By Ven. Master Chin Kung
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Extra resources for Buddhism as an Education
Many aspiring meditators surrounded the yogin. He imparted his highest transmissions to a hundred advanced ascetics. Throughout the 1520s the Madman of Ü taught regularly, holding instructional assemblies in winter, spring, and summer. At the end of these sessions, he would send his disciples (who in many cases had disciples of their own) to meditate and spread their brand of Buddhism in different regions, in southwestern Tibet, eastern Tibet, and even China. To prolong the life of his uncle, Künzang Nyida Pembar made offerings and sponsored the performance of rituals at Drikung Til monastery, Tsari, Mount Kailash, the Six Fortresses of Milarepa, Ramoché temple, the Jokhang temple, the Drak Yerpa caves, and before the skull of Drakchokpa.
In 1475, at around seventeen, Künga Zangpo took full monastic ordination at the Forest of Glorious Samantabhadra, a site for meditative retreat near Densa Til monastery, not far from his home village. After this, he traveled to various monasteries around Ü to receive transmissions from other masters, including Drakchokpa Rinchen Zangpo, who would replace Chuworipa as his main guru from then on. 24 t h e h o ly m a d m e n o f t i b e t Künga Zangpo traveled to southwestern Tibet, where he spent eight years in meditative retreat at Lapchi, Chubar, and other sites.
It is said that wearing his Heruka costume, he stood 26 t h e h o ly m a d m e n o f t i b e t out from everyone else in attendance. Around this time, he visited the respected scholar-monk of the Sakya sect Śākya Chokden (1428–1507), at Serdokchen monastery. One time the Madman of Ü dug up the corpse of a monk who had died of smallpox. He cracked open the skull and ate some of the brains. Everyone who witnessed this was left nauseated. Much of Künga Zangpo’s life during his thirties revolved around his relationship with the Rinpung family, who by this time had taken control of most of the Tsang region through timely power grabs, alliance-making, and military engagements.