Complete Commentary on 50 Verses of Guru Devotion

May 23, 2014 | Views: 3,676
Share this article

Dear friends, This is an essential study no matter what tradition of Buddhism you come from. If you are serious about gaining progress on the path of practice to enlightenment, this text is highly recommended and very necessary. I fold my hands and request you all to study so you gain progress.

Tsem Rinpoche

 


 

Download the commentary below in Words format or PDF.

 

(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
Lama Nga-chu-pa

The great Indian pandit Naropa said, “Before the existence of the lama there was neither buddha nor deity.” He said this because buddhas and meditation deities are emanations, or embodiments, of the guru; that’s why there was neither buddha nor meditation deity before the guru.

The great siddha Tilopa said to the great siddha Naropa, “The great results, blessings and inspiration you get from having fervent respect for your guru is due to your guru, therefore you should have fervent respect for him.”

Jetsun Milarepa said, “Try to see your guru in his actual aspect of dharmakaya. If you can, you will receive all blessings and inspiration effortlessly. ”

Vajradhara himself also spoke often about the importance of guru devotion. Since all these great beings have said these things, there’s not much need for me to comment further.

However, at the beginning of his commentary to the Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion, Je Tsong Khapa said, “The only door for disciples who want to experience great bliss and gain the highest attainments without much effort is the proper cultivation of guru devotion. In order to open this door, I am going to explain the Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion.”

Thus, in all the commentaries by Je Tsong Khapa, everywhere—at the beginning and the end, in the dedication as well as in the introductory verses—he prays to cultivate pure and proper guru devotion.

Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang often says, “Although the sutras and tantras all have the two types of meaning—definitive and interpretive—with respect to guru devotion, they’re unanimous on the importance of guru devotion; there’s no controversy on that point.”

To show the pure lineage of whatever teaching we’re studying—if it’s tantra its source should be Vajradhara and if sutra, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha —the great gurus are quoted in this way.

Atisha, for example, cultivated 157 gurus and his deeds in both India and Tibet were very extensive and he became extremely famous as a result . This was because of his guru devotion. Although he had 157 gurus, he said that he didn’t displease even one of them for even a single moment—that’s why he was able to do such extensive deeds.

Dromtönpa, too, although a layman [Skt: upasaka], became one of the most famous of the Kadampa geshes—most of whom were monks—because of his guru devotion. He cultivated such pure, stainless guru devotion that even Atisha praised it. As a result, he, too, was able to perform extensive deeds to greatly benefit sentient beings.

Then there’s Jetsun Milarepa. From the point of view of realization and insight, many other siddhas were equal to or comparable with him, but because of his extraordinary devotion to his guru, Marpa, he became much more famous and widely renowned than any of them.

A story from the life of Sakya Pandita gives us a different look at guru devotion. He once requested his uncle, Dragpa Gyaltsen, to teach him guru yoga but he rejected the request, saying, “You regard me only as your uncle, not as a buddha, so it’ s useless giving you such profound teachings.” However, later on, Dragpa Gyaltsen pretended to be sick just for the sake of Sakya Pandita, who nursed him so single-pointedly that he forgot to eat during the day or sleep at night— his mind was completely focused on taking care of his uncle. Because of his great guru devotion, Sakya Pandita was able to see his guru as Manjushri and achieve the ten kinds of knowledge. He became very famous and was invited to give teachings in Mongolia.

These examples of Dharma practice are not for your amusement but to show you that if you want to attain the levels of realization that these great beings did and become as renowned as they were, you should cultivate the kind of guru devotion that they did.

Lama Tsong Khapa’s relationship with his first teacher, Chöje Döndrub Rinchen, who cared for him from the ages of three to seventeen like a mother and gave him all the teachings, is also an excellent example of guru devotion. Whenever Lama Tsong Khapa mentioned this great teacher’s name, tears would come to his eyes as he remembered his great kindness, and in his lam-rim teachings he praised the great teachers under whom he studied.

Now we come to the topic of guru devotion. There are two ways of cultivating guru devotion: mentally and physically.

The mental cultivation of guru devotion is elaborately explained in the lam-rim. The guru devotion expounded in the Fifty Verses is mainly the physical type.

In Tibetan, the title of this text, Lama Nga-chu-pa, literally means “Fifty Lamas” because it is composed of fifty verses on how to cultivate guru devotion. However, the meaning behind each verse is extremely profound because it contains words spoken in the tantras by Vajradhara himself. This makes it a most unfathomable teaching.

There’s no Indian commentary on the Fifty Verses but we have the Tibetan one by Lama Tsong Khapa, which is widely renowned and the most famous commentary on this important text.

The teaching I am giving here accords to the root verses without the commentary. In order to properly give this profound transmission to his disciples, the guru should also have received the perfect transmission. If he hasn’t, his teachings will be of little use to his disciples. If he tells them, “I haven’t received it completely but since you have, you’re very fortunate,” that’s also incorrect.

However, I received the complete teaching of the Fifty Verses from Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang—who heard it from Kyabje Pabongka—several times in Tibet and also here in Dharamsala at the Tibetan Library, with a commentary by Khenchen Losang Thubgyen, root guru of the first Trijang Rinpoche. The direct lineage of this teaching can be traced all the way back to Buddha Vajradhara himself, and since I have received the transmission and listened to the teaching a number of times, you can definitely receive the blessings and inspiration of this lineage.

 

[Read the biographies of great Mahasiddhas here]

 


  

Homage to the Bhagavan Vajrasattva

1. Introduction to the explanation

Homage & commitment to the undertaking

(1)

Bowing in the proper way to the lotus feet of my guru, who is the cause for me to attain the state of a glorious Vajrasattva, I shall condense and explain in brief what has been said in many stainless tantric texts about guru devotion. (Therefore) listen with respect.

The best way to gain the high realizations or pure abodes of Vajrasattva or Vajradhara, the doorway to these, is to cultivate the guru who can lead us there. Therefore, he makes obeisance to his guru’s lotus feet; he touches his forehead to the lowest part of his guru’s body.

Ashvagosha then says that, having made obeisance in this way, he will now tell us about the fifty verses of guru devotion, the fifty verses that show us how to cultivate proper guru devotion, which is the root of all insights. He also says that what he is about to write is not his own fabrication but is in accord with the tantric scriptures written by Vajradhara; by taking the essence of these scriptures, he will now write these verses.

With respect to cultivating proper guru devotion, as it is said in the lam-rim, the disciple who wants to attain liberation or enlightenment has to cultivate proper guru devotion. As we all desire advantage and none of us wants disadvantage or loss, there’s only one thing to do—we have to cultivate proper guru devotion.

 

2. Presentation of the explanation

The way to be devoted to a guru
How to be devoted in general
Actual subject matter

 

BRIEF EXPLANATION

Correctness of being reverent toward a guru

(2)

All the buddhas of the past, present and future, residing in every land in the ten directions, have paid homage to the tantric masters from whom they have received the highest initiations. (Is there need to mention that you should too?)

Just as the buddhas of the three times have revered the gurus from whom they received initiations, oral transmissions and tantric vows and teachings, so should we revere and respect them and cultivate proper guru devotion. It’s a mistake to regard only the guru who confers initiations as a vajra guru; we should also regard the guru who gives tantric teachings in the same way. Lama Je Tsong Khapa clarified this point.

So, it mentions here receiving the highest initiations from a guru. Just because a vase is put on our head doesn’t necessarily mean we have received the initiation. An initiation should be given as the tantric scriptures state, by having its meaning explained: the initiations we have achieved and the paths that we have the karma to follow. When we have gained all this knowledge we have received a proper initiation.

Initiations are of three types: causal, to ripen our mind stream; pathway, through which we progress towards enlightenment; and resultant, into the fully enlightened state. The initiation referred to here is the causal one, which is a bit different to the four initiations: vase, secret, wisdom and word.

The importance of cultivating proper guru devotion is stated in the seventeenth chapter of the Guhyasamaja Root Tantra, [Sangdü Tsa Gyü], which has 18 chapters.

 

How one goes about being reverent

General teaching on how to be devoted

(3)

Three times each day with supreme faith you must show the respect you have for your guru who teaches you (the tantric path) by pressing your palms together, offering a mandala as well as flowers and prostrating (touching) your head to his feet.

The buddhas of the three times prostrate to the vajra guru three times a day—morning, noon and evening. This shows that we, too, should cultivate proper guru devotion. That’s the actual meaning of this verse.

This verse also describes in a general way how we should make offerings to our gurus: we should fold our hands in reverence, offer mandalas and flowers, and prostrate to the feet of our guru three times a day.

Once we have received an initiation, we have pledged, or given our word of honor [Skt: samaya; Tib: dam-tsig], to offer a mandala to our guru three times a da y, and it’s a great transgression if we forget. (Samaya means not to be transgressed.) However, this pledge is fulfilled by reciting the six- session yoga daily.

An exception

(4)

If you hold ordination vows and (your guru) is a layman or your junior, (in public) prostrate while facing such things as his scriptural texts in order to avoid worldly scorn but in your mind (prostrate to your guru).

So now there is an exception. It’s not appropriate for a fully ordained monk [Skt: bhikshu; Tib: ge- long] to prostrate to a novice monk or a layman in public, because it can cause ordinary people to criticize and disparage the Dharma. So what should you do in a gathering if you, the vajra disciple, is a bhikshu and your vajra guru is a novice or a layman? On such occasions, you should prostrate physically to a statue, stupa or scripture on your guru’s altar but mentally prostrate to your guru. By physically offering prostrations to scriptures or other holy objects you avoid causing the laypeople to generate bad feelings in their mind, but since mentally you are prostrating to your guru, you’re fulfilling your commitment in that regard.

This is illustrated by an incident from the lives of the great masters Chandrakirti and Chandragomin, who often used to debate with each other. One day Chandrakirti, a monk, invited Chandragomin, a layman, to Nalanda Monastery, telling him he’d organize a grand procession of monks to greet him. But Chandragomin objected, saying that that would give the local lay-people a bad impression. However, Chandrakirti said he had a way around this: he was going to put a statue of Manjushri on a throne on a chariot just in front of Chandragomin, and in that way the people would think that the procession was for Manjushri.

So this is the kind of situation that this verse is talking about, but in a secluded area where there are no laypeople to generate a negative mind, you should prostrate directly to your lay guru, as is your commitment.

(5)

As for serving (your guru) and showing him respect, such as obeying what he says, standing up (when he comes in) and showing him to his seat—these should be done even by those with ordination vows (whose gurus are laymen or their juniors). But (in public) avoid prostrating and unorthodox actions (such as washing his feet).

This next verse shows the limits of the exception mentioned in the previous one, where it explains what a fully ordained vajra disciple should do in relation to a lay vajra master, even in public. You can make material offerings, show general reverence, offer him a cushion, stand up whether he’s nearby or even far away, do things to help him accomplish his plans or projects and so forth. What you should avoid is offering physical prostrations directly or washing his feet and so forth in the presence of lay people, as to do so might give laypeople the wrong impression and cause them to criticize.

 

THE REASON A MUTUAL INVESTIGATION IS NECESSARY

(6)

In order for the words of honor of neither guru nor disciple to degenerate, there must be a mutual examination beforehand (to determine if each can) brave a guru- disciple relationship.

We should try to examine a spiritual teacher before beginning a guru-disciple relationship with him. Similarly, a guru should examine a student before accepting him or her as a disciple. This is very important, right from the start. Before cultivating such an intimate relationship both should check each other very carefully because if, once established, this relationship is broken, it is a transgression of samaya—bad for both guru and disciple. However, once we have accepted a teacher as our vajra guru, we shouldn’t continue examining him. That is to be done before accepting him as guru, and once we have done so we should only regard our guru as an enlightened being. Further examination can only lead us to the vajra hell.

Jetsun Milarepa said that when we are with our vajra guru we shouldn’t seek out his faults; we should cultivate a proper outlook and regard him as a perfect being. If we are successful in this we will be successful in our practice. If we want to practice properly we must cultivate proper guru devotion. Without it, despite diligent practice, we won’t achieve anything worthwhile.

One great practitioner said: “No matter how much you try to seclude yourself in an isolated area, if you regard the buddhas and your gurus as enemies, your practice will be of no value because it will lack the root of substantial achievements.” Guru devotion is essential for success in practice.

Certain sutras recommend that examination go on for as long as twelve years, if necessary. It is very important that such examination be done properly. When both guru and disciple are satisfied, the relationship can be established. If the guru-disciple relationship is established without proper examination from either side, the sacred words of honor are in danger of degeneration. Therefore, we have to be very careful in this.

 

The guru who is to be relied upon or avoided

The character of one to be avoided

(7)

A disciple with sense should not accept as a guru someone who lacks compassion or is prone to anger, vicious, arrogant, possessive, undisciplined or boastful of his knowledge.

This verse explains the kind of guru we should not cultivate; it mentions some disqualifications. An intelligent disciple should not cultivate such a guru.

  • He should possess great compassion—the wish that sentient beings be free from suffering and its cause. This is the most important qualification. If our guru is not compassionate there’s the danger that he’ll give up on us at the first sign of bad behavior. If he has great compassion, then no matter how offensive our actions, he won’t forsake or neglect us. Therefore it’s very important that our guru have great compassion. As stated in the great commentary on Lama Chöpa by Kachen Yeshe Gyeltsen, “However the mischievous child offends his parents and misbehaves and worries them, the y won’t lose love and compassion and will continue to value him. Although I, a vulgar rascal, don’t deserve your compassion, please don’t forsake me and guide me as parents guide their child.”
  • He shouldn’t be prone to anger.
  • He shouldn’t be sadistic or hold a grudge.
  • He shouldn’t be arrogant.
  • He shouldn’t have a strong desire for possessions or wealth or cling strongly to material things.
  • He should not be loose of character of body, speech and mind or careless in his practice of morality. If the guru gambles and takes intoxicants, his disciples will follow the same path. We should try not to fall under the influence of such a guru. If possible, our guru should be like Nagtso Lotsawa’s: he lived with Atisha for nineteen years during which time he couldn’t see the tiniest stain or fault in him. We should try to cultivate a guru like that—one in whom we can’t find even a single shortcoming. Similarly, Khädrub Rinpoche offered praise to Lama Tsong Khapa: “No matter how the buddhas, with all their wisdom, try to see if you have breached any of your vows, even a minor downfall, they won’t be able to find a single one.” This emphasizes that we should choose a guru who keeps his vows properly.
  • He should not boast of his abilities or be fond of revealing his qualifications all the time.

The character of one to be devoted to

(8)

(A guru should be) stable (in his actions), cultivated (in his speech), wise, patient and honest. He should neither conceal his shortcomings nor pretend to possess qualities he lacks. He should be an expert in the meanings (of the tantra) and in its ritual procedures (of medicine and turning back obstacles). He should also have loving compassion and a complete knowledge of the scriptures.

This verse explains the kind of guru we should cultivate; it mentions some of the qualifications we should look for in a guru, the characteristics of the kind of guru who should be cultivated by an intelligent disciple.

  • Stable means that he should have very subdued actions of body; he should abstain from non-virtuous actions of body, keep his bodily actions proper and moral; immutable. Cultivated refers to his speech; he should abstain from non-virtuous actions of speech, keep proper morality of speech, not hurt others by means of speech, sharp words, etc.
  • Mentally, he should abstain from the three non-virtuous actions of mind as well as from pretentiousness; his mental attitude should be very pure. He should possess intelligence and discretion; if he doesn’t, he can’t lead us on the path to liberation.
  • He should possess the three types of forbearance, or patience:
  • forbearance of harm received from others;
  • the ability to endure hardship; and
  • the ability to hear profound teachings without being terrified.
  • He should be true and unbiased, or impartial; not biased towards near relatives or repulsed by enemies; he should be even-minded towards all sentient beings.
  • He shouldn’t be pretentious or conceal his shortcomings. Pretentious means pretending to have supernatural knowledge that he doesn’t have and concealing his shortcomings means always trying to hide his faults from others, especially with the intention of getting offerings. He should have the power to drive out interferences by means of mantras and tantric practice.
  • He should be able to practice medicine, which actually means to help and benefit others by means of his teachings; to really pacify them.
  • He should possess great compassion, the wish that all sentient beings’ suffering be alleviated. He should have profound knowledge of the scriptures, especially the Tripitaka.

(9)

He should have full expertise in both ten fields, skill in the drawing of mandalas, full knowledge of how to explain the tantra, supreme pure faith and his senses fully under control.

He should possess the two sets of ten qualifications, as mentioned in the Guru Puja. These twenty things are the ten externals and the ten internals that a Highest Yoga Tantra guru should possess. A vajra guru of the lower tantras needs only the external ten; the internal ten are not necessary, although if he does possess them it’s all well and good. It’s important to be familiar with these various qualities.

The ten inner qualities are :

  1. The ability to visualize protection wheels and can eliminate interferences. Protection wheels are visualized just outside the mandala and the mere sight of it is enough to terrify negative forces.
  2. The ability to tie protection knots.
  3. Skill in conferring the vase and secret initiations, that is, the first and second initiations, which plant the seed to receive the buddha’s form bodies.
  4. Skill in conferring the transcendent wisdom and word initiations, that is, the third and fourth initiation, which plant the seed to receive the buddha’s wisdom bodies. In the fourth—the word—initiation, the disciples are made to understand the meaning of yuganatha , or great union.
  5. Skill in separating enemies of Dharma from their protectors, after which those enemies are eliminated.
  6. Skill in making sculpted tormas and the offering ceremonies.
  7. Skill in reciting mantras both verbally and without uttering words, that is, mental recitation, such as found in the Vajrayogini practice. Mental recitation is very profound and usually taught only during the giving of a tantric commentary.
  8. Skill in the wrathful rituals. In order to be able to do this, the initiation must be taken properly, the words of honor kept purely and the deity actualized correctly.
  9. Skilled in consecrating holy objects.
  10. Skill in self initiation, offering mandalas and so forth.

The ten external qualities are:

  1. Skill in visualizing, drawing and constructing mandalas of deities. 
  2. Skill in single-pointed concentration on meditation deities. 
  3. Knowing how to do mudras correctly.
  4. Skill in performing ritual dances.
  5. Skill in sitting in the vajra posture and the half lotus as well. 
  6. Skill in mantra recitation.
  7. Skill in making fire offerings [Tib: jin-seg]. 
  8. Skill in all the other offering ceremonies.
  9. Skill in the rituals for subduing enemies of the Dharma, the teacher and sentient beings; who always harm sentient beings.
  10. Skill in concluding ceremonies. The buddhas and deities invoked in front at the beginning of a practice should be made to return to their former place from where they were invoked, although some may be made to dissolve into the images.

Question: How can we know if the guru has these qualities and qualifications?

Gen Rinpoche: Actually, if the guru is really an authentic teacher, most of the qualifications would be known because of his reputation as a learned lama and great practitioner, but you yourself can understand after you have examined him properly. As I mentioned before, you should cultivate a guru about whom you can confidently think, “If I take this teacher as my guru my faith won’t degenerate later.” When your faith in him is resolute you can cultivate that teacher as your guru.

In the next session the qualifications a disciple should possess will be taught. If you lack some of the qualifications of a perfect disciple, you should purify your mind and accumulate merit. You have to create your enlightenment by yourself; nobody will bestow it upon you.

Vajradhara said, “Enlightenment cannot be found anywhere. O nly by practicing the methods taught by the guru, purifying your mind and accumulating merit can you find enlightenment.”

*****

We have finished enumerating the two sets of ten qualifications that the vajra guru should possess. Just as when we go to an unknown place we have to cultivate friendship with somebody who knows the way and can lead us to it, in the same way, when heading for enlightenment we have to cultivate a guru who possesses the necessary qualifications to lead us there.

As Sakya Pandita said, “Even when buying a cow or a buffalo we check very carefully and throw dice to see if we should do so, how much more so, when seeking enlightenment, should we check carefully and cultivate the right guru?”

Now we come to the qualities a disciple should possess. It is important that the right teaching be given to the right disciple, a disciple with the right qualities, otherwise it’s uncertain whether the teaching will benefit or not.

The qualities a disciple needs are given in two parts: the qualities of the disciple in general—the disciple of the graduated path to enlightenment—and the qualities of the advanced, extraordinary disciple, that is, a disciple of tantric practice.

The qualities in general:

  • The disciple should be impartial and not have a biased attitude. This is most important. The disciple should have discretion or intelligence, a good faculty of discernment. If the disciple is dull and doesn’t understand the subject even though it’s taught a hundred times, there’s little value in teaching that student . For disciples with sharp intelligence, or discriminating awareness, everything becomes a teacher because they know what to cultivate and what to abandon. For dull, deluded or closed-minded students, making a guru-disciple relationship is like purposely seeking the lower realms because can’t observe it properly. There’s an illustration to clarify this point.
  • In Lord Buddha’s time, the great benefactors would invite the Buddha and his shravakas for lunch and it was customary that a discourse would be given after lunch. The eldest monk would sit on a cushion and give a discourse. Once the eldest was a monk who didn’t know anything and he sat on the cushion saying repeatedly, “Knowing nothing is suffering,” referring to himself. The others thought that he meant that ignorance is the cause of suffering and contemplated the thought that all suffering comes from ignorance. As a result of this, they achieved liberation. This shows how important intelligence is.
  • Not only should the disciple have an impartial, unbiased attitude and intelligence but also keen interest. This is probably the most important quality, because if the student isn’t enthusiastic, it’s like giving a discourse to a scarecrow; the teachings won’t be kept in mind. As a great Kadampa geshe said, “It’s no use giving teachings to those without keen interest. No matter how many you give, they’re of little value. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Even if you push its head into the water, it’ll just shake off the little water that does stick.”

So these are the three general qualities that a disciple should possess.

The qualities of the tantric disciple:

  • The Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion contains the essential teaching of Vajradhara himself as summarized by Ashvagosha. In other words, these teachings were actually given by Vajradhara in the same way that the Guru Puja also has its source in the tantras. Every verse comes from the tantras and contains their essential meaning.
  • The disciple should be fond of doing virtuous actions and practicing the meditations. The disciple should always show respect to the guru. This has great significance. It says “always,” that is, all the time. It doesn’t mean that when your guru is telling you some story you respect him and when he’s rebuking you, you don’t. You must always respect him, all the time, just as Jetsun Milarepa always showed respect to Marpa, no matter what.
  • The disciple should always have strong devotion and make offerings to the meditation deity and always practice the yoga method of that deity. Whatever initiations we have taken, we should continue that practice for the rest of our life. Geshe Potowa said that when we engage in our tantric practices we shouldn’t be like a dog eating. If you give a dog a piece of meat he’ll swallow it whole without tasting or enjoying it and then look around for the next bit. We shouldn’t be like that. Having taken an initiation, we should practice it with care and enjoyment.

Disciples possessing these qualities are the really good ones.

The qualities that make a disciple a bad one are similar to those of the guru we shouldn’t seek. A disciple should not lack compassion, be prone to anger, have sadistic views or lack faith in the guru or meditation deities.

This concludes the discussion of the qualities of the guru to be cultivated and the disciple who cultivates the guru. Next comes how to avoid disrespect for the guru and how to cultivate respect. This has two parts: how to abandon disrespect and how to cultivate respect.

 

EXTENSIVE EXPLANATION OF HOW TO BE DEVOTED TO A GURU

Giving up irreverence

Abandoning disrespect has four divisions: (a) abandoning belittling or deriding your guru; (b) abandoning disturbing your guru’s mind; (c) the invisible consequences of disrespecting your guru; and (d) the summary of the meaning of all these verses.

Giving up despising and disparaging

(a) Abandoning belittling the guru is discussed in two divisions: general (Verse 10) and specific (Verses 11 and 12).

General teaching

(10)

Having become the disciple of such a protecting (guru), should you then despise him from your heart, you will reap continual suffering as if you had disparaged all the buddhas.

If, having become a vajra disciple, you intentionally belittle your vajra guru—the guru who has given you initiations, taught you tantric practices and conferred tantric vows upon you—you will have to undergo immense and constant suffering. Why? Because belittling your guru is the same as belittling all the buddhas. In the same way that making offerings to just one pore of your guru creates the inconceivable amount of merit of making offerings to the three time buddhas, so too does any negativity created with your guru become extremely heavy.

How do we belittle our guru? When we say things like “He doesn’t have good morality,” “He has no enthusiastic perseverance,” “He’s stingy,” or “He’s so short-tempered,” we’re creating that kind of negative karma —belittling means deriding, disparaging and so forth.

Geshe Potowa said, “In degenerate times disciples will belittle their guru in an honorific way,” that is, they’ll do it politely. This might seem not so bad, but it’s still belittling.

When Atisha came to Tibet he told the Tibetans, “All the major and minor realizations are developed by relying on the guru but since you Tibetans regard your guru as simply an ordinary man, there’s no way you can develop any realizations.” Geshe Potowa also said that we should carefully examine a potential guru before establishing a guru-disciple relationship, but once we have taken him as our guru, we should cultivate proper guru devotion. Even though he might pretend to be poorly educated, we still shouldn’t belittle him but instead cultivate pure guru devotion. Since the law of cause and effect is inevitable, if we behave in this way, in future we will meet with gurus such as Manjushri or Maitreya Buddha. The benefits are infinite.

Vajrapani once asked Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, “What are the negative consequences of belittling the guru?” Taken aback, Guru Shakyamuni replied, “Oh, Vajrapani, please don’t ask me that! If I were to enumerate those consequences, humans, gods and even dauntless bodhisattvas would be terrified and die of shock. However, if you steel yourself by developing great courage before listening, although the negative consequences of belittling the guru are limitless, I’ll summarize a few for you.” The consequences of belittling the guru are so unbearable that spelling them out would terrify even Vajrapani.

Specific explanation

(11)

If you are foolish enough to despise your guru, you will contract contagious diseases and those caused by harmful spirits and will die (a horrible death) caused by demons, plagues or poison.

The invisible consequence is rebirth in hell. Here, the visible consequences are enumerated. If you belittle your guru you will suffer from infectious diseases and die from harm inflicted by other sentient beings, such as snake bite or tiger attack. Other ways you can die as a result of despising your guru are demonic interference, incurable disease and poison. As has been said, “The greatly deluded and extremely ignorant belittlers of their guru will die from such diseases.” As this implies, even those who have a little knowledge will not belittle their guru; only the extremely ignorant will do so.

(12)

You will be killed by (wicked) kings or fire, by poisonous snakes, water, witches or bandits, by harmful spirits or savages, and then be reborn in a hell.

As a consequence of belittling your guru you can also be executed by the king or die from snake bite, drowning or bandit attack . Having been deprived of life by such interferences, you will be born in the great hell. The source of these consequences is the Great Hevajra Tantra.

Refraining from seriously upsetting one’s guru

(b) Abandoning disturbing your guru’s mind.

(13)

Never disturb your guru’s mind. Should you be foolish enough to do so, you will surely boil in hell.

At no time, by neither body, speech nor mind, should you disturb your guru’s holy mind. But if, out of deep ignorance or closed-mindedness, you do, you’ll be born in the great hells and from all sides be burned by fire. The source of this statement is the Secret Ornamental Moon Spot Tantra, one of the great tantric scriptures.

It is also very clear in many sutras that you shouldn’t cultivate friendship with those who have belittled their guru; you shouldn’t even drink water with them. If you do associate with them, your sacred words of honor will degenerate and, no matter how hard you try, you won’t be a ble to achieve any powerful attainments.

Explanation of the unobserved bad consequences

(c) The invisible consequences of disrespecting your guru

(14)

Whatever fearful hells have been taught, such as Avici, the Hell of Uninterrupted Pain, it is clearly explained that those who disparage their guru will have to remain there (for a very long time).

Visible consequences are those bad results that you can see in your lifetime; invisible ones are those that you have to experience in future lifetimes. This verse refers to the latter.

The great hell—Avici, the Hell of Uninterrupted Suffering [Tib: rab-tsor, immense heat], the Hell Without Respite—the worst hell, as described in the sutra teachings. Disciples who belittle their guru will be reborn in that hell and will have to remain there for a very long time.

One of the great tantras, the Ornament of Vajra Essence Tantra, says that no matter how hard they try—abandoning sleep by night and food by day, even for eons—disciples who belittle their guru will not only be unable to achieve any powerful attainments, they won’t even have auspicious dreams, and all their practices will become causes for rebirth in hell. These are some of the invisible consequences of belittling the guru.

The Heruka Root Tantra [Demchog Tsa Gyü], says that no matter how hard they try to receive initiations, enter the mandala and engage in tantric practices, disciples who have a very weak relationship with their guru—that is, who have belittled their guru—won’t be able to achieve any powerful attainments.

The Guhyasamaja Root Tantra, says that—if they properly cultivate a vajra guru, receive initiations and practice correctly—even disciples who have committed the five immediate negativities, the most serious of non-virtues, can attain enlightenment in the one lifetime, whereas those who have not created any such negativities but have belittled their guru from the depths of their heart will never be able to attain anything, no matter how they practice.

Lama Tsong Khapa said that the Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion was written especially for disciples who take profound teachings from any gurus who just happen to be around but don’t cultivate devotion to any of them. Out of his great compassion, Acharya Ashvagosha summarized what such disciples should do in order to help them understand their commitments properly.

Another scripture says that if you don’t regard the teacher from whom you hear even one verse of teaching as a guru, you’ll be reborn as a dog a hundred times or as a being that feeds on the flesh of its own mother.

Thus, the great Tilopa told Naropa, “For all these reasons you should be skilled in cultivating proper guru devotion.”

A great Kagyu lama once said that if you allow the sunshine of your fervent regard to fall on the holy physical form of your guru, the vajra river of inspiration and blessings will flow. Another said that if you try to meditate on emptiness without supplicating your guru, you’re like a cave facing away from the sun—it’s impossible for the light to shine in. In other words, if you meditate on emptiness without making requests to your guru, your practice won’t bring realizations and you won’t be able to strike at the heart of your ego-grasping ignorance.

In his Uttaratantra, Maitreya Buddha said that you can realize emptiness only when you have fervent regard, or great respect, for your guru.

Gampopa’s disciples once asked him how he had achieved the realization of mahamudra. He replied, “When I was able to keep my guru, Milarepa, in mind all the time, that’s when I realized mahamudra.”

Similarly, Jetsun Milarepa said that since the guru is the quintessence of all the buddhas, if you can see him in his real form of dharmakaya, you will spontaneously and effortlessly receive all the inspiration and blessings of all the buddhas.

So, I think that’s enough citations clarifying these points; now please contemplate them properly.

Summary

(d) Summarizing the meaning of all these verses

(15)

Therefore exert yourself whole-heartedly never to belittle your tantric master, who makes no display of his great wisdom and virtues.

It’s now clear that at no time should we belittle the vajra guru. The consequences of doing so are obvious. As mentioned above, Lama Tsong Khapa said, “The Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion is made up of quotations of Buddha Vajradhara himself, summarized in book form for those disciples who seek out many gurus but don’t cultivate proper guru devotion with any of them. In order to help such disciples, warn them, and save them from the worst consequences of belittling their guru and transgressing their guru-disciple relationship, Ashvagosha wrote this book.”

When Sadaprarudita first generated guru devotion for Dharmodgata he was on the highest path of accumulation, but as he cultivated proper guru devotion, he was able to attain the seventh bodhisattva stage within seven years—which, according to sutra, is impossible. However, his great guru devotion enabled him to do so.

As Vajradhara said, we should pray not even to see—even in our dreams—or hear of those disciples who have violated their guru-disciple relationship.

This completes our discussion of the verses dealing with abandoning disrespect for the guru. Those on how to cultivate respect are next.

How to go about being reverent

Cultivating respect for the guru has eight divisions:

  1. Offering material
  2. Perceiving him as buddha
  3. Acting according to his word
  4. Looking after his materials and entourage
  5. Purifying temporal behavior
  6. Offering body, speech and mind
  7. Abandoning pride
  8. Not acting according to your own wishes

Arranging teachings in outline, or summarized, form helps us understand them properly. Those with sharp intelligence can understand the essence of an entire text just from its table of contents.

Making material offerings has four divisions:

  1. Making offerings to purify disrespect
  2. Offering ourselves and all our possessions
  3. The validity of making such offerings
  4. How to cultivate pure words of honor every day

 

Giving presents

Giving presents in order to stop irreverence

(i) Making offerings to purify disrespect

(16)

(If, out of lack of awareness , you have shown disrespect) to your guru, reverently present an offering to him and seek his forgiveness. Then in the future such harm as plagues will not befall you.

If, because of our overabundant delusions and recklessness, we have generated or shown disrespect for our guru, we should make offerings to our guru with both respectful mind and respectful gesture—whatever we present we should offer  with both hands. In this, we should copy the great masters who were learned and well-skilled in this field. We can learn a great deal from the way they behaved. When observing great masters, we shouldn’t be so concerned with the way they recite mantras and so forth as with how they behave purely in front of their gurus.

Also, the offerings we make to purify disrespect and ask for forgiveness should be charming, attractive things—good quality things that we like, not things we don’t. If we do this properly and ask forgiveness, then in future we won’t be afflicted by infectious diseases or the other consequences mentioned above.

To show that he’s not just making this up, in his commentary, Lama Tsong Khapa quotes the Long Paramadya Commentary as the source of this method of counteracting the effects of disrespectful behavior.

The way one gives absolutely everything one has

(ii) Offering everything we own

(17)

It has been taught that for the guru to whom you have pledged your word of honor (to visualize as one with your meditation deity), you should willingly sacrifice your wife, children and even your life, although these are not easy to give away. Is there need to mention your fleeting wealth?

There’s a Tibetan term in this verse, dam-tsig lobpön, samaya guru—the guru to whom you have pledged your word of honor—the guru you regard or visualize as inseparable from your deity . For example, if you practice Yamantaka, the guru you regard as inseparable from the body, speech and mind of Yamantaka. That is your samaya guru. Of course, it’s the same with any deity that you practice, such as Avalokiteshvara.

We should offer our samaya guru our wife, our children, our life itself. Therefore, if we’re supposed to offer things like that, which are so difficult to give away, to practice generosity with, what need is there to talk about our fluctuating wealth?
The source of this statement is the Samputa Tantra.

The correctness of such offering

(iii) The validity of making such offerings

Now we go into the details of the validity of this second offering, to prove that it is not meaningless, carries a profound meaning and was propounded by Vajradhara.

(18)

(Such practice of offering) can confer even buddhahood on a zealous (disciple) in his or her very lifetime, which otherwise might be difficult to attain even in countless millions of eons.

The validity of making such offerings is that the pure abode of enlightenment, which is very difficult to actualize no matter how many eons we try, can be achieved within the hundred-year lifespan of this degenerate age by the pure cultivation of a vajra guru.

The Kalachakra Root Tantra clearly states that no matter how many offerings you make to the Three Jewels in a million eons or how much charity to sentient beings you practice over the same period, you still can’t actualize enlightenment in a single lifetime, but if you cultivate pure guru devotion without transgression you can actualize enlightenment in a single lifetime of this degenerate age.

The way one protects one’s three words of honor

(iv) How to cultivate pure words of honor every day

(19)

Always keep your words of honor. Always make offerings to the enlightened ones. And always make offerings to your guru, for he is the same as all the buddhas.

There are several points here so we’ll take them one by one.

“Always abide by your words of honor” means that your first word of honor to the guru who gave you the initiation of a certain deity is to always abide in that deity’s yoga.

“Always make offerings to the buddhas” means always make offerings to the buddhas, like Vajrasattva and so forth, in order to complete the accumulation of merit. There are four types of offering—external, internal, offering of suchness and secret offering—and you should constantly make these offerings, visualizing them as extensive as space itself, and thereby complete your accumulation of merit.

“Always make offerings to your guru…” means always make offerings to your guru because as an object of accumulating merit, he is like all the buddhas.

(20)

Those who wish to (attain) the inexhaustible (state of a buddha’s wisdom body) should give to their guru whatever they themselves find pleasing, from the most trifling objects to those of best quality.

Alone, the word “inexhaustible” here is a bit vague, but through his kindness, Lama Tsong Khapa has clarified it. It means that we’ll achieve the dharmakaya, which is as inexhaustible as space; infinite. So it’s saying that disciples who wish to attain this inexhaustible state should make material offerings—from the smallest to the greatest—to their guru. Furthermore, the guru, in order to help dissipate the disciple’s craving desire, should accept these things.

(21)

Giving (to your guru) is the same as making continual offerings to all the buddhas. From such giving much merit is gathered. From such collection comes the supreme powerful attainment (of buddhahood).

Making offerings to your guru fulfills the requirement of making continual offerings to all the buddhas, and by doing so you accumulate the merit that brings the supreme powerful attainment of enlightenment. Since you actualize the highest powerful attainment of enlightenment, what need is there to mention all other ordinary powerful attainments? Obviously, you accomplish these by the way. This and all the other ideas written down by Ashvagosha have various tantras as their source.

So, now we have finished the first of the eight divisions of cultivating respect for the guru, that of making material offerings.

 

Looking on the guru as an enlightened one

(b) Perceiving your guru as buddha

This has two subsections: (i) regarding him as buddha and (ii) not stepping over his shadow

The actual topic

(i) Regarding him as buddha

(22)

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

First comes a description of the good disciple, one who has developed the qualities of great compassion—the root of the Mahayana path—who abides by the cultivation of pure morality, and has dedicated his or her body, speech and mind to the welfare of other sentient beings. The disciple who is preoccupied by working for other sentient beings, abides by the three types of Mahayana morality and can endure all the hardships of the path should regard the guru as inseparable, not separate, from Vajradhara himself.

As Geshe Potowa said, “Disciples who regard Vajradhara as better than their own guru have no possibility of gaining powerful attainments.”

This makes it clear that if, while practicing any meditation deity and doing the visualization, you regard the meditation deity and your guru as separate—the deity as very high and your guru as very low, separate—because of that great mistake, you won’t be able to actualize any powerful attainments, even if you meditate for a hundred years. On the other hand, if you meditate on the inseparability of the meditation deity and your guru, it’s impossible that you won’t actualize any powerful attainments.

Furthermore, Vajradhara assured us that the guru is an emanation of himself. He said that in degenerate times such as this, we shouldn’t worry that we haven’t met Vajradhara because at such times he would manifest as the vajra guru.

Therefore, we should develop the skill of recognizing Vajradhara as our vajra guru, because that’s how he manifests at times like this.

So that’s the actual meaning of this subject, regarding the vajra guru as inseparable from Vajradhara.

Stopping irreverence even to his shadow

(ii) Not stepping over your guru’s shadow

(23)

If you should never step on even (your guru’s) shadow because the fearsome consequences are the same as destroying a stupa, is there need to mention never stepping on or over his shoes or seat, (sitting in his place, or riding) his mount?

The text says that the negativity of doing so is the same as demolishing a stupa, which is one of the five near immediate negativities.**1** And if the negativity of stepping over the shadow of the vajra guru is so grave, it’s obvious that stepping over his shoes, mattress or cushions or riding his conveyance, such as his horse, must be much worse than that.

The instruction not to step over the guru’s shadow was given by Vajradhara in the tantras. Lama Tsong Khapa’s elaborate commentary on the Fifty Verses, the Fulfillment of All Hopes, contains many quotations substantiating such advice. This commentary can be found in the first volume of the eighteen that make up Je Tsong Khapa’s collected works [Tib: Sung-bum].

Doing what the guru says

(c) Now we come to the third division of cultivating respect, acting according to his words.

(24)

(Disciples) having great sense should obey the words of their guru joyfully and with enthusiasm. If you lack the knowledge or ability (to do what he says), explain in (polite) words why you cannot (comply).

This verse says that highly intelligent disciples should listen to the words, or orders, of their guru with great pleasure, or bliss; they should hear whatever he has to say with much enthusiasm and perseverance. Whenever your guru speaks, listen with pleasure. If you can do what he asks, if you can act in accordance with his words, you should accept, but if it’s too hard, then explain your difficulty politely. Don’t ignore what he’s asking, but tell him intelligently why you can’t do it.
If your guru tells you to do something that you feel goes against your three types of morality, you can avoid doing it, but explain intelligently and unemotionally why.

One of the Jataka Tales is about a previous life of Guru Shakyamuni when he was born as a Brahmin disciple. The Brahmin teacher told his disciples to go out and steal for him. His logic was that since the universe was made by Brahma , if, as sons of Brahma, Brahmins take things, it’s no more stealing than if a son takes things belonging to his father—since they are his own possessions, he’s not stealing. However, the disciple who was the previous life of Buddha didn’t go. His teacher said, “You don’t seem to like me.” Guru Shakyamuni replied, “Theft is at no time religious,” and intelligently explained many ways in which stealing wasn’t good. Later he became one of this guru’s best disciples. Intelligence is always stressed as one of the very best qualities a disciple can have.

The fine print at the beginning of the Guru Puja says that at all times we should look for our guru’s qualities, not his faults or shortcomings. By seeing his qualities we will achieve all powerful attainments; by seeing his faults, we won’t.

Lama Tsong Khapa said, “The practice of disciples who pretend to listen to teachings and meditate without cultivating pure guru devotion is merely an echo; it’s nothing. It has no potential to yield any result.”

Also, in his Abhisamayalankara commentary, Gyältsab Rinpoche said, “Listening to teachings without cultivating proper guru devotion is like turning medicine into poison; it has no potential to bring a good result.”

All this shows that if we cultivate pure guru devotion, we’re sure to attain realizations, as illustrated by a story of three of Atisha’s disciples—Dromtönpa, his translator and secretary; Amé Jangchub Rinchen, his cook; and Gönpa Wangchug Gyeltsen (the Great Neljorpa, or Mahayogi), who spent all his time in meditation—Atisha was always going to give him teachings and he remained in seclusion. So Mahayogi thought, “I spend all my time in meditation whereas the others don’t meditate at all. I must have higher realizations.” Atisha was aware of this, so called them all together and examined them. He found that of the three, Dromtönpa had the highest realizations, Amé Jangchub Rinchen the second highest, and Mahayogi the least. This example emphasizes the importance of guru devotion.

Question: So, we don’t always have to do what our guru tells us?

Gen Rinpoche: Ashvagosha says that we should always try to act in accordance with the words of our guru but are exempt if what we are asked to do is very heavy. In that case we can explain politely why we can’t do it. If your guru asks you to do something against the three types of morality—for example, say he asks you to kill a human being—you can decline. Angulimala’s guru told him he could attain liberation by killing a thousand human beings in a week and wearing their fingers as a garland. So, you don’t need to doubt—these exceptions are mentioned in the Lam-rim Chen-mo and the Jatakamala, and the source of this advice is Vajradhara.

(25)

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

This verse tells us why we should follow our guru’s orders—we have to act according to his words because all powerful attainments, both common and supreme, are accomplished only by relying on him. Through proper reliance on our guru we will achieve the prosperity of human beings and gods.

Once again, this statement comes from one of the tantras, the Hevajra Tantra. That text clearly states that if you abide by the words of your guru you will achieve all powerful attainments and even in this life receive all happiness. However, going against what he says will only lead you to the lower realms, which is why Lama Tsong Khapa says that going against your guru’s words or disrespecting him is an extremely grave negativity.

According to tantra, the speech of the buddha is the sambhogakaya, so one word of the guru is the equivalent of one sambhogakaya. That’s why it’s extremely negative to transgress the guru’s words.

 

How to treat the guru’s belongings and retainers

(d) Looking after your guru’s materials and entourage

(26)

(Guard) your guru’s belongings as you would your own life. Treat even your guru’s beloved (family) with the same (respect you show) for him. (Have affectionate regard for) those closely around him as if they were your own dearest kin. Single-mindedly think (in this way) at all times.

You should look after your guru’s possessions properly—you should cherish them as much as you do your own life. Before Dromtönpa met Atisha, he was studying with another guru. By night he would tend his guru’s cattle; by day he would spin yarn with his hands, soften leather with his feet and, as his lama had a wife and many children, always carry his guru’s children on his back. When he met Atisha and told him about his previous realizations and merit, Atisha said, “Your greatest merit was created when you were serving that lama.”

Therefore we, too, should respect and serve those closest to our guru—his family members, his foremost servants and helpers and so forth—learning from the lives of the great practitioners like Jetsun Milarepa and Dromtönpa.

When Gyälwa Dromtönpa was serving his guru in Kham, he used to lie in the mud so that his guru’s wife could sit on his back while she was milking the cows. Milarepa did the same thing; he had Marpa’s wife, Dagmema, sit on him while she milked the cows.

You should also treat your guru’s servants and so forth in the same way that you treat your beloved relatives. “Single-mindedly think (in this way) at all times” means that you must constantly keep this idea in mind so that it becomes very clear.

From the above you can now understand what Geshe Tölungpa meant when he said, “I get greater merit by giving food to my guru Loba’s dog than by inviting all the monks of Western Tibet and offering them a feast.” [He was called Tölungpa because he lived in Tölung; his ordination name was Rinchen Nyingpo. Similarly, Loba means a person from Lo; he was referring to Kadampa Geshe Chengawa.]

This is not a fabrication. The Guhyasamaja Root Tantra clearly states that it is much more meritorious to make offerings to one pore of your vajra guru than to the buddhas of the three times. As your guru is the representative of all buddhas, this merit far exceeds all others.

If you make very clear, unmistaken notes during these discourses and keep t hem properly, they will form a commentary to the Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion. This commentary is very rare; the most famous is Lama Tsong Khapa ’s. So if you preserve your notes, you’ll have a second commentary.

 

Purifying present behavior

(e) Purifying temporal behavior

This fifth section of cultivating respect for your guru has three subsections: (i) avoiding bad behavior; (ii) cultivating good behavior; (iii) avoiding other bad behavior in general.

(i) Avoiding bad behavior has two parts: what to avoid in his field of vision and what to avoid in his range of hearing.

Stopping incorrect behavior

Advice about what to do when in the guru’s field of sight

(27)

Never sit on the (same) bed or seat (as your guru), nor walk ahead of him. (At teachings do not) wear your hair in a top-knot, (a hat, shoes or any weapons. Never) touch a seat (before he sits down or if he happens to sit on the ground. Do not) place your hands (proudly) on your hips or wring them (before him).

When he is standing you shouldn’t sit on a cushion or a mattress. If your guru is sitting on the bare ground you shouldn’t sit on a cushion. When traveling or walking on a road together you shouldn’t walk in front of him; he should go first. All these points have their source in the Ornament of the Vajra Essence Tantra.

Similarly, you shouldn’t wear your hair in a topknot or in a plait tied around your forehead while in the presence of your guru. If there is a long mattress on which you are going to sit together, you shouldn’t step over it before your guru sits down; if you do, it’s a downfall and you create negative karma. Also, you shouldn’t sit with your hands on your hips or wring your hands in his presence.

(28)

Never sit or recline while your guru is standing (or lie while he is sitting). Always be ready to stand up and serve him skillfully in an excellent manner.

While your lama is standing, don’t sit or lie down. This is not made up but comes from what was said by Vajradhara himself. You should always be very quick to do whatever you can do for your guru. Don’t be lazy or lethargic but very active in performing such tasks.

(29)

In the presence of your guru never do such things as spit, (cough or sneeze without covering your head. Never) stretch out your legs when at your seat, nor walk back and forth (without a reason before him. And never) argue.

You shouldn’t spit, expel snot or blow your nose in front of your guru. Nor should you stretch your legs out when sitting before him. Similarly, in his presence, don’t stroll about here and there in an arrogant manner, as if out for your morning walk, or quarrel or argue with others.

(30a)

Never massage or rub your limbs. Do not sing, dance or play musical instruments (other than for religious purposes).

As it says here, you shouldn’t rub your limbs or your feet in front of your guru, just as you shouldn’t wring your hands. Don’t sing or dance in front of him or play musical instruments, unless it’s during a religious ceremony. These are some of the things that you should not do within your guru’s field of vision.

Advice about what to do when in the guru’s range of hearing

(30b)

And never chatter idly or speak in excess (or too loudly) within range of (your guru’s) hearing.

The rest of this verse says that you shouldn’t gossip within earshot of your guru, where he can hear your frivolous talk and chatter.

These admonitions to curb such wrong behavior and bad habits within your guru’s sense perception come from the Ornament of the Vajra Essence Tantra and the Vajramala Guhyasamaja Explanation Tantra.

 

Resorting to good behavior

(ii) Cultivating good behavior

(31)

(When your guru enters the room), get up from your seat and bow your head slightly. Sit (in his presence) respectfully. At night or at rivers or on dangerous paths, with (your guru’s) permission you may walk before him.

If you are sitting, stand up when your guru comes into view. When you sit, do so very demurely and not in a slovenly way that reflects your untamed mind. If an apple tree is well laden, all its branches hang down; similarly, if your mind is well tamed, your behavior is very subdued. Try to be on your best behavior in front of your guru and not reveal your unsubdued nature.

Verse 27 said that you should not walk ahead of your guru, but this verse offers an exception. If you are traveling in a dangerous place you can go first; under such circumstances, it’s not right for your guru to go ahead. For the same reason you can also walk in front of him at night. Similarly, when crossing a river by foot, you should go first to check the depth or for danger. This advice also comes from the Ornament of the Vajra Essence Tantra.

When checking the validity of such teachings, you should be able to trace them back to Vajradhara. If you can do so, there’s no need to look for any other source, just as when you trace a river back to its source, you can’t find any other origin for it.

Teaching another way to stop incorrect behavior

(iii) Avoiding other bad behavior in general

(32)

In the direct sight of the guru, (a disciple) with sense should not (sit) with his or her body twisted around or lean (casually) against a pillar and so forth. Never crack your knuckles, (play with your fingers or clean your nails).

When in front of their guru, intelligent disciples endowed with discretion sit correctly, not in a slovenly or arrogant fashion. Nor should they lean on pillars or walls for support.

Furthermore, don’t crack your knuckles etc. The sublime being who said this was Ashvagosha , who cited Vajradhara in the Ornament of the Vajra Essence Tantra in support of this statement.

 

Special physical and verbal acts of devotion

Special physical acts of devotion

(f) Offering body, speech and mind

(33)

When washing (your guru’s) feet or body, drying, massaging or (shaving) him, precede such actions with (three) prostrations and at their conclusion do the same. Then attend (to yourself) as much as you like.

Before you wash your guru’s feet, bathe his body or cut his hair, offer three prostrations. When you have finished, offer three more. After that, you can attend to your own needs.

Special verbal acts of devotion

(34)

Should you need to address (your guru) by name, add the title “Your Presence” after it. To generate respect for him in others, further honorifics may also be used.

Next comes the offering of speech. Whenever you utter your guru’s name, don’t leave it naked. For example, when you quote him, say, “I heard it from his great, holy speech.”

Pabongka Rinpoche said that we use our guru’s bare name too casually, without praise or honorific, but that he felt very uncomfortable whenever he heard his own guru’s name spoken like that. That’s why when we quote our lama we should say something like, “I heard it from his radiant, holy mouth.”

In the commentary, Lama Tsong Khapa says, “For example, if the guru’s name is Rinchen Dorje, you should say, ‘ My precious lord Rinchen Dorje spoke of this and said….’ By this, having caught the attention of others, they become reverent to the guru.”

Similarly, in his commentary on the Vinaya Sutra, Acharya Gunaprabha said that whenever you take the name of the preceptor who bestowed vows upon you, you should say, “From his great radiant mouth….”

Therefore we should act in accordance with the following short story. Once Lama Tsong Khapa was giving a teaching just above the site where Sera Monastery was later built, when Khädrub Rinpoche came to meet him for the first time. He asked a nun living there where the venerable Tsong Khapa could be found. She didn’t answer immediately but went inside, washed her mouth, lit some incense and replied, “I don’t know anything about the name you just said, but if you mean my Venerable Gracious Guru, His Presence Je Tsong Khapa resides over there.” Khädrub-je was very impressed by this nun’s subdued behavior and said that this is how those who really abide by the vinaya should act.

Thus, when mentioning your guru’s name in front of others, in order to arouse respect in them for your guru, add honorifics before and after his name.

(g) Abandoning pride

Now the seventh division of cultivating respect for your guru, the elimination of arrogance in front of him. This has three subsections: (i) abandoning arrogance when taking orders from your guru; (ii) abandoning arrogance when listening to discourses and so forth; and (iii) eliminating arrogance in all actions.

Abandoning pride through following commands

(i) Abandoning arrogance when taking orders from your guru

(35)

When asking for your guru’s advice, (first announce why you have come). With palms pressed together at your heart, listen to what he tells you without (letting your mind) wander about. Then (when he has spoken) you should reply, “I shall do exactly as you have said.”

First check the sincerity of your wish to work for your guru and your ability to do so. Go to him with folded hands and ask reverently, “Can I be of any help to you?” When he does ask you to do something, listen to what he says without arrogance and with folded hands. When he has finished speaking, say, “I will do as you have said.”

(36)

After doing (what your guru has told you), report (what has happened) in polite, gentle words. Should you yawn or cough, (clear your throat or laugh in his presence), cover your mouth with your hand.

Whenever you smile or laugh in front of your guru, cover your mouth with your handkerchief or hand. If you have to spit, you should take your handkerchief out slowly.

When you have finished doing the work he asked you to do, with reverence, fold your hands and tell him, “I have finished that work.” This, too, has as its source the Ornament of the Vajra Essence Tantra.

Abandoning pride through listening to religious teaching

ii) Abandoning arrogance when listening to discourses and so forth

(37)

If you wish to receive a certain teaching, request three times with your palms pressed together while kneeling before him with your (right) knee. (Then at his discourse) sit humbly with respect, wearing appropriate clothing that is neat (and clean, without ornaments, jewelry or cosmetics).

When listening to teachings you should pay attention mindfully, dress properly, sit in a very subdued, well-composed way and keep your behavior in check. When asking for a special teaching, kneel on your right knee and, with folded hands, make the request three times.

All the great, sublime beings attained realizations by cultivating perfect guru devotion; since we, too, want to attain realizations, we should also know these things.

Just as the great sublime beings of the past—Milarepa, Dromtönpa, Khädrub Rinpoche, Geshe Chengawa and so many others—cultivated proper guru devotion, served their gurus all their life and attained high realizations, so should we emulate these great beings and cultivate proper guru devotion as explained by Vajradhara.

In the Lam-rim Chen-mo, Je Rinpoche explained how to practice guru yoga. First we prove to ourselves that the guru is buddha through logical reasoning and various quotations, thus becoming fully convinced that our guru is, indeed, buddha. Then, seeing that our guru is buddha but in the aspect of the deity we practice, our guru yoga practice will be effective. If we try to practice without this recognition, we won’t achieve anything.

So, since we all cherish ourselves and none of us wishes the slightest of sufferings, we should really try to do the right thing. And as we do have high regard for Milarepa , we should try to emulate him and the way he cultivated guru devotion. Milarepa cultivated proper guru devotion with Marpa, and Marpa with his gurus, especially Naropa, and Naropa with Tilopa, and Dromtönpa with Atisha. To really appreciate all this, we should read the scriptures that explain about guru devotion. Then when we practice meditation in the context of proper guru devotion, interdependently, our realizations will increase like a waxing moon.

Ra Lotsawa said, “During the final decline of the doctrine, although there’ll be many practitioners, few will actualize the end because they’ll lack the necessary skills. Only those who cultivate the perfect guru, deity and Dharma protector will be able to actualize.”

Therefore, when we request teachings from our guru we should approach him in a composed manner, kneel on our right knee, fold our hands and request three times. Also, in his presence, we should wear proper, clean clothing and not wear jewelry or try to make ourselves beautiful.

Abandoning pride through one’s general behavior

(38)

Whatever you do to serve (your guru) or show him respect should never be done with an arrogant mind. Instead you should be like a newly-wed bride, timid, bashful and very subdued.

However properly we have revered our guru and made offerings, it should not be sullied by arrogance. In his presence we should try to maintain subdued behavior all the time, without arrogance. We should act with decency and not always be looking around here and there. The text says we should act like a newlywed bride, who shyly bows her head and acts very quietly.

(39)

In the presence of (the guru) who teaches you (the path), stop acting in a conceited, coquettish manner. As for boasting to others what you have done (for your guru), examine (your conscience) and discard all such acts.

You should check with your own intelligence and try to avoid doing acting in these ways. Also, when walking with your guru, if you walk right behind him you run the risk of stepping on his shadow, which is very bad. Also, if you walk alongside him you might walk too fast and get ahead. Therefore, walk to his side, just behind him, in a very skillful way.

Not independently involving oneself in work

(h) Not acting according to your own wishes

This is the eighth and final section of cultivating respect for the guru. There are four things here that we should not do by ourselves but instead get our guru’s consent: (i) when working for the benefit of others—for example, when you are going to give an initiation or teaching—get your guru’s consent; (ii) offer back to your guru any offerings that you receive from that action; (iii) avoid taking offerings or receiving others’ respect, such as prostrations or hand blessings, in front of your guru—from your point of view as guru, you must avoid such things but from your disciples’ point of view, they should do it; and (iv) showing special physical respect.

Receiving permission when involving oneself in altruistic activity

(40)

If you are (requested) to perform a consecration, (an initiation into) a mandala or a fire offering ceremony or to gather disciples and deliver a discourse, you may not do so if your guru resides in that area, unless you receive his prior permission.

If your guru is in that locality, you should not do consecrations or fire pujas for others or give initiations and so forth without his prior consent.

 

Delivering up what has been obtained from the involvement

(41)

Whatever offerings you receive from performing such rites as (the consecration known as) “opening the eyes,” you should present all these to your guru. Once he has taken a token portion, you may use the rest for whatever you like.

You should give your guru whatever offerings you receive from doing consecrations, giving initiations and so forth. He’ll take a small portion and give you the rest, which you can then use for whatever you want.

In contemporary Tibet there was no greater lama than Pabongka Rinpoche. He received all the Nyingma teachings Öser Tretog Dorje. The lineage of whatever teachings we hear today from the two tutors [Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche] comes from Pabongka Rinpoche. He is like both father and monarch. There’s no lama or aristocrat who hasn’t cultivated him as his or her guru. When people talk about Lama Dorje Chang, they’re referring to Pabongka Rinpoche.

 

Not accepting devotion from others in the guru’s presence

(42)

In the presence of his guru a disciple should not act (as a guru) to his own disciples and they should not act towards him as their guru. Therefore (before your own guru) stop (your disciples) from showing you respect, such as rising (when you come) and making prostrations.

Avoid receiving offerings in front of your guru. You shouldn’t make disciples of your guru’s disciples or give them an initiation without his consent. If, in your guru’s presence, your disciples stand up for you, offer you prostrations or come to take hand blessings, try to stop them and make them sit down.

 

Physical behavior that is a way of demonstrating immense respect

(43)

Whenever you make an offering to your guru or whenever your guru presents you with something, a disciple with sense will (present and) receive this using both hands with his or her head slightly bent.

Showing special physical respect means that whatever you offer to or accept from your guru should be done with both hands, not one. This is the type of behavior that a perfect disciple should cultivate. In an assembly of disciples, offering a khatag with one hand is proof that you haven’t heard the Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion.

 

Discussion

(44)

Be diligent in all your actions, (alert and) mindful never to forget (your word of honor). If fellow disciples transgress (what is proper) in their behavior, correct each other in a friendly manner.

You should keep your vows and words of honor without any transgression, being mindful and alert all the time, and try to abide by the codes of conduct prescribed by Vajradhara.

If out of ignorance a vajra brother or sister—a disciple with whom you have taken the same initiation, together or apart —breaks a vow or breaches his or her words of honor, then, with compassion and a feeling of love and fondness, you should try to make that person avoid that wrong action. You should regard your vajra brothers and sisters as more dear and sacred than your own relatives.

 

An exception

(45)

If because of sickness you are physically (unable) to bow to your guru and must do what normally would be prohibited, even without (his explicit) permission, there will be no unfortunate consequences if you have a virtuous mind.

If we ask if we have to cultivate the behaviors taught in the Fifty Verses at all times, if there’s any time we don’t have to do them, there are certain exceptions. However, belittling the guru and disturbing his mind are not among them. At no time can we do these actions.

There are certain exemptions for the sick disciple who is too weak to get up but whose mind is virtuous: it’s not required to stand or prostrate or to ask the guru’s permission not to do these things. The reverence of standing or prostrating can be done mentally.

 

Summary of the way to be devoted

(46)

What need is there to say much more? Do whatever pleases your guru and avoid doing anything he would not like. Be diligent in both of these.

To summarize, we should try to do things that makes our guru happy and pleased with us and avoid doing things that make our guru unhappy and displeased with us.

(47)

“Powerful attainments follow from (doing what) your guru (likes).” This has been said by (the Buddha) Vajradhara himself. Knowing this, try to please your guru fully with all the actions (of your body, speech and mind).

Why is guru devotion stressed from the very beginning? Because all common and extraordinary powerful attainments follow your cultivation of a proper guru, that is, by making your guru pleased. This was said by Vajradhara. By knowing this fact, then by all means—that is, by body, speech and mind—cultivate pure guru devotion and make your guru pleased with you.

 

Time for explaining how to be devoted

(48)

After disciples have taken refuge in the Triple Gem and developed a pure enlightened motive, they should be given this (text) to take to heart (how to abandon their own arrogant self-will and) follow in their guru’s footsteps (along the graded path to enlightenment).

If perfect disciples—those with pure mind and intention—having taken refuge then follow their guru correctly, he will lead them to enlightenment. This Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion has been written in the form of a prayer so that we can recite it again and again and thus know what to cultivate and what to eliminate in order to correctly follow our guru.

 

How to be a suitable receptacle after the explanation has been given

(49)

(By studying the prerequisite trainings of guru-devotion and the graded path common to both sutra and tantra,) you will become a (suitable) vessel (to hold) the pure Dharma. You may then be given such teachings as tantra. (After receiving the proper initiations,) recite out loud the fourteen root vows and take them sincerely to heart.

As it says in verse 48, this text has been written especially for disciples distinguished by the two good qualities of having taken refuge and the vows of wishing and engaging bodhicitta and who really abide by the commitments of both these practices of refuge and bodhicitta.

After that, disciples who have studied the lam-rim and the Fifty Verses and acted accordingly become disciples ripened for tantric practice. Therefore, they should obtain initiations, study the stages and paths of tantra, know the fourteen major tantric downfalls perfectly, remain aware of them by memorizing them and ask their guru for teachings on them.

In short, we should cultivate the sort of behavior that makes our guru pleased and happy and avoid that which makes him displeased and unhappy.

Lama Tsong Khapa said that the practice of guru yoga is regarding the guru as buddha and seeing the deity as the guru in the form of the deity. That’s the actual practice of guru yoga; if we practice it in that way it will be effective.

The only way we can achieve all the major and minor good qualities is to depend on our guru and regard him as buddha. Lama Tsong Khapa said that if we don’t respect our guru, then no matter how much we declare that we are listening to teachings, meditating and so forth, we won’t get anything worthwhile from whatever we do.

One of the root tantra s says, “I make obeisance to my gurus, who are the quintessence of all the buddhas, Vajradhara in nature—Vajradhara in the form of an ordinary being—and the root of all three objects of refuge.”

Similarly, from the same text comes the prayer we often say:

The guru is Buddha, the guru is Dharma,
The guru is the quintessence of all Sangha, too. The guru is the creator of all happiness.
To all gurus, I prostrate (or, go for refuge, or, make offerings).

At present, what we want is enlightenment, the state that has all good qualities and not a trace of fault, shortcoming or disadvantage. To accomplish this, we have to follow the guidance of a proper guru, and even if Buddha Vajradhara were to manifest in front of us right now, he wouldn’t say anything different from what our guru has told us.

The Hevajra Root Tantra says that no matter how hard we try to find the great bliss of enlightenment, we won’t be able to find it unless we follow the guidance of the right guru.

All these quotations come from the tantras; I’m not making anything up.

But it’s not only in the tantras that we find many quotations that prove that the guru is buddha. The Buddha said that this is so in the sutras as well . For example, just before he entered parinirvana, Lord Buddha went to a mountaintop in south India, where he met a bodhisattva called Tongwa Dönden, who was crying and saying, “We are so lucky that the Buddha manifested on Earth, but after your parinirvana we’ll have no Buddha.” Lord Buddha said, “Don’t worry. After that I’ll manifest as gurus and abbots and at those times you should be smart enough to recognize me as such.”

So these are not fabrications but authentic sayings of the Buddha.

Thus, as verse 49 implies, we should memorize the fourteen major downfalls of tantra and imprint them in our mind so that we don’t forget them. If you can’t abstain from breaking these root vows, taking initiations becomes like purposely creating the cause to be reborn in hell. Lamas are not supposed to give initiations or tantric teachings to disciples who can’t keep these vows.

Vajradhara himself said, “You can’t keep lion’s milk in an earthen pot—the milk will sour and the pot will fall apart; both will be ruined. Similarly, Highest Yoga Tantra teachings should not be given to immature disciples lest they be reborn in miserable circumstances.”

If you listen to the Fifty Verses attentively, you’ll make yourself a mature disciple for tantra if you’re not one already, and you’ll recognize the importance of knowing the fourteen major downfalls and protecting yourself from them.

 

3. Bringing the explanation to a conclusion

(50)

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

Lama Tsong Khapa’s concluding remarks

Verses of dedication

This is the conclusion of the text. The great Ashvagosha said that he wrote this commentary with the intention of benefiting all mature disciples and dedicated the merit of doing so to the quick enlightenment of all sentient beings.

This shows he is a great bodhisattva— he dedicates the virtuous actions he creates to the welfare of all sentient beings. Actually, concluding by dedicating the merit of giving a commentary or doing other virtuous actions to the welfare of all sentient beings is a unique feature of the Buddhist doctrine; an exclusive feature not found in non-Buddhist texts.

In a text called Praise to You, the Outstanding [Khye-par-phag-tö], the author writes, “In your doctrine, whatever merit you create you dedicate to the welfare of sentient beings. Such is not found in outsiders’ teachings. Therefore, I regard it as one of the best features of your doctrine.”

It would be good for you to study this text on the distinctions between the Buddha and other teachers to strengthen your faith in the Buddhadharma.

 

 


Colophon

This Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion was rendered into Tibetan by the great translator Rinchen Zangpo and the great Indian Pandit, Padmakaravarma.

There’s no Indian commentary but, as mentioned before, the great Tsong Khapa wrote an elaborate one, The Fulfillment of All Hopes, which he did at the request of two great Kagyu lamas. He also wrote a commentary on the Six Yogas of Naropa at the request of Kagyu lamas and a very elaborate commentary on dzog-chen at the request of the great Nyingma lama , Tashi Palden.

Lama Tsong Khapa wrote his Fifty Verses commentary at Reting, where he also wrote the Lam- rim Chen-mo.

I received the transmission and teaching on the Fifty Verses from Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang, who received it from Kyabje Pabongka, who received it from his root guru, and its direct lineage goes all the way back to Vajradhara.

If you want to have insights and realizations, guru devotion is essential. If you listen to teachings just for knowledge, guru devotion is not necessary, but it’s the gateway for practice and achievement.

During the meditation session, meditate on guru devotion. In between sessions read texts such as the Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines, which describes Sadaprarudita’s cultivation of Dharmodgata, or the Flower Ornament Sutra [Skt: Avatamsaka Sutra], which describes the Youth Sudhana’s cultivation of many gurus including Manjushri and Maitreya and his subsequent attainment of enlightenment.

You should also read other inspiring examples of the practice of guru devotion, such as Naropa’s with Tilopa, Marpa’s with Naropa and Maitripa, Milarepa ’s with Marpa Lotsawa, Dromtönpa’s with Atisha, Geshe Chakawa’s with Geshe Chengawa, Khädrub Rinpoche’s with Lama Tsong Khapa and Sakya Pandita’s with Dragpa Gyaltsen, which I detailed before. And, of course, there’s the original example of guru devotion in Ananda’s relationship with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha.

The insights they received through cultivating guru devotion is all in print and their names are still renowned. You should develop the attitude: “As those great beings cultivated guru devotion and received realizations, may I emulate their achievements in this practice.”

And to think of a more contemporary example, there’s the way Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang cultivated his root guru Kyabje Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo, and also his teacher when he was younger, Geshe Losang Tsultim, which is described in his autobiography.

 

 


Colophon to this commentary

The root text was composed by Ashvagosha in the first century BCE, translated into English by Sharpa Tulku, Khamlung Tulku, Alexander Berzin and Jonathan Landaw, and published by the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in 1975. Gen Rinpoche Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey gave this commentary at the LTWA in Dharamsala July–August 1976. It was translated by Losang Gyaltsen and edited by Nicholas Ribush from his notes of the class.

 

OUTLINE OF LAMA TSONG KHAPA’S FIFTY VERSES COMMENTARY

1. Introduction to the explanation
1.1. Homage (v. 1a)
1.2. Commitment to the undertaking (v. 1b)
2. Presentation of the explanation
2.1. The way to be devoted to a guru
2.1.1. How to be devoted in general
2.1.1.1. Actual subject matter
2.1.1.1.1. BRIEF EXPLANATION
2.1.1.1.1.1. Correctness of being reverent toward a guru (v. 2)
2.1.1.1.1.2. How one goes about being reverent
2.1.1.1.1.2.1. General teaching on how to be devoted (v. 3)
2.1.1.1.1.2.2. An exception (v. 4, 5)
2.1.1.1.2.1. THE REASON A MUTUAL INVESTIGATION IS NECESSARY (V. 6)
2.1.1.1.2.2. The guru who is to be relied upon or avoided
2.1.1.1.2.2.1. The character of one to be avoided (v. 7)
2.1.1.1.2.2.2. The character of one to be devoted to (v. 8, 9)
2.1.1.1.3. EXTENSIVE EXPLANATION OF HOW TO BE DEVOTED TO A GURU
2.1.1.1.3.1. Giving up irreverence
2.1.1.1.3.1.1. Giving up despising and disparaging
2.1.1.1.3.1.1.1. General teaching (v. 10)
2.1.1.1.3.1.1.2. Specific explanation (v. 11, 12)
2.1.1.1.3.1.2. Refraining from seriously upsetting one’s guru (v. 13)
2.1.1.1.3.1.3. Explanation of the unobserved bad consequence (v. 14)
2.1.1.1.3.1.4. Summary (v. 15)
2.1.1.1.3.2. How to go about being reverent
2.1.1.1.3.2.1. Giving presents
2.1.1.1.3.2.1.1. Giving presents in order to stop irreverence (v. 16)
2.1.1.1.3.2.1.2. The way one gives absolutely everything one has (v. 17)
2.1.1.1.3.2.1.3. The correctness of such offering (v. 18)
2.1.1.1.3.2.1.4. The way one protects one’s three words of honor (v. 19, 20, 21)
2.1.1.1.3.2.2. Looking on the guru as an enlightened one
2.1.1.1.3.2.2.1. The actual topic (v. 22)
2.1.1.1.3.2.2.2. Stopping irreverence even to his shadow (v. 23)
2.1.1.1.3.2.3. Doing what the guru says (v. 24, 25)
2.1.1.1.3.2.4. How to treat the guru’s belongings and retainers (v. 26)
2.1.1.1.3.2.5. Purifying present behavior
2.1.1.1.3.2.5.1. Stopping incorrect behavior
2.1.1.1.3.2.5.1.1. Advice about what to do when in the guru’s field of sight (v., 27, 28, 29, 30a)
2.1.1.1.3.2.5.1.2. Advice about what to do when in the guru’s range of hearing (v. 30b)
2.1.1.1.3.2.5.2. Resorting to correct behavior (v. 31)
2.1.1.1.3.2.5.3. Teaching another way to stop incorrect behavior (v. 32)
2.1.1.1.3.2.6. Special physical and verbal acts of devotion
2.1.1.1.3.2.6.1. Special physical acts of devotion (v. 33)
2.1.1.1.3.2.6.2. Special verbal acts of devotion (v. 34)
2.1.1.1.3.2.7. Abandoning pride through following commands (v. 35, 36)
2.1.1.1.3.2.7.2. Abandoning pride through listening to religious teaching (v. 37)
2.1.1.1.3.2.7.3. Abandoning pride through one’s general behavior (v. 38, 39)
2.1.1.1.3.2.8. Not independently involving oneself in work
2.1.1.1.3.2.8.1. Receiving permission when involving oneself in altruistic activity (v. 40)
2.1.1.1.3.2.8.2. Delivering up what has been obtained from the involvement (v. 41)
2.1.1.1.3.2.8.3. Not accepting devotion from others in the guru’s presence (v. 42)
2.1.1.1.3.2.8.4. Physical behavior that is a way of demonstrating immense respect (v. 43)
2.1.1.2. Discussion (v. 44)
2.1.2. An exception (v. 45)
2.1.3. Summa ry of the way to be devoted (v. 46, 47)
2.2. Time for explaining how to be devoted (v. 48)
2.3. How to be a suitable receptacle after the explanation has been given (v. 49)
3. Bringing the explanation to a conclusion (v. 50)
3.1. Lama Tsong Khapa’s concluding remarks
3.1.1. Verses of dedication
3.1.2. Colophon

This outline comes from Lama Tsong Khapa’s The Fulfillment of All Hopes, translated by Gareth
Sparham. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1999.

**1** five near immediate negativities (Skt: anantaryasabhagah; Tib: nye-wa’i-tsam-med) The five actions that are similar to the five immediate negativities in that they cause rebirth in hell, but not necessarily in the immediately following
life. They are (1) sexually violating one’s mother who is also an arhati; (2) killing a bodhisattva who is destined to be a buddha; (3) killing an arya who has not yet reached the arhat stage; (4) Stealing the property of the Sangha; and (5) destroying a stupa.

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

8 Responses to Complete 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. Alice Tay on Nov 4, 2016 at 1:37 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this Complete Commentary on 50 Verses of Guru Devotion. This is very useful and important for us to understand the meaning of the 50 Verses of Guru Devotion.

    Without a qualified guru, we may not able to receive the pure dharma. This is why Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang often says, “Although the sutras and tantras all have the two types of meaning—definitive and interpretive—with respect to guru devotion, they’re unanimous on the importance of guru devotion; there’s no controversy on that point.”

    As per Verse 9, it has specifically mentioned that the 10 internal and 10 external qualities of a guru that we can refer. In Verse 9 also, Vajradhara said, “Enlightenment cannot be found anywhere. Only by practicing the methods taught by the guru, purifying your mind and accumulating merit can you find enlightenment.” As such, this is very important for us to have guru devotion in spiritual path.

  2. Pastor Henry Ooi on Oct 6, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Reading this gives understanding for me to cultivate my dharma practices. These teachings are so essential as foundation for spiritual learning and practices to the path of liberation.

  3. Jacinta Goh on Jun 4, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for this. It took me days to finish reading this with the audio teaching too. Here is the link on the 50 verses of Guru Devotion:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsnoJEwXjyM

    (The audio teaching starts with the ten non virtues and its relation with Taking Refuge, only roughly about 2hr and 30mins, Rinpoche talks about Guru Devotion)

    All in all, it offers a lot for contemplation. It really got me into thinking of real Guru Devotion and seeing Guru as Buddha. Having the right motivation, faith and proper devotion to our Guru will put us on the right path but it is always easier to say than done. Even way before that, ‘Taking Refuge’ should not be taken lightly. Along with the avoidance of the ten non virtues, we also have twelve commitments. Let alone talking about Proper Guru Devotion. However, I hope this does not deter me from practicing Dharma. I may not have possibly practicing exactly what have been laid down here but with time, may I be able to do all that. This article is a must for all. Guru Devotion is the basis for all of our attainments.

  4. [email protected] on May 27, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Dearest Rinpoche
    I have saved the pdf file and put it into my ipad. I will read and study about it. Thank you very much for posting this and giving us the method to develop guru devotion. By the way I also saved the above beautiful antique Manjushri Thangka. Can it be invited at Vajrasecrets? (www.vajrasecrets.com)
    With folded hands
    Keith

  5. May Ong on May 26, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Dear Tsem Rinpoche – without the Guru or the devotion to the Guru, we will not be able to be enlightened because the Guru is our only source of dharma knowledge, of learning, of devotion, of trust, of the kindness and love of a parent for their only child through their compassion and love for us.

    I take this teaching personally for my practice of transformation as this is such a precious and profound teaching not found anywhere online.

    It is through your love and kindness that we get this precious teaching easily on the “click” of a button in this blog. Truly a blessed gem to find. Thank you. Your grateful student.

  6. Edwin Tan on May 26, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Thank you for providing us such profound teaching, that the lineage goes all the way back to Lord Buddha Vajradhara.

    I was always keen to read more on the commentary of the 50 Verses when I recite them during puja. Rinpoche gave a very good article for me to learn more.

    I will respectfully follow what is written and always visualise [which I have started few months back] Rinpoche, my guru, as Buddha. Each time when I recite Migtsema, I will visualise Rinpoche as Lord Tsongkapa, and when I do my Protector mantras, focus Rinpoche, my holy guru as the Protectors I am reciting mantra of.

    Thank you Rinpoche.

  7. home page on May 24, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    […] psychic email readings 24 hour service accurate professional psychics clairvoyants mediums online More: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/complete-commentary-on-50-verses-of-g… […]

  8. patriciasnodgrass on May 24, 2014 at 10:09 am

    I have never read this teaching nor have I ever received a transmission for it. But the qualifications I used when I prayed to Kwan Yin that night asking she find me a teacher, are very close to the ones listed in the teaching. I’m dumbfounded. How could I have known? I feel very shaken when I read this text but that’s not because there is anything wrong with it. There is no real problem at all, only that I am certain I have studied this before although I know for a fact I have not. I will be reading it these next few weeks, and absorb their contents, and yet I still wonder, could this be an imprint from a previous life? And if it is, does it matter?

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 MARCH / 三月份讨论主题

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
  • Pastor Shin Tan
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 06:42 PM
    According to the Buddhist teachings, we all have a unique blend of karma that determines where we are born, the circumstances of our birth and the quality of our life. Naturally, this is due to the actions that we performed in previous lives. Karma also dictates our characteristics and traits that determine how we act throughout our lives, which in turn leads to certain outcomes in this life and a determination of where we will take rebirth in the future.

    Karma, however, is not set in stone. We can change our circumstances through our own efforts – purification of karma and accumulation of merit. Tibetan astrology, based on these Buddhist principles, provides us the methods to ensure success in this life and a good rebirth in the future. Tibetan astrology can also predict what will happen to us in this life and our next rebirth based on the time of our birth.

    Discover your traits according to the Mewa, or Magical Square system of Tibetan astrology below, and find out how to purify your negative karma to improve your life!

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 05:24 PM
    Very interesting:


    Radin explained in his book: “For a Western-trained academic, the mere existence of, say, telepathy would be considered supernormal and thus wildly extraordinary. But for an experienced yogi, it’s just a boringly normal minor siddhi [a Sanskrit term for a meditation attainment, or power]. A skeptical scientist, not having the benefit of thousands of hours of practice in yoga and meditation, would require repeatable, rigorously obtained experimental data showing odds against chance of a gazillion to one. The yogi merely requires his own experience.”


    Very interesting read: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/2157904-supernormal-abilities-developed-through-meditation-dr-dean-radin-discusses/?sidebar=morein
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 01:45 PM
    Its indeed a beautiful place …..away from the city hectic life to visit and could stay over night too.Just to get away from work to relax ,get some fresh air ,do meditation and so forth .At Kechara Forest RetreatI,Bentong is where the largest Dorje Shugden statue in the world situated and we can receive blessing,make offering to the Buddhas as well as enjoy the tranquility of the beautiful gardens.I have recomended my friends and relatives to visit such a beautiful place at Bentong.
    Thank you Paul Yap for sharing.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/go-bentong.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 01:15 PM
    Well…all pendants are beautifully designed,hand crafted to match each and every sacred images on it to suit all occasion for the wearer.I can see a lot of hard work for those involed in desgning and making of it.
    All pendants are very unique, modern, timeless and also sacred ,thats all i could describe it.Hope more people will be wearing these beautiful pendants to get connected with the Buddhas.Thank you Rinpoche for sharing and Kechara’s Louise Lee for creating Dharma art in in the form of jewelry
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/timeless-and-sacred.html
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 12:41 PM
    This Mahasiddha is Kukkuripa (the dog lover). He loved dogs so much. When he meditated in the cave he had his doggie with him. She had kept him company for years in his cave. They shared bedding, food, water and company. When he gained high attainments, the Dakinis came to take him to Kechara Paradise. He was hesitant to go but the Dakinis insisted and he went with them.

    He arrived at Kechara (Paradise/Buddha abode of Heruka and Vajra Yogini) and enjoyed teachings and feasts up there and they asked him to stay longer if not forever…. But he kept thinking about his doggie left alone in the cave. He felt guilty and missed her. Kukkuripa would use his psychic powers to see his poor doggie alone and hungry waiting for him at the cave while enjoying the attention of the Dakinis and feasts. The cave was dark and had no food. The doggie had to go out and find small tiny scraps of food and was getting skinny. Kukkuripa saw this and it pained him. Worried she was not getting enough food. He use to share the offerings of food he would get from people with her. Doggie and him would delightfully eat the food together. Kukkuripa had no attachments to ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’ in regards to sharing food with his dog. He had overcome this in his meditations. In ancient India, people would not co-habitate with a dog. It was considered unclean and filthy, but Kukkuripa had cast away those notions and loved his dog as she loved him. But he felt guilty to leave her alone while he was ‘enjoying’ himself in Kechara and could not stop thinking about his beloved dirty smelly dog in his cave alone…so he left Kechara Paradise and all it’s ‘delights’ for his doggie. He couldn’t abandon her. The Dakinis implored him to stay, but he was firm to return. The Dakinis said you will give up this paradise here for a mere dog???!! You can advance further in your meditations if you stay in Kechara and then help the dog later they attempted to persuade him. But Kukkuripa would not stay, he was loyal to his little dog as she had kept him company for many years in the lonely dark cave. She was loyal to him and how can he abandon her now. He couldn’t and he wouldn’t listen to the Dakinis. He left to join doggie. He never forget her companionship and loyalty. All the wonderful things in Kechara could not tempt him against his loyal friend the little doggie. He left everything for her.

    So he finally left Kechara to the Dakinis dismay and went back to his cave to be with his dog so she won’t be alone. Doggie was delighted to see her master and wagged her tail so much!! She licked him and he hugged her! She was skinnier for not eating well these few days he noticed. He fed her and hugged her and loved his doggie…He went back to his routine of meditation, receiving food offerings and sharing his food with doggie. They were happy together. One day, when he was scratching her in her favorite place and she licked him so his eyes were closed, when he opened his eyes she had suddenly turned into a Dakini shimmering with lights! The brilliance of the lights lit up the whole cave in front of Kukkuripa!! Kukkuripa was astonished to behold the splendourous lady in front of him! Of course this Dakini must be the Queen Herself he realized, as Vajra Yogini which was Kukkuripa’s main Yidam he had meditated on her for years in the cave. And She said to Kukkuripa, “Well done, you gave up paradise to be with just a dog..it shows you have given up attachements and projections of pleasant and unpleasant, now your Dakini will give you the final paradise (enlightenment)!”

    Kukkuripa attained full enlightenment blessed by Vajra Yogini by releasing the final subtle attachment to the non-existent self! After enlightenment his fame and name grew and many came to see him and he gave teachings to countless and benefitted many before he finally ascended to Kechara the second and final time. He was forever known as Kukkuripa the dog lover.

    I love him so much!!! This is one of my favorite Mahasiddhas along with Badrapa, Shantideva, Ghantapa and a few others. I wanted to share this story with you. I wanted you to know that there are many great true stories like this one about Kukkuripa that are true and can be applied to our lives. To inspire us.

    Tsem Rinpoche
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 12:29 PM
    The great and illustrious master Sonam Tsemo at the end of his life was described by an old woman who witnessed Sonam Tsemo depart. Standing on a rock at the holy spring near Sakya area known as Chumik Dzingka, his body ascended gracefully into the sky, still holding his dog. He loved his dog very much. Even today the footprints of Loppon Sonam Tsemo and the dog can be clearly seen in the rock, left for the benefit of living beings as a field from which to accumulate merit. It is a sign of a holy being when they can leave their footprints in stone for future generations to witness and make offerings on that spot to collect merits. This holy site was decorated by the great master Mantradhara Ngawang Kunga Rinchen later on. Other accounts say that he ascended from Gorum Library near Chumik Dzingka spring. A stupa containing his holy relics was erected there. Sonam Tsemo was a powerful practitioner of the Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini and at the end of his short life he ascended with his very body to Kechara paradise. He was 40 years old. Kechara is the sanksrit name of the special abode of Vajra Yogini. Those who practice Vajra Yogini to the highest level can ascend her paradise with their very bodies. Sonam Tsemo the great master of sutra and tantra was seen by an old woman flying off holding his beloved dog to ascend Kechara paradise. No one every found his body and his room was empty.
  • Lin Mun
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 12:27 PM
    Congratulations to Mitra for his first dharma teaching in Nepali to the expats. So glad that Dorje Shugden practise can reach out to many in various languages and to different people. Mitra has done a good job in introducing Lama Tsongkhapa lineage and guided them on the benefit and iconography of Dorje Shugden.

    May Lama Tsongkhapa lineage and Dorje Shugden practise continue to grow and benefit more people.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/mitra-teaches-bhagwan-dorje-shugden-in-nepali.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Mar 26. 2017 04:15 PM
    Very clear explanation of what is Vajrayogini’s left foot stepping on. Each time when i have a look at the beautiful statue of Vajrayogini this question will comes back to me. i am glad came across these blog by chance, i saw and read to understand better.A clear explanation ..stampling left and right foot significant of desire ,hatred and ignorance that cause us to be in samsara and she she able to control.Vajrayogni’s practices is so powerful in heliping us and that is the reason Rinpoche always ask us to start now.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these short explanation in the video and the interesting story of Mahadeva.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/facebook-question-what-is-vajra-yoginis-left-foot-stepping-on.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Sunday, Mar 26. 2017 02:44 PM
    Rejoice to all the families who had setup a Buddhist altar at home and conducted a house blessing puja. There are diverse benefits of conducting the house blessing puja, which ranges from bringing well-being on all levels – in one’s health, relationships, business, and family – to purifying the home. The puja ceremonies will purify the environment which helps the people who live there and people who are visiting there to experience general well-being. The puja can be personalised based on the request or need of the individual. Thank you for sharing with us the many photos of the beautiful altar of these families, it is very heartwarming to know that they will always be blessed by the Three Jewels.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/10-amazing-house-blessings-by-kechara-pastors.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Sunday, Mar 26. 2017 02:24 PM
    Thank you for sharing this mindfully planned itinerary for everyone who is interested in visiting Kechara Forest Retreat. Kechara Forest Retreat has different facets that showcase different elements of spirituality and Tibetan Buddhism in this wholesale venue. One can enjoy the flora and fauna of Mother Nature, or embrace the contemporary architectures that feature many magnificent Buddha statues and authentic Himalayan decorations. Not forgetting to mention, in Kechara Forest Retreat sits the largest Dorje Shugden statue in the world! This is a holy place we must never miss to pay homage for blessings from the Three Jewels.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/go-bentong.html
  • Pastor Shin Tan
    Sunday, Mar 26. 2017 01:07 PM
    金泽“财王”护法殿

    在禅修林的入口处的左边有一间小佛堂,是全天候二十四小时开放给大众的。这间佛堂的一砖一瓦都是由不同善心人士捐增的。也因为他们过后发了一笔小财,所以在大马文东,金泽护法一般被简称为“财王“。

    根据佛陀教诲,五蕴是组成众生的五个方面,分别是色、受、想、行、识。证悟者如多杰雄登能将五蕴分别化现成不同的本尊。金泽是多杰雄登“受”蕴的化现,作用是协助我们增长世俗和修行上的财富。“受”蕴是我们对愉悦或不悦感受的认知。我们执着于愉悦,避免不悦,而这正是导致我们受困和造下各种业,继而产生痛苦的因(此段原文: http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_6d7edf5f0102x1n6.html)

    来到这里,我们首先要上香。做生意的朋友可要趁此机会拜拜,供养一个大的莲花蜡烛,上三根大香,祈求今年一帆风顺哦。

    摘自“GO BENTONG!与菩萨有约”
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=120808
  • Lin Mun
    Saturday, Mar 25. 2017 11:02 PM
    Can’t imagine that a priest actually stabbed Pope John Paul. How can he do this when he as a priest is suppose to be compassion and love everyone but kill the religion leader. he should remember that he carries the name priest and hence must show good example and behaviour to others but instead took another person’s life.

    I respected Pope John who continued his trip even though he was injured. That shows the determination he had to teach so it can benefit others. Always put others first more than our own needs.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/pope-john-paul-stabbed-by-priest.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Saturday, Mar 25. 2017 08:13 PM
    It is admirable for Sine Lindholm & Mads Ulrik Husum to place their design as open source for everyone to download and copy to manufacture. This shows how farsighted they are in propelling self-sustainability. The first step is always the hardest, and I believe what Sine and Mads had done is towards the right direction. In this way, people from all the around the world who genuinely are passionate and interested in growing own vegetables will be able to start on their own. Without needing to rely on middleman or manufacturer who might end up making the brilliant idea a commercial white elephant. Thank you, Rinpoche for this sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/build-your-own-growroom.html
  • Alice Tay
    Friday, Mar 24. 2017 10:05 PM
    Many companies especially in overseas are very considerate and allow their employees to bring their dogs to work. I personally think that this is a very good practice where the employees no longer have to worry about leaving pets at home alone. The work environments that cultivate loving kindness, caring and compassion create a much more positive and productive place to work. Besides, it may influence everyone especially those who do not have pet to be more kind to the animals.

    Nevertheless, the employer and employees may have to work together to maintain the safe and cleanliness work place such as reduce odour, provide clean air and many others.

    Thank you for this interesting article as a reminder to us to love and be kind to animals no matter where we are.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/inside-the-worlds-most-dog-friendly-office.html
  • Lin Mun
    Friday, Mar 24. 2017 07:06 PM
    Superb idea and very creative. Home farming in the cities ! Appreciate all the hardwork and ideas to produce Growroom. It’s just like putting a big puzzle and making the whole process so much easier to plant in cities where we always have limited spaces.

    We should support more people to come up with such ideas so we can eat our own food and cultivate self sustainability.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/build-your-own-growroom.html

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

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.
This mahasiddha Kukkuripa is easy to identify as he is accompanied by a small dog whom he loved very much.
yesterday
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
yesterday
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
yesterday
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
yesterday
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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week ago
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
Read this as it will be interesting
1 week ago
Read this as it will be interesting
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week 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 week 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
2 weeks 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
2 weeks 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
3 weeks 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
3 weeks 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
4 weeks 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!
4 weeks 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
2 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
2 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
2 months ago
This is a good one to read
Mumu is silly and cute and funny
2 months ago
Mumu is silly and cute and funny
Mumu\'s hair is messy and he looks funny
2 months ago
Mumu's hair is messy and he looks funny
I am in the process of creating beautiful Dorje Shugden and Kechara Forest Retreat watches at this time. So we can take precious protector and Kechara Forest Retreat wherever we go and be blessed everytime we see what time it is. 
I am perfecting the designs with a great team and will update when done but these are just some samples that arrived. 
Feast your eyes! 

Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
I am in the process of creating beautiful Dorje Shugden and Kechara Forest Retreat watches at this time. So we can take precious protector and Kechara Forest Retreat wherever we go and be blessed everytime we see what time it is. I am perfecting the designs with a great team and will update when done but these are just some samples that arrived. Feast your eyes! Tsem Rinpoche
                        Pick the practice, devotion and precepts of Vajra Yogini\'s path over everything and anything in samsara. Samsara has nothing of value and nothing lasting to offer. You are born in suffering, live in suffering, die in suffering and enter bardo and future lives expecting more sufferings. This is not a negative way of looking at things but the truth. If the truth is negative, so it is the truth. Devote oneself to the guru, dharma work, dharma practice and bringing dharma to others compassionately. Choose to practice Vajra Yogini now with the preliminaries. You can start right now: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/starting-on-vajra-yogini-now.html  Much care, Tsem Rinpoche
3 months ago
Pick the practice, devotion and precepts of Vajra Yogini's path over everything and anything in samsara. Samsara has nothing of value and nothing lasting to offer. You are born in suffering, live in suffering, die in suffering and enter bardo and future lives expecting more sufferings. This is not a negative way of looking at things but the truth. If the truth is negative, so it is the truth. Devote oneself to the guru, dharma work, dharma practice and bringing dharma to others compassionately. Choose to practice Vajra Yogini now with the preliminaries. You can start right now: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/starting-on-vajra-yogini-now.html Much care, Tsem Rinpoche
Message to Tibetans in English
3 months ago
Message to Tibetans in English
Message to the Tibetans
3 months ago
Message to the Tibetans
Left to right: Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, 101st Gaden Tripa Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal. Great lamas of Gaden Shartse Monastery
3 months ago
Left to right: Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, 101st Gaden Tripa Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal. Great lamas of Gaden Shartse Monastery
A beautiful Indian rendition of Gyenze Dorje Shugden manifesting in wealth form
3 months ago
A beautiful Indian rendition of Gyenze Dorje Shugden manifesting in wealth form
This is my thoughts and determination to share with you. Please open and read. Thank you for your time. Tsem Rinpoche
3 months ago
This is my thoughts and determination to share with you. Please open and read. Thank you for your time. Tsem Rinpoche
Nepalese King Birendra receives His Holiness Panchen Rinpoche in Nepal
3 months ago
Nepalese King Birendra receives His Holiness Panchen Rinpoche in Nepal
Guess what Zava Damdin Rinpoche did in Mongolia recently with 7,800 people??? Very interesting and it is a must read:  http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116206
3 months ago
Guess what Zava Damdin Rinpoche did in Mongolia recently with 7,800 people??? Very interesting and it is a must read:  http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116206
This huge Buddha in Korea is magnificent
4 months ago
This huge Buddha in Korea is magnificent
The very first oracle of Dorje Shugden in trance statue. I have commissioned this.
4 months ago
The very first oracle of Dorje Shugden in trance statue. I have commissioned this.
Such a old and ancient thangka painting of Dorje Shugden. He has been around in Tibet practiced for hundreds of years.
4 months ago
Such a old and ancient thangka painting of Dorje Shugden. He has been around in Tibet practiced for hundreds of years.
One of the "Four Exalted Brothers" Avalokiteshvara statues, Phagpa Wati of Kyirong, which is now with H.H. the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.
4 months ago
One of the "Four Exalted Brothers" Avalokiteshvara statues, Phagpa Wati of Kyirong, which is now with H.H. the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.
Kyabje Zemey, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Kyabje Pabongka Choktrul Rinpoche
4 months ago
Kyabje Zemey, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Kyabje Pabongka Choktrul Rinpoche
My Oser girl and Mumu boy are so adorable
4 months ago
My Oser girl and Mumu boy are so adorable
Wow this meditator in his cave in front of a painting of Yamantaka draped with a white khata of respect. He sits among bones to remind him of impermanence and our future. The bones inspire him strongly to let go of all attachments in this life and focus on dharma, meditation and liberation and he is doing so. Very beautiful and inspirational. Tsem Rinpoche
4 months ago
Wow this meditator in his cave in front of a painting of Yamantaka draped with a white khata of respect. He sits among bones to remind him of impermanence and our future. The bones inspire him strongly to let go of all attachments in this life and focus on dharma, meditation and liberation and he is doing so. Very beautiful and inspirational. Tsem Rinpoche
Tenzing Norgay found this in Nepal. Guess what it is?
5 months ago
Tenzing Norgay found this in Nepal. Guess what it is?
Sir Edmund Hillary
5 months ago
Sir Edmund Hillary
Halloween is my favorite holiday. Wild natural plants and flowers are my favorite offering. Buddha\'s teachings on meditation and Yidam practice bring the ultimate results and happiness. ~Tsem Rinpoche
5 months ago
Halloween is my favorite holiday. Wild natural plants and flowers are my favorite offering. Buddha's teachings on meditation and Yidam practice bring the ultimate results and happiness. ~Tsem Rinpoche
Previous lives do resemble current lives especially if they are a recognized incarnation. If notice how similar the previous and current Trijang Rinpoche looks. The eyes, bone structure, expression, long neck, thin and overall look. Beautiful. I\'ve seen this phenomena over and over in many Rinpoche incarnations. Especially when you compare them with pictures of previous and current lives at around the same ages. Something powerfully karmic about this. Tsem Rinpoche
6 months ago
Previous lives do resemble current lives especially if they are a recognized incarnation. If notice how similar the previous and current Trijang Rinpoche looks. The eyes, bone structure, expression, long neck, thin and overall look. Beautiful. I've seen this phenomena over and over in many Rinpoche incarnations. Especially when you compare them with pictures of previous and current lives at around the same ages. Something powerfully karmic about this. Tsem Rinpoche
It\'s nice to have monks visitors and resident monks in Kechara
6 months ago
It's nice to have monks visitors and resident monks in Kechara
                         Taken in Lake Champlain in Canada. A huge water monster...neat...
6 months ago
Taken in Lake Champlain in Canada. A huge water monster...neat...
Click on "View All Photos" above to view more images

Videos On The Go

Please click on the images to watch video
  • Please watch this video, it's heartbreaking to see how people have to suffer.
    1 week ago
    Please watch this video, it's heartbreaking to see how people have to suffer.
  • Lady saves puppy from potential abuser
    2 weeks ago
    Lady saves puppy from potential abuser
  • Mr. Denzel Washington is a very intelligent man. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 weeks ago
    Mr. Denzel Washington is a very intelligent man. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Dear friends, please see this educational video on suffering for the sake of others.
    2 weeks ago
    Dear friends, please see this educational video on suffering for the sake of others.
  • A very neat footage of Bigfoot captured by Patterson-Gimlin.
    3 weeks ago
    A very neat footage of Bigfoot captured by Patterson-Gimlin.
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu darling is a very good boy.
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu darling is a very good boy.
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu wants to go bye bye!
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu wants to go bye bye!
  • [11/02/2017] I love you mumu boy
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] I love you mumu boy
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu and Oser eating together.
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu and Oser eating together.
  • Great spiritual rock carving in Tibet
    2 months ago
    Great spiritual rock carving in Tibet
  • You will Never be Ready
    3 months ago
    You will Never be Ready
    Dear friends, watch this video and ready, if we keep waiting till we are ready, that day will never come. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Stop asking for Easy
    3 months ago
    Stop asking for Easy
    This video is powerful because it's the truth. It applies to anything. It applies to our dharma practice. Watch the video and share it. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Must Watch this Video!
    4 months ago
    Must Watch this Video!
  • Sacred Tibetan Incense - Nyimo County, Lhasa, Tibet
    5 months ago
    Sacred Tibetan Incense - Nyimo County, Lhasa, Tibet
  • Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche on Samaya
    5 months ago
    Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche on Samaya
    ཁྱེད་ཀྱི་བཀའ་སློབ་དོན་སྙིང་དེ།།གང་གི་རྣ་བར་བདུད་རྩི་མོད།།འོན་ཀྱང་འགའ་ཡི་རྣ་ལམ་དུ།། བྲག་ཆ་བཞིན་དུ་འགྱུར་སྲིད་མོད།། ཚང་མས་ཚར་རེ་གཟིགས་རོགས།། Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche telling people that it is important to have guru samaya. It use to be that way in the great monasteries. We should not create problems and schisms. If we want to practice a protector, then do so, if not it's okay, but don't make trouble. One should just practice the Buddha Dharma well. To do good practice. If you have faith in Dorje Shugden and trust all the way, he will definitely help you. But most important is to practice the dharma. This is his advice in short here. It's good to let more Tibetans hear this holy speech and appeal by this very senior Rinpoche. TR

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.

  • March 28, 2017 09:11
    Lia asked: If the ushnisha is actually supposed to be a bump, then do we change the visualization of the top knot and replace it with a bump covered in hair or do we keep the ushnisha as the thangkas show?
    No reply yet
  • March 27, 2017 04:19
    Dongho asked: I have been reading on the tunes of certain sects and would like to ask on this. From what I've read, there are certain tunes to each sect and school of certain chants. Exactly where can I find the sheet music for these percussion and horns with the chants, such as to the one for invoking Kache Marpo or Dorje Shugden? Would it be possible to use school instruments for this?
    pastor answered: Dear Dongho, Thank you for your question, it is good to see you back and asking more questions. Yes you are right, there are differences in the tunes and chants between the lineages. The differences can vary significantly between the traditions, for example the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism is known for its extremely deep throat singing which is very powerful and is characterised by a low, booming voice, in contrast to the other traditions. Even within a particular tradition, there can be slight variations as to the manner in which the chants and tunes are performed. For example those monasteries are which are affiliated with Gyume will have one way of throat singing, where those affiliated with Gyuto will have another. As far as I am aware there is no professional sheet music for the rituals, most probably because the music is actually an integral part of the ritual itself. Therefore the music, tunes, and chants are all taught at the same time the ritual and prayers are. The tunes, and use of the instruments all have specific meanings, because they are considered to be offerings to the deities in the form of sound. The monasteries would not have copies of sheet music either, because sheet music is western practice. The use of ritual music within Tibetan Buddhism is more of one based on memory. In the Kechara organisation, the puja team was trained in such ritual instruments at the same time they learnt the particular ritual from monks from the monastery, such as the puja of Dorje Shugden. From what I saw of the training, the musical tunes, and use of instruments was not written down but taught experientially at the same time as the chanting. I have not come across any other instruments being used in pujas apart from the traditional ritual instruments, because even the instruments themselves have a specific meaning. That is not say that school instruments cannot be used. This is because, as long as the offering is sincere, the Buddhas and enlightened deities will accept it, and in turn you will generate great amounts of merit. Offerings should be made to the best of our ability, therefore if you do not have access to the ritual instruments, or do not know how to play them, but you know how to play other instruments, and use these instruments as offerings to the Buddhas during pujas, the amount of merit you generate will be the same. This is because you are sincere with your offering. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • March 26, 2017 02:14
    Kunga asked: Does the Gelug have Begtse a protector? If so, could you please provide a sadhana for him here?
    pastor answered: Dear Kunga, Yes the Dharma protector Begtse exists within the Gelug tradition. He is also known as Chamsing. Begtse’s practice stems from India and was introduced to Tibet and therefore Tibetan Buddhism by the translator Nyen Lotsawa. Marpa Lotsawa also practiced Begtse, and so the practice exists in the Kagyu traditions. This practice was eventually transmitted to Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, the first of the five patriarchs of the Sakya tradition, who were the founding fathers of that tradition. Over time the practice of Begtse was incorporated into the Gelug tradition, founded by Lama Tsongkhapa, and was notably practiced by the 1st and 2nd Dalai Lamas. Over time the practice gained popularity within the lineage, especially when it spread to Mongolia. There the practice became an important one within the lineage as upheld there. Begtse is also affectionately known as the Dharma protector of Mongolia, because his practice is so popular there. If I am not mistaken, there is an oracle of Begtse in Mongolia as well. There is a mistaken account that the practice originated around the time of the 3rd Dalai Lama, with the subjugation of a Mongolian war god, but Begtse was definitely practiced before that time in the Gelug, Kagyu and Sakya traditions. While the practice of Begtse is very effective, I have not come across the practice of Begtse in my personal practice, therefore I do not have access to the Begtse sadhana to provide to you. Instead Begtse is propitiated in prayers that incorporate many other Dharma protectors, and Begtse is also considered one of the nine protectors of the Hayagriva (Tamdrin) cycle of tantric teachings. Therefore Begtse is included in the Dharma protector sections of the Hayagriva tantras. Surrounding Begtse are his sister, Sing Ma, and his main minister, Le Khan Mar Po. His inner retinue comprises of eight butchers who wield copper swords in their right hands and skull-cups full of blood in their left hands. They are portrayed as naked and are very ugly. His outer retinue comprises a further twenty-one butchers, who hold copper swords in their right hands, and this time, the entrails of butchered enemies. They wear the skins humans and oxen as clothes, with ornaments made from human bone. While this may seem violent, Begtse is actually a very powerful and beneficial protector, who helps practitioners clear their obstacles and create conducive conditions for their spiritual evolution. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • March 24, 2017 20:12
    Azair asked: Venerable Rinpoche, I am doing a study in Kalachakra Tantra and I've heard from most of the lama's too that if you practice the Kalachakra Tantra, you'll be able to take control of your next rebirth. Ofcourse, it has been said that we will get our rebirth according to our Karma and desires but whether those dreams will get fulfilled will depend upon the actions that we take in this life. Thus, practicing the Kalachakra(till the end) after initiation will give you the opportunity to take rebirth anywhere you desire regardless of your Karma. My question is that, is there some truth in this statement.? Does this statement hold true for other tantra practices, such as Vajrayogini Tantra, Ghuyasamaja Tantra, Heruka Tantra, etc. I would really really like to know. Thankyou in anticipation, regards, Azair
    pastor answered: Dear Azair, Thank you for your question. Yes there is truth to this statement, both from a scriptural perspective and also by example, as the great masters have shown us. This is a unique feature of all Anuttarayoga Tantras or Highest Yoga Tantras, which Kalachakra, Vajrayogini, Guhyasama and Heruka are all examples of. This category of tantric practice can actually lead a practitioner to full enlightenment in this very lifetime. Even if enlightenment is not reached, very high levels of attainment can be reached nonetheless. This includes the ability to take control over your next rebirth. This is primarily engaged in so that the practitioner is born in an environment where they can eventually pick up their practice and further their spiritual path to enlightenment, or in order to be born in a place where they can benefit sentient beings the most, as part of the spiritual journey over many lifetimes. One of the reasons such an ability is very necessary on the spiritual path, is that usual death and rebirth occurs at the mercy of ones karma, specifically what is known as the ‘throwing karma’ or the karma that dictates what sort of rebirth a person is going to take. This opens up at the time of ordinary death, which most people have no control over. During the death process, many of our disturbing emotions will arise. Whichever of these is the strongest at the point of death triggers open a latent karmic potential, which becomes the ‘throwing karma’ and dictates where we are going to take rebirth and if that life will generally be full of suffering or not. Within Anuttarayoga Tantra, one of the key points of practice is to prepare for one’s death. This is done by simulating the dying process during one’s meditations, so that one becomes familiar with it. At the most pivotal part of this process, one practices achieving either the rainbow body or great bliss (in the case of the father tantras); or clear light (in the case of mother tantras). The tantras themselves are not defined in terms of the gender of the central deity, but by the method used to gain enlightenment. This is either the rainbow body/great bliss (classified as male, therefore labelled ‘father’) or clear light (classified as female, therefore labelled ‘mother’). Non-dual tantras such as the Kalachakra tantra can employ either of the two methods, a mixture of both, or alternate methods. In the case of superior practitioners, due to the power of their practice, they can achieve either of these two methods in their current body. Since they have familiarised themselves with the dying process, and a particular method of practice, they can also achieve enlightenment during their physical death. The great Lama Tsongkhapa is said to have achieved enlightenment at the moment of physical death, using the second of these. For other practitioners, they may not be able to achieve this either in their meditations while they are alive, or during the death process. However because they have familiarised themselves with the dying process, they remain in complete concentration at the time of death, not allowing any disturbing emotions to arise. Due to this level of concentration, meditation and awareness during the dying process, they are able to control where they next take rebirth. This is evident in the tantric scriptures themselves, and the life stories of many masters, who can state exactly where, when and to whom they will take their next rebirth, as they are in full control of the dying and rebirth process. There is a type of meditation called ‘thukdam’ which has been translated into ‘death meditation’. This is a final meditation some masters choose to engage in. During this meditation, the master themselves consciously begin the physical dying process themselves, engage in the meditation of dissolving the winds into the heart centre and remain in the most pivotal part of the death process, the mind of clear light of death. During this point they engage in meditations, either the methods of the father or mother tantras as mentioned previously, and or consciously choose where they are to next take rebirth. They can remain in this death meditation for long periods of time, days at an end, in which their consciousness has not yet left their body, although for all intents and purposes they are dead according to medical science, e.g. they have no heartbeat. At the end of their meditation, a drop of blood will be emitted from their nostril, and their head will slump over a little. Masters who engage in this meditation usually sit in full meditation posture, and their body remain supple and soft even though they have passed away from a medical point of view. I hope this brief explanation helps. Thank you.
  • March 23, 2017 23:01
    Brad asked: What is the significance of offering the Seven precious emblems of royalty to the Buddhas and enlightened Dharma Protectors? What are we symbolically offering up?
    pastor answered: Dear Brad, Thank you for your question. The ‘saptaratna’ or seven precious emblems represent on the one hand the ultimate state of temporal power, and on the other hand the ultimate spiritual attainments that we can achieve. By offering these to the Buddhas, we are actually creating the causes to achieve what they represent. Therefore it is good to know the meaning of each, so we can understand what we are creating the causes for by offering them up: Please see below for an explanation of the seven royal emblems: 1. The Precious Wheel: a thousand spoked wheel, representing the universal power of the Buddhas, as well as the teachings of the thousand Buddhas of our aeon. It is represented by the Dharmachakra, symbolising the ‘turning of the wheel’ or teaching of the Noble Eightfold Path. It is a symbol of a universal emperor’s spiritual and temporal power. It is also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect mindfulness, especially that of our own mind, thoughts, delusions and afflictions. 2. The Precious Jewel: an eight sided wish-granting gem, which fulfils all the needs of a universal emperor. This jewel has eight special qualities: it illuminates the night sky for hundreds of leagues; it is cooling when the temperature is hot and warming when the temperature is cold; it makes manifest whatever the holder wants; when thirsty it causes a fresh-water spring to appear; it has the ability to control the nagas, and other supernatural beings, as well as preventing natural disasters such as storms, floods, etc.; it gives off multi-coloured lighted which heals the various mental and emotional afflictions; it cures all illnesses; and it ensures that one dies a natural death, not an untimely one. It is a symbol of a universal emperor’s spiritual and temporal power. It is also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect mindfulness, or perfect discrimination, so one knows what to abandon and what to keep in the mindstream during the spiritual journey to enlightenment. 3. The Precious Queen: the most beautiful and virtuous of all women. She is described as a goddess who is the epitome of someone: with devotion; without jealousy; who is the embodiment of fertility; who works for the welfare of all beings; who possess feminine wisdom; speaks the truth; not attract to sensual pleasures or material possessions; and does not have false views. She is adored by all. She also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect effort. This is necessary to keep meditating until one gains spiritual attainments. 4. The Precious Minister: who has sharp intelligence, patience, and the ability to give wise counsel to the emperor. He is so attuned to the emperor that even before the emperor has spoken, the minister is already carrying out his command. He only wishes to support the Dharma, help sentient beings, and is an excellent strategist. He also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect joy. This is also akin to the attainment of the first bodhisattva level, because you have come to an understanding of your own mind, which is like pouring ice-cold water into boiling water. The water stops boiling, as does the thoughts, projections, and delusions in the mind. He represents the path of the bodhisattva. 5. The Precious Elephant: who has the strength of a thousand normal elephants. He is white, with the perfect features that an elephant could have. He is majestic, graceful, and gentle, but in battle is fearsome, fearless and unyielding. He communicates with the emperor through a telepathic link. He represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect adaptability. This is important, as one needs to be able to adapt to the various mental afflictions as they arise, and suitably counter them. 6. The Precious Horse: who has all the marks of a celestial horse. Known as wind-horse, he is able to travel extremely fast, and can circumambulate the entire universe three time in just a single day. He is never fearful or startled, never makes a sound when galloping, and has extremely soft hairs on his body. He represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is single-pointed concentration. This is important because without this form of concentration, once cannot engage in the analytical meditations that lead to an understanding of emptiness, and therefore enlightenment. 7. The Precious General: who has mastered the arts of war and always wins in battle. He wears battle armour and holds many different weapons. He tries to avoid battle, but when necessary fights, and never gives up until he has won. He is fearless, and courageous in carrying out the emperors commands and ensures the emperors army carries out their duties. He represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect equanimity. This is because he overcomes all warfare, which is akin to the battle between things were are attached to and things we have an aversion for in our minds. In short, what you are offering up is the highest of all temporal treasures and abilities, as well as the entire path of the Dharma. Doing so creates the causes for you to receive all of this on your spiritual journey towards enlightenment. I hope this helps. Thank you.
View All Questions
Today's quota for questions has been filled. Please come back tomorrow to re-submit your question

CHAT PICTURES

Kechara Sunday Dharma School teachers and volunteers outing session. Stella,
22 hours ago
Kechara Sunday Dharma School teachers and volunteers outing session. Stella,
Dorje Shugden the powerful World Peace Protector taking full trance in an oracle.
yesterday
Dorje Shugden the powerful World Peace Protector taking full trance in an oracle.
Visitors have the opportunity to pay respect to this holy statue, in Kechara Forest Retreat, Wisdom Hall!
yesterday
Visitors have the opportunity to pay respect to this holy statue, in Kechara Forest Retreat, Wisdom Hall!
Group photo of Kechara Sunday Dharma School teachers and trainer after the Teachers Training program in 2016. Stella, KSDS
2 days ago
Group photo of Kechara Sunday Dharma School teachers and trainer after the Teachers Training program in 2016. Stella, KSDS
Kechara Sunday Dharma School teachers attended the weekly Blogchat Dharma sharing session every Monday. Stella, KSDS
2 days ago
Kechara Sunday Dharma School teachers attended the weekly Blogchat Dharma sharing session every Monday. Stella, KSDS
Kechara Sunday Dharma School students and parents made a day trip to Kechara forest Retreat during school holidays. What a good way to spend a weekend. Stella, KSDS
2 days ago
Kechara Sunday Dharma School students and parents made a day trip to Kechara forest Retreat during school holidays. What a good way to spend a weekend. Stella, KSDS
Kechara Sunday Dharma School students, Kayene and her brother Karlson made a day trip to visit Kechara Forest Retreat with their parents. Stella, KSDS
2 days ago
Kechara Sunday Dharma School students, Kayene and her brother Karlson made a day trip to visit Kechara Forest Retreat with their parents. Stella, KSDS
Lovely visitors in Kechara Forest Retreat, Wisdom Hall
3 days ago
Lovely visitors in Kechara Forest Retreat, Wisdom Hall
Prostration is a practice to show reverence to the Three Jewels. Let the children have this practice at their young age, Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
Prostration is a practice to show reverence to the Three Jewels. Let the children have this practice at their young age, Alice Tay, KSDS
Teacher Stella together with WOAH Camp young participants to check the broken egg. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
Teacher Stella together with WOAH Camp young participants to check the broken egg. Alice Tay, KSDS
Great to see Dian and Wen Xin tried to do breath meditation slowly. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
Great to see Dian and Wen Xin tried to do breath meditation slowly. Alice Tay, KSDS
Happy faces of Teacher Irene together with KSDS's youngest age group. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
Happy faces of Teacher Irene together with KSDS's youngest age group. Alice Tay, KSDS
Most of the KSDS students like drawing and discuss about their drawing. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
Most of the KSDS students like drawing and discuss about their drawing. Alice Tay, KSDS
The yearly gotong royong event on Malaysia Day. Great day to contribute back to the society. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
The yearly gotong royong event on Malaysia Day. Great day to contribute back to the society. Lin Mun KSDS
KSDS students, parents and teachers participated in food packaging for Kechara Soup Kitchen. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
KSDS students, parents and teachers participated in food packaging for Kechara Soup Kitchen. Lin Mun KSDS
The team is setting up the tent and games for the Halloween party. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
The team is setting up the tent and games for the Halloween party. Lin Mun KSDS
Students of SRJK (C) enjoyed themselves so much during Halloween 2016. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
Students of SRJK (C) enjoyed themselves so much during Halloween 2016. Lin Mun KSDS
Khai Te is very talented in drawing. Look at the van. It has a Kechara logo. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
Khai Te is very talented in drawing. Look at the van. It has a Kechara logo. Lin Mun KSDS
Students listening to Teacher Grace attentively during WOAH camp 2016. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
Students listening to Teacher Grace attentively during WOAH camp 2016. Lin Mun KSDS
Happy visitor invited Dorje Shugden back home.
5 days ago
Happy visitor invited Dorje Shugden back home.
6 days ago
Join our Meditate in Nature Programme 2017! Here are the Dates:
6 days ago
Join our Meditate in Nature Programme 2017! Here are the Dates:
When we love others without projections, we truly LOVE. ~ Tsem Rinpoche . YEO KWAI GIN ( KKSG )
1 week ago
When we love others without projections, we truly LOVE. ~ Tsem Rinpoche . YEO KWAI GIN ( KKSG )
True Love Is Simple Because It's SELFLESS ~ Tsem Rinpoche.  YEO KWAI GIN ( KKSG ) .
1 week ago
True Love Is Simple Because It's SELFLESS ~ Tsem Rinpoche. YEO KWAI GIN ( KKSG ) .
Powerful Quote !  www.TsemRinpoche.com .  YEO KWAI GIN ( KKSG )
1 week ago
Powerful Quote ! http://www.TsemRinpoche.com . YEO KWAI GIN ( KKSG )
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 2,093,113
Malaysia 2,855,569
Singapore 556,075
United Kingdom 410,463
India 322,196
Canada 373,450
Australia 334,242
Nepal 230,579
Philippines 180,799
Bhutan 119,162
Portugal 101,428
Indonesia 128,569
Germany 108,269
Thailand 86,553
Mongolia 70,062
France 80,328
Italy 73,119
Brazil 70,742
Spain 71,155
Netherlands 68,545
New Zealand 52,152
Hong Kong 52,084
Taiwan 48,772
Mexico 36,315
United Arab Emirates 34,241
Romania 42,012
South Africa 32,187
Switzerland 44,904
Ireland 31,558
Japan 31,313
Vietnam 28,645
Russia 32,215
Sweden 30,832
Saudi Arabia 20,621
Sri Lanka 20,830
Greece 23,868
Belgium 23,322
Poland 24,693
Turkey 20,600
Total Pageviews: 9,502,184

Login

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