Guru Yoga


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 our of control, has no choice but to fall all the way to the bottom.

The Commentary on the Dudjom Tersar Ngondro
The Preliminary Practice of the New Teasure of Dudjom
by Lama Tharchin Rinpoche

Photographer: unknown

In the service for public disclosure,
this post has been reprinted under the Fair Use Law.

Two levels of practice, four types of phowa

          The two levels of practice, the creation stage and the perfection stage, are actually a preparation for the moment of death. If you are an accomplished practitioner, when you die, you will recognize the Clear Light state of the first bardo.  This results in the attainment of dharmakaya buddhahood. If you miss this opportunity, then due to the dissolution of the constituents of your body, the deities begin to appear in the bardo. If you are accomplished in the creation stage practice, you will recognize the deities as they arise to be the very display of your own mind. You will then attain sambhogakaya buddhahood. For a practitioner who has not completed these two levels of practice, phowa is the third opportunity to be liberated in the bardo. The practice of phowa at the moment of death is the cause for a practitioner to be reborn into a pureland where there is the opportunity to complete the dharma path. If someone has not completed the two stages of the path, then phowa can carry them to liberation.

There are four different types of phowa. The first is the perfection stage practice. In this phowa, there is no need to wait for death to be liberated since you are already enlightened. The second phowa is the realization of the inseparability of the creation and perfection states. With this realization, you can be liberated in the bardo. The third phowa is the transference of consciousness into a pureland at the moment of death. With the phowa of the transference, three reference points are used. The first is the pureland of Amitabha called Dewachen, the second is our own consciousness as the traveler, and the third is the central channel as the path. Normally when you die, you exit through any of the nine doors leading to various types of rebirth into the lower realms. The exit through the central channel is the entrance into a pureland. Phowa seals the other doors which lead to rebirth in samsara. To accomplish the phowa practice, you must complete a seven-day retreat to receive the signs. Phowa is considered the quick path since even without the experience of meditation, you can still be liberated. In the phowa section of Ngondro Practice, visualize Amitabha above your head. Amitabha, red in color, is a dharmakaya buddha of the Lotus Family. Pray that when this life is finished, you will immediately be reborn in Dewachen, Amitabha’s pure realm. The fourth phowa is “the hook of compassion” to liberate others. When you have accomplished the phowa for yourself, you can help liberate others at their moment of death. …

The Commentary on the Dudjom Tersar Ngondro
The Preliminary Practice of the New Teasure of Dudjom
by Lama Tharchin Rinpoche

Photo source: Vajrayana Foundation Archive
Photographer: unknown

In the service for public disclosure,
this post has been reprinted under the Fair Use Law.

Part 2 General principles in making devotion and respect the path

img_7959

Now there are four branches to applying devotion on the path.

🔹The first of these is never to think of anything as a fault in the teacher. If you see apparent faults in the teacher, you will be like Sangye Yeshe. Seeing Mañjushri as a lay practitioner with a wife and children, his faith wavered, 158 and this acted as an obstacle to his attaining the supreme accomplishment. It is your own impure mind that is responsible. How could there be a single fault in the Buddha? Let your teachers do what they are doing. Even if you see them doing such things as acting unchastelyg or telling lies, train in thinking that these must be the best methods for benefiting beings. By using such skillful methods, they are certain to be maturing and liberating numerous beings, and they are therefore a hundred times, a thousand times more to be marveled at than others who observe strict vows. From the very fact that they are not doing it artfully or hypocritically, there can be no doubt that their conduct is that of a sublime being. In particular, if they should happen to scold you, it is to exhaust your evil deeds from the past; if they give you a beating, it is to drive out negative forces and obstacle makers. Think how immensely kind they are being in treating you lovingly and not dishonestly, like fathers with their children. If they seem not to take any notice of you and to be displeased with you, realize that it is because of your impure actions and obscurations, and make every effort to purify your obscurations and to do anything that will please them by serving your teachers’ body, speech, and mind.

🔹The second branch is to recognize that whatever your teachers do is a virtue, for as the accomplished beings of the past have said, These precious, authentic teachers—All that they do is excellent; Whatever they do is a virtue. Even if they are murderers or butchers, Be content, it is perfect; They surely hold beings with compassion. Even if they appear to have loose sexual morals, Good qualities are increasing, good qualities arise: It is a sign that they are uniting skillful means and wisdom. In fooling others with their lies, They’re using a variety of gestures and means To guide all beings on the path to liberation. Even though they act as thieves, robbers, or gangsters, They are transforming others’ property to accumulate merit And reducing people’s poverty. In truth, when teachers like these Deliver a reprimand, it is a wrathful mantra: It is sure to dispel bad circumstances and obstacles. When they give a beating, it is a blessing: It gives rise to all accomplishments. Beings who have devotion, be glad!

🔹The third branch is to decide that you have to put an end to all your hopes and doubts. Do not be concerned that by meditating with devotion on your teachers you will please or displease them in this life, let alone entertain the hope that you will attain the supreme accomplishment. No matter whether or not they hold you with their compassion, no matter whether or not you attain accomplishment, there is nothing else for you to do than to have devotion.

🔹The fourth branch is to always remain flexible and agreeable in your attitude to your teachers. Even in ordinary life, how much do respectable people put up with being polite and honest with their superiors, and that is only for this life, for a matter of months and years. Your teachers are the sources of all happiness, excellence, and good qualities, major and minor, in this life, the next life, and all your lives until you reach enlightenment. Therefore, you should be constantly adaptable in your wish to do everything you can, physically, verbally, and mentally, to serve them, including praying for their long life and the blossoming of their activities, for any Dharma qualities you obtain are entirely due to their kindness.

Use these four branches to train in developing devotion. For beginners it is difficult to give rise to uncontrived devotion right from the start and you have to create the foundation by deliberately arousing devotion. Later, develop the flow of devotion, getting used to it. Finally, when you gain the confidence of uncontrived devotion, you can be certain that your stream of being will inevitably be matured and liberated.

Dudjom Rinpoche
A Torch Lighting the Way to Freedom
Translated by Padmakara Translation Group
published by Shambhala
Copyright © 2011

About photo:
Photographer: Unknown