Rock-moving Patriarch

Yutang Lin

Milarepa's back festered from moving huge rocks;
Heavy karmic hindrance was thereby ground away.
Life stories of ancient sages oft inspire newcomers;
Appreciate Buddha's grace in training body strong.


While the Tibetan Yogi Milarepa apprenticed under the patriarch Marpa, in order to grind away Milarepa’s heavy karmic hindrance, Marpa made him move huge rocks to build stone houses. And for several times Marpa even told him to tear down after completion of one house and then to rebuild another one at a new location. Consequently, Milarepa got large areas of sore on his back. After tolerating such unendurable hardships Milarepa finally achieved great accomplishments.

Ever since I joined the voluntary Dharma service I have not stopped moving heavy items: bags of rice for offering to Buddha, bundles of firewood for pujas, cages and containers for releasing of lives, cartons for Dragon vase offerings, and boxes of books and images for free distribution and mailing. With my short and small figure sometimes I had to struggle with boxes over fifty pounds, some were even as heavy as sixty-five pounds. At times like that it would come to mind the story of Milarepa’s moving rocks. In comparison my task is so much easier. Indeed, in this kind of training lies the profound blessing of Buddha; one’s body thereby gets exercises regularly and gradually becomes more sturdy and strong.

Written in Chinese and translated on January 28, 2001
El Cerrito, California

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