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Excerpted from The Way to Freedom by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Copyright © 1994 by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"The king himself went in search of enough gold to meet the expenses of inviting this master from India."

Dalai Lama, The Way to Freedom, Part 3

Realizing that India was the source of the practice of sutra and tantra, the king sent twenty intelligent students from Tibet to study in India with the idea that they would return and clarify the teachings for Tibetans. Many of them died on the way, but two returned and reported to the king that in India the practice of sutra and tantra was undertaken without any difficulties between them. They found the great master, Atisha, at the monastery of Vikramashila in Bengal. Atisha, these students felt, was the one who could help Tibet.

The king himself went in search of enough gold to meet the expenses of inviting this master from India, but he was captured by a king who was hostile to Buddhism. He was given the choice between his life and his search for the Dharma. When he refused to give up his search, he was imprisoned. His nephew tried to rescue him, but the king said, "You should not bother about me. Do not waste a single gold coin on my ransom. Use all the gold to invite Atisha from India." 

The nephew did not obey his uncle and eventually offered the king’s weight in gold as ransom. But the kidnapper refused it, saying the nephew had brought gold equal only to the weight of his uncle’s body, but not enough for his head. He refused to release the prisoner until he had brought more gold. The nephew then told his uncle what had happened. "If I wage a war to rescue you," the nephew explained, "there will be great bloodshed. So I will try to collect the gold for your head. Please pray that I will be successful."

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