Beginning was voidness, a vast emptiness without cause, without end. From this great voidness there arose gentle stirrings of wind, which after countless eons grew thicker and heavier, forming the mighty double thunderbolt sceptre of Dorje Gyatram. Dorje Gyatram created the clouds, which in turn created the rain. The rain fell for many years until the primeval ocean was formed. Then, all was calm, quiet, and peaceful; the ocean became clear as a mirror. Slowly the winds began to breathe once more, gently moving over the waters of the ocean, churning them continually until a light foam appeared on the surface. Just as cream is churned into butter, so were the waters of Gyatso churned into earth by the rhythmic motion of the winds. The earth rose like a mountain, and around its peaks murmured the wind, ever moving, tireless, forming cloud from which fell more rain, only this time heavier and full of salt, giving birth to the great oceans of the universe.
The center of the universe is Rirap Lhunpo (Sumeru) the great four-sided mountain made of precious stones and full of beautiful things. There are rivers and streams on Rirap Lhunpo and many kinds of trees, fruits, and plants, for Rirap Lhunpo is special – it is the abode of the gods and demi-gods. Around Rirap Lhunpo is a great lake, and encircling the lake a ring of golden mountains. Beyond the ring of golden mountains is another lake, it too encircled by mountains of gold, and so on, seven lakes, seven rings of golden mountains, and outside the last ring of mountains is the lake Chi Gyatso. It is in Chi Gyatso that the four worlds are found, each like an island, with its own particular shape and distinct inhabitants. The world of the East is Lu Phak and is shaped like the half moon. People of Lu Phak live for five hundred years and they are peaceful; there is no fighting in Lu Phak. The people have bodies like giants and faces shaped like the half moon. They are not as fortunate as us, however, for they have no religion to follow. The western world is called Balang Cho and is like the sun in shape. As in Lu Phak the people are large and live for five hundred years, but they have faces shaped like the sun and they keep many kinds of cattle. The land of the North is square in shape and is called Dra Mi Nyen. People of Dra Mi Nyen have square faces and they live for a thousand years or more. In Dra Mi Nyen food and riches are abundant. Everything a man needs in his thousand-year lifetime comes to him without effort or suffering – he lives in luxury, wanting for nothing. But during the last seven days of life pain and mental torture attack the beings of Dra Mi Nyen, for then they receive a sign that they are about to die. A voice comes and whispers to them – a terrible voice – saying how they will die and what monstrous suffering they will endure in the hells after death. In the last seven days of life all their riches and possessions decay and they endure more sufferings than we experience in a lifetime. Dra Mi Nyen is known as “The Land of the Fearful Voice.”
Our own world in the South is called Dzambu Ling. At first our world was inhabited by gods from Rirap Lhunpo. There was no pain or sickness, nor did the gods ever want for food. They lived in contentment, spending their days in deep meditaion. There was no need for light on Dzambu Ling then, for the gods emitted a pure light from their own bodies. One day one of the gods noticed that on the surface of the earth there was a cream-like substance, and tasting it he found it to be delightful to the palate and encouraged other gods to taste it. All the gods so enjoyed eating the creamy food that they would eat nothing else, and the more they ate the more their powers diminished. No longer were they able to sit in deep meditation; the light that once shown so brightly from their bodies began to fade, and finally was lost altogether. The world was clothed in darkness, and the mighty gods of Rirap Lhunpo became human beings. Then, out of the darkness of night there appeared in the heavens the sun, and when the sun faded the moon and stars lit up the sky and illumined the world. The sun, moon, and stars appeared because of the past good deeds of the gods, and are a constant reminder to us that our world was once a peaceful, beautiful place, free from grasping, suffering, and pain. When the people of Dzambu Ling had exhausted the supply of creamy food, they began to eat the fruit of the nyugu plant. Each person had his own plant, which produced a corn-like fruit, and each day, as one fruit was eaten, another would appear, one a day, which was enough to satisfy the hunger of of the beings of Dzambu Ling. One morning a man awoke to find that instead of producing only a single fruit his plant had grown two. Feeling greedy, he ate the two fruits, but the next day his plant was empty. Needing to satisfy his hunger, the man stole someone elses plant, and so it went on and on, each person needing to steal from another in order to eat. With theft came greed, and each person, afraid of being left without, began to grow more and more nyugu plants, having to work harder and harder to ensure that he would have enough to eat. Strange things began to happen on Dzambu Ling. What used to be the peaceful abode of the gods from Rirap Lhunpo was now full of men who knew theft and greed. One day, a man felt that his genitals were causing him discomfort and tore them from his body, becoming a woman. This woman had contact with men and soon had children, who in turn had more children, and in a short time Dzambu Ling was filled with people, all of whom had to find food and places to live. The people of Dzambu Ling did not live in peace together. There was much fighting and stealing; indeed, the people of our world began to experience real suffering arising from the unsatisfactory state in which they found themselves. The people knew that in order to survive they would have to become organized. They all gathered together and decided to elect a leader of the people, whom they called Mang Kur, meaning “many people made him king.” Mang Kur taught the people how to live in relative harmony, each with his own land on which to build a home and grow food.
This is how our world came to be, how from gods we became human beings, subject to disease, old age, and death. When we look into the night sky, or bask in the warm brilliance of the sun, we should remember that, but for the good deeds of the gods from the precious mountain of Rirap Lhunpo, we would be living in total darkness, and but for the greed and desire of one person our world would not know the suffering it experiences today.
Wherever he shall be,
There, in compassion
Will the Buddha appear,