Milking the Painted Cow
Dharma College

Milking the Painted Cow

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A deeply rewarding guide to the subtleties of Buddhist thought and practice. 

The story is told that Candrakirti, a famed Mahayana master, once fed the monks of his monastery in a time of famine by milking the painting of a cow.  Accepting the story as true, we ask: how could he have worked such a miracle?  One answer, consistent with the understanding employed by illusion mind, might be that he had mastered the power of alchemy and could turn molecules of air into molecules of milk.  But an answer more true to sunyata is that Candrakirti had mastered the power of mind--the power of sunyata--to shape reality into any form.  When the mid-imposed structure that presents 'milk' and 'painting', 'monks' and 'famine', and ultimately 'Candrakirti' himself, has never been established, there is absolutely no need for transformation. 

Tarthang Tulku is a visionary Tibetan lama, born in Tibet and trained by the greatest teachers of his time.  He has lived in the West for more than thirty years, learning how Westerners think and act and experimenting with ways to transmit the Buddha's teachings in a new world.  Here he shows how to investigate "illusion mind" without relying on the formal systems of Buddhist philosophy. 

Rooted both in tradition and the Western world view, Milking the Painted Cow emphasizes orderly study grounded in direct experience.  Tarthang Tulku explains why he has chosen to train his own students through work as a vehicle for transformation, and suggests specific practices that can make every moment an opportunity for insight and growth.

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