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Anecdotes from the life of the great Tibetan master Gyalse Ngulchu Thogme (1295-1369) - I

By Matthieu Ricard on October 14, 2012

The great sage Gyalse Ngulchu Thogme was born in 1295 a few miles to the southwest of Sakya monastery, in Tsang, Central Tibet. As soon as he learnt to speak, it became evident how full of compassion he was. One day, as he sat on his mother's lap, he saw a leaf whirled up into the air by the wind. He began to cry intensely.
‟Why are you crying?” asked his mother.
He pointed a finger at the disappearing leaf and said, ‟An animal has been carried away into the sky!”

On another occasion, after he had begun to walk, he went outside but returned only a few minutes later, naked—to the great surprise of his mother.
‟What have you done with your clothes?” she asked.
‟There was someone out there who was feeling cold,” he replied.
She stepped outside to see who it was, and saw that her son had put his clothing over a frost-covered bush. Stones had carefully been placed on the corners to keep the coat from flying off.

When he played games with his friends Gyalse Thogme never minded losing. Indeed, he felt sad if others lost rather than him. Scouting for dry wood with the other children, he would feel glad when they found some, even when he himself came away empty-handed. But if he found wood and the others did not, he would either help them in their search or give them his own wood, for fear that their parents might scold them.

In short, like all great beings, Gyalse Thogme suffered more than others when they themselves suffered, and he felt happier than others when they were happy.

From The Heart of Compassion, by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Shambhala Publications