The Profound Practice of Guru Yoga
Teachings on the Inner Preliminaries of Kalachakra
By Khentrul Rinpoché Jamphel Lodrö
Rinpoché introduces how to develop pure perception in relationship to the Conventional Guru in order to strengthen one's connection to the Ultimate Guru.
These teachings were recorded at the Rimé Institute in Belgrave, Australia on June 11, 2015
So the guru yoga, today’s subject. In Tibetan call…(@ 38.40 uses Tib term). ….(part of word) means you know like the reality, the real….(part of word) means you reach, that’s reality. So it means really, you reach the reality. Which reality? The sacred reality, this sacred truth, the Buddha nature, your absolute reality, absolute truth. You reach this stage through the lama, throughout the lama, or you can say the reach the reality, the lama of the sacred truth. You reach lama of the sacred truth or you reached the lama of the Buddha nature, the tathagatagarbha, that’s basically saying. So that’s why if we say reached the ultimate truth through the lama, not 100% correct. But you can say, “I will reach the ultimate lama through the relative lama”. So you can say that maybe. The ultimate reality, the sacred truth, the Buddha nature is the true lama, the true guru. So, you reached that stage as your own nature, through the relative lama. The relative lama means the lama as much as you can experience the lama, with your limitation, with our limitation, as far as we see the lama we perceive the lama, we experience the lama. Through that you reach the true reality lama. That is guru yoga, that is ….(@ 41.37 uses Tib term, same as at 38.40). Which means that is guru yoga ok.
So what is that exactly is? You formed perception that your lama is embodiment if all Buddhas and bodhisattvas three times of the ten directions. Or another word you say your lama is the mandala of all Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the three times and the ten directions. Three times of the ten directions which means everything, everywhere, any possibility, is reflection of your own lama. So that means you aiming for your true nature the lama, reaching, but you practicing and generate your external lama as divine being, as something related with your own Buddha nature. So that’s why you try to practice with your limit level, your limit perception and your limit, your feeling, at that level you try to understand or generate that conventional lama, you raising up, you valuing you higher and you loving more and you dedicating more. That’s you doing.
So the next question, why we do that? Why is important to do that? That is a little bit challenging part. Why is challenging part? It is not challenging because of less truth in it. Not something wrong about the reality but the challenge, because is not so much to do with ordinary conventional perception. For this reason a little bit challenge. So we have to find a few reasons we can think of, why is worth to do it. Ok. Usually people say and think the external lama over there and then you try to think that lama is Buddha. And then you have really struggle, ordinary human being, appears for you as ordinary human being, you think of something like Buddha. Then you have challenging comes and then many people then pretend have no challenging. But challenge is there.
But I think important first step we just have to learn ourselves and knowing and aware yourself, “I am limited. Am I limited or not? Yes absolutely I am limited”. You learn that first. All my perceptions and you know like everything is correct or not?” According to Buddha’s teachings, 99.99% is wrong. So you just have to remember that first. And then you have to remember, in my…you know, who I am. So firstly according to Buddha, who I am, I am absolute not exist, I just illusion. But let grab this illusion as real, this reality of me. Am I have freedom? And then you say no, absolute not, I am dominated my karma. So I am dominated my karma means also my perception, my feeling, everything also dominated by my karma. So for this reason of course that means everything not really up to you. Everything you have no possession or how you say, you have no power at all, the karma dominate you. That means how I am weak, my perception. Ok that means everything appears to me is karma dominating. So karma dominating means not karma bring some reality to you, not that. It is you cannot experience what is reality, instead you experiencing whatever your karma is. So that means your karma is different colours of glasses, so you can see similar of that glass colour. So much more than that actually but that is good enough to, what you call, I forgot that one. Analogy.
Ok so for this reason, first step, I am not judging, I am not really believing everything what I experiencing, I am not believing 100%. Yes some degree I have to believe and I have to act accordingly, I have to live accordingly, I have to survive accordingly, but in keep in my mind, I don’t believe this is only reality. So that keep in the mind. And then you keep especially something is really virtuous and really high spirituality, of course I have much more obstacle, much more obscuration. Which means this glass you wearing, more important, there are more subtle things of course, you less seeing . So just remember that.
Then probably you should think of, what is really tantrayana emphasising? So maybe you can analyse entire of this tantrayana system. What tantrayana does? For instance if your teacher, we say pratimoksha level. pratimoksha level means the system of individual liberation, that level. Your teacher is something like your friends. You see as good friends, trustworthy friends, something you relying on, many things, maybe not everything but many things. That’s enough. And then you go Mahayana level, altruistic, compassionate bodhisattva level. Is something more than friends. Much more than friends. You know something, your friends cannot compare but still you can see as sentient being, you know I mean, you can see as high sentient being but is still being. You can see that. But then if you move to the tantrayana, you don’t really see as a sentient being, you have to see as divine being, But this same person, so I think you can see that way, your own teacher. When you have pratimoksha path, you see as friends and then you see best friends, then you see as more than friends, then you see as divine being. And then you go highest level of tantrayana and that time, not just high divine being but you see as absolute the high being as a Buddha. Not only that but embodiment of all Buddhas and bodhisattvas, mandala of all Buddhas and bodhisattva. Which means source of every single enlightened being. Why is changes everything, that same person? So the answer is not the person is changed, not your teacher is changed but your capacity is changed. Your capacity changed why? Because you thought, you may think. “oh my teacher is better and better now”. But actually, no you better and better. That’s why you see different, you experience differently.
But I think the important here you look at the tantrayana system and other systems, what tantrayana do? Tantrayana do all the ordinary things. All the ordinary things they make very special. And the other systems say this good this bad, this good, this bad, throw away, and from beginning even this is black, this white, this black this white. Then more bodhisattva way, “oh it’s not only just black, is many colours, ok ok this colour , this colours nice, this colour not so good, this colour maybe medium bah, bah, bah”. And then tantrayana say most of them good. And then we go your highest tantrayana, everything is good. For this reason is not really surprising or you see is your guru is, you see or you believe, or you generate your perception your guru is something emanation of Buddha, bodhisattva. That’s not that hard is it. Maybe source of all Buddhas and bodhisattvas may be much harder but emanation of, that’s shouldn’t be too hard.
So that’s why I think if somebody have no karma to see that system, you have no karma, at the moment, not forever. Nobody is forever, that same situation, same position, not forever, but just temporary now. But if you had that position, if you have that connection, why not? I think it is kind of like slowly, slowly we can see, is kind of like very clever system. Otherwise you don’t have to believe any tantrayana at all. So the lower tantrayana, deities like your lord and second like your friends and then third level, yourself, that way. And all four elements is, five elements, is the five female Buddhas and five aggregates is the five Buddhas. All like this way. That’s why I think when we entrain (? @ 59.33) the tantrayana, the guru yoga is like key because you don’t have to think everything is five Buddha families, five female Buddhas. You don’t think that way, you just need think only your guru, your guru is divine Buddha. You generate that feeling and shouldn’t be that hard. It should be very easy for, if you have that connection, you know. Because you don’t have to search something else, you just have to change your attitude and your perception, what you have.
Usually typically, people use things, traditionally somebody teaching guru yoga, what they say, “oh all because Buddha said this and this and this.“ They bring many, many texts. There is another conditions say…. (@ 1.00.58 uses Tib term). Which means there’s is no Buddha before lama, ok, and all the thousands of Buddha’s come from lama. Those things they saying. You know, the other things what they saying, Buddha himself said when he passed away, he said, “please my disciples, Ananda and so forth. Don’t be sad. I will be emanate as like your teachers”. So that’s way they’re saying.
So basically what I’m saying here, whole tantrayana system, everything is pure, everything you have general perception. So that’s why every single thing in normal conventional level, dirty things, controversial things, everything in tantrayana system, the highest tantrayana system, everything is excellent. Remember I said sometimes, the best romantic perception ever you can have. So which means romantic is kind of illusion, kind of illusion in one way. But make things, ordinary things become special for a while. So if that is could be greater, much more greater and then like tantrayana system. You sees everything as special pure, enlightened beings. I think that’s the problem the hippies mistake. They take drugs and they think this and they think then having tantrayana realisation. You know. Yes, like drug people, for awhile all problems just kind of disappear with the drug and you think all is wonderful. But the problems waiting for you. (laughs). But the tantrayana system if you practice properly, the problems not waiting for you. This problems, because you have all the time, you not relying on the drug. So you transforming yourself, your own thoughts, your own perception. That is reality. That’s why everything, all ordinary things become very special.
So human beings take everything in negative way, take piece and then you know like, wrong interpretations and many things. For instance, you know people argue and have problems because they take some words from the context, out of context, and then they make trouble. On television, media and so many things they try to do that. That’s why the court cases and everything they do this and this. Especially the political criticisms. Similarly the human beings take everything the wrong way, some pieces and then formed wrong perception. But if you don’t do that way, tantrayana is not emphasising only sexuality or something, is not that, is everything you emphasise, all ordinarily things become special for you. And then much more better than drug, hallucinating, good feelings. You know.
So I think that is the main key, key thing, the tantrayana, makes everything, all ordinary things, makes special. But not makes special really, in realising special because the ultimate truth is special, because we formed too much negative perception. So remember the poison, somebody only can do, not go near the poison, stay away from the poison. Some people can use this poison, have find antidotes, then you can deal with this poison. And some people this poison is useful and some people they use more skills, then you have more useful and then becomes medicine. So same thing, so just remember poison, would you like poison turns medicine or you want make huge effort, try to get rid of the poison. The tantrayana system or that’s sutrayana system, that’s difference. So for this reason, is much more effective and clever and faster poison turns medicine. So let’s say you have this big, big, big, big huge dodgy house. You want to get rid of everything and have to make new one, or have skills turn this, becomes fantastic? Of course we don’t have skills, turn this become fantastic, then we have to get rid of everything and we have to start from scratch. But tantrayana way, you don’t have to get rid of everything from scratch, instead you have so clever, so you make that become fantastic. So that way really.
So for this system, then guru is so important, so precious, and sources of everything, is clever way. Because otherwise you just have to think of you know like, let’s say, let’s think of the Buddha. The lower wisdom, Buddha means only the historical Buddha, Buddha Shakyamuni. So that is almost 3,000 years ago died, but the blessing should be here. Somehow is hidden, we don’t see the blessing there so then we prayer and Buddha helps, unseen being. That’s all we can do. And then if you a little bit high wisdom, “oh Buddha is not just Buddha Shakyamuni. Buddha Shakyamuni means is with our limit karma, limit perception, and we have limit history, there’s one Buddha appears in this earth.” That’s all. But the Buddha is much more than that. That is just one emanation of Buddha. But Buddha’s and bodhisattvas much more than that. That’s why people question “ohh Tibetans have so many Buddha’s and so many deities. How many you have? Hindu have five, six seven, eight, nine or something, how many you have?” That is kind of like stupid question. And then if we answered, “oh, we have ten or something”, and that’s even more stupid answer. So the answer is how many sentient beings? Is countless? They say yes, ok, same thing. Buddha is countless. If somebody say this, that’s a little bit higher than one Buddha. “Ok then why you have this one, two, three Buddha, I know there’s ten Buddha’s Tibetan tradition, one, three female Buddha’s and why three female and seven male why?” The good answer is there is no males more, females less, nothing like that, nothing that Tibetan system ok. You just have to say this is just some reason, have some custom, some Buddha’s, the some, particularly custom, because this people is limited, this custom is limited, they using some limited images, stories, that’s’ all. So if somebody sees that way, is much higher than we just have one Buddha and one Jesus and one Mohamed. Ok. Is much higher than that view. Understood?
And the other problem, many people think, “oh this ancient, this Buddha’s and bodhisattvas…” even the Tibetan system, Tibetans, usual typical Tibetans think, “…all the incredible Mahasiddhas and the ancient ones. They are fantastic so we just have to repeat what they say. We can’t think anything further”. That’s a little bit too much. It is really good you have really respect of them, yes, and you appreciate them and you don’t forget them, and you keep remembering them and learn thoroughly their texts, their system, good fantastic. But don’t please think there is no other way impossible, don’t think that way. That’s impossible. The time is different, the sentient beings is different, everything changes. Even what they focus the absolute reality, you think the reality should be one, but still the way of explaining, the way of practicing, the way of experiencing, should have more. That means more clever I think, more wisdom in it.
So for this reason, all of them still is you know like, far away and something not humans, or something unusual humans, is still far, far away with time, far, far away with distant. Physically far away, mentally far away, everything. So this guru system kind of reject of that, and bring, “no, no your guru is number one, your guru who stand in front of you and every day, and not necessarily every day, but you know often pointing you. That is number one, not the far, far away” They saying this. I think quite clever you know. So you basically, the other way saying, you forgot your appreciate your reality and you thinking some far, far away and something good. But the human beings, the naturally human beings, human beings problem, everything is near you, reality of you, with you, surround you, you don’t see the goodness. And you something somewhere, “oh all greedy and this and this. Ohhh one day I do this ohhh”. That’s the problem. (laughs).So I think guru system telling you, no, no your guru is number one. That is source of all Buddhas and bodhisattvas. Please grab this and appreciate this, I think that saying ok?
Ok that’s why sometime suggest your guru should not be very, very close to you. You know. And Milarepa said this, …..(@ 1.18.03 uses Tib term). Which means when is a guru, I have no devotion. When I, guru is gone, I have devotion, not together, so shame, and … (@ 1.18.27 uses Tib term). When is my parents there, I don’t have love, when they die I have love, too late. Probably same, partner, many things. Not together, that’s the problem, so probably other things, possessions and belonging things. You don’t have appreciation but when one day you are in the jail or something, you are one hundreds, one thousand times worse situation, at that time, “oh I was so lucky”. But is too late.
Probably sometimes people can think his really silly you know, like you normal human being, ordinary person here, you think is the Buddha, you do this. “Are you crazy?” (laughs) “Are you crazy?” But it’s not sometimes, not very logical, but you know within even my experience and all the stories and everything, who has indestructible devotion, guru, they got the best realisation attainments, and there’s not one single who has not devotion, got the best spiritual attainments, zero, that’s the problem ok. So that answers everything, so something if you have naturally you have, you are very fortunate it but if is something we don’t have naturally, still we something we have to generate. But we have to understand way, everything I appreciate is…happiness is choosing me, but you make everything conditional, then you seeking happiness, never reach, really genuine happiness you never reach. But if I appreciate everything and then happiness chasing me, not I’m chasing happiness. Same way probably you have to think my spiritual attainments, my pure perception and dedication and devotion. So devotion and dedication is up to me. So you make myself is obstacle of my realisation or make myself right condition, you know have the realisation. I think we have to think that way.
But other way also very clever because you know like when we say, how you say, you know we, some incredible devotion the gods, you know Buddha, that kind of devotion. Devotion means you know, zero doubts, zero doubts you know, absolute devotion means zero doubts and enormous immeasurable respect. Then the perfect love in it, that is the ultimate really devotion. So probably normal sentient being, not something culture dominate, probably that much easier to have human being rather than something you don’t even see, never experience. So for this reason, because we are human beings we have many, we make by many afflictions but also we made by love and kind of like compassion and some kindness and some good qualities in it as well. There’s nobody zero good quality. So for this reason, especially love, all of these things we just have, everybody definitely have some degree. So is much more easier if you love somebody have dedication and devotion, rather than is not like something human being and you don’t know really how to love because not human being. So as long as human being, your teacher is human being, then maybe you first have some love and then you know some devotion, respect, dedication, slowly slowly. There could bring each other. Maybe you can’t have everything at once you know.
But I think the key thing, don’t think your guru is just appearances. So you have to think guru is something much more bigger than something you see, something appears to you. Include your own Buddha nature. Finally connect that, that’s why at end of the guru yoga we just mixing together. Actually mixing is wrong word. Emerging ok. So whatever the best word you can find. Ok so we have time, so maybe we leave here today and how to visualise it all those things in the text and the commentary Hidden Treasure and Sacred Truth you look there, everybody knows. And the overseas and everyone listen online, probably can write some questions if they have problem. But you guys know anyway, so you guys can teach each other and today we have no time to practice guru yoga so next time practice ok.
- June 15, 2016
Raw transcripts created by Vanessa Mason