THE LIFE OF KING INDRABHUTI

In STORYTELLING by Douglas J. Penick3 Comments

In a dream, Gesar, King of Ling finds himself in Kusinagra, and sees, lying across a vast plain the enormous sleeping form of Mahaprabha, King of Suprabha. The glowing body of Mahaprabha, as Gesar sees, contains all the beings of all time, whether past, present or future. Some have life-spans that are measureless while others live only for an instant. Mahaprabha shimmers with life while all within him are impermanent, but for him there is no time. In Mahaprabha’s body, regardless of what appears as fate and fortune, everything is inseparable from the magic of knowledge, the magic of intrinsic freedom, the magic of display. An old wrinkled servant appears and gives this text to Gesar, King of Ling.

THE SUN OF SOVEREIGNTY
INVOKING THE INNATE, THE MAHASIDDHA BHUMIPALA,
KING INDRABHUTI THE GREAT

On the blazing surface of the cosmic mirror,
Billions of drops of gold amrita coalesce
And fall in galaxies of realms,
An unceasing rain of all-pervasive radiance;

Swirling free in the vastness of space,
This rain is mind, is sun and moon, is sky, is mountain, is perfume,
Is melody, is sea, is sex, is spice and wine.

Its luminosity is co-emergence.
Its heat is the union of prana and upaya.
Its power is kaya and jnana,
Embodiment and wisdom undivided at the core.

Thus the Imperial Yana which never departs,
Returns.
Thus the Imperial Yana, inseparable from phenomena
Is proclaimed.
Thus heaven and earth are inseparable.

Once King Indrabhuti sat in the cool of the day with his consorts and ministers on the terrace of his palace in Odiyana. He looked up into the early morning sky, and saw what appeared to be a great flock of scarlet cranes flying through the air. The king asked his ministers: “What are those birds? Where do they come from?”

“Your majesty, those are not birds at all, but Arhats in their red robes. They are the disciples of the Great Sage, the Buddha, the Fully Awakened One. It is said, sire, that by following the Buddha’s teachings, his followers find release from the bonds of clinging that tie others to this world. Thus they may fly north and south to spread his teachings” The King considered this and then asked how he might meet the this great teacher. The ministers explained that the sage lived far away and was not likely to come such a great distance.

But when the Great King heard the name of the Awakened One, his heart melted with longing. And when the Buddha’s name passed his lips, all thoughts in his mind stopped. He did not hear his minister’s words, nor the talk of his wives. He sat unmoving as the sun set, the moon rose and set, and the sun rose once again. Wordlessly and silently, an ocean of pure awareness opened to King Indrabhuti and expanded like an all-embracing mirror.

Days later, the Arhats crossed the noon-day sky in a great migration that seemed like clouds at sunset. King Indrahuti called out to them. He asked how they could be so unconstrained by the laws of nature; by near and far, by high and low. They circled above him. King Indrabhuti could not tell if the words he heard were their reply or his own thoughts.

“Awareness simultaneously something and not;
Freedom from all qualities simultaneously something and not;
Mind simultaneously something and not;
Expanse of thoughts simultaneously something and not;
Taking sides in the snap of that instant,
Beings and realms are born and not.

But like an eternal sun
This simultaneity is origin and end.
This simultaneity itself
Is unborn all-pervasive radiance.

This Samaya of Mind
Is called the All Consuming.”

Later King Indrabhuti sat in his palace shrine hall. His mind was filled with longing. Calling out for the 500 Arhat attendants of the Buddha, he set out a vast array of offerings: pure water, flowers, incense, hundreds of lamps, perfume and food. He commanded his musicians to play and sing the most beautiful melodies known to them.

Soon, swirling downward through the sky, the Arhats descended there like an immense flock of red birds, and as they sat before him, the Great King asked them to show him the direct path to enlightenment.

The Arhats then replied:

“Turn your mind from this mirage which is nothing but a prison and a torture house gaily painted like a palace to entrance and deceive. Renounce the world and find the path to the enlightenment which does not change.”

Indrabhuti considered this in silence for a long time. He shook his head and as if seeing his palace and all around him for the first time, sang this song.

“Monks, you are indeed heroes and noble sons.
But I am a king, not a renunciant.
A great world surrounds me.
When the sun rises, I wake to see it.
When the moon rises and the stars shine,
I feel the tenderness of their cool breath.
When my people sing, a child cries, or my consort calls out in the night,
I hear them and my heart moves to them.
When I smell the lotus blooming on the lake
Or the smell of the smoke from the charnel ground, my mind is still.
When I am caressed, I am joyful,
And when I drink wine, I am filled with delight.

“Surely, this is the breath of enlightenment
And the living heart-beat of the Awakened One.”

The Arhats were speechless. Again King Indrabhuti sat on his throne without moving for a long time. Without moving, he surveyed the world of form as it arose from the mandala of the five lights. Those with him heard these words:

“In the distinction between kaya and jnana, embodiment and wisdom,
Beings grasp at recognition, partial recognition, and non-recognition;
Wisdom and illusion appear separate.
All the oceans of galaxies of realms arise.”

Thus, King Indrabhuti’s senses expanded effortlessly. Opening through infinite space, free from the limits of emotional bias or conceptual structures, King Indrabhuti saw the limitless ocean of galaxies of realms. These words were heard.

“In the seeming division of kaya and jnana,
Life itself and the life of realms and beings
Is Shila Samaya called The Inexhaustible.”

King Indrabhuti sat before the Arhats on his throne, eating and drinking and smiling at his consorts, ministers, and generals, as at the same time he gazed on the infinity of realms and beings. Again the Great King asked the Arhats for the path to enlightenment which does not deny the realms of form. And again the Arhats answered:

“Oh Greatest of Kings, you must abandon all desire and craving. Cultivate morality, meditation and wisdom. Develop the Paramitas of generosity, discipline, patience, exertion, meditation and prajna.”

The King replied: ” I wish to see the direct path of complete wakefulness which does not abandon the delights of the five senses and the bliss I share with my consorts.” And then he sang:

“Even if it be likely that one so attached to the senses as I
Be reborn a fox deep in the forests of my kingdom:
Oh Gautama I will realize enlightenment, the innate ground
Without surrendering the slightest passion for this world.”

Then, King Indrabhuti reached out and took the hand of his consort. As the rays of the sun fill all the sky and illuminate all the earth, it seemed that King Indrabhuti embraced the entire world completely.

At that moment, some of King Indrabhuti’s attendants and ministers saw him as he sat before them as nothing other than a great cloud filled with light; others saw him in the form of Vajradhara, still others saw King Indrabhuti as the Lord of Secrets, and others yet as a Rigden King enthroned in Kalapa.

So, in the centerless center of primordial space,
Like the sun resting at mid-heaven,
King Indrabhuti, the radiant, stood as Lord of the Mandala of Existence,
King of Illusion and Protector of the Earth-ground.

Then The Great Earth Protector Lord proclaimed this:

“O, you who wander in the human realm,
On the paths of deluded ordinary beings,
On the path of those who simply hear the truth,
On the path of celibate renunciants, on the path of private realization,
Or on any other path known thus far
Whether pursuing methods of purification or union,
You struggle for liberation from bondage in samara’s whirling coils.

However subtly,
You conceive of enlightenment as escape;
Conceive of the infinite expanse of wakefulness
As heaven and final resting place.

I, Indrabhuti proclaim that enlightenment is not beyond the world.
It is the primordial ground.
It is all-pervasive.

Unoriginated, it is the source.
Unceasing, it is extinction.
Without location, it is like space.

Its radiance is the pulse of all thoughts and concepts.
Its glamour is the power of all attachments.
Its energy is the life force of all illusory lives.
Its stability is the foundation of all realms.
It’s freedom is the pure play of all phenomena.

Because it is empty, it is the feeling of unreality.
Because it is the ground, it is the feeling of reality.
Because it is subtle, there is the experience of confusion.
Because it is unceasing, there is the experience of meaning.
Because it is non-duality, it is complete compassion.
Because it is compassion, it is the truth and the innate law.

Logic does not capture or penetrate it.
Renunciation does not purify it.
Meditation does not stabilize it.
Behavior does not expand or diminish it.
It is reality itself and is not an attainment of any kind.

Therefore my path, the path of Indrabhuti, is the path of King.
It is the display of liberation
Which is myriad worlds,
Moves in those worlds,
And is inseparable from them.

My path is the display of liberation
Which is this world.
Moves in this world,
And is inseparable from it.

Looking on the vast array of space,
See the mandala of this world;
When you hear the cries and songs of countless beings here,
Smell their tired sweat and sweet perfumes,
Sense their terror, lust, and longing,
That seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting,
That knowing
Makes those worlds, makes this world
Inseparably ours
And deeply to be loved.

So this world, for we who dwell here,
Is the co-emergent form of pure complete enlightenment.

Moving from realm to realm
By awareness, by vision, by living,
By caring for the well-being of every living being,
By loving them;
All this is the same as the light of the sun
Passing through clouds.”

Then, as he sat before all his court, King Indrabhuti clasped his consort tightly to him. His consorts, ministers, generals and all his courtiers saw him enter into the vast and pulsing flow of time. He appeared to them riding on the back of a golden garuda flying through sky after sky, appearing in age after age, place after place, and form after form. He flashed through the swirling flow of cyclical illusions, sometimes entirely visible, sometimes in part, sometimes hidden and sometimes only glimpsed as a flicker, like a fish dancing in a golden stream.


Appearing as the seasons,
As gold, silver, copper, and iron wheels,
He is the succession of Chakravartin Emperors.

Moving through time, he rules in different forms
By virtue of holding a gold, silver, copper, or iron wheel.

As these wheels whirl through space,
They generate a river of sound
Which is the music of unfolding reality
And is audible to all within thousands of miles of its passage.
It draws the hearts of all who hear it
To the way of the true law,
And the establishment of enlightened society.

With the Golden Wheel, all his court moves effortlessly everywhere,
And all the phenomena of this world are synchronized.
Thus he is lord of the four continents.

As holder of the Silver Wheel,
He is lord of the three continents in the East, South and West,
Conquering them simply by advancing in their direction.

As holder of the Copper Wheel,
He becomes lord of the Eastern and Southern continents
Simply by preparing for battle.

As holder of the Iron Wheel,
He gains control of the Southern Continent
Simply by brandishing weapons.

All subsequent Chakravartin Emperors only rule a single continent.
Their virtues cause no jealousy or rivalry.

Appearing as the cycles of the sun throughout the year,
First he is Dawa Zangpo,
Renewing the request of King Indrabhuti,
And drawing out the Kalachakra from the Tathagata himself.

Then he displays all his aspects
As the succession of Lords of Shambhala.
Moving through time, he rules in different forms
As dharma unfolds in the form of a lotus.

Appearing as the phases of the moon,
He is each of the four ancestral sovereigns,
Ashoka Maharaja, Gesar King of Ling,
The Yung Lo Emperor, and Prince Shotoku Taishi.

Appearing as galaxies of moving stars,
He is a vast variety of just lords
Who leave great words and deeds, but have no successors.

Appearing in the succession of the hours,
He is a stream of other Indrabhutis
Who are great Mahasiddhas,
Writing down the tantras,
In realm after realm, teaching and showing his subjects
The path of natural liberation,
Everywhere he is the consort of great dakinis.
Everywhere he begins and follows the lineage of teacher and disciple.

And as, in the motionless darkness of the night
The sun seems suddenly to blaze out,
He is the eternal spontaneously arisen Earth Protector,
The Profound, Brilliant, Just, Powerful, All Victorious Sakyong.

Thus does King Indrabhuti hold the mudra samaya,
Called the Imperial One.

In the time when he was first spoken of, Indrabhuti gathered all the tantras together in book form and instructed all the people of Uddiyana. Thus his realm is a pure realm. His mind, his practice and his actions were and are ever united and inseparable from the samayas of a Sakyong and all the samayas of all the tantras. Thus, he practices in one realm after the other, and all are realized as pure realms.

So it is said that at that time, King Indrabhuti together with all his consorts, all his attendants, every single one of his subjects including ghosts, animals, insects, fish and birds, attained the siddhi of rainbow body. This great king did not consider his existence, his path and his enlightenment in any way separable from the countless beings in his realm. Detachment never stained his mind. His passion was a great sea vessel carrying all he encountered or knew of over oceans of suffering. His love is a sun that never sets.
This is the original life of King Indrabhuti the Great. OM BHUMIPALA SVABHAVA SARVA MANGALA SVAHA

This was extracted from The Brilliance of Naked Mind: Secret Visions of Gesar, King of Ling with the kind permission of the author Douglas J. Penick.

About the Author
Douglas J. Penick

Douglas J. Penick

Douglas Penick utilizes historical research with a solid understanding of Chinese culture and Buddhism to make stories accessible, beautiful and enlightening. In his words, “I contribute to the mischief, longing, satisfaction, lust, sorrow and fascination which make our presence in this world a discovery of true love.” The Website of Douglas. Other LEVEKUNST articles by the same author.

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  1. Douglas!
    Your words refresh and stimulate one’s senses like the most delicious Amrita!
    If only I could repay your kindness.
    Much love,
    Brad Upton

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