conebeckham wrote:I think it needs to be kept in mind, though, that the kind of commitment, and the kind of practice we're talking about, is exceedingly rare. Taking teachings, or a Jenang, from a teacher, doesn't constitute this kind of bond.......but there are (very rarely) these kinds of relationships forged. You will know, if you are entering into one.....
tamdrin wrote:Occasionaly I read the advice given out by Lama Zopa Rinpoche on this website http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect=author&id=11
There are many topics here but some of the ideas about Guru Devotion I have questions about. For example it seems that (maybe this is more gelukpa view but..) take this for example. There are many such teachings here...
"It is said in the tantric teachings, “If one thinks one’s own guru is bad-tempered, one will be reborn in the hell realms for 60 eons.” If one does not cultivate devotion after one has made a Dharma connection—which means having received teachings with the recognition of guru and disciple—then it is said in the teachings that one will be reborn as a dog one hundred times, and then be reborn in a lower caste—or, as His Holiness Song Rinpoche mentioned, as a scorpion. This applies even if there are no negative thoughts arising toward the guru, such as heresy or anger, but one still does not develop devotion and follow the teacher after listening to even just one stanza, even if one no longer regards that teacher as one’s guru or forgets one ’s guru-disciple relation."
What do you guys think? You are really not going to be born in the lower realms for thousands or millions of eons just because you read the right Sutra? Or you are just because you forgot to devote to a guru that you took one initiation from. It seems a little unrealistic to me...
Dhondrub wrote:28. On Vajra Commitments (Samaya)
There is another issue connected with empowerments that is of great concern to many people, which is samaya. Many people wonder whether it is good to receive empowerments at all, because each empowerment seems to come with commitments (Tib. samaya); and are these not a source of great danger to those who are unable to keep them? The presentation of the commitments connected with empowerments as very, very strict and presented as very dangerous for a reason. It is presented that way in order to encourage practitioners to engage in virtue. To understand why this is done, you must remember, the primary responsibility of a guru is to, one way or another, get you to do the right thing. In order to do that, they will sometimes say, “Having received this empowerment you are bound by such and such samaya, and should you transgress it you will be in great peril.” Presenting it this way is done in order to get you to do the right thing. But you should not think that having received empowerments places you in peril. Rather receiving empowerments is always a source of benefit.
Now, if someone receiving an empowerment were to utterly repudiate the entire thing and generate intense antipathy for the whole process and tradition, that is to consciously engage in a complete reversal of virtue and wrong-doing and do everything they could wrong, well obviously, under those circumstances, that person might fall to a lower rebirth. But you are not going to fall to a lower rebirth simply because you receive an empowerment and thereafter can’t fulfill all your commitments.
To understand this, it may help to consider the word for “commitment” which in Sanskrit was translated as “samaya” and was translated into Tibetan as dam tshig, which means, “words of promise” or “words of bond.” Now, the idea of “words of promise” is not that if you transgress against these rules or regulations, you will fall fast into vajra hell after your death. Rather the point is that having received empowerment and instruction, you should practice it. If you don’t actually practice, simply receiving empowerment is insufficient. As we have seen, one of the things that keeps practice going is the momentum of commitment. So, if you make a commitment when you receive empowerment to practice, the momentum of that commitment will enable you to carry it through. In other words, the commitment or promise that you make during the empowerment is actually a source of great help or assistance to you. Having received the empowerment and then not doing the practice is not going to cause you to fall to lower states; it’s simply that the promise didn’t really fulfill its function, because it didn’t produce the momentum of commitment and, therefore, practice. So samaya should be regarded more as a useful tool than a threat. The purpose of it is to give you the means to establish a momentum of diligent practice, and this is established because you approach the empowerment with that attitude of enthusiastic commitment. If you ask, “Well do I need to keep samaya?” You do need to keep samaya, because you need to keep your promises. But you should not keep them out of fear.
-Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
tamdrin wrote:While its too late for Vajrayana not to be for me as I have been involved with it for some time. Heart, according to the quote I posted, according to Lama Zopa it is even leaving the relationship in the "gray area" that will lead one to rebirth in the lower realms. THat is what made me think about this quote. Usually they will say in the teachings oh if you make a samaya promise with a guru and break it by generating negative thoughts toward this Guru and so forth then that can lead to a rebirth in the lower realms or something like that. But Lama Zopa's saying everyone who you made a dharma connection with is a guru and you must be devoted to them or else (now this kind of seems funny because if you have to hear the teachings from a person to decide what they teach to decide if you want to follow them or not then that necessarily involves making a dharma connection but I personally wouldn't consider someone a guru because i had heard their teachings or read their book... In general I have had very good luck with the initiations I have taken as most of them have come from one lineage and I few teachers who I feel very good about in general so I havn't had to think or worry about the nightmare and headache that I know can come from issues with the Guru and issues with the samaya. It really can be a headache for some from what i hear. But recently, about two years ago I don't know why I attended a semi random intiitation while in Nepal. I honestly don't think there was any samaya commitments given but I don't even remember. Maybe I was there "just for a blessing" as some say you can take initations for that reason. Everyone seems to have some different ideas about it (the ones I have read of Lama Zopa seem to be the most severe). Anyway, in general I have been pretty lucky with gurus and samayas. I never went to an initiation where it was said you have to do this practice everyday or something like that. But for some reason I just don't feel like considereding this guy my guru. It feels like a burden and I'm wondering why I even went to that initiation as it feels like all the points it has brought up has just been a cause of obstacles and neurosis. So that is the jist of it and why I brought this up..
Yeshe wrote:I am not referring here to HHDL, as I am unsure if the Kalachakra empowerments given by HHDL also entail samaya entered into when amongst a large crowd. I understand that with Kalachakra the situation is different from, say, Vajrayogini empowerments, but I've never entered into Kalachakra practice so I can't say for sure.
In any case, great care should be taken in choosing a guru, in forming a relationship with them and in entering into actions leading to samaya with them. It is sad to see people being drawn to a guru because of their charisma, or through being persuaded by the adulation they receive, or the number of disciples they have. The relationship with the guru should be personal - not an anonymous process whereby the guru is only seen over a crowd of thousands.
tamdrin wrote: But Lama Zopa's saying everyone who you made a dharma connection with is a guru and you must be devoted to them or else (now this kind of seems funny because if you have to hear the teachings from a person to decide what they teach to decide if you want to follow them or not then that necessarily involves making a dharma connection but I personally wouldn't consider someone a guru because i had heard their teachings or read their book...
catmoon wrote:The OP raises an interesting issue. If the consequences are as dire as that, and knowing how fallible most students are, then taking on a guru looks extremely risky.