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Buddhadharma : Spring 2018
86 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER'S QUARTERLY In his youth, Patrul studied with the foremost teachers of the time. With his remarkable memory, he learned most of the oral teachings he heard by heart, thus becoming able to elucidate the most complex aspects of Buddhist philosophy without referring to a single page of text, not even when he taught for months at a time. Utterly uninterested in ordinary affairs, Patrul naturally aban doned the eight worldly concerns, which consist of everyone’s ordi nary hopes and fears—hoping for gain and fearing loss; hoping for pleasure and fearing pain; hoping for praise and fearing blame; hop ing for fame and fearing disgrace. Patrul generally refused to accept the offerings that are often made to a teacher or a respected religious figure according to tradi tion. Presented with valuable gifts such as gold and silver, he would leave them on the ground, abandoning them as easily as one aban dons spit in the dust. In old age, however, he began to accept some offerings that he gave to beggars or used for making statues, build ing mani walls (amazing walls of sometimes hundreds of thousands of stones carved with the mani mantra, Om mani padme hum), making butterlamp offerings, and engaging in other meritorious activities. At the time of his death in his late seventies, Patrul Rinpoche’s few personal possessions were much the same as they had been when he first set out as a renunciant: two texts (The Way of the Bodhisattva and The Root Verses on the Middle Way), a begging bowl, a red wool pouch holding his yellow monk’s shawl, a prayer wheel, his walking stick, and a little metal pot for boiling tea. Patrul Rinpoche is remembered today by illustrious contemporary masters as a contemplative and scholar who, through his practice, achieved the highest realization of ultimate reality. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche affirmed that Patrul was unsurpassed in his realization of the view, meditation, and conduct of Dzogchen. His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama often praises Patrul Rinpoche’s teachings on bodhicitta, which he himself practices and transmits. While in retreat at remote places, Patrul wrote profound original treatises, most of which have survived. He spontaneously composed many poems and pieces of spiritual advice; many of these vanished into the hands of the individuals for whom they were written.