Yuan Miao's maternal grandmother, Yeshe Tsuomo ("Ocean of Wisdom"), was born in 1890 in Tibet, the daughter of a rinpoche in the Nyngma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Her parents both died when she was young, and she was raised by a Han Chinese businessman who was a disciple of her father. A marriage to the son of the wealthy Gao family was eventually arranged, and Grandma was given the name Gao Jing.
Through Grandma's influence, her husband became interested in Vajryana Buddhism, and by 1949, the year the Communists overthrew the Nationalist forces in China, they were the center of spritual life in their community. In 1950, Miao's grandfather was branded a "ringleader of Buddhist reactionary forces," and put on trial. During Grandma's last visit with him, he told her, "One of our descendants ill become enlightened. You must take good care of this special one..."
From then on, Grandma hid her spiritual life, but many people continued to seek her guidance.
When Grandma's fourth child, a daughter, became pregnant, Grandma took special interest and remained in a state of bliss throughout the pregnancy. On the day Miao was born, the doctor was late, and so she was delivered into the loving hands of her grandmother. Over the years that followed, Grandma orally transmitted her linage to he granddaughter.
Grandma taught Yuan Miao to penetrate the mystery of life and death, how to sit in meditation, and how to practice the special Vajrayana mudras.
In 1989, at the age of 99, she passed into Nirvana. The day before her passing, she asked for her photograph to be taken.
© 2012 Susan Sattler