The Guru

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The Guru

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:56 pm

The actual method of cultivating the correct attitudes towards the spiritual master is to practice contemplative meditation upon the guru's good qualities and the beneficial effects that he or she introduces into one's life. By reflecting again and again on the great kindness the guru performs, a confidence suitable for spiritual training under him or her is born. This process of reflecting on the role of the guru is important in the beginning as well as in the higher practices, for as we sit in contemplation we become faced with a stream of reactions, which if understood at an early stage can clear the mind of much doubt, confusion and superstition.

The spiritual master is the source of all spiritual progress. In this context, Geshe Potowa once said, "If even those who want to learn a common worldly trade must study under a qualified teacher, how much more so must we who seek enlightenment? Most of us have come from the lower realms and have no background or experience in the paths and stages to enlightenment; and, if we wish to gain this experience, why should we not study with someone qualified to teach us the methods that develop it?"

In the beginning of his Great Exposition, Lama Tsongkhapa writes, "The root of spiritual development is to cultivate an effective relationship with a master." This means that we must cultivate the correct attitudes and then demonstrate them correctly in action. This is the root that, if made strong, supports the trunk, branches, leaves and flowers of practice. When the roots of a tree are strong, the entire tree becomes strong, whereas when the roots are weak, the entire tree will remain weak.

...We should engender respect such that we see the guru as a Buddha. If we can do this, then we experience the guru as we would a Buddha and consequently are sufficiently inspired to practice what he or she teaches. The instruction to see the guru as a Buddha is not unreasonable, for in many ways the spiritual master is Buddha himself.

--from The Path to Enlightenment
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Re: The Guru

Postby sukhamanveti » Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:49 pm

Great post, ND!


"One who abides in the lineage of the Mahayana
Has relied on an excellent teacher."
Atisha, Hrdaya-niksepa-nama


Trying to do it all on your own without any guidance from an expert is like trying to teach yourself heart surgery.


I should mention that His Holiness gives three pages of excellent advice in Healing Anger about investigating a potential guru and when it is necessary to disagree with the guru. (In my copy it's on pp. 83-85.) He gives similar advice in a transcript of a Q&A session at the Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center about reliance on the lama. He briefly discusses qualifications of a tantric master in The World of Tibetan Buddhism. His Holiness often teaches that caution is crucial when seeking a guru and that, until you know the teacher well, treat him/her as a spiritual friend. (I'm sure you know all of this, but I think it is worth repeating for visitors and those curious about Tibetan Buddhism.)
namo bhagavate śākyamunaye tathāgatāyārhate samyaksaṁbuddhāya | namaḥ sarvabuddhabodhisattvebhyaḥ ||

"Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas love all beings in the world equally, as if each were their only child..." Buddhāvataṃsakamahāvaipulya Sūtra
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Re: The Guru

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:03 pm

sukhamanveti wrote:I should mention that His Holiness gives three pages of excellent advice in Healing Anger about investigating a potential guru and when it is necessary to disagree with the guru. (In my copy it's on pp. 83-85.) He gives similar advice in a transcript of a Q&A session at the Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center about reliance on the lama. He briefly discusses qualifications of a tantric master in The World of Tibetan Buddhism. His Holiness often teaches that caution is crucial when seeking a guru and that, until you know the teacher well, treat him/her as a spiritual friend. (I'm sure you know all of this, but I think it is worth repeating for visitors and those curious about Tibetan Buddhism.)
Why don't you scan and post those pages for us? Pretty please???
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: The Guru

Postby plwk » Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:02 pm

I was looking at Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche the other day...
http://www.enlightennext.org/magazine/j31/dzongsar.asp
The reason why the guru is the most effective is because the guru is someone you are supposed to look at as being superior to a human being.
But he is also someone you can relate to. A guru is someone who eats pizza, who likes the same pizza that you like.
And that's quite important because at the same time that he is someone you can relate to, he is the one you have consciously or unconsciously hired to destroy yourself!

You give up everything and then hire him to destroy your ego. And you pay him body, speech, and mind to do that.

You may not realize that's what you're doing, but that's the idea—to dismantle everything: your identity, everything. And it's not like dismantling one big habit. It changes. Let's say today I would like to be stroked. Then a teacher should not stroke me.
Or maybe today I would like to be beaten. Then maybe I should be stroked. So that's why this is actually beyond abuse and not abuse.
If somebody bites you or beats you and handcuffs you, that's a kind of abuse, isn't it? But what I'm talking about is ultimate abuse.
At the same time, abuse phenomena only exist if you are still clinging to transitory phenomena as permanent and real.
If you don't, there is nothing to be abused. But that's difficult, really difficult.

But the kind of student we're talking about doesn't exist. And that kind of teacher doesn't exist, either. Teachers don't have that kind of courage. I don't have it. I may be a teacher, but I don't have that kind of courage because I love my reputation. Who wants to be referred to as an abuser?
I don't. I am a sycophant. I try to go along with what people think.
If people think a teacher should shave his head, wear something maroon, walk gently, eat only vegetarian food, be so-called serene, then I'm very tempted to do that. Rajneesh had the guts to have ninety-three Rolls Royces. I call it guts. One Rolls Royce is one thing. Even two or three—but ninety-three is guts!
And I don't have the guts, the confidence. I like Rajneesh very much. I like him much better than Krishnamurti.
Many of his words are quite good, and I can see why the Westerners would like him.

I think on both continents I have mastered the art of pretense. I go to Bhutan and I know what to do for them, to do what is most harmonious.
Because if I act or say things in Bhutan or in Tibet that I say in the West, I'll be in trouble.
Now that is what I was referring to before. I do this because I don't want to lose disciples; I don't want to be criticized.
Of course, I can justify those actions by saying, “Oh, it's coming from a good motivation, because I don't want to jeopardize the spiritual path of hundreds of people.”

Yes, exactly. But in both cultures there is one thing that is similar—it's this culprit: expectation. In Eastern cultures, like in Bhutan, there may be blind devotion, but they all have an expectation. In the Western culture, they may be skeptical and secular, but there's also expectation. And that expectation, while it may manifest differently, fundamentally has only one nature and that is that everybody wants to be happy. And that is where things go wrong.

To be a Buddhist and to be practicing dharma have nothing to do with being happy.
If you're practicing the dharma to be happy, then it's like you're doing the opposite, just the opposite.
Enlightenment has nothing to do with happiness or unhappiness. And both cultures come to me to be happy.
That really is the source of all the misunderstanding.

Then there's the Zen story...'The Blockhead Official'
Japanese Zen Masters Gudo and Daigu were invited to visit a high official who was keen to learn Zen.
A conversation between the two Masters ensues in the presence of the high official
Master Gudo: 'You are wise by nature and have an inborn ability to learn Zen'
Master Daigo: 'Nonsense! This blockhead official may have a high position but he knows nothing about Zen'
High Official: 'After hearing the esteemed views of you two, I know what to do.'
Eventually, instead of buiding a temple for Gudo, the high official built it for Daigu and studied Zen with him

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Re: The Guru

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:12 pm

:good:
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Re: The Guru

Postby ground » Sat Feb 19, 2011 7:12 am

Om svasti. I bow down and go for refuge to the feet of the holy teachers [lamas] who have great compassion.
...
Without my having to do any such difficult deeds, these kind fundamental teachers [lamas], like a father teaching a child, liberally teach me deep precepts, the Great Vehicle doctrines, complete and without mistake. If I can meditate on their teaching, it can easily give me the states of high status and even liberation from cyclic existence as well as omniscience. There is no way to return such kindness.
...
According to the teachers' teaching, I must practice the meaning of all scriptures, together with their commentaries, included in the three principal aspects of the path.
...
I bow down to the holy teachers [lamas]. [Intro of Lama Tsongkhapa to "The Three Principle Aspects of the Path"]

Lo-sang-bel-den-den-bay-nyima (4th Panchen Lama)


Kind regards
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Re: The Guru

Postby ground » Sat Feb 19, 2011 7:22 am

"The Conqueror Shakyamuni Buddha is sitting in the heart of the Foremost Teacher. The Conqueror Vajradhara is sitting in the heart of Shakyamuni Buddha."


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