The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Vinapa was the only son of the King of Gauda who loved the sound of music. He pestered the court musicians until they agreed to teach him to play the tambura, a four string instrument; and later the vina, a seven string instrument. He loved playing the vina so much that he could hardly bear to set it down to take a few morsels of food. However, his obsession worried his parents and the court for he is the heir to the throne. His parents then summoned a highly trained yogin called Buddhapa in hopes he could wean the prince away from music.
At their first meeting, the prince recognized Buddhapa as his master and prostrated to the yogin. They then sat down to speak deeply about life and death and all that lies between and beyond. Knowing that the prince is ready for spiritual training, the yogin asked if the prince was ready to take a sadhanas. The prince replied, “My music is my sadhanas, venerable yogin. Nothing matters to me but my vina and the sound of the tambura. The only sadhanas I would practice is one that I could learn without abandoning music.” So Buddhapa taught the prince a musical sadhanas whereupon he initiated the prince and instructed him to meditate continuously upon the sound of the instrument but he must free himself of all distinction between the sound that is struck and what the mind perceives, to cease all interference with the sound, conceptualizing, critical and judgemental thought, and to contemplate only on pure sound.
He performed wondrous deeds. He could foretell the future, read people’s thought, and appear in more than one place at the same time. It was said that he had gained his siddhi directly from the deity Hevajra himself. All his long life he taught multitudes of beings how to find release from the bonds of existence, and when he completed his task, he was assumed into the Paradise of the Dakinis.