This book by Lobsang P. Lhalunpgpa I often carry in my backpack when I travel across the state, nation or internationally to bless my trip and to keep me and mine safe and to bless all within varying distances of my physical presence depending upon my state of consciousness at the time I pass by.
I woke up this morning and my Pocket Dalai Lama once again asked me to do something which was to read this book I carry often when traveling. So I opened it up and read the introduction. The last time I read it might have been 10 years ago but I didn't remember reading the introduction. I found it precious and decided to share some of it. There is something very magical and precious when a present day person recounts there experiences when first exposed to the dharma in the Himalayas or around the world now.
Begin quote from introduction of The Life of Milarepa by Lobsang P. Lhalungpa printed by Penguin Books.
"Lobsang P. Lhalungpa was born in Lhasa, Tibet, and has passed through the disciplines of the major branches of Tibetan Buddhism under many of its greatest living masters. His life has drawn him into all aspects of the effort to maintain the Tibetan tradition while bringing it into relationship with Western needs." end quote.
next page rare photograph of Milarepa's tower.
Introduction p. vii
"I recall the childhood experience of listening to Milarepa's life in the form of folktales from the south of Tibet, the home province of Marpa. Deep admiration rose up in me at his will to give his whole life for the sake of his mother and at his undying determination later to save the sinking ship of his own destiny, the ship that subsequently carried innumerable people to safety across the sea of Samsara.
To the people of Tibet and to fellow Buddhists in the Asian highlands and the Himalayas, Mila, although he lived in the 12th century, is not a myth but still a vital figure- the embodiment of supreme excellence as well as the father of awakened masters. Never, in the thirteen centuries of Buddhist history in Tibet, has there been such a man, who not only inspired and intellectual elite and spiritual luminaries, but also captured the imagination of the common people.
To those of us who read his life and songs as the true account of liberation, and who have also received the secret transmission of higher teachings to which he contributed so much, Milarepa has great significance in our lives. The experience of illumination is being quietly repeated in an almost unbroken order in the tradition up to the present, even extending to many parts of the modern world." end quote.
Having also received many initiations I understand what Lobsang is talking about. To properly explain what this means in kindness let me illustrate with the initiation of the 21 Taras.(Tara is a figure to the Tibetan Buddhists which could most easily be equated to Mother Mary in Christian traditions or to Quan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy.
I was told that when I reached 1,000,000 tara mantras that I would begin to have siddhis manifest automatically in my life and that I would reach a stage of enlightenment. (a siddhi is a supernatural ability that either automatically or at will manifests like healing, being aware of things 1000s of miles away as they occur, knowing what people think, in other words things useful to know if you are a holy person whose primary function it is to lift and heal souls and thereby be lifted oneself).
Since I had already been given siddhis from previous lifetimes of Tibetan Buddhist, Christian and other initiations from many past lives that automatically carry over from lifetime to lifetime I knew that more initiations and practices would only increase my ability to help to save all beings from harm from self imposed ignorance and from without. I would say the biggest problem most beings have is simply ignorance of what life is all about. This single factor causes the most distress in beings because what they do in ignorance causes all sorts of misfortune.
So, if one can become enlightened enough in any or all ways to point out a useful way of being simply by one's example or presence or by judicious ideas spoken in right mindful extremely efficient ways one can hopefully, lead other beings out of their ignorance and into the beginnings of their enlightenment. Eventually, these beings become wise enough to lead more and more beings out of their ignorance and life becomes worth living for all.