Brief Commentary on 50 Verses of Guru Devotion

May 23, 2014 | Views: 937
Share this article

 

To download the commentary below in Word format, please click HERE.

 

(Disclaimer: I do not own any of the information. I am sharing this commentary here out of my great admiration for the illustrious scholar and master Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey and wish to bring more awareness of his writings and commentaries. I am not profiting from its use.) 

 

THE FIFTY VERSES OF GURU DEVOTION
By Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey (Last Updated Sep 10, 2008)

From the Introduction of Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey’s short commentary on the Fifty Verses:

The Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion [Skt: Gurupancashika; Tib: Lama Nga-chu-pa] was written in about the first century B.C. by Ashvagosha. This Indian poet was known by many names—such as Aryashura, Matriceta, Patriceta, Matichitra, and Bhavideva—and was a contemporary of King Kaniska of the Kusan Dynasty. Having previously been a strong non-Buddhist believer, he became an extremely devout follower of the Buddha’s path and wrote many works on its various aspects.

Shakyamuni Buddha lived about four centuries before Ashvagosha. He taught sutras dealing with meditative practices for attaining liberation and enlightenment and, in the form of Buddha Vajradhara, tantras covering speedier but more dangerous methods for achieving this latter goal.

Success in following either the sutra or the tantra path to enlightenment depends solely upon your guru devotion, as Lord Buddha indicated in the Lotus Sutra (Saddharmapundarikasutra) and in the Kyedor Shägyü Dorje’i G’ur, an explanatory work to the Hevajra tantra, where he stated that in future times of degeneration he would take the form of gurus and therefore, at such times, gurus should be as respected as buddhas because they are their living representatives.

Guru devotion involves both thought and action. The most important thing is to develop the total conviction that your guru is a buddha—this is a prerequisite for receiving any insight. Whether you are aiming to attain liberation in order to benefit mainly yourself or reach the perfected state of a fully enlightened buddha in order to enlighten all others, your guru can show you the way only if he himself has already gained these achievements. If you doubt your guru’s competence and ability to guide you, your practices will be extremely unstable and you will be unable to make any concrete progress. You must have full confidence that it is possible to become enlightened, that your guru is living proof of this, and that by following the Buddha’s teachings as your guru instructs, you can achieve the same. Only then will it be possible for you to gain any real benefit from your practices.

Seeing only good qualities in your guru, therefore, is the way to develop these qualities yourself. Normally most people are blind to their own shortcomings, while the faults of others shine out clearly. But if you did not possess these same faults yourself, you would be unable to recognize them in others. If there are two pieces of fruit, one ripe and one rotten, and the person next to you takes the ripe one, it is only because of your own greed that you accuse him of being greedy and selfish. If you were unattached to the fruit, it would not matter to you which one he took—you would simply see him as having taken a piece of fruit.

Likewise, if you can train yourself to see only good qualities and never any faults in your guru, this positive outlook will come to pervade, amplify and reflect your own state of mind. As we all have buddha nature within us—the clear, uncontaminated state of pure mind established without any true independent existence—seeing our guru as a buddha gives us the possibility of activating and realizing our own buddha nature. Seeing only our guru’s faults merely reinforces our own shortcomings and negative attitudes; seeing only his perfection enables us to attain the perfection of buddhahood ourselves. Therefore, one of the main practices of guru yoga, particularly in tantra, is to realize the inseparability of our own mind with our guru, the buddhas and our meditation deity, which is a pure manifestation of the enlightened mind. Thus, guru devotion is the root of all attainments.

If your guru acts in a seemingly unenlightened manner and you feel it would be hypocritical to think him a buddha, you should remember that your own opinions are unreliable and the apparent faults you see may be simply a reflection of your own deluded state of mind. Also, you should think that if your guru acted in a completely perfect manner, he would be inaccessible and you would be unable to relate to him. It is therefore out of your guru’s great compassion that he may show apparent flaws. This is part of his skillful means in order for him to be able to teach you; he is mirroring your own faults. Therefore, check within and learn from him how to remove your shortcomings. If you are only intent on criticizing your guru, he will never be able to benefit you.

It was Buddha Vajradhara himself who said that your guru is to be seen as a buddha. Therefore, if you have faith and take refuge in the Buddhist teachings, you will try to understand what Vajradhara meant by this.

Buddhas exert a great positive influence on the world in the same way that the sun does. But just as a magnifying glass is needed to focus the rays of the sun in order for tinder to catch fire, so too is a guru required to focus the buddhas’ virtuous conduct into your mind-stream to inspire you to follow the path. Thus, as living examples representing the buddhas, gurus carry on the work of all the enlightened beings, acting as an accessible focal point for your practices so that you can gain buddhahood yourself.

Through devotion to your guru, showing him respect and making offerings, you accumulate the merit necessary to attain liberation from all suffering. Such service is done not to benefit your guru but for your own sake. When you plant seeds in a field, it is not to benefit the earth—you’re the one who harvests the crops. Therefore, with the proper devotional attitude towards your guru—seeing him as a buddha—the more positive energy you exert in his direction, the closer you come to buddhahood yourself. Likewise, if you hate your guru and generate negative energy towards him, you are deliberately distancing yourself from his enlightened state and freedom from pain. As a result you bring intense suffering upon yourself. Therefore, if you see faults in your guru and tend to belittle him, remember that your opinions are unreliable and that only unhappiness can result from despising the states of happiness he represents.

Remembering your guru’s kindness to teach you during this degenerate age after Shakyamuni Buddha has passed away, you must develop loving respect for him. He teaches you despite your delusions and does not force you to undergo the hardships that many disciples had to endure in the past. He gives you initiations and oral teachings and transmits the unbroken lineages that come from the Buddha himself. He inspires you to attain his state and helps you materially when you need it. Without loving respect for your guru you will never become enlightened; if you don’t respect the state of buddhahood he represents, how can you hope to attain it?

The various aspects of devoting yourself to your guru by means of thought have been taught extensively in such texts as the Gandavyuha Sutra and their scriptural references are detailed in Je Tsongkhapa’s Lam-rim Chen-mo.

Ashvagosha’s Fifty Verses is the most comprehensive summary of devoting yourself to your guru by means of action. Its scriptural sources are a wide range of tantric texts, including the Guhyasamaja, Kalachakra, Chakrasamvara, Vajradakini, and Vajrahridayalamkara tantras. The specific tantric sources for each verse are given in Lama Tsongkhapa’s Fulfillment of All Hopes, his commentary on this text.

As important as guru devotion is for practitioners of sutra, it is even more essential and more emphasized in the study and practice of tantra . This is because tantric techniques are extremely difficult and complicated. If practiced correctly, they can bring you buddhahood within your lifetime, but if not, they can be very dangerous and bring you extremely dire consequences. Therefore, the direct personal guidance of a guru is indispensable.

Since the Fifty Verses outlines specifically how disciples should act with their guru, it is customarily taught before a tantric initiation is given. Once a guru-disciple relationship has been established, disciples are taught guru devotion and the common path of renunciation, bodhicitta, and correct view of emptiness. Then, after receiving the proper initiations, they can be led gradually through the stages of tantra on the firm foundation of guru devotion and the three principal aspects of the path.

 

The Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion commentary

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-dän-dä, is etymologized 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 [Skt: klesha], as well as their imprints [karma] and the ignorance of grasping for true independent existence; the latter refer to the imprints of this ignorance. Dän means to possess—buddhas possess all good qualities, having completed the accumulation of both merit and insight, resulting in their form and wisdom bodies respectively. Dä means to pass beyond—buddhas have passed beyond both samsara and nirvana.

The hidden meaning of Vajrasattva [Tib: Dorje Sempa] can also be discovered from its etymology. Dorje means indestructible diamond lightning—here it refers to the diamond-hard wisdom of non-dual bliss and emptiness, that is (1) the non-duality of the mind that has the bare perception of emptiness experienced with a feeling of great bliss and (2) the emptiness that is the object of this mind. Sempa means one with a heroic mind—one who has abandoned all delusions, ignorance and their imprints and possesses the heroic mind ready to help others in all possible ways at any time.

Thus Bhagavan Vajrasattva refers to the state of Vajradhara, the form the Buddha took when teaching tantra. As guru devotion is the way to attain this enlightened state, Ashvagosha begins his work with this homage.

Verses 1 & 2

In general, there are three types of initiation: causal, pathway and resultant. The first is to ripen your mindstream, 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.

Verse 3

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 Tushita 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, Avalokiteshvara, the manifestation 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.

Thus, 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.

Verses 4 & 5

One of the ordination rules is that monks and nuns should not prostrate to laypeople. 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 Chandragomin and Chandrakirti often debated with one another. The former was a layman, the latter a monk. One day Chandrakirti invited Chandragomin 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. Chandrakirti told him not to worry. He placed a statue of Manjushri on a high throne and in the procession had a monk carry it directly before Chandragomin. All the people thought that the ceremony was in honor of Manjushri, the manifestation of all buddhas’ wisdom, and thus Chandrakirti avoided creating any bad feelings.

Although restraint and indirect means of showing respect are often called for out of consideration for others, in private a 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 whenever he comes into view, 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. Pari 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 scripture, since he himself had no qualifications.

Verse 6

At initiations, we take many sets of vows never to abandon the practices and procedures essential for spiritual progress. The disciples pledge their word of honor never to transgress these vows, such as always to visualize their guru as inseparable from the deity into whose practice they have just been initiated. Such deities, as well as the gurus, share the same enlightened nature as all the buddhas; they differ 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 tantra should not be entrusted to those who are not ready. If, having taken such vows, either guru or disciple should allow their words of honor to degenerate, it will be impossible for either to attain any of their 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 initiation, potential disciples would have to ask over a period of three years. Initiations were never given casually. By making disciples wait so long, gurus would impress upon them the seriousness of entering the tantric path, test their commitment and ensure that they were properly prepared. Often a guru would make disciples wait even longer before agreeing to teach them anything. He would repeatedly test their character and only when he had understood them well would he accept them as disciples.

Disciples must also test potential gurus to determine if they are fully qualified. You have to be confident that you will be able to devote yourself fully to this master. Before entering a formal guru-disciple relationship, you have complete freedom of choice, but once you have established this bond, you have to follow the teachings on guru devotion with total commitment.

Verses 7, 8 & 9

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 treasury of scriptural knowledge;
  7. Insight into and understanding of emptiness;
  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. He should be someone in whose presence everyone feels calm, peaceful and relaxed and even the mere sight of him brings great pleasure to the mind. And his compassion must be unsurpassable.

There are two sets of ten fields in which the vajra guru must be a complete master. The ten inner ones are essential for teaching the yoga and maha-anuttara yoga 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 initiations, planting the seeds for attaining a buddha’s form bodies;
  4. Conferring the wisdom and word initiations, planting the seeds for attaining a buddha’s wisdom bodies;
  5. Separating the enemies of Dharma from their own protectors;
  6. Making the offerings, such as of 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 (sadhana) and taking self-initiations.

The ten external qualities are required for teaching the kriya and charya 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;
  3. Executing the hand gestures [Skt: mudra];
  4. Performing the ritual dances;
  5. Sitting in the full meditation 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
  1. Pacification of disputes, famine and disease,
  2. Increase of life span, knowledge and wealth,
  3. Power to influence others and 
  4. Wrathful elimination of demonic forces and interferences; and
  • 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 meditation 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.

Verses 10 through 15

As your guru is a buddha, despising him is the same as hating all enlightened beings. 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. By despising or belittling such a state through 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. A tantric master is a teacher who has given you initiations, tantric discourses or even instructions 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, if, from the depths of your heart, you break this link , you cast yourself into terrible suffering. Therefore, you must have great awareness, for although guru devotion will elevate you to full enlightenment, a breach of it will be your downfall.

Verse 16

As a buddha, a guru will never hold a grudge. Showing him disrespect cannot possibly offend or hurt him—the only one you’ll harm will be 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 God-like 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 towards this goal. Despising him can only take you further away into darkness and ignorance.

Verses 17 through 21

Making offerings to your guru as the representative of all the buddhas is extremely important. Such generosity is symbolic of your total dedication to achieving buddhahood. If through 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 your promise to give yourself totally to 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. Offering a mandala symbolizes the dedication of your body, speech and mind—even the entire universe—to this goal.

If you are poor, like Jetsun Milarepa was, it doesn’t matter that you don’t have any riches to offer. What is important is your state of mind and willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of your guru, enlightenment and all sentient beings. The best offering, then, is of your practice. But if you do 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 does grass. The point is to benefit yourself and ultimately everybody else by your total dedication. Through practicing like this you accumulate great merit that eventually will result in your attaining the form body of a buddha, and if you can see the empty nature—the lack of true, independent existence—of yourself, your guru and what you offer, you simultaneously accumulate the insight that eventually will result in your attaining the wisdom body of a buddha. Thus the supreme powerful attainment of buddhahood comes from making offerings to your guru.

Verse 22

Your guru, the deities and Vajradhara, the form that Lord 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.

Your ability to see your guru and Buddha Vajradhara as the same depends on your motivation. If you have developed the enlightened motive of bodhicitta, you are striving to become a buddha yourself in order to be fully able to benefit others. The stronger your bodhicitta motivation, the more the thought of enlightenment will pervade your mind. Thinking only of enlightenment and how to achieve it, you will automatically be able to see your guru as Vajradhara because nothing else will be in your mind.

The stronger your wish to attain enlightenment, the more clearly will 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, morality, patience and so forth, all centered on your guru, you will then be a ble to attain his state.

Verse 23

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. Both destroying a stupa and stepping on your guru’s shadow, then, are acts of extreme disregard and disrespect for the state of enlightenment and the fearsome consequences of both are therefore the same. Similarly, if you treat your guru’s shoes, seat, horse or vehicle 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.

Verses 24 & 25

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. Since 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 for your welfare.

Examine yourself honestly to see if you can follow 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 of extra-physical and mental powers common to non-Buddhists, but also, depending on your motivation, higher rebirth, liberation or the supreme powerful attainment of enlightenment.

Verse 26

Before Dromtönpa studied with Atisha , he served another guru in Kham. By day he carried his master’s children on his back, spun wool with his hands and softened leather with his feet; by night he tended his master’s animals. He did all this with great joy, and although he was only a layman, Atisha designated him as the recipient of all the teachings he brought to Tibet.

When Jetsun 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. That’s the kind of respect and devotion you need to have for everybody 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.

Verses 27 through 30

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 want 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 cruel, unnatural restrictions. If you are sitting cross-legged at a discourse and get too uncomfortable, you are certainly permitted to lift your knees or shift position, but sitting casually with your feet stretched out towards your guru reflects a flippant, disrespectful attitude. Attending a discourse is not like being at a sporting event; you’re not there for your amusement but in order to attain enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings. Therefore, you must show your guru great respect and always be alert to his needs and comfort.

Verses 31 & 32

You must always be considerate of your guru. As he is the one who will show you the way to complete freedom from suffering and how 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.

Verse 33

If you have the opportunity to bathe your guru, shave his head or in any way 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 should be for your guru and your attainment of his enlightened state. Only afterward should you care for yourself.

Verse 34

Once when Lama Tsong Khapa was giving a discourse to some disciples in a retreat house above where Sera Monastery would later be built, Khädrub-Je came to meet him for the first time. He asked a nun living near by where the Venerable Tsong Khapa 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 Tsong Khapa resides over there.”

If your guru’s name is Rinchen Dorje, you may refer to him when speaking to others as “my spiritual master, His Presence, the holy, venerable Rinchen Dorje.” At least some respectful titles must be used. It is extremely crude, arrogant and grating to address, refer to or write about your guru using only his personal name—he is not your childhood playmate but a buddha leading you to enlightenment.

Verses 35 & 36

Never waste your guru’s time with idle chatter. When you go to see him, make three prostrations and 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 not. 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.

Verses 37 through 39

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 discourses, remember that they are not social events. The reason you’re there is to learn how to attain enlightenment for the benefit of others, not there to show off your wealth and beauty to others, so don’t adorn yourself like a peacock. Also, be aware and considerate of the social customs of those around you; never dress in a way that would offend them or disturb their minds. Be neat, clean and unostentatious and sit with great respect for your guru.

When serving your guru, do not be childish. The reason you offer service and gifts is to create the merit you need to attain enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings, not to be able to boast to others how pious and devoted you are. No merit can be gained from arrogance. Do not serve your guru with haughty pride, as though you were doing him a great favor. He doesn’t need any help from you—he’s a buddha—but you need a lot from him: by allowing you to perform small tasks he is giving you the great opportunity to accumulate 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.

Verses 40 through 42

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 initiation, teachings and so forth and your own guru resides in the same area, you should first ask him if he can do it instead of you. If he cannot, then only with his approval can you go ahead to fulfill these requests.

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 and at all times be humble. You should give any offerings you receive to your guru as a sign of your respect. He will then take a token amount and give you back the rest. He has no greed for your offerings but you must always keep him foremost in your mind.

Rechungpa was once living in the same town as his guru, Jetsun Milarepa. As he was very handsome, many devotees came to see him and gave him a lot of offerings. He thought, “If I have been given this many offerings, my guru must have received at least three times as much.”

He went to Jetsun Milarepa and said, “Didn’t we receive a lot of offerings today? Let’s share them with all the other disciples.” But his guru showed him that all he had been given that day was piece of meat, a cheese cake and some butter. Rechungpa felt so embarrassed that he had received more offerings than his guru that he told him he would leave town immediately. He asked permission to go to Lhasa to see the famous Buddha image, but Jetsun Milarepa replied, “If you see your guru as buddha, what use is it to go look at some statue?”

Then Rechungpa asked if he could go visit the ancient monastery at Samyé. Again his guru answered, “When observing the spectacle of your mind, what use is it to go look at a building?”

A third time he requested to make a pilgrimage to Lhodrak, where his guru’s master, the great translator Marpa had lived. Milarepa simply said, “If you meditate on my master’s teachings, what use is it to go look at his house?”

Jetsun Milarepa told him to stop trying to do so many things but to go into retreat to gain more confidence in his practice instead. So this is what Rechungpa did, because he realized that it is not proper for a disciple to receive more respect and offerings than his or her guru.

Verses 43 & 44

All disciples who receive tantric empowerments from the same guru become vajra brothers and sisters and should therefore have great affection and regard for each other and help each other stay on the path. You should never be jealous of or feel pride toward your fellow disciples or compete with them. By correcting each other you please your guru and everybody benefits. If there is unity and harmony among Dharma friends, it will spread into the lives of those around them.

Verse 45

Guru devotion is not a fanatical practice. If you are ill and your guru enters the room, you don’t have to stand up and prostrate. If you have something to offer but are too weak to extend your hand, it is permissible even for your guru to bend down to your bed to receive it. This is not disrespectful because in your heart you want to do what is proper but your physical condition prevents you from doing it.

However, there are certain things for which there are no exceptions. You must never disturb your guru’s mind or be boastful, arrogant or disrespectful no matter what the circumstances.

Verses 46 & 47

All you want is happiness and freedom from suffering. The source of these is your guru because 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 do only what pleases him. Since the source of these teachings is Buddha Vajradhara, you should put aside all doubt—follow them with complete conviction and you will attain enlightenment.

What pleases your guru most, then, is your practice leading to buddhahood. Therefore, your motivation for pleasing him should be bodhicitta—your wish to help others by leading them to enlightenment—not 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 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 situations it is totally inappropriate to become depressed, despondent or to feel self-pity and guilt that your guru does not love you any more. To do so indicates that strong ego-grasping is causing you to take his criticism too personally.

Marpa scolded and even beat Jetsun Milarepa many times. This was not because he personally disliked him but because out of compassion he saw the need for forceful skillful means. Thus, if your guru is wrathful with you, try to see that he is using this method to tame your mind and lead you to enlightenment. As a buddha, how could he possibly hate you?

Verses 48 & 49

If, as a disciple, you have pure thoughts of benefiting others, are humble and neither arrogant nor 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—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, bodhicitta and correct understanding of emptiness. On the firm foundation of your refuge and bodhicitta vows, you can then be given the detailed teachings on guru devotion.

This text was written to be recited daily so that disciples wouldn’t forget the important points of how to conduct themselves with their guru. When your master has prepared you in this way for tantra and you have become a suitable vessel, 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 promised that if you keep the root tantric vows purely, even if you do no meditation, you will accumulate enough merit and eliminate sufficient obstacles to attain enlightenment within sixteen lifetimes.

After being initiated you will be empowered to follow the complete tantric path through the development and completion stages as directed by your guru, but your success in this will depend upon your guru devotion and how purely you keep your 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-deity.

The author concludes this text by dedicating the merit to all sentient beings and this is followed by the colophon.

Colophon

Gen Rinpoche Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey gave this oral commentary at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala, about 1973. The translation and explanation of the root text are based on commentaries by Lama Tsong Khapa and Pabongka Rinpoche. The root verses are not included here but provided with the 1976 commentary. Translated and edited by Sharpa Tulku, Khamlung Tulku, Alexander Berzin and Jonathan Landaw; published by the LTWA in 1975. This version lightly edited by Nicholas Ribush.

Thus Bhagavan Vajrasattva refers to the state of Vajradhara, the form the Buddha took when teaching tantra. As guru devotion is the way to attain this enlightened state, Ashvagosha begins his work with this homage.

Verses 1 & 2

In general, there are three types of initiation: causal, pathway and resultant. The first is to ripen your mindstream, 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.

Verse 3

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 Tushita 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, Avalokiteshvara, the manifestation 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.

Thus, 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.

Verses 4 & 5

One of the ordination rules is that monks and nuns should not prostrate to laypeople. 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 Chandragomin and Chandrakirti often debated with one another. The former was a layman, the latter a monk. One day Chandrakirti invited Chandragomin 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. Chandrakirti told him not to worry. He placed a statue of Manjushri on a high throne and in the procession had a monk carry it directly before Chandragomin. All the people thought that the ceremony was in honor of Manjushri, the manifestation of all buddhas’ wisdom, and thus Chandrakirti avoided creating any bad feelings.

Although restraint and indirect means of showing respect are often called for out of consideration for others, in private a 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 whenever he comes into view, 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. Pari 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 scripture, since he himself had no qualifications.

Verse 6

At initiations, we take many sets of vows never to abandon the practices and procedures essential for spiritual progress. The disciples pledge their word of honor never to transgress these vows, such as always to visualize their guru as inseparable from the deity into whose practice they have just been initiated. Such deities, as well as the gurus, share the same enlightened nature as all the buddhas; they differ 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 tantra should not be entrusted to those who are not ready. If, having taken such vows, either guru or disciple should allow their words of honor to degenerate, it will be impossible for either to attain any of their 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 initiation, potential disciples would have to ask over a period of three years. Initiations were never given casually. By making disciples wait so long, gurus would impress upon them the seriousness of entering the tantric path, test their commitment and ensure that they were properly prepared. Often a guru would make disciples wait even longer before agreeing to teach them anything. He would repeatedly test their character and only when he had understood them well would he accept them as disciples.

Disciples must also test potential gurus to determine if they are fully qualified. You have to be confident that you will be able to devote yourself fully to this master. Before entering a formal guru-disciple relationship, you have complete freedom of choice, but once you have established this bond, you have to follow the teachings on guru devotion with total commitment.

Verses 7, 8 & 9

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 treasury of scriptural knowledge;
  7. Insight into and understanding of emptiness;
  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. He should be someone in whose presence everyone feels calm, peaceful and relaxed and even the mere sight of him brings great pleasure to the mind. And his compassion must be unsurpassable.

There are two sets of ten fields in which the vajra guru must be a complete master. The ten inner ones are essential for teaching the yoga and maha-anuttara yoga 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 initiations, planting the seeds for attaining a buddha’s form bodies;
  4. Conferring the wisdom and word initiations, planting the seeds for attaining a buddha’s wisdom bodies;
  5. Separating the enemies of Dharma from their own protectors;
  6. Making the offerings, such as of 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 (sadhana) and taking self-initiations.

The ten external qualities are required for teaching the kriya and charya 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;
  3. Executing the hand gestures [Skt: mudra];
  4. Performing the ritual dances;
  5. Sitting in the full meditation 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
  1. Pacification of disputes, famine and disease,
  2. Increase of life span, knowledge and wealth,
  3. Power to influence others and 
  4. Wrathful elimination of demonic forces and interferences; and
  • 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 meditation 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.

Verses 10 through 15

As your guru is a buddha, despising him is the same as hating all enlightened beings. 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. By despising or belittling such a state through 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.

 

re are great dangers in entering a guru-disciple relationship. A tantric master is a teacher who has given you initiations, tantric discourses or even instructions 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, if, from the depths of your heart, you break this link , you cast yourself into terrible suffering. Therefore, you must have great awareness, for although guru devotion will elevate you to full enlightenment, a breach of it will be your downfall.

Verse 16

As a buddha, a guru will never hold a grudge. Showing him disrespect cannot possibly offend or hurt him—the only one you’ll harm will be 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 God-like 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 towards this goal. Despising him can only take you further away into darkness and ignorance.

Verses 17 through 21

Making offerings to your guru as the representative of all the buddhas is extremely important. Such generosity is symbolic of your total dedication to achieving buddhahood. If through 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 your promise to give yourself totally to 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. Offering a mandala symbolizes the dedication of your body, speech and mind—even the entire universe—to this goal.

If you are poor, like Jetsun Milarepa was, it doesn’t matter that you don’t have any riches to offer. What is important is your state of mind and willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of your guru, enlightenment and all sentient beings. The best offering, then, is of your practice. But if you do 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 does grass. The point is to benefit yourself and ultimately everybody else by your total dedication. Through practicing like this you accumulate great merit that eventually will result in your attaining the form body of a buddha, and if you can see the empty nature—the lack of true, independent existence—of yourself, your guru and what you offer, you simultaneously accumulate the insight that eventually will result in your attaining the wisdom body of a buddha. Thus the supreme powerful attainment of buddhahood comes from making offerings to your guru.

Verse 22

Your guru, the deities and Vajradhara, the form that Lord 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.

Your ability to see your guru and Buddha Vajradhara as the same depends on your motivation. If you have developed the enlightened motive of bodhicitta, you are striving to become a buddha yourself in order to be fully able to benefit others. The stronger your bodhicitta motivation, the more the thought of enlightenment will pervade your mind. Thinking only of enlightenment and how to achieve it, you will automatically be able to see your guru as Vajradhara because nothing else will be in your mind.

The stronger your wish to attain enlightenment, the more clearly will 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, morality, patience and so forth, all centered on your guru, you will then be a ble to attain his state.

Verse 23

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. Both destroying a stupa and stepping on your guru’s shadow, then, are acts of extreme disregard and disrespect for the state of enlightenment and the fearsome consequences of both are therefore the same. Similarly, if you treat your guru’s shoes, seat, horse or vehicle 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.

Verses 24 & 25

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. Since 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 for your welfare.

Examine yourself honestly to see if you can follow 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 of extra-physical and mental powers common to non-Buddhists, but also, depending on your motivation, higher rebirth, liberation or the supreme powerful attainment of enlightenment.

Verse 26

Before Dromtönpa studied with Atisha , he served another guru in Kham. By day he carried his master’s children on his back, spun wool with his hands and softened leather with his feet; by night he tended his master’s animals. He did all this with great joy, and although he was only a layman, Atisha designated him as the recipient of all the teachings he brought to Tibet.

When Jetsun 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. That’s the kind of respect and devotion you need to have for everybody 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.

Verses 27 through 30

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 want 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 cruel, unnatural restrictions. If you are sitting cross-legged at a discourse and get too uncomfortable, you are certainly permitted to lift your knees or shift position, but sitting casually with your feet stretched out towards your guru reflects a flippant, disrespectful attitude. Attending a discourse is not like being at a sporting event; you’re not there for your amusement but in order to attain enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings. Therefore, you must show your guru great respect and always be alert to his needs and comfort.

Verses 31 & 32

You must always be considerate of your guru. As he is the one who will show you the way to complete freedom from suffering and how 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.

Verse 33

If you have the opportunity to bathe your guru, shave his head or in any way 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 should be for your guru and your attainment of his enlightened state. Only afterward should you care for yourself.

Verse 34

Once when Lama Tsong Khapa was giving a discourse to some disciples in a retreat house above where Sera Monastery would later be built, Khädrub-Je came to meet him for the first time. He asked a nun living near by where the Venerable Tsong Khapa 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 Tsong Khapa resides over there.”

If your guru’s name is Rinchen Dorje, you may refer to him when speaking to others as “my spiritual master, His Presence, the holy, venerable Rinchen Dorje.” At least some respectful titles must be used. It is extremely crude, arrogant and grating to address, refer to or write about your guru using only his personal name—he is not your childhood playmate but a buddha leading you to enlightenment.

Verses 35 & 36

Never waste your guru’s time with idle chatter. When you go to see him, make three prostrations and 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 not. 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.

Verses 37 through 39

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 discourses, remember that they are not social events. The reason you’re there is to learn how to attain enlightenment for the benefit of others, not there to show off your wealth and beauty to others, so don’t adorn yourself like a peacock. Also, be aware and considerate of the social customs of those around you; never dress in a way that would offend them or disturb their minds. Be neat, clean and unostentatious and sit with great respect for your guru.

When serving your guru, do not be childish. The reason you offer service and gifts is to create the merit you need to attain enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings, not to be able to boast to others how pious and devoted you are. No merit can be gained from arrogance. Do not serve your guru with haughty pride, as though you were doing him a great favor. He doesn’t need any help from you—he’s a buddha—but you need a lot from him: by allowing you to perform small tasks he is giving you the great opportunity to accumulate 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.

Verses 40 through 42

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 initiation, teachings and so forth and your own guru resides in the same area, you should first ask him if he can do it instead of you. If he cannot, then only with his approval can you go ahead to fulfill these requests.

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 and at all times be humble. You should give any offerings you receive to your guru as a sign of your respect. He will then take a token amount and give you back the rest. He has no greed for your offerings but you must always keep him foremost in your mind.

Rechungpa was once living in the same town as his guru, Jetsun Milarepa. As he was very handsome, many devotees came to see him and gave him a lot of offerings. He thought, “If I have been given this many offerings, my guru must have received at least three times as much.”

He went to Jetsun Milarepa and said, “Didn’t we receive a lot of offerings today? Let’s share them with all the other disciples.” But his guru showed him that all he had been given that day was piece of meat, a cheese cake and some butter. Rechungpa felt so embarrassed that he had received more offerings than his guru that he told him he would leave town immediately. He asked permission to go to Lhasa to see the famous Buddha image, but Jetsun Milarepa replied, “If you see your guru as buddha, what use is it to go look at some statue?”

Then Rechungpa asked if he could go visit the ancient monastery at Samyé. Again his guru answered, “When observing the spectacle of your mind, what use is it to go look at a building?”

A third time he requested to make a pilgrimage to Lhodrak, where his guru’s master, the great translator Marpa had lived. Milarepa simply said, “If you meditate on my master’s teachings, what use is it to go look at his house?”

Jetsun Milarepa told him to stop trying to do so many things but to go into retreat to gain more confidence in his practice instead. So this is what Rechungpa did, because he realized that it is not proper for a disciple to receive more respect and offerings than his or her guru.

Verses 43 & 44

All disciples who receive tantric empowerments from the same guru become vajra brothers and sisters and should therefore have great affection and regard for each other and help each other stay on the path. You should never be jealous of or feel pride toward your fellow disciples or compete with them. By correcting each other you please your guru and everybody benefits. If there is unity and harmony among Dharma friends, it will spread into the lives of those around them.

Verse 45

Guru devotion is not a fanatical practice. If you are ill and your guru enters the room, you don’t have to stand up and prostrate. If you have something to offer but are too weak to extend your hand, it is permissible even for your guru to bend down to your bed to receive it. This is not disrespectful because in your heart you want to do what is proper but your physical condition prevents you from doing it.

However, there are certain things for which there are no exceptions. You must never disturb your guru’s mind or be boastful, arrogant or disrespectful no matter what the circumstances.

Verses 46 & 47

All you want is happiness and freedom from suffering. The source of these is your guru because 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 do only what pleases him. Since the source of these teachings is Buddha Vajradhara, you should put aside all doubt—follow them with complete conviction and you will attain enlightenment.

What pleases your guru most, then, is your practice leading to buddhahood. Therefore, your motivation for pleasing him should be bodhicitta—your wish to help others by leading them to enlightenment—not 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 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 situations it is totally inappropriate to become depressed, despondent or to feel self-pity and guilt that your guru does not love you any more. To do so indicates that strong ego-grasping is causing you to take his criticism too personally.

Marpa scolded and even beat Jetsun Milarepa many times. This was not because he personally disliked him but because out of compassion he saw the need for forceful skillful means. Thus, if your guru is wrathful with you, try to see that he is using this method to tame your mind and lead you to enlightenment. As a buddha, how could he possibly hate you?

Verses 48 & 49

If, as a disciple, you have pure thoughts of benefiting others, are humble and neither arrogant nor 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—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, bodhicitta and correct understanding of emptiness. On the firm foundation of your refuge and bodhicitta vows, you can then be given the detailed teachings on guru devotion.

This text was written to be recited daily so that disciples wouldn’t forget the important points of how to conduct themselves with their guru. When your master has prepared you in this way for tantra and you have become a suitable vessel, 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 promised that if you keep the root tantric vows purely, even if you do no meditation, you will accumulate enough merit and eliminate sufficient obstacles to attain enlightenment within sixteen lifetimes.

After being initiated you will be empowered to follow the complete tantric path through the development and completion stages as directed by your guru, but your success in this will depend upon your guru devotion and how purely you keep your 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-deity.

The author concludes this text by dedicating the merit to all sentient beings and this is followed by the colophon.

Colophon

Gen Rinpoche Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey gave this oral commentary at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala, about 1973. The translation and explanation of the root text are based on commentaries by Lama Tsong Khapa and Pabongka Rinpoche. The root verses are not included here but provided with the 1976 commentary. Translated and edited by Sharpa Tulku, Khamlung Tulku, Alexander Berzin and Jonathan Landaw; published by the LTWA in 1975. This version lightly edited by Nicholas Ribush.

Please support us so that we can continue to bring you more Dharma:

If you are in the United States, please note that your offerings and contributions are tax deductible. ~ the tsemrinpoche.com blog team

Share this article

6 Responses to Brief Commentary on 50 Verses of Guru Devotion

DISCLAIMER IN RELATION TO COMMENTS OR POSTS GIVEN BY THIRD PARTIES BELOW

Kindly note that the comments or posts given by third parties in the comment section below do not represent the views of the owner and/or host of this Blog, save for responses specifically given by the owner and/or host. All other comments or posts or any other opinions, discussions or views given below under the comment section do not represent our views and should not be regarded as such. We reserve the right to remove any comments/views which we may find offensive but due to the volume of such comments, the non removal and/or non detection of any such comments/views does not mean that we condone the same.

We do hope that the participants of any comments, posts, opinions, discussions or views below will act responsibly and do not engage nor make any statements which are defamatory in nature or which may incite and contempt or ridicule of any party,individual or their beliefs or to contravene any laws.

  1. Samfoonheei on Apr 1, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing the fifty verses of Guru devotion.Now i can understand a little much better.Still trying to understand more. Through devotion to our precious Guru, showing respect and making offerings, we can accumulate the merits to attain liberation from all sufferings.Hence very important for us to practice the 50 verses of Guru Devotion.

  2. Pee Bee Chong on Aug 2, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Dear Rinpoche, Thank you very much for this sharing. I like it so much even though I do not fully understand some of the explanation. The commentary teaches us why guru devotion is so important, and how we should conduct ourselves for best guru devotion. Enlightenment is definitely possible with strong guru-student relationship.

    I would like to apology if I have been very childish on the blog and disrespectful to guru and anyone.

    Thank you Rinpoche with folded hands

  3. Wan Wai Meng on Jul 28, 2014 at 1:13 am

    We owe a lot to Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey who gave us this oral commentary, and giving us a guidance in order to know what it is like to have a spiritual guru student relationship should be

  4. Hee TS on Jul 13, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Thank you dear Rinpoche for sharing the fifty verses of guru devotion.At least now I know what I had missed and how to conduct ourselves with our guru to give my best devotion.
    Some of us may have difficulties reading this verses though it is in English.It would be better if we could get hold of different languages of the fifty verses of guru devotion such as Chinese for those who struggle in English language.So that they can fully understand this verses and give fully devotion to their guru.
    Much appreciated with folded hands.Thank you.

  5. Jacinta Goh on May 24, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Quite recently, I was actually thinking on how I can get a copy of the commentary for this. I saw it once in KH Gompa when I attended the puja. I am glad that Rinpoche have it HERE (free) and with full commentary (on the next link). I will print this out. Definitely!

    Usually I read it (the 50 verses of Guru Devotion) from time to time. I got this from sadhana and prayers from this blog as well.

    Thank you so much, Rinpoche (with folded hands).

  6. tenzinkhenchen on May 24, 2014 at 12:30 am

    Thank you for sharing this brief, oral commentary on the 50 verses of guru devotion. This text is one of the most important parts of developing a student and teacher relationship, which would lead to great realisations and enlightenment.

    The connection between a guru and his student is pivotal in a Dharma practice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *





Blog Chat

BLOG CHAT

Dear blog friends,

I’ve created this section for all of you to share your opinions, thoughts and feelings about whatever interests you.

Everyone has a different perspective, so this section is for you.

Tsem Rinpoche


SCHEDULED CHAT SESSIONS / 中文聊天室时间表

THURSDAY
10 - 11PM (GMT +8)
5 - 6AM (PST)
星期五
9 - 10PM (GMT +8)
4 - 5AM (PST)
(除了每个月的第一个星期五)
SATURDAY
11AM - 12PM (GMT +8)
FRIDAY 7 - 8PM (PST)
SUNDAY
9:30 - 10PM (GMT +8)
4:30 - 5AM (PST)

UPCOMING TOPICS FOR APRIL / 四月份讨论主题

Please come and join in the chat for a fun time and support. See you all there.


Blog Chat Etiquette

These are some simple guidelines to make the blog chat room a positive, enjoyable and enlightening experience for everyone. Please note that as this is a chat room, we chat! Do not flood the chat room, or post without interacting with others.

EXPAND
Be friendly

Remember that these are real people you are chatting with. They may have different opinions to you and come from different cultures. Treat them as you would face to face, and respect their opinions, and they will treat you the same.

Be Patient

Give the room a chance to answer you. Patience is a virtue. And if after awhile, people don't respond, perhaps they don't know the answer or they did not see your question. Do ask again or address someone directly. Do not be offended if people do not or are unable to respond to you.

Be Relevant

This is the blog of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche. Please respect this space. We request that all participants here are respectful of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche and his organisation, Kechara.

Be polite

Avoid the use of language or attitudes which may be offensive to others. If someone is disrespectful to you, ignore them instead of arguing with them.

Please be advised that anyone who contravenes these guidelines may be banned from the chatroom. Banning is at the complete discretion of the administrator of this blog. Should anyone wish to make an appeal or complaint about the behaviour of someone in the chatroom, please copy paste the relevant chat in an email to us at [email protected] and state the date and time of the respective conversation.

Please let this be a conducive space for discussions, both light and profound.

KECHARA FOREST RETREAT PROGRESS UPDATES

Here is the latest news and pictorial updates, as it happens, of our upcoming forest retreat project.

The Kechara Forest Retreat is a unique holistic retreat centre focused on the total wellness of body, mind and spirit. This is a place where families and individuals will find peace, nourishment and inspiration in a natural forest environment. At Kechara Forest Retreat, we are committed to give back to society through instilling the next generation with universal positive values such as kindness and compassion.

For more information, please read here (english), here (chinese), or the official site: retreat.kechara.com.

Noticeboard

Name: Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Lin Mun
    Friday, Apr 28. 2017 04:00 PM
    Everything we offer to Buddha is a form of mind transformation and practise our mind to be focus even when doing water offering. When pouring the water into the bowl we have to recite Om Ah Hum (3 times), think positively and pouring it slowly so it does not spill and leaving the space of a grain of rice before reaching the top. After offering we also have to clean the bowls properly without leaving stain. All this is to train our mind.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing the many benefits and water offering in a simple to understand article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/making-water-offerings-to-the-buddhas.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Apr 28. 2017 03:38 PM
    Trolls are assiociates as beings of Scandinavian folklore.A large number of different mythological creatures continue to live on in Scandinavian folklore.They have different shapes,habitat and filthy features . There are also numerous tales of trolls told and retold.Trolls are also believed to have the magigal powers, which were folktales ,posses capabilities that are beyond human .What ever it was a remnant of a long-lost reality for sure. I do believe that there’s a very high chance trolls had existed in the past.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing ,i do enjoyed all the stories in these article even though it just folk tales.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/the-hidden-nature-of-trolls.html
  • Jason
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 11:54 PM
    People always expect return on some contribution being done especially in charity events. When the return was under their expectations then they will feel sad or unhappy.
    As Rinpoche said, Dharma is a teachings to transform our mind to become bodicitta or selfless to benefit others without condition. Once we practiced selfless mind, our mind will not be affected by others people reaction.
    What will be my legacy? I think this is not really important to me anymore once I know Dharma teachings from Rinpoche.
    Thanks Datuk May for sharing to benefit more people.

    Jason

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/what-will-be-your-legacy.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 08:56 PM
    Amazing miracles true story …of how Rinpoche helped. With Rinpoche blessing during the children baptismal ceremony,this little boy who had not spoken since 9 years old was able to speake again.Incredible….
    Chef Au truly believes been a vegetarian has help him to collects merits for his son.Rinpoche’s care and compassion has benefited many more people.Through these stories hope more people will be inspired to achieve the state of compassion and attainments.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Loh Seng Piow for this sharing.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-4.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 07:51 PM
    Having fully trust and faith in Rinpoche ,Fat monk’s mother was well again, after been diagnosed with cancerious tumour at the liver.
    Following instructions given by Rinpoche, his mother recited mantras and Fat monk did a series of pujas as told,his mother recovered then.
    Amazing……Miracles do happen.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Loh Seng Piow for sharing.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-3.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 05:27 PM
    We are no strangers to the creatures called Werewolves. They are often depicted as the Jekyll-and-Hyde-like monsters in movies who are unable to control their animal instincts when they shift from human form to a wolf-like creature, usually during the full moon. Together with the Vampires who can transform into bats, are my childhood imagery villains, who triggered my curiosity on mythical creatures during younger days. They still do, lol.

    It is gruesome to learn that real life werewolves are actually brutal even when they are in human forms. It is a far depict from the movies and fictions, where they are civil and level headed when in human form. I hope one day science or technology can provide more proves the existence of werewolves, and debunk the reason of this mystical shapeshifter.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/paranormal/werewolves-the-shapeshifters.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 05:07 PM
    The miraculous power of Protectors’ practice can heal and shield us from negative karma from ripening. Through the blessings of our Guru, coupled with strong faith and trust, the practices will take effect swiftly and effectively. Rejoice to Steven Lee. May he be guided by the Three Jewels always. Thank you, Pastor Seng Piow for sharing the true story with us.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-10.html
  • Lin Mun
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 03:57 PM
    This is a very touching article. I totally agree that dog is a man’s best friend. They are always so loyal to the owner. However it is sad that not all pet owners are such. Some will only treat them literally as an animal and therefore do not take good care of them. Dogs or any other animals are beings that have feeling. There should not be neglected and be abused by us. This article reminds us to always care for all beings and respect them.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this heartwarming article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/faithful-dog-chases-deceased-owner.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 02:21 PM
    Its a heartfelt touching article of this faithful dog.Cannot imagine this ,such a wonderful relationship between that dog and the deceased owner.The greatest fear dogs know is the fear that we will not come back for them That i noticed from observing from my pet poodle.In this case this faithful dog knew his owner won’t be back.
    Dogs are loyal, patient, fearless, forgiving, capable of pure love and have feelings too.He must have missed the owner badly that he wanted to accompany the owner all the way to the resting place.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing. May that faithful dog ,continue to serve and well taken, love by the other family members.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/faithful-dog-chases-deceased-owner.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 01:46 PM
    Werewolves are known to be mythical creatures found in fiction instead of lurking in the dark woods,In various parts of the world there were few cases who have gone down in history as real life werewolves Interesting to read it from these post..How far it was true or just legends.,no one really know . Many myths and legends surrounding werewolves .To become a werewolf, it is necessary to be bitten by a werewolf in their form at the time of the full moon. Thats what all of us knew from the movies and from fiction told. Reports of werewolf sightings continued even till this century but mostly in between 1428 and 1447 .The most recent sighting of werewolf sightings in 1972. was in Ohio .but eventually subsided .
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these interesting article which i do enjoyed reading it,
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/paranormal/werewolves-the-shapeshifters.html
  • Valentina
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 01:11 PM
    Join our blog chat session this Saturday 11AM – 12PM (GMT +8) on the topic of:

    Twenty-Four Holy Places & Eight Great Charnel Grounds part 2 – (focus topic: Eight Great Charnel Grounds)

    At one time there was a god by the name of Rudra who was originally part of Mahadeva’s retinue. He was a very fierce being who also had many of his own consorts. Together with his consorts he began to oppress sentient beings, and promoted violence and unethical behaviour. At that time, Heruka once again arose, and in a dance of great compassionate wrath, liberated Rudra and his consorts from their physical bodies, sending their minds to pure lands. The places where Rudra’s body parts fell became charnel grounds. …read more by clicking the following link:

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/twenty-four-holy-places-eight-great-charnel-grounds.html
  • Jason
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 03:07 AM
    This year Wesak Day fall on 10 of May. This day is very special and meaningful to me because I will visit Kechara Forest Retreat(KFR) to join some meritorious event there.
    For me, Wesak is a day to commemorate Buddha Sakyamuni in three aspect( Birth , Enlightened, Nirwana).
    While we celebrate Wesak, we must remind ourselves to learn from Buddha teachings and practice it in order to gain attainment.
    Thanks Rinpoche and Pastor Seng Piow for sharing in order to create more understanding on Wesak Day.

    Jason

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/wesak-day-special-on-rtm-2.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 06:10 PM
    OMG! This is very touching. To see a doggie who never left go of his owner in spite of death. Way more powerful than many who proclaimed “till death do us part.” Just like the human, not all doggies are as loyal as this tear-jerking pet, but I truly believe almost all doggies offer unconditional love to the person who feeds and cares for them. Even when they are stray animals. There was a stray dog who will run two streets from the entrance of the “Taman” until the car stops in front of the house, just to greet me. You can imagine the warm and conviction in my heart that these beings are more than capable of loving than many of us, human! Thank you for this lovely sharing. I miss my doggie, Sherab.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/faithful-dog-chases-deceased-owner.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 06:00 PM
    Thank you, Pastor Seng Piow, for this amazing sharing. There is no doubt about the ability of our Guru, His Eminence the 25th Tsem Tulku Rinpoche. His incarnations have been compassionate and taken rebirth to return and spread the dharma so that sentient beings can benefit and learn some dharma in our short life.

    We shall never doubt our Guru; but must see that He is one with our Yidam and Protector, an attained being. Even if our Guru does not demonstrate clairvoyance abilities, we must never contest our Guru, for he holds the key (dharma) that can liberate us from eternal suffering in samsara.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-1-2.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 05:50 PM
    Thank you, Pastor Seng Piow, for the illustrated miracle story on how Rinpoche guided Cynthia and Marici away from danger through protector’s practice. The unseen exist, whether we like it or not. Some of them are malicious and have the affinity or karma with some of us. Hence they can cause harm and disturbance. By engaging in Protectors’ practice like Dorje Shugden and Setrap that have been practiced by the high lamas of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, we are protected and guarded against harm.

    Rinpoche is compassionate and only want the best for us. His teachings are not meant to show off the power of the divines but offer us a way out from our desperate samsara conundrum that binds us from engaging in deeper spiritual practice. Rinpoche always teaches us to focus on mind transformation and Tsongkhapa practice. How fortunate we are to have met Rinpoche in this lifetime. We must not let this rare and precious opportunity go to waste.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-12.html

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Messages from Rinpoche

Scroll down within the box to view more messages from Rinpoche. Click on the images to enlarge. Click on 'older messages' to view archived messages. Use 'prev' and 'next' links to navigate between pages

Use this URL to link to this section directly: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/#messages-from-rinpoche

CREDITS

Concept: Tsem Rinpoche
Technical: Lew Kwan Leng, Justin Ripley, Yong Swee Keong
Design: Justin Ripley, Cynthia Lee
Content: Tsem Rinpoche, Justin Ripley, Pastor Shin Tan, Sarah Yap
Writer: Pastor Loh Seng Piow
Admin: Pastor Loh Seng Piow, Beng Kooi

I must thank my dharma blog team who are great assets to me, Kechara and growth of dharma in this wonderful region. I am honoured and thrilled to work with them. I really am. Maybe I don't say it enough to them, but I am saying it now. I APPRECIATE THESE GUYS VERY MUCH!

Tsem Rinpoche

What Am I Writing Now

Facebook Fans Youtube Views Blog Views
Animal Care Fund
  Bigfoot, Yeti, Sasquatch

The Unknown

The Known and unknown are both feared,
Known is being comfortable and stagnant,
The unknown may be growth and opportunities,
One shall never know if one fears the unknown more than the known.
Who says the unknown would be worse than the known?
But then again, the unknown is sometimes worse than the known. In the end nothing is known unless we endeavour,
So go pursue all the way with the unknown,
because all unknown with familiarity becomes the known.
~Tsem Rinpoche

Photos On The Go

Click on the images to view the bigger version. And scroll down and click on "View All Photos" to view more images.
Holy Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini\'s blessing can be found when we decide to focus out to others instead of in to only ourselves.
~ Tsem Tulku Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Holy Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini's blessing can be found when we decide to focus out to others instead of in to only ourselves. ~ Tsem Tulku Rinpoche
His Holiness Vajradhara Kyabje Zong Rinpoche of Gaden Monastery who is the refuge of countless, gives a clear explanation of Dorje Shugden. One is able to hear his holy voice and translation by Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen! Please see here and share: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=122352
2 weeks ago
His Holiness Vajradhara Kyabje Zong Rinpoche of Gaden Monastery who is the refuge of countless, gives a clear explanation of Dorje Shugden. One is able to hear his holy voice and translation by Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen! Please see here and share: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=122352
: This picture says it all. Click on it to enlarge and read and please share.
3 weeks ago
: This picture says it all. Click on it to enlarge and read and please share.
This is a simple chart showing the three main psychic channels used in tantric meditations to control the winds, raise tummo (fire energy), gain higher consciousness and insight and also for gaining siddhis. These channels are used in meditations for controlling the mind, when the mind ejects from the body (phowa) and one\'s death. These three channels are very important. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
This is a simple chart showing the three main psychic channels used in tantric meditations to control the winds, raise tummo (fire energy), gain higher consciousness and insight and also for gaining siddhis. These channels are used in meditations for controlling the mind, when the mind ejects from the body (phowa) and one's death. These three channels are very important. Tsem Rinpoche
I think my cute doggie Oser is actually Tintin\'s dog Snowy!
3 weeks ago
I think my cute doggie Oser is actually Tintin's dog Snowy!
Great Masters of Gaden Shartse Monastery. From left to right: His Eminence Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, His Holiness Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, H.E. Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, His Holiness 101st Gaden Tripa throne holder Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal.
3 weeks ago
Great Masters of Gaden Shartse Monastery. From left to right: His Eminence Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, His Holiness Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, H.E. Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, His Holiness 101st Gaden Tripa throne holder Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal.
 Left to right: Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl. The three of them are my beautiful and loved Schnauzer dogs. They loved looking through the window to see traffic, people and movement. They loved the smells that drifted through their little noses. I love seeing the three of them together like this. I love them. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Left to right: Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl. The three of them are my beautiful and loved Schnauzer dogs. They loved looking through the window to see traffic, people and movement. They loved the smells that drifted through their little noses. I love seeing the three of them together like this. I love them. Tsem Rinpoche
Little Mumu boy...he loved balloons. When he saw them, he wanted to get close and perhaps bite them. Cute. I love this picture of Mumu reaching for the balloons. He was young and healthy! This picture captures his energy, enthusiasm, curiosity and high energy. I love this picture of him chasing the balloons. His pictures are always so nice....He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Little Mumu boy...he loved balloons. When he saw them, he wanted to get close and perhaps bite them. Cute. I love this picture of Mumu reaching for the balloons. He was young and healthy! This picture captures his energy, enthusiasm, curiosity and high energy. I love this picture of him chasing the balloons. His pictures are always so nice....He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
Little Mumu boy and myself.. He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Little Mumu boy and myself.. He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
2017-His Holiness the 101st Gaden Tripa, Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal is doing well and 90 years old. His Holiness Lungrik Namgyal is a powerful master of sutra and tantra and practitioner of Dorje Shugden. Currently residing in France.
3 weeks ago
2017-His Holiness the 101st Gaden Tripa, Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal is doing well and 90 years old. His Holiness Lungrik Namgyal is a powerful master of sutra and tantra and practitioner of Dorje Shugden. Currently residing in France.
One of the most sacred statues of Avalokitesvara made of sandalwood housed in Lhasa, Tibet. He has shown miracles also. Every pilgrim wishes to make offerings to this Lord of Compassion.
3 weeks ago
One of the most sacred statues of Avalokitesvara made of sandalwood housed in Lhasa, Tibet. He has shown miracles also. Every pilgrim wishes to make offerings to this Lord of Compassion.
 Sacred Avalokitesvara statue in Nepal. Thousands come to worship this special Buddha as it has conferred wishes in the past.
3 weeks ago
Sacred Avalokitesvara statue in Nepal. Thousands come to worship this special Buddha as it has conferred wishes in the past.
Tsem Rinpoche\'s Vajra Yogini statue and offerings
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche's Vajra Yogini statue and offerings
Two of my teachers from Gaden Shartse Monastery in South India. Left side is Most Venerable Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen whom I lived with for 8 years in Los Angeles where his centre Thubten Dhargye Ling is located. On the right is the abbot emeritus H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche the scholar and yogi. I was very fortunate to have them in my life and learn so much dharma from them. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Two of my teachers from Gaden Shartse Monastery in South India. Left side is Most Venerable Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen whom I lived with for 8 years in Los Angeles where his centre Thubten Dhargye Ling is located. On the right is the abbot emeritus H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche the scholar and yogi. I was very fortunate to have them in my life and learn so much dharma from them. Tsem Rinpoche
 It is so wonderful to be kind to people, be caring, feed them, make sure they are healthy and share dharma if they are interested with them for their future. But simply to be nice to others is worth getting up and being alive...otherwise why be alive to hurt/use/distrust and hate others? No point living that way..must change that..... It is nice to live our lives to benefit others and be patient even if we have been hurt before because by caring we can heal the hurt and \'defeat\' the ones that hurt us because we don\'t become bitter..... Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
It is so wonderful to be kind to people, be caring, feed them, make sure they are healthy and share dharma if they are interested with them for their future. But simply to be nice to others is worth getting up and being alive...otherwise why be alive to hurt/use/distrust and hate others? No point living that way..must change that..... It is nice to live our lives to benefit others and be patient even if we have been hurt before because by caring we can heal the hurt and 'defeat' the ones that hurt us because we don't become bitter..... Tsem Rinpoche
Tsem Rinpoche\'s heritage in China. Must read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=120499
4 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche's heritage in China. Must read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=120499
Thank you Buddhist Pastor Chia for sharing your story on how you met His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche over 20 years ago. We can learn much from your story.~Admin  Please read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116928
4 weeks ago
Thank you Buddhist Pastor Chia for sharing your story on how you met His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche over 20 years ago. We can learn much from your story.~Admin Please read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116928
Mumu boy is incredibly photogenic. He is beyond cute. Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
Mumu boy is incredibly photogenic. He is beyond cute. Tsem Rinpoche
 (left to right) Rabten Tulku, Gonsar Rinpoche, Gyume Kensur Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche, H.H. Gaden Trisur Rinpoche (France)
4 weeks ago
(left to right) Rabten Tulku, Gonsar Rinpoche, Gyume Kensur Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche, H.H. Gaden Trisur Rinpoche (France)
Beautiful 200 roses arrived today for me as a gift from Su Ming. Very kind and thoughtful of her as usual. Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
Beautiful 200 roses arrived today for me as a gift from Su Ming. Very kind and thoughtful of her as usual. Tsem Rinpoche
It\'s good to be with kind and sincere people.
4 weeks ago
It's good to be with kind and sincere people.
If we are kind, we lose less of ourselves-Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
If we are kind, we lose less of ourselves-Tsem Rinpoche
My Mumu boy didn\'t want to eat. Eating is not one of his favorite activities throughout his life. So I talked to him to let him know why he needs to eat and keep his strength up when this photo was taken. He was listening intently and after my talk with him, he ate. Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
My Mumu boy didn't want to eat. Eating is not one of his favorite activities throughout his life. So I talked to him to let him know why he needs to eat and keep his strength up when this photo was taken. He was listening intently and after my talk with him, he ate. Tsem Rinpoche
This is so true. Click to enlarge and understand more about unpleasant people.
4 weeks ago
This is so true. Click to enlarge and understand more about unpleasant people.
This mahasiddha Kukkuripa is easy to identify as he is accompanied by a small dog whom he loved very much.
1 month ago
This mahasiddha Kukkuripa is easy to identify as he is accompanied by a small dog whom he loved very much.
Mumu taking a rest in the turquoise room. Over the years, I always feel very satisfied when I see him covered with a blanket, safe and sleeping. I always wanted to make sure he was safe from harm, illness and distress. I wanted him to have a happy and loved life. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Mumu taking a rest in the turquoise room. Over the years, I always feel very satisfied when I see him covered with a blanket, safe and sleeping. I always wanted to make sure he was safe from harm, illness and distress. I wanted him to have a happy and loved life. Tsem Rinpoche
I wrapped my little Mumu boy up in my blanket and propped him up on my bed. He didn\'t move or wiggle and just looked at me. He is one funny entertaining little guy. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
I wrapped my little Mumu boy up in my blanket and propped him up on my bed. He didn't move or wiggle and just looked at me. He is one funny entertaining little guy. Tsem Rinpoche
March 2017-Coaxing my little Mumu boy to eat his meal. He was not well and therefore not hungry. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
March 2017-Coaxing my little Mumu boy to eat his meal. He was not well and therefore not hungry. Tsem Rinpoche
Click on picture to enlarge and see what Milarepa says. Profound.
1 month ago
Click on picture to enlarge and see what Milarepa says. Profound.
We are always trying to get somewhere, try something new, find some friends, get some entertainment and in the end we end up in the same place. Time to really practice Dharma seriously and stop wasting time we don\'t have. ~Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
We are always trying to get somewhere, try something new, find some friends, get some entertainment and in the end we end up in the same place. Time to really practice Dharma seriously and stop wasting time we don't have. ~Tsem Rinpoche
March 20, 2017-Mumu is just so adorable with his bright eyes.
1 month ago
March 20, 2017-Mumu is just so adorable with his bright eyes.
More and more people inviting Lord Dorje Shugden home to connect with on their shrines. I am so happy to see this as it will benefit them and their families so much. That is the purpose to be alive which is to benefit others as much as possible. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
More and more people inviting Lord Dorje Shugden home to connect with on their shrines. I am so happy to see this as it will benefit them and their families so much. That is the purpose to be alive which is to benefit others as much as possible. Tsem Rinpoche
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
1 month ago
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
1 month ago
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
Read this as it will be interesting
1 month ago
Read this as it will be interesting
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
This sacred statue of Buddha is in Nepal brought originally from Tibet and has spoken on many occasions. Very blessed to see this holy image and keep a picture...bless you always. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
This sacred statue of Buddha is in Nepal brought originally from Tibet and has spoken on many occasions. Very blessed to see this holy image and keep a picture...bless you always. Tsem Rinpoche
I love Mumu boy tremendously. We went through so much together for so many years. You are a great being to be with. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
I love Mumu boy tremendously. We went through so much together for so many years. You are a great being to be with. Tsem Rinpoche
Dear everyone, I am sharing this beautiful and modern altar to Dorje Shugden in Malaysia. I am glad to see more and more people creating sacred spaces. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Dear everyone, I am sharing this beautiful and modern altar to Dorje Shugden in Malaysia. I am glad to see more and more people creating sacred spaces. Tsem Rinpoche
Lhamo Karmo, a female buddha form visualized above the crown of one\'s head at the time of death, to encourage consciousness to leave the body via the crown aperture. From my book \"The Female Buddhas.\"- Glenn Mullin
2 months ago
Lhamo Karmo, a female buddha form visualized above the crown of one's head at the time of death, to encourage consciousness to leave the body via the crown aperture. From my book "The Female Buddhas."- Glenn Mullin
The Tibetan female tulku Dorje Pakmo, from a fresco on the wall of the Dorje Pakmo monastery (Samding) in Tibet, near the Turquoise Lake. In Tibet the Dorje Pakmo was ranked with the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and Sakya Trizin as the four highest lamas in the country.-from Glenn Mullin
2 months ago
The Tibetan female tulku Dorje Pakmo, from a fresco on the wall of the Dorje Pakmo monastery (Samding) in Tibet, near the Turquoise Lake. In Tibet the Dorje Pakmo was ranked with the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and Sakya Trizin as the four highest lamas in the country.-from Glenn Mullin
Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl checking out the scene..cute
2 months ago
Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl checking out the scene..cute
My Dharma boy has such a cute expression here. He is a good boy!
2 months ago
My Dharma boy has such a cute expression here. He is a good boy!
February 9,2017-My Mumu boy and Oser girl are just relaxing together..super cute
3 months ago
February 9,2017-My Mumu boy and Oser girl are just relaxing together..super cute
Click on the picture to enlarge and see what Suzy from Hawaii commented on the Dorje Shugden issue after much research. She is very candid and honest. Refreshing. Original is posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4
3 months ago
Click on the picture to enlarge and see what Suzy from Hawaii commented on the Dorje Shugden issue after much research. She is very candid and honest. Refreshing. Original is posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4
This is a good one to read
3 months ago
This is a good one to read
Click on "View All Photos" above to view more images

Videos On The Go

Please click on the images to watch video
  • Heartbreaking, must watch
    2 weeks ago
    Heartbreaking, must watch
  • Mongolian pop group singing hauntingly in Mongolian
    2 weeks ago
    Mongolian pop group singing hauntingly in Mongolian
  • Nice treats for your dogs
    2 weeks ago
    Nice treats for your dogs
  • Mumu did his best to recover. He never cried but was valiant to accept treatments by the vet.
    3 weeks ago
    Mumu did his best to recover. He never cried but was valiant to accept treatments by the vet.
  • 98 year-old Ben Ferencz, the last surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials. Powerful advice.
    3 weeks ago
    98 year-old Ben Ferencz, the last surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials. Powerful advice.
  • Decide for yourself what's beautiful.
    3 weeks ago
    Decide for yourself what's beautiful.
  • Tsem Rinpoche's Vajra Yogini statue and offerings.
    3 weeks ago
    Tsem Rinpoche's Vajra Yogini statue and offerings.
  • If you say,
    3 weeks ago
    If you say, "You wanna go bye bye" to Mumu, he will be excited. He loves to go for rides.
  • Snake begs for water.
    3 weeks ago
    Snake begs for water.
  • Tsem Rinpoche's beautiful Vajra Yogini shrine which is a portal to Kechara.
    3 weeks ago
    Tsem Rinpoche's beautiful Vajra Yogini shrine which is a portal to Kechara.
  • This is a great way to grow food with minimal space and water.
    3 weeks ago
    This is a great way to grow food with minimal space and water.
  • This penguin swims 5,000 miles every year to visit the man who saved his life.
    3 weeks ago
    This penguin swims 5,000 miles every year to visit the man who saved his life.
  • Denma Gonsa Rinpoche on guru devotion and Dorje Shugden
    3 weeks ago
    Denma Gonsa Rinpoche on guru devotion and Dorje Shugden
    His Eminence Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche the mahasiddha speaks clearly about guru devotion and Dorje Shugden
  • Beautiful turtle returning to the sea to be free and happy. Amazing sight.
    4 weeks ago
    Beautiful turtle returning to the sea to be free and happy. Amazing sight.
  • Japan's greatest modern day artist, Yayoi Kusama
    4 weeks ago
    Japan's greatest modern day artist, Yayoi Kusama

ASK A PASTOR


Ask the Pastors

A section for you to clarify your Dharma questions with Kechara’s esteemed pastors.

Just post your name and your question below and one of our pastors will provide you with an answer.

Scroll down and click on "View All Questions" to view archived questions.

  • April 20, 2017 10:45
    Ronnie asked: Dear Rinpoche and Pastors, I'm studying abroad and very far away from home, seeking guidance and advice as I have no one else I can talk to about this. Please read with an open mind, I don't know where else to go for help. I'm pregnant and it's an unplanned pregnancy. I'm stuck between keeping it or letting it go. I'm young and having a child at my age in the society we live in now would be considered taboo. The father of the child thinks I should let it go because it may cause a setback to both our careers and cause major family issues. He thinks we aren't ready to raise a child especially since we're both still in university and his parents think badly of me even though they've never met me or tried to get to know me. I'm sure no one would ever have the heart to take away a heartbeat but it seems like it isn't the right time to have a child now and if we did go through with it, the child probably won't be able to have the best things life can offer looking at where we are now in terms of finance and maturity. I'm lost, confused and unsure what the right thing to do is now. Any advice at all would be helpful right now. Thank you so very much for taking time to read my story.
    pastor answered: Dear Ronnie, I’m sorry to read that you are going through this situation. I can understand that this situation is tough to go through. You are always more than welcome to come here to ask questions. May I suggest that you talk to either someone in your family or your friends to help you come to an appropriate solution? This is because, what you feel, what you are going through, will change from time to time and you would need someone to talk to, someone that you can lean on through this situation you are facing. Depending on where you are in the world, professional help can also be sought to help you make a decision, which will be the best option for you seeking help. From a Buddhist perspective, the taking of a life is not considered a positive act, therefore those on the Buddhist path, would normally abstain taking a life if possible. However, that being said, one must always weigh the decision oneself. Everything we do in life, necessarily involves karma both positive and negative. That is why Buddhists try to overcome samsara in general. Your situation is complicated because you are abroad, but if possible you should really open up to someone you are close to in order to help you through making this decision on a personal basis. When you talk to someone, whom you are able to express yourself more, you may able to come to better decision that is right for you. There may be other options open to you if you seek help. I personally know women who have been in similar situations. One of these women, let the child go and the other went through the pregnancy and then gave the child up for adoption. You may or may not have thought of this option, but it is one that could be open to you, depending on where in the world you are. Any decision we make in life, however big or small it may seem, has far reaching consequences whether in this life, or in future lives. This is just a part and parcel of life within samsara. However, we should weigh the decisions we make clearly given the situation we are in. We cannot always do this weighing ourselves, but need to talk about our options with others we can rely on such a friends, family or professionals. You should consider doing this, which will help you greatly emotionally, and may give you the grounding you need to make the correct decision for you. I hope this helps.
  • April 19, 2017 04:57
    Dongho asked: What is a nyung ne practice? According to Lama Zopa Rinpoche, it's a purification sadhana. However, what are the instructions for this? I'm guessing it's to Chenrezig, but how does it work? Also, from what I have read, Vajrasattva practice is only for broken vows while Akshobhya is for regular misdeeds. Does that mean one has to take the Akshobhya practice to purify bad karma from this life and previous instead of Vajrasattva? As for the purification practices, are some like Vajrasattva and Chenrezig only to purify the bad karma and let it come quickly or is it to prevent it from coming? I am confused in it. As for signs, I recited a mantra of White Yangchenma that a Sakya lama, Lama Kunga Thartse Rinpoche, gave me with the Sakya visualizations I read on, and after one mala, I heard some lady call my Korean name even though no one in my neighborhood knows of my name and my family members weren't in the area. What does this mean?
    pastor answered: Dear Dongho, Thank you for your questions, it’s nice to see you back here again. Nyung Ne practice is a purification practice that centres around Chenrezig. It is a very beneficial practice that stems from a holy nun named Gelong-ma Palmo. It is a two and a half day practice that can be repeated many times over and over again to intensify the purification and build a closer relationship with Chenrezig. As well as its purification aspect, the practice is known to generate vast amount of merit, and also compassion, as the practice centres around Chenrezig, the Buddha of compassion. The practice involves taking the eight Mahayana precepts for the duration, fasting, meditating, prostrating and praying. The practice usually entails empowerment into the practice of Chenrezig, therefore the exact meditations, prayers can only be explained to those who have the empowerment. Vajrasattva practice is not necessarily only for repairing broken vows, etc. That’s why it is advised that you engage in the practice at the end of the day, to repair any vows that you may have broken during that day, as well as stopping any negative karma you created that day from multiplying. This would entail reciting the mantra 21 times, together with the four opponent powers. However, if you engage in this practice more intensely, it definitely has the capability to purify all sorts of karma. That is the reason why in Ngondro, or preliminary practices one engages in before tantra, the practice of 100,000 Vajrasattva mantra recitation is an integral part. You can read more about Vajrasattva and his practice here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/prayers-and-sadhanas/an-important-purification-practice.html. Within purification practices, some of the karma will be purified completely, so you do not feel its effects at all, but when purifying other karma you will need to feel its effects somehow. For example if you have the karma to be in a car accident and get seriously injured, and you are engaging in any practice, but especially the purification practice, since you have purified most of the karma, you will only experience being in a very minor car accident, with only very superficial injuries. Therefore, in this case, the karma has been purified to the extent that it does not affect you as much, but you still need to feel part of its effect. In regards to any signs that you receive which engaging in the practices given to you by one of your specific gurus, you should report the happenings to that particular guru. He will be able to give you more of an accurate answer, as it may be related to the particular practice that he gave to you. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • April 17, 2017 07:06
    Thomas asked: Dear Pastors, When a serkyem set has been used so much and one is ready to get rid of it and replace it with a new one. What is a respecful mode of disposal?
    pastor answered: Dear Thomas, Thank you for your question. Your question shows that you have a lot of respect for offering items, which is very good. If possible, you should try to repair the item if within your means, and doing so make embellishments to make it a better offering item, which can still be used. If this is not possible, then you should dispose of the item with a good motivation. You should think that this item has been used to make offerings to the enlightened beings, but now that it is broken or unusable, you are going to dispose of it, and replace it with a new one. Since it itself is not a receptacle of energies of the enlightened beings, such as a statue, tsa tsa or thangka, it does not require a special dissolution before being disposed of. However since it was used to make offerings, it still requires some form of respect when disposing, and this comes from one’s motivation and the way in which you dispose of it. Usually, when disposing of items in this way, make the motivation that you have used it and that it is now time to dispose of it, and replace it with a new one. When you do this you can dispose of it in a respectful manner. For example, if you are going to throw it away, you do not simply open the trash can and throw it in. You wrap it up in something, like a bag or newspaper and dispose of it respectfully. Another method you can dispose of it is to recycle the object, if the material it is made from can be recycled. That way you are more conscious of the environment as well. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
  • April 16, 2017 22:38
    Curious asked: Dear pastors In a recent youtube video something like paying respect to deceased ones, pastor Nirel Patel explained that merits are like the interest and good karma is like the principal sum. So merits always regenerate themselves and hence do not get used up but good karma is like the principal sum so it gets used up. So my question is what are practices that generate merit? And can we turn a mundane daily activity into a meritorious one? Maybe can you provide an example?
    pastor answered: Dear Curious, Thank you for your question. First, to clarify a point, in regards to good karma, you are right, it is like a principal sum in a bank account, but you take away from it when you experience something good in your life, and you add to it when you do good deeds. Merit on the other hand, once accrued never diminishes, therefore when something is based on merit, it is based on the energies of this never diminishing sum, which you could say is like interest. In short, the principal sum when talking about karma is always added to and subtracted from. However, when talking about merit, once you have it, there is no way to destroy it, you will always benefit from it. There are various ways to explain how to generate merit. I will explain a way that I find easiest to understand. In normal life, when we go about performing any sort of activity, be it ‘good’ or ‘bad’ we do so out of ignorance of the true nature of existence, and it is usually self-motivated. For example, we work our entire lives to generate monetary income, so that we have enough money, resources, and materials goods to be comfortable. This is self-motivated, but it is the accepted way the world works these days, and is part and parcel of being bound to samsaric life. On the other hand, the act of merit making can be categorised into three parts: i) motivation, ii) the act itself, and iii) dedication. Let’s start with motivation, when engaging in various virtuous acts, we should have the motivation that by engaging in the act, we have the motivation to alleviate the suffering of someone else, and that may we gain enlightenment so that we can benefit them in the future. The second is the act itself. The third is to dedicate the energy of the virtuous act to gaining enlightenment. These three are what make merit. This may be a little confusing, so let me give an example: giving help to a homeless person. Whereas in ordinary life, this is something praised as a very good deed, it does not create merit without motivation and dedication. In order for this to become merit, one must set the motivation that one is giving help to the homeless free of the eight worldly concerns, to alleviate their suffering and also making the motivation that you will achieve enlightenment for the sake of the person or people you are helping. Then after you have helped them, you dedicate the energy created to the spiritual journey towards full enlightenment to help all sentient beings, while at the same time benefiting as many sentient beings as possible on the way there. This transforms the act into not only a virtuous action but also one that generates merit. On the other hand, if you were to help the homeless without these, you are creating good karma, which although beneficial, keeps you bound to existence within samsara. As it is the goal of Buddhist practice to overcome the cycle of samsara, a Buddhist would want to generate merit instead of good karma. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
  • April 13, 2017 11:38
    D.A. asked: If Begtse Chan is not from Mongolia, what are his real origins or story exactly? And which lamas offer his empowerment? As for Manjushri Nagarakshasa, which lamas specifically offer his empowerment and practice?
    pastor answered: Dear D.A. Thank you for your question. Begtse, is also known as Chamsing, or Jamsaran in Mongolian. As mentioned in an earlier sharing with someone who also asked a question about Begtse, the practiced was introduced to Tibet from India by the translator Nyen Lotsawa, and is considered one of the main protectors of the Hayagriva cycle of tantras. According to the scriptures that derive from the Sakya tradition, who incorporated the practice from the translators, and in which tradition Begtse became a very important protector, Begtse in a previous life was born many eons ago. In that particular life, he was born as the younger prince in a royal family. His name was Drag Gye, and his older brother’s name was Drag Den. Over time both princes developed differing religious beliefs, to the point where they could not get along with each as they both held their own religious views strongly. As was the custom during that time, they decided to settle their differences through logical debate, with the loser having to convert to the winner’s religion. This custom was also prevalent in ancient India, and there are many stories of such debates occurring between the great masters of the past and those of other faiths. Drag Gye lost the various debates, but ran away instead of converting to his older brother’s religion. Drag Den caught him, and tried to punish him for breaking the rules of debate and going back on his promise. Drag Gye told his brother that even if he was killed he would not give up his religion, however if Drag Den let him go, that in the future when Drag Den became enlightened, he would protect his teachings. With that Drag Den let him go, and gave him a set of copper armour, a stick, and a bow and arrow. Drag Den also gave Drag Gye a new name: Sog Dag Yam Shi Mar Po. After this incident the two brothers never saw each other again in that lifetime. Many lives after that Drag Den was reborn as Prince Siddharta, who eventually became enlightened and is now known as Buddha Shakyamuni. Drag Gye, or Sog Dag Yam Shi Mar Po, was reborn in a cemetery in the North West direction. His parents gave birth to two eggs, one was a coral-like colour and the other was an agate-like colour. These two eggs flew high into the sky and reached the heavenly realms, there they subdued the gods. Then flying back down to earth, they subdued many nagas. Eventually they even came to threaten their own parents. The parents petitioned the Dharma protector Ekajati for her help, who threw her own staff (khatvanga) at the eggs, and broke them apart. From the coral-like coloured egg came a ferocious man with yellow hair, he proclaimed that his name was ‘Sog Dag Yam Shi Mar Po’. When he emerged he was wearing a set of copper armour, wielding a stick, copper sword, and a bow and arrow. From the agate-like coloured egg came a female who was blue in colour, her teeth were like shells, she had turquoise eyebrows, and her hair was made of fire. She emerged wielding a copper knife, ritual dagger (phurba), rode a terrifying bear and wore an intricate necklace made of agate and lapis lazuli. It was then that Ekajati once again took action, and subdued them, after which they became Dharma protectors. The male figure became known as Begtse, and the female as his sister. When you propitiate Begtse, his sister is automatically included and aids practitioners as well. As for which lama offer his practice and empowerment, most lamas do not advertise which teachings or practice they hold. Therefore you should respectfully approach lamas and ask them if they have the practice and can bestow it, or if they know of any lamas that have the practice, depending on how much you want to practice Begtse. Similarly, this applies to those lamas who have the practice of Manjushri Nagarakshasa. However, this practice is included in the Rinjung Gyatsa series of empowerments. This unique cycle of teachings, includes all 4 classes of tantric practices, and includes the practice of Manjushri Nagarakshasa. Therefore those lamas who have received the complete transmission, and have kept their commitments for this practice, are qualified to pass this on to others. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
View All Questions

CHAT PICTURES

Pastor Gim Lee assisted by Kechara Puja Team, conducted a Dorje Shugden puja and blessings at a premise. Lucy Yap
yesterday
Pastor Gim Lee assisted by Kechara Puja Team, conducted a Dorje Shugden puja and blessings at a premise. Lucy Yap
Art expression using chalks and papers is an avenue for young children to cultivate positive perspective of life and connect with their artistic or creative side. Stella, KSDS
3 days ago
Art expression using chalks and papers is an avenue for young children to cultivate positive perspective of life and connect with their artistic or creative side. Stella, KSDS
Children as long as 2 years old are ready to learn up skills and attitude that will help them shape their life. When else will be best to instil them with good Dharma values if not since young? Stella, KSDS
3 days ago
Children as long as 2 years old are ready to learn up skills and attitude that will help them shape their life. When else will be best to instil them with good Dharma values if not since young? Stella, KSDS
Senior students of the children class of Kechara Sunday Dharma School had their class in the ghompa every Sunday. Stella, KSDS
3 days ago
Senior students of the children class of Kechara Sunday Dharma School had their class in the ghompa every Sunday. Stella, KSDS
Besides young Karlson and Ern Ern, there are new faces in Kechara Sunday Dharma School 2-4 years old. Stella, KSDS
3 days ago
Besides young Karlson and Ern Ern, there are new faces in Kechara Sunday Dharma School 2-4 years old. Stella, KSDS
Kechara Sunday Dharma School students 5-6 years old making prostration to Lama Tsongkhapa at the beginning of the class every Sunday. Stella,KSDS
3 days ago
Kechara Sunday Dharma School students 5-6 years old making prostration to Lama Tsongkhapa at the beginning of the class every Sunday. Stella,KSDS
@KecharaHouse tonite, 48 puja attendees filled the air with a loud chorus of prayer n mantra 2 Dorje Shugden n Setrap!  PHNee
4 days ago
@KecharaHouse tonite, 48 puja attendees filled the air with a loud chorus of prayer n mantra 2 Dorje Shugden n Setrap! PHNee
A big Thank You to the kind volunteers and to Jace Chong!
4 days ago
A big Thank You to the kind volunteers and to Jace Chong!
Make your weekend meaningful! Contact Jace Chong to volunteer in Kechara Forest Retreat for the aviaries.
4 days ago
Make your weekend meaningful! Contact Jace Chong to volunteer in Kechara Forest Retreat for the aviaries.
Thank you to our young volunteer to improve the life of the birds in our aviary!
4 days ago
Thank you to our young volunteer to improve the life of the birds in our aviary!
English Level 2 Dharma Class, Pastor Han Nee started the Day 5 Lamrim, which is the Seven-Limbed Prayer with Homage and Prostration( 35 Confessional Buddha )  was extensively covered. -  Yew Seng
4 days ago
English Level 2 Dharma Class, Pastor Han Nee started the Day 5 Lamrim, which is the Seven-Limbed Prayer with Homage and Prostration( 35 Confessional Buddha ) was extensively covered. - Yew Seng
Sunday Dharma class kids learning to take refuge with teacher Alice. Lucy Yap
4 days ago
Sunday Dharma class kids learning to take refuge with teacher Alice. Lucy Yap
One of the outdoor activities for KSDS students is to exercise the drawing that near to the nature. Alice Tay, KSDS
6 days ago
One of the outdoor activities for KSDS students is to exercise the drawing that near to the nature. Alice Tay, KSDS
Teacher Jesvin explained the camp rules and regulations to the camper. Alice Tay, KSDS
6 days ago
Teacher Jesvin explained the camp rules and regulations to the camper. Alice Tay, KSDS
KSDS teachers and the young participants of WOAH  Camp played & have fun together for this game, Self defense and attack. Alice Tay, KSDS
6 days ago
KSDS teachers and the young participants of WOAH Camp played & have fun together for this game, Self defense and attack. Alice Tay, KSDS
The younger group of KSDS were happy because they're given chance to feel,touch and play the slime. Alice Tay, KSDS
6 days ago
The younger group of KSDS were happy because they're given chance to feel,touch and play the slime. Alice Tay, KSDS
Teacher Laura guided the students do meditation. Alice Tay, KSDS
6 days ago
Teacher Laura guided the students do meditation. Alice Tay, KSDS
Day break at Kechara Forest Retreat! Sunrise meditation during Inner Reflection Retreat, April 2017
6 days ago
Day break at Kechara Forest Retreat! Sunrise meditation during Inner Reflection Retreat, April 2017
Inner Reflection in April 2017 with guests from USA, Singapore, China and UK! Join our upcoming meditation programs!
6 days ago
Inner Reflection in April 2017 with guests from USA, Singapore, China and UK! Join our upcoming meditation programs!
Visitors in Kechara Forest Retreat, circumambulating the holy Vajra Yogini Stupa. Picture credit Pastor Gimlee
6 days ago
Visitors in Kechara Forest Retreat, circumambulating the holy Vajra Yogini Stupa. Picture credit Pastor Gimlee
Students are getting ready to do prostration in Gompa following a Teacher Kien and Teacher Zhi Yan instruction. Lin Mun KSDS
7 days ago
Students are getting ready to do prostration in Gompa following a Teacher Kien and Teacher Zhi Yan instruction. Lin Mun KSDS
Teacher Callista & Teacher Irene were sharing with children on the topic of courage. It is good to instil dharma knowledge from young. Lin Mun KSDS
7 days ago
Teacher Callista & Teacher Irene were sharing with children on the topic of courage. It is good to instil dharma knowledge from young. Lin Mun KSDS
Children are learning how to recite mantra from teacher Alice and teacher Laura. Lin Mun KSDS
7 days ago
Children are learning how to recite mantra from teacher Alice and teacher Laura. Lin Mun KSDS
Students were all so excited listening to the process of making slime as they are going to make one themselves. Lin Mun KSDS
7 days ago
Students were all so excited listening to the process of making slime as they are going to make one themselves. Lin Mun KSDS
Robey, Natalie and Lauren doing sharing on how to make slime. A great exercise for them to learn leadership & public speaking. Lin Mun KSDS
7 days ago
Robey, Natalie and Lauren doing sharing on how to make slime. A great exercise for them to learn leadership & public speaking. Lin Mun KSDS
The Promise
  These books will change your life
  Tsem Rinpoche's Long Life Prayer by H.H. Trijang Choktrul Rinpoche
  Support Blog Team
Lamps For Life
  Robe Offerings
  Vajrayogini Stupa Fund
  White Tara Mantra Bank Project
  Rinpoche's Medical Fund
  Dana Offerings
  Soup Kitchen Project
 
Zong Rinpoche

Archives

YOUR FEEDBACK

Page Views By Country
United States 2,147,987
Malaysia 2,895,332
Singapore 561,092
United Kingdom 417,640
India 342,247
Canada 380,069
Australia 338,428
Nepal 246,167
Philippines 183,082
Bhutan 124,792
Portugal 102,511
Indonesia 130,491
Germany 112,886
Mongolia 74,912
Thailand 87,271
France 84,429
Brazil 74,716
Italy 74,665
Spain 73,644
Netherlands 70,216
New Zealand 52,754
Hong Kong 52,612
Taiwan 49,450
Mexico 37,849
Romania 43,279
United Arab Emirates 34,808
South Africa 33,991
Switzerland 46,172
Ireland 32,178
Japan 31,931
Vietnam 29,071
Russia 34,261
Sweden 31,260
Saudi Arabia 20,984
Sri Lanka 21,497
Turkey 23,565
Greece 24,478
Poland 25,610
Belgium 23,839
Total Pageviews: 9,746,476

Login

Dorje Shugden
Click to watch my talk about Dorje Shugden....