There Once Was a Lama

A poignant and profound teaching.

There once was a lama who accidentally ran into a man with whom he had a good karmic connection. The lama knew he could attain realization but unfortunately, he was a high government official and the lama, a lowly person, didn’t know how to approach him.

As fortune would have it, this official was carrying a sweet puppy dog. The lama had an idea and said to him, Gosh, I really love your puppy dog! Please will you give it to me! In my entire life, I’ve never had a desire as strong as this. Please, I really want your puppy! 

The official refused but the lama persisted. At last, the official gave in and  gave the puppy to the lama on the condition that the lama solemnly promise never to give the puppy away to someone else. The lama agreed and took the puppy home.

Nicholas Roerich Painting

Nicholas Roerich Painting

The very next day, the lama gave away the puppy at the very first opportunity! When the official found it, he was very angry and told the lama, in no uncertain terms, that he could never again trust him since he had broken a solemn promise made in the presence of the Three Jewels.

The lama sighed and replied, I’m so happy you realize that you can't trust me! You’re not real! Your puppy is not real! I'm not real. And, the Three Jewels are not real!  The only thing I can teach you is that nothing in the world is real!

After this pronouncement, the lama taught the official about ultimate truth and the nature of mind, concluding that that only the nature of mind is trustworthy.

The official thought about, resigned, became a devout practitioner and attained realization.

Repkong Lama Tsedrup Tharchin Rinpoche was the tenth generation descendant of Palchen Namkha Jigme (1757-1821), founder of Kyunglung and the 1900 Ngakpa Group in Amdo, Tibet. Rinpoche received the lineage through his grandfather, Wöntsang Druk-gyal, and then his father, Lama Chimé Dorje. Born in Kongpo, southern Tibet, Rinpoche studied with His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche in Tibet and India. In 1984, he settled in the USA and established Vajrayana Foundation and Pema Osel Ling in California.


Lama Yeshe Wangmo:

Don't you think this can easily be filed this under "Advice for Westerners"?

Nothing in this world is real. This is the starting point every day. It's also the first step on the Buddhist path. If we don't get this right, whatever we do in the name of treading the path will not have much impact. 

When we practice taking refuge through the Three Jewels, Three Roots, and so forth, we keep in our awareness that these are merely stand-ins for the nature of our mind. We, we can trust the nature of our own mind. Our life is the nature of mind.

I invite you to comment below.