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Buddhadharma : Spring 2018
MATTHIEU RICARD 89 one child on his back, the woman would carry the second, and the third would walk along behind. When the woman begged in villages and nomad camps they passed, Patrul would beg right alongside her, asking for tsampa, but ter, and cheese. Travelers they met assumed they were a family of beggars. No one—least of all the newly widowed woman—guessed the identity of her shabby companion. Eventually, they reached Dzachukha. That day the woman went off on her own to beg for food, and so did Patrul. In the evening, when they returned, the widow noticed that Patrul had a dark look on his face. The woman asked, “What’s wrong? You seem annoyed.” Patrul brushed it off, saying, “It’s nothing. I had a task to accom plish, but the people here won’t let me finish it. They’re just making a big fuss about nothing.” Surprised, the woman asked, “What work could you have around here?” Patrul replied, “Never mind, let’s just go.” They came to a monastery on the side of a hill, where Patrul stopped. He turned to the widow and said, “I have to go inside. You may come, too, but not right now. Come after a few days.” The woman said, “No, let’s not separate; let’s go in together. Until now, you have been so kind to me. We could get married. If not, let me at least stay at your side. I’d benefit from your kindness.” “No, that won’t do,” replied Patrul, adamant. “Up to now, I’ve done my best to help you, but the people here are troublemakers. We mustn’t go in together. Come back in a few days; you’ll find me inside.” So Patrul went up the hill to the monastery while the widow and her children stayed at the bottom of the hill, begging for their food. As soon as he was inside the monastery, contrary to his usual habit of refusing offerings, Patrul ordered that any provisions