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Mahasiddha Tangtong Gyalpo


This Great Adept left his body in 1485 at around 130 years of age. He traveled around Tibet and environs teaching and healing. His amazing life is told in King of the Empty Plain, translated by Cyrus Stearns. If one wants to know some of the tasks a bodhisattva performs, study this work. Here is how Stearns Introduction begins:

"Countless Buddhist teachers and practitioners have appeared
over the centuries in the snowy land of Tibet. None have made a
deeper impact on the combined religious, artistic, and technological history
of the country than the great adept (mahasiddha, grub chen) Tangtong
Gyalpo, “King of the Empty Plain” (Thang stong rgyal po, 1361?−1485).
This heroic figure became legendary because of his contributions to the
mystical traditions, his exceptionally long life, and his innovative achievements
in the fields of art, architecture, and metallurgy. Tangtong’s life
and teachings are intertwined with divine madness, visionary revelation,
demon exorcism, the quest for immortality, the relationship of human
beings with their environment, and the process of ultimate enlightenment.
He is famous in Tibet and the Himalayan regions for building
many iron suspension bridges and is thus known by the epithet “Iron-
Bridge Man” (Lcags zam pa). The great master also constructed many
stupas—architectural symbols of enlightened mind—that were strategically
located according to geomantic principles in order to control the
wild energy of the landscape. Several of his monasteries in Tibet and
Bhutan are still famous at the beginning of the twenty-first century."
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