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

By Matthieu Ricard on October 18, 2012

Once, when Ngulchu Thogme was sixteen, someone who had been giving him some material help asked him to leave for Sakya on an important task and to return the next day.

Halfway to Sakya, in a desert plain, the young Thogme came upon a bitch who was starving to death. She was on the verge of eating her own pups. He felt great pity for her, and wondering what he could do to help, decided to carry them all back to É, his monastery; he would then travel all night to make up for the time lost.

He set off, carrying the dogs on his back. It was very hard. Finally, however, he arrived back at É and finished taking care of them. Before setting off again he thought he had better have a sip of water. It was then that he came upon the man who had sent him on his errand.

Astonished at seeing him there, the man asked, ‟Hey, didn't you go?” When Thogme explained what had happened, the man cursed him, and said, ‟There's such important business at stake, and here you are with your great compassion!”

Thogme had been rebuked so sternly that he did not dare take his sip of water. He set off again at once, walked all night, and accomplished his task in Sakya early in the morning. Returning immediately, he arrived back at É just before sunset.

Seeing this, the man who had sent him was amazed. He begged Thogme to forgive him for the scolding he had given him. He added, ‟What you did is wondrous indeed!”

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