When Drukpa Künlegs was returning on one occasion from Long-rong-shong, he passed through a dry area to which he gave the name Lokthang Kyama (Log thang sKya ma – opposition place of aridity). In this unpleasing place he encountered an aged gentleman called Papa Ten’dzin (A pa Ten ’dzin) whose sons had all departed the parental home and his daughters—apart from the youngest—had married and were living with their husbands. Papa Ten’dzin had become somewhat dejected at the dissolution of his family and so when Drukpa Künlegs arrived, Papa Ten’dzin offered prostration, crying out:
I am so fortunate to meet you now! Most of my family has left and I am jaded with life – my daughter gives me no peace with her kvetching and my wife has no interest left in me. Can you give me teachings that will prepare me for death?
Drukpa Künlegs replied:
Sure. I’ll teach you a refuge recitation which you must recite whenever you think of me. But there is one stricture – you must never discuss this recitation with anyone.
Papa Ten’dzin asked Drukpa Künlegs the title of the refuge, and Drukpa Künlegs replied:
This is the refuge which releases you from samsara – and this is how you recite it:
‘I take refuge in my old man’s humble penis, withered at the root, fallen like a dead tree.
I take refuge in the flaccid vagina of an old woman – shrunken, impenetrable, and spongy.
I take refuge in the virile young tiger’s thunderbolt – rising arrogantly and unconcerned with death.
I take refuge in the damsel’s lotus – suffusing her with rolling waves of bliss which release her from embarrassment and reserve.’
Remember to perform this recitation whenever you think of me, and you will be completely prepared for death.
Papa Ten’dzin was delighted that it was so simple and thanked Drukpa Künlegs with a full heart.
But can you also teach me, he asked
teach me how to strengthen my aspiration?
Drukpa Künlegs replied:
Sure. I’ll teach you a recitation for that as well – and here’s how it goes:
‘The branches of the great eastern tree continue to grow,
But the spread of its foliage depends on its roots and how far they extend.
Drukpa Künlegs’ glans penis may lodge tight in a small vagina,
But tautness depends upon the dimension of the penis.
Papa Ten’dzin’s inclination to gain liberation may be strong,
But the degree of his accomplishment depends upon the strength of his devotion.’
Keep this recitation in your mind, and your aspiration will be strong.
Drukpa Künlegs then bade Papa Ten’dzin adieu and went one his way. Papa Ten’dzin then returned directly to his home to practice what he had been taught – but his daughter asked him whether he had met Drukpa Künlegs and asked him whether he had received instructions. Papa Ten’dzin replied:
Yes – Drukpa Künlegs gave me a refuge recitation which I learned by heart, and which I will practice.
His daughter was not impressed with this account and mocked him:
But father – you’re a moron, how will you remember it? Was it short? Can you repeat it to me? so Papa Ten’dzin began to recite:
I take refuge in my old man’s humble penis, withered at the root, fallen like a dead tree. I take refuge in the flaccid vagina of an old woman – shrunken, impenetrable, and spongy. I take refuge in the virile young tiger’s thunderbolt – rising arrogantly and unconcerned with death. I take refuge in the damsel’s lotus – suffusing her with rolling waves of bliss which release her from embarrassment and reserve.
Papa Ten’dzin’s wife happened to hear her husband’s recitation from the kitchen and shouted:
Are you insane – a Lama’s words are pure, so either you’ve completely misunderstood or you’ve forgotten the words and concocted this nonsense. But Papa Ten’dzin said:
These were exactly the words Drukpa Künlegs gave me. His wife rebuked him further:
Even if you’ve remembered the words – you cannot imitate Drukpa Künlegs, and you must never recite this when our family is present. But Papa Ten’dzin said:
Drukpa Künlegs instructed me to recite this whenever I think of him, and I fully intend always to do just that.
Some days later the sons and daughter came to visit their aged parents. They were all gathered for a meal and about to eat when Papa Ten’dzin began to recite.
Papa’s crazy they confided and quietly absented themselves from the table. When Papa Ten’dzin opened his eyes he was alone. After a while his wife returned and said:
If you insist on this idiocy you’re going to have to stay in your room and eat alone. But Papa Ten’dzin replied:
I will continue even if it costs me my life. On hearing this his wife felt she had no choice but to relegate her husband to the loft where the horse feed was kept. So Papa Ten’dzin moved into his new accommodation where he recited throughout each day and throughout most of each night.
A month later—on the night of the full moon—Papa Ten’dzin’s wife started to hear the sounds of dramyens and flutes. She listened out for her husands’s voice – but he seemed to have ceased his recitations. Papa Ten’dzin’s wife—having become accustomed to the continual drone in the loft—became concerned as to her husband’s condition.
Maybe he’s become catatonic, she said to her daughter,
Better take him some chang.
So Papa Ten’dzin’s daughter scaled the house ladder with a bowl of chang and found only her father’s bedding. She wondered if he was hiding under the bedding so she pulled it back and found a vivid opalescent sphere of light surrounding the White A: syllable.
Ah no! she cried,
Papa has vanished! Her mother scaled the ladder to see what the fuss was all about, but when she caught sight of the sphere of light it moved through a small aperture in the roof and rose into the sky. Just before the sphere of light vanished from sight the voice of Papa Ten’dzin was heard—as if from a distant point—saying:
Drukpa Künlegs has welcomed me into a pure dimension – so I will leave you prudish folks behind and go where I’m wanted. Give all my belongings to Drukpa Künlegs as an offering.
When Drukpa Künlegs visited the ruined house of Papa Ten’dzin some years later, they had built a chörten where the house had once stood and placed Papa Ten’dzin’s teng’ar within it as a relic.