Guru Yoga: the heart of Vajrayana?

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Guru Yoga: the heart of Vajrayana?

Postby Luke » Sat Dec 04, 2010 10:58 pm

Would it be correct to say that Guru Yoga is the heart of Vajrayana? If not, then what would you say is the "heart" of Vajrayana?

Is it true that a student (who is very kind and is motivated by relative bodhichitta) would not get good results from practicing advanced meditations like Dzogchen, Mahamudra, or Tummo if he/she was not practicing Guru Yoga as well?
If not, why not?
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Re: Guru Yoga: the heart of Vajrayana?

Postby ronnewmexico » Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:06 pm

I am just a uneducated layperson with but a personal view..

it is that to get beyond the self which is a required circumstance of attaination, in any advanced form of Buddhism described, a guru and as described guru yoga must firstly be endeavored.

All else all then invariably becomes but without this componant, a exercise in self enhancement, which is a great danger and spiritual pitfall.

So it is firstly necessary.

This is the greatest danger to american buddhists to my personal opinion. Some want love affairs with gurus, and do not understand the concept of spiritual teacher perhaps, being taught just nonsense for all their livesm nothing of value, but that is solely conjecture.
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Re: Guru Yoga: the heart of Vajrayana?

Postby heart » Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:41 pm

Luke wrote:Would it be correct to say that Guru Yoga is the heart of Vajrayana? If not, then what would you say is the "heart" of Vajrayana?

Is it true that a student (who is very kind and is motivated by relative bodhichitta) would not get good results from practicing advanced meditations like Dzogchen, Mahamudra, or Tummo if he/she was not practicing Guru Yoga as well?
If not, why not?


If you practice Dzogchen or Mahamudra then Guru yoga is the heart. However, Guru yoga have many forms and it is mainly an attitude to live by and not a particular practice. In order to practice Mahamudra or Dzogchen you do have to have some very essential instructions from a qualified master. Once you gained some experience in these instructions, Guru yoga arises by itself. The main point in Vajrayana is to find the Guru and it is not, contrary to what many people believe, an easy thing.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
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Re: Guru Yoga: the heart of Vajrayana?

Postby spiritnoname » Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:35 am

I wouldn't say the heart of it, because it's not like that. See the guru, the yidams, the triple gem, the vows, they're all the same thing. The guru is the first one you meet, he gives you the refuge in the triple gem, the vows, the yidams, so in that sense he's first and foremost, but you could say any particular aspect is foremost because they all are interdependent.

Yidams rely on our dedication to qualities (vows), our guru who gives the vows, instruction, and confidence in the yidam, the triple gem that the yidams and guru embody. The guru relationship relies on the vows you hold, your being sincere in refuge in the triple gem which makes you a sincere student. The vows you take rely on the guru to give them to you and for you to have confidence, they rely on your refuge in the triple gem for sincerity. Your refuge in the triple gem relies on your effort in pursuing the training, vows, guru, yidams, whatever it takes for liberation.

So you see there is this sort of knot of related things for a tantrika, so to say 1 of them is the heart is hard to do and some, like the passed down yidam and the guru, we talk about like separate things, but no, they are the same.
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Re: Guru Yoga: the heart of Vajrayana?

Postby Luke » Sun Dec 05, 2010 4:34 pm

Hi Spirit,

That was a deep, cool answer. I still have to get my head around all the interdependence stuff in Buddhism.

spiritnoname wrote:So you see there is this sort of knot of related things for a tantrika, so to say 1 of them is the heart is hard to do and some, like the passed down yidam and the guru, we talk about like separate things, but no, they are the same.

Is the guru really the same as the yidam? From stories of ancient Buddhist masters, I got the impression that the guru was superior to the yidam. For example, there is a story in which Marpa is with Naropa and Marpa sees Hevajra in the sky. Marpa prostrates to Hevajra instead of Naropa (who made the display possible), and this was considered a bad and incorrect action on Marpa's part. He should have prostrated to Naropa (his guru) instead.
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Re: Guru Yoga: the heart of Vajrayana?

Postby kirtu » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:05 pm

Luke wrote: I still have to get my head around all the interdependence stuff in Buddhism.


The relationship between guru and student is deeply interdependent.

Is the guru really the same as the yidam? From stories of ancient Buddhist masters, I got the impression that the guru was superior to the yidam. For example, there is a story in which Marpa is with Naropa and Marpa sees Hevajra in the sky. Marpa prostrates to Hevajra instead of Naropa (who made the display possible), and this was considered a bad and incorrect action on Marpa's part. He should have prostrated to Naropa (his guru) instead.


Spirit's response leaves a lot to be desired.

Here is Lama Zopa on Guru Yoga. Guru Yoga is not the same exactly as Guru devotion and the necessity of having a guru in the Vajrayana but it is a start. The guru relationship is the most important one in the Vajrayana. Guru Yoga is the heart of realization. The Guru is the heart of the Vajrayana path.

Before the guru there is not even the mention of the Buddha to say nothing of the methods such as yidams.

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Re: Guru Yoga: the heart of Vajrayana?

Postby Mr. G » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:33 pm

Here's a short snippet from an interview with H.H. Sakya Trizin:

D.R. - How can we best ensure the continuing purity and strength of the vajrayana teachings?
H.H. - In the vajrayana, guru yoga is emphasized a great deal. Through the guru one can purify all one’s negative deeds by visualizing the guru in the form of Vajrasattva. For your dharma practice to be stable, you require good merit. If you have good karma, your wish to practise dharma becomes very great, and through this your practice itself becomes strong. I think it is very important to emphasise guru yoga.

http://www.dechen.org/resources/html/In ... rizin.html

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Re: Guru Yoga: the heart of Vajrayana?

Postby Blue Garuda » Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:07 pm

In Gelugpa Vajrayana we take Refuge in 'Guru, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha'. This in itself indicates the huge importance of the Guru.

The Migtsema Prayer also clairifies the representation of Buddhas by the Guru, in this case Je Tsongkhapa - as a representation of Shakyamuni, Vajradhara, Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri and Vajrapani.

Of course, when vows and samaya are also involved, the relationship between Guru and disciple becomes embedded as a core element of all practice.
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Re: Guru Yoga: the heart of Vajrayana?

Postby Luke » Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:47 pm

mr. gordo wrote:Here's a short snippet from an interview with H.H. Sakya Trizin:

D.R. - How can we best ensure the continuing purity and strength of the vajrayana teachings?
H.H. - In the vajrayana, guru yoga is emphasized a great deal. Through the guru one can purify all one’s negative deeds by visualizing the guru in the form of Vajrasattva. For your dharma practice to be stable, you require good merit. If you have good karma, your wish to practise dharma becomes very great, and through this your practice itself becomes strong. I think it is very important to emphasise guru yoga.

http://www.dechen.org/resources/html/In ... rizin.html

Yay, His Holiness Sakya Trizin! :twothumbsup:

That website looks like a great resource. I bookmarked it and will read more articles there later.

Thanks for the link.
:anjali:

Yeshe wrote:In Gelugpa Vajrayana we take Refuge in 'Guru, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha'. This in itself indicates the huge importance of the Guru.

My Kagyu lama taught me to take Refuge the same way, but to say "Lama" instead of "Guru" (same thing).
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Re: Guru Yoga: the heart of Vajrayana?

Postby narraboth » Mon Dec 06, 2010 2:26 pm

I think the heart of Vajrayana is pure vision.
Remember Vajrayana includes kriya etc. They all emphasize the importance of respecting guru, but not all of them have guruyoga.

And the heart of Mahayana is bodhicitta. Vajrayana is also Mahayana, so bodhicitta is also the heart of Vajrayana.

the heart of hinayana (probably not the best term but I fotgot how to spell the other term) is the mind of.... giving up worldly things (how you call it in English?) Since it's the basic, so it's the heart of all buddhism.

That's also what I heard from Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche.
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Re: Guru Yoga: the heart of Vajrayana?

Postby conebeckham » Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:02 pm

Renunciation, Narraboth...that's the word you're looking for.
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Re: Guru Yoga: the heart of Vajrayana?

Postby conebeckham » Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:11 pm

I don't think it's wrong to say that Guru Yoga is the Heart of Vajrayana....

But I'd say it's more precisely the "heart practice" -- i.e., in the Vajrayana we take refuge in the 3 Jewels and 3 Roots...but with the understanding that all of these are condensed into the Guru. It is said that meditation on the Guru brings swifter and more profound benefit than other focuses of meditation. And, in essence, the other focii can and should be seen as the Guru anyway.

I like Narraboth's idea about "Pure Vision" as the heart of Vajrayana...if renunciation is the heart of the So-Called Smaller Vehicle, and bodhicitta is the heart of so-called Big Vehicle, then Pure Vision or Pure View strikes me as an appropriate term for the "heart" of the Vajra Vehicle. As Vajrayana includes all vehicles, renunciation and bodhicitta are vital. But Pure Vision is really a distinguishing characteristic of Vajrayana.....but isn't Pure Vision quite related to Guru Yoga anyway?
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Re: Guru Yoga: the heart of Vajrayana?

Postby Individual » Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:12 pm

heart wrote:
Luke wrote:Would it be correct to say that Guru Yoga is the heart of Vajrayana? If not, then what would you say is the "heart" of Vajrayana?

Is it true that a student (who is very kind and is motivated by relative bodhichitta) would not get good results from practicing advanced meditations like Dzogchen, Mahamudra, or Tummo if he/she was not practicing Guru Yoga as well?
If not, why not?


If you practice Dzogchen or Mahamudra then Guru yoga is the heart. However, Guru yoga have many forms and it is mainly an attitude to live by and not a particular practice. In order to practice Mahamudra or Dzogchen you do have to have some very essential instructions from a qualified master. Once you gained some experience in these instructions, Guru yoga arises by itself. The main point in Vajrayana is to find the Guru and it is not, contrary to what many people believe, an easy thing.

/magnus

Because he's probably off in a forest, cave, or secluded temple somewhere

All the easily available ones just want your time, attention, and money
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Re: Guru Yoga: the heart of Vajrayana?

Postby conebeckham » Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:21 pm

Because he's probably off in a forest, cave, or secluded temple somewhere

All the easily available ones just want your time, attention, and money


And you know this how?
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Re: Guru Yoga: the heart of Vajrayana?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:31 pm

Individual wrote:Because he's probably off in a forest, cave, or secluded temple somewhere

All the easily available ones just want your time, attention, and money


:crazy: :jawdrop: Huh?!
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Re: Guru Yoga: the heart of Vajrayana?

Postby kirtu » Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:06 pm

Individual wrote:All the easily available ones just want your time, attention, and money

:cry: :shock: :(


My gurus have poured out their lives for their students. All the legitimate gurus do this.

Four of them died doing so (and a fifth who I never personally met but who was very significant to me died during a teaching retreat as did one of the aforementioned).

The gurus give their lives for the Dharma and the realization and welfare of their students and all beings. The have no other reason for existence.

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Re: Guru Yoga: the heart of Vajrayana?

Postby Individual » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:29 pm

conebeckham wrote:
Because he's probably off in a forest, cave, or secluded temple somewhere

All the easily available ones just want your time, attention, and money


And you know this how?

I don't know it. It's just a guess because no easily accessible Buddhist teacher who calls themselves a "guru" has ever impressed me, therefore logically I must conclude that, if there is some kind of amazing guru, he must be in the woods somewhere, meditating cynically because of his omnipotence.
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Re: Guru Yoga: the heart of Vajrayana?

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:38 pm

Individual wrote:
conebeckham wrote:
Because he's probably off in a forest, cave, or secluded temple somewhere

All the easily available ones just want your time, attention, and money


And you know this how?

I don't know it. It's just a guess because no easily accessible Buddhist teacher who calls themselves a "guru" has ever impressed me, therefore logically I must conclude that, if there is some kind of amazing guru, he must be in the woods somewhere, meditating cynically because of his omnipotence.



Not so. Logically you can only conclude that you do not know of one, not that one does not exist.

To extrapolate universally from a sample of 1 person, yourself, would seem a little illogical. ;)

I know of a couple of reasonably accessible gurus, both Lharampa Geshes, who give their time and attention to me and ask for no money. They talk of their gurus but do not use that word of themselves - perhaps a convention of those with humility. :)
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Re: Guru Yoga: the heart of Vajrayana?

Postby Individual » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:51 pm

Yeshe wrote:Not so. Logically you can only conclude that you do not know of one, not that one does not exist.

To extrapolate universally from a sample of 1 person, yourself, would seem a little illogical. ;)

I know of a couple of reasonably accessible gurus, both Lharampa Geshes, who give their time and attention to me and ask for no money. They talk of their gurus but do not use that word of themselves - perhaps a convention of those with humility. :)

I can't argue with or against logic -- whether good or bad -- because you can always simply slice it up with skeptical doubt or re-combine it with reflection on the emptiness\interdependence of things. Either way, it's just a creative expression.

However, you make a good point. I was a bit unclear. There are some people who are called gurus and are nice people, helping others, not concerned with their own gain... However, among these people, how many of these people are completely endowed with virtue, not merely to the point of being "nice human beings," but to an extent that they resemble godhood and spontaneously inspire enlightenment in others?
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Re: Guru Yoga: the heart of Vajrayana?

Postby conebeckham » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:54 pm

I don't know it. It's just a guess because no easily accessible Buddhist teacher who calls themselves a "guru" has ever impressed me, therefore logically I must conclude that, if there is some kind of amazing guru, he must be in the woods somewhere, meditating cynically because of his omnipotence.


Well, I've met a few who have impressed me, to say the least.
Perhaps you just haven't, yet.....could you provide us with a list? :smile:

As Yeshe has pointed out, your conclusion is not "logical." Forgetting that factor for a moment, perhaps you might consider your own cynicism and how that might play into your conclusion? You might also question why you would make such a comment in the first place, in the Tibetan Buddhist forum?
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