKhyentsé and Paltrül devoured abundant servings of meat.

Having concluded their repast, and cut the grease with some rather excellent chang, Paltrül requested some brief essential teaching. DoKhyentsé acceded with alacrity, and spontaneously decided to reveal something that he had long kept hidden. “For many years I have wanted to give you this teaching Paltrül, and tonight is the night! I am extremely happy to give it to you now – you have waited long enough.” Then he took a long careful look at Nyoshul, who was by now practically deranged. “And...” he added, “this drooling debauchee here – this insatiable inebriate... He can also receive this teaching. He’s a funny little fellow but he has a good heart.” Nyoshul was somewhat aghast at being described as a debauchee, but felt himself unusually privileged nonetheless. To receive a transmission from such master was a rare thing, no matter how bewildering the circumstances. And so it was. It was the most searingly direct of pointing-out instructions – the most brilliantly eloquent yet refreshingly simple teaching. Nyoshul was utterly rapt. His attention was totally absorbed with the words of DoKhyentsé, and once the teaching was concluded Nyoshul was left in complete shock. Bewildered incomprehension: DoKhyentsé was a realised Lama who toted a gun – an enlightened master who slaughtered sheep. This was the most terrible ambivalence, but some how he had gone so far into experiential overload that he was quite relaxed – there was nothing left with which to struggle.

When Paltrül and Nyoshul took their leave at the conclusion of the teaching, DoKhyentsé touched foreheads with them both. He looked lovingly at Nyoshul for the first time since he arrived and wished him a comfortable night in the friendliest, most gracious manner. It was quite uncharacteristic for DoKhyentsé to behave in a style befitting a venerable ecclesiastic, but on this occasion he manifested the benign serenity one might expect of the archetypal saint.

Nyoshul, almost paralytic with pure pleasure, was reeling as he made his way to the tent set aside for them. Before entering and bedding down for the night, he and Paltrül stood for a while looking at the stars. “What a day, what—a—day!” Paltrül exclaimed taking in the endless view, “I’ve been your teacher for a long stretch, haven’t I dear Nyoshul... but I’ve never given you anything as marvellous as you’ve just received.” Nyoshul was speechless, but it didn’t matter – there was nothing to say. “Y’know, my friend, with all my experience, I couldn’t guarantee to send you off to the copper-coloured mountain if you were to die tonight,” Paltrül sighed. “What a pity the two of us couldn’t be sheep in this marvellous herd! Every sheep here will find itself liberated into that dimension in the instant of its death!” Nyoshul’s eyes filled with tears: “Then DoKhyentsé Yeshé Dorje is, in reality, none other than Padmasambhava.” Paltrül smiled warmly at Nyoshul, and replied quietly, and very gently: “Damn right Nyoshul.”

The best kind of practice

The best kind of practice

Paltrül being foot-loose and fancy-free, as was his wont, was always coming across situations in which he could let the passage of events do what it would. Whilst roaming the highlands of Kham, Paltrül came upon a company of religious types travelling to the South. He asked whether, as a practitioner, he might join them. The monks said that they would have to ask one of the Lamas in the caravan, and that if he was agreeable there would be no difficulty – as long as he could pitch in with the work that had to be done. Paltrül seemed pleased with this arrangement, and after the agreement of one of the Lamas was sought and gained, he was put to work gathering firewood. Paltrül was evidently very willing to do whatever he was asked, and the monks soon realised they were onto a good thing. Soon he was doing a share of everyone’s work. Behind his back the monks shared a jest about it: “Hey, this village ngakpa knows the best kind of practice, doesn’t he?”

And so it went on. One day Paltrül asked one of the monks: “What do you do when you don’t have the work of the camp to do?” The monk looked at him curiously, and wondered if their run of luck with the hard-working village ngakpa had come to an end. “Oh, we have no free time. All our time is spent practising.” Paltrül looked surprised: “Is that a fact... really... that’s just perfect,” he intoned, “Ya-tsen – what a thing it surely must be to be monk, such as you and your colleagues here.” The monk smiled self-consciously, “Yes,” he said, “it is the way of virtue, as laid down by the Buddha.” This was getting a trifle uncomfortable for the monk, and so he decided he had better ask a question, if only to change the subject: “But what do you do for religious practice?” Paltrül looked sheepish, and replied: “Me... Oh well, I just do my best to leave my Mind as it is.” The monk giggled at this, and said: “Poor fellow, you don’t know too much about religion do you.” Paltrül shook his head: “Seems that way sure ’nough – but I’m happy to help y’all create merit and share in that a little if I can.” The monk smiled nervously and excused himself – not knowing what to make of the conversation in which he had just engaged. Was this village ngakpa a kindly well-mannered simpleton, or what? Still, as long as he continued to do the bulk of the work, it seemed better not to ask too many questions.

After a week they arrived in the vicinity of a Kagyüd gompa, where an empowerment was going to be given by Tashi ’ö-Ser Rinpoche, one of the major disciples of the great Kongtrül Lödrö Tha-yé. The travelling assembly of ecclesiastics got wind of this and decided it would be good to attend. Camp was pitched, and the Lamas’ horses were decked out in the prescribed manner – exquisitely caparisoned with ornately carved and gilded saddles. The Lamas and their attendants wore their finest robes and hats for the occasion and arrived with parasols and banners fluttering. The entourage displayed the profusion of polychromatic religious pageantry of which only the Tibetan sense of the grandiose is capable. It caused great wonder amongst the villagers who came to admire the spectacle of their arrival. Paltrül was something of an embarrassment to the calculated dignity of the monastic cavalcade, and waited until a discreet interval had elapsed before he followed them into the courtyard of the gompa.

The place was very crowded for the empowerment, and at its conclusion it took several hours for Tashi ’ö-Sér Rinpoche to bless the assembly. First came the highest of the visiting dignitaries with whom he touched foreheads – then the lesser, whose heads he touched with both hands. Then came others according to rank, and gradually the touch of one hand was followed by the touch of a yak hair whisk. The very last of all to receive a blessing was Paltrül, but ’ö-Sér Rinpoche had seen him coming and was too quick. Before Paltrül had approached the throne ’ö-Sér Rinpoche had handed him the yak hair whisk and was performing full prostrations.

’ö-Sér Rinpoche offered his throne to Paltrül and took the lower one for himself. When they had seated themselves, to the amazement of all, ’ö-Sér Rinpoche introduced the great Dza Paltrül Rinpoche – friend of his own teacher Kongtrül Lödrö Tha-yé.

Your mother is your real teacher

Your mother is your real teacher

Dza Paltrül was sitting one day with his devoted disciple Nyoshul Lungthog. They were sitting in silence, as they were wont to do on occasion, when Paltrül questioned Nyoshul rather abruptly: “Hey, Nyoshul! How often d’you think about your mother?” Nyoshul looked a bit perplexed, but answered: “Well... not really very often. I try to keep my mind on my practice mostly.” Paltrül frowned but said nothing further. A while later, Paltrül suddenly announced: “But your mother has been thinking a lot about you.” Nyoshul replied that he thought that was indeed possible, to which Paltrül asked: “Do you remember her in your practice?” Nyoshul wondered where this line of questioning was leading. “Sometimes...” he replied, “but in general I try to contemplate the suffering of all sentient beings.” Paltrül was looking out of the window at this point, in a disinterested manner. “And so you say...” Paltrül sighed, but had nothing further to add. It seemed as if it was time for Nyoshul to take his leave. He offered his respects and backed toward the door, but Paltrül ignored him.

The next day some butter arrived for Nyoshul, as a present from his mother. He went immediately to see Paltrül and offered it to him. It was a very fresh, fine, and flavoursome consignment of butter which the dear old lady had lovingly churned herself. To Nyoshul’s perplexity, his teacher was appeared displeased with the butter and pushed it away as if it offended him. He watched his disciple for a moment, and then exploded: “You miserable little sod Nyoshul! Where are you! What are you thinking of! Is this any way to treat your mother! Get out of here! I don’t want to see your face for a week you crawler! Spend the time contemplating nothing but your mother’s kindness, or don’t bother to call on me again!” Nyoshul was rather petrified by this chastisement and scuttled off into retreat for a week.

After the week was up, Nyoshul went to see Paltrül in a state of amazement. He had thought about the kindness of his mother continuously, and it had moved him to such a degree that he finally understood something of the core of what it means to wish for the Liberation of everyone. As he spoke to Paltrül of what had happened to him in his contemplation, tears flooded down his face. He begged leave to visit his mother one last time before she died. But Paltrül said: “No, you must not go just yet, there’s still more for you to practice.” Nyoshul looked stricken at the thought, “But what if she dies before I see her again?” Paltrül looked at him and smiled, saying: “There are pilgrims coming to see us in a day or two – we need to see them first, but you will not be long delayed.” Nyoshul returned to his meditation, and felt emotionally burnt to a cinder by a fire in his heart that kept becoming more expansive. By the time Paltrül summoned him his experience had evolved to a pitch that was physically almost unendurable. Paltrül obviously understood exactly what was happening to Nyoshul. He had nothing much to say but smiled and advised him to relax a little.

The two Lamas received the pilgrims, and Paltrül surprised Nyoshul by accepting all their offerings. When the pilgrims had left, Paltrül said: “Now go see your mother. You were right, she doesn’t have long, but long enough for you to spend time with her. Take these offerings to her as a present. That’ll make her happy. Stay with her when she dies and practice the passage of the bardos with her. Once it’s all over you can return here, because I have something to tell you.”

Nyoshul followed his teacher’s instruction. His mother was delighted to see him after many years, and said nothing in the way of an admonition for his neglect of her. She was deeply moved by the presents he brought her, and the effect this had on Nyoshul simply propelled him further into the rising tide of meditational experience that had begun with his contemplation of his mother’s kindness. It seemed that there was no end to the energy that was manifesting.

After some months his mother died. He remained to perform all the necessary rites and bardo meditations. He became aware that his mother was a great practitioner herself, and that she needed little assistance from him in the dissolution of the elements. Once the period of meditations was concluded, Nyoshul returned to Paltrül for what was to be the last time. Arriving back in Dza-chukha he presented himself to his Lama, who addressed him in a very kind and loving manner. “It’s now time for you to go into a long retreat, and when you come out, I shall also be gone. Always remember your mother’s kindness, Nyoshul, and remember how you received this transmission.” During the next days Paltrül gave his student much advice, before Nyoshul finally went on his way to the meditation cave determined for him. As he was leaving Paltrül called out to him a few parting words: “Remember your mother Nyoshul! Your mother was your real teacher!”

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