We go for refuge in order to escape from the endless cycle of suffering within samsara. Totally powerless to shield ourselves from inescapable suffering, we need a protector. We are in great danger and ultimately unable to help ourselves. The danger is our own ignorance with its inevitable result of suffering. We take refuge in the recognition that wisdom mind is the only refuge that truly exists.
According to the Vajrayana view, Guru Yoga is the quintessential practice for attaining liberation. All Buddhas became enlightened by following their teacher’s precious instructions so the Guru is considered even more important than the Buddha because without the Guru, there is no way to achieve buddhahood. When the Guru’s instructions have penetrated the student’s heart, this is the same as finding a precious Wish-Fulfilling Jewel in your hand. Someone who has received the Guru’s mind transmission has no choice but to attain enlightenment, just as someone falling down a steep mountain totally out of control has no choice but to fall all the way to the bottom.
The 84 Mahasiddhas in India and Guru Rinpoche’s 25 main disciples in Tibet, the treasure finders, wisdom holders and accomplished enlightened sublime beings, all became enlightened through the mind transmission of their Gurus. This unbroken lineage has been passed from the primordial Buddha, Samantabhadra, to our own Root Lama who is the essence of all the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three times. All siddhis and blessings are carried and passed through this lineage. Because the path of Guru Yoga is so deeply profound, there is no doubt that if you practice it, you will become enlightened.