Guide by Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche
THE MELODIOUS TAMBURA OF JOY
GUIDE TO THE SUPREME HOLY PLACE OF IMMORTAL LIFE
THE ROCKY CAVE OF MARATIKA
by Kyabje Chadral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche
Homage to the Guru, Yidam and Dakinis.
To the essence of all appearances, Pema Amitayus
To the embodiment of emptiness, The Great Mother, clothed in white
To the three root Long Life Deities, the Mudra of non-duality
I bow down with devotion and beseech you to bestow the Empowerment of Immortal Life.
North of Bodhgaya, the centre of the universe, within a rocky mountain covered with trees and bushes, is the widely renowned wondrous holy place called Haleshi, about which I will explain, so listen for a moment with joy.
Outwardly, it is the blissful play of Shiva and Umadevi. Inwardly, it is the palace of Chakrasamvara. Secretly, it is the Celestial Mansion of the Deities of Immortal Life and most Secretly it is the Pure Land of Great Bliss; the Absolute Akanishta Realm.
In the past, when the Vidyadhara Pema Thodrengtsal with his ravishingly beautiful consort Mandarava practiced the swift path of the secret activities at this place, the Empowerment of Immortal Life was bestowed on them by Buddha Amitayus; Buddha of Boundless Life. Attaining the body which is without birth or death, decrepitude and disintegration, Guru Rinpoche even now dwells in the southwest, subduing the rakshas, continuously sending forth emanation upon emanation in whatever way necessary to benefit beings in cyclic existence.
Later, Bhikshu Akarma emanated from the point between the eyebrows of Songtsen Gampo, (who was Avalokiteshvara). When Bhikshu Akarma was erecting a statue of the Eleven-headed Avalokiteshvara in the Jokhang, he went in search of special substances to make it and to collect inner relics. He miraculously arrived at Maratika and at that time beheld the faces of many deities. He called it “The Practice Cave Mandala of Glorious Qualities” and uttered many other praises and stories providing a reliable source and proof.
When the Tirthika Shankaracharya caused much harm to the Buddhist doctrine in India and Nepal, many old sacred places and holy objects were destroyed, scattered and lost. After that, all his followers took them over as places of Shiva.
At the present time, people make special offerings of bells, cymbals, tridents, butter lamps with a hundred or a thousand wicks and incense, flowers, milk and the three white offerings, but not one person offers live sacrifice or red offerings. Their pujas, performed with the playing, both slow and fast, of drum, cymbal, white conches and various kinds of instruments of the blowing and twirling classes, causing the sounds of “ur-ur! chem chem!” and so forth to resound in the cave.
They continuously make offering and praise to Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva (Mahadeva), and other worldly deities. Adhering to superior and inferior castes from Brahmin to butcher there are those who are allowed and those who are not allowed to enter the cave. Some of the inferior castes may only sit at the entrance as even now they adhere to their ancient traditions.
Especially during the tenth of the waxing and waning days of the month and other excellent days, I have seen the Brahmin Pujaris inside the cave with mandalas of coloured sand making huge fire ceremonies.
As all individuals have their own perception it is not right to harbor wrong views and speak maligning words. One should maintain pure vision, rejoice and give praise, thus making a good connection. To slander other people or the deities is the basis for misfortune.
To arouse interest I began with an explanation of the history, in order to develop faith in outsiders, Buddhists and non-Buddhists, and to dispel arguments about the holy place.
EMAHO! Having mentioned some of the qualities of this holy place which are clearly evident even to ordinary people, there can hardly be room for disagreement. As well, it is said in the commentaries, with good reason, that even the words of a child if authentic and well-spoken should be used.
On seeing this place, uncontrollable wonder arises. Through merely hearing the name, the seed of liberation is planted. By recalling it, accidental death is prevented. Through making prostrations, circumambulation and offerings, great accumulation of merit is accomplished.
The sky around forms a vast eight-spoked wheel. The ground is shaped like an eight-petalled louts with the middle swelling up like the pistil of a flower. The landscape being wide and open, the sun remains long and the weather is temperate. In the front a stream gushes forth. The centre of the holy place is a huge self-existing Assembly Hall, high and spacious with room for one thousand people. There is the single bindu skylight shaped like a round wheel.
Outside, out of the craggy rocks grow various shrubs and trees. Inside the cave abounds with innumerable images of statues, seed syllables and hand implements of the peaceful and wrathful deities. The special characteristic or mark of this Holy Place are the many stone linga (stalagmites) ranging in size from six feet down to six inches in height. Naturally formed, they are white, smooth, shiny and resplendent.
During auspicious times, nectar collects like moist dew and drips down. There are many crevice-like holes through which one can test one’s positive or negative karma, birth in the lower realms or entrance to the higher realms and path of liberation.
Below the holy place is a cave whose entrance faces to the southwest. The mouth is not so big but once inside it opens up and is very wide and spacious, with enough room to fit a hundred people. There are many images of body speech and mind, hand and foot imprints, a white conch and many other amazing self-arisen things. When those of fortunate karma arrive there, dew-like nectar seeps out. Straight above, unobstructed, is a high vaulted skylight, making it renowned as a training place for the transference practice of Khachod.
In the spacious sphere of the main cave are hosts of bats whose forms are imperceptible but they ceaselessly sound the mantra of long life (one hears the sounds of ‘tsey’ and ‘bhrum’). It is a very special place for helping all tantric practitioners on the path with their visualization of the wheel of luminosity of the deities and mantras.
This text, which mentions only a drop from the ocean of good qualities of this holy place, was composed with the thought of benefiting others. Like a wish-fulfilling gem or an excellent vase may it bring unfailingly all our wishes to fruition.
By coming to this sacred place, may the obscurations of all the followers of Guru Padmasambhava, dharma brothers and sisters, be purified and may they accumulate merit.
One should endeavor in the recitation of mantras, in the offering of tormas and in performing fire ceremonies, and especially in longevity practice.
By the merit of my composing this, may all beings under the sky be saved from untimely death and present obstacles, and ultimately, having attained the level of the protector Amitayus, lead all beings to that state.
By the blessing and the power of the truth of the wondrous compassion of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, all unwanted trouble and misery without exception having been completely subjugated, may there be continuous glory and may auspiciousness prevail day and night. SHUBHAM.
My daughter Saraswasti Devi with offerings of a stainless scarf and writing paper requested me to write a praise of this holy place. Therefore, I, the old vagabond father Sangye Dorje, wrote this in the Fire Tiger Year on an excellent day of the tenth month, between sessions, at the Supreme Holy Place of Maratika which puts an end to death.
For further information regarding the history of Maratika please see (ma ra ti ka-i gne yig rig azin aja lus grub pa-i gsang lam) Pilgrims’ Guide to the Rocky cave of Maratika The Supreme Holy place of Immortality, written by Ven. Ngawang Jigdral Chokyi Wangchuk and forward by His Holiness Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche.
English verson will available soon.