Teacher & Root Guru

Moderator: Tibetan Buddhism moderators

Fifty Stanzas on the Spiritual Teacher

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Feb 23, 2011 5:21 pm

Fifty Stanzas Of Guru Devotion
By Aryasura
{written in the first century B.C.E.}
With an oral commentary by Geshe Ngawang Dhargey
Homage to the Bhagavan Vajrasattva!
Bhagavan is one of the many epithets used for an Enlightened Being, a Buddha. The
Tibetan term for it, "Chom-dan-da (bCom-ldan ‘das)", is etymologies as follows. "Chom"
means to overcome. Buddhas have overcome both the obstacles preventing Liberation
and those preventing Omniscience. The former include the delusions or moral and mental
defilements (klesa), and the ignorance of grasping for true independent existence, as well
as the seeds of all of these. The latter refers to the instincts of both these defilements and
this ignorance. "Dan" means to possess. Buddhas possess all good qualities, having
completed their accumulations of both merit and insight resulting in their Form and
Wisdom Bodies respectively. "Da" means to pass beyond. Buddhas have passed beyond
samsára, the cycle of uncontrolled rebirth with suffering due to karma and delusions.
The hidden meaning of Vajrasattva, Dor-je sem-pa (rDo-rje sems-dpa’) in Tibetan, can
also be discovered from its etymology. "Dor-je" means indestructible diamondlightening.
Here it refers to the diamond-hard wisdom of the non-duality of (1) the mind
that has bare perception of Void-ness, experienced with a feeling of Great Bliss and (2)
the Void-ness that is the object of this mind. "Sem-pa" means the one with a heroic mind.
It signifies someone who has himself abandoned all delusions, ignorance and their
instincts and has the heroic mind that is ready to help others in all possible ways.
Thus Bhagavan Vajrasattva refers to the state of Vajradhara, the form Buddha takes in
the tantras. As the way to attain his enlightened state is through Guru-devotion,
Ashvaghosha begins his work with this homage.
(1)
Bowing in the proper way to the lotus feet of my Guru who is the cause for me to
attain the state of a glorious Vajrasattva, I shall condense and explain in brief what
has been said in many stainless tantric texts about Guru devotion. Therefore listen
with respect.
(2)
All the Buddhas of the past, present and future, residing in every land in the ten
directions, have paid homage to the Tantric Masters from whom they have received
the highest empowerments. Is there need to mention that you should too?
[In general there are three types of empowerments or initiations, casual, pathway and
resultant. The first is to ripen your mind stream, the second is an actual path of practice
through which to gain Enlightenment and the third is into the actual liberated state of
Buddhahood. Everyone who ever has or will attain Enlightenment does so through
receiving these highest empowerments from their Tantric Masters.]
(3)
Three times each day with supreme faith you must show the respect you have for
your guru who teaches you the Tantric path, by pressing your palms together,
offering a mandala as well as flowers and prostrating touching your head to his feet.
[As a disciple you must regard your Guru as an Enlightened Being. Even if from his own
point of view he is not enlightened and you, his disciple, have gained Buddhahood before
him, you must still show him respect and pay homage. For instance, Maitreya, the fifth
and next Buddha of the thousand of this world age, who now presides over Tusita
Buddha-field, became enlightened before his Guru, Shakyamuni Buddha. To demonstrate
respect for his Guru, Maitreya has a stupa or reliquary monument on his forehead.
Likewise Avalokitesvara, the incarnation of the compassion of all the Buddhas, is
crowned in his eleven-headed aspect with the head of his Guru, Amitabha Buddha, the
one who presides over Sukhavati Buddha-field.
This learning from a Guru should not be like killing a deer to extract its musk and then
discarding its corpse. Even after attaining Enlightenment you must still continue to honor
your Guru who made all your achievements possible.]
(4)
Those who hold ordination vows, if your Guru is a layman or your junior, prostrate
in public while facing such things as his scriptural texts in order to avoid worldly
scorn. But in your mind prostrate to your Guru.
(5)
As for serving your Guru and showing him respect, such as obeying what he says,
standing up when he comes and showing him to his seat - these should be done even
by those with ordination vows whose Gurus are laymen or their junior. But in
public avoid prostrating and unorthodox actions such as washing his feet.
[One of the ordination rules is that monks and nuns should not prostrate to laymen. This
is taken to mean that in public you should not show this type of respect for your lay Guru
as it might cause misunderstanding and scorn among those who casually observe. It is
better to prostrate facing scriptural texts or Buddha images near him, while directing your
reverence in your mind to your Guru.
For example, the great masters Candragomi and Candrakirti often debated with one
another. The former was layman, the latter a monk. One day Candrakirti invited
Candragomi to his monastery. He wanted all the monks to form a procession, but the lay
Master objected that the local townspeople would find it strange. Candrakirti told him not
to worry. He placed a statue of Manjusri on a high throne and in the procession had a
monk carry it directly before Candragomi. All the people thought that this ceremony was
in honor of Manjusri, the manifestation of the Buddhas’ wisdom, and thus the monk
avoided any bad feelings.
Although restraint and indirect means of showing respect are often called for out of
consideration for others, in private disciple must follow all the proper procedures of
Guru-devotion no matter what the status of his Guru may be. However general respect,
such as rising when he comes, must be shown at all times.
On his own part, however, a Guru should always be humble never arrogant or pompous
thinking himself great and worthy of honor. P’a-ra Rinpoche, one of the most realized
disciples of the Senior and Junior Tutors of His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama,
always kept a scriptural text by his seat. Explaining why, he said that when people would
come to visit him and prostrated, at least they would gain some merit from showing
respect to the scriptures since he himself had no qualifications.]
(6)
In order for the words of honor of neither the Guru nor the disciple to degenerate,
there must be a mutual examination beforehand (to determine if each can) brave a
Guru-disciple relationship.
[At tantric empowerments many sets of vows are taken never to abandon the practices
and procedures essential for spiritual progress. The disciple pledges his word of honor
never to transgress these vows, such as always to visualize his Guru as inseparable from
the meditational deity into whose practice he has just been initiated. Such deities, as well
as the Gurus, share the same enlightened nature as all the Buddhas, differing only in the
physical aspect they manifest.
The Guru, too, has previously pledged his word of honor never to disclose the tantric
secrets to those who are unable to understand and keep them. Just as the milk of a lion
should not be kept in a clay pot, so the profound and powerful methods of the tantra
should not be entrusted to those who are not ready. If, having taken such vows, either the
Guru or disciple should allow his word of honor to degenerate, it will be impossible for
either to attain any of his goals and very serious unfortunate consequences will follow for
both. Therefore it is extremely important for there to be a mutual examination between
the Guru and disciple before they enter a formal relationship.
In ancient times in order to receive an empowerment a potential disciple would have to
ask over a period of three years. An initiation was not at all something casual. By making
the disciple wait so long, a Guru impressed on him the seriousness of entering the tantric
path, tested his commitment and ensured that he was properly prepared. Often a Guru
would make a disciple wait even longer before agreeing to teach him anything. He would
repeatedly test his character and only when he had understood him well would he accept
him as his disciple.
The disciple also must test his potential Guru and determine if he is fully qualified. He
must be confident that he will be able to devote himself fully to this Master. Before
entering a formal Guru-disciple relationship, you have complete freedom of choice. But
once such a bond has been established, these teachings on Guru-devotion must be
followed with total commitment.]
(7)
A disciple with sense should not accept as his Guru someone who lacks compassion
or who is anger-some, vicious or arrogant, possessive, undisciplined or boasts of his
knowledge.
(8)
A Guru should be stable in his actions, cultivated in his speech, wise, patient and
honest. He should neither conceal his shortcomings not pretend to possess qualities
he lacks. He should be an expert in the meanings of the tantra and in its ritual
procedures of medicine and turning back obstacles. Also he should have loving
compassion and a complete knowledge of the scriptures.
(9)
He should have full expertise in both ten fields, skill in the drawing of mandalas, full
knowledge of how to explain the tantra, supreme pure faith and his senses fully
under control.
[In general a Mahayana Guru should have the following ten qualities:
(1) Discipline as a result of his mastery of the training in the higher discipline of moral
self-control;
(2) Mental quiescence from his training in higher concentration;
(3) Pacification of all delusions and obstacles from his training in higher wisdom;
(4) More knowledge than his disciple in the subject to be taught;
(5) Enthusiastic perseverance and joy in teaching;
(6) A treasure of scriptural knowledge;
(7) Insight into and an understanding of Void-ness;
(8) Skill in presenting the teachings;
(9) Great compassion; and
(10) No reluctance to teach and work for his disciples regardless of their level of
intelligence.
A Tantric Master must have even more good qualities, as listed in the text. Most
important is that he be an extremely stable person, with his body, speech and mind totally
under control.
There are two sets of ten fields in which the Guru must be a complete master. The ten
inner ones are essential for teaching the yoga and anuttarayoga classes of tantra, which
stress the importance of purifying mainly internal mental activities. These are expertise
in:
(1) Visualizing wheels of protection and eliminating obstacles;
(2) Preparing and consecrating protection knots and amulets to be worn around the neck;
(3) Conferring the vase and secret empowerments, planting the seeds for attaining a
Buddha’s Form Bodies;
(4) Conferring the wisdom and word empowerments, planting the seeds for attaining a
Buddha’s Wisdom Bodies;
(5) Separating the enemies for Dharma from their own protectors;
(6) Making offerings, such as sculptured tormas;
(7) Reciting mantras, both verbally and mentally, that is visualizing them revolving
around his heart;
(8) Performing wrathful ritual procedures for forcefully catching the attention of the
meditational deities and protectors;
(9) Consecrating images and statues; and
(10) Making mandala offerings, performing the meditational practices (sadhanas) and
taking self-initiations.
The ten external qualities are required for teaching the kriya and carya classes of tantra,
which stress the importance of purifying mainly external activities in connection with
internal mental processes. These are expertise in:
(1) Drawing, constructing and visualizing the mandala abodes of the meditational deities;
(2) Maintaining the different states of single-minded concentration (samádhi);
(3) Executing the hand gestures (mudras);
(4) Performing the ritual dances;
(5) Sitting in the full meditational position;
(6) Reciting what is appropriate to these two classes of tantra;
(7) Making fire offerings;
(8) Making the various other offerings;
(9) Performing the rituals of (a) pacification of disputes, famine and disease, (b) increase
of life span, knowledge and wealth, (c) power to influence others and (d) wrathful
elimination of demonic forces and interferences; and
(10) invoking meditational deities and dissolving them back into their appropriate places.
It is not sufficient for a Tantric Master merely to know how to perform the superficial
actions of these above rituals. He must actually be able to do them. For instance, when
consecrating an image of a meditational deity, he must be able to invoke the actual deity
and place it in the image, not merely recite the words of the accompanying text.
If you take as your Guru a Master with all these qualifications and powers, and he
accepts you as his disciple, you must devote yourself fully to him. Although it is possible
that out of delusion you might disagree with your Guru, never show him disrespect or
despise him from the depth of your heart.]
(10)
Having become the disciple of such a protecting (Guru), should you then despise
him from your heart, you will reap continual suffering as if you had disparaged all
the Buddhas.
(11)
If you are so foolish as to despise your Guru, you will contract contagious diseases
and those caused by harmful spirits. You will die (a horrible death) caused by
demons, plagues or poison.
(12)
You will be killed by wicked kings or fire, by poisonous snakes, water, witches or
bandits, by harmful spirits or savages, and then be reborn in a hell.
(13)
Never disturb your Guru’s mind. Should you be foolish and happen to do this, you
will surely boil in hell.
(14)
Whatever fearful hells have been taught, such as Avici, the Hell of Uninterrupted
Pain, it is clearly explained that those who disparage their Guru will have to remain
there a very long time.
(15)
Therefore exert yourself whole-heartedly never to belittle your Tantric Master who
makes no display of his great wisdom and virtues.
As your Guru is a Buddha, despising him is the same as hating all who are Enlightened.
The state of Buddhahood is one of complete Liberation from all suffering, ignorance,
delusions and obstacles. It is the attainment of all good qualities, complete perfection and
total Omniscience. Despising or belittling such a state by disparaging your Guru, you cast
yourself in the opposite direction from happiness and freedom. Having contempt for
wisdom and Liberation, you gain instead bondage and pain. Such tormented states are
what have been described in all the scriptures as the various hells.
Thus there are great dangers in entering a Guru-disciple relationship. Your Tantric
Master may be the one who has given you empowerments, a tantric discourse or even
instruction on mandala drawing. As he has no pretension and is never boastful, he will
always hide his good qualities and never hesitate to admit shortcomings. If you do not
recognize such traits as indications of his perfection, humility and skillful means, you
may make the serious mistake of belittling or seeing faults in him. Having established a
formal bond with this Guru and through him entered a pathway to Buddhahood, you have
then cast yourself into terrible suffering if from the depth of your heart you break this
link. Therefore you must have great awareness, for although Guru devotion will elevate
you to Full Enlightenment, a breach of it will be your downfall.
(16)
If from a lack of awareness you have shown disrespect to your Guru, reverently
present an offering to him and seek his forgiveness. Then in the future such harm as
plagues will not befall you.
[As a Buddha, a Guru will never hold a grudge, showing him disrespect cannot possibly
offend or hurt him. The only one you harm is yourself. Therefore if you repent and beg
his forgiveness, he will accept what you offer with great compassion. Then by the force
of your faith, respect and devotion, you need not experience great misfortune.
The beneficial effects of Guru-devotion and the dire consequences of a breach of it are
not rewards and punishments from a godly Guru. They follow directly from cause and
effect. Your Guru is the focal point for your practices leading to Enlightenment. The
more devoted you are towards the state of perfection he represents, the closer you come
toward this goal. Despising him can only take you further away into darkness and
ignorance.]
(17)
It has been taught that for the Guru to whom you have pledged your word of honor
to visualize as one with your meditational deity, you should willingly sacrifice your
wife, children and even your life, although these are not easy to give away. Is there
need to mention your fleeting wealth?
(18)
Such practice of offering can confer even Buddhahood on a zealous disciple in his
very lifetime, which otherwise might be difficult to attain even in countless millions
of eons.
(19)
Always keep your word of honor. Always make offerings to the Enlightened Ones.
Always make offerings also to your Guru, for he is the same as all the Buddhas.
(20)
Those who wish to attain the inexhaustible state of Buddha’s Wisdom Body should
give to their Guru whatever they themselves find pleasing, from the most trifling
objects to those of the best quality.
(21)
Giving to your Guru is the same as making continual offerings to all the Buddhas.
From such giving much merit is gathered. From such collection comes the supreme
powerful attainment of Buddhahood.
[Making offerings to your Guru as the representative of all Buddhas is extremely
important. Such generosity is symbolic of your total dedication to achieve Buddhahood.
If because of miserliness or selfishness you hold back from giving what you find the most
pleasing and offer only what you do not want for yourself, how can you promise to give
yourself totally for the work of benefiting all sentient beings be anything but a farce?
Without any attachment you must be willing to sacrifice everything for your attainment
of Enlightenment through your Guru. The offering mandala symbolizes this dedication of
your body, speech and mind, and even the entire universe for this goal.
If you are poor like Je-Tzun Milarepa, it does not matter that you do not have riches to
offer. What is important is your state of mind and willingness to sacrifice anything for the
sake of your Guru, Enlightenment and all sentient beings. The best offering, then, is of
your practice. But if you have wealth, you must never hesitate to use it for gaining merit.
Therefore making offerings is not so that your Guru can become rich. On his part the
Guru should regard such offerings as a tiger would look at grass. The point is to benefit
yourself and ultimately everyone else by your total dedication. Great merit is gathered
from such practice, resulting in your attainment of the Form Body of a Buddha. If you
can see the void nature, that is the lack of true independent existence of yourself, your
Guru and what you offer, then you accumulate at the same time the insight that will result
in your achievement of a Buddha’s Wisdom Body. Thus the supreme powerful
attainment of Buddhahood comes from making offerings to your Guru.]
(22)
Therefore, a disciple with the good qualities of compassion, generosity, moral selfcontrol
and patience should never regard as different his Guru and the Buddha
Vajradhara.
[Your Guru, the meditational deities and Vajradhara, the form Buddha assumes in the
tantras, are all the same in nature. They are like a single person in a drama changing
masks and costumes and playing different roles. The same is true if you have many
Gurus. You must regard them all as Buddha, differing only in the face he wears.
The ability to see your Guru as not different from Buddha Vajradhara depends on your
motivation. If you have developed an Enlightened Motive of Bodhicitta, you are striving
to become a Buddha yourself in order to be fully able to benefit others. The stronger this
motive, the more the thought of Enlightenment comes to pervade your mind completely.
Thinking only of Enlightenment and ways to achieve it, you will automatically be able to
see your Guru in terms of this state because nothing else will be in your mind.
The more you wish to attain Enlightenment, the clearer you see the necessity for your
Guru to be a Buddha. Thus with the strong compassion of wishing others never to suffer,
you can dedicate yourself easily and with joy. Through the practice of the perfections of
generosity, the discipline of moral self-control, patience and so forth, all centered around
your Guru, you will then be able to attain his state.]
(23)
If you should never tread on even your Guru’s shadow, because the fearsome
consequences are the same as destroying a stupa, is there need to mention never
stepping on or over his shoes or seat, sitting in his place or riding his mount?
[A stupa is a monument in which relics of a Buddha are kept. Like your Guru, it serves as
a focal point for your veneration and devotion to attaining Buddhahood. Destroying one
and stepping on your Guru’s shadow, then, are both acts of extreme disregard and
disrespect for the state of Enlightenment. Therefore the fearsome consequences of both
are the same.
If you treat your Guru’s shoes, seat and the horse or vehicle he rides as ordinary objects,
and presume to use them yourself or step on them, your arrogant attitude can only
become a major hindrance to your attainment of Buddhahood.]
(24)
A disciple having great sense should obey the words of his Guru joyfully and with
enthusiasm. If you lack the knowledge or ability to do what he says, explain in polite
words why you cannot comply.
(25)
It is from your Guru that powerful attainments, higher rebirth and happiness come.
Therefore make a wholehearted effort never to transgress your Guru’s advice.
[Obeying your Guru’s orders and following his advice are more important than making
countless offerings. Entrusting yourself fully to him, he will guide you along the path to
Enlightenment. If with haughty pride and stubborn closed-mindedness you think you
know what is best for your own spiritual progress, how will you be able to learn anything
from him?
This does not mean that you should become a mindless slave or that your Guru can take
undue advantage of you. As you are aiming for the complete freedom of Enlightenment,
there must also be freedom in the means of attaining it. You should never follow your
Guru’s wishes simply because you feel obligated or forced to obey. Rather try to
understand his intentions and aim. Your Guru will only tell you to do what is beneficial
for yourself and others. What he asks may be difficult and its immediate purpose may not
be obvious, but you should receive his advice joyfully and with deep gratitude for his
concern with your welfare.
Examine yourself honestly to see if you can follow his wishes. If there is no way in
which you can comply, do not be rude or arrogant. Explain politely and with extreme
humility what the difficulty is. Your Guru will not be unreasonable; as a Buddha he is
filled with great compassion.
If, however, you can avoid transgressing his advice, this is best. Following the spiritual
path as he directs, you can attain not only the ordinary powerful attainments (siddhi) of
extra-physical and mental powers common to non-Buddhists, but depending on your
motivation, a higher rebirth, the happiness of Liberation or the supreme powerful
attainment of Buddhahood.]
(26)
(Guard) your Guru’s belongings as you would your own life. Treat even your
Guru’s beloved (family) with the same (respect you show) for him. (Have
affectionate regard for) those closely around him as if they were your own dearest
kin. Single-mindedly think (in this way) at all times.
[Before Drom-ton-pa studied with Atisa, he served another Guru in K’am. During the day
he carried his master’s children on his back, spun wool with his hands and softened
leather with his feet. At night he tended his animals. He did all this with great joy, and
although he was only a layman, Atisa appointed him to receive all the teachings he
brought to Tibet.
When Je-Tzun Milarepa was serving Marpa, he would throw himself in the mud and beg
his Guru’s wife to sit on him while she milked the cows. You must have such respect and
devotion for everyone close to your Guru. Remember that he is a Buddha with equal
regard and love for all. If you are jealous of his family, attendants or other disciples, if
you are possessive of his time and attention, this clearly shows that you do not sincerely
believe him to be a Buddha.]
(27)
Never sit on the same bed or seat as your Guru, nor walk ahead of him. At teachings
do not wear your hair in a topknot, a hat, shoes or any weapons. Never touch a seat
before he sits down or if he happens to sit on the ground. Do not place your hands
proudly on your hips or wring them before him.
(28)
Never sit or recline while your Guru is standing nor lie while he is sitting. Always be
ready to stand up and serve him skillfully in an excellent manner.
(29)
In the presence of your Guru never do such things as spit, cough or sneeze without
covering your head. Never stretch your legs when at your seat, nor walk back and
forth without reason before him. And never argue.
(30)
Never massage or rub your limbs. Do not sing, dance or play musical instruments
for other than religious purposes. And never chatter idly or speak in excess or too
loudly within the range of your Guru’s hearing.
[All these examples of improper behavior are prohibited not because your Guru will be
offended: Buddhas cannot be affected by rudeness. It is because you wish to attain his
state of perfection, and have great respect for this achievement, that you should not act in
a coarse, arrogant or inconsiderate manner.
The customs outlined here are not meant to be unnatural and cruel restrictions. If you are
sitting cross-legged at a discourse and this becomes uncomfortable, you are certainly
permitted to lift your knees or shift your position. But to sit casually with your feet
stretched out towards your Guru reflects a flippant, disrespectful attitude. Receiving a
discourse is not like attending a sporting event. It is not for your amusement, but for your
attainment of Enlightenment that you are with your Guru. Therefore you must show him
great respect and always be alert to his needs and comfort.]
(31)
When your Guru enters the room get up from your seat and bow your head slightly.
Sit in his presence respectfully. At night or at rivers or on dangerous paths, with
your Guru’s permission you may walk before him.
(32)
In the direct sight of his Guru, a disciple with sense should not sit with his body
twisted around, or leaning casually against pillars and such. Never crack your
knuckles, play with your fingers or clean your nails.
[You must always be considerate of your Guru. As he is the one who will show you the
way to complete freedom from all your suffering and how to be able to liberate others, he
is more precious than anything else. If he is in danger, you must protect him. Do not sit
back idly and proudly as if you owned the entire world.]
(33)
When washing your Guru’s feet or his body, drying, massaging or shaving him,
precede such actions with three prostrations and at their conclusion do the same.
Then attend to yourself as much as you like.
[If you have the opportunity to wash your Guru, shave his head or in anyway attend to his
comfort, you will be able to gain a great deal of merit. Thus all such actions must be done
with the greatest respect. Never selfishly think of your own needs first. Your primary
concern is with your Guru and your attainment of his enlightened state. Only afterwards
should you care for yourself.]
(34)
Should you need to address your Guru by his name, add the title "Your Presence"
after it. To generate respect for him in others, further honorific may also be used.
[Once when Je Tzong-ka-pa was giving a discourse to a few disciples in a retreat house
above where Sera Monastery later was built, Ka-drub Je came to meet him for the first
time. He asked a nun living nearby where the Venerable Tzong-ka-pa could be found and
she ran off without saying a word. She rinsed her mouth, lit a stick of incense and then
replied, "My gracious, venerable Abbot, His Presence Je Tzong-ka-pa resides over
there."
If your Guru’s name is Rin-chen dor-je, you may refer to him when speaking to others as
‘my spiritual master, His Presence, the holy, venerable Rin-chen dor-je." At least some
respectful title must be used. It is extremely crude, arrogant and grating to address, refer
to or write about your Guru merely using his personal name. Your Guru is not your
childhood playmate, but a Buddha leading you to Enlightenment.]
(35)
When asking for your Guru’s advice, first announce why you have come. With
palms pressed together at your heart, listen to what he tells you without letting your
mind wander about. Then when he has spoken you should reply, "I shall do exactly
as you have said."
(36)
After doing what your Guru has told you, report what has happened in polite,
gentle words. Should you yawn or cough, clear your throat or laugh in his presence,
cover your mouth with your hand.
[Never waste your Guru’s time by coming to him merely for idle chatter. After making
prostration three times, announce the purpose of your visit directly. Ask your questions in
a straightforward manner, with extreme politeness and humility.
If your Guru gives you advice or asks you to do something, examine yourself to see if
you can comply. If you cannot, then excuse yourself and explain why. Do not promise to
do something and then go back on your word. The consequences of such disobedience
and negligence are very serious. But if you can comply, tell him you will do what he
says. Keep him informed of your progress and always report in the end what you have
done.]
(37)
If you wish to receive a certain teaching, request three times with your palms
pressed together while kneeling before him on your right knee. Then at his
discourse sit humbly with respect, wearing appropriate clothing that is neat and
clean, without ornaments, jewelry or cosmetics.
(38)
Whatever you do to serve your Guru or show him respect should never be done with
an arrogant mind. Instead you should ever be like a newlywed bride, timid, bashful
and very subdued.
(39)
In the presence of the Guru who teaches you the path, stop acting in a conceited,
coquettish manner. As for boasting to others what you have done for your Guru,
examine your conscience and discard all such acts.
[It is improper for a Guru to offer to teach without being specifically requested. He
teaches to benefit his disciples, not to display his knowledge. Therefore it is important to
make such requests in the proper, formal manner. However, do not try to pressure your
Guru into teaching you something too advanced for your level. He will judge when you
are ready. Do not haughtily order him to do what you think is best.
When attending his discourse, remember it is not a social event. The only reason you are
there is to learn how to attain Enlightenment for the benefit of others. You have not come
to show off your wealth or beauty to others, so do not adorn yourself like a peacock. Also
be aware and considerate of the social customs of those around you. Never dress in a
manner offensive to others that would cause their minds to become disturbed. Be neat,
clean and unostentatious, sitting with great respect for your Guru.
When serving your Guru, do not be childish. Whatever service you do or offerings you
make are for you to attain Enlightenment through its merit. Do not do such things so that
you can boast to others how pious and devoted you are. No merit is to be gained from
arrogance. Do not serve your Guru with haughty pride as though you were doing him a
great favor. He does not need your help; he is a Buddha. But you need his help very
much, for by allowing you to perform small tasks he is giving you a great opportunity to
gather merit. Therefore remember his kindness in allowing you to serve him.
Also do not act in a coquettish manner, flirting with your Guru as though you could win
his favor in this way. Your Guru is a Buddha with equal loving compassion for all. He
will not be impressed by your frivolous behavior.]
(40)
If you are requested to perform a consecration, an initiation into mandala or a fire
offering ceremony or to gather disciples and deliver a discourse, you may not do so
if your Guru resides in that area, unless you receive his prior permission.
(41)
Whatever offerings you receive from performing such rites as the consecration
known as Opening the Eyes, you should present all these to your Guru. Once he has
taken a token portion, you may use the rest for whatever you like.
(42)
In the presence of his Guru a disciple should not act as a Guru to his own disciples
and they should not act towards him as their Guru. Therefore before your own
Guru stop your disciples from showing you respect such as rising when you come
and making prostration.
[Even when you have become a Guru yourself, you must still practice great devotion to
your Guru. If you are requested by your own disciples to give an empowerment, a
discourse and so forth, and your own Guru resides in the same area, you should ask him
first if he can give this in your place. If your Guru cannot, then only with his approval
may you perform such ceremonies yourself.
If your Guru lives far away, you should write to him for permission to accept a disciple
or give any teachings. You should not act independently with pride as if you were a great
and holy Master, but always in deference to his advice. Especially in the presence of your
Guru you must not allow your own disciples to show you respect. You must at all times
be humble. Therefore any offerings you receive should be taken to your Guru as a sign of
your respect. He will take a token and then give them back. He has no greed for your
offerings, but you must always have him foremost in your mind.
Once Ra-chung-pa was living in the same town as his Guru, Je-Tzun Milarepa. As he was
noted for being very handsome, many devotees came to see him and presented him with a
great deal of offerings. He thought, "If I have been given so many offerings, then surely
my guru has received at least three times as much."
He went to his Master and said, "Didn’t we receive a lot of offerings today. Let us share
them with all the other disciples." But his Guru showed him that all he had been given
that day was a piece of meat, a cheesecake and some butter. Ra-chung-pa felt very
embarrassed that he had received more offerings than his Guru and told him he would
leave town immediately.
He asked permission to go to Lhasa to see the famous Buddha image. Je-Tzung Milarepa
replied, "If you see your Guru as a Buddha, what use is it to look at a statue?"
He then asked if he could visit the ancient monastery at Sam-ya. Again his Guru
answered, "When looking at the spectacle of your mind, what use is it to see a building?"
A third time he requested to make a pilgrimage to Lhodrag where his Guru’s Master, the
great Marpa had lived. His Guru only said, "If you meditate on my Master’s teachings,
what good is it to see his house?"
Je-Tzun Milarepa told him not to try to do too many things, but to go into meditational
retreat in order to gain more confidence in his practice. And this is what Ra-chung-pa
did, for he realized that is not proper for a disciple to receive more respect and offerings
than his Guru.]
(43)
Whenever you make an offering to your Guru or whenever your Guru presents you
with something, a disciple with sense will present and receive this using both hands
and with his head slightly bent.
(44)
Be diligent in all your actions, alert and mindful never to forget your word of honor.
If fellow-disciples transgress, correct each other in a friendly manner.
[All disciples who receive tantric empowerment from the same Guru become "Vajra"
brothers and sisters. You should have great affection and regard among you, helping each
other stay on the path. Never be jealous, proud or compete with your fellow disciples. By
correcting each other you please your Guru and everyone benefits. If there is unity and
harmony among Dharma friends, this will spread into the lives of others around you.]
(45)
If because of sickness you are physically unable to bow to your Guru and must do
what normally would be prohibited, even without his explicit permission, there will
be no unfortunate consequences if you have a virtuous mind.
[Guru-devotion is not a fanatic practice. If you are ill and your Guru enters the room, you
need not stand up and prostrate. If you have something to present, but are too weak to
extend your hand, it is permissible even for your Guru to bend down to your bed and
receive it. This is not showing disrespect for your Guru, because in your heart you wish
to do what is proper but your physical condition prevents you.
However, there are certain things for which there are no exceptions. You must never
disturb your Guru’s mind, boast, be arrogant or disrespectful no matter what the
circumstances.]
(46)
What need is there to say much more. Do what ever pleases your Guru and avoid
doing anything he would not like. Be diligent in both of these.
(47)
"Powerful attainments follow from doing what your Guru likes." This has been said
by the Buddha Vajradhara himself. Knowing this, try to please your Guru fully
with all the actions of your body, speech and mind.
[Everyone wants only happiness and never to experience any suffering. The source of
these achievements is your Guru, for he shows you the path to Buddhahood and, by his
living example as an Enlightened Being, inspires you to travel this path yourself. If you
realize this, you will understand the importance of single-minded Guru-devotion and you
will do only what pleases him. As the source of these teachings is the Buddha
Vajradhara, you should put aside all doubts. Follow them with full conviction and you
can attain Enlightenment.
What pleases your Guru, then, is your practice leading to Buddhahood. Thus your
motivation for pleasing him should be Bodhicitta and your wish to help others. You
should not be prompted by worldly desires such as seeking your Guru’s praise or fatherly
approval. Moreover, if your Guru scolds you, examine your feelings. If you have not
intentionally belittled him or sought to annoy him, and if you have not responded to his
scolding with anger or accusations that he is unenlightened, then you have not committed
a breach of Guru-devotion. In such a situation it is totally inappropriate to become
depressed, despondent anymore. To do so is an indication of your strong ego-grasping
which causes you to take his criticism too personally.
Marpa scolded and even beat Je-Tzun Milarepa many times. This was not because he
personally disliked him, but because out of compassion he saw the need for skillful
means that were forceful. Thus if your Guru is wrathful with you try to see this as a
method he is using to tame your mind and lead you to Enlightenment. As a Buddha, how
could he possibly hate you?]
(48)
After a disciple has taken refuge in the Triple Gem and developed a pure
enlightened motive, he should be given this text to take to his heart how to abandon
his own arrogant self-will and follow in his Guru’s footsteps along the Graded Path
to Enlightenment.
(49)
By studying the prerequisite training of Guru-devotion and the Graded Path,
common to both the sutra and tantra, you will become a suitable vessel to hold the
pure Dharma. You may then be given such teachings as tantra. After receiving the
proper empowerments, recite out loud the fourteen root vows and take them
sincerely to your heart.
[If as a disciple you have pure thoughts to benefit others, are humble, not arrogant or
selfish and have no rough manners, your Guru will first teach you what it means to take
refuge. He will demonstrate the stability, direction and meaning your life can be given by
going for protection from all your suffering and confusion to the Triple Gem of the
Buddhas, their teachings of Dharma and the Sangha community of those who realize
them. He will then guide you gradually through the Three Principal Paths of
renunciation, an Enlightened Motive of Bodhicitta and a correct understanding of Voidness.
On the firm foundation of your refuge and Bodhicitta vows, you can then be given
these detailed teachings on Guru-devotion.
This text was written to be recited daily so that disciples will not forget the important
points of how to conduct themselves with their Guru. When your Master has prepared
you in this way for the tantric teachings, and you have become a suitable vessel, then it is
proper for him to initiate you. He will then explain the tantric vows and you must be sure
never to transgress them. Buddha Vajradhara has promised that even if you do no
meditation but keep purely for sixteen lifetimes the root tantric vows, you will thereby
accumulate enough merit and eliminate sufficient obstacles to attain enlightenment.
After receiving initiations, you will be empowered to follow the complete tantric path as
your Guru directs you through the development and completing stages. Your success will
depend on your Guru-devotion and the purity of keeping all the vows. Thus proper
devotion to your Guru in accordance with these teachings is essential throughout the path
to the enlightened state of non-duality with your Guru-Buddha-meditational deity.]
(50)
As I have not made the mistake when writing this work of adding my personal
interpretation, may this be of infinite benefit to all disciples who follow their Guru.
By limitless merit I have gathered in this way, may all sentient beings quickly attain
the state of Buddha!
[This concludes the "Fifty Stanzas of Guru-devotion" by the great Master Ashvaghosha.
It has been requested and translated (into Tibetan) by the monk translator, the great editor
Rin-ch’en zang-po, together with the Indian Abbot Padmakaravarma.]

From here http://www.dharmakirti.org/
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 7937
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Fifty Stanzas on the Spiritual Teacher

Postby Aemilius » Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:54 pm

Homage to Gregkavarnos, the great being !
svaha
User avatar
Aemilius
 
Posts: 1433
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:44 am

Re: Fifty Stanzas on the Spiritual Teacher

Postby Josef » Mon Mar 21, 2011 3:37 pm

Aemilius wrote:Homage to Gregkavarnos, the great being !

:twothumbsup:
Josef
 
Posts: 1565
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:44 pm

Re: Fifty Stanzas on the Spiritual Teacher

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:33 am

Hey! Careful where you're bowing, you're dirtying my shoes with your forehead!
:tongue:
"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
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 7937
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Fifty Stanzas on the Spiritual Teacher

Postby plwk » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:57 am

So Greg, what do you think? Is the teacher infallible in all aspects? Or only in spiritual matters?
And if the teacher is an accomplished one, how can anyone disturbs his/her mind?
Hey! Careful where you're bowing, you're dirtying my shoes with your forehead!

Feet originally has no shoes
From whence does dirt alight?
:tongue:
plwk
 
Posts: 2469
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:41 am

Re: Fifty Stanzas on the Spiritual Teacher

Postby Caz » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:42 pm

Do love the 50 stanza's :thumbsup:
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.
Caz
 
Posts: 539
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:49 am

Re: Fifty Stanzas on the Spiritual Teacher

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Apr 02, 2011 5:55 pm

plwk wrote:So Greg, what do you think? Is the teacher infallible in all aspects? Or only in spiritual matters?
If the teacher is like the one described in the fifty stanzas then I believe one can easily trust them in all matters. A question to you is: what is a non-spiritual matter?
And if the teacher is an accomplished one, how can anyone disturbs his/her mind?
By kicking him in the goolies when he is trying to meditate? I reckon that would do it! :tongue:
"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
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 7937
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Fifty Stanzas on the Spiritual Teacher

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Apr 02, 2011 5:57 pm

HOW TO QUESTION THE UNQUESTIONABLE
by Sangye Khandro
The teacher-student relationship in Buddhism
Wanting to impose guidelines on Buddhist teachers is a cultural habit that is based on basic nihilism and the democratic ideal. The main concern is to insure that everything under observation is equalized. Among all the democratic countries in the world, America is the leader. Still, if carefully examined, no matter how hard America may try to impose the democratic ideal of equality upon everything and everyone, tremendous conflict persists between the democrats and republicans, who are at the very heart of the democratic structure. Wishing to impose these ideals upon Buddhist teachers proves that there is a lack of basic understanding on a spiritual level.
The teacher-student relationship on the path of Buddhism is of utmost importance, from the time of meeting with the path until liberation from the round of confusion occurs. The basis of such a relationship is faith. The result of all paths is the attainment of the state of Buddha Vajradhara or absolute wisdom, however it is necessary to have faith in order to achieve this goal. Currently in the west there is a breakdown in the teacher-student relationship due to lack of faith. This is why it is so important to understand what faith is and the profound benefits that arise from it. The nature of faith is to trust in sublime beings in order to receive the blessing of wisdom energy that benefits self and others. True faith creates and stimulates the vast love of compassion which touches countless beings. If the mind experiences faith there is the opening through which blessings are received. When blessings are received, the causes for confusion and suffering can be identified and eliminated while the indwelling wisdom Buddha nature is able to blossom and begin to be sustained. Faith is therefore the most important quality necessary to possess in order to practice Buddhism in such a way that there will be actual, ever-lasting results.
Having faith is surrendering one's body, speech, and mind to the object of one's devotion and respect. In the case of Buddhism the object of devotion is the Buddha represented by the spiritual teacher. The Buddha as the spiritual teacher has nothing to receive or gain when disciples offer their body, speech, and mind. Rather, the pride and other passions in the minds of the disciples are cleansed and offered so that the blessing of their natural indwelling wisdom awareness can manifest. It is through this process that true wisdom qualities develop. If individuals whose aspiration is to realize enlightenment were not able to connect with pure wisdom teachers it would be extremely difficult to proceed on the path that brings such a result. In the west there are many spiritual paths and religions that are available for people to choose from. It is important for westerners to realize that if they are choosing the path of Buddhism, they are choosing to connect with a living tradition of teachings timelessly upheld by authentic lineage holders who are the wisdom teachers of the unbroken tradition representing the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. These teachers are like a chain of golden links, untarnished by external circumstances such as broken commitments and incorrect view. Knowing that the path is illuminated through the connection one makes with a pure wisdom teacher is the first step to take when entering the path of Buddhism. The next step involves knowing how to find the best teacher. In particular, if there is an interest in the path of Vajrayana Buddhism it must be known that it is only possible to enter this path by connecting with and receiving empowerment from a fully qualified Vajra Master. Teachings that are given and received on the level of Vajrayana must occur within the context of the sacred bond of a pure teacher-student relationship. This is because it is impossible to receive any blessings or gain realization through the methods of the Vajrayana path without cultivating a pure teacher-student relationship. From the time that the formal relationship begins, it is of utmost importance that it be carefully maintained through faith, respect, and devotion until enlightenment is realized. This is what renders the relationship pure. The state of Buddha is primordial purity, free of stain and fault. In the state of Buddha, all traces of obscuration are completely purified, and all sublime noble qualities are fully expanded. Therefore the state of Buddha and the objects of faith and devotion that represent this state are understood to be perfectly pure and infallible. By expressing faith and devotion towards sublime objects that represent the state of perfectly enlightened Buddhahood, all of the students faults will begin to be purified, and all inherent wisdom qualities will naturally begin to blossom. This is the reason for the teacher-student relationship and the reason for practising the path of Buddhism. A fully qualified spiritual guide must be a true representative of the Buddha so that the disciple can begin to cultivate faith towards the qualities that the spiritual teacher embodies and represents. The Buddha is the embodiment of the Three Jewels who are the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Of these Three Jewels, the Buddha represents the state of enlightened mind, the Dharma represents enlightened speech and the Sangha represents enlightened form. Whenever there is mention of the Buddha, this always includes the Dharma and Sangha because the Three Jewels are inseparable. The Three Jewels of Refuge cannot be separated because together they represent the complete state of perfect realization. They represent the pure, true nature of the disciples body, speech, and mind, which also cannot be separated. Since the spiritual teacher represents the Three Jewels, how can we follow the path of Buddhism without relying upon a teacher? To think that the role of the teacher can be diminished because it is only necessary to rely upon the Sangha for guidance will not suffice if one is aspiring to achieve the state of perfectly enlightened Buddhahood. Sangha means "followers of virtue." In order to follow the path of virtue, one must rely on the Dharma as the speech of the Buddha. Without the Buddha and Dharma, how can there be the path of Buddhism that leads to liberation? The Buddha appears for sentient beings in any kind of form that is necessary and beneficial. The spiritual teacher that we either do or do not have the good fortune to meet with is the representative or embodiment of the Buddha. To be a representative of the Buddha is quite a responsibility. Therefore on the Buddhist path, becoming a fully qualified authentic spiritual teacher is not something to be taken lightly. Nor should a teacher ever consider accepting disciples on a casual basis. It is absolutely necessary to fully examine the potential teacher, no matter which path of Buddhism one is hoping to pursue. Likewise, the teacher must examine the disciple regardless of their aspirations to enter a particular path of dharma practice. The point of view of the teacher as the embodiment of the Three Jewels of Refuge differs according to the different schools of Buddhism. It is important to know the difference and practice accordingly. After the process of examination is complete, and when the final decision is made to request to become the disciple of a particular teacher, if the request is granted, then holding a pure view toward that teacher thereafter is crucial for the disciple's spiritual development. This should be obvious since the source of uncontrived faith, devotion and respect is the mind. Buddha Shakyamuni said: "All existent phenomena are naturally within the mind. Mind is primary and exists before there are the actions of body and speech." Although the importance of the initial stage of examining the teacher should always be stressed, it is a step that is easily ignored. Many westerners wonder what is appropriate, and what is not. Initially, before the formal relationship begins, almost anything is appropriate. A simple way to begin the examination process is to check and see, in the case of an Asian teacher, if the teacher has disciples in his or her own country, and what type of spiritual deeds they have accomplished in the past. Find out if other Asians accept this person as a qualified teacher, take empowerments from, and hold this teacher with deep respect. Just reading about the person's credentials like reviewing a resume is not necessarily a reliable or accurate source. Rather than checking names and titles, it is important to check qualities. Often times there are teachers who claim to hold a title among their peers when in fact they are only promoting themselves erroneously in foreign cultures. If the teacher in question is from your own country, then you must investigate their background. Just reading about their credentials on a flyer or in an advertisement should not be the basis for making the decision to accept them as a spiritual guide. Do you really think that fame, name, prosperity, physical appearance or charisma are the only acceptable qualities necessary to look for when searching for a sublime spiritual teacher who will lead you to liberation? It is much safer to be practical, wise and patient enough to take the time to research their lineage of teachers and teachings and check to see if their own dharma peers have respect for them that is comparable to their personal claims. These are important steps in the process of searching for the right connection. In the teachings there are innumerable guidelines given to help determine the true qualities of a spiritual guide. It isn't necessary to repeat all of those qualities here; however it should be obvious to anyone with even a little intelligence that a spiritual teacher must possess humility and true compassion for others. It is very surprising that so many disciples are inclined to follow teachers who do not demonstrate these most important qualities. Doesn't it seem important to look for a teacher whose three doors are not separate from virtue? Doesn't it also seem logical that a teacher should show unflagging respect for his or her teachers and tradition without compromise? Please keep in mind that the path of Buddhism is based on tradition, faith, wisdom, and compassion.
Those who do not have a formal teacher-student relationship but are developing their full potential as human beings are able to do so because they are learning selflessness through cultivating respect for others. From this point of view other beings are temporarily serving the role of the spiritual teacher. There is a difference between this stage and the stage of becoming a disciple on the path of Buddhism. When an individual decides to become a Buddhist and exchange self-fixation for faith and devotion, it is because they realize that cyclic existence is by nature impermanent and based on suffering which only brings temporary states of limited happiness. They realize that in order to learn about the path leading from this undesirable state they must find a qualified guide who has either realized the state of perfect liberation or who has the full capacity to reveal the correct path. By relying upon such a guide, through respect the student continues to learn selflessness, and by cultivating faith, the student begins to become aware of the intangible, stainless wisdom nature that the teacher represents. Eventually, the student will see that this wisdom nature is their own nature. The purity of the teacher-student relationship, which is based on faith, makes this possible. Doesn't it seem logical that permanent happiness and liberation from suffering would have occurred long ago if it was based on independent effort alone? Now that it has been established that the student-teacher relationship is the basis for the path of Buddhism, it is important to look at some of the most common misconceptions and fears that exist concerning this relationship. Many westerners concerned about the conduct of spiritual teachers are trying to impose guidelines upon their teachers in order to protect themselves and others. Several points need to be taken into consideration here. Wanting to impose guidelines upon spiritual teachers is an attitude that comes from the habit of nihilism. Over countless generations, the tradition of Buddhism has always been that of lineages of teachers guiding students, not students guiding teachers. For countless generations the non-spiritual tradition has also been that of teachers guiding students because students lack the capacity to guide their teachers. Wanting to impose guidelines on Buddhist teachers is a cultural habit that is based on basic nihilism and the democratic ideal. The main concern is to insure that everything under observation is equalized. Among all the democratic countries in the world, America is the leader. Still, if carefully examined, no matter how hard America may try to impose the democratic ideal of equality upon everything and everyone, tremendous conflict persists between the democrats and republicans, who are at the very heart of the democratic structure. Wishing to impose these ideals upon Buddhist teachers proves that there is a lack of basic understanding on a spiritual level. In addition, this displays the arrogance of thinking that one knows something about that which one does not. The worst of this is that some westerners who are trying to impose these guidelines and new American ideals upon the traditional path of Buddhism do not really believe in Buddhism's traditional way, yet they continue to use the name of Buddhism for their very existence. If these cultural ideals are imposed upon the pure path of traditional Buddhism it will not be possible for the fruit of a teacher-student relationship to ripen. The root of this problem is illuminated by this quotation from the teachings of Thinley Norbu Rinpoche.
Dharma's respect which depends on our limitless wisdom mind is disrespectful to samsara's respect which depends on the dualistic mind. If we always respect samsara's way we cannot release our rigid limited mind into true respectful pure light qualities. But, temporarily, without respecting samsara's customs we cannot reveal Dharma's way.
This quotation also helps to illuminate the importance of learning how to examine the teacher-student relationship according to the Buddhist tradition, in order to cultivate unshakeable faith and respect. Once the relationship begins, if one only continues to rely upon the mind of samsara's way (dualistic habits), then it will not be possible to cultivate deep enduring faith. Whenever unexpected circumstances occur, faith and belief will easily change and be forsaken. If we experience faith, it is because we want to believe in something extraordinary and sublime beyond the suffering of ordinary existence. If our conceptualized object of faith is perceived from a confused or deluded point of view, and if from materializing intangible spiritual qualities, we decide that the validity of the object has decreased, then faith will decrease right along with it. This is why one must know how to always combine awareness of the relative view of the spiritual teacher with the absolute view. Too many disciples are only aware of the obvious, easy to recognise conspicuous appearance of the relative point of view. Due to emphasizing only this, they easily become disappointed because of inability to recognize that they are actually seeing the reflection of their own level of awareness in the way that they view the spiritual teacher. Often times students will then become so discouraged that they will find faults in their supremely kind spiritual teachers as well as the sacred Dharma. Finally, they will abandon their teacher and the Dharma in order to follow their own ordinary habits. This prevents the cultivation of pure sublime qualities and obstructs the opportunity of making true progress on the Buddhist path to liberation. All sentient beings have the strong habit of only believing in tangible phenomena. Naturally this habit predominates in the minds of westerners as they become disciples on the path. The strong attachment to the tangible phenomena of the temporary circumstances that one believes are real, creates an inability to recognize the profound intangible qualities of the wisdom mind. Many western disciples are afraid that if they give up their attachment to tangible phenomena, they will be cheated or mislead by a spiritual teacher. This attitude defeats the purpose of relying upon a spiritual teacher. If we always believe only in the truth of our own deluded perceptions and fail to believe in that which we cannot see, then we will never believe in vast wisdom qualities because of remaining trapped in our own disbelief. This defeats the very reason for entering the path of Buddhism, and in particular the path of Vajrayana Buddhism.
A true wisdom teacher who cares only about the liberation of others can assume any aspect that will bring benefit to sentient beings. In fact, such teachers engage in whatever means are necessary to help tame the minds of beings in accordance with their faculties, elements and circumstances. In the west, many people expect to hear only kind sweet words of praise from their teachers, so if the teacher points out their faults directly, they react with disappointment, resentment and anger. How can there be true progress on the path, if a student only aspires to cultivate a superficial relationship with a teacher?
Furthermore, no one teaching or circumstance is ever going to be exactly the same for everyone. The kindest teacher of all is the one who selflessly and fearlessly reveals the faults and shortcomings of the disciple. At times when wisdom teachers criticize a disciple, it is to reveal discerning wisdom, humility, selflessness and other enlightened qualities to the disciple. Other times, when the teacher agrees with the student, it is to reveal the wisdom of equanimity. The conduct of the teacher will be in accord with the needs of the disciple, which need not be obvious or tangible. However, the effects of whatever the teacher says or does depend upon how it is understood by the student. It is through the student's personal positive phenomena that the natural indwelling qualities of the awareness mind of the teacher can be understood. Through the great fortune of connecting with a spiritual teacher who can correctly introduce and reflect the nature of mind, a disciple with faith and pure view can use whatever occurs within this precious connection to be led to enlightenment. Once deciding to rely upon a spiritual teacher, entering the path is like rekindling a torch in the darkness so that the path to follow can be clearly identified. Thereafter as one begins to embark upon the path, it is still going to be necessary to continue to rely upon the guide for assistance. The reason for this should be obvious. There will be junctions on the path, dangerous passageways, rest areas that are safe and those that are dangerous. Whether one will continue walking, begin running or even flying down the path will also be determined with the help of the guide. The skillful knowledge that knows how to traverse the path belongs to the one who has already successfully completed the journey. Buddha Shakyamuni completed the journey along with countless other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who are living examples of this knowledge and skill. When choosing a spiritual teacher, a disciple must have unerring confidence that the teacher has this same wisdom knowledge and skill. Ask yourself if you think it is necessary to rely upon a teacher in order to skilfully walk the path that leads to perfectly enlightened Buddhahood? Maintaining a pure relationship with the teacher along the journey is one of the most important guidelines for success. You must learn how to fearlessly trust in the teacher and your own ability to complete this journey that will allow you to believe in the non-dual intangible wisdom nature. This journey will not be like the other experiences that you have had in your life until now. The basic teachings of the path of Buddhism, as well as almost every other pure spiritual tradition, help all beings become happier, kinder, more decent human beings. However, in order to achieve liberation from cyclic existence, it is going to take a lot more than just that. That is why realizing the state of enlightenment depends upon the teacher-student relationship based on faith and pure view. The blessing and singularity of this path is that it has not been compromised or ostracized over the centuries, because so many of the great lineage upholders, leaders and teachers of Buddhism had complete confidence in the timeless truth of the Buddha's teachings. They knew that this truth surpasses the temporary circumstances created by the dualistic mind. When choosing a teacher, please look to see if their speech and actions are in accord with the Buddha's teachings or not. Since the Buddha presented 84,000 categories of teachings in the world, investigating these teachings alone could take more than a few lifetimes. Once deciding to become a Buddhist, it is best to use one's effort to investigate the vast and inconceivable teachings of the Buddha and put them to practice rather than deviating from the authentic path by attempting to materialize the sacred dharma through dualistic habituation. It is as Jé Mipham Rinpoche states:
Even though the sublime ones may become the objects of aggression, their sublime noble qualities can never be stopped. Such disparagement will only exhaust your own qualities in the same way that pointing a burning torch downward will burn your own arm.
It is unquestionable that by relying upon the most precious and rare relationship with a spiritual guide, all negative habits will be purified and transformed through faith, practice, and meditation in wisdom awareness. Until realizing self nature as the absolute spiritual teacher, it is necessary to sustain a pure relationship by constantly seeing the spiritual teacher to be the very nature of the state of Buddhahood. It is as Paltrül Rinpoche states:
Through the disciples faith, the teacher's enlightened intention is invoked. Through the teacher's wisdom blessings, the disciple's mind is liberated. By this most auspicious excellent connection between teacher and student, may sentient beings achieve the state of perfectly enlightened Buddhahood as one mandala!
Sangye Khandro
"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
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 7937
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Teacher & Root Guru

Postby Totoro » Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:07 am

In another post Gregkarvanos said:

A teacher is one thing, but a root guru is a completely different deal!


When does a teacher become a root guru? Say, if a teacher decides to spend a couple of years or so to check out a disciple and vice versa, before 'accepting' him as a serious student, what will happen to change that status to 'root guru'? THanks.
User avatar
Totoro
 
Posts: 58
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2011 3:25 pm

Re: Teacher & Root Guru

Postby zerwe » Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:45 am

I am sure there are all sorts of technical answers. Some say that your root guru may be whom
you have received tantric initiation from, etc... However, the best answer I have heard/read is
that your root guru should be the one who moves your heart the most. The one who has the greatest impact
on your mind stream.
Shaun :namaste:
zerwe
 
Posts: 209
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:25 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: Teacher & Root Guru

Postby twonny » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:49 am

Some say that your root guru may be whom
you have received tantric initiation from


zewe is right on with this. "guru" is a Sanskrit term relating to tantra, basically anybody you have received a tantric initiation, especially highest yoga tantra or someone who has introduced you to the nature of your mind should be considered a guru. A root guru is a relationship one should develop over time and relies one faith and trust in the guru from the disciples side.

regarding a teacher, the Tibetan tradition, in particular the Lam Rim describes the qualities of a spiritual friend which is the qualities a teacher should have from the point of view of sutra

This is a pretty technical explanation, and in reality it should be your own personal experience that guides you.
"To go beyond samsara and nirvana, we will need the two wings of emptiness and compassion. From now on, let us use these two wings to fly fearlessly into the sky of the life to come." — Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
twonny
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:07 am

Re: Teacher & Root Guru

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:30 pm

Totoro wrote:In another post Gregkarvanos said:

A teacher is one thing, but a root guru is a completely different deal!


When does a teacher become a root guru? Say, if a teacher decides to spend a couple of years or so to check out a disciple and vice versa, before 'accepting' him as a serious student, what will happen to change that status to 'root guru'? THanks.


According to the traditions of Sakya, Gelug and Jonang, a root guru is anyone from whom one has received the four empowerments.

In Kagyu, a root guru is someone who actually caused you to recognize the nature of your mind in a non-intellectual way.

In Dzogchen, a root guru is the person who introduces one to one's primordial state in an unmistakable way.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
Posts: 10217
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Teacher & Root Guru

Postby Clarence » Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:54 pm

Namdrol wrote:According to the traditions of Sakya, Gelug and Jonang, a root guru is anyone from whom one has received the four empowerments.

In Kagyu, a root guru is someone who actually caused you to recognize the nature of your mind in a non-intellectual way.

In Dzogchen, a root guru is the person who introduces one to one's primordial state in an unmistakable way.


N-la,

Is there a difference between what is shown in Kagyu and Dzogchen or do they both show the same thing, only the way to get there is different?

Best, C
Clarence
 
Posts: 569
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:19 pm

Re: Teacher & Root Guru

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:07 pm

Clarence wrote:
Namdrol wrote:According to the traditions of Sakya, Gelug and Jonang, a root guru is anyone from whom one has received the four empowerments.

In Kagyu, a root guru is someone who actually caused you to recognize the nature of your mind in a non-intellectual way.

In Dzogchen, a root guru is the person who introduces one to one's primordial state in an unmistakable way.


N-la,

Is there a difference between what is shown in Kagyu and Dzogchen or do they both show the same thing, only the way to get there is different?

Best, C



You will probably get different answers, but the former is included in the latter, so there is some similarity of meaning. The terminology is very different however, and there are key differences between the two presentations that depend on their respective paths.

N
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
Posts: 10217
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Teacher & Root Guru

Postby AlexanderS » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:47 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Clarence wrote:
Namdrol wrote:According to the traditions of Sakya, Gelug and Jonang, a root guru is anyone from whom one has received the four empowerments.

In Kagyu, a root guru is someone who actually caused you to recognize the nature of your mind in a non-intellectual way.

In Dzogchen, a root guru is the person who introduces one to one's primordial state in an unmistakable way.


N-la,

Is there a difference between what is shown in Kagyu and Dzogchen or do they both show the same thing, only the way to get there is different?

Best, C



You will probably get different answers, but the former is included in the latter, so there is some similarity of meaning. The terminology is very different however, and there are key differences between the two presentations that depend on their respective paths.

N


Wouldn't it be necessary, to actually have formally have asked a teacher to be your root guru before it is so. I mean, that there is a formal and conscious relationship between the teacher and the student. I wouldn't want to break heavy samaya by slandering or having wrong views about my root guru without actually consciously knowing he is my root guru.
AlexanderS
 
Posts: 284
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:58 am

Re: Teacher & Root Guru

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:13 pm

AlexanderS wrote:
Wouldn't it be necessary, to actually have formally have asked a teacher to be your root guru before it is so. I mean, that there is a formal and conscious relationship between the teacher and the student. I wouldn't want to break heavy samaya by slandering or having wrong views about my root guru without actually consciously knowing he is my root guru.


Whenever a guru gives a major empowerment or direct introduction, there is always a possibility that one or more students will have an authentic discovery of their true state. He already accepts that some students their may discover their real nature, and that they might come to regard him or her as their root guru. That is what it means to take responsibility for giving transmission. When someone gives transmission they are doing so in order to help people become realized, to realized their own nature. When that happens, that guru becomes the root guru for that student, and from then on that student has real knowledge of their own nature. The person who removes that doubt for you is your root guru and no other. It also does not mean you realize that right away. Sometimes it may take you a little while to figure out. So there is never any need to ask formal permission from some Lama "Oh, can I consider you my root teacher"-- if they say yes, than what shall you do? If you do this, it means you do not have real knowledge of your state or that you have some doubts or are in a state of confusion. Especially if the request is based on just some sort of love-sick emotion that poses as faith (which happens a lot, and why unstable western students often leave this or that lama when the infatuation wears off). The identity of your root guru is based on your own knowledge. No one can tell you who your root guru is, not even some Lama who is acting as a guru. If some Lama declares to you "I am your root guru" before you have some real knowledge of the teachings, then be careful, especially if you have never received some sort of empowerment or direct introduction from that person. If you take a major empowerment from some guru, as I have said, according to the system of Sakya, etc., this person already is your root guru. In this system, one can therefore have as many root gurus as one has received major empowerments. Receiving the four empowerments automatically makes them your root guru. If you received sixteen major empowerments from sixteen different gurus you have sixteen root gurus. According to this system, however, there is also the concept of the karmic link root guru which resembles the Kagyu and Nyingma approach i.e. based on this guru’s instructions you have an authentic realization of the nature of your mind. So, if you are approaching this from a Kagyu and Dzogchen point of view, and you do not have real confidence in your state, then you don't have to consider anyone your root guru. Of course you still have gurus -- but when you have real conviction and knowledge then those people who have given you that conviction and knowledge are your actual root gurus. Before that time, they are just your gurus."
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
Posts: 10217
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Teacher & Root Guru

Postby AlexanderS » Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:20 pm

Namdrol wrote:
AlexanderS wrote:
Wouldn't it be necessary, to actually have formally have asked a teacher to be your root guru before it is so. I mean, that there is a formal and conscious relationship between the teacher and the student. I wouldn't want to break heavy samaya by slandering or having wrong views about my root guru without actually consciously knowing he is my root guru.


Whenever a guru gives a major empowerment or direct introduction, there is always a possibility that one or more students will have an authentic discovery of their true state. He already accepts that some students their may discover their real nature, and that they might come to regard him or her as their root guru. That is what it means to take responsibility for giving transmission. When someone gives transmission they are doing so in order to help people become realized, to realized their own nature. When that happens, that guru becomes the root guru for that student, and from then on that student has real knowledge of their own nature. The person who removes that doubt for you is your root guru and no other. It also does not mean you realize that right away. Sometimes it may take you a little while to figure out. So there is never any need to ask formal permission from some Lama "Oh, can I consider you my root teacher"-- if they say yes, than what shall you do? If you do this, it means you do not have real knowledge of your state or that you have some doubts or are in a state of confusion. Especially if the request is based on just some sort of love-sick emotion that poses as faith (which happens a lot, and why unstable western students often leave this or that lama when the infatuation wears off). The identity of your root guru is based on your own knowledge. No one can tell you who your root guru is, not even some Lama who is acting as a guru. If some Lama declares to you "I am your root guru" before you have some real knowledge of the teachings, then be careful, especially if you have never received some sort of empowerment or direct introduction from that person. If you take a major empowerment from some guru, as I have said, according to the system of Sakya, etc., this person already is your root guru. In this system, one can therefore have as many root gurus as one has received major empowerments. Receiving the four empowerments automatically makes them your root guru. If you received sixteen major empowerments from sixteen different gurus you have sixteen root gurus. According to this system, however, there is also the concept of the karmic link root guru which resembles the Kagyu and Nyingma approach i.e. based on this guru’s instructions you have an authentic realization of the nature of your mind. So, if you are approaching this from a Kagyu and Dzogchen point of view, and you do not have real confidence in your state, then you don't have to consider anyone your root guru. Of course you still have gurus -- but when you have real conviction and knowledge then those people who have given you that conviction and knowledge are your actual root gurus. Before that time, they are just your gurus."



Thank you very much for this in-depth reply
AlexanderS
 
Posts: 284
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:58 am

Re: Teacher & Root Guru

Postby heart » Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:40 pm

Excellent post Namdrol!

/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
User avatar
heart
 
Posts: 2937
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: Teacher & Root Guru

Postby conebeckham » Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:38 pm

Yes, excellent. This should be a "sticky" response, any time the question of root guru comes up--this nails it.
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.
User avatar
conebeckham
 
Posts: 2458
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: Teacher & Root Guru

Postby Clarence » Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:31 pm

Thank you very much N-la. That was awesome!
Clarence
 
Posts: 569
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:19 pm

Next

Return to Tibetan Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Gwenn Dana, heart, Karma Jinpa, pensum and 23 guests

>