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Life of a Saint

The Venerated Mahasiddha Sri Naropa (vegetarian) and His Incredible Journey to Enlightenment, Part 1 of 2

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The venerated Naropa (vegetarian) received the Mahamudra and tantra lineage teachings from the Great Guru, Mahasiddha Sri Tilopa (vegetarian). Naropa is a lineage holder of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism and is renowned for compiling “The Six Dharmas of Naropa.” His inspiring story is one of unconditional devotion to His Guru as well as His quest for the Truth, where He overcame many trials and tribulations to become an enlightened Master.

Naropa, then aged 28, entered the Buddhist University at Nalanda, a revered Buddhist monastery located in the ancient kingdom of Magadha. However, Naropa became arrogant. According to Naropa’s Tibetan namtar, or spiritual biography, one day while reading, a shadow appeared on His books. “I’m sad because a great scholar like You is lying. This is very sad. Today in the whole world, there is nobody but my brother who understands the meaning of the words.” Naropa was determined to find this living Master to achieve full enlightenment.

Naropa set out to find Master Tilopa. In order to meet Tilopa and become enlightened, He would need to give up His laziness, one of the deadly seven sins. Thereafter, Naropa continuously prayed to Tilopa and became very diligent and determined. From this point forward, Naropa would undergo what is known as the 12 minor hardships. Each of these hardships was a hidden teaching on His path to enlightenment.

The first teaching that Naropa received involved a woman with leprosy who was blocking His path. Her body was covered with infected wounds and blood. Holding His nose, Naropa jumped over the woman. Suddenly, she flew into the air and light radiated all over her body. The woman laughed loudly and said, “Listen clearly, Naropa, in the highest realm, everyone is the same, all are one. In the state of Supreme Enlightenment, there’s no habit, boundary, or any thoughts from habits. If one is still attached to his habitual concepts, how can he find a Master?” When she disappeared, Naropa fainted. When He awoke, He felt very sad as He continued His quest and prayers.

By this time, Naropa felt certain that it was His Master He had encountered during each trial. However, as long as He was unable to dissolve all 51 mental activities that arise in an ordinary mind, He could not find the Master.

Our Most Beloved Supreme Master Ching Hai (vegan) recounted the event during a lecture given in 1990 in Taiwan, also known as Formosa.
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