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One of the first books I read about Tibetan Buddhism was the Life of Milarepa. I found the story of his life and enlightenment a great inspiration. Reading about Milarepa always invoked a feeling of familiarity with him, as if I might have actually known him myself, in a past life. Such a thought filled me with joy, and maybe a little self-satisfaction.
One afternoon, I was sitting with the Vidyadhara in his bedroom at his retreat in Mill Village, Nova Scotia. The Vidyadhara was sitting up in bed, and I was sitting on the floor, facing him. I decided to ask the Vidyadhara about this association I felt with Milarepa. I told him about my strong feeling of familiarity with the great teacher, how I was almost certain I had been with Milarepa in his cave. Then I asked, “Sir, do you think I might have actually been with Milarepa?”
The Vidyadhara paused, looked at me, and smiled enigmatically. He said, “Hmm, maybe you were.”
“Really, sir?” I said, surprised and excited. To myself, I said, “I knew it! I knew I had studied with Milarepa, and now Rinpoche is going to confirm it.”
“Yes,” he said slowly, “Yes, perhaps you were…a puppy dog.”
2004 by Alan Sloan