Author Topic: The Power of Proper Guru Devotion  (Read 7286 times)


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The Power of Proper Guru Devotion
« on: July 05, 2012, 04:22:42 AM »
In 'Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand',it is stated that "proper devotion to your guru is the root of all mundane and supramundane qualities. Everything - from the prerequisites for not falling to the lower realms right up to the prerequisites for achieving buddhahood - come effortlessly when you rely on a spiritual guide.(p.228)"

Asvaghosa in 'Fifty Verse of Guru Devotion' says(stanza 25):

"It is from your Guru that powerful attainments, higher rebirth and happiness come.Therefore make a whole-hearted effort never to transgress your guru's advice."

When we have found our Guru and fully submitted to his wise and compassionate guidance,we will be led to the inner Guru -kindness, commitment and clarity - which is, in essence, our own Buddha nature.

Guru Devotion is a swift and direct Path to Enlightenment because it is through the Guru's compassionate and skillful means that we are able to completely eradicate our ego and self-grasping, the root source of our suffering. It is through our Guru's skillful guidance and intervention,  that we are able to achieve purification of our obscurations and negativities and develop  and attain wisdom and compassion. 


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Re: The Power of Proper Guru Devotion
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2012, 04:31:44 AM »
"It is from your Guru that powerful attainments, higher rebirth and happiness come.Therefore make a whole-hearted effort never to transgress your guru's advice."

When we have found our Guru and fully submitted to his wise and compassionate guidance,we will be led to the inner Guru -kindness, commitment and clarity - which is, in essence, our own Buddha nature.

But His Holiness the Dalai Lama is asking us to QUESTION OUR GURU and Get Clarification always. So should we??? Basically the 50 stanzas needs to be re-written  :P
Anyway, whether the original reasons for certain interpretations were due to individual students, other considerations or plain misunderstanding, it may prove necessary for later individuals to clarify things. Rectifying, clarifying and the like are generally accepted approaches for the learned and completely in step with the correct general approach to the teachings. This is way to proceed and help to guard against decline.

Discussion is on here...


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Re: The Power of Proper Guru Devotion
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2012, 08:53:05 AM »
We should not generally question the our Guru. Also if others question or seem to go against their Gurus, we should gently remind them but we certainly cannot pass judgement on them. Other people's Guru samaya is beyond our judgment, comprehension and criticism. That is breaking OUR samaya.

Certainly, we cannot pass judgment on the Dalai Lama on his Guru Devotion based on the above. Moreover, if we believe his Guru are attained beings, we must also believe that the HHDL is also non other than Chenrezig himself. We must look at the results of his actions and if we cannot see the positive results now, it is either we are ignorant of it or we have not practice patience. Be patience! Practice proper Guru Devotion.We will see the results that benefits beings most soon enough. Even if we die tomorrow, we must believe this.


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Re: The Power of Proper Guru Devotion
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2012, 03:44:03 AM »
Well said, we should not doubt our guru and we must not act against our Guru's wish.

However, I do wish to share my view on this, when following Guru's instructions, we should first understand what is the real meaning of that instruction and what is our guru's intend in giving it. This is to make sure we carry out the instruction correctly and not take it at the face value and act without truly understand the meaning behind it.

Also, I have seen in many centers, people who are near the guru often misuse their position by giving instructions to others in the name of the guru. This is happening in centers of all faith. This should never happen because those who sincerely seek spiritually, look for a place which they could call home, where they could find peace and happiness. Power struggle is the last thing we want happen in any religious centre.

Down with the BAN!!!

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Re: The Power of Proper Guru Devotion
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2012, 08:19:50 AM »
The reliance of a Guru is explained very clearly below and I have highlighted some key points to contemplate on. With all said, it is no wonder Guru Devotion is THE tool for us to achieve some understanding and eventually results/attainments towards our practice. Do explore this most interesting article and the clearly highlighted quotes!

"Rely on the teachings to evaluate a guru: Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism."
- His Holiness the Dalai Lama


The role of a spiritual teacher or guru is often misunderstood in the West. For one thing, we lost the ancient system of studying under one teacher for many years to learn a craft like carpentry or masonry, and we are not used to this "singular" system anymore.

There is a lot of confusion about spiritual teachers; some people may believe that a guru will take over the entire responsibility of a disciple's life, leaving the pupil more like an obedient, mindless puppy.

"It seems that most students actually want to remain little children and idolize their holy daddy, and holy mommy."
- Scott Mandelker

But nobody can take over our own responsibility for the way we live our life. Even if we leave some decisions over to someone else, we are still responsible for our actions - including shifting the decisions to someone else.

As Sogyal Rinpoche warns in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying:

"The West has become a heaven for spiritual charlatans... without the guidelines and criteria of a thriving and full-fledged wisdom culture, the authenticity of so-called "Masters" is almost impossible to establish."

We need to be realistic about spiritual teachers: if we want to learn something, a teacher is needed, or is at least very useful. How far would we have come with learning to read and write without a teacher?

"If you are only studying Dharma for the sake of study, sake of development of your understanding of Dharma, if you are only studying Dharma intellectually, just intellectually on intellectual level, then I don't think you need a guru-disciple relationship. And also you can study with all kinds of teachers. It's like going to university. You study with different teachers or professors, and you go on, you move on. But if you wish to commit yourself to the path, then it is necessary, because one needs to know how to accomplish the realization, how to practice the Dharma."
- Zasep Tulku Rinpoche

In Buddhism it is essential to realise that the teacher is ultimately important because he/she can lead us to our own inner wisdom - our own 'inner guru'. We need to develop our own wisdom and insight to become a teacher and in the end, even a Buddha ourselves. In that sense, a guru is like our spiritual mother; in the beginning of the path, we are pretty helpless and need much help and guidance; but in the end, we should be able to stand on our own feet and be self-sufficient.

"A guru is a person who can really show you the true nature of your mind and who knows the perfect remedies for your psychological problems. Someone who doesn't know his own mind can never know others' minds and therefore cannot be a guru."
- Lama Thubten Yeshe

"A good spiritual friend who will help us to stay on the path, with whom we can discuss our difficulties frankly, sure of a compassionate response, provides an important support system which is often lacking. Although people live and practice together, one-upmanship often comes between them. A really good friend is like a mountain guide. The spiritual path is like climbing a mountain: we don't really know what we will find at the summit. We have only heard that it is beautiful, everybody is happy there, the view is magnificent and the air unpolluted. If we have a guide who has already climbed the mountain, he can help us avoid falling into a crevasse, or slipping on loose stones, or getting off the path. The one common antidote for all our hindrances is noble friends and noble conversations, which are health food for the mind."
- Ayya Khema

"To find a Buddha, all you have to do is see your nature. Your nature is the Buddha. And the Buddha is the person who's free: free of plans, free of cares. If you don't see your nature and run around all day looking somewhere else, you'll never find a Buddha. The truth is, there's nothing to find. But to reach such an understanding you need a teacher and you need to struggle to make yourself understand..."
- Bodidharma

Before you decide to follow a spiritual teacher, it is extremely important to check him or her: there are quite a number of cheats around... In the old Indian tradition, teachers were often checked for 12 years or more before a student fully entrusted a teacher the spiritual guidance. It is easy to follow people blindly, especially the ones who are smooth talkers and are good salespeople. The reason why gurus are getting such bad names is because people should not have blindly trusted most of them to begin with!

Do take your responsibility serious to check your own feelings; there should be some personal connection; verify if their behaviour concords with their words; are they putting more emphasis on worldly matters than their spiritual path; see what the other disciples say, and of course what other teachers think.

Question: "How does one choose a teacher of spiritual subjects or know a teacher to be reliable?"

His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

"This should be done in accordance with your interest and disposition, but you should analyze well. You must investigate before accepting a lama or teacher to see whether that person is really qualified or not. It is said in a scripture that just as fish that are hidden under the water can be seen through the movement of the ripples from above, so also a teacher's inner qualities can, over time, be seen a little through that person's behavior.

We need to look into the person's scholarship, the ability to explain topics and whether the person implements those teachings in his or her conduct and experience."

Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye:

" is difficult to recognize an authentic teacher, because these qualities are internal. We can not depend upon external factors, but external factors are what we see. It is very difficult to see the inner qualities of another person. A businessman might be friendlier to us than our best friend, while his unseen motivation is merely to make a sale. Likewise, if a "teacher" acts in a very kind and loving manner towards us it does not necessarily mean that he is compassionate and selfless, because we cannot see his motivation. We also cannot determine a teacher's qualifications based upon her fame, or whether she has thousands of students. So the seeker is left with this paradox.

There is no simple solution, but there are things we can do. First, it is important that we familiarize ourselves with the characteristics [of a spiritual teacher] discussed by Kongtrul Rinpoche. Second, we must maintain awareness of our own motivation during the process of finding a teacher. Am I seeking a teacher in order to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings, or am I seeking to fulfill my need to acquire the prestige associated with a famous teacher, or am I merely attracted to a lama's beautiful retreat land or the social scene of a hip sangha, and so on.

These motivations need to be acknowledged if we are to recognize an authentic wisdom teacher, because the teacher you find is related to your karma, and your karma is intimately connected to your motivation. Fortunately, there are methods that help us purify our motivation and create the proper conditions for finding a wisdom teacher, such as bringing our awareness to our motivations as much as possible, doing daily meditation practice, and praying to the Triple Gem [Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha] that we will meet and recognize an authentic wisdom teacher."

In tantric Buddhism, a guru is absolutely essential for the initiation, practice and guidance along the path. Having a tantric teacher and practising "guru devotion" was actually a secret practice for a long time, as the teacher-disciple relationship is very close in order to achieve the best results. So close in fact, that it can easily lead to misunderstanding in the outside world.

We need help on the spiritual path to guide us finding the right way. Obviously the best person to accompany us as a tour-guide is someone who has already successfully travelled the path. This person can help to quicken our progress and avoid obstacles.

Why do we need an experienced guide? I like the following story with a cynical undertone from Rama Krishna:

"Tapobana the Master, had a disciple who served him with diligence. The master kept him solely because of this diligence and the services he rendered, for he found the disciple rather stupid. One day, the rumour spread throughout the whole region that Tapobana's disciple had walked on water. He had crossed the river as if he crossed a street. Tapobana called his disciple and questioned him. 'Is it true what people say? Did you actually walk over the water?'

'What could be more natural?' answered the disciple, 'It is thanks to you, blessed one, that I walked over the water. At every step I repeated Your Holy Name, and that is what upheld me.'

Tapobana then thought by himself: 'If my disciple can walk over water using my name, what would be impossible for me, his master? If in my name miracles take place, I must possess powers I did not suspect, and I must be more holy than I was aware of. After all, I never tried to walk on water.'

Without delay he ran to the river bank. With unshakeable faith in himself, Tapobana repeated: 'I, I, I .....' And sank..."

The Buddha compared his teachings to medicine, and the teacher to the doctor who can accurately prescribe the correct medicine for the disciple/patient.

Of course we can have many different teachers, each in some aspect possibly quite important for us. If fact even the school-teacher who taught us to read and write is very important - also in our spiritual life. How else could we read about Buddhism? Every teacher in our life is important, but there may be one specific spiritual teacher who we may call our 'Root Guru', who inspired us most, and who's advice we really respect and try to follow.

To have a root Guru is especially important if we wish to practice tantra, simply because the methods used are so advanced that we need proper guidance. Not heeding the advice of one's teacher in tantra is important, as wrongly applied techniques can actually lead to serious consequences for ourselves and others.


1.  Proper ethical behaviour - a guru should not harm others but try to help
2.  Single pointed concentration
3.  No self-grasping or egoistic thoughts
4.  Having love and compassion as main motivations to teach
5.  Realised emptiness, at least have a proper intellectual understanding
6.  Perseverance in teaching
7.  Wealth of scriptural knowledge
8.  More learned and realised than student
9.  Skilled speaker
10. Given up disappointment in the performance of the students

If possible, try to find a guru who possesses all these qualities, but at least the first 5. This may be difficult enough...


Just like a teacher requires certain qualifications, so should a proper disciple fulfil some criteria.
A disciple should consider him/herself as a patient, the teacher as a doctor, the Dharma as medicine and should take the medicine by practicing. Like His Holiness the Dalai Lama says: "There is no substitute for hard work"

A proper disciple should avoid the so-called 3 faulty attitudes:

- being like an upside down vessel: refusing to learn and scepticism
- being like a leaking vessel: forgetting everything and showing no interest
- being like a polluted vessel: being very prejudiced and believing to know everything better than the teacher

A proper disciple should fulfil the 3 requisites:

- lack of prejudice, being open-minded
- intelligence and a critical mind: not blindly following orders
- aspiration: wanting to practice and experience results (not just scholarly study)

As Lama Govinda writes in 'A Living Buddhism for the West':

"If a chela (disciple) is accepted by a Guru, he has to approach the teacher with trustful openness and devotion; these are the two basic conditions without which spiritual guidance is impossible. It is just here that many Western chelas make it hard for themselves, because they cannot bring themselves to bow to their teacher, and become upset when their prejudices and opinions are criticised. Even when they profess to love the teacher, they defend their position and defend their standpoint. ... A true guru is not concerned with imposing conformity of thoughts and feelings. He wants to arouse personal recognition and experience in the chela - not to teach him, but inspire him. But he also wants to liberate his chela from the attachments to opinions, prejudices, and dogmas - and this is often a painful process."

But, as Lowenthal and Short comment in 'Opening the Heart of Compassion':

"While respect for and openness to the teacher are important for our growth and freedom, blind devotion fixates us on the person of the teacher. We then become confined by the limitation of the teacher's personality rather than liberated by the teachings."


From: Path to Buddhahood, Teachings on Gampopa's Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Ringu Tulku:

According to a sutra called The Bodhisattva's Levels, Mahayana teachers or spiritual guides should have eight particular qualities:

1. They must first of all follow the precepts and vows of a bodhisattva.
2. They must have studied in depth the teachings of the path of the bodhisattva.
3. Their understanding must be deep and not purely intellectual; they must have truly experienced the teachings.
4. They must feel sincere compassion toward all sentient beings.
5. They must be fearless and show a lot of courage, not only in their own actions but also when they teach others.
6. They must be tolerant and patient with their students and practice.
7. They must be tenacious and not allow themselves to be carried away by discouragement or disappointment.
8. Finally, they must be capable of communicating effectively with students.


This is not easy to answer in general, as every individual is different. However, it is often said that when a disciple is ready, the teacher will appear. If you cannot find a teacher, see if you fulfil the above requirements for a proper disciple, and work to improve your own attitude rather then running around the world to find 'your' guru. Depending on your own karma, you may need to do quite a lot to find the right guru. Self-study and questioning yourself what you really expect from a teacher may help if you are impatient and expect too much overnight.

"When we have prayed and aspired and hungered for the truth for a long time, for many, many lives, and when our karma has become sufficiently purified, a kind of miracle takes place. And this miracle, if we can understand and use it, can lead to the end of ignorance forever: The inner teacher, who has been with us always, manifests in the form of the "outer teacher," whom, almost as if by magic, we actually encounter..."
- Sogyal Rinpoche


A word of warning though: unfortunately, there are teachers, traditions and centers which are questionable in the Buddhist world. Please make sure you know what and who you get involved with before you fully commit yourself to someone as your teacher!

Traditionally in India, a guru and a disciple sometimes took up to 12 years to test each other out if they suited each other. Now this may be very impractical these days; most students would not have a teacher at all, and most teachers would remain without students... Still, we need to be critical and very careful. Even His Holiness the Dalai Lama mentioned the potential for abuse from either side 'the shadow-side of the practice of guru devotion'. Especially westerners need to realise this potential problem, as in our culture we have completely lost (or never really developed) this kind of guru-disciple relationships. Simply said, it is very easy to mislead many westerners on the spiritual path, by twisting the meaning of the teachings so that a teacher can take advantage of a student materially or eg. sexually.

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Re: The Power of Proper Guru Devotion
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2012, 08:21:55 AM »
Also for the benefit of all that may not know or have access to these sacred verses, I have taken the liberty to share the following in order that one may read, contemplate, absorb and summize for oneself.

By Indian Master Ashvagosha

Note: these practices are specifically part of the Tantric path as practiced in Tibetan Buddhism, and should be considered as advice for practitioners of Tantra...

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 initiations. (Is there need to mention that you should too?)

3. Three times each day, with supreme faith, you must show your respect to 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.

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 juniors). But (in public), avoid prostrating and unorthodox actions (such as washing his feet).

6. In order for the words of honour 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.

7. A disciple with sense should not accept as his Guru someone who lacks compassion or who is angersome, 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, nor pretend to possess qualities he lacks. He should be an expert in the meanings (of 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 experience in both ten fields, skill in the drawing of mandalas, full knowledge of how to explain the tantras, supreme faith and his senses fully under control.

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 you 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 you 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 Gurus 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.

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 harms and plagues will not befall you.

17. It has been taught that for the Guru to whom you have pledged your word of honour (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 honour. 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 a Buddha's Wisdom Body) should give to their Guru whatever they themselves find pleasing, from the most trifling objects to those of 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).

22. Therefore, a disciple with the good qualities of compassion, generosity, moral self-control and patience should never regard his Guru and the Buddha Vajradhara as different.

23. If you should never tread even on (your Guru's) shadow, because the fearsome consequences are the same as destroying a stupa, is ther need to mention never stepping on or over his shoes or seat, (sitting in his place or riding) his mount?

24. (A disciple) having great sense should obey the words of his Guru joyfully and with enthousiasm, 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 powerfull attainments, higher rebirth and happiness come. Therefore, make a whole-hearted effort never to transgress your Guru's advice.

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.

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 top-knot, (a hat, shoes or any weapons). Never touch a seat (before he sits down, or if he happens to sits 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 skilfully 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 strech out 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.

31. (When your Guru enters the room) get up from your seat and bow your head slightly. Sit (in his presence) respectfully. At night, 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, nor lean (casually) against pillars and such. Never crack your knuckles, (play with your fingers or clean your nails).

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.

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 honorifics may also be used.

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.

37. If you wish to receive a certain teaching, request three times with your palms pressed together, while before him on your (right) knee. (Then at his discourse), sit humbly and with respect, wearing appropriate clothing that is neat (and clean, without ornaments, jewelery 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 be like a newly-wed 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.

40. If you are (requested) to perform a consecration, (an initiation into) a mandala, a fire puja 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 prostrations.

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 honour). If fellow-disciples transgress (what is proper) in their behaviour, correct each other in a friendly manner.

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.

46. What need is there to say much more. Do whatever 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).

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 trainings 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 initiations,) recite out loud the fourteen root vows and take them sincerely to your heart.

50. As I have not made the mistake (of adding my personal interpretation) when writing this work, may this be of infinite benefit to all disciples who would follow their Guru. By the limitless merit I have gathered in this way, may all sentient beings quickly attain Buddhahood.


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Re: The Power of Proper Guru Devotion
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2012, 11:15:36 AM »
The great Indian pandit Naropa said "before the existence of the lama there is neither Buddha nor deity. Buddha and meditational dieties are emanations or embodiments of the guru, that's why there were neither Buddha nor meditational diety before the Guru.
Atisha cultivated 157 gurus and his deeds in both India and Tibet was very extensive and he became extremely famous as a result. This was because of his guru devotion.Although he had 157 gurus ,he didn't displease even one of them for even a single moment- that's why he was able to do such extensive  deeds.
If one under the control of a good friend and follow that person's advice,one can be a good person,buy if one let oneself be controlled by a bad friend,one might become a bad person.
In Lamrim,Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo talks about two people,one whom was an alcoholic,the other who didn't drink.The drinker went to Reting Monastery and became a teetolar but the non drinker went to Lhasa,where influenced by others became a alcoholic.Each man became the complete opposite of what he was before,due to the type of friend he followed.
If one listened to the advice of the Buddha- who has only compassion for sentient beings and no trace of self -centred mind;who is perfect in power,wisdom and compassion,whose holy mind is omniscent-all one get is benefit.Putting oneself under the control of the Buddha brings one happiness up to that of Enlightenment.     Similarly,if one put oneself under the control of a virtuous friend ,one get the same benefits as one do from putting oneself under the control of the Buddha.
Relating this to those of us who met the Dharma,if we had been under the control of our gurus from that time forth,we would have achieved many realizations by now.We could have realized guru devotion,renunciation,boddhicitta and emptiness,we could have received realization of tantra,we could have been totally liberated from samsara.We might have become enlightened.At the very least,we could have realized some Lamrim realizations.None of this happened because we have not opened our hearts to our Guru.We have not put ourselves under the control of our virtuous friend.Because of this mistake,our minds are totally devoid of any realization whatsoever.If we purify our mind,realization will come.What we need is purification and the most powerful purification is correct devotion to our virtuous friend,obeying our Guru's advice.The best way to our virtuous friend is through practicing his teachings.
Those who have realized guru devotion,who have correctly devoted themselves to their virtuous friend can become Enlightenede in one brief lifetime of this degenerate age.Without guru devotion,no matter how many Dharma words we learn,they're all dry.


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Re: The Power of Proper Guru Devotion
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2012, 03:58:09 PM »
"It is from your Guru that powerful attainments, higher rebirth and happiness come.Therefore make a whole-hearted effort never to transgress your guru's advice."

When we have found our Guru and fully submitted to his wise and compassionate guidance,we will be led to the inner Guru -kindness, commitment and clarity - which is, in essence, our own Buddha nature.

But His Holiness the Dalai Lama is asking us to QUESTION OUR GURU and Get Clarification always. So should we??? Basically the 50 stanzas needs to be re-written  :P
Anyway, whether the original reasons for certain interpretations were due to individual students, other considerations or plain misunderstanding, it may prove necessary for later individuals to clarify things. Rectifying, clarifying and the like are generally accepted approaches for the learned and completely in step with the correct general approach to the teachings. This is way to proceed and help to guard against decline.

Discussion is on here...

Ditto.. lol!

It is as if in these already degenerated times, there is more need for conflict... or so we think.

It is not the heat of the debate that we should be worried about, but the silence in Buddhist practice prior to this controversy. Silence is the killer of all things, and Buddhist practice is no exception to that.

Ever since the ban of Dorje Shugden was enforced, Buddhism practice and debate has never been so widely reached for the last 350 years... and whether we're pro-HHDL or not, we can't deny that we've benefited from this in one way or the other. Basically, the Dalai Lama has poured more butter into an almost burnt out butterlamp. However it is very saddening that many Shugden practitioners has fallen victim to ill treatment due to the ban.

On the basis of Guru Devotion, HHDL is technically Guru to all... but I am fortunate enough to meet my Root Guru whom I have benefited much from, one whom I have committed my mind, heart, and prayers; that even at the cost of my life, I shall never break my commitments... and one of it is Dorje Shugden practice. No matter what happens, once we've made the offering of body, speech and mind to our Root Guru whom has compassionately showed the path of liberation; there should never be question of abandoning this connection for to do so is equal to cutting off the very root and source of our accomplishments. Once that happens, no matter how diligent we practice in Dharma, no true attainments will be blessed upon us.

Guru devotion is the core of our practice, it is the root of all attainments and blessings, and it is the path to liberation. Why? Because only the object of refuge is contained within the vessel of my holy Guru. So is there anything more holy then one's Guru? I don't think so.


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Re: The Power of Proper Guru Devotion
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2012, 06:25:46 PM »
Guru devotion is the core of our practice, it is the root of all attainments and blessings, and it is the path to liberation. Why? Because only the object of refuge is contained within the vessel of my holy Guru. So is there anything more holy then one's Guru? I don't think so.

Guru devotion is indeed an important practice. Tsongkhapa wrote The Fulfillment of all Hopes between his Great Exposition of the Stages of the Path and his Great Exposition of Tantra, this shows how crucial the practice is. It is a text specifically about guru devotion in Tantra, separating out Tantric practice from Vinaya and Mahayana, in order to privilege the former and protect the latter.

Also, the practice of guru devotion is the basis and is required of all Tantric practitioners. Tsongkhapa said that there is a difference between guru devotion in the Perfection of Wisdom and in Tantra. He mentioned that stanza twenty-two of Asvagosha text teaches this special practice and also that the special guru devotion in Tantra is, in essence the cultivation of the view that one's guru and the enlightened being are indivisible.

Many Tantras mention this [practice of] looking on the guru as an enlightened one. In the Guhyasamaja Tantra:
Lord, how do all the bodhisattvas and tathagatas look on the master who has been empowered with Guhyasamaja – the seret vajra body, speech, and mind of the tathagatas? Child of good family, all the bodhisattvas and tathagatas look on [the guru] as the vajra mind of enlightenment. Why? Because the master and the mind of enlightenment are the same – they are not divisible into two.

Caluka in his Tree of Jewels Commentary says:
As for the statement, “they are not divisible into two,” [this is said] because from the vajra mind of enlightenment- the dharmakaya – emerges the [body] that is fully enjoyed [the sambhogakaya]. When the form in which [the vajra mind] emanates cannot be seen [by ordinary people], it takes the [form] or the [guru’s] body, where it purifies the karmic obscurations of others.

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Re: The Power of Proper Guru Devotion
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2012, 06:51:29 PM »
In the spirit of learning, questioning the Guru may not be necessarily bad. That's because questioning the Guru can be tending towards two aspects. One aspect of questioning is negative and it is tending towards developing more doubts and like a thief, it will steal our faith in the Lama and his teachings. Such line of questioning or explanation is frowned upon. In the monastic debate, such line of questioning is expected from one party who takes the role of the heretic who attempts to dissuade you from your defense of the given topic.

The line of questioning is positive and tends towards learning and developing faith. This line of questioning is very much welcomed by the debaters because it builds an irrefutable conclusion of a given subject. Many great debaters gain realization when they are in midst of such debates.