It has frequently been said one’s name can function either as a label which influences how others see us, or as a kind of goal or motivation to help us strive for full enlightenment. Sometimes just thinking about the name can be beneficial to one’s Buddhist practice in how our mind can transform from the ordinary to the perfected state.
Master Drukpa Kunley:
One of the great religious teachers and holy men, Drukpa Kunley, is known all over Bhutan as ‘The Divine Madman’. He was a one-of-a-kind eccentric and Buddhist master. Drukpa Kunley was born in Tibet in 1455.
There are many legends associated to him that talk of various miracles and his outlandish behavior. He is believed to have been an extremely precocious child who could remember all of his previous incarnations vividly.
Drukpa Kunley also founded a monastery near the town of Punakha, dedicated to fertility.
Drukpa Kunlek was a practical joker; it was one way he worked to benefit beings. One day, a nun asked him why he was always so happy, laughing and full of fun no matter what. He replied that for him, all suffering had disappeared.
Then the nun said, “I have just taken my vows and wonder whether you would grant me a new name.”
“Did you have any particular kind of name in mind?” asked the Drukpa Rinpoche.
“Oh, a beautiful name, of course!”
“OK, what about ‘White-yellow-red-green Tara’?
“Well, said the surprised nun, I don’t think that name really suits me. I think I would like a sweeter sort of name.”
“OK. How about, Sugar-honey-molasses Tara?”
“Maybe something a bit more forceful . . . ?”
“I’ve got it — Tiger-leopard-poisonous-snake Tara !”
“Something a little grander, maybe?” the nun requested.
“I understand what you’re after now. OK, Sky-space Tara.”
“Maybe something that is more in tune with who I really am now . . . ? ”
. . . “I guess just Tara-who-has-the-vows is fine,” she said thoughtfully, and thanked the skillful teacher.