Pilgrimage Pure Perception
Jigme Gyalwe Nyugu recounts a pilgrimage he made in his youth with his teacher and Dharma brother, the First Dodrupchen Rinpoche, walking through a no-man’s-land in the Yadrog area of central Tibet. His teacher got very sick but remained very cheerful. Jigme Gyalwe Nyugu writes:
When we, teacher and disciple, were going downward in Yadrog Valley, the Lord Lama Dodrupchen got seriously sick from an imbalance of the air humor and rheumatism. He was in constant excruciating pain and became so weak that he was almost dying. We didn’t have much to eat except a piece of rotten animal fat and a pot of oil. We didn’t have even a spoonful of tsampa. We drank black tea.
After he sat down to rest, in order for him to stand, I had to help him by pulling him up with the full strength of my two hands. Although physically he was in critical condition, instead of being depressed, he would say: ‘‘Oh, today I have a chance to pursue a little austerity in Dharma practice by putting pressure on my mortal, wild body and my hurting, greedy mind. I am achieving the essence for my precious human life. . . . There is no doubt that the hard experiences I am going through are the fortunate fruitions produced by the accumulation of merits and purification of obscurations in my numerous lives in the past.’’ There was great joy in his mind.
I also was joyful, thinking, ‘‘It is wonderful that this lord lama is putting into practice what the Buddha taught:
‘Preserve Dharma forever,
By [at the cost of even] crossing [a wall of] flames and [a field of] razors.’ ’’