The Biography of Atisha
The Guru's knowledge of the origin of the Dharma
by Gurugana Dharmakaranama

     To those noble persons in whom the religion is rooted, I pay homage.
     On living beings suffering from the scorching heat of affliction (klesha), the vault of Dharma showers clouds of loving kindness (maitri) and rains down compassion (karuna) that refresh those beset by afflictions' scorching heat. To that Dharma King, I bow my head.
     From his ocean-vast and unsullied story, without additions for changes of any sort, to the best of my ability, I have gathered some drops. O give ear.
     In the eastern part of India, in the country named Bengal (Sahor), the ruler was a religious king named Kalyana Shri. King Kalyana Shri brought the prosperity of his kingdom to its zenith. His palace had a golden victory banner encircled by countless houses and there were great numbers of bathing-pools encircled by 720 magnificent gardens, forests of Tala trees, seven concentric walls, 363 connecting bridges, innumerable golden victory banners, thirteen roofs to the central palace and thousands of noblemen in the palace.
     All this splendour matched the King of Tonkun's (one of the Chinese kings); the dignity of the monarch's royal bearing and his air of great authority were like those of the great god Indra. His subjects were as numerous as the inhabitants of a city of Gandharas and their religious attainments could be compared to those of Aryadharma. Shri Prabhavati, the consort of this devout king, was like a goddess. She was a beautiful and chaste woman who worshipped the Triple Gem, and was beloved as a mother by all human beings. This queen had three sons, namely Shrigarbha, Chandragarbha and Padmagarbha. The story of these three is seldom to be found in other books. The second son, Chandragarbha, was my noble guru. At the auspicious moment of his birth, flowers rained down upon the city, a rainbow canopy appeared, and the gods sang hymns which brought gladness and joy to all the people. For eighteen months he resided in the capital and was excellently reared by eight nurses.
     To the north of the palace there was a sacred place called Vikramashila Vihara. To make offerings 1 at that place, the King, Queen and their ministers, escorted by 500 chariots full of lovely girls elegantly adorned with ornaments and surrounded by hundreds upon hundreds of musicians, carried the innumerable jeweled articles necessary for the votive rite and all went to that place singing.
     My infant guru, who already seemed like a child of three, had so many beauties of person that the eyes were, dazzled. The boy, having been crowned and adorned with god-like ornaments, was carried by his father wrapped in fine muslin garments. When the people saw him they felt so full of happiness that they could not tear themselves away. Those who stood by exclaimed: "At the time of your birth, the tent of the sun was set up and melodious songs were heard by the people. So our most cherished desire was to meet you. And now, having seen you, we are filled with joyous awe." Then the excellent Prince enquired: "Who are these people, O parents?"
     "These are your subjects, Prince," answered his parents.
     Then the excellent Prince continued: "May they be possessed of merit like that of my parents.
     May they rule kingdoms that reach the summit of prosperity.
     May they be reborn as sons of kings and may they be sustained by holy and virtuous deeds." Then, when the royal procession came safely to the Vikramashila Vihara (the main chapel at that place of pilgrimage) the excellent Prince, having prostrated himself to the Triple Gem, recited this melodious song of praise: "Having attained the noble body of a man, and being without defect in all organs, I shall adhere to the Triple Gem.
     Always, I shall take the Triple Gem upon my head with deep sincerity.
     Henceforward, may the Triple Gem be my refuge!"
     When these words were heard by the King, Queen, ministers and monks, they were filled with joyful wonder and all declared with one voice that the Prince was destined for greatness. Then the King, Queen and attendants declared: "May we, by gathering merits through paying reverence and making offerings, be able to make offerings to the Triple Gem from life to life. And, by the virtue of those merits, we pray for the long continuance of our religion, for which we shall make offerings to the sangha. 0, may we be delivered from the sufferings caused by defilements."
     When the Prince heard their words, he looked at his parents and exclaimed: "May I never be bound by worldly ways. May I be taught the holy way of the monks and humbly worship the Triple Gem. May I feel pity for all beings."
     His parents and the others felt full of wonder when they heard the sayings of the Prince. This was the first preaching of my guru. The Prince, by the age of three, had become well-versed in astrology, writing and Sanskrit. At six years, he was able to distinguish between the Buddhist and non- Buddhist doctrines. From then up to the age of ten years, he took the Triple Gem for refuge by observing the precepts (shilas) of the upasakas, bestowing charity (dana), studying happily, reciting prayers, seeking out people of noble character, obeying and serving his parents humbly and with sweet words, enjoying every sort of religious dance and sacred song, paying respect to holy men even from a distance, looking at worldlings with heart-felt pity, helping those who were wretched, and doing many such noble deeds. When the Prince reached the age of eleven years, the ministers and subjects brought twenty-one girls of noble parentage to him and the King and Queen presented them with valuable gifts.
     One day the King summoned all his ministers and commanded: "Beginning from tomorrow you must carefully prepare the thirteen royal chariots and adorn them beautifully with innumerable ornaments such as the people love, especially the most beautiful and strongest chariot which should be placed in the centre. On it you must pitch the peacock umbrella surrounded by fans. In the centre (under the peacock umbrella) place Chandragarbha clad in splendid garments on a beautifully jeweled throne. In the other twelve adorned chariots, all the ministers will be seated dressed in magnificent garments and accompanied by musicians with many kinds of instruments to play joyful songs.
     "The procession will be led by three white chariots; there will be three red chariots to the rear, three yellow chariots on the right and three green chariots on the left. In each of the chariots place many youths and maidens with colored banners proper to the devas of the four directions. The Prince's chariot of five different colors should be ornamented at the four corners with carvings shaped like peacocks' necks and surrounded by girls dressed as goddesses bearing offerings. The other attendants should play melodious tunes upon such instruments as violins, drums and cymbals to delight the crowds who will gather on all sides. Beyond the great city in a pleasant garden must be set all sorts of amusements and games that will draw the people to assemble there. These amusements must last for a period of half a month so as to make all the people feel happy and contented. Among the assembly, there must be girls ready to delight the Prince, and the ministers must instruct them how to behave when the Prince's gaze lights upon them."
     Thus the great King ordered the ministers to get ready thirteen adorned chariots within a week, with the chariot of the Prince in the middle, richly ornamented, and twelve chariots of musicians with instruments of all sorts.
     Then beyond the great city at all the crossroads and in the gardens, the people began enjoying themselves with fascinating games. During the royal progress through all the quarters of the city to which Prince Chandragarbha and his 25,000 attendants proceeded in their chariots, the people in the lotus gardens adjacent to the capital and at every junction of the roads welcomed him like a universal king (a chakravartin) and all followed to gaze at the Prince. Prabhadevi and the other court ladies, the Prince's kinsmen and comrades, encouraged one another to hasten to see the gathering of people. When the people came crowding around the procession, the daughters of King Punnadhara, King Nemandhara, King Jalapati, King Pracandraprabha and other kings of high descent, noble physique and great possessions came armed, riding in twenty-two chariots, to join in the celebrations. In each of the chariots rode seven girls with seven maiden attendants. All these twenty-two chariots were adorned magnificently with diverse ornaments. The riders came singing melodious songs and in happy mood. The girls sat like goddesses, their lovelorn eyes fixed upon the Prince, for, at the sight of this youth, their passion was so great that the hair on their limbs stood up.
     Suddenly, a goddess appeared, her complexion pale blue, and uttered the following admonition to the Prince: "0, care not for power and be free from lust, most fortunate Prince.
     If, as an elephant sinks deeply into the swamp, you, a hero, were to sink in the mire of lust,
     Would it not stain the shila robes you have worn
     In your past five hundred and fifty-two lives
     When you took the form of an undefiled pandita, a holy bhikshu?
     Therefore, as ducks seek out the lotus garden,
     Seek you ordination in this life.
     The charming and lovely girls who live in this city
     Are temptresses sent by mara (the evil one) to dispel your brilliant shila,
     Thus they hope to betray you by showing you their passion.
     Know this, O handsome Prince!
     Like the moon reflected in the ocean,
     Your purity gives forth brilliance, O Prince.
     Your head adorned with the five sacred jeweled ornaments
     Puts a spell of fascination upon the people.
     Since you have attained a precious human body, so difficult to win,
     You should devote your life to hearing, pondering and practising (the Dharma)
     And, to set your doubts at rest,
     You should seek the guidance of innumerable gurus."
     The Prince smiled and responded thus to the goddess's admonition :
     "Oh wonderful! This is good, this is good, most excellently good!
     The wise delight in the (silence of the) forest,
     As peacocks thrive on poisonous plants
     Or as ducks rejoice in the water of the lake.
     Just as crows revel in dirty places,
     So do ordinary people flock to the city.
     Whereas, like ducks hastening to the lotus pond.
     Do people of wisdom seek the forest.
     How unlike ordinary people!
     So, in the past, was Prince Siddhartha
     Repelled by the prosperous kingdom of Suddhodana as by a filthy swamp.
     He thereupon sought enlightenment, renouncing all his royal consorts.
     All humans and devas praised and worshipped him.
     Possessing the thirty-two glorious signs and eighty noble marks of a Dharma king,
     He attained buddhahood attended by the twelve holy states.
     Unless I renounce this kingdom,
     I shall increase the lust in the swamp of evil.
     All friends increase the lust in the swamp of evil.
     All friends are deceivers sent by mara.
     All wealth is but a salty river.
     Now by making good use of this body, I shall attain enlightenment.
     The enjoyment of pleasures stemming from desire
     Is as empty as reflected moonlight,
     As fleeting as an echo,
     As illusory as a mirage,
     As dependent as a reflection.
     Into this vast ocean of affliction,
     The rivers of birth, decay, sickness and death flow unceasingly.
     In the past, I was bound by the karmic power of impure deeds,
     But today I am able to fulfill this life, so why not seek after Dharma?
     Determined to seek deliverance from worldly things,
     I shall devote myself to the noble Dharma under the guidance of my gurus.''
     When the people in that city heard the words of the Prince, they cried: "Such utterances make it seem that this Prince will not reign over the kingdom; but if he were to reign, he would doubtless be a Dharma king; whereas, by seeking out many learned people and gurus, he will emulate the son of Shakya." Thus the people around him shouted, full of joy and wonder, gazing at the Prince repeatedly, their eyes full of love. However, those highborn girls who had felt so happy when they saw the Prince, were shocked when they heard his words. Hastening to their parents, they spoke thus: "The noble Prince has declared that he feels repelled by the world and will leave the kingdom to become a holy bhikshu, just as the Prince Siddhartha renounced his queen, and that he feels no attachment to his people. Now all of you, our parents and the rest, must hasten to the palace and do all that can be done by means of your great wealth so that the mind of the Prince will remain fixed upon the kingdom. This is what we girls now urge."
     The ministers, parents and subjects did their utmost to please the Prince by bringing girls to dance and sing for him. Then the Prince gathered from the city and neighborhood one hundred and thirty armed horsemen clad in warrior's garb and went out hunting.
     Presently he came upon a brahmin named Zitari who had the appearance of an arhant. Dwelling in a cave and dressed neatly and cleanly in a hermit's costume, he was singing a melodious song. The Prince, while still astride his horse, enquired: "O hermit, by living in this solitary place, eating pure food and performing noble deeds, by renouncing goods and pleasures and observing a strict ascetic rule, what kind of knowledge have you gained?" The hermit, without raising his eyes, answered the Prince thus: "O Prince, the riches possessed by brahmins and royal persons are like summer flowers that soon decay; thus the power of karmic actions leads down to miserable, states.
     Residing here, I have learnt that riches will be of no profit in the next life.
     Fearing to be born in a filthy insect-haunted swamp,
     As a result of bestial behaviour suited to cattle, dogs and pigs,
     Practising self-mortification, I dwell in this clean forest.
     Perceiving no value in illusory wealth, remembering the next life, I live now as a hermit."
     On hearing those words the Prince spoke as follows, seeking to read the hermit's mind from his expression: "Hermits are more arrogant than others, not bothering to rise even in the presence of royal persons." The great hermit replied: "What sort of royal person are you and from where do you come? Since I have no friends or enemies, I know nothing about you. I am happy without wealth in these forests. The only enemy in my life is Yama (the god of death) and, being free from pride, I have left off attending entertainments." The Prince replied: "I am from the Golden Victory Banner Kingdom and am a son of King Kalyana Shri. Today I have come to this forest to find out if there are disaffected people here and you have committed an offence by not recognizing a member of the royal family."
     The great hermit continued: "Is my staying apart from the race of humans an offence? I have no master, no servant, none to guard me.
     King, when you enter upon the next life,
     With no horse and no comrade, you will have to walk alone
     Hungry and naked, you will have to wander alone between death and rebirth.
     Your wanderings in unknown places, unknown countries, will go on and on.
     One day you will no longer be the son of a king.
     It is for reasons such as these that I stay in this solitary place."
     On hearing these words, the Prince dismounted from his horse and offered him three gifts, namely servants, horses, and weapons. With hands reverently folded, he uttered the following stanzas:
     "To test the knowledge of Your Reverence,
     I uttered words that were: harsh and proud.
     Now day and night I long to repent, being disgusted with worldly matters.
     I pray you, O hermit, receive me (as your disciple)."
     The great hermit answered: "Come, may your mind be freed from the wind of pride. May you become a leader of the shasana."
     So saying, the hermit conferred upon him bodhicitta and the blessing of the Triple Gem. Then the Prince arose and offered the hermit chariots and other gifts in return for the blessing of the Triple Gem and the gift of bodhicitta.
     The hermit, so as to enable the Prince to receive the full merit, took the offerings for a while. Then he uttered this admonition: "O Prince, if without taking careful thought, you make offerings so as to solve present problems and thus achieve greatness in this life,
     That is a selfish way of which even foxes and wolves are capable.
     Enlightenment cannot be thus attained even by pratyekabuddhas.
     Even a servant can fill his mouth with food, but a king can never find satisfaction in this life.
     Therefore, O Prince, let zeal fill your heart, and seek enlightenment by renouncing the kingdom."
     To this the Prince answered: "I am chained by my royal consorts like a pampered prisoner.
     Above all, bound by the effects of my klesha, I am fondly held by kinsmen
     Who all betray me by showing me their love.
     That is how I feel in this mirey world. Now I cannot bear the actions of the King.
     Therefore, O guru, bless me."
     To these words, the great hermit replied: "One of the world's great chains is high birth. The name most beloved of mara is 'king', mara's chief messengers are royal ministers. Certainly, the King's actions will soon cause you harm. So to Nalanda you must go. There lives one who has been your guru throughout lives since time immemorial, Bodhibhadra. Receiving from him bodhicitta and listening to the Dharma, there must you come face to face with truth. This learned man will be of great benefit to you."
     So saying, the great hermit, having returned all the offerings continued: "Come back to me here when you become a monk. I will guide you with much good advice."
     Then the Prince, having quickly returned to his capital, took gold, silver and great wealth with which he proceeded to Nalanda followed by his attendants. The King of Nalanda tremblingly came to receive the Prince while still at a distance with his troops and attendants. When they met, he uttered these noble words: "O Prince, from whence have you come?
     And where did you take birth, you who are like a chakravartin?
     And where will you go to subdue the enemies of the excellent Dharma?
     I, seeing you from afar, have come to receive you."
     The Prince replied: "I have come from the land of East Bengal, the Palace of the Golden Victory Banner. Now I go to subdue the enemy, samsara. To subdue the mara of death I go!"
     "You are a son of the King of East Bengal, the pious King Kalyana Shri, the king who like a chakravartin has been victorious over many evils. It is good fortune that the son of such a king has come to this land of mine. Your Vikramashila Vihara is like the palace of a divinity in paradise. To renounce so wonderful a place is beyond imagination; the pandits there are as brilliant as the sun and moon. Why, then, have you come here to seek some other teacher, O great Prince?"
     The excellent Prince responded: "In the great religious institution of Nalanda—like an ocean whose vast expanse is filled with gems –
     Among the pandits numerous as the stars, there lives
     The most excellent and venerable Bodhibhadra, whom the hermit foretold will be my guru. I pray you, O King, do not reject me!"
     Then the King of Nalanda replied: "Great indeed is the excellent Bodhibhadra!
     Like snow-clad Mount Tise, motionless, giving forth radiance!
     As the god of wealth is rich in possessions, so is Bodhibhadra rich in noble followers. I pray you come now to celebrate these joyful tidings with pleasant entertainment."
     "Excellent," uttered the noble Prince.
     Then the King of Nalanda, with a procession of those who had come to welcome the Prince, proceeded to Nalanda to the accompaniment of music. To the south of Nalanda, there was a palace called Samantabhadra Prasada in a place known as Padamadesh, encircled by innumerable houses. In this place the Prince was invited to seat himself on the beautifully decorated jeweled throne and the King of Nalanda himself served and praised His Highness.
     Thereafter they went to guru Bodhibhadra in Nalanda. Entering the monastery, the Prince felt exceedingly happy upon meeting his guru. So also did the noble guru Bodhibhadra, on hearing of the Prince's coming, feel full of joy and, rising from his mat, he uttered the following sweet Dharma words:
     "So you have come, O son of Dharmaraj! Does our religion flourish in Bengal? Has not the long journey made you tired?"
     The Excellent Prince answered: "My father is in good health and I have come here to seek the Dharma. And after a safe journey, I have met you today, O learned expounder of the teaching of Buddha. Are you not weary of listening, thinking and meditating?"
     To these words, the guru replied: "I too am well. Day and night I flourish by the blessing of the holy Dharma. Be seated, O excellent Prince, and tell me what you need."
     Thereupon the Prince prostrated himself reverently and, by his offerings of jewels, pleased the guru. Then, in humble tones, he cried: "Compassionately listen to my words, O teacher of all beings! I could not bear the swamp of suffering that is samsara. Fearing to suffer through the snare of a great kingdom, I went with some armed companions to the forest. There I came upon the guru Zitari who was dwelling there. Then I prayed to him for the gift of bodhicitta and, by the graciousness of that high pandit, I was sent to this great religious institution of Nalanda. There, said the hermit, blessed by divinity in previous lives, dwells the noble guru Bodhibhadra. From him seek the blessing of bodhicitta. Immediately I went to my palace and took gifts for offerings. Today I have arrived. In your compassion be kind to me and bestow on me bodhicitta and many blessings." Then the Prince immediately sat down. The guru, entering a state of meditation, gave the blessing of right action of body, speech and mind together with bodhicitta and other blessings. Then he delivered the following admonition:
     "O Prince. Make good use of this life. Unless you seek deliverance by renouncing the kingdom,
     When your karma leads you to fall into evil states, it will be too late to regret.
     This life is a precious opportunity to establish the strong foundation of all lives.
     If you do not make gigantic efforts, but waste this valuable opportunity to obtain deliverance,
     O honored Prince, you will not be able to gain it in the future.
     However well equipped and courageous you may be, when the messenger of death leads you along the narrow path to the beyond (the next life), no power, no protector, no repentance you may have will be of any benefit.
     O Excellent Prince! This is the Dharma to be pondered.
     To the north of Nalanda, there lives one who has been your guru in your previous lives since time immemorial. Known as Prince Bodhikoyal, he has spent all his life meditating in solitary places.
     Unsullied by the filth of the eight extremes, he is clad in shila and prophetic power. Approach him and receive his Dharma teaching."
     The Prince, having heard these admonitions of the guru, sadly left the valuable Bodhibhadra for the noble Bodhikoyal, to whom he prostrated himself and made offerings, saying: "I am a son of East Bengal. Setting forth from the Palace of the Golden Victory Banner, I made my way to the monastery of Nalanda and there received bodhicitta from the venerable Bodhibhadra. The Venerable One admonished me: 'Stay not here, but go to the northern side where dwells one who has been your guru in many lives since, time immemorial, the venerable Bodhikoyal by name. Approach him and receive the blessing of bodhicitta. This Venerable One will be of great benefit to you!'
     Thereafter, I sadly left my noble guru and have come joyfully to be near you, O teacher! I cannot bear the actions of my father. You, noble guru, must bless me."
     Full of joy, the eminent guru uttered these words: "It is excellent that the Prince has come. Draw near, you who are to me as my own self, and receive my blessing. Of the Dharma's true nature I shall preach to you, out of my love."
     Then the Prince, having prostrated himself and presented many offerings, humbly sat down upon the mat. The venerable Bodhikoyal administered bodhicitta and uttered the following stanzas as the gist of his profound teaching:
     "O Prince! Even though perfectly endowed with the three possessions (grace, glory and wealth) in this present life, were you to neglect to make your life meritorious, Your possessing a noble human body would be of no avail.
     And how regrettable it would be if you forfeited the wealth of lives to come.
     O Prince! As the noble Nagarjuna once said: 'All things both external and internal, are void, dreamlike, illusory, Whosoever fails to ponder these two truths will be swallowed up by samsara's filthy mire!
     O Prince! You must fix your concentration on the void (shunyata), insubstantial as the sky.
     But when, after meditation, you feel that all things resemble a mirage,
     Then ponder karma and its results."
     Thus did the guru transmit the profound Dharma, whereupon the Prince attained the prayogamarga (the path of endeavour, which is the second of five stages) and also surangama samadhi (the contemplation leading to power). Uttering these words, he described what he had perceived:
     "O guru! On entering samadhi, I perceived (a state of voidness) like a cloudless sky, radiant, pure and clear. Is that the nature of the Dharma, O guru? Then, after coming forth from meditation, I was troubled by no attachment, but longed to be of benefit to sentient beings. I recognize the reality of karma, even though all objects are revealed as illusions. O guru, is my practice without error?"
     The guru answered: "Fortunate man. You are a product of accumulated merit. As a bhikshu I do not exaggerate or pervert the truth.
     Although at the time of concentration one perceives that all objects share the voidness of the sky
     One must lift up all beings through compassion after the concentration has been performed.
     This is an exposition of two truths (absolute and relative).
     It is my most precious teaching. Now, if you desire to renounce your kingdom, to the south of the black mountain's peak dwells my guru Avadhuti. He, was also your guru in previous lives. Go and obtain the bestowal of bodhicitta from him and receive the admonition that will lead you to renounce the kingdom."
     On hearing the words of that guru, the Prince, though reluctant to depart, joined his attendants in happily paying their last homage. Thereafter, they went on their way as though escorting a great hero. While they were proceeding, the King of Nalanda presented innumerable precious objects and, followed by his train, escorted the Prince for as much as three miles. Before the King departed, the Prince spoke the following affectionate words:
     "Although you are clad in a noble body, O King,
     Were you not to subdue the enemy, samsara,
     Later, when led in bonds by the executioners—well! That would be sad indeed! Therefore, cherish your wealth of Dharma.
     Although your good-heartedness made our meeting possible, that is perishable by nature and vanishes like customers from a fair.
     Do not consider my departure a loss, but remember the love I bear you,
     And try hard to come into accordance with religion, soon."
     The King replied: "Our meeting today has been the most excellent good fortune.
     I am deeply moved to have encountered you, son of a religious king.
     Your setting forth from here saddens me more than the departure of my own son, but I pray we may soon meet again."
     Then the Prince went to the south of the Black Mountain's peak to the venerable Avadhuti. He discovered the noble guru dwelling beneath the shelter of that dark peak clad in a black blanket that covered his whole body. He was seated on the skin of a spotted antelope with a string of meditation beads adorning his breast. His frame was bulky and his belly corpulent. His eyes were pale red, his complexion blue, and it was his habit to sit with one leg partly extended. Though devoid of worldly possessions, he bore a skull in which sentient beings were collected. Though he was often seen in that place, he had no definite dwelling.
     The Prince dismounted while still at a distance and, bowing low, approached the guru, followed by his attendants. The guru, meeting him with a fixed glare, spoke as follows:
     "Has your inner pride been entirely broken yet?
     Are you not tortured by maras?
     Are you not stuck in the swamp of your kingdom?
     Are you not cheated by mara's daughters?
     Has your noble body not withered yet?
     And why do you come here like the son of a king?"
     The Prince prostrated himself and replied: "From the land of East Bengal have I come.
     Free from longing for my kingdom, have I come.
     To obtain protection from samsara have I come.
     To the great religious institution of Nalanda I went,
     And received refuge from the venerable Bodhikoyal.
     That guru has sent me to you.
     Now may you give me refuge?"
     To these words the venerable Avadhuti replied:
     "O man! Since you have taken birth as one of royal descent,
     What terrifying heaps of affliction you must have! Could you, throwing off your kingdom as one spews forth spittle, bear the actions of Avadhuti?
     The wealth of a kingdom is nothing but a lake of poison!
     Taste but one drop and your liberation will be imperiled!
     The wealth of a kingdom is nothing but a pit of fire!
     One touch will make you suffer cruelly.
     Go back now to your kingdom,
     And return to me soon after contemplating its miseries."
     The Prince, on hearing these words of the guru, paid his respects and set forth for his kingdom. The people, on seeing their Prince, laughed with delight, danced joyfully and gave themselves to song and music. When the Prince arrived at the palace, the King and Queen, rejoicing, asked:
     "Where have you been O Chandragarbha?
     Are you not fatigued?
     Did you not suffer by seeing so much misery?
     It is good that you have come home."
     The Prince answered his parents fully:
     "I went to engage in mirthful sports at every place.
     I went to find out the way to subdue the enemies of religion.
     I went to seek a guru able to give me protection.
     I went in search of solitary places amidst mountains and rocks.
     I saw the defects of samsara in every place I went.
     All with whom I associated told me of its evils.
     Nothing I did brought me peace of mind.
     Now I will go back to seek after Dharma.
     O my parents, give me this opportunity!"
     To this, his parents answered: "O son! If you feel distressed by samsara, make offerings to the Triple Gem by reigning over your kingdom, by satisfying the needs of those who are wretched with fond commiseration. Always erecting monasteries.
     Meditate on compassion (karuna) and on loving kindness (maitri) without partiality.
     All will be made happy by your behaving in this way."
     The Prince responded: "Listen, Father, if you love me!
     Here in this palace of golden jewels, enmeshed by bevies of consorts whose charms are so hard to resist, I shall suffer support the sangha by and on loving-kindness bitterly.
     Looking upon this samsara,
     I recollect the sufferings of all beings.
     As for attachment to this kingdom,
     I shall regret it no more than a drop of spittle.
     Day and night, I have thought over the defects of this kingdom.
     However lovely those deceiving girls of mara may be,
     I experience not the least desire.
     Looking upon those illusory things,
     I recognize that, between three pure substances such as curd, milk and butter,
     Or three sweet foods such as sugar, molasses and honey,
     And, on the other hand, such unclean filth as leprous persons, dog-flesh, pus and blood,
     There is not a particle of difference.
     Between splendid garments, beautiful turquoises and corals, or the lovely ornaments of devas, And tattered and unclean rags
     There is not a shred of difference.
     In order to contemplate dhyana, to the forest I shall go
     In the eight cemeteries shall I disport myself!
     To the place of yogis, I go
     To seek out solitude where true happiness can be enjoyed.
     Giving up all attachment and treating everything impartially,
     I go to be a mendicant.
     To the lofty mountain peaks, I go
     To the guru Avadhuti, I go.
     To the place of yogis, I go
     To sip the essence of the Vajrayana.
     To the country of Udyana, I go.
     To make friends with the dakinis of wisdom, I go
     I go to the heaven of Akanishta.
     To bow at the foot of Vairochana, I go.
     I go to the heaven of Tushita.
     To serve the noble guru, I go.
     I go to all the heavens.
     To perform devotional rites, I go.
     I go to the Arya heaven, to Sukhavati (the paradise of happiness) to enjoy delight, I go.
     Do not bind me, do not bind me, O King Kalyana Shri.
     Permit me to go to a place of salvation, O Father, if you love me.
     Do not bind me, do not bind me, O Queen Shri Prabhavati!
     Permit me to embrace religion, O Mother, if you love me!
     Give me now a little rice and wine, meat, milk, molasses and honey,
     And other such provisions.
     I go to the venerable Avadhuti and there, propitiating him.
     I shall be able to subdue my mind."
     As the noble Prince sang these words into the ears of his parents, they seemed to hear the song of a Ghandarava king which bemuses the minds of all people. The parents, bemused by the Prince's song, gave him everything he wished, making no reply. Then taking the rice and wine and other provisions, the Prince went off to the forest with a train of one thousand horsemen and pleased the venerable Avadhuti by his offerings. To the guru they reverently folded their hands and prostrated themselves at his feet. The guru thereupon administered bodhicitta and blessed them with the admonitions of the Mahayana. At that time it seemed the Prince was like a chakravartin ruler, protected from danger by his retinue of guards and soldiers riding their horses amidst the forest and uttering martial shouts. Pressing round him and about him, they guarded him and made him offerings of music and of song.
     After blessing them, the guru commanded: "Go to the Black Mountain.
     To the noble and blissful Vajrayogi, he who has propitiated the Lord of Death by serving him as an attendant spirit. To that noble rahula you must go.
     Obtain bodhicitta and glorious admonitions from him.
     He, too, was your guru in previous lives.
     Stay not here, but go on your way happily."
     On hearing the guru's words, the Prince, like a great hero going forth to battle, rode off with his thousand horsemen who, well accoutred with shields and helmets, made martial music and flourished axes, hammers and short spears. As they rode to the monastery, they let fly arrows and their shouts rang out upon all sides.
     In Black Mountain Monastery, there lived countless yogis and yoginis. While the august Vajrayogi was expounding the Tantra to his disciples, he saw the young Prince Chandragarbha coming. Although he knew that the Prince had come to seek religious teaching, the merciful one, for the purpose of giving him a warning, cast a thunderbolt in his direction. The missile, instead of falling to the earth, flew towards a stupa on Black Mountain. In great amazement, the disciples asked: "Why has the Prince come with an army to visit the guru?" Whereupon the guru replied :
     "Having passed through five hundred and fifty-two lives as a bhikshu undefiled, a great pandita most learned, this man has taken birth excellently in Bengal as the son of King Kalyana. Even to such a great kingdom and to such throngs of subjects, he is not attached, but longs to practise austerities. On the peak of this mountain dwells Avadhuti and, as prophesied by him, the Prince has arrived here today. Is this not wonderful, O my disciples?"
     When the guru had spoken these words, all of them cried out: "Wonderful! Blessed is this day on which the great hero has come!" Then all rose and welcomed the Prince while he was still at a distance. When he dismounted, so did his thousand horsemen. Then, entering the palace of the guru, the Prince reverently prostrated himself and said:
     "I pray you listen to me, exalted guru. Although I desire to attain liberation by renouncing my home,
     I am burdened by my so-called royal descent;
     I am in danger of being bound to the kingdom of Bengal.
     Zitari, Bodhibhadra, Bodhikoyal and Avadhuti, to all these gurus who have attained wisdom, higher knowledge and spiritual power, I have attended.
     Yet still I have not been liberated from my kingdom.
     Now I have been sent by them to you, O guru.
     Bless me with the power of bodhicitta
     And deliver me from the chains of my kingdom!"
     Then the noble guru took the Prince close to the mandala and, bestowing the power of Shri Hevajra, secretly named him Janna-guhey-vajra. Day and night, the guru showered upon him the rain of admonition and followed this by an empowerment (abhisheka) that lasted a full thirteen days, during which time none of his attendants slept, but strolled about, playing, singing, dancing and enjoying many kinds of music. These attendants thought only of when the Prince would emerge. When the thirteen days had elapsed, the Prince came forth wearing the dress of Heruka (a fierce divinity or yogic form) and, on seeing his attendants, sang them hymns of exhortation. Gazing upon his three possessions (servants, horses and weapons), he perceived them all to be worthless. Then did he utter the following stanza:
     "All things are in a state of absolute stillness like the sky.
     All things are empty as an echo among hollow rocks.
     A kingdom is worthless as riches in a dream.
     Attendants are deceivers like covens of magicians.
     If I do not seek deliverance by renouncing all these, I am not blessed, despite my accumulated merits. Day and night, in contemplating the nature of all phenomena and in listening ever (to the Dharma), I shall exert unremitting effort."
     Then suddenly there appeared many (divine) yogis and yogini, such as Hevajra Yogi, Karma Yogini, representing the nature of impermanence, Vira Yogi, a master of higher knowledge and spiritual power, and eight fearful male and female naked ascetics, grasping in one hand flutes fashioned of human thighbones and, in the other, human limbs at which flesh they gnawed as they shouted: "HUM!" and "PHAT!" These danced around the Prince, giving him this admonition: "Hasten to Bengal and convert the mind of the King. Make him understand why you have renounced the kingdom, O Prince! Let him take you to the noble personage, yogi Avadhuti. There, put on rough cloth and sustain your life on coarse food. Abandon your mat of embroidered silk and sit on the fur of an antelope. Give up your horses and attendants and learn to travel alone as a mendicant. Do not fear, do not fear, when you are seeking liberation; particularly now that you are cutting off the mighty adversary! Go now, our guru (Hevajra) thus orders you!”
     Then the Prince, having put on his hermit’s costume, mounted his horse, surrounded by his thousand horsemen. On the way back, he sang the following Vajrayana verses:
     "In the absolute non-being (voidness) of Citta-vajra,
     I have sought the imperishable Vajrayana.
     O most delightful Vajra,
     My thought springs up to thy noble dignity. By the clarity and purity of the Deva-vajra, the shadow of karma is reflected, but freed from ail imperfect action.
     By the power of the Ratna-vajra of the Kaya mandala,
     I an gaze upon the Anatta-vajra without fear.
     By the perfect wisdom of the Guheya-vajra, may I surely be victorious in the battle over samsara."
     When the Prince had concluded this song of Vajra, the four great court ministers, Mahamantri Shura-vajra, Mahamantri Shatru Prabhanca, Mahamantri Jayatiraj and Mahamantri Abhaya, sang sadly:
     "How powerful is karma in this world! In that excellent land, Bengal, of which all people speak with delight,
     How great is the prosperity of its capital!
     Pleasant to see is the Golden Banner. Magnificent are King Kalvana and Shri Prabhavati, the mother of its people.
     Yet renouncing his councillors, ministers and subjects like phantoms,
     The noble Prince prefers to dwell in the forest.
     Abandoning his horses, chariots, elephants,
     He will walk barefoot like a commoner!
     Putting off his god-like ornaments and garments.
     He will clothe himself in common garb!
     Abandoning his peacock-ornamented throne,
     He will stretch an antelope's skin on the floor of a hovel!
     Indifferent to the goddess-like beauty of the women in his kingdom,
     He will wander in cemeteries, devouring the flesh of corpses!
     We felt such happiness on seeing you when you took birth.
     After living with us so joyfully, how can you leave us?"
     Singing this sad song, the ministers came (with the Prince) to the capital and, upon their arrival at the palace, all the people heard what they were singing. Gazing at them they saw them, looking like the Guardian Deities of the ten directions going forth to war, so awe-inspiring, courageous and mightily armed. The sight was greatly astonishing and full of beauty and allurement. The attendants made such a great noise with their hurryburly that even the Prince himself was awestruck.
     For three whole months the ministers wore their warriors' array and kept their horses saddled. Some raced on horseback, others played in dramas and sang. Some armed themselves with new weapons as if going forth to war. Yogis and yoginis pranced about and the Prince behaved like a madman in the centre of the capital, causing all his subjects to recognize that he would not reign over the kingdom. So the people stood weeping. As though wild beasts had come howling to devour the people's flesh, his parents fell to bitter lamentation, particularly the father, who cried:
     "At the time of your auspicious birth,
     We saw such marvelous prodigies that I made sure you would reign over the kingdom.
     And accordingly my mind was filled with delight.
     Now what thoughts are these that make you wish to leave for the forest?"
     To this, the Prince replied: "Pray listen to me, O religious King!
     If I reigned over the kingdom as you command,
     Though I should naturally be with you for a while in this life,
     We, father and son, would never meet again in all the lives to come.
     How shameful it would be, were I to stay and bring you not benefit but harm!
     It is sure that, if by renouncing this mighty kingdom I shall accomplish the path of liberation,
     Then in all lives to come gladly shall we meet again.
     Therefore, I implore you to give me that opportunity."
     Then the mother cried: "What is the use? Much though I grieve, his karma has greater weight.
     Well! Send this noble looking youth to practise religion wherever he may go.
     I pray that we shall soon be together always."
     The Prince, when morning dawned, went to the forest with the yogis and, encountering Avadhuti, practised asceticism, and learned all the Dharma of madhyamarga without attachment. From the age of twelve to eighteen he practised asceticism with Avadhuti by listening, thinking and meditating on one mat. Thus did this Holy One of great compassion perform hundreds of varied austerities. Renouncing his unimaginably mighty kingdom like a drop of spittle, he attained complete liberation.
     Since there exists no one to rival your 2 accomplishment, I have found in you the most successful master of religion. I, Dromtonpa, bowing my head, shall humbly pay you homage until the end of samsara. I pray you, O Greatly Compassionate One, to forgive me whatever exaggeration or perversion of truth there may be in this book.
     Thus ends the summary, selected from the ocean of my guru's deeds, setting forth the virtuous actions whereby he accomplished liberation through the renunciation of his th the virtuous actions whereby he accomplished liberation through the renunciation of his kingdom.

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