Taking On Suffering: Story of Maitriyogin and the Dog’s Pain


The following is respectfully quoted from “Enlightened Courage” by His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche:

There is a story that one day, when Maitriyogin was teaching, a dog barked at someone, who, losing his temper, threw a stone at it. The dog was hit in the ribs and yelped. Feeling great sorrow for the animal, the teacher cried out and fell down from the throne. “This is taking things a bit too far,” thought his disciples. Knowing what was in their minds, Maitriyogin said, “Look here, at my ribs.” And on his body, exactly where the stone had hit the dog, he had a bruise. He had taken the suffering of the animal upon himself.

A Teaching on the Four Immeasurables

The following is respectfully taken from “How to Follow a Spiritual Master” edited by Ngagyur Nyingma Institute.

The following story of King Tsangpa Lha (Brahma Deva) and his son Gyaltshab Dhampa provides insights into the way bygone great practitioners have followed and practiced with their own Masters. The Prince was seeking dharma teachings but could not find any, feeling very saddened. Indra, the King of Gods knew clairvoyantly the mind of the Prince and assumed the guise of a Brahmin. He came to sit near the gate of the palace announcing he could give teachings. The Prince came to hear about it and requested them. The Brahmin answered that he would give teachings if the Prince were to jump into a deep fire pit and then make offerings.

The Prince accepted without hesitation and set about digging the fire pit at the dismay of the The King, Queen, Ministers and courtiers. Yet the Brahmin maintained his condition and the Prince his resolve so all was set for the Prince to jump. All his subjects requested him to abandon the idea to which the Prince replied, “I have been born in Samsara countless times and taken rebirth in higher realm of God and humans. There I have suffered under desire, in the lower realm I had undergone immense suffering. All to no avail and further I have never sacrificed my life in order to receive Teachings. Now I am going to offer this impure body. Please do not hold me back and alter this pure motivation in order to achieve enlightenment. I will give you the Teachings as soon as I have gained enlightenment. The subjects saw that the Prince was very determined and they could not press the matter further.

The Prince was ready to jump staying close to the pit as he spoke to Brahmin. O great Teacher! Please give me the teachings now as I may die and not be able to receive them from you. Then the Brahmin gave the following teachings on the Four Immeasurable,

Practice loving kindness,
Abandon anger
Protect the beings through great compassion
Shed tears of Compassion
With all sentient beings never to be separated from happiness
and the causes of happiness
By protecting all the beings through great compassion
You will become a genuine Bodhisattva

As soon as he finished these teachings, the Prince jumped into the fire pit. Both Indra and Brahma held him back holding him on both sides from falling into the pit. They said, “You are the Protector of beings who is very kind and compassionate. What will happen to your subjects if you jump now? It will be like the death of our parent.” The Prince replied, “Don’t hold me back from entering the path to Buddhahood, and all became silent as the Prince jumped into the firepit.

The earth shook and the Gods in the sky lamented shedding a shower of tears like rainfall transforming the firepit into a lake at the center of which the Prince stood on a lotus and the Gods showered flowers to praise him.