Please allow me to introduce you to the one known simply as
Amaa, 104 years young. I mentioned before that I’d heard of her, through one of
her students who attended a few of my classes. But it was only yesterday that I
was finally able to sit at her feet, in the back room of a small shop run by her
eldest adopted son, and marvel at one who has been a faithful devotee of the
Buddha for nigh on 96 years in this life, all the way through the dark decades
of Communist rule.
Amaa is a daughter of the northeastern Khentii
province, birthplace of Chingghis Khan and a great stronghold of the
Buddhadharma for centuries. The Mongolian Monastery Documentation Project counts no fewer than 101 Buddhist institutions that
flourished in Khentii (sorry, Mongolian only) prior to the Stalinist
purges. From what I can gather, it also seems a particularly strong place of
women’s spirituality, with many deeply respected female meditation masters and
Amaa as a child awakened devotion to
Green Tara through her lama father. She practiced with Tara’s mantra and that of
Shakyamuni Buddha first, while learning and memorizing other texts. Soon,
however, she was introduced to Padmasambhava and the traditions of Danzan
Ravjaa. She adopted as her central practice Danzan Ravjaa’s chöd (cutting
through ego attachment), known more commonly in Mongolia as luijing (body
offering). She developed the practice and then took it into a two-year cave
retreat from age 24-26. Even during the Communist years, Amaa maintained
regular, secret nighttime practice, and would periodically venture forth to the
chödma’s favorite meditation spots, remote cemeteries (in the practice, one
deliberately seeks out, even summons, confrontation with one’s deepest fears and
conquers them with the Buddha’s oldest tools: wisdom and
Many now seek Amaa’s special blessing, and she has
gained renown as the only person in the eastern provinces fully qualified to
guide those who have recently died through the intermediate stage between lives.
She does this based on the text of Padmasambhava she has memorized known as The Great Liberation Upon Hearing in the Intermediate States or, as it is popularly
known in the West, The Tibetan Book of the Dead.
I feel reluctant to
say too much more just now (I just read a Mongolian saying in my grammar book:
“He who talks a lot, fails a lot.”). I had a long lunch today with Amaa’s
disciple, heard more stories, and got an insistent itch to travel to Khentii and
see what’s what there for myself. It looks like this may be possible, as Amaa
and many others will soon hold an annual summer gathering at the site of Gashaar
Monastery, near the cave where she spent those two years. They say it’s remote,
and gorgeous, and powerful. After three months cooped up in the city, I needn’t
hear any more than that.
June 02, 2008 at 10:27 AM
I also want to clarify something from the last post. It turns out Amaa did
not do a solitary retreat in a cave for two years. She said she was actually the
youngest of 16 tantric practitioners who went to the remote countryside for
extensive teaching and practice with a powerful Tibetan lama by the name of
Zundui. They managed to stay together for a little more than two years before
the Communist zealots got wind of their enclave and forced them all to flee.
Some were caught, others escaped and melted into the general
Amaa seems full of stories of the unusual cat-and-mouse with the cops these lamas played. One of her teachers, Artiin Mergen Pandita, was with a friend when the troopers came. He quickly made two circles of sand on the ground and told his friend to stand in one while he stood in the other. He told his friend, “No matter what, don’t move.” As the armed men approached, however, the friend couldn’t contain his fear and crawled out of the circle. As soon as he did so, he became visible and was captured. The lama remained invisible inside his circle and escaped.
Zundui also escaped several times in odd ways. Once, he had gone to visit his mother with two horses. The authorities, who were trying to round up all the high lamas, got
wind of this and galloped over to her home. On approaching, Zundui and his
horses could not be seen, but they were confronted by two bears and ran away.
Another time, Zundui was on his horse and detained by another on horseback.
Zundui asked the other, “I wonder how heavy you are?” He then pinched the man’s
clothes with two fingers and lifted him off his horse. The other man, petrified
by the lama’s power, let him go. Another time, he was being chased in the
mountains on horseback when a sudden fog rolled in, and even though his pursuers
saw steaming piles of horse manure to indicate he had been there seconds
earlier, they could never find him.in blog
domingo, 20 de setembro de 2009
Amaa, 104 years young.
como o blog vai desaparecer aqui ponho um post de que gosto: