Gampopa | Life and Legends | 4




Mastery and Kagyu Lines

Having explained the dream to Gampopa, Milarepa now said,

"You no longer have to stay with me.
As you have reached complete realization, you must go out and benefit beings."

And Milarepa directed him to the East, to a place called Gampo Tashi Riwo, where he was to begin his Enlightened activity to benefit beings:

It is through his long sojourn there that Sonam Rinchen became known as Gampopa - the One from Gampo.

In that place there was one huge mountain, like a jewel in a maṇḍala encircled by 7 other mountains, or like a king on a throne it was surrounded by 7 reverent bowing ministers.

As his parting teaching, Milarepa explained to Gampopa:

"While you are alone there, benefiting beings, you may miss many things:

Sometimes you may miss food,
and at these times you must enjoy the food of meditation;

sometimes you may experience cold and miss having clothes,
and at these times you must enjoy the inner heat of Tummo;

sometimes you may miss your Guru, and at these times
you must remember that your mind and the mind of the guru are inseparable.

There is no greater Guru than the awareness or realization
of the inseparability of your own and the guru's mind."

When Gampopa left, Milarepa told his students, with a sense of extreme joy, that the "U-pa Tonpa" (another name for Gampopa) would be a great being and benefit many beings.

("U" is central Tibet, and "pa" means "person," so "U-pa" means a person who comes from central Tibet, and "Tonpa" means "teacher.")

Milarepa told them that he had had a dream about a white crane that flew high in the sky and perched on top of a huge, tall mountain:

Having perched there, he then attracted uncountable other cranes, which landed there. Suddenly they all scattered, and the land of Tibet became white with cranes.

- This dream symbolized, said Milarepa,
that Gampopa would be spreading the Dharma widely in Tibet.

Following Milarepa's advice, Sonam Rinchen went to that special mountain, to which were attracted many Bodhisattvas who were to become his disciples:

They were, in fact, emanations of followers from the time of Śākyamuni Buddha: those who had promised to help Chandra Prabha Kumara spread its inner meaning.

These Bodhisattvas had been practising Dharma for many lives and so, when Gampopa simply gave one instruction, they all attained Realization, without having to go through hardships of the practice.

So in that manner, the 51,600 students, who were emanations from the time of Śākyamuni Buddha, received Gampopa's teachings and promised to support them.

Out of all the Bodhisattvas gathered together, 3 were particularly outstanding:

They became known as the Three Khampas, because they all came from the Eastern part of Tibet known as Kham.

1) One of these students, whose name was Dogyal (Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo, 1110-1170), was a direct emanation of the Buddha himself, who had promised, with his disciples, to help Chandra Prabha Kumara spread the Dharma.

2) The second one was from Due, the Due Khampa
and he was destined to be the First Karmapa, Düsum Khyenpa (1110-1193):

3) The third one was Zhang Yudrakpa Tsöndru Drakpa (1122–93)

Except for the 3 Khampas, all the rest of the 51,600 students kept extremely pure discipline of the Vinaya, or monastic ordination.

The 3 Khampas, however, were very, very wild:

One day they were gone outside the monastery and were celebrating the Vajrayoginī day, the 25th of the month on the Tibetan calendar. They were singing and dancing all the day on the top of a Mountain nearby.

In the evening they returned to the monastery, where all the other students lived. Yet they were still excited, having enjoyed themselves so much, and they were still singing and dancing.

Now every monastery has a Discipline Master:

Singing and dancing were not permitted at all in the monastery, and this disturbance greatly annoyed the Discipline Master. He began to beat them with his long, broad stick and told them they must leave the monastery immediately.

Dogyal requested that they be allowed to spend the night, as it was already dark outside. He let them stay the night, but they had to agree to leave before dawn.

Before dawn, the 3 of them left the monastery, beginning the long descent down the mountain into the valley.

Now it happened that Gampopa himself was not actually in the monastery but above it, in a retreat hut, practicing meditation:

He told one of his attendants that he had seen, as if in a dream, a vision of all the Ḍākas and Ḍākinīs leaving the monastery, and he wanted to know what was happening there.

He felt that maybe something had happened to those 3 yogis (he called them Milarepas).

So he sent his attendant down to see if anything had happened:

When his attendant reached the valley, he saw the 3 yogis prostrating themselves toward Gampopa. They were doing this because they had not been able to say good-bye in person when the Discipline Master made them leave.

The attendant returned and informed Gampopa that not only were the 3 yogis leaving, but all the birds were leaving along with them and not only were they making prostrations, but the grass and trees were bending toward where they were departing.

Gampopa knew that their leaving was not good; he knew that the gathering of so many students was because of the commitment of these emanations from the time of Śākyamuni Buddha.

So Gampopa himself went down to the valley and asked them please not to depart.

After requesting them not to depart, he sang a song that explained who these 3 yogis were, how they were not ordinary beings but emanations of past Enlightened beings who had been present during the time of Śākyamuni Buddha.

Knowing this, the others at the monastery never again had negative feelings toward the Khampas' unusual behaviour.

Gampopa passed away in 1153, and later the 4 main students of Gampopa (there were 4 by then) spread his teachings by what have come to be known as the "four primary" schools of the Kagyupa.

Then there were 8 students of Dogyal, who also spread the teachings in the "8 secondary" schools of the Kagyupa.

The original Kagyu School or Dagpo Kagyu – got its name from Gampopa's place of birth – Dagpo, and from his own monastery of Dagla Gampo.

Later – it separated into 4 primary Kagyu sub-Schools:

1. Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo (1110-1170),

founded Phagdru Kagyu (Phagmo Drupa Kagyu), named after his long-time dwelling place - reed-hut hermitage at Phagmo Drupa ("Sow's Ferry Crossing") in a juniper forest in Nedong, high above the Brahmaputra River.

2. Düsum Khyenpa (1110-1193), founded Karma Kagyu (representing Activity of All Buddhas, the holder of the famous Black Hat)

3. Zhang Yudrakpa Tsöndru Drakpa (1122–93) founded Tsalpa Kagyu, named after the Tsal Gungtang Monastery he established in 1175, just a short distance north of Lhasa.

4. Barompa Darma Wangchug (1127-1194)

founded Barom Kagyu, named after the hermitage in Barom in Nakchu; it is said Gampopa has miraculously healed him from a serious illness and later he attended Gampopa until his death.

The 8 secondary traditions were all the branches of Phagdru Kagyu tradition. From them only one is probably survived and still very active – Drigung Kagyu.