242 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYING pain, however great it is: 'Go away now, and leave me alone!' If there is anything that irritates you or makes you feel uncomfortable in any way, don't waste your time trying to change it; keep returning to the View. "Trust in the nature of your mind, trust it deeply, and relax completely. There is nothing new you need to learn or acquire or understand; just allow what you have already been given to blossom in you and open at greater and greater depths. "Rely on whatever for you is the most inspiring of all the practices. And if it is difficult for you to visualize or follow a formal kind of practice, remember what Dudjom Rinpoche always used to say: that to feel the presence is more important than getting the details of the visualization clear. Now is the time to feel, as intensely as you can, to feel with your whole being the presence of your masters, of Padmasambhava, of the buddhas. Whatever may be happening to your body, remember that your heart is never sick or crippled. "You have loved Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Feel his presence, and really ask him for help and purification. Put yourself entirely in his hands: heart and mind, body and soul. The simplicity of total trust is one of the most powerful forces in the world. "Did I ever tell you that beautiful story about Ben of Kongpo? He was a very simple man, with immense faith, who came from Kongpo, a province in southeastern Tibet. He had heard a lot about the Jowo Rinpoche, the 'Precious Lord,' a beautiful statue of Buddha as a prince at the age of twelve that is kept in the central cathedral in Lhasa. It is said to have been made while the Buddha was alive, and is the most holy statue in the whole of Tibet. Ben could not make out whether it was a buddha or a human being, and he was determined to go and visit the Jowo Rinpoche to see what all the talk was about. So he put on his boots and walked, week after week, to get to Lhasa in central Tibet. "He was hungry when he arrived, and when he entered the cathedral, he saw the great statue of Buddha, and in front of it a row of butter-lamps and special cakes made as offerings to the shrine. He assumed at once that these cakes were what the Jowo Rinpoche ate: 'The cakes,' he said to himself, 'must be for dipping into the butter in the lamps, and the lamps must be kept alight to stop the butter from going hard. I'd better do what Jowo Rinpoche does.' So he dipped one in the butter and ate it, looking up at the statue, which seemed to be smiling down benignly just at him.
THE PRACTICES FOR DYING 243 "'What a nice Lama you are,' he said. The dogs come in and steal the food people offer you, and all you do is smile. The wind blows out the lamps, and still you keep on smiling ... Anyway, I am going to walk all around the temple in prayer, to show my respect. Would you mind looking after my boots till I get back?' Taking off his dirty old boots, he placed them on the altar in front of the statue, and left. "While Ben was walking around the huge temple, the caretaker returned and saw to his horror that someone had been eating the offerings and had left a filthy pair of boots on the altar. He was outraged, and furiously seized the boots to throw them outside, when a voice came from the statue, saying: 'Stop! Put those boots back. I'm watching them for Ben of Kongpo.' "Soon Ben came back to collect his boots, and gazed up at the face of the statue, still calmly smiling at him. 'You really are what I'd call a good Lama. Why don't you come down to our place next year? I will roast a pig and brew some beer ...' The Jowo Rinpoche spoke for a second time, and promised he would visit Ben. "Ben went home to Kongpo, told his wife everything that had happened, and instructed her to keep an eye open for the Jowo Rinpoche, because he didn't know exactly when he was coming. The year went by, and one day his wife came rushing back to the house to tell him she had seen something glowing like the sun, under the surface of the river. Ben told her to put the water on for tea, and raced down to the river. He saw the Jowo Rinpoche glittering in the water, and immediately thought he must have fallen in and was drowning. He leapt into the water, took hold of him, and carried him out. "As they went back to Ben's house, chatting all the way, they came to a huge rock face. The Jowo Rinpoche said: 'Well, actually I'm afraid I cannot come into the house,' and with that he dissolved into the rock. To this day there are two famous places of pilgrimage in Kongpo: one is the Rock Jowo, the rock face where a form of Buddha can be seen, and the other is the River Jowo, where the shape of Buddha can be seen in the river. People say that the blessing and the healing powers of these places are identical to the Jowo Rinpoche in Lhasa. And it was all because of Ben's immense faith and simple trust. "I want you to have the same kind of pure trust as Ben. Let your heart fill with devotion for Padmasambhava and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, and simply feel you are in his presence,