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Buddhadharma : Spring 2018
98 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER'S QUARTERLY While treating Patrul, Jampel asked him, “Abu, I gather from what you’ve said on various occasions that we should pray to be reborn in Amitabha’s Western Buddhafield of Great Bliss. Is this so?” Patrul paused a bit, then replied, “Well, for you, West. For me, East”—perhaps referring to Vajrasattva’s Eastern Buddhafield of Manifest Joy. Later, Patrul asked his attendant Sönam Tsering, “Who asked that the Offering to the Arhats be recited last night?” Sönam Tsering replied that the disciples had decided among themselves to do so. Patrul said, “When you performed that cer emony, I fell asleep for a bit. When they got to the verse of the arhat Yanlagjung, I woke up and heard a voice say, ‘You will benefit beings in the East!’ Could someone like me be of real benefit to beings?” Sönam Tsering did not ask what he meant. According to his attendant, on the seventeenth day of the fourth lunar month of the Male Fire Pig Year (1887), Patrul took a little food, recited the Tantra of Immaculate Confession, and did a few prostrations. He performed the fivefold yogic exercises. He also did an exercise to increase the free flow of wisdom prana through the channels at the heart chakra. On the eighteenth, in early morning he ate some curd and drank a little tea. At sunrise, he took off his clothes, sat upright in a medi tative pose, crossed his legs in the vajra posture, and rested his two hands upon his knees. When Khenpo Kunpel dressed him again, Patrul said nothing. In addition to his attendant Sönam Tsering, three people stayed by Patrul’s side that night: Khenpo Kunpel, a person named Kungyam, and Patrul’s doctor, Jampel. At one point, Sönam Tsering recounted, Patrul gazed straight into space and snapped the fingers of both hands. He rested his hands under his robe in the mudra of equanimity. Then Patrul entered in the infinite, luminous space beyond birth and death, pure from the very beginning. As is said: A fully realized yogi may look like an ordinary person, but his mind remains in pure awareness without effort ... when he leaves his physi cal body, his consciousness becomes one with the dharmakaya, just as the air in a vase merges with the surrounding space when the vase is broken. From Enlightened Vagabond: The Life and Teachings of Patrul Rinpoche, by Matthieu Ricard (Shambhala 2017)