Wylie:Grub chen dam pa sangs rgyas kyis rnal 'byor gyi dbang phyug mi la ras pa la gdams pa'i dam chos sdug bsngal zhi byed kyi snying por dril ba'i rdo rje'i mgur
གྲུབ་ཆེན་དམ་པ་སངས་རྒྱས་ཀྱིས་རྣལ་འབྱོར་གྱི་དབང་ཕྱུག་མི་ལ་རས་པ་ལ་ ་ ་ ་
grub chen dam pa sangs rgyas kyis rnal 'byor gyi dbang phyug mi la ras pa la gdams pa'i dam chos sdug bsngal zhi byed kyi snying por dril ba'i rdo rje'i mgur
Vajra Song Summarizing the Essence of the Holy Dharma Pacification of Suffering: Instructions for the Mighty Yogin Milarepa by the Great Adept Dampa Sangye
This special vajra song (rdo rje’i mgur) sung by Pa Dampa Sangye to the yogi Milarepa is plucked from the amazing account of the meeting of these two most extraordinary masters, a story that bears repeating not only for context here but for what it tells us about what happens when Indian buddha meets Tibetan buddha. It made an early written appearance in The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, completed by Tsangnyön Heruka in 1488. However, the presence of an appended structural outline here signed by Mikyö Dorje of Latö, otherwise known as Gyalwa Tene (1127–1217), would seem to imply that it had been around a lot longer. The version in Khamnyön’s biography of Dampa Sangye, written in 1906, is a nearly verbatim replica of Tsangnyön’s version, except that two of Milarepa’s songs are omitted, making Dampa’s responses somewhat puzzling. The summary here will follow the earlier version directly.
The great Tibetan yogi Milarepa (b. 1052/1040) hears from a lion-faced ḍākinī that the great Indian master Dampa Sangye is nearby. Milarepa doesn’t think he has much to learn from him, but figures it won’t do any harm to meet this revered master anyway. Meanwhile, the lion-faced ḍākinī has also told Dampa to expect the famous Milarepa, so the meeting is all but inevitable. As Milarepa heads out with prāṇa-driven speed, he asks some folks about the Indian master’s whereabouts. They respond that they don’t know about “Holy Buddha” (a literal translation of his name, dam pa sangs rgyas) but that they saw an old gray āchārya (i.e., Indian) now sleeping at the guesthouse. (That is, he seems humble, but also ugly.) As Milarepa approaches, he decides to test Dampa’s reputation for having pure clairvoyance, so he transforms his body into a clump of flowers. Dampa Sangye walks right past, but as soon as Milarepa thinks he has no clairvoyance, Dampa turns and kicks the flowers. Dampa says,
- You should not emanate Milarepa’s body as flowers—get up! You have sung the melodious songs of the ḍākinīs’ life essence. As punishment, the flesh-eating ḍākinīs have carried away your soul, breath, living heart, and hopes. I met with them last night and we ate those [essences] in communal feast. You will not live past this night. What confidence do you have facing death?
Milarepa immediately jumps up as himself and sings the song “Six Measures of Confidence in Facing Death,” in which he compares his own courage to that of lions, stags, and so forth, in classic Milarepa style. Dampa Sangye considers the song useless because it uses allegory of outer phenomena, and he challenges Milarepa, saying, “If you were a real yogi, you would have conviction in this present moment of awareness (da lta’i rig pa ’di).” So Milarepa sings the song “Six Convictions of a Happy Mind.”
At this point in past translations, there has been a bit of confusion over the phrase that ends each verse (bde bde ’dra na dam pa rang yang mdzod). The earliest translation misses that dam pa is Dampa’s name and translates it as “Happy and joyful as I gain supremacy.” Later it is taken to be “Of such bliss, Dampa himself is a treasury” (mistaking the imperative mdzod). But Dampa’s response to the song—“I’ve already done all that”—makes sense only if Milarepa is saying, “Happy! If you want such happiness, you, Dampa, should also do this.” In any case, Dampa Sangye is now satisfied and prepares to leave, but Milarepa grabs him by the robe and insists that he also sing a song to explain the Holy Dharma Pacification of Suffering that brings about realization of the Buddha’s intention instantly through one’s turning inward and meditating. Dampa then says, curiously, “Previously no one has heard when I sang. And they never will, so let me go.” But Milarepa persists, so Dampa Sangye sings this vajra song.
Milarepa enjoys Dampa’s song and sits relaxed with his private parts exposed, as he is famously wont to do. Dampa says, “The body has one thing that should be hidden, and yet you act like a crazy man exposing it. Don’t do that!” At this Milarepa sings a delightful song called “This Crazy Way.” An impressed Dampa says, “Your crazy ways are most excellent.” Afterward, they have a crazy communal feast together, during which, among other incredible things, they sit atop stalks of grass. Milarepa wonders why only his stalks bend slightly with his weight, since he has proven himself an equally great adept. Dampa assures him that they are equal except for one thing: Milarepa was born in Tibet! That one quip says worlds about the development of Buddhism in Tibet.
- 2 gTsang smyon He ru ka (1452–1507), rJe btsun mi la ras pa’i rnam thar rgyas par phye ba mgur ’bum. ff. 288a–292a. Translation in Chang, The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, vol. 2, pp. 606–14. Date from Roberts, The Biographies of Rechungpa, p. 113.
- 3 Khamnyön, Life Story of the Great Mighty Adept, pp. 120–26. Translation in Molk, Lion of Siddhas, pp. 95–98.
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As the only available unicode Tibetan text at the time, Nitartha International's version of the Paro Edition of the gdams ngag mdzod is provided here. However, note that it has not been thoroughly edited and that there may also be mistakes introduced through the conversion process. Eventually we will provide a fully edited version of the entire Shechen Edition, entered and edited multiple times by Pulahari Monastery in Nepal, but as of fall 2017 that project has not been finished. Note that the folio numbers that appear throughout were added by Nitartha Input Center at the time of input.