Known in Tibet as Chenrezig Mura Tulku, many great masters, including Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and the Fourth Dzogchen Rinpoche, recognised Mura Rinpoche as an emanation of the Buddha of Compassion, Avalokiteshvara.
Wherever Mura Rinpoche went, he benefited countless beings by holding prayer festivals of the mani, the six syllable heart mantra of Avalokiteshvara. As many as tens of thousands of people gathered to take part in these festivals. In places where festivals were held, old folks who, apart from counting the mani knew no other way to practise dharma, on their deathbeds would have visions of Avalokiteshvara and dream of Mura Rinpoche holding a white flag, coming to meet them.
At the beginning of twentieth century there was a famous delok or ‘returner from death’ named Duklip Lama. This lama would actually go to the hell realms and lead millions of beings to liberation. In his text entitled ‘Duklip Delok’, he writes that Arya Avalokiteshvara is unmatched amongst all the buddhas and bodhisattvas for actually going to the hell realms to shake up samsara from the very depths. He continues by saying that amongst all the root lineage lamas of the day there is not one so compassionate as Mura Tulku, or one who brings as much benefit to sentient beings as he does.
In successive incarnations, wherever Mura Rinpoche went, he would encourage compassionate and virtuous behaviour. He would stop the hunting of wild animals, prevent the slaughter of yaks and sheep etc and free livestock. As a result the places that he visited became famous for the kindness of the local people.
Every time the master received offerings from faithful devotees, he used them to commission the carving of hundreds of thousands of mani mantras into stone. The flat stones were collected and piled up to form huge collections known as mani stones. The most famous of these collections is called Mura Mani and is located in the Serchu district of Eastern Tibet. It is one of the largest and most ancient collections of mani stones in the world, and many great masters have remarked that the wind and running water in the area carry the naturally occurring sound of the mani mantra. Mura Rinpoche himself said that anyone who circumabulates the stones or makes offerings to them will not fall down to the lower realms.
The 3rd Mura Rinpoche wrote that mani stones are unrivalled in their special qualities. He continued ‘There is not one drop of the essence of the eighty-four thousand teachings of the buddhadharma that is not contained within the six great syllables of the mani mantra. Carving the six letters into stone will preserve them as long as possible. If other, more extensive teachings were carved there would be a greater chance of small sections being damaged and making the scripture incomplete. Carving the mantra into stone makes it hard for the natural elements to destroy. If temples or representations of Buddha body, speech and mind are made out of gold, silver or other precious materials they can easily be destroyed by wind, rain or fire. They might be stolen or plundered and there is the risk of their being lost. People might get the idea that they own them. These and many other delusions and drawbacks can occur. But this basis for creating merit that I have built is not easily destroyed. No one is going to consider a mani stone as their property, and for as long as it exists, not only the people of the area who make a connection with it, but even the insects carried on the wind that touch it, will at some time reach the level of liberation and become freed from samsara.’
- 1st Mura Rinpoche Retrot Rinzin Gyatso
- 2nd Mura Rinpoche Bonpo Gyurme Chodar
- 3rd Mura Rinpoche Pema Dechen Zangpo
- 4th Mura Rinpoche Pema Norbu
- 5th Mura Rinpoche Tenzin Khachab Dorje