ZOOM wrote:You just have to do the minimum of training your guru requires & pay your membership fee and your guru will take care that you will be enlightened after death?
Actually, in Vajrayāna in general, after receiving empowerment, as long was one scrupulously maintains samaya, liberation is guaranteed in seven lifetimes.
I mean, it has to be your guru who takes care of it...otherwise people wouldn't believe adamantly that you have to have a guru or you won't attain enlightenment.
There is no means of entering any Vajrayāna path without a Guru — ergo, no Guru, no path, no awakening by means of that path. That is why the Guhyasamaja Tantra states:
The Guru is the Buddha, the Guru is the Sangha,
likewise, the Guru is the Sangha,
the Guru is great glorious Heruka.
Because, you can learn from books as well as you can learn from your guru.
One cannot received transmission from a book. Having made an effort to receive transmission and the precious oral instructions which are not contained in any book from the mouth of the Guru, then one can rely on books as a supplement.
Many books are compiled out of speeches of gurus and reading those speeches does not lead to a worse learning success than hearing the speeches directly standing in front of the guru.
First, you must have a connection with the lineage. That means you must have a guru. And even so, quite frankly hearing the teachings directly has the quality of transmission, of being in the same state at the same time as the teacher. You just do not get that with a book. It is much better to have received the reading transmission of the Dharma text you wish to follow so that you have a living connection with that teaching. There are many Dharma texts you really are not allowed to read without such transmission. There are many Dharma texts that have one to one transmissions.
For mantra, it is indispensable to have the reading transmission, in other words, you cannot successfully practice any mantra without first having received the lung, the sole exceptions being the mantras of Avalokiteshvara, Tara, Mañjuśri, Śakyamuni and some others. But for deities like Vajrayogini, Kalacakra, etc., it is indispensable.
And hearing the speeches of the guru is all that most students get concerning their communication with their guru. Only the few who practically live with their guru get more.
A realized guru's job is the teach through body and voice. For example, everything that a teacher like Chogyal Namkhai Norbu (and HH Dalai Lama, HH Sakya Trizin etc.) does is a teaching, the way he walks, dresses, eats, laughs, smiles, frowns, goes to the bathroom, washes, sleeps, wakes up, i.e., the way he lives and the way he dies.
It is important to make time to spend attending one's guru. But you do not have to spend your life doing so. Even so, serving the guru is an important part of practice, and the fastest, most excellent way to earn merit.
In reality all a guru can do is show one the path. There is nothing a guru can do more than that. There is nothing you can do more than receive their transmission and practice. You practice, and when you have questions, you ask. That's it. His or her job is to give transmission, your job is to apply transmission and realize what they have realized.