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Buddhadharma : Summer 2018
66 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY he has powers. One of his powers is imprinting his handprint or footprint into rock. This is something I’d heard about in Tibet. You’ll see a footprint when you’re on pilgrimage in Tibet and they’ll say, “Oh, that’s Yeshe Tsogyal’s footprint.” I was always somewhat suspi- cious of that, but then this siddha came to Tara Mandala and he made one of these handprints. I had given him a stone and said, “I ’ve heard that you do this. It would be a great blessing to have something like that here, from you.” One day after lunch, he was in a kind of altered state. He was singing Dzogchen poetry in Tibetan, and he said it would be good to gather those who have faith. So I went to our outdoor kitchen and tried to figure out who had faith [laughs]. Twenty people or so came, and he said it would be good if they did prostrations, so everyone did three pros- trations. He had the stone in his hand, and he was just singing this poetry, and then all of a sudden he pronounced the seed syllable “PHET” loudly and pressed his thumb into this stone. It went in pretty far, maybe a quarter of an inch into the rock; it was like it was butter. You could see the whorls of his fingers. He said to me, “I want to give this to you, but I want to keep it for a few days and put the blessings into it.” For me that was really interesting because I thought, “Well, isn’t that enough blessings already?” Another time, he took a rough stone and rolled it into a ball, like a dough ball, and said, “I’m going to keep this for a few days, too, and put the blessings into it.” So that gave me a clue that blessings are a kind of substance that can be put into things. Blessings can be given to people and objects, and they can also be imbued into places that then become sacred pil- grimage sites. I realized after my experi- ence with him, it’s not just that these are places where certain people have meditated—it’s more than that. There is actually a field of energy that has been imbued into a place or a person or an object. BUDDHADHARMA: What would be the benefit of coming into contact with, for example, that stone that you’re describing? LAMA TSULTRIM ALLIONE: Well, you would get blessings. It could be healing or an enhancement for your practice, like a blast of blessing energy into your mindstream. These are nonmaterial things we’re talking about, so it’s hard to describe exactly what they are in words. ACHARYA GAYLON FERGUSON: I ’m noticing that we’re all emphasizing the nontheistic nature of this. We’re not talk- ing about an external deity who confers blessings on a lesser human being. The word jyin lab in Tibetan does often get translated as “blessing,” but I’ve heard some translators say it literally means opposite | Dorje Drolo, 2007