With supreme appreciation and deep respect for Padmasambhava – wisdom manifestation of all Buddhas and union of the Buddha families – I shall relate the history of tobacco. Approximately a hundred years after Buddha Shakyamuni’s parinirvana, a Chinese demon, maddened with obsession, spoke these dying words: “Through my body I wish to lead the beings of this earth to lower realms. Bury my body intact and eventually a plant, different from all others, will grow out of my remains. Merely by smelling it, people will experience pleasure in body and mind, far more joyful than the union of male and female. It will spread far and wide until most of the beings on this earth will enjoy it.”
At present the actual fruition of this wish is clearly evident. Opium and other related intoxicants taken by mouth or nose, neither help quench thirst nor satisfy hunger. They do not possess a taste which is delicious, and they are bereft of anything which promotes health or which strengthens one’s life force. These substances serve to increase nervousness and blood pressure. They also cause cancer and pulmonary disease. At this time, many people, from all levels of society, develop irresistible attraction for these substances and proceed to consume them without control – and thus demonic intentionality has borne fruit.
In the gTérma of Chögyal Ratna Lingpa it is stated: ‘Padmasambhava bound the Nine Demonic Brothers under oath, but they were breakers of samaya, and the youngest of them found a way to undermine their commitment to protect beings. He told his kindred: “Brothers, do not despair, listen to me. I shall manifest myself in the country of China as tobacco; the name of this toxin will be ‘the black poison’. It will grow in the border lands, from whence it will spread to Tibet. The people of Tibet will consume this enjoyable substance. By the strength of this, the five neurotic poisons will increase. Rejecting the ten positive actions, people will practise the ten negative ones. The lives of the lineage holders will become precarious, and they will depart for the Buddha Fields. The smoke of this poison, penetrating the earth, will annihilate hundreds of thousands of cities of the kLu. Rain will not fall, harvest and livestock will not thrive, there will be civil unrest, plagues, and calamities. The poison’s smoke rising into the sky will destroy celestial dimensions; untimely eclipses and comets will appear. The essential fluids and veins of those who smoke will dehydrate. It causes the four hundred and four diseases to arise. Whoever smokes will be reborn in the lower realms. If one smokes and others inhale the odour, it will be as if one were ripping out the hearts of six million beings.’
According to the gTérma of Sang-gyé Lingpa:
‘In this decadent age people will indulge in unwholesome behaviour. In particular, rather than eating nourishing food, people will consume the substances which are poisonous and evil-smelling. Interrupting what they are doing, they will consume the poison. They will need to spit, their noses will run, their health and complexion will fade.’
The gTérma of Rig’dzin Go’dem predicts: ‘In the ultimate decadent age people will absorb poisonous vomit, food of dri za’i. Merely smelling it, one will go to the Mar-med Myal-wa. For this reason give it up right now.’
From the predictions discovered by Düd’dül Dorje: ‘Practitioners will enjoy inhaling the smoke of these plants and sniffing their powder and the country will be invaded by samaya-breakers. They will be deceived by illusion and experience the arising of obsessive characteristics. As a sign of the exhaustion of merit they will have causes for tears which will flow uncontrollably.’
The gTérmas of Longsel reveal: ‘The time when people smoke these vile substances is also the time when close friends will poison each other’s minds.’
The gTérmas of Thugchog Dorje specify: ‘Because of the five neurotic poisons, the obsessions, animosities, strife, arguments, and miseries of beings will blaze like an inferno. As the ten good qualities are discarded, negativity will rage like a storm. Wholesome behaviour will be neglected, while perverse practices will be promulgated. In this degenerate age the Protectors will vanish as demonic beings assume power. People will inhale tobacco smoke, and the spatial-veins of discriminative wisdom will become blocked, whilst agitation and distorted emotions become intensified. The central channel will be obstructed and the clarity of awareness will die. Exhaustion of energy will cause agitation around the world. Religious artifacts, the objects of veneration, will deteriorate; perverted ideologies and false religions will spread. The Protectors will turn aside and look only towards Mount Méru. Foreigners will invade Tibet, and Tibetans will be forced to stray in the border lands. Doctrines of Illusion will spread and the world will become a dimension of hell.’
The gTérma of Dro’dül Lingpa predicted: ‘By merely smelling the odour of these herbs, grasses and leaves will spring from demonic blood, one will find oneself in Vajra Hell.’
A prediction of Ma-gÇig Labdrön states: ‘In the final period of disputation a substance will appear which one ingests orally, and it will aggravate all five neuroses. It will originate in China, extend to Mongolia and Tibet. Wherever it travels it will be consumed, and wherever it is consumed – rainfall will become irregular, accompanied by severe frost and hail. If practitioners consume this substance, even were they to practise for a hundred æons – they will not realise their yidams. In future lives, they will wander incessantly in the three lower realms, where even the compassion of the Buddhas will have no power to help them.’
There are innumerable other predictions concerning tobacco – the use of which has been particularly forbidden by accomplished masters of both Sarma and Nyingma traditions. The vajra words of Padmasambhava were not given to deceive practitioners, so do not entertain doubts as to: ‘how can so many problems arise from smoking a natural plant?’ Aconite is also a plant, yet eating a small quantity of it can be lethal. If this should be the case with a plant, at the physical level, why could not the fruit of the demonic intentionality cause spiritual death? Understanding this, the wise will render themselves a great kindness by renouncing tobacco and narcotics. In doing so, may the honourable and wise who avoid the path to the precipice have the good fortune of finding respite in the ecstatic garden of liberation.
This was written at the request of Golok Gé-rTa Jig’mèd, by Dorje Yeshé (Kyabjé Düd’jom Rinpoche)