Chunpolongo: His Personal Teaching of Realization


The Buddhist Yogi C. M. Chen

The founder of the Hsonpokagyu [ed note: Shangpa Kagyu] School of Buddhism, Chunpolongo [ed note: Khyungpo Naljor] is said to be an incarnation of a Bodhisattva of the second stage (or Bhumi). He was born in the same generation as Marpa. His Family was of the noble cast of Jihmo, in Ulterier Tibet. His fathers name was Darhieu and his mothers name was Chiasee. Just at the moment he was ushered into this world, the great Indian sage named Ahmoka flew into his home and pronounced that the baby will be the saviour of all sentient beings. He ordered the parents to strictly nourish and educate the baby carefully and gingerly. After he performed an initiation of Manjusri upon the baby, he flew back to India.

When the boy grew up and was twenty years old, he could without studying compose a profound treatise. When he was twenty-three he studied the Kagyupa doctrine from a great disciple of Marpa, the great translator and famous sage. Chunpolongo himself had three hundred disciples at this time.

His parents were very rich. He sold some of his property to get gold and brought it to India where he met his Guru Vajradenpa from whom he asked for the ordination of Bhikshu. Vajradenpa saw that each of his hairs was Avalokitesvara and dared not cut it. He then imparted all the provisions of the Bhikshu Vinaya. After this was done, the Mahadeva Vajra Initiation and many other kinds of Tantra were taught. Once when they performed the ritual and prayer to the great Guru Padmasambhava on the tenth day of the month, heavenly flowers fell down and sixteen heavenly girls descended to offer them songs, dance, music, food, laughter, play, joy and every kind of amusement. Many local believers saw these miracles. Vajradenpa foretold that Chunpolongo would live until the age of one hundred and fifty and would be of benefit to many souls in the six realms of sentient beings. He also said that he would unite with Avalokitesvara in the Pure Land or Sukhavati as the first disciple of Amita Buddha, after his Parinirvana.

This is all concerning his first Guru. Seven times Chunpolongo went to India and in total got one hundred and eight Gurus. When he was returning to Tibet from his first trip he met two robbers who attempted to kill him. With only one finger he pointed to them and both robbers died spitting blood.

After he had imparted all of the Tantric Dharmas from India which he had received, he gathered much gold offered by his disciples and with it went to India again.

He offered all the gold to the Indian Sage Majarpa. In reply to Majarpas asking what was the first thing he wished to learn, Chunpolongo begged the initiation of the protector who might be able to help him to spread the Dharma while he lived and to help him go to the Pure Land or Sukhavati when he died. This is what he said he wanted the most. Then the great sage Majarpa favoured him the initiation of the six-armed Mahakala. He followed his Guru to practice this meditation for only thirteen days when he personally saw the Yidam of Mahakala. Since that time the latter followed him as closely as a shadow. Nay! A shadow follows a person only under sunshine, but this great protector follows the practitioner under sunshine and in darkness also. The darker it is, the more helpful he is. I, the writer also pray to him daily.

Chunpolongo was so interested in Tantra that whenever he accepted the initiation of any kind of Tantra he immediately practiced it accordingly. And whenever he practiced, he would get some realization thereof which was not only shown to himself but was also sufficient to be shown to his disciples who had faith in him.

Once when he was in India he was advised by some Guru to find the female Guru Nukuma. [ed note: Niguma] But it was said that she had disappeared in India many years before. Chunpolongo still prayed to her with patience. One day he saw Nukuma in the sky. He worshipped her and threw her all the gold he had brought to offer her. She caught it and threw it away. He thought, "How is it so easily to throw away all my gold, gathered over a very long time from. many disciplines." Nukuma read his mind and with only a glance toward the right and left directions, all the earth became gold. He then asked, "Is all this gold real or only magical?" She replied, "It may be true or maya-like. You must know whatever things seem real are magical. Dont perceive anything as real. Everything is maya. Do you know I am a Dakini who eats mans flesh?" Chunpolongo said, "I would like to offer you all my flesh. Please descend down at once!" Then Nukuma flew downward to the earth, and gave him many Tantric Initiations and instructions. When the bestowing of all kinds of blessings was finished, Nukuma flew up and asked him to follow. He could fly but only to the height of two feet.

Another female Guru of his was Sukasidda [ed note: Sukhasiddhi]. He found her in the seventh-fold heaven. She descended down to teach him not only by oral means but also by body and practiced the Vajra love with him in India as Dakini yet Guru, Guru yet Dakini. She also came to Tibet. Most disciples of Chunpolongo who had deepest faith on both of them were able to see her also. But those whose faith was not in the Third Initiation could not see her.

That last time, that is the seventh time, when he pilgrimaged to India, he invited all his one hundred and eight Gurus to a great plain at Bodhi-Gaya and offered them gold, jewels, delicious foods, intoxicating liquors and beautiful Dakinis. After they accepted them, they all flew up to the sky and displayed many mysterious infinite powers. All those deities descended down to accept all those offerings. Heavenly flowers were flying all over in the sky.

Owing to the money that had been spent in this offering, he came back to Tibet as a beggar. He lived in Panying of Ulterior Tibet and had nothing to rid himself of his hunger. He attempted to make a ritual cake offering but there was not sufficient wheat for this use. He prayed to the six-armed Mahakala at night only once and the next morning there were many believers who came and offered him many horses, bulls, asses, silver, gold and goods which were of great value.

Meditating only one month, two thousand persons came and took refuge from him. His hermitage was not sufficient to take on so many disciples. Nukuma appeared in his meditative light and commanded him to go to Hsonpolon. This was the name which was later borrowed as his school name, Hsonpokagyu .

The day before his departure for Hsonpolon, an Indian sage disguised himself as a patient and came to Chunpolongo for healing. He examined the patients pulse and said, "You have to discharge some of your blood." The patient replied, "I dare not do so." But he immediately flew up to the sky and discharged himself of some of his blood from his hand. He descended down and then asked for healing again. Chunpolongo said, "You discharged too much blood, now you have to first put some butter on your hand and then I will give you a cauterization." The patient refused and flying up into the sky he cauterized himself. Oil and fire both could be seen by Chunpolongo. Not only this, many protectors and Dakinis encircling him were also seen by Chunpolongo. He then realized that the patient was a sage and worshipped him and asked for an initiation whereby he might receive some blessings to heal patients other than the common methods (the so-called scientific treatments). The sage then gave him an initiation of Five Yidams, ie. Dorje Chang in the middle, six-armed Mahakala in the front, Red Dakini on the right side, Avalokitesvara in the rear, with Tara on the left side of the head. By meditating on these five Yidams, any kind of disease may be immediately cured. All of Chunpolongos disciples asked this Indian sage for the same initiation. The sage said, "Your Guru is the same as me. He will give the same initiation to you." Without help of a Karma Vajra attendant, Chunpolongo gave the same initiation to his disciples. The bottle of precious water used for baptism came into his hands by itself. When he was finished using the Vajra and Bell he put them down on the air where they were as well settled as if on a table and did not fall down. All the disciples praised their Guru and said to themselves, "Our Guru is indeed like the Indian Sage!"

The sage asked Chunpolongo to go to India again. He encouraged Chunpolongo by saying that if he did go to India and practiced there he would get the realization of Non-Death, and a rainbow-like body he would surely accomplish. But Chunpolongo refused for the reason that his parents and disciples would not permit him to do so. Hence the sage was about to leave by himself. But Chunpolongo earnestly requested him to stay ten days more to accept his offerings. When ten days passed the sage flew back to India. This sage was not any ordinary person but the emminent Ahura [ed note: Rahula] whose name lives forever.

Chunpolongo then went to Hsonpolon where he built a great temple in which a large number of disciples might abide. But the envious local Buddhists of other schools did not allow him either to live there or to build another temple in their place. Chunpolongo could not but incarnate himself with many arms, each one holding a different weapon to guard themselves against the rebellion. Those envious persons were converted at last, and offered help instead of hatred. The monastery was enlarged which enabled it to contain three myriad of lamas. Around it many hermitages were built by his disciples.

Tired as he was, a little disease came to him. He then remembered the foretelling of the Indian Sage Ahura and practiced the yoga of the Mahakala whose color was white and whose arms were also six in number. His disease was immediately cured and the Hevajra appeared before him on the same date. During a full moon in the same month when the monastery building was finished, Manjusri, the prince of Buddhas, appeared too and any patient who came could be cured by only sitting in meditation for a brief moment. An effective blessing by Chunpolongo was sufficient; he used not the common method such as examining the pulse, giving drugs, injections or cauterizing.

His disciples increased from three to five myriad. They liked too much to argue, debate, and talk. This caused Chunpolongo to make a plan to pilgrimage to India again. But the great compassionate Tara appeared and forbid him to do so. She said: "You should have great mercy upon them." Hence he canceled his plan, he retracted his body and hid in a bottle and meditated there for one week. Five myriad of disciples all bathed in tears, beat their breasts and cried loudly at the same time. He could not help leaving the bottle and then gave a lecture to them.

Generally, Buddhist thought emphasizes that one should not keep blind faith or an ignorant practice, yet after ones two kinds of knowledges, i.e. hearing and thinking are integrated and a right view is confirmed, one should not indulge in argument or debate except in order for an outsider to be converted. But schoolmates should not hit the nail on the head of one another. Chunpolongo particularly was a Guru of realization, not just of knowledge as famous scholars. He disliked those disciples who always held arguments and impaled themselves on the horns of a dilemma.

One day with the good grace to show his personal realization, Chunpolongo assembled all his disciples on a great plain. He materialized out in a number equal to the audience beautiful young Dakinis in their golden age, dressed to kill and a seductive sight for sore eyes. All the disciples became attached and their lustful minds said to themselves, "Would she be mine!" From morning to evening these Dakinis sang songs, and danced to and fro before them. Many lovely actions were performed before each disciple. Everyone ran mad after a Dakini. As late as sunset all those Dakinis were finally drawn back into the heart of Chunpolongo and thereby all the disciples were disappointed.

On the next day an assembly was again held. The inward thoughts of all those disciples was that the same lovely Dakinis might again appear. This time they desired to embrace them without losing such an attractive opportunity. They wanted to try to keep the Dakini as their consort without her departing. They were very happy and waited in deep devotion.

After reading their minds, Chunpolongo materialized from his naval wheel chakra many wrathful protectors in a large number equal to the five myriad of disciples. Their bodies were on fire and furry, their color as black as thunder, blood came out as if boiling, their eyes were widely opened, and their tongues were hanging out. Their voices only rang as curses, trying to kill was their only action, hatred was their only mood. Every disciple, facing such a terrible object, wept and cried, "Hells Bell! Hells Bell!" Some of those learned and practiced disciples only closed their eyes, folded their palms and prayed to their Guru with tears. Those who usually liked to debate on this occasion could not put to use their profound philosophy, sunyata view, reasonable logic, skillful parable, accurate statistic, Buddhist science and book-battle. When HUM HUM PHAT PHAT was shouted out loud, all the armour held by those protectors was held close to the bodies of the disciples, a great sudden earthquake happened, and every disciple became terrified with his face as white as a sheet, hair standing on end, body shaking like an aspen leaf and at last all fell down. Some of them even fainted away. Chunpolongo could not help drawing back all his incarnations. All those disciples recovered their normal state. They asked their Guru, "Why yesterday did so many lovely Dakinis come but today there were demons so terrible?" Chunpolongo then gave a long sermon. All the disciples did agree that realization practice was the only important thing they needed.

When word of this miracle passed from mouth to mouth it spread like wild fire. Every Tibetan heard of it. There was an Upasaka named Kungakar who offered Chunpolongo one hundred houses, one thousand tales of gold and the same amount of silver for a second show of his supernatural powers.

Chunpolongo then penetrated a great rock with his body and took the hard stones into his stomach. He flew to the sky. Sometimes he sat on the sky in the lotus posture, other times he lay down in the clouds. He transformed his body into many bodies and then drew back many bodies into one body. Sometimes a great fire came out from his body and other time too a great current of water came from his body. Kungakar begged to learn and to get such supernatural power from his Guru. The Mahamudra and Maya visualizations were imparted. After eleven months of practice Kungakar could do the same.

On the eighth day of the month, Chunpolongo sat in the Samadhi of Great Offering. All his Gurus of India assembled in the sky. They imparted the Right Dharma to Chunpolongo and foretold that his disciples would increase to eighteen myriad. Among them there would be six who would get full enlightenment and all others may accomplish the stage of a Bodhisattva. He would live until his age reached one hundred and fifty. He would be the secondary Buddha to Amita.

Afterwards his disciples did actually increase. Most of those new ones always felt that it was their great sorrow that they could not make contact with their Guru as intimately as the old attendants did. Reading their minds, Chunpolongo ordered his attendants to prepare one thousand and eighty seats on a great plain. On each seat he sat his body. They were all of the same face and manner. Around each seat many disciples could touch and talk with his Guru personally and affectionately. Thereby every disciple was satisfied and glorified. Their faith was deepened. Among them there was only one scholar who still had a little doubt about Chunpolongo. Chunpolongo read his mind and advised him to visualize the word AH which was a representative of the Sunyata and had the function of purifying his sins. After this visualization was done and integrated a specified number of times, the disciple came to Chunpolongos room and reported what he had done. He saw that his Guru was the same as Mahadeva. His faith was confirmed. All his previous doubt vanished. When this disciple left the room, his Guru called him back. He saw Chunpolongo had transformed his body into a Hevajra body on which there was Guhyasamaja sitting on his head wheel, Mahamayajala standing on his throat wheel, a wisdom-style of Hevajra standing on his heart wheel, Sambara standing on his navel wheel and Mahayamantaka standing on his abdomen wheel. All outer and inner bodies were very transparent and vivid. With tears of joy, the disciple then prostrated himself before Chunpolongo many times.

On account of the increase in the number of disciples, new ones followed old ones as oil is poured on the flame. They ventilated their philosophic questions and debated; a battle of Sutra and Tantra ran up. They did not obey the advice of their Guru. Chunpolongo then flew up into the sky and stayed there for one week. During this week many Dakinis and Devas prostrated their bodies before him and offered many celestial foods and flowers. Those disciples who could only pray and repent on earth had only envy toward those Dakinis and Devas. Chunpolongo then taught them with five famous sutras which had been imparted by Maitreya which appeared on an altar in the sky. Many disciples gained enlightenment in various degrees.

At that time Chunpolongo was 147 years old. When he descended from the sky he met Amita Buddha who foretold him that he would have only three more years to live here. Chunpolongo kept this in his mind. From then on he was more diligent than before to guide all his disciples to practice.

His disciples and patrons increased day by day. Many merits and Dharma assemblies were performed. This made his neighboring monasteries envious. Once they took advantage of the absence of some Lamas of this Hsonpokagyu School and led many of their own armed Lamas to suddenly encircle the monastery of Chunpolongo and attempt to take it over. The attendants who were frightened out of their senses told this to Chunpolongo. The latter consoled them and immediately sat himself in a deep Samadhi from which manifested many wrathful protectors holding spears. They killed all those robber-like Lamas. Many dead bodies were lying on the ground. Their leader came to Chunpolongo and confessed. All those dead bodies were resurrected at once. They took refuge from Chunpolongo and remained in his monastery. Thus enemies became family.

Once a heavy drought occurred in their neighboring district. All the rich patrons of the local monasteries requested their own Gurus to perform a puja for rain but they got not even one drop. They could not help asking Chunpolongo for the same. This the latter permitted and no sooner said than done and they got rain and Tsampa (barley meal). Those who died on that day were resurrected. But those who had died before that day of the request were already buried and could not come alive again. All the people of that district praised him by saying, "Whosoever believes in the Guru who has realization will live, but whosoever believes in the Guru of no realization will die."

Not only did he save human beings, but also spirits and ghosts took refuge from Chunpolongo. He appeared in many Pure Lands of Buddhahood many times. Those ghosts having more or less supernatural power knew of Chunpolongos merit and mercy and were converted by him. On a certain mountain there was a very bad ghost who had killed many persons of that place. Chunpolongo was trusted by the family to subdue it with hailstones. The ghost was killed by Chunpolongo and his soul was transformed into a Bodhisattva of Sukhavati. And the mountain on which the ghost had been converted never again harmed anybody. Most of Chunpolongos protectors were ghosts and Yaksas whom he had subdued.

When he was 150 years old he remembered that his time of Parinirvana would soon come. To set an example of the pragmatical, reliable, and fruitful Buddhist Tantric practice, he had to show all his realizations so that the posterity of his school would know there was nothing in Buddhism as ones fate or a game of chance or a fantasy like swallowing a camel. So he gathered all his disciples on a plain and showed the realization of Tumo Yoga, the holy flame of Tumo appeared; for the Holy Light Yoga, a great and vast light appeared; the Maya Body Yoga had his maya bodies of many forms appear; the Evolutional Yoga showed Mahadeva, Mahakala, Hevajra and Kalicakra Vajra and many other Vajras and Herukas appearing. He made his holy shows of realization end with Phowa Yoga. His skull flew up to the sky and his wisdom body flew off from his flesh body and stayed in the sky. Everyone in the audience did see that he was quite a Buddha with a five-coloured halo which was bright as the noon-day sun and luminous all over the heaven. Many heavenly flowers fell down. He stayed there for seven days to accept the offerings of his disciples and patrons of this world and that of the Dakinis and Deities of the other world. The last sermon he spoke was: "He who only practices one of the yogas I have shown will get the full enlightenment as well as myself. He who only prays to me at least will not fall and will surely get a good rebirth in Sukhavati."

Readers! All the Anuttara Yoga teachings still remain with us. This is no superstition at all. From one practice one gains, from myriad practice one has myriad gains. There is nothing not pragmatical.

Money may be gotten very easily by a prostitute by lying down on a bed, by a blind beggar by extending ones arm in the street, a robber by shooting a gun in the forest. But it is not pragmatical. The term pragmatical means actively engaged, methodically practiced, experienced in affairs. Moses served God and thus saw God in a flame and heard Gods commandments. Should we say to serve God is not pragmatical? But the author of "Pragmatism" Prof. James said, "God is not Pragmatic but holy day is." He should be ashamed for his unawareness of God. Pragmatical does not mean things are easy to do. It means if the realization of any practice is available, it may be achieved by being pragmatic. Gautama practiced and gained realization. Chunpolongo too. We all are men, why do we not follow them? He who follows them and practices the teachings will succeed as well as them! He who conceives the modern term Pragmatic as laziness or short-sightedness cannot share the Buddhist practice.

Editing notes in square brackets added by Stanley Lam on Oct 31, 2000.

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