The Cloud of Nectar is Oriol Aguilar's annotated translation of
the biography of Nyagla Pema Ddul, a 19th century master, terton, and
well-known exponent of the practice and realization of Total Perfection
(Dzogchen) written by Yeshe Dorje.
Born in the rugged eastern Tibetan region of Khams, despite an
auspicious birth accompanied by miraculous signs and prognostications,
like the great 11th century mystic Milarepa, as a fatherless youth Padma
Dudul suffered great personal loss, severe deprivation, and repeated
violence. A social outcast, his early attempts to obtain spiritual
instruction were cruelly thwarted. Time and again, after a vicious
beating as he struggled to avoid the starvation that claimed his
brothers life, propelled by empathy even toward his attackers, he would
renew his quest for bodily and spiritual sustenance.
Increasingly recognized for his spiritual attainments, he sought and
exchanged teachings with some of the regions leading figures of
Buddhist and Bn learning and practice. Generously sharing his spiritual
treasure, he gathered a large number of followers and founded Kalzang
monastery, which survives to this day.
But despite his fame and spiritual influence, Pema Ddul never held a
position in any religious hierarchy, choosing instead the austere yet
joyous lifestyle of a wandering yogi and remaining in solitary
meditation retreat for extended periods until, upon his passing, he
attained the Rainbow Body.
In this important scholarly work, through his substantial Introduction
Oriol Aguilar precisely places his subject in that fertile time and
place in which both the struggle to preserve traditional learning and
practice and exceptional spiritual creativity flourished against a
backdrop of social and political unrest. Although the biography is
filled with descriptions of wondrous visions and dreamlike encounters,
its vividly frank presentation of the life of Pema Ddul conveys a sense
of proximity and relevance rarely found in works of this genre.