After Garchen Rinpoche descended from Lapchi, we requested Rinpoche to share with us his experience up in Lapchi. Below is an excerpt of what Rinpoche said:
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Lapchi is indeed a very supreme place. When we were there, we could really feel that Milarepa had been there. If you’re not very familiar with Milarepa, and you don’t have great faith in him, then you may doubt if Milarepa had really been to Lapchi. But if you’ve read the life story of Milarepa, if you remember his words, and you know that he had practiced in Lapchi, then when you go to Lapchi, you’d feel greatly encouraged. So it all depends on your own faith.
Actually Milarepa resides permanently in Lapchi. His mind, his five elements (earth, water, fire, air and space) are indivisible from Lapchi. While in Lapchi, if we have great faith in Milarepa, we will receive great blessings. So however great your faith is, however great the blessings you will receive.
People who can visit Lapchi are indeed very special and rare. We have such a huge population on earth. Yet only very few can get to Lapchi. So for those who can get to Lapchi, they must possess great merits and virtues. Without sufficient merits and virtues, one would not be able to go up to Lapchi.
We faced a lot of difficulties this time. Our helicopters were delayed over and over again. For those who walked to Lapchi, they also suffered a great deal along the way. However, if we can maintain our faith, if we can endure whatever difficulties that we encounter, then this is also a very good way to purify our obstacles.
Similarly, during the course of our Dharma practice, we should practice forbearance. We must persevere in learning the Dharma. If you feel that it’s too difficult, you want to give up, then you’ll never succeed in your Dharma practice. So we must have courage. No matter how many difficulties and tests there are, you face them all willingly. Everytime you endure a suffering, you will clear an obstacle. If you endure many sufferings, then you will clear many obstacles. So when you encounter difficulties, you must raise your faith. Marpa had so many disciples. But Milarepa was the only one who could endure the worst tests. In the end, he was also the only one attaining the greatest accomplishment.
When Milarepa was leaving Marpa to return to his homeland, Marpa bade him farewell and sang him a doha. In the song Marpa sang: “Through the persevering heart of Milarepa, there will stand the pillar of the Buddha’s teaching.” This means that Milarepa was able to endure all the hardships during the course of his practice. Therefore he was able to become the pillar of the Dharma, bearing the great responsibility of preserving and propagating the Dharma.
For me, I have no special experience in Lapchi. I just went there to rest. When I was up there, I chanted Milarepa’s mantra everyday and I practiced the Milarepa’s Guru Yoga. I made the daily 8 offerings and smoke offering. There was nothing special. The only thing was that my mind felt clearer. There were great blessings. When I tried to meditate at other places, sometimes I would feel very drowsy and tired. But my mind felt very clear up in Lapchi. That’s about it. There is no other special merit to talk about. But some of my disciples are rather good. I have a female American disciple. She has done retreat in Lapchi before. Sometimes she would see the pureland in her meditation. That’s because her mind was very pure. Actually if our minds are not pure, even if we get to the pureland, we would still see it as samsara. If our minds are pure, even if we’re in samsara, we would see it as a pureland.
I want to thank all the sponsors and helpers for making this trip possible for me. When I was up in Lapchi, I visualized all my disciples practicing with me. Actually, even if you can’t go to Lapchi personally, if you meditate with a picture of Milarepa and you develop great faith in him, that would be the same as going to Lapchi in person.