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Milarepa - Rechungpa-s Repentance - Unchecked

DISCLAIMER - This transcript has not been checked by Sangharakshita, and may contain mistakes and mishearings. Checked and reprinted copies of all seminars will be available as part of the Complete Works Project.

by Sangharakshita

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... away from his guru. He has gone ostensibly to, you know, to collect water, but instead
of doing what he is supposed to do, he has got caught up in this, this fantasy, this imagination,
whatever it is. He has got caught up in the samsara. Re is seeing one generation succeeding
another, he is absorbed he is fascinated. He has forgotten all about Milarepa and about
bringing the water. So it is as though it's a symbo~ of the cosmic process itself. Do you see
what I mean? The samsara, you know, proceed- ing.The wheel of life turning and it goes on
turning and turning, time and time again. And you are just lost in that, absorbed in that, and
you have forgotten the true purpose of your existence. (Pause.)
That is what it seems to
represent. So these wild mountain goats frisked about so happily, with such inno- cence and
spontaneity ~tRechungawasamazed. He thought "These mountain goats are even livelier and
in m~~wuwas better than those of Baltang." \ith great intTh~sthe watched them play for some
time. He had forgotten, as I said, about Milarepa, about bringing the water, about you know
what they were supposed to be doing. And this is what one sometimes finds happening. You
can be distracted, you can completely forget the rca-i purpose of your existence. Sometimes
you can forget why you c-~me on retreat. Certainly you can forget, you know, why you were
born into this world, so to spe~k. i~oi.~ just become immersed in the play of s~dis-~ra itself.
You forget that there is something else to do, that you cannot just sort of stand there watching
itthe whole time. atching it, not in the sense of being aware and mindful, but just in the sense
of allowing your mind to be ca tured by it and taken away by it and c-~rried away by it.
Pause.)
So
with great interest he watched them play for some time. (Pause.) But
one knows that this is a characteristic of the mind, isn't it? To be very easily led astray.
Voice: How do you think it differs from.. ..You say you can be absorbed in the samsara, I
mean in the sense that he has not seen throQgh it. I mean he's.... I mean you have to see....I
would have thought that you have to see through the S~msara in order to understand Nirvana.
So how does bis....let's say how does his differ? Is he just superficial?
-5-
S:
He is differing in the sense that he is sort of taking delight in the process itself. He
does not see its limitations. He does not perhaps see the painful or unpleasant side of it either.
He sees it in a very one- sided manner. He is absorbed in it as something, well, complete in
itself, something real, even something absol- utely real, as something truly pleasurable. He
does not look beyond it, he does not look into it any deeper.
(Pause.) Well, all right,
read the next paragraph.
Voice: ~~eanwhileIAilareawhp had lit the fire, ~d the books that Rechungpa had brought
back from India and said with reat corn assion: "I sincerel ra to all Dakinis. I pray you to
save and keep the Formless Dakini's Dharma for which I sent from India-the teachin~s that
will benefit the -octrine and all sentient beings! I sincerel ra to all Guards of Dharma to
destro all heretical books of vicious Mantras that will certainly ~n reat harm to the
and
to sentient bein~s!" After this prayer, Milarepa meditated for a short time; and then he burned
most of the books until only a few incomple;te folios were left.
S:Mmm.
So, Meanwhile Milarepa, who had lit the fire, opened the books that
Rechungpa had brought back from India. You may or may not know that prior to this
Rechungpa went to India on a journey, his third journey, against the a~vice of Milarepa. He
went with the intention of studying logic and science so as to be more powerful, more
proficient in debate,and conquer the logicians. So Milarepa did not want him to go to India
but since he insisted, Milarepa said, "All right, you go, but don't go just for the sake of
science and logic. Go for the sake of obtaining the five Formless Dakini Dharmas which I did
not obtain when I was there, you knovy, when I was with my teacher." So, eh, Rechungpa
apparently has obtained these, he has brought these books or rather he has brought back the
books dealing with those particular teachings.
Voice: His teacher would be? Milarepa' 5 teacher would be?
S:
Marpa. Marpa. ~o, Formless Dakini's Dharma.
'Formless' here means absolute or
transcendental. So these are teachings pertaining to quite a high level of spiritual experience.
So Milareps says with great com- passion, "I sincerely pray to all Dakinis. I pray you to save
and keep the Formless Dakini's Dharma £or which I sent from India- the teaching that will
benefit the Doctrine and all; sentient beings! So it suggests that Rechungpa has not in fact
brought the Formless Da-kini's Dharma for which Milarepa sent, you know, from India. So
what has he brought instead?
Abhaya:
Academic works on....
Right, yes, yes. This is not openly stated but it
seems, judging by Milarepa's
actions, that what he meant was that Rechungpa should study those particular teachings, he
should practise them, he should realise
-6-
S(continued): their fruits, but he does not seem to h~ve done that, he has just brougMt back
the books. So he has not brought back the Formless Dakini Dharmas at all really, not in the
true sense.
Uo therefore Milarepa says, "I sincerely pray to all Dakin~s. I pray you to s~ve
and keep the Formless Dakini Dharma for which I sent from India - be cause Rechungpa has
not succeeded in, in saving and keeping it, because he did not practise, he did not experience
the results of the practice, he just brought back the books,which is quite a different matter.
--~~"J sincerel -ra to all Guards ~~armatodestroall heretical books of vicious Mantras that
will certainly bring great harm to the Doctrine and to sentient beings!" ~o that is the other
side of Milarepa's prayer, that the Dakinis will save and preserve the Formless Dakini
Dharmas, that they are not to be preserved by being written down in books and brought to
Tibet in the form of books. And he also prays that they will destroy all heretical books of
vicious mantras. Maybe that means books of black magic. There is also a sort of suggestion
here that if you have not realised the fruits of the T?ormless Dakini Dharmas, well, the actual
books dealing with those teachings are little better than books of blaak magic and they might
as well be burned. There is that sort of suggestion, hmm? Because, you know, teaching of that
kind, teachings coming from a very high level, if they are actually put into practice they do
an~immense amount of good. But if they are misunderstood, and misapplied then they can do
a great amount of harm, almost as though they were books of black magic.
So,-After
this prayer. l~ilarepa meditated for a short tim~and then he burned most of the books until
only a few incomplete folios were le7tr7~~~~~~~~~twas quite a drastic action, yeah? But he
is not going to com- promise. He wanted the real Formless Dakini Dharmas. He wanted them
to be brought back, so to speak, to Tibet. He did not want just the books,and he wanted
ii~echungpa to underst~~nd the difference between realising through practice the Formless
~akini Dharmas, and merely obtaining possession of the books dealing with those particu~ar
te~chings, or allegedly dealing with those particular teachings. All right, go back to
Rechungpa, next paragraph.
Kulamitra:
Now while Rechungpa was watching the mountain goats at play. he saw a
masterful goat take the art of a wolf and drive the flock across the ridge to the other side of
the mountain. At this point Rechungpa thought, "Goodness! I have been dallying too long. I
must go back at once, or the Jetsun will reprimand me.'1 S:
Mmm. Why do you think it was at that point that he rea realised he had been dallying
too long, and that he must get back? Why do you think it was at that point he thought again
0£ Ikifilarepa?
Voice: It's almost....I was thinking like,that the wolf, you know, how this one single body
suddenly coming into the picture of many, many, many sheep, you know, and sort of, of
driving them out. It's like a sort of a single thought coming in quite strongly and just cutting
through whatever was going on. S:
-
Well, you could say that the masterful goat that
took the part of the wolf and drove the flock across
-7-
S(continued): the ridge to the other side of the mountain was a bit like, you know, Milarepa
hims~lf.... eh, eh
driving the sheep-like flock of disciples from one side to the other.
Voice. ~o you could say that, eh, so~ething, ferocious might actually be something beneficial.
~: Well, of course, it was a masterful goat taking the
part of a wolf, it wasn't really
h&rmful. ~o maybe there is a sort of reminiscence of Milarepa there, but at any rate it sort of
brought Rechungpa to his senses, it reminded him of Milarepa.
Voice: I thought it was a bit also like in meditation, you can get sort of a build-up of many
distractions almost, and it does take perhaps just one quite strong sort of reminder to yourself,
and suddenly everything is dispersed and this clears the way almost again.
Kulamitra:
Isn't it a bit also like if you are absorbed in a regular process.If there is ~n
it~r~u:- ...

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