Kankaripa was a commoner that was drowned in sexual bliss. He became a sensualist, swearing that this world alone could fulfill all his desires. However, when his beloved wife passed away, he was unable to comprehend this total loss that he refused to surrender the corpse in his arms to the flames in the cremation ground.
A yogin passed by and advised the widower, “All life ends in death, just as every meeting ends in parting. All compounds disintegrate. Clasping that corpse is no different from clasping a lump of clay. Everyone in this samsaric would suffers. Suffering is the nature of existence. Instead of bewailing your fate, why don’t you practice the dharma and rise above pain?” Unable to think clearly, Kankaripa asked the yogin for help; in reply he said “The guru’s instruction is the path to enlightenment.” Kankaripa then requested for the teaching and so the yogin initiated Kankaripa and empowered him in the percepts of the insubstantial seed essence that has neither center nor circumference. The widower was instructed to meditate upon his wife as a dakini, the emptiness, the indivisible pleasure that has no substance or self.
For 6 years, Kankaripa was in deep contemplation and attained the state of mahamudra-siddhi. During the years before he ascended to the Paradise of the Dakinis, he opened many hearts and minds to the word of the Buddha