Eight Steps to Happiness: Bodhisattva Langri Tanga
Langri Tanga is the author of “Eight Verses of Training the Mind.” Learning about this Buddhist master and his good qualities helps us to develop faith in his instructions and the determination to put them into practice.
Bodhisattva Langri Tanga was a disciple of Geshe Potowa, who was one of the principal disciples of the Indian Buddhist Master Atisha, the founder of Kadampa Buddhism in Tibet. Langri Tangpa was widely respected throughout Tibet and recognized as an emanation of Buddha Amitabha. He was a very humble person and lived in poverty with willing acceptance. One of his main practices was accepting defeat and offering the victory to others - happily accepting whatever difficulties and adverse conditions he encountered, and offering his happiness and good conditions to others.
Langri Tangpa always wore a stern expression, so much so that people gave him the nickname ‘Grim Face.’ He explained to his assistant that he never smiled because he couldn’t find anything in samsara to smile about because there was so much suffering he felt like crying. This was not because he was unhappy, but because he had so much compassion for others who were suffering and he understood that confusing worldly pleasure with real happiness binds us more strongly to samsara. His compassion and other spiritual realizations protected him from feeling depressed and actually caused him to feel great joy; he just didn’t show it. His stern manner challenged people to confront their actual samsaric situation and to enter into spiritual paths.
Langri Tangpa’s main practices were exchanging self with others, accepting defeat and offering the victory, and bodhichitta. He taught these practices to others and led many thousands of disciples to enlightenment.