Mary Overton's Reviews > The Words of My Perfect Teacher

The Words of My Perfect Teacher by Patrul Rinpoche
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Aug 04, 11

Read in July, 2011

"In ancient times, when Sakyamuni [The Buddha of our time] in a previous life was a king called Padma, a serious epidemic broke out amongst his subjects and many of them died. The king called the doctors and asked how the disease should be treated.

"'This sickness can be cured with the flesh of the rohita fish,' they said. 'But the disease has so obscured our minds that we can think of no other remedy.'

"On the morning of an auspicious day the king bathed, donned new clothing and performed a ceremony of confession and purification. He made great offerings to the Three Jewels and prayed fervently, saying, 'As soon as I die, may I immediately be reborn as a rohita fish in the Nivritta river!'

"He then cast himself down from the heights of his palace - one thousand cubits - and was immediately reborn as a fish, crying out in human speech, 'I am a rohita fish, take my flesh and eat it!'

"Everyone came to eat it. As soon as one side was eaten, the fish turned over and offered them the other side. While they were cutting off the flesh, the first side became whole again. In this way, by eating each side alternately, everybody who was ill could be cured. Then the fish spoke to them all.

"'I am Padma, your king. I gave up my life and took birth as a rohita fish to save you from the epidemic. As an expression of your gratitude, give up doing evil and do all the good you can.'

"They all obeyed him and thenceforth never again fell into evil rebirths.

"Another time Sakyamuni had been reborn as a giant turtle, when a boat transporting five hundred merchants was wrecked at sea.

"They were all about to drown, but the turtle called out to them in human speech: 'Get up on my back! I will carry you all to safety!'

"The turtle carried all the merchants to dry land, and then collapsed exhausted by the water's edge, and fell asleep. But as it slept, a cloud of eighty thousand ketaka flies began to suck its blood. Waking up, it saw how many they were and realized that to go back into the water or roll on the ground would kill all the insects. So it just lay where it was, giving them its life.

"Later, when the turtle became the Buddha, the flies were the eighty thousand gods who listened to his teachings and perceived the truth." pp. 230-231
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