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Buddhadharma : Spring 2018
MATTHIEU RICARD 95 After this spicy start, the Geshe questioned Patrul on the Nyingma views. Patrul responded with amazing ease and broad knowledge. As he left and walked back down from Patrul’s retreat hut, the Geshe thought to himself, “People told me this Patrul knew ‘a little bit about books,’ but if I couldn’t debate and defeat him, how would I ever be able to debate and defeat the great Mipham? I’ll just go down in disgrace!” So the Geshe gave up and went home. patRuL’s encaMpMent At first, there was just one tent, Patrul’s little black yakhair tent. Over time, people came and set up tents of their own. Gradually, the tent encampment grew, from very few tents to very many. At its peak, there were hundreds of black yakhair tents and white cotton tents gathered together in the style of nomads, sheltering thousands of devoted dharma practitioners who had come to hear Patrul teach. This encampment of practitioners was known as Patrul Gar. Patrul taught everyone staying there what he called the Three Opportunities, a practice to refine one’s intentions. The first opportunity occurs upon waking; don’t get up in a rush, the way a cow or a sheep in a pen does, but take a moment while still in bed to relax your mind. Look within, and check your intention. The second opportunity at Patrul Gar occurs on the way to the teachings. People must squeeze through a narrow passage to get past a stupa on the way to the teaching tent. The moment of squeezing past should be used as a reminder to cultivate bodhicitta and a wish to benefit others by avoiding evil actions and performing beneficial actions. Patrul Rinpoche is remembered as a contemplative and scholar who, through his practice, achieved the highest realization of ultimate reality.