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

By Matthieu Ricard on October 26, 2012

Another time, when Ngulchu Thogme was about twenty, all the monks of É were leaving for Chöbar when Thogme saw a crippled woman weeping by the main door of the monastery.

He asked her what was wrong. She explained that she was crying because the monks were leaving. As she would be left behind, there would be no one left to give her alms. Thogme told her not to despair. He would return to fetch her, he promised.

He carried his belongings up to Chöbar and rested for a short while before leaving again with a rope. His friends called him from afar, asking where he was going. Thogme said that he was going back to get the crippled woman, but they did not believe him.

When he got back to É, however, he found that he could not carry both the woman and her things. So first he carried her clothes and mat a certain distance, and then came back to carry the woman. In this way, carrying in turn the woman and her belongings, he eventually reached Chöbar.

His friends were astonished. They had thought at first that he'd just gone to collect firewood, they said, but what he had done was something truly marvelous.

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