A Biography of Yeshe Tsogyal: Part Two
King Trisong Deutsen invited Shantarakshita and Guru Padmasambhava and many other great pandits from India to come to Tibet. The king sent some intelligent boys to India to learn Buddhism and later preach it in Tibet. And the king constructed the monastery of Samye Ling. He had the Kangyur, the Buddhist scriptures, and Tengyur, their commentaries, translated into Tibetan. And gradually the institutes where the teaching was learned and retreat centers where the teaching was practiced were established throughout Tibet. The king received teachings from Guru Padmasambhava including the Tantric teachings. When he received these teachings the king offered all his possessions and his queen to Padmasambhava. Guru Padmasambhava established eight retreat centers and taught nine fortunate students. They were called fortunate because even though he taught everyone, but these nine had the capacity to understand the teachings. In the Tibetan tradition there is a form of divination which a student tosses a flower on a mandala and wherever the flower falls, the student gets that teaching. Yeshe Tsogyal got the divination for the teaching of Vajrakilaya. Guru Padmasambhava told her to practice, gave her the secret name Dechen Gyalmo and asked her to meditate and practice in retreat. He prophesied that she would realize the extraordinary siddhi. By practicing she saw herself as no different than Vajrakilaya. Although she had attained realization already, she practiced in thousands of other retreats to bless them so that in the future practitioners would not face obstacles in their meditations. She also attained the siddhi of remembering whatever Guru Padmasambhava taught without writing it down. She also attained the adamantine body which is unchangeable.
After attaining enlightenment, she acted for the benefit of others. The first service she did for other was to free the evil minister who had been reborn in hell. She went down to hell and freed not only the minister but many other beings in hell. Guru Padmasambhava sent her to Nepal to free an acharya. It was a very difficult trip at that time. While she was travelling she encountered seven robbers. They planned to steal her goods. When they approached her she visualized them as deities and saw herself as giving her jewelry to them as offerings and with this attitude she did so. When the robbers heard her sweet voice and saw her beauty they planned to rape her. Out of compassion she had sexual relations with them. As a result they were freed from all their obscurations and negativities. When they realized her compassion they felt regret for their actions and apologized. That caused the robbers to follow the path of virtue. When you receive empowerment you are given nectar. It doesn’t mean you attain liberation immediately, but it sets you on the path to liberation. Similarly when you meet a great master you are set on the path to liberation.
When Yeshe Tsogyal was wandering in Nepal she met a young boy who asked if she was looking for him. Yeshe Tsogyal thought this was acharya she was sent to free. To check this she accompanied the boy to meet his parents. She asked them to stay in their house. The parents allowed her to stay in a tent outside their house. When the parents heard her sweet voice and saw her helpful nature, devotion to her arose in the parents. They asked her if she was human or divine. They said it is dangerous to travel alone in this area. The parents said their son seemed to have a karmic connection with Yeshe Tsogyal and said she should stay in their home as his bride. She agreed but she said you must let him come with me to Tibet to receive teachings from Guru Padmasambhava. The parents would not accept this condition saying, “We are not willing to have him go to Tibet. We would worry. Stay here in this house and you will be happy.” Yeshe Tsogyal said “The boy should come with me to Tibet. That is my lama’s command and I must obey. You may keep all my belongings. Guru Rinpoche never told me to stay here, so I cannot stay. If your boy goes he will gain enlightenment and you will also be freed from your suffering.” The parents said if she could give gold equal to the boy’s body, only then would they give their son to her. Thid thiimpossib her to do this. She agreed to this requirement and told the parents they must keep their promise.
She went out looking for the gold and met a family whose son had just dwere taking his body to be cremated. She was overwhelmed with compassion for these parents because of their suffering. She thought about what she should do. She went to the parents house and asked the parents if I can restore your son to life, what would you give to me. The father was overjoyed He said if you give my son life I will give you anything you ask for. Yeshe Tsogyal said you m your word after I perform my part of the bargain. The father asked, “What do you want?”. She said,”I needight to your son’s body.” The father was overjoyed and threw himself at her feet and implored her to restore their son to life. I will give you even more than you asked for. Yeshe Tsogyal meditated and practiced and prayed to her guru Padmasambhava for some time. Yeshe Tsogyal medit back into the dead body. Then slowly the dead body began to come back to life. Sweat came fromof the body, the body warmed and the eyes opened and the son could say mama. Yeshe Tsogyessed the boy and slowly he regained his health. The parents who were stricken with grief, were completely o news spread through Nepal. Then the parents said they would give all their wealth to Yeshe Tsogyal. But she accepted only the boy’s body weight in gold and left for the other son.
Yeshe Tsogyal told the parents you should take this gold and give me your son in return. Her renown in restoring the other son made the parents refuse the gold and they offered tir son to her and they were completely devoted to her. They said, “It was not greed fo gold but love for our son that prompted us. Keep the gold and take our son with you.” In reply Yeshe Tsogyal said that to be reborn as a human is more precious than gold, so she wouldn’t keep the gold. She said goodbye to the parents and took Acharya Tsale with her. She went to Samye Ling and approached Guru Rinpoche, who said it was very good that you were able to bring him here. They received all the Tantric instructions from Guru Padmasambhava. They practiced and were able to attain enlightenment.
Then their renown became so great that even Brahma was astonished. He heard that a second Buddha had been born and he and his consort were teaching. He wanted to see if he was teaching out of compassion or not. Brahma wanted to test Yeshe Tsogyal’s compassionate mind. So he came to Earth and disguised himself as a leper near to where she was meditating in a cave. She heard his cries she was filled with compassion. She wished to help him. She said, “Looking at your wounds, I can see you are in pain. If you keep on crying, this will not relieve your pain. It is more important to find the cause of your pain, which is your negative actions. That will be more helpful than crying. The three poisons are the cause of your suffering and you must avoid them. You should confess your past misdeeds and I will try to find how to overcome your sufferings.” Brahma said, “I have met many people who promised to help me and were unable to. I do not think you will be able to help me either. Many other people talked of helping me but didn’t. So it is better for you to leave me.” Yeshe Tsogyal said, “I am trying to help you and not trying to cause you pain, so why should I leave you.” Brahma said, “The reason why I want you to leave is my wife looked like you and she died a year ago. Looking at you causes me suffering. So your presence causes me physical and mental pain. Many people talk of helping me but don’t. My pain can only be overcome by giving me a kneecap. But no one will sacrifice this, so there is no use for you to be in my presence.” She felt so much compassion for the leper. She said, “You should realize samsara is suffering and liberate yourself from it. If you realize your sufferings are a result of your past actions and regret them, all your negative karma will be washed away. If giving away my kneecap will help you I will do it.” The leper said, “I am overjoyed that you are willing to give your kneecap.” The leper started weeping and said, “Giving your kneecap relieves my physical pain, but how can you remove the mental pain of my lost wife?” Yeshe Tsogyal said, “Once a person is dead they are gone, so it is better that you forget your wife.” The leper said, “Since you resemble my wife, if you become my wife that will remove my mental pain. But since you will not do this, it is better that you leave me.” Yeshe Tsogyal had so much compassion that she agreed to be his wife. The leper was overjoyed and very happy. He asked Yeshe Tsogyal to first give him her kneecap. When she did so, she fainted. We she came to she saw the leper in the form of Brahma. She asked Brahma where the leper was. Brahma was so much overjoyed he asked her forgiveness and told her he was just testing her intentions. He fell at her feet and said he regretted his actions and would do whatever she asked to help beings. He asked her to clear the path to enlightenment for the sake of all beings.
Yeshe Tsogyal hid the treasures hidden by Padmasambhava and showed beings the path to enlightenment. She lived for two hundred years. Then she transformed into the rainbow body and directly went to Guru Rinpoche’s Pure Land.
Q: What is the relation between deity practices and Dzogchen?
A: Some methods use an object and some do not, but they all lead to enlightenment. It all depends on the person’s connections. Some people like to do one kind of practice and some another.
Q: Does it hurt to switch practices?
A: No, that is natural
Q: Isn’t a consort like a wife? Could you clarify what this means?
A: it is a little bit like husband and wife but it is beyond that. it is non-dualism and doesn’t come from attachment. It’s a skillful means.
Q: What about Yeshe Tsogyal’s explanation that the leper’s suffering coming from karma?
A: Yeshe Tsogyal was explaining the leper’s suffering was due to cause and effect. Nothing comes from nothing. She was explaining how cause and effect works
Q: How can I help my friends who won’t do dharma practice?
A: Have a naturally good heart. Bodhicitta is something very open and simple. It doesn’t mean letting people step on you, but helping people when you can and forming the aspiration to help people when you can’t. Have a good heart and help people when you can, but don’t regret when you can’t.