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    Kyobpa Jigten Sumgön

    A Brief Biography of Kyobpa Jigten Sumgön

    The glorious Phagmodrupa had five hundred disciples who possessed the white umbrella; but, as he said again and again, his successor would be an Upasaka who has attained the tenth level of a Bodhisattva. This is the story of that successor, the peerless Great Lord Drikungpa, Jigten Sumgön.  Limitless kalpas ago, Jigten Sumgön was born as the Chakravartin Tsib-Kyi Mu-Khyu. He was the father of a thousand princes, but renounced the kingdom and attained enlightenment and was called the Tathagata Lurik Dronma. Although he had already attained Enlightenment, he appeared later as the Bodhisattva Kunsar Wangkur Gyalpo. At the time of the Buddha Kashyapa, he appeared as the potter Gakyong. At the time of the Buddha Shakyamuni, he appeared as the stainless Licchavi, who was inseparable from the Buddha himself. Later, he was born as the Acharya Nagarjuna. Through these births, he benefited the Buddha's teachings and countless sentient beings.

    Then, so that the essence of the Buddha's teachings might flourish, he was born to a noble family of the Kyura clan in Tibet. His father was Naljorpa Dorje, a great practitioner of Yamantaka, and his mother was Rakyisa Tsunma. Many marvelous signs accompanied the birth. He learned the teachings of Yamantaka from his father, and became expert in reading and writing by the age of four. From his uncle, the Abbot Dharma, the great Ra-Dreng Gom-Chen, the Reverend Khorwa Lung-Khyer, and others, he learned many sutras and tantras. At that time, he was called Tsunpa Kyab, and later, Dorje Pal. Jigten Sumgön's coming was predicted in many sutras and tantras. For example, in the Yeshe Yongsu Gyepa Sutra it is said:

    " In the northern snow ranges will appear a being called Ratna Shri. He will benefit my teachings and be renowned in the three worlds."  

    In the Gongdu Sutra it is said: 

    "At a place called Dri, the Source of the Dharma, Ratna Shri will appear in the Year of the Pig. He will gather a hundred thousand fully ordained monks. After that, he will go to the Ngonga Buddha-Field. He will be called Stainless White Sugata and will have a large retinue." 

    In the Gyalpo Kaithang it is said: 

    "From glorious Samye to the northeast, at a place called Drikung, the source of the Dharma, the Lord-King Trisong Desen will be born in the year of the Pig as the Sugata Ratna Shri. He will gather a hundred thousand bodhisattvas. He will go to the Ngonga Buddha-field and be called Stainless White Sugata. In that Buddha-field, he will become the Fully Perfected King." Thus he was clearly predicted.

    When Jigten Sumgön was still young, his father passed away; the family's fortunes declined; and he supported them by reciting scriptures. Once, he was offered a goat. As he was leading it away it tried to break loose. He pulled back, but the goat dragged him for a short distance and his footprints remain in the rock to this day. When he was eight, he had a vision of Yamantaka and on another occasion, while meditating at Tsib Lungmoche, he saw all the dharmas of samsara and nirvana as insubstantial appearance, like a reflection in a mirror. Even when he was in Kham he was renowned as a yogin. Jigten Sumgön realized the practices of Luminosity and Mahamudra (clarity and emptiness), and in his sleep visited the Arakta Padmai Buddha-field. From the great Ra-Dreng Gom-Chen he learned all the teachings of the Khadampa tradition. From Lama Lhopa Dorje Nyingpo, he received the teachings of Guhyasamaja and others. Once, when there was a drought in Kham, he took the food that was offered to him and distributed it to those who were starving, thus saved many lives. 

    Many important people began to approach Jigten Sumgön for teachings. One, Gonda Pandita, who came from Central Tibet, told him about Phagmodrupa. Just by hearing the name of Phagmodrupa, Jigten Sumgön's mind was moved like the leaves of a kengshu trees are moved by the wind. With great hardship, he traveled from Kham to Central Tibet. A rainbow stretched the entire length of his journey, and the Protector, Dorje Lekpa, took the forms of a rabbit and a child, thus attending him and looking after his needs. Coming to the dangerous, rocky path of Kyere, he found a natural formation of the six-syllable mantra transformed itself into a vision of the face of Phagmodrupa. 

    Jigten Sumgön traveled day and night. On the way, he met a woman and man who said, "We have come from Phagmodru." Seeing them as the guru's emanations, he prostrated. Arriving at the Phagdru Monastery at midnight, he was invited inside by a Khampa . When he met Phagmodrupa, the Guru said, "Now all of my disciples are present. " Jigten Sumgön then offered his teacher a bolt of silk, a bolt of cloth, and his horse - but Phagmodrupa refused the horse, explaining that he did not accept offerings of animals. Jigten Sumgön also offered a bag of food, and Phagmodrupa used it to perform a feast-offering to Chakrasamvara. Then Phagmodrupa gave Jigten Sumgön the Two-Fold Bodhisattva Vow and the name Bodhisattva Ratna Shri. As one vessel fills another, Phagmodrupa gave Jigten Sumgön all the teachings of sutra and tantra. 

    At that time, there lived a woman who was an emanation of Vajrayogini. Phagmodrupa suggested to Taklung Thangpa that he stay with her; but Taklung Thangpa, not wishing to give up his monk's vows, refused, and because of that the emanation passed away. Another disciple, Lingje Repa, then fashioned a cup from the woman's skull. This made him late for the assembly, and the food offerings had already been distributed by the time he got there. Taking the skull-cup, he circulated among the monks, receiving offerings of food from each. The monks gave only small portions, but Phagmodrupa gave a large amount, filling the skull-cup completely, and Jigten Sumgön gave even more, forming a mound of food which covered the skull-cap like an umbrella. Lingje Repa then walked again through the assembly, and as he walked he spontaneously composed and sang a song of praise in twenty verses. Finally, he stopped in front of Jigten Sumgön, offering the food - and the song - to him. From this time onwards, Jigten Sumgön was recognized as Phagmodrupa's Chief Disciple. 

    One day, Phagmodrupa wanted to see if any special signs would arise concerning his three closest disciples, and he gave each of them a foot of red cloth with which to make a meditation hat. Taklung Thangpa used only what he was given. Lingje Repa added a piece of cotton cloth to the front of his hat, and Jigten Sumgön added a second foot of cloth to his, making it much larger. This was considered very auspicious. On another occasion, Phagmodrupa called Jigten Sumgön and Taklung Thangpa and said: "I think that the Tsangpo River is overflowing today. Please go and see." Both disciples saw the river following its normal course, and returned; but Jigten Sumgön, thinking there was some purpose in guru's question, told him: "The river has overflowed, and Central Tibet and Kham are now both under water." 

    This foretold the flourishing of Jigten Sumgön's activities, and he became known as a Master of Interdependent Origination. At this time, in accordance with the predictions made by Phagmodrupa, Jigten Sumgön still held only the vows of an Upasaka. One day, Phagmodrupa asked him to remain behind after the assembly and instructed him in the seven-point posture of Vairochana. Touching him on his head, throat, and heart centers, he said, "OM, AH HUNG" three times and told him, "You will be a great meditator, and for this I rejoice." 

    Jigten Sumgön attended Phagmodrupa for two years and six months. During that time, he received all of his guru's teachings and was told that he would be his successor. At the time of Phagmodrupa's parinirvana, a radiant five-pronged golden vajra emanated from his heart-center and dissolved into the heart-center of Jigten Sumgön, this being seen by all the other disciples. Jigten Sumgön then gave all his belongings to benefit the monastery and to help build a large memorial stupa for his guru. 

    After this, he met many other teachers. From Dakpo Gomtsul he received the Four Yogas of Mahamudra. A patroness then promised him provisions for three years and Jigten Sumgön, earnestly wishing to practice the teachings he had received, retired to the Echung cave to meditate. In those three years, he gained a rough understanding of the outer, inner, and secret aspects of interdependent origination. He then realized that the cause of wandering in samsara is the difficulty prana has in entering the avadhuti, and hence practicing on prana, saw many buddhas and bodhisattvas face-to-face, and had visions of his mind purifying the six realms. Then he went on a pilgrimage to Phagmodru and other holy places. 

    On his return to Echung Cave, he meditated with one-pointed mind. In the same way that maras arose as obstacles to Lord Buddha at the time of his enlightenment, and Tsering Chenga and others tried to hinder Milarepa; the final fruition of Jigten Sumgön's karma arose, and he contracted leprosy. Becoming intensely depressed, he thought, "Now, I should die in this solitary place and transfer my consciousness." He prostrated to an image of Avalokiteshvara that had been blessed many times by Phagmodrupa. At the first prostration, he thought, "Among sentient beings, I am the worst. "At the second, he thought, "I have all the teachings of my guru, including the instructions of bardo and the transference of consciousness, and need have no fear of death." Then, remembering that other beings didn't have these teachings, strong compassion arose in him. In that state of mind, he sat down and generated compassionate thoughts towards others. His sickness left him, like clouds blown away from the sun, and at that moment he attained Buddhahood. He had practiced at the Echung Cave for seven years. 

    Shortly after this, he had a vision of the Seven Taras. Because he had a full understanding of interdependent origination, and realized the unity of discipline (shila) and Mahamudra, he took the vows of a fully-ordained monk. From this time, Jigten Sumgön did not eat meat. As he had already been named by Phagmodrupa as his successor, the chief monks of his guru's monastery invited him to return. After taking the abbot's seat at the monastery, Jigten Sumgön insisted on a strict observance of monastic discipline. One day, some monks said: "We are 'nephews' of Milarepa and should be allowed to drink chang ." Saying this, they drank. When Jigten Sumgön counseled them, they replied, "You yourself should keep the discipline of not harming others." Phagmodrupa then appeared in a vision to Jigten Sumgön and said to him, "Leave this old, silken seat and go to the north. There you will benefit many sentient beings." 

    Jigten Sumgön went north, and on the way, at Nyenchen Thanglha, he was greeted by the protector of that place. At Namra, a spirit-king and his retinue took the Upasaka vow from him, and Jigten Sumgön left one of his foot-prints behind for them as an object of devotion. He gave meditation instruction to vultures flying overhead, and they practiced according to those teachings. Once, at a word from Jigten Sumgön, a horse returned to him that was running away. He also sent an emanation of himself to pacify a war in Bodhgaya begun by the Duruka tribesmen. 

    On another occasion, at Dam, he gave teachings and received many offerings. At the end of a day which had seemed very long, he told the crowd, "Now go immediately to your homes," and suddenly it was just before dawn of the next day. To finish his talk Jigten Sumgön had stopped the sun. When he was at Namra Mountain, Brahma, the king of the gods, requested the vast and profound teachings. On the way to Drikung, the great god Bar-Lha received him. The children of Jenthang built a throne for him, and from which instructed the people of that town. Even the water, which has no mind, listened to his teachings and made the sound, Nagarjuna. 

    Then he came to Drikung Thil. In his thirty-seventh year, he established Drikung Jangchubling, the largest monastery and the main seat of the Drikungpa Kagyupa in Tibet and appointed Pon Gompa Dorje Senge as supervisor for the construction of the monastery. Many monks gathered there and enjoyed the rainfall of the profound dharma. 

    In Tibet, there are nine great protectors of the dharma. Among them, Barlha, Sogra, Chuphen Luwang, Terdrom Menmo, and Namgyal Karpo bowed down at Jigten Sumgön's feet, took the Upasaka vow, and promised to protect the teachings and practitioners of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage. 

    At one time, water was very scarce in Drikung, and in order to relieve the situation, Jigten Sumgön gave 108 turquoise to his attendant, Rinchen Drak, with instructions to hide them in various places. Rinchen Drak hid all but one, which he kept for himself and put in his robe. The turquoises that were hidden became sources of water, and the one he kept turned into a frog. Startled, he threw it away, and in falling it became blind in one eye. Where the frog landed, a stream arose which was called Chumik Shara. Most of these streams were dried up by fire when Drikung Thil was destroyed during the middle of the fourteenth century, but some still remain. 

    On the new and full moon each month, Jigten Sumgön and his monks observed a purification ceremony called Sojong. Once when some monks arrived late and Jigten Sumgön decided to discontinue the practice, but Brahma requested him to maintain that tradition, and he agreed. 

    Jigten Sumgön continued to look after Densa Thil, his old monastery. He also visited Dakla Gampo, the monastery of Gampopa. From Gampopa's image inside the monastery, light rays streamed forth, merging inseparably with Jigten Sumgön and he attained both the ordinary and the extraordinary siddis of the Treasure of Space. Once, the dakinis of the Tsari came bringing the Dakpar Shri, an assembly of 2,800 yidams on a net of horse-hair and presented them to him. In the memory of Phagmodrupa, he built an auspicious stupa of many doors and placed the 2,800 yidams inside, with a door for each one of them. 

    From this there came down the tradition of building stupas in this way. In a vision, he met with Ananda and discussed the teachings. Once, Lama Shang said, "This year, the dakinis of Oddiyana will come to invite me and the great Drikungpa to join them. He is a master of interdependent origination and won't have to go there, but I should go." Soon after this, the dakinis came for him and he passed away; but when they came to invite Jigten Sumgön, he refused, and the dakinis changed their prayer of invitation into a supplication for the guru's longevity. Then all the dakas and dakinis made offerings to him and promised to guide his disciples. 

    Jigten Sumgön had many important disciples, among them: the two Chengas , the Great Abbot Gurawa, Nyo Gyalwa Lhanangpa , Gar Choding, Palchen Choye, Drubtob Nyaske, the two Tsang-tsangs, and others. These were the leaders of the philosophers. The Vinaya-holders were Thakma Dulzin, Dakpo Duldzin, and others. The Kadampa Geshes were Kyo Dorje Nyingpo and others. The translators were Nup, Phakpa, and others. The leaders of the tantrikas were Tre, Ngok, and others. The leaders of the yogins were Dudsi, Belpo, and others. Whenever Jigten Sumgön taught, rainbows appeared and gods rained flowers from the sky. Machen Pomra and other Protectors listened to his teachings, and the kings of Tibet, India, and China were greatly devoted to him. By this time, Jigten Sumgön had 55,525 followers. To feed this ocean of disciples, Matro, the King of the Nagas and the source of all the wealth of Jambudvipa, became the patron of the monastery 

    Near Drikung Thil there was a rock called "Lion-Shoulder", which Jigten Sumgön saw as the mandala of Chakrasamvara. He established a monastery there and, to spread the teachings thus benefiting all sentient beings, he built another Auspicious Stupa of Many Doors, using a special method. At this time he also repaired the Samye monastery. 

    The Chakrasamvara of Five Deities was Jigten Sumgön's main yidam practice and he manifested at times in that form in order to train the more difficult disciples. When a war began in Minyak, in eastern Tibet, he protected the people there through his miracle powers. The number of his disciples increased to 70,000. Many of the most intelligent of these attained enlightenment in one lifetime, while those of lesser intelligence attained various bhumis, and everyone else realized, at least the nature of his or her own mind. 

    In one of the predictions about Jigten Sumgön, it was said, "A hundred thousand incarnate (Tulku) Great Beings will gather." Here, "Tulku" meant that they would be monks and have prefect discipline, and "Great Beings" meant that they would all be Bodhisattvas. In other life-stories, it is said that in an instant Jigten Sumgön visited all the Buddha-fields, saw Buddhas like Amitabha and Ashobya, and listened to their teachings. Jigten Sumgön himself said that whoever so much as had the chance to go to Layel, in Drikung, would be freed from birth in the lower realms, and that whoever supplicated him - whether from near or far away - would be blessed, and his or her meditation would grow more firm. He also said that all sentient beings living in the mountains of Drikung, even the ants, would not be born again in lower realms. From the essence of the instructions of sutra and tantra, Jigten Sumgön gave teachings which were compiled by his disciple Chenga Sherab Jungne (Chenga Drikung Lingpa) into a text called "Gongchig", which has 150 topics and forty appendices. 

    At one time a naga-king named Meltro Zichen went to Drikung for teachings. Jigten Sumgön sent a message to his disciples to remain in seclusion in order that those with miracle powers would not harm the naga and those without such power would not be harmed themselves. The message was received by everyone except the Mahasiddhi Gar Dampa, who was meditating in the depths of a long cave. When the naga arrived, he made a thundering noise which was heard by all including Gar Dampa. Gar Dampa came out of the cave to see what was happening and saw a frightful, dark-blue snake whose length encircled the monastery three times and whose head was peering in the window of the palace. Without examining the situation, he thought the naga was there to harm his guru and thus manifested himself as a giant garuda and chased the naga away. At Rolpa Trang, there is a smooth, clear print left by the garuda when it landed on a rock. Near the river of Kyung-Ngar Gel, there are marks left by both the garuda and the naga. 

    A Ceylonese Arhat, a follower of the Buddha, hearing that the Mahapandita Shakya Shri Bhadra was going to Tibet, gave to the Mahapandita's brother a white lotus requesting him to give it to the Mahapandita who in turn would give it to Nagarjuna in Tibet. When Shakya Shri Bhadra arrived in Tibet, he ordained many monks but did not know where to find Nagarjuna. When giving ordination, he would distribute robes and once an ordinary disciple of Jigten Sumgön's approached him for ordination and then asked for a robe but was told that there were none left. He insisted strongly. One of Shakya Shri Bhadra's attendants pushed him away; he fell and blood flowed from his nose. Prior to this happening, Shakya Shri Bhadra had always seen Tara in the morning when he recited the Seven-Branch Prayer, but for the six days following this incident she did not show herself. Then, on the seventh day she appeared with her back turned towards him. "What have I done wrong ?" he asked her. "Your attendant beat a disciple of Nagarjuna," she replied, and brought blood from his nose.". When he asked how he could purify this misdeed, Tara told him,"Make as many Dharma-robes as you have years, and offer them to fully-ordained monks who have no robes." 

    Shakya Shri Bhadra then searched for the monk who had been turned away. When he found him and learned the name of his teacher, he realized that Jigten Sumgön was Nagarjuna's incarnation. He sent one of his attendants to offer the white lotus to Jigten Sumgön. In return, Jigten Sumgön sent many offerings of his own and asked that Shakya Shri Bhadra visit Drikung, but the Mahapandita could not go, though he did send many verses of praise. Although Nagarjuna had knowingly taken rebirth as Jigten Sumgön in order to dispel wrong views and was teaching in Tibet, Shakya Shri Pandita saw that there was no need to go see him. 

    At this time, many lesser Panditas were visiting Tibet. One of them named Bi Bhuti Chandra, said, "Let us talk with the Kadampas; the followers of Mahamudra tell lies." Shakya Shri Pandita said to him, "Do not say that," and recounted the above story. "Because Jigten Sumgön is a great teacher," he continued, "you should now apologize for having said these things." Bi Bhuti Chandra then went to Drikung, made full apology, and constructed an image of Chakrasamvara at Sinpori Mountain. 

    One day, a great scholar by the name of Dru Kyamo came to Drikung from Sakya to debate with Jigten Sumgön. When he saw the guru's face he saw him as the Buddha himself, and his two chief disciples - Chenga Sherab Jungne and Chenga Drakpa Jungne - as with Shariputra and Maudgalyayana. There was no way he could debate with Jigten Sumgön after this. His devotion blossomed fully and he became one of Jigten Sumgön's principle disciples. Later, he was called Ngorje Repa and wrote a text called "Thegchen Tenpai Nyingpo" as a commentary on Jigten Sumgön's teachings. The number of Jigten Sumgön's disciples continued to increase and at one rainy season retreat, 100,000 "morality sticks" were distributed to count the number of monks attending. Not long after this, 2,700 monks were sent to Lachi and equal numbers were sent to Tsari and Mount Kailash, but by the next year 130,000 monks had once again gathered at Drikung. 

    Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa came to Drikung after visiting Daklha Gampo. At Bam Thang in Drikung, Jigten Sumgön and his disciples received him warmly. At that time the Karmapa saw Jigten Sumgön as the Buddha, and his two chief disciples as Shariputra and Maudgalyayana surrounded by Arhats. When they returned to the assembly main hall, the Serkhang, the Karmapa again saw Jigten Sumgön as the Buddha, with his two disciples appearing as Maitreya and Manjushri surrounded by Bodhisattvas. Thus, Dusum Khyenpa showed great devotion and received many teachings. He also saw the entire area of Drikung as the Mandala of Chakrasamvara. 

    The question arose of who would hold the lineage after Jigten Sumgön's passing. Jigten Sumgön had confidence in many of his disciples, but had thought for a long time that the succession should pass to one of his family clan, the Drugyal Kyura. Since he had been born in Kham, he sent one of his disciples, Palchen Shri Phukpa, to teach the members of his family. Displaying miracles power and proclaiming his guru's reputation, Palchen Shri Phukpa taught Jigten Sumgön's uncle Konchok Rinchen and his uncle's son, Anye Atrak and all the grandsons. When their minds turned and they became attracted, they moved to Central Tibet. Their stories are told in the Golden Rosary of the Drikung Kagyu. 

    One day, Jigten Sumgön told his disciple Gar Choling to go to the Soksum Bridge and offer torma to the nagas living in the water. You will receive special wealth," he told him. A naga-king named Sokma Me offered Gar Choling a tooth of the Buddha and three special gems. Generally, it is said that this tooth had been taken by the naga-king Dradrok as an object of devotion. This was the same naga who usually lived in the area of Magadha, but had access to Soksum by way of an underground gate. Gar Choling offered the tooth and gems to Jigten Sumgön, who said, " It is good to return wealth to its owner," indicating that the tooth had once been his own. "As you are wealthy," he continued, "you should make an image of me and put the tooth in its heart." A skilled Chinese artisan was then invited to build the statue, and the tooth was enshrined as a relic. Jigten Sumgön consecrated this statue hundreds of times. It was kept in Serkhang and called Serkhang Choje (Dharma Lord of Serkhang). Its power of blessing was regarded as being equal to that of Jigten Sumgön himself. It spoke to many shrine-keepers, and to a lama named Dawa it taught the Six Yogas of Naropa. Later, when Drikung was destroyed by fire, it was buried in the sand for protection. When the Drikung Kyabgon returned to rebuild the monastery a search was made for the statue, which came out of the sand itself, saying, "I am here." Thus, this image possessed great power. Gar Choling made many other images of Jigten Sumgön during this time. 

    Jigten Sumgön was by now growing very old, and could not travel often to Debsa Thel so Chenga Drakpa Jungne was sent there as his Vajra Regent and his activities there were very successful. Under the leadership of Panchen Guya Kangpa, Jigten Sumgön sent 55,525 disciples to stay at Mount Kailash. Under Geshe Yakru Paldrak, 55,525 disciples were sent to Lachi. Under Dordzin Gowoche, 55, 525 were sent to Tsari. Even at the time of Chungpo Dorje Drakpa, the fourth successor to Jigten Sumgön, there were 180,000 disciples at Drikung. 

    Once when Jigten Sumgön went to Dorje Lhokar Cave, he said that the cave was too small and so stretched, causing the inside of the cave to expand, leaving the imprint of his clothes on the rock. Because the cave was dark, he pushed a stick through the rock, making a window. He then made shelves in the rock to hold his belongings. All of these can be seen very clearly. In his travels, he left many foot-prints in the four directions of the area of Drikung. 

    When Jigten Sumgön fell ill one day, Phagmodrupa appeared to him in a vision and explained a yogic technique by means of which he became well again. To Jigten Sumgön's many disciples, taught according to their need and to some, according to their disposition, he gave instructions in the practice of the Eight Herukas of the Nyingma tradition. 

    Towards then end of his life, he predicted a period of decline for the Drikung lineage. Taking a small stick that he used to clean his teeth, he planted it in the ground and said, "When this stick has reached a certain height, I will return." This foretold the coming of Gyalwa Kunga Rinchen, the 15th successor of Jigten Sumgön. Jigten Sumgön then asked Chenga Sherab Jungne to be his successor, but the latter declined out of modesty. Then he asked the Great Abbot, Gurawa Tsultrim Dorje, and he agreed. 

    At the age of seventy-five in the year of the Fire-Ox, Jigten Sumgön entered parinirvana in order to encourage lazy ones to the Dharma. His body was cremated on the thirteenth day of the month of Vaishaka. Gods created clouds of offerings and flowers rained from the sky to the level of one's knees. His skull was totally untouched by the fire and his brain appeared as the Mandala of the Sixty-Two Deities of Chakrasamvara. This was as clear as if a skilled artisan had made it. His heart, also untouched by the fire turned to a beautiful golden color. This showed that he was an incarnation of the Buddha himself. Likewise, countless relics appeared. 

    After Jigten Sumgön's passing, most of the funerary responsibilities were taken by Chenga Sherab Jungne, even though he earlier declined the succession. He went to Senge Phungpa Mountain to view the Mandala of Chakrasamvara and there saw Jigten Sumgön. Thus he felt that a memorial should be built there. Jigten Sumgön again appeared in a vision on the mountain of the Samadhi Cave and said to him, "Son, do as you wish, but always follow my intention." Then he disappeared. Doing as he wished, Chenga Sherab Jungne built an auspicious Stupa of Many Doors called "Sage, Overpowerer of the Three Worlds." In that stupa, he put Jigten Sumgön's heart and many other relics. Following his guru's intention, he built the stupa "Body-Essence, Ornament of the World," which was made of clay mixed with jewel dust, saffron and various kinds of incense. In that stupa, he put Jigten Sumgön's skull and brain, along with many other relics including the Vinaya texts brought from India by Atisha and the 100,000-Verse Prajnaparamita. 

    Jigten Sumgön now abides in the Eastern Great All-Pervading Buddha Field, surrounded by limitless numbers of disciples from this earth who died with a strong devotion to him. When such people die, they will be reborn there immediately and Jigten Sumgön then places his hand gently on their heads, giving blessing and welcoming them there.

     

    Excerpted from 
    Prayer Flags: The Life and Spiritual Teachings of Jigten Sumgön by Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen

     

     

    Buddha's Teachings

    THE THREE UNIVERSAL TRUTHS

    One day, the Buddha sat down in the shade of a tree and noticed how beautiful the countryside was. Flowers were blooming and trees were putting on bright new leaves, but among all this beauty, he saw much unhappiness. A farmer beat his ox in the field. A bird pecked at an earthworm, and then an eagle swooped down on the bird. Deeply troubled, he asked, "Why does the farmer beat his ox? Why must one creature eat another to live?"

    During his enlightenment, the Buddha found the answer to these questions. He discovered three great truths. He explained these truths in a simple way so that everyone could understand them.

    1. Nothing is lost in the universe

    The first truth is that nothing is lost in the universe. Matter turns into energy, energy turns into matter. A dead leaf turns into soil. A seed sprouts and becomes a new plant. Old solar systems disintegrate and turn into cosmic rays. We are born of our parents, our children are born of us.

    We are the same as plants, as trees, as other people, as the rain that falls. We consist of that which is around us, we are the same as everything. If we destroy something around us, we destroy ourselves. If we cheat another, we cheat ourselves. Understanding this truth, the Buddha and his disciples never killed any animal.

    2. Everything Changes

    The second universal truth of the Buddha is that everything is continuously changing. Life is like a river flowing on and on, ever-changing. Sometimes it flows slowly and sometimes swiftly. It is smooth and gentle in some places, but later on snags and rocks crop up out of nowhere. As soon as we think we are safe, something unexpected happens.

    Once dinosaurs, mammoths, and saber-toothed tigers roamed this earth. They all died out, yet this was not the end of life. Other life forms like smaller mammals appeared, and eventually humans, too. Now we can even see the Earth from space and understand the changes that have taken place on this planet. Our ideas about life also change. People once believed that the world was flat, but now we know that it is round.

    3. Law of Cause and Effect

    The third universal truth explained by the Buddha is that there is continuous changes due to the law of cause and effect. This is the same law of cause and effect found in every modern science textbook. In this way, science and Buddhism are alike.

    The law of cause and effect is known as karma. Nothing ever happens to us unless we deserves it. We receive exactly what we earn, whether it is good or bad. We are the way we are now due to the things we have done in the past. Our thoughts and actions determine the kind of life we can have. If we do good things, in the future good things will happen to us. If we do bad things, in the future bad things will happen to us. Every moment we create new karma by what we say, do, and think. If we understand this, we do not need to fear karma. It becomes our friend. It teaches us to create a bright future. 
    The Buddha said,

    "The kind of seed sown 
    will produce that kind of fruit. 
    Those who do good will reap good results. 
    Those who do evil will reap evil results. 
    If you carefully plant a good seed, 
    You will joyfully gather good fruit." 

    THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS
    Once there was a woman named Kisagotami, whose first-born son died. She was so stricken with grief that she roamed the streets carrying the dead body and asking for help to bring her son back to life. A kind and wise man took her to the Buddha.

    The Buddha told her, "Fetch me a handful of mustard seeds and I will bring your child back to life." Joyfully Kisagotami started off to get them. Then the Buddha added, "But the seeds must come from a family that has not known death."

    Kisagotami went from door to door in the whole village asking for the mustard seeds, but everyone said, "Oh, there have been many deaths here", "I lost my father", I lost my sister". She could not find a single household that had not been visited by death. Finally Kisagotami returned to the Buddha and said, "There is death in every family. Everyone dies. Now I understand your teaching."

    The Buddha said, "No one can escape death and unhappiness. If people expect only happiness in life, they will be disappointed."

    Things are not always the way we want them to be, but we can learn to understand them. When we get sick, we go to a doctor and ask:

    What's wrong with me?
    Why am I sick?
    What will cure me?
    What do I have to do get well?

    The Buddha is like a good doctor. First a good doctor diagnoses the illness. Next he finds out what has caused it. Then he decides what the cure is. Finally he prescribes the medicine or gives the treatment that will make the patient well again.

    The Four Noble Truths
    1. There is Suffering, suffering is common to all. 
    2. Cause of Suffering, we are the cause of our suffering. 
    3. End of Suffering, stop doing what causes suffering. 
    4. Path to end Suffering, everyone can be enlightened. 

    1. Suffering: Everyone suffers from these thing 
    Birth- When we are born, we cry. 
    Sickness- When we are sick, we are miserable. 
    Old age- When old, we will have ache and pains and find it hard to get around. 
    Death- None of us wants to die. We feel deep sorrow when someone dies.

    Other things we suffer from are: 
    Being with those we dislike, 
    Being apart from those we love, 
    Not getting what we want, 
    All kinds of problems and disappointments that are unavoidable.

    The Buddha did not deny that there is happiness in life, but he pointed out it does not last forever. Eventually everyone meets with some kind of suffering. He said:

    "There is happiness in life, 
    happiness in friendship, 
    happiness of a family, 
    happiness in a healthy body and mind, 
    ...but when one loses them, there is suffering."

    2. The cause of suffering 
    The Buddha explained that people live in a sea of suffering because of ignorance and greed. They are ignorant of the law of karma and are greedy for the wrong kind of pleasures. They do things that are harmful to their bodies and peace of mind, so they can not be satisfied or enjoy life.

    For example, once children have had a taste of candy, they want more. When they can't have it, they get upset. Even if children get all the candy they want, they soon get tired of it and want something else. Although, they get a stomach-ache from eating too much candy, they still want more. The things people want most cause them the most suffering. Of course, there are basic things that all people should have, like adequate food, shelter, and clothing. Everyone deserve a good home, loving parents, and good friends. They should enjoy life and cherish their possessions without becoming greedy.

    3. The end of suffering 
    To end suffering, one must cut off greed and ignorance. This means changing one's views and living in a more natural and peaceful way. It is like blowing out a candle. The flame of suffering is put out for good. Buddhists call the state in which all suffering is ended Nirvana. Nirvana is an everlasting state of great joy and peace. The Buddha said, "The extinction of desire is Nirvana." This is the ultimate goal in Buddhism. Everyone can realize it with the help of the Buddha's teachings. It can be experienced in this very life.

    4. The path to the end of suffering: The path to end suffering is known as the Noble Eightfold Path. It is also known as the Middle Way.

     

    THE NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH

    When the Buddha gave his first sermon in the Deer Park, he began the 'Turning of the Dharma Wheel'. He chose the beautiful symbol of the wheel with its eight spokes to represent the Noble Eightfold Path. The Buddha's teaching goes round and round like a great wheel that never stops, leading to the central point of the wheel, the only point which is fixed, Nirvana. The eight spokes on the wheel represent the eight parts of the Noble Eightfold Path. Just as every spoke is needed for the wheel to keep turning, we need to follow each step of the path.

    1. Right View. The right way to think about life is to see the world through the eyes of the Buddha--with wisdom and compassion.

    2. Right Thought. We are what we think. Clear and kind thoughts build good, strong characters.

    3. Right Speech. By speaking kind and helpful words, we are respected and trusted by everyone.

    4. Right Conduct. No matter what we say, others know us from the way we behave. Before we criticize others, we should first see what we do ourselves.

    5. Right Livelihood. This means choosing a job that does not hurt others. The Buddha said, "Do not earn your living by harming others. Do not seek happiness by making others unhappy."

    6. Right Effort. A worthwhile life means doing our best at all times and having good will toward others. This also means not wasting effort on things that harm ourselves and others.

    7. Right Mindfulness. This means being aware of our thoughts, words, and deeds.

    8. Right Concentration. Focus on one thought or object at a time. By doing this, we can be quiet and attain true peace of mind.

    Following the Noble Eightfold Path can be compared to cultivating a garden, but in Buddhism one cultivates one's wisdom. The mind is the ground and thoughts are seeds. Deeds are ways one cares for the garden. Our faults are weeds. Pulling them out is like weeding a garden. The harvest is real and lasting happiness.

     

    His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang Rinpoche

    HH

    His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang, the 37th throne holder of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage anKyabgönd 7th reincarnation of the Chetsang Rinpoche is a manifestation of Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara).

    The Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang, Konchog Tenzin Kunsang Thrinle Lhundrup, was born on the 4th day of the 6th Ti

    betan month of the Fire-Dog-Year 1946 into the aristocratic family of Tsarong in Lhasa. This auspicious day marks the anniversary of the Buddha’s first turning of the Wheel of Dharma. Many prodigious signs and visions accompanied his birth. His grandfather, Dasang Damdul Tsarong (1888-1959), has been the favorite of the 13th Dalai Lama (1876-1933), Commander General of the Tibetan army and one of the most influential political fig

    ures in the early 20th century in Tibet. Chetsangs father, Dundul Namgyal Tsarong (b. 1920), held a high office in the Tibetan Government and he was still active in important positions for the Exile Government in Dharamsala after the escape of the Dalai Lama and the cabinet ministers. His mother, Yangchen Dolkar, is from the noble house of Ragashar, which descended from the ancient royal dynasty.

    Few years after the passing of the previous Drikung Kyabgön, Shiwe Lodro (1886-1943), two parties began to look for his reincarnation throughout Tibet. Based on a vision of the Drikung regent Tritsab Gyabra Rinpoche (1924-1979) at the oracular lake Lhamo Latso and on many additional divinatory signs, in 1950 the son of the Tsarong family was recognized as the reincarnation of the Drikung Kyabgön. The boy subsequently passed numerous tests, such as identifying religious items and ritual objects of his former incarnations. His incarnation was further confirmed by divinations performed by Taktra Rinpoche (the Regent of Tibet), H.H. the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, and H.H. Taklung Matrul.

    In the fall of 1950 the formal enthronement as Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang took place at Drikung Thil, the main monastery of the Drikung Kagyu order. Immediately thereafter the first Chinese invasion of Tibet took place. Rinpoche was allowed to travel to Kalimpong in Northern India with his family, in order to stay in a safe place. His older brother and his two sisters were attending boarding-schools in Darjeeling. After some months Rinpoche was met by a delegation from the Drikung monastery and brought back to Tibet.

    According to ancient tradition, Chetsang Rinpoche resided in turns in one of the four main monasteries: In the spring in Drikung Tse, during the summer in Yangrigar, in autumn in Drikung Thil, and during the winter in Drikung Dzong, which also served as the administrative center of Drikung. His spiritual instructors (yongzin), Tritsab Gyabra Rinpoche and Ayang Thubten Rinpoche (1899-1966), were responsible for his education. His curriculum included reading, writing, memorizing, astrology, and grammar. From his yongzin and from Bhalok Thupten Chodrak Rinpoche, Lho Bongtrul Rinpoche, and Nyidzong Tripa he received the basic empowerments, transmissions, and teachings of the Kagyu tradition and the Drikung Kagyu tradition in particular. 

    At the age of eleven, the Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang gave his first public teaching and transmission, a long-life empowerment, during the 1956 Monkey Year ceremonies of the Great Drikung Phowa. Subsequently he began his philosophical studies at the Nyima Changra monastic college of Drikung. Although he was four years younger he studied together with the second Drikung lineage holder, Chungtsang Rinpoche. His instructor was Bopa Tulku Dongag Tenpa (1907-1959), introducing him to the philosophy of Madhyamaka. He first studied basic texts, like The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva by Ngulchu Thogme Zangpo and Introduction to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life (Bodhicharyāvatāra) by Shāntideva.

    Soon thereafter Tibet underwent a great upheaval. In the wake of the Tibetan uprising of 1959, as many Tibetans fled the country, among them the Dalai Lama, the cabinet ministers and a host of spiritual dignitaries, several attempts were launched to bring Chetsang Rinpoche and Chungtsang Rinpoche out of Tibet into safety. These attempts failed because of the inexorable resistance of the monastery manager. Rinpoche’s family had already fled to India in 1956.

    The monks in the Drikung monastery were put under house arrest, and Chetsang Rinpoche had to endure with them for months Communist indoctrinations. After some month Tritsab Gyabra, who had left the monastery some years before, took Rinpoche to live with him in Lhasa under rather dismal conditions. In 1960, the Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang was admitted into an elementary school in Lhasa. In very short time he mastered the subject matters of several classes, being able to finish the six years of education in only three years. Thereafter he was admitted to the Jerag Lingka middle school. The subjects there included Chinese, natural sciences, history, and biology. Chetsang Rinpoche excelled in his studies, especially in Chinese. He also became a keen athlete and a passionate and brilliant soccer player. 

    When the Red Guards infiltrated the schools at the onset of the Cultural Revolution in 1966, Chetsang Rinpoche found himself caught up in the midst of the factional fighting of two opposing groups of Red Guards. Classes and business came to a halt. Many aristocrats and Rinpoches had to undergo brutal “people’s tribunals” known as struggle sessions. Chetsang Rinpoche could no longer stay with Tritsab Gyabra, who had fallen from grace. He lived at the school, where he cooked for the few remaining schoolmates and studied the books he found in the school’s library. Lhasa sank into chaos. In this atmosphere of anarchy Rinpoche several times was saved by a fraction from certain death.

    In 1969, he was assigned to a commune in the countryside, where he had to carry out the hardest physical labor. A partly decayed verminous shack on top of a sheep pen was his shelter. He did not own more than a pot and a cup and some slats to sleep on. An uncle, who came to visit him one day, struggled against his tears, stunned that his nephew was living in such squalor. But Chetsang Rinpoche always reacted with great equanimity to all the many upheavals in his live. When the uncle became aware of the serene calmness pervading every aspect of Chetsang’s being, he compared him with Milarepa, who lived in comfortless caves and outwardly austere, but inwardly excessively rich spiritual life.

    In the spring and in summer Chetsang Rinpoche drudged on the fields of the work unit. In autumn he had to climb high mountains to cut firewood for the commune and carry home heavy loads. In the winter he had to shovel out the sewage from the cesspits in Lhasa and carry it to the farm. Despite the strenuous labor, Chetsang Rinpoche helped others, whenever he could. Nobody knew that he was the Drikung Kyabgön, but his extraordinary deeds amazed many.

    Due to his class background as aristocrat and high incarnate lama there was no prospect for Chetsang Rinpoche in Communist occupied Tibet. After meticulous planning, he finally found a means of escape in 1975. This was at a time when China had established a tight system of spies and informers all over Tibet and the military had a close grip of control, so that only few succeeded to take flight. He set out alone and without help to cross the border of Tibet into Nepal across high passes and glaciers. The Drikung Kyabgön accomplished what was thought to be impossible. Unscathed he reached Nepal and eventually the residence of the Dalai Lama at Dharamsala.

    Rinpoche conceded to the appeals of the Drikung lamas in exile and so he was again symbolically enthroned as the Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang during a ceremony with the Dalai Lama. By this act he expressed the promise to take responsibility for the lineage in the future. Initially though, he traveled to the USA, where his parents had in the meantime emigrated to. There he learned English, while earning his living as a part-time at a McDonald's and other restaurants.

    During the third year of his stay he received a very rare ancient Tibetan text uncovered in Nepal dealing with the history of the throne holders of the Drikung Order and written by his former incarnation, the 4th Chetsang Peme Gyaltsen (1770-1826). He started analyzing this work and studying the history of Tibet, of the Drikung Kagyu, and of his former incarnations. Shortly thereafter he returned to India in 1978, to take on the lead of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage as its throne holder.

    For many years in occupied Tibet and in the USA, the Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang had outwardly led the life of a layman. Nonetheless he had always strictly kept his monk’s vows. Now he resumed his monastic lifestyle once again and took up residence at Phyang Monastery in Ladakh. Instantly he entered a traditional three year retreat at Lamayuru Monastery under the guidance of the stern meditation master Kyunga Sodpa Gyatso (1911-1980). 

    The Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang studied with numerous highly accomplished lamas and Rinpoches of different traditions and received from them teachings and initiations. He regards Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910-1991) as one of his most important teachers. He received from him the essential teachings of the Eight Practice Lineages of Tibetan Buddhism (Dam Ngag Dzo), the highest Dzogchen teachings (Nyingtig Yashi), as well as the collected writings of Jamgon Kongtrul (Gyachen Kadzo) and the treasury of the oral Kagyu transmissions (Kagyu Ngag Dzo). In addition he received precious teachings and empowerments from H.H. the Dalai Lama (Chakrasamvara, Kālachakra, and Yamantāka), from H.H. the 16th Karmapa (Six Yogas of Nāropa and Milarepa), from H.H. Taklung Shabdrung Rinpoche (transmission of the Taklung Kagyu teachings) and from H.H. Taklung Tsetrul the Northern Treasures. He studied Buddhist philosophy under Khenpo Noryang in the Drukpa Kagyu monastery Sangnag Choling in Bhutan, who gave him teachings on the Bodhicharyāvatāra by Shāntideva, the Madhyamakāvatāra by Chandrakīrti and on the Uttara Tantra. Khenpo Noryang also transmitted to him teachings of the general Kagyu tradition and the particular teachings of the Drukpa Kagyu on Mahāmudrā. Moreover Chetsang Rinpoche received important Drikung Kagyu empowerments and teachings on Mahāmudrā from H.E. Garchen Rinpoche and Drubwang Konchog Norbu.

    In 1985, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgön Cheetsang received full monk's ordination from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, during the Kalachakra initiation in Bodhgaya. He mastered all challenges with remarkable ease. Since 1987 Chetsang Rinpoche began to give teachings in many countries throughout the world. At the same time he started to rebuild the weakened Drikung Lineage with great energy. In Dehra Dun, India, he established a monastery and an educational center, attracting many monks from Tibet and Buddhist practitioners from many countries: the Drikung Kagyu Institute. In the beginning it consisted of the monastery Jangchubling and the retreat center and nunnery Samtenling. The Drikung Kagyu Institute is an education center, which emphasizes both the traditional monastic education, as well as present-day training to meet the needs of these times. Special consideration is also placed on discipline, meditation practice and the specialties of the Drikung Kagyu teachings. In 2003, Chetsang Rinpoche established near his monastery a magnificent edifice: the Songtsen Library, a center for Tibetan and Himalayan studies. A building epitomizing in content, function and form the essence of his vision as a treasury and think tank for the cultural and spiritual identity of the peoples of the Himalayan region and of the Drikung Lineage in particular. It contains rare texts about all subjects of the Himalayan region, works on Tibetan culture, tradition and geography, and of course the Buddhist texts of all schools. It houses an important collection about the famous Dunhuang manuscripts unearthed along the Silk Road. There, an unimaginable wealth of texts in various languages dating from the 4th to the 11th centuries was discovered. The Tibetan corpus alone includes thousands of manuscripts of all kinds, including the earliest Tibetan medical drawing known at present. Thus these ancient texts provide the researcher with a vast array of source material on the earliest period of Tibet, which Chetsang Rinpoche would like to make accessible in its entirety, as his scope encompasses the preservation of Tibetan culture and religion. 

    In 2005 close to the Songtsen Library, the Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang built a large College for Higher Buddhist Studies, the Kagyu College. With its inauguration the new Drikung Mandala in Dehra Dun has been completed.

    Source: www.drikung.org

    Buddha's Teachings

    THE THREE UNIVERSAL TRUTHS

    One day, the Buddha sat down in the shade of a tree and noticed how beautiful the countryside was. Flowers were blooming and trees were putting on bright new leaves, but among all this beauty, he saw much unhappiness. A farmer beat his ox in the field. A bird pecked at an earthworm, and then an eagle swooped down on the bird. Deeply troubled, he asked, "Why does the farmer beat his ox? Why must one creature eat another to live?"

    During his enlightenment, the Buddha found the answer to these questions. He discovered three great truths. He explained these truths in a simple way so that everyone could understand them.

    1. Nothing is lost in the universe

    The first truth is that nothing is lost in the universe. Matter turns into energy, energy turns into matter. A dead leaf turns into soil. A seed sprouts and becomes a new plant. Old solar systems disintegrate and turn into cosmic rays. We are born of our parents, our children are born of us.

    We are the same as plants, as trees, as other people, as the rain that falls. We consist of that which is around us, we are the same as everything. If we destroy something around us, we destroy ourselves. If we cheat another, we cheat ourselves. Understanding this truth, the Buddha and his disciples never killed any animal.

    2. Everything Changes

    The second universal truth of the Buddha is that everything is continuously changing. Life is like a river flowing on and on, ever-changing. Sometimes it flows slowly and sometimes swiftly. It is smooth and gentle in some places, but later on snags and rocks crop up out of nowhere. As soon as we think we are safe, something unexpected happens.

    Once dinosaurs, mammoths, and saber-toothed tigers roamed this earth. They all died out, yet this was not the end of life. Other life forms like smaller mammals appeared, and eventually humans, too. Now we can even see the Earth from space and understand the changes that have taken place on this planet. Our ideas about life also change. People once believed that the world was flat, but now we know that it is round.

    3. Law of Cause and Effect

    The third universal truth explained by the Buddha is that there is continuous changes due to the law of cause and effect. This is the same law of cause and effect found in every modern science textbook. In this way, science and Buddhism are alike.

    The law of cause and effect is known as karma. Nothing ever happens to us unless we deserves it. We receive exactly what we earn, whether it is good or bad. We are the way we are now due to the things we have done in the past. Our thoughts and actions determine the kind of life we can have. If we do good things, in the future good things will happen to us. If we do bad things, in the future bad things will happen to us. Every moment we create new karma by what we say, do, and think. If we understand this, we do not need to fear karma. It becomes our friend. It teaches us to create a bright future. 
    The Buddha said,

    "The kind of seed sown 
    will produce that kind of fruit. 
    Those who do good will reap good results. 
    Those who do evil will reap evil results. 
    If you carefully plant a good seed, 
    You will joyfully gather good fruit." 

    THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS
    Once there was a woman named Kisagotami, whose first-born son died. She was so stricken with grief that she roamed the streets carrying the dead body and asking for help to bring her son back to life. A kind and wise man took her to the Buddha.

    The Buddha told her, "Fetch me a handful of mustard seeds and I will bring your child back to life." Joyfully Kisagotami started off to get them. Then the Buddha added, "But the seeds must come from a family that has not known death."

    Kisagotami went from door to door in the whole village asking for the mustard seeds, but everyone said, "Oh, there have been many deaths here", "I lost my father", I lost my sister". She could not find a single household that had not been visited by death. Finally Kisagotami returned to the Buddha and said, "There is death in every family. Everyone dies. Now I understand your teaching."

    The Buddha said, "No one can escape death and unhappiness. If people expect only happiness in life, they will be disappointed."

    Things are not always the way we want them to be, but we can learn to understand them. When we get sick, we go to a doctor and ask:

    What's wrong with me?
    Why am I sick?
    What will cure me?
    What do I have to do get well?

    The Buddha is like a good doctor. First a good doctor diagnoses the illness. Next he finds out what has caused it. Then he decides what the cure is. Finally he prescribes the medicine or gives the treatment that will make the patient well again.

    The Four Noble Truths
    1. There is Suffering, suffering is common to all. 
    2. Cause of Suffering, we are the cause of our suffering. 
    3. End of Suffering, stop doing what causes suffering. 
    4. Path to end Suffering, everyone can be enlightened. 

    1. Suffering: Everyone suffers from these thing 
    Birth- When we are born, we cry. 
    Sickness- When we are sick, we are miserable. 
    Old age- When old, we will have ache and pains and find it hard to get around. 
    Death- None of us wants to die. We feel deep sorrow when someone dies.

    Other things we suffer from are: 
    Being with those we dislike, 
    Being apart from those we love, 
    Not getting what we want, 
    All kinds of problems and disappointments that are unavoidable.

    The Buddha did not deny that there is happiness in life, but he pointed out it does not last forever. Eventually everyone meets with some kind of suffering. He said:

    "There is happiness in life, 
    happiness in friendship, 
    happiness of a family, 
    happiness in a healthy body and mind, 
    ...but when one loses them, there is suffering."

    2. The cause of suffering 
    The Buddha explained that people live in a sea of suffering because of ignorance and greed. They are ignorant of the law of karma and are greedy for the wrong kind of pleasures. They do things that are harmful to their bodies and peace of mind, so they can not be satisfied or enjoy life.

    For example, once children have had a taste of candy, they want more. When they can't have it, they get upset. Even if children get all the candy they want, they soon get tired of it and want something else. Although, they get a stomach-ache from eating too much candy, they still want more. The things people want most cause them the most suffering. Of course, there are basic things that all people should have, like adequate food, shelter, and clothing. Everyone deserve a good home, loving parents, and good friends. They should enjoy life and cherish their possessions without becoming greedy.

    3. The end of suffering 
    To end suffering, one must cut off greed and ignorance. This means changing one's views and living in a more natural and peaceful way. It is like blowing out a candle. The flame of suffering is put out for good. Buddhists call the state in which all suffering is ended Nirvana. Nirvana is an everlasting state of great joy and peace. The Buddha said, "The extinction of desire is Nirvana." This is the ultimate goal in Buddhism. Everyone can realize it with the help of the Buddha's teachings. It can be experienced in this very life.

    4. The path to the end of suffering: The path to end suffering is known as the Noble Eightfold Path. It is also known as the Middle Way.

     

    THE NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH

    When the Buddha gave his first sermon in the Deer Park, he began the 'Turning of the Dharma Wheel'. He chose the beautiful symbol of the wheel with its eight spokes to represent the Noble Eightfold Path. The Buddha's teaching goes round and round like a great wheel that never stops, leading to the central point of the wheel, the only point which is fixed, Nirvana. The eight spokes on the wheel represent the eight parts of the Noble Eightfold Path. Just as every spoke is needed for the wheel to keep turning, we need to follow each step of the path.

    1. Right View. The right way to think about life is to see the world through the eyes of the Buddha--with wisdom and compassion.

    2. Right Thought. We are what we think. Clear and kind thoughts build good, strong characters.

    3. Right Speech. By speaking kind and helpful words, we are respected and trusted by everyone.

    4. Right Conduct. No matter what we say, others know us from the way we behave. Before we criticize others, we should first see what we do ourselves.

    5. Right Livelihood. This means choosing a job that does not hurt others. The Buddha said, "Do not earn your living by harming others. Do not seek happiness by making others unhappy."

    6. Right Effort. A worthwhile life means doing our best at all times and having good will toward others. This also means not wasting effort on things that harm ourselves and others.

    7. Right Mindfulness. This means being aware of our thoughts, words, and deeds.

    8. Right Concentration. Focus on one thought or object at a time. By doing this, we can be quiet and attain true peace of mind.

    Following the Noble Eightfold Path can be compared to cultivating a garden, but in Buddhism one cultivates one's wisdom. The mind is the ground and thoughts are seeds. Deeds are ways one cares for the garden. Our faults are weeds. Pulling them out is like weeding a garden. The harvest is real and lasting happiness.

     

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