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Asanga (thogs med). Asanga was born as the son of an exceedingly learned brahmin woman who was herself the rebirth of a monk blessed by Avalokiteshvara. Having mastered most of the scriptures of the Tripitaka, before undertaking the study of the Transcendence of Wisdom he decided to take up on actual spiritual practice. Yet, after twelve years of meditation upon Maitreya he still had no signs of realization. Utterly dismayed, he walked away from his cave. Soon, he came across a half-dead bitch whose lower half was infested with worms. Great compassion arose in Asanga. To save the bitch without killing the worms, Asanga cut a strip of his own flesh to feed the worms and closing his eyes set on removing them from the bitch's wounds with his tongue, so as to not harm them. When, doing so, he could not reach them he opened his eyes he beheld not the bitch but Maitreya, radiant, displaying the marks and signs of a perfect Buddha. Asanga exclaimed, "O my sole father, all those years I have been constantly meditating upon you and calling you, yet you did not come!" Maitreya spoke: "I was in your presence continually, yet because of your karmic veils you were unable to see me. Now, through your cutting off your own flesh out of great compassion, your obscurations have been purified." Then Maitreya took Asanga for fifty years in Tushita heaven and gave to Asanga the Mahayana teachings, following which Asanga wrote down the Five Teachings of Maitreya. Later, having come back on earth he wrote many more treatises, performed countless miracles and converted to the Mahayana his younger brother, Vasubandhu, himself one of the greatest sages and erudite of all times.