Tag Archives: vajrayana

modern day yogi

modern day yogi

Student: One of the only hopes that I find are prophecies by Guru Rinpoche who says that in this degenerated times when the disturbing emotions are so strong that the Vajrayana will flourish and that we somehow will be able to sort of deal with it.

Yes.

Student: I don’t see it happening, is it happening?

Oh this is very relative actually. For instance the Tibetan situation, the Tibetan dharma. In one way, the Tibetan dharma, practice and study, in one way it may have gone like astray and degenerated. In one way. But if you look at some of the Tibetan history and actual accounts from the mouth of, you know, from another point of view it has improved. It has improved. Because there is much more study, there is much more analysis going on. Certain way of doing things has to change, and this is for instance, okay, if you read for example Milarepa’s advice. All these great lamas of the past, when you read them, they always tell you, okay go to the cave, go to the mountains, be a wanderer. There are teachings like you are not supposed to stay in one place more than three nights. You are not supposed, you know there are actual a practice, I think it is from the, if you are familiar with the collection of advices by many other masters but it was collected by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, there are practices such as. You know we have something called three years retreat. There is similar, which is also three years, but within this three years you are supposed to wander. You are supposed to go around. And as soon as you feel even a slight comfort, slight familiarity with a place, such as, I don’t know, the road sign, or somebody begins to know you, you have to take off. You basically have to go through the strange land and strange place all the time. You cannot abide in one place. Things like that. There are many like that.

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Buddha’s speech

Buddha’s speech

Although this is of course not a vajrayana time, we are not going to teach vajrayana, don’t ask me question about vajrayana, I don’t know nothing about vajrayana. But for instance in Sarnath when Buddha taught four noble truth, ?..? for instance when Buddha said: know the suffering, abandon the cause of suffering, generally the story is there is so called five monks who are listening to this. And they heard the general way which is: know the suffering, abandon the cause of suffering, all of that. But there are also some other students they are called vidhyadharas, sort of tantric practitioners. They same word they hear different thing. They hear when Buddha said ?..?, you know like abandon the suffering, they heard samsara is blissful. When Buddha said abandon the cause of suffering they heard Buddha said use emotion, utilize emotion as the path. It is almost like the complete 180 degrees difference. And both gets benefit.

Parting from the four attachments, Nepal June 2009
(->videos on youtube)

the first thing you do

the first thing you do

The discipline is the foundation. And in order to generate this, to discipline ourselves there are many many many methods of disciplining oneself. But everything can be abbreviated and concise into taking refuge to buddha, dharma and sangha. Once you take refuge to the buddha, dharma and sangha whole heartedly, from the depth of your heart, without any doubt, you will, most of the other discipline will automatically easily emerge. This is why refuge, practice of the refuge, in all the Buddhist traditions, not only in the Mahayana or the Vajrayana, in the Shravakayana, everywhere, the first thing you do is take refuge to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

Parting from the four attachments, Nepal June 2009
(videos)

blessing

blessing

How about blessing. Yes. That’s right. That is a very important question actually. And this is – you know I was giving you – okay I will give you a Mahayana answer. Maybe more like Vajrayana oriented. You know usually when we ask for blessing, it is always something that you don’t have and then you ask a higher being to give me whatever. But in Buddhism in generally and specially in the Mahayana and the Vajrayana it is not like that, it is the opposite. It’s more like you already have it but you just need to sort of discover this. You understand. So like my example, going back to my example, the sesame seed doesn’t even remotely look like oil. But it has oil. So asking for blessing is basically like squeezing it. Right? Squeezing or whatever. So that, it works. If the sesame seed doesn’t have oil, won’t work. Even if you wail and cry and complain and sing song, whatever doesn’t work. So the fact that we have the Buddha nature, the innate Tathagatagarbha, that’s the blessing already. But we have to discover this. That is how the blessing should work and that is very important to know in Buddhism. Otherwise the gap between the divine and the mundane will become very big. And then priests like us will become very powerful. Because we will say that: Do you want to talk to him? You talk to me first. Then I will do whatever I can. Because you don’t have what you need. I know how to get for you. It is terrible.

Outer, Inner and Secret Refuge, London 2010

guru is the path

guru is the path

In the Tantrayana, guru, the teacher, is taken as the ultimate, the embodiment of the all the object of refuge. Now that is saying a lot. That is really like. The reason why I was telling you earlier, those who have gone through the Theravada and the Mahayana teachings, then taking the Tantrayana, I was just saying that they are really good. The reason why I said this is because in all this Sutrayana which is the like Theravada tradition, they really encourage analysis, critical thinking. They always quote this quotations like come and see, not come and join, see for yourself. Buddha himself said, my teachings you have to analyze. You cannot take it for face value. And these are very important. And in the Vajrayana, we are assuming that you have done that. But you see the guy who came from California, recently, they are not doing this, they have not done that. And this is why there is a big misunderstanding about this guru business. In Tantrayana, guru is not a – actually even so we usually for a conventional reason we say, guru is, you know, guru, master, you know the word master. Actually in the Vajrayana, Tantrayana, guru is the path. And the reason is by now we are assuming you have done all the analysis such as, is all compounded things impermanent or not. For years you studied this, for years you studied is everything truly existent or not. All of that. If not years, at least a few month. You have been doing that. And then really coming to a conclusion that the most guilty, culprit, most – yes the real culprit is the ego. Clinging to oneself, cherishing oneself. After all the analysis we realize that cherishing oneself is the, it all boils down to this. This is the mother of all the emotion. Cherishing oneself. Not only cherishing oneself, actually even something more subtle then that, thinking that there is actually a truly existing self. Having that kind of delusion, that is the real culprit. Okay? After analysis if you come to that conclusion then next what. Next you have to open your diary book. Diary book. How much time you have. It is a matter of scheduling. Do you have lot of time or do you have a short time. Okay you want to get rid of this cherishing self, you want to get rid of the clinging to the self? Now, how much time do you have. Do you have three countless eons? Or you want to do it fast and get done with it. So that is the question now, the scheduling question. So generally we are assuming that everybody wants to get done with it quite as soon as possible. You know, right. We want the liberation fast. So now what do we have. What can we do. The fastest method is to hire someone. Fastest method is to really poke on you to really stir you, poke you, to really upset you. Also give you of course the path, the truth, of course. Just poking and, what you call it, upsetting is not enough. That you can just go to any place. But someone who can also give you – but those are equally important though. Someone who knows how to give you the right path, you know all the path, okay this what to do in order to fight aggression, this is what you do to fight the desire, anger. But he is not good at poking you or upsetting you. Not qualified, not good. You know many people these days worry there is a talk about all you know abusive gurus and stuff like that. Actually, from the Dharma point of view, we actually have the shortage of someone who actually poke you. We have fairly good enough gurus who can give you information. There are many many scholastic, well trained. Okay I have this and that problem. Guru will say oh yes page number twenty six. You need to do shamata, vipassana, this this this. There is many gurus who can do that. But a guru who has the courage, guru who has the courage to tell you, okay every morning you have to smell my armpit. That’s difficult. Because this guru has an agenda you see. This guru doesn’t want to lose students. This guru wants to have many many students. Become very popular. And then telling people smell armpit is not the right way to become popular. Have you ever seen a pamphlet, leaflet that says His Holiness this and that, expert in smelling your armpits or something. We always say His Holiness this, Manjushri himself, compassionate, he is the manifestation of this and that. We actually have the shortage of guru who actually knows how to poke people. Really, believe me, this is the truth. People actually are worried about, there is too much abusive people. Yes this is true, this is true. But if you are spiritually thinking, if you are serious, we don’t have enough. Yes we have to hire people who can do this job. And the thing is this, the challenge is this, this is your question I am answering. Challenge is this guru who you are supposed to think he is the embodiment of all the Buddha if he looks like the golden statue that you have just recently bought from India, you know this beautiful, serene, it won’t work. Then the whole, the guru effect won’t work. That is the challenge. This guru must like, has to have some kind of a disliking and liking. This guru needs to, this guru has to yawn sometimes. He has to fall asleep. He has to sort of do strange things. That is the tricky part. That is the tricky part. We don’t want to, actually you know, we should not talk about it too much, it is very, from the conventional point of view it is criminal to talk these things. It is almost like a crime. It is actually. It is.

Outer, Inner and Secret Refuge, London 2010

At home with the Theravada tradition

at home with the Theravada tradition

England, I think UK generally and I think really fortunately – I am just realizing this more and more – fortunately England actually has much more affinity and they seem to be at home with the Theravada tradition, which is fantastic actually, really good. Every time I meet non Tibetans who become Buddhist but they happen to be sort of ex Theravadan, ex Mahayana practitioner, but they later became a Vajrayana, tantric practitioner, they are always the best ones. It is always these people and ya but Vajrayana students, tantric students who happen to be an ex follower of some Californian guru, very strange I tell you, very strange. It is very worrying, for themselves it’s worrying, for Buddhism it’s worrying.

Outer, Inner and Secret Refuge, London 2010

guru yoga

guru yoga

In the Shravakayana and the Mahayana, master or the guru only acts as a guide. Well, what we usually think about the guru is what, how Shravakayana and Mahayana – causal path anyway, that’s how they use the guru so to speak. But in the Vajrayana, not only as a master, not only as a guide, guru is the path. That is what is meant guru yoga. Guru is the path. Of course at every level of the Vajrayana practice taking the guru as the path is important. Even the most sort of, the highest level of the Vajrayana practice, in the Nyingmapa tradition for instance like ati yoga, when you reach to the maha ati, Jigme Lingpa said, for someone who can actually remember the guru, for this person the mindfulness – you know in the maha ati practice mindfulness, or the rigpa or drenpa is very important. Mindfulness, awareness, mere awareness, this is very important. Jigme Lingpa said, to really practice this mindfulness which is something quite abstract, is difficult. So for someone who can remember the guru, mindfulness is already there. So from this statement, many times, many Dzogchen masters like Jigme Lingpa will not differentiate between mindfulness and the guru also. Guru is the mindfulness. This is what makes the guru yoga special in the Vajrayana.

Teachings on Aspirations, California 2008

guru as object of refuge

guru as object of refuge

Question: In most Buddhist traditions there are three jewels, the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, the community of monks. In the Tibetan Buddhism they added a fourth, the guru or the teacher. And I wonder what you think about that, particular in terms of its transmission to the west.

This is a very important question, yes. Guru. The word guru is stained now. Really, it has been stained unfortunately. But the guru principle, the practice of guru is actually quite an important in the tantric Buddhist system. And it’s really unfortunate that the human gurus have actually, many of human gurus have somehow managed to spoil that beautiful system. Actually you are supposed to – okay the fourth, you are talking about the fourth object of refuge. In fact more than fourth. In fact, according to the tantric Buddhism, guru is supposedly more important than the triple gem. So this is a big statement. But all this comes in the context of guru as the path. Now this is one message that always gets missed out. Because guru always is referred as a person who dictates your life. But guru must be, really, essentially guru must be taken as the path. Meaning – okay it is a bit like this. What do you want? You want enlightenment. Can you do it? Okay what do you want? You want enlightenment. You want it fast or slow? Right? That is the question. Fast. Do you want painless or – you know stuff like that. Painless is little difficult actually. Fast I think, fast. So actually, to put it very simply, in the Vajrayana tradition the guru principle is a bit like – okay if you want to have fast track so to speak, then first you have a choice to hire a person who will destroy you or not. Basically that is it. So you actually – okay order is you take first refuge to three gems, right. Triple gems. So you have accepted the Buddha path, the path of the Buddha. Now you want the speed, you want to do it very soon. Because you don’t have much time. Now there is a solution which is the Vajrayana and within the tantric Buddhism you are allowed, there is a solution and the solution is you hire or you get a person who will – basically you are asking him to destroy your ego, your emotion and all of that. So that way the guru becomes the path and I think that is quite important for the western aspiring tantric Buddhist to understand. Otherwise this guru as a figure is very dangerous, very very dangerous.

Projecting the Dharma, Yale 2008

Guru business

Guru business

Another thing, there is this very strange, ongoing problem, which is very obscured and never really clear about the Guru business. Some people think that if you are taking refuge to a certain Lama, or Guru or Khenpo or whatever suddenly this person has become their Guru. Now the Guru is basically, I think in Sanskrit it means teacher, the master or something like that. So Guru can be someone who teaches you music, dance. In India, and as well as in Nepal I think, this is a culture that really venerates anybody who gives you anything to do with the knowledge or wisdom. So you see these like performance, dancers or the musicians, the first thing they do is touch the Guru’s feet, the masters feet and all of this. So wonderful. Even you know whatever, carpenter Guru, driving instructor, all of them. In a way, anyone who gives you some kind of a knowledge that will give you a temporary benefit or even a permanent benefit is very very venerated and appreciated. So of course there is no need to mention about the Guru who gives you ??? lam, the path to the liberation. Of course. But by the time you reach to the Vajrayana now the meaning of the Guru has become different. When you reach to the Vajrayana – this is not the time to talk about the Vajrayana, just to clear some of the doubt – by the time you have reached to the Vajrayana Guru is not only a master as some kind of an instructor, Guru has become a path. Guru is the path. Guru is everything basically. I don’t need to say anything else but Guru, as many of you practice the Tantra, Guru dissolves into you. That alone should indicate you that Guru is none other than you. Okay. So that is sort the ideal situation. But there has been lots of obscurity about the Guru business.

Parting from the four attachments, Nepal June 2009
(videos)