Cave of the Subjugation of Mara

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A view of the Cave of the subjugation of Maras and Rechungpa's cave slightly above, Nov. 2005

(bdud 'dul phug) is the principal among the four main caves of Lapchi, the three other one being the Crest Cave (ze phug), the Revelation of All Secrets (sbas pa kun gsal), and the Prophesied Cave of the Great Forest (lung bstan tshal chen phug), and the Hidden Cave (sbas phug). GL, p.56/a says that the actual door of the cave, which Shabkar thus reopened, had been closed by nonhuman beings. According to a personal communication from Toni Huber, the cave itself has an outer and an inner part, separated by a narrow passage with a low roof. The stone hearth of Jetsun Milarepa is the centerpiece and inner sanctum of the cave. The temple is built as a continuation of the outer part of the cave. The Cave of the Subjugation of Mara is one of the "four widely known caves" mentioned in Milarepa's life-story (see Bacot, 1925, and Lhalungpa, 1984). It was in this cave that Jetsun Milarepa subjugated a host of demons who had attacked him. It is also the place where, blocked by snow that had fallen for eighteen days and nights, he spent six months in complete seclusion, surviving on one measure of tsampa. There too, Milarepa performed many miracles and left nearby a footprint in a rock. See Tsang Nyong Heruka's Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa (mi la'i mgur 'bum) and their translation in English by G.C.Chang (1977). Other great saints who meditated in this cave include Milarepa's moon-like disciple Rechung Dorje Trakpa (ras chung rdo rje grags pa, 1084-1161), Nyö Lhanangpa (gnyos lha nang pa, 1164-1224), the "Mad Yogin of Tsang Ornate with Bones" (gtsang smyon he ru ka rus pa'i rgyan can, 1452-1507), and the "Victorious Hermit of Lapchi," Namkha Gyaltsen (rgyal la phyi pa nam mkha' rgyal mtshan), fifteenth century, said to be the mind-aspect incarnation of Milarepa). [MR-ShabkarNotes]