Is guru yoga enough?

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Is guru yoga enough?

Postby Kelwin » Tue May 01, 2012 7:44 pm

Hi all,

Related to the Diamondway topic, yet seperately from it, I'd like to ask a question: Do you think doing practicing ngondro and guru yoga, or guru yoga alone, is enough for full realization? And I mean, practicing one of the main guru yogas (Milarepa, Karma Pakshi, Mikyo Dorje, etc) daily, and keeping the guru in your heart 24/7 best you can, while maintaining pure view, best you can. No more, no less.

The obvious answer seems yes. Yet some people may emphasize the need for doing the yogas, or tregchod/togal. Or, something else? What do you think? Not meant as a topic for strong debate, but as a genuine interest about the way some the more experienced friends look at it.

All the best,
Kelwin
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Re: Is guru yoga enough?

Postby Josef » Tue May 01, 2012 7:50 pm

Yes. Since Guru Yoga is the essence of all other practices, it is the key to realization.
Last edited by Josef on Tue May 01, 2012 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is guru yoga enough?

Postby deepbluehum » Tue May 01, 2012 7:54 pm

Don't leave home without it.
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Re: Is guru yoga enough?

Postby konchog_dardrol » Tue May 01, 2012 8:04 pm

Like every once says, short answer is probably yes.

Longer answer might be different. Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon said you need all parts of the path, from cultivating renunciation and refuge, to bodhicitta, deity yoga, guru yoga, mahamudra meditation, and dedication in order to have complete realization of mahamudra (and that all of these must be cultivated in a single session). Hence the Drikung Fivefold Mahamudra.
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Re: Is guru yoga enough?

Postby Kelwin » Tue May 01, 2012 8:05 pm

deepbluehum wrote:Don't leave home without it.

:twothumbsup:
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Re: Is guru yoga enough?

Postby Kelwin » Tue May 01, 2012 8:07 pm

konchog_dardrol wrote:Like every once says, short answer is probably yes.

Longer answer might be different. Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon said you need all parts of the path, from cultivating renunciation and refuge, to bodhicitta, deity yoga, guru yoga, mahamudra meditation, and dedication in order to have complete realization of mahamudra (and that all of these must be cultivated in a single session). Hence the Drikung Fivefold Mahamudra.

Ok, but I think we can agree that all those are included in any proper session of Guru Yoga practice? Or would doing 'just' that practice be a bit too simple?
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Re: Is guru yoga enough?

Postby Jinzang » Tue May 01, 2012 8:40 pm

Guru yoga is a profound practice, but when asked about this I say:

Meditate on loving kindness and compassion as a prelude to bodhicitta

Do shamatha practice

Start ngondro practice, culminating in guru yoga

I have doubts that you will get very far without a stable shamatha practice, but that is my personal opinion.
Lamrim, lojong, and mahamudra are the unmistaken path.
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Re: Is guru yoga enough?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue May 01, 2012 9:00 pm

Kelwin wrote:Ok, but I think we can agree that all those are included in any proper session of Guru Yoga practice? Or would doing 'just' that practice be a bit too simple?
Aaaahhh, that nasty western preponderance to overcomplicate things! This obsessive notion that more is always better!
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Is guru yoga enough?

Postby Caz » Tue May 01, 2012 9:08 pm

There have been many practitioners who's sole practice was Guru Yoga and have achieved great results, Never abandon it never doubt it, Devote yourself to it. Guru Yoga is the most important practice within Vajrayana. Always remember your Guru at your heart and one day your minds will thoroughly intertwine. :namaste:
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.
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Re: Is guru yoga enough?

Postby Kelwin » Tue May 01, 2012 10:16 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Kelwin wrote:Ok, but I think we can agree that all those are included in any proper session of Guru Yoga practice? Or would doing 'just' that practice be a bit too simple?
Aaaahhh, that nasty western preponderance to overcomplicate things! This obsessive notion that more is always better!
:namaste:

That's indeed the point Greg! Do we need more? Can we just keep it simple? Get one Guru Yoga practice for life, and just do that? No need to bother looking for more, simply sticking to one thing? If so, may we all be simpleminds! :)
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Re: Is guru yoga enough?

Postby Kelwin » Tue May 01, 2012 10:20 pm

Jinzang wrote:I have doubts that you will get very far without a stable shamatha practice, but that is my personal opinion.
That brings us to a classical debate, is sadhana practice (of any type, including guru yoga) enough to cultivate a peaceful mind, without need for additional shamata? I would say it is sufficient actually.
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Re: Is guru yoga enough?

Postby zerwe » Tue May 01, 2012 10:37 pm

Why can't Shamata be integrated into the practice?
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Re: Is guru yoga enough?

Postby kirtu » Tue May 01, 2012 10:55 pm

Kelwin wrote:
Jinzang wrote:I have doubts that you will get very far without a stable shamatha practice, but that is my personal opinion.
That brings us to a classical debate, is sadhana practice (of any type, including guru yoga) enough to cultivate a peaceful mind, without need for additional shamata? I would say it is sufficient actually.


As zerwe notes, shamata is incorporated in sadhana and guru yoga practice.

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Re: Is guru yoga enough?

Postby deepbluehum » Tue May 01, 2012 10:58 pm

Guru yoga is shamata and vipassana.
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Re: Is guru yoga enough?

Postby deepbluehum » Tue May 01, 2012 11:01 pm

In reality, Vajrayana and Dzogchen are just guru yoga and nothing else. Any method you talk about is a guru yoga up to the method of five lights.
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Re: Is guru yoga enough?

Postby heart » Wed May 02, 2012 5:21 am

Kelwin wrote:
konchog_dardrol wrote:Like every once says, short answer is probably yes.

Longer answer might be different. Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon said you need all parts of the path, from cultivating renunciation and refuge, to bodhicitta, deity yoga, guru yoga, mahamudra meditation, and dedication in order to have complete realization of mahamudra (and that all of these must be cultivated in a single session). Hence the Drikung Fivefold Mahamudra.

Ok, but I think we can agree that all those are included in any proper session of Guru Yoga practice? Or would doing 'just' that practice be a bit too simple?


Any method have to be combined with wisdom. If a method is sufficient or not depends on having received it together with instructions that point directly at the natural state. A trend in the Kagyu tradition is to give pointing-out after Ngondro or even after Yidam. In that case I have my doubts about Guru Yoga as a single sufficient method, if it was the Guru Yoga in the Ngondro that was intended in your question.

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

Postby Kelwin » Wed May 02, 2012 8:51 am

deepbluehum wrote:In reality, Vajrayana and Dzogchen are just guru yoga and nothing else. Any method you talk about is a guru yoga up to the method of five lights.
Ok, can't disagree with that of course! But I meant guru yoga in the more relative sense, of practicing a guru yoga of milarepa, karma pakshi, mikyo dorje, etc. How necessary is it to move into full yidam practice, and practices connected to the 3rd and 4 empowerments?
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Re: Is guru yoga enough?

Postby Kelwin » Wed May 02, 2012 8:58 am

heart wrote:Any method have to be combined with wisdom. If a method is sufficient or not depends on having received it together with instructions that point directly at the natural state.
That's a very good point. However, could the lineage blessing not guide you there? Or maybe receive those instructions once or twice, not really getting it fully yet, and then practice guru yoga until it all manifests?

A trend in the Kagyu tradition is to give pointing-out after Ngondro or even after Yidam. In that case I have my doubts about Guru Yoga as a single sufficient method, if it was the Guru Yoga in the Ngondro that was intended in your question.

/magnus
Nope, I intended sadhanas like Milarepa, Karma Pakshi, Mikyo Dorje, as mentioned in the original question. But do I understand correctly that you would consider the Guru Yoga in the ngondro as a single sufficient method if one actually did get proper pointing out instructions?
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Re: Is guru yoga enough?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed May 02, 2012 9:34 am

Picking your nose is "a single sufficient method if one actually did get proper pointing out instructions" along with its practice! If you read the lives of the mahasiddhas you will see that their compulsive everyday activities were transformed into liberatory methods via pointing out instructions: drinking, gambling, fornicating, ruling empires, wearing a ring, etc... All these seemingly base activities became the means to liberation. So why not guru yoga?
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Is guru yoga enough?

Postby Stewart » Wed May 02, 2012 10:07 am

The Karma Pakshi Guruyoga includes Hayagriva and Dorje Phagmo as Yidams as part of the Sadhana, as well as protectors and various Gurus.

The Mikyo Dorje Guru Yoga has Khorlo Demchog, Milarepa GY has Dorje Phagmo, Marpa GY has Hevajra.... they all include a Yidam in the Sadhana to some degree. Obviously the Guru is the central focus, as he is the embodiment of the 3 roots.

Get the authentic transmission of one of them and practice the Sadhana, they are wonderful practices, particulary Karma Pakshi IMHO.

best wishes.
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