Mahakashyapa’s gong

words of terton Tsele Natsok Rangdrol

In general, it is impossible for ordinary people to measure buddhas and great siddhas who can transform time, show numerous manifestations of their bodily form, and display inconceivable kinds of miracles.

Sometimes a single teaching or deed of the Buddha is perceived in different ways by various disciples due to their capacity and caliber.

For instance, when the Buddha displayed the great miracles, Hinayana followers saw them as lasting only one day while the people of the Mahayana perceived them for half a month.

People generally accept only three turnings of the wheel of Dharma. Yet, extraordinary people saw Buddha give an inconceivable number of other teachings, such as the Avatamsaka, Kalachakra etc.

Until one attains the eye of the Dharma, it is inappropriate to try to judge the Buddhadharma and other people.

Here is a story to illustrate the huge difference between the scope of perception of Hinayana and Mahayana:

Once noble Manjushri had spent the rainy season retreat in the company of a king’s retinue of queens. Later, Mahakashyapa criticized him, sounded the gong and said:

“Boddhisattva, you offender! Don’t stay among the sangha of monks!”

The Buddha himself then exhorted Manjushri to reveal the power of his qualities. 

By his power, it was seen how Manjushri was present near each buddha in each realm in the ten directions. It was also seen that a Mahakashyapa was sounding a gong in each realm as well.

The Blessed One then said: 

“Mahakasyapa, are you going to expel all these forms of Manjushri or only this one?”

Mahakashyapa felt remorse. He wanted to throw down the gong but was unable to do so. The gong itself continued to sound. 

Asking the Buddha for forgiveness, the Buddha told him to ask forgiveness from Manjushri.

According to this story, when even a great arhat like Mahakashyapa is unable to judge the character of another person, how can ordinary people like you and me do so?

It is really important to avoid creating more obscurations!

Tsele Natsok Rangrol (born 1608) in the book The Lotus-Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava by Yeshe Tsogyal, translated by Erik Pema Kunsang, Shambhala 

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