Complete Commentary on 50 Verses of Guru Devotion

May 23, 2014 | Views: 12,081

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

 


 

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[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. Introduction to 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.

 

(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

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

(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.

 

(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. Only 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.

 

(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
  9. 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

(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 them 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.

 

Delivering up what has been obtained from the involvement

(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.

 

Dicussion

(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 tantras 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.


 

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30 Responses to Complete Commentary on 50 Verses of Guru Devotion

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  1. Gobin on Nov 21, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    I’m really grateful to join KECHARA because I could learn new things and improve not only my knowledge, benefits of dharma practices and activities. From this article, I got to know about how important a guru in dharma practices and Buddhism. In my culture there’s a proverb Matha Pitha Guru Deivam” is a very popular adage or phrase in Sanskrit language and often quoted in Hinduism. Translated word for word, it is, “Mother, Father,Teacher(Guru), God”. The meaning of this adage is the greatest truth, and is the order in which one should offer reverence and their importance in our life. *MOTHER* is whom brings us to the world, feeds and nurtures us with full of love and care and 1st teacher for us to learn. *FATHER* is crucial when a child had to learn about the world, the skills of life and how to be in society. *GURU* through his or her teachings, points us to God. Here *GOD* represent the consciousness  or self-awareness or our real self.

  2. Julia Tan on Nov 20, 2019 at 11:49 pm

    师徒相遇,是累世的缘分!

    一个真正的修行人,迟早会遇到自己的师父。当累生的因缘成熟,师徒相遇的时候,弟子的内心总是有莫名的触动,或悲怆、或欣喜、或释然、或感伤……难以言表。大多时候是师父找弟子,有时也看似是弟子找上门来,但师父心中自然明了。当师父一眼认出了弟子时,而你却全然不知。

    师父会以特殊的方式来点化你,使你自己来到师父的面前。接下来是艰难的磨合,总要两三年的时间。如果是你真正的师父,他也许会责骂你、摆布你、冷落你、抬举你、宠爱你、放任你,经过不断地热炒冷拌,让你云里雾里,高山谷底,天上人间,摸不着底。

    因为不打你不醒,不弃你不安,不伤你不懂,不折你不乖,不痛你不歇,不压你不服……真是爱恨交加,受尽折磨。然后你也不断试着逃开,而又无可奈何地乖乖溜回去,因为你发现你根本无法离开你的师父,你必须依止他。你还会急于知道接下来他又会给你一点什么颜色瞧瞧。师父像烈焰,太近会被烧灼得遍体鳞伤,太远又感觉到寒冷,要保持恰当的距离太难。此是师父强化有为,而令弟子进入无为中道。

    作为弟子,总在不断表白自己,然而你总是一败涂地,师父根本对你的表白置之不理。你只能乖乖地降服自心。甚至你会发现你十分渴望见到你的师父,乃至于提及你师父时心中那份喜悦,难以言喻。有时见到师父你又会紧张异常,恩师就像一面明镜,从内在散发的那种清净、觉性和智慧,让弟子照出了自己业障深重。

    在师父面前,弟子惭愧万分,无地自容,满腹话语,又难以启齿。这样来来回回的磨练,等弟子身上粗重的习气磨掉后,你才能建立内心对师父完全的“信”“任”,这时师徒间才会有传承性特质的沟通。这时你才有能力感受和领悟到师父笑语言谈中无尽的悲心,你才能体会师父为弘法利生一路走来的苦难与辛酸,你才能看懂师父的钵中饭、杯中茶、笑中泪……做弟子难,为师更难。

    具德的上师是延续慧命,引领我们出离生死、走向解脱、到达光明彼岸的大恩人。师尊之恩恩深似海,纵粉身碎骨难以为报。如不是恩师的慈悲,弟子尚不知要在人生的歧路上流浪到何时,弟子必会生生世世报答师恩。

    在恩师的调伏下,你发现你的眼神越来越柔和,总是善于发现他人的优点与善良之处。你的言语越来越温和,生怕伤害别人的心。你的心越来越软,甚至于对伤你最深的人,你也会生起无尽的慈悲,为他找到合适的理由。当你静静地忆念师父的时候,师父的一言一行,举手投足之间,音容笑貌,那清净的本心和雀跃的姿态,时而如孩童般的纯真,时而如佛菩萨般的慈悲,时而犹如长者般的庄肃,时而如春风般的和煦,师父时时处处散发着自然的魅力。

    师父就像一块吸铁石,而弟子就是一块未经淬炼的生铁,牢牢地被师父吸引,无法逃离。你完完全全被他摄受,甘愿降服自己于你的师父。以你清净的身语意供养你的恩师。那些良善的特质像光芒一样渗透你的心扉:敞开、接纳、宽容、慈悲、清静、觉性、智慧、安详、淡定,甚至那犹如亲人般的温柔,勇士般的愤怒,都像一场场清凉的甘露法雨,长久涤荡着你的心灵,你内在同样的特质被激发出来,你多么愿意像你的师父那样。

    证悟者的一切所为,都是随缘恒顺利益众生的方便示现,其本身已无任何过患,是光明心性的自然流露。渐渐地,你发现你的心胸越来越敞开,心量越来越大,身心越来越柔软,能承担的越来越多,你在回归自性。而这些都源自于师徒间心心相应的传授,无需言语。弟子视恩师如佛,师徒间相应法的修持,有着无量的功德与利益。你得到了最亲近的法脉传承,得到了活生生的所谓的“法”,世上有多少缺陷就有多少种修行的方法。

    在师父面前不要隐瞒你自己,把自己毫无保留地展现给你的师父,无论你有怎样的缺陷,请相信你的师父,他会以最大的悲心来救治你。你越是执着什么,上天越会给你出什么考卷,非要你放下,这是佛菩萨的慈悲,上天对你的恩赐。就看你明不明白。挺不挺得过。就在最弱处修,哪儿跌倒哪儿站起来,站稳脚跟。

    https://youtu.be/ut_4DDM3Www

  3. TekLee on Nov 20, 2019 at 9:49 pm

    Guru devotion is very important be it in Buddhism or not. It’s because Guru is the one that teaches us what Buddha taught. Without Guru, we don’t have the chance to learn Dharma. Without Guru, we might go into wrong path. Without Guru, we might not be able to see ourselves. Just like some old kung-fu film we watched last time, why did the student listen fully to the Guru? It was because without the Guru, he won’t be able to learn the fighting skill to fight against his villain. So the student took very good care of his Guru, listen fully to the Guru, and surrender all to the Guru. Same concept, but different objective. Our villain is ourselves. Who will guide us through the whole fighting process? Our Guru.

  4. Pastor Henry Ooi on Nov 20, 2019 at 8:29 am

    Revisiting this article is good to refresh and remind oneself on the importance of guru devotion. 

  5. Mingwen on Nov 20, 2019 at 7:35 am

    Without a teacher, there will be no Buddha’s teachings.
    Without Buddha’s teachings, there will be no light in this world.

    Hence, love & respect ours teachers as they provide us the most precious thing in samsara.

  6. June Kang on Nov 20, 2019 at 7:34 am

    “事师五十颂”的内容,全是有关依止上师的教授,主要讲授修行者如何依止金刚上师,以获得圆满的成就。我们所修行的法是来自于上师的教诲,学习佛法,没有上师的加持和引导,我们不能获得佛法的利益,所以上师是我们主要成佛的因,所以上师是非常非常重要,所以当遇到真正成就的金刚上师,根据”事师五十颂”如理如法依止他,必然能得到究竟的成就。

  7. Justin on Nov 20, 2019 at 2:35 am

    One of the most fundamental criteria for Guru Devotion is where we first have to surrender and submit to our Guru. Without complete faith, it is said we will not be able to reap the maximum benefit out from our Guru Desciple relationship. I thought this is powerful and sensible as our Guru is our guide or conduit to the powerful teaching of Buddha Himself.

  8. Andrea Lai on Nov 20, 2019 at 1:06 am

    Before joining in Kechara, I don’t know anything of Guru devotion. As I started practicing Dharma, knowing that it is really important to have a Guru or teacher to guide us to be a better person, showing us the right path towards road of enlightenment. The love of a Guru towards his students is an unlimited price. Therefore what a student need to do to repay back a Guru kindness? 🤔

  9. pammie yap on Nov 20, 2019 at 12:36 am

    To be able to meet and receive precious Dharma from a Guru is as precious as finding a jewel in the desert. Since we do not have the merits to receive Dharma directly from a Buddha, we are truly fortunate to receive it from a Guru, a living Buddha. And such blessings to have a written text on Guru devotion to always keep us in check and not stray. Without a Guru’s blessings, patience and guidance, we will not gain the blessings to support our practice and create the merits for our spiritual path, now and future lives. May we always be fortunate to be with a Guru and practice in accordance to our Guru’s advice.

  10. Vivian Ong on Nov 19, 2019 at 11:53 pm

    What does Guru Devotion means to me. It means that when you take a Lama as your Guru, you need to surrender and trust him fully of his advice and instructions given as the Guru will know what is best for us. We must not have a single doubt about our Guru. No point having a Guru on one hand and on the other hand is believing and checking in other sources as well. We very know that whatever happens to us is due to our karma and nothing can change that unless we do the practices that our Guru has given us and not believing in other external factors hoping that it can change our luck.

  11. Samfoonheei on Aug 21, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this important complete commentary on 50 Verses of Guru Devotion. For all students to understand and put into practice. I am still trying to absorb as much as I could and still learning. Without the devotion to our Guru, we are no where and will not be able to be enlightened.

  12. Pastor Lanse on Mar 11, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    Zina Rachevsky’s story is a real life story happening in our time to prove that whatever is being written and discussed in the 50 Verses of Guru Devotion is true. It is said in verse 18 that “(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.” Zina Rachevsky has been very devoted to her Gurus and she even offered the Kopan Monastery which benefits many to her guru. Her faith in the lamas and her sincere offerings to her Gurus has eventually resulting in her ascending into Kechara Paradise as said by Lama Yeshe, Trulshik Rinpoche and Kyabje Zong Rinpoche.

  13. So Kin Hoe (KISG) on Nov 13, 2018 at 10:55 pm

    After reading through this important article about Guru Devotion practice, I have learnt that the source of our opportunities to meet with Buddha’s teachings and to learn the Dharma practice originates from our Guru. Hence, by practising Guru Devotion earnestly, we can progress well in spirituality practice that can liberate us from samsara and any form of sufferings, able to gain higher attainments and ultimately achieving enlightenment that can further benefit many sentient beings in future. Even if we have achieved any small amount of positive result in our Dharma practice, we should not forget, be grateful and always remember the kindness and compassion of our Guru who has spent so much time, effort and energy to bring us the Dharma in present days, all the way from Buddha Shakyamuni’s time in this fortunate eon. The reason of the above is because, in order to become a qualified spiritual Guru or teacher is never an easy task but require to learn up and equip with many internal and external skills, wisdom and capabilities to guide all types of students to cross the ocean of samsara until achieving higher attainments and enlightenment lifetimes after lifetimes. Hence, upon learning the hardships or challenges faced by our Guru, especially during the current degenerate age where spiritual and Dharma practice are declining in a very fast pace, we should lessen the burden of Guru by helping our Guru in all aspects that can allow our Guru to spread the Dharma to more people in the most efficient and effective ways.

    Thank you Rinpoche for giving us the Dharma teachings and creating a lot of opportunities for us to accumulate merits and purify our karma so that we can further progress in our Dharma practice. May Rinpoche lives long with stable health to continue to turn the wheel of Dharma for the benefit of all sentient beings. May all sentient beings never be parted from Dharma teachings and always able to practise Dharma until samsara ends.

    Humbly with folded hands,
    kin hoe

  14. Tsa Tsa Ong on Sep 24, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    This is something very profound and interesting that i would like to share my personal experience that growing up from a Taoist background, and being so used to praying to Buddha statues on the family altar, we know nothing much about Guru Devotion when we started off practicing Tibetan Buddhism. I have also observed that in our Dharma center, some of the members read the 50 verses of Guru Devotion just like any other reading material and i doubt they really understand what they are reading. Especially those who are chinese speaking ones. So this is partly the reason why they hardly perform or made any progress in dharma work after months and years of reading the 50 Verses of Guru Devotion. I sincerely hope that somebody from dharma centers in Kechara would kindly bring this to their attention. Thank you very much Rinpoche and blog team for sharing this great article. 🙏😘🌈

  15. Yee Yin on Sep 4, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    In Vajrayana tradition, if we want to have attainment or progress in our spiritual practice, we must have guru devotion. When we have taken someone as our guru and he has accepted us as his student, we have established a guru-student relationship. This type of relationship is not limited to one lifetime but for many lifetimes until we are enlightened.

    When we have a guru, he will give us the guidance on our spiritual path. We are not able to see how much obstacles or negative karmas we have but our guru has the clairvoyance to know it. Therefore, he will use various ways to help us to make sure we are on the right track. Sometimes we are not able to comprehend the actions of our teacher but be sure it is for our benefits. As a teacher, his only objective is to help us achieve enlightenment, everything he does is for this purpose.

    Whether in our perception our teacher is treating us good or bad, it should not affect our devotion to him. Because how he is treating us is for our benefits, it is our karma that determines our teacher will react or treat us. Therefore, it is very important to purify our karmas and collect merits and at the same time, have strong guru devotion. We should never ever hold a wrong view of our teacher.

  16. Cynthia Lee on Nov 3, 2017 at 3:34 am

    Guru Devotion may appear “cult-like” to those who may not understand, but ultimately the guru-student relationship has proven to be the quickest form in eliminating the self-cherishing mind which hinder our spiritual journey towards Enlightenment.

    When we serve the guru, we are actually doing ourselves favour. When we give up our attachments “for” the guru, we are actually giving up attachments for the benefit of ourselves as the attachments which we hold on to is what leads us to the three lower realms.

    The guru is the source of Buddha’s teachings AND the embodiment of Buddha’s teachings. Every actions of the Guru is to create a positive reaction and results of a student whether or the skilful methods used appear beneficial. Hence, devoting ourselves to a qualified guru will bring tremendous long-term benefits. Anyway, we devote ourselves to a lot of other things but none of these can help us at the time of death.

  17. wan wai meng on Nov 3, 2017 at 2:35 am

    This 50 stanzas provides a framework for us to understand what it is expected of us when we seek to develop a spiritual relationship with a qualified Mahayana Guru.

    If one does plan to practice tantra, this text is not something we can do without.

  18. CindyH on Nov 3, 2017 at 1:27 am

    One of the earliest insights I came across when reading up on guru devotion is an excerpt from Sakya Pandita, “Even though the beams of the sun are extremely hot, without a magnifying glass they cannot ignite a fire. Like that, without the guru we cannot receive the blessings of the buddhas, who are numberless”. In my limited understanding of the phrase, it served to remind me of not only as to one of the benefit of Guru being the doorway to vast blessings but also the futility of being on this path without a guru.

    Hence, when I first read the 50 stanzas to understand the “basic terms” to gauge if I can attempt such guru-student relationship, ironically, it served to ease some of my initial apprehension about “surrendering” to the Guru. In addition to there being logic behind the stanzas and the room for clarification, it also allows for much guidance on the expectations be it from the guru’s or student’s perspective.

    Naturally, it doesn’t mean I felt I would be able to remember to adhere to all stanzas at all times but at least I felt it was not something entirely out of my league given that the idea of relishing all control without any question is extremely challenging for me.

    To this end, there are a few of things which gave some confidence to attempt to thread this path despite a lot of reservations and uncertainty.
    • Firstly, it is the understanding that this path necessitates guru devotion. Essentially, enlightenment is our release from the dictates of our negative karma created from our delusions, obsessions and hang-ups. Until we are free from these obsessions and habits, we will continue to be stuck in samsara.
    • In this regard, the Guru will not only reveal to us our ego and our flaws for us to work on them, the Guru will further painstakingly customise a plan or prescribe ways in which we are forced to lessen our ego and apply Dharma in our life (which does not come instinctively to us).
    • In addition, wisdom is required for enlightenment and to have wisdom, one must have merit. In this sense, the Guru also even help cater to this and serves as an avenue for us to collect merits.

    Underlying all the above is the belief that our enlightened Guru, who is always compassionately seeking to help us and never abandon any sentient beings, will never do anything that harms us or set us up to fail by giving instructions or prescriptions which are beyond our capabilities.

    Thank you Rinpoche for everything including this invaluable commentary.

  19. Stella Cheang on Nov 3, 2017 at 12:10 am

    Thank you, Rinpoche, for the commentary on 50 Stanzas of Guru Devotion. This is the utmost text that we need to study and apply in Vajrayana practice. It is also teh foundation to tantric higher practice. While the 50 Stanza may sound like a guideline or protocol to follow when serving our guru, by surrendering our ego and submit fully to our guru. In reality, there are deeper meaings to it, which apply to all studnets regardless of their proxmity to the guru. The essence is seeing only good qualities in your guru, as most people are blind to their own shortcomings, while the faults of others shine out clearly. Therefore by seeing only only good qualities and never any faults in your guru, this positive outlook will come to pervade, amplify and reflect our own state of mind. In this way, we will bring out and develop the buddha nature within us.

  20. 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.

    • Alice Tay on Nov 3, 2017 at 1:37 am

      In order to cultivate guru devotion, we can recite and contemplate the 50 Verses of Guru Devotion and also “The Nine Attitudes of Devotion To The Guru”:

      The Nine Attitudes of Devotion To The Guru:
      1. That of a filial child. Like a filial child, one thoroughly carries out the instructions of the Guru without the slightest deviation.
      2. That of a Vajra. Like a Vajra that cannot be split apart, even when facing division created by devils or bad associates, one will never split away from the Guru.
      3. That of the Earth. Like the Earth carrying everything in the world, one shoulders all assignments ordered by the Guru.
      4. That of the Iron Circle of Mountains. Like everlasting mountains, while abiding under the patronage of the Guru one endures hardships and sufferings without ever swaying in one’s determination.
      5. That of a servant. Like an obedient servant, even when one is obliged to carry out very difficult assignments one holds no grudges in one’s heart.
      6. That of a sweeper. Like a humble sweeper, one renounces self-pride and regards oneself as inferior to the Guru.
      7. That of a rope. Like a continuous rope, one rejoices in carrying on the Dharma activities of the Guru, regardless of its degree of difficulty and heaviness of load.
      8. That of a domestic dog. Like a loyal dog, even when the Guru ridicules, irritates or ignores one, one never responds with anger.
      9. That of a boat. Like a ferry one goes back and forth on the Guru’s assignments without any discontent.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. Keith@Sydney 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

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

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

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

  27. 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?

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  • Yee Yin
    Sunday, Dec 8. 2019 02:45 PM
    It is quite common to hear sightings of ghosts in tunnels. Tunnels are usually damp and the sunlight can’t reach inside. There is no air circulation, therefore the negative energy can remain in tunnels for a long time. When we drive through tunnels and feel uncomfortable, we can recite some mantras to calm our minds and protect ourselves. Dorje Shugden mantra will be a good one to learn up for protection like this:
    OM BENZA WIKI BITANA SOHA

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/paranormal/creepy-tunnels-2.html
  • Pastor Lanse
    Sunday, Dec 8. 2019 01:38 PM
    Choyang Dulzin Kuten Lama was a respected oracle of two enlightened Dharma Protectors – Dorje Shugden and Setrap. Coming from humble beginnings, Choyang Kuten Lama experienced his first trance when he was seventeen years old. Under the care and guidance of H.H. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, he became a renowned oracle who contributed greatly to his countrymen during the most trying time in Tibet’s history.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/the-selfless-dorje-shugden-oracle.html
  • nicholas
    Saturday, Dec 7. 2019 06:34 PM
    Do you know anyone who is constantly engaged in excessive, unreasonable and repetitive behaviour such as cleaning, hand-washing, or rearranging? If you do, that person is most likely suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

    OCD is characterised by irrational fear or obsession that triggers repetitive actions. Many people suffering from OCD are aware that their actions are illogical, but when they try to ignore the urge to perform a particular action, their anxiety increases until they eventually give in to their compulsion.

    According to the National Institute of Mental Health, OCD affects 1% of the adult population in the United States alone. OCD does not discriminate and can affect anyone regardless of race, gender or age. It has great implications on a person’s quality of life and can affect their emotional health, education, career and even their social and personal life as their obsessions can result in hours of repetitive ritualistic behaviour, thus preventing them from doing other things.

    Understand more about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder at http://bit.ly/33ZRciF
  • nicholas
    Saturday, Dec 7. 2019 06:25 PM
    Gyenze, otherwise known as Ratna Shugden, is one of the five main emanations of the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. This particular emanation is Dorje Shugden manifesting in an increasing form. When sincere practitioners propitiate Gyenze, we invoke his blessings to increase outer and inner wealth, health, and spiritual merits.

    With this in mind, His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche envisioned and built a chapel specifically dedicated to Gyenze and his beneficial energies. Located at the front of Kechara Forest Retreat, it has become a place of spiritual pilgrimage for many people of all backgrounds and Gyenze has manifested signs of fulfilling people’s wishes.

    As more and more people are seeing the benefits of praying to Gyenze, a new 5-foot statue was commissioned to be installed in the chapel. On November 3, 2017 the new statue of Gyenze arrived at Kechara Forest Retreat. Auspiciously, it was the very same day that Kechara’s monthly Dorje Shugden puja was being held! Milk, incense and a silk khata were offered to welcome Gyenze as soon as the statue was unpacked.

    Read more of the 5-Foot Gyenze Statue Arrives in Kechara Forest Retreat at http://bit.ly/2YsfgK4
  • nicholas
    Saturday, Dec 7. 2019 06:14 PM
    The claim that Dorje Shugden sends you to the three lower realms is used by the Tibetan leadership to worry their community into giving up the Dorje Shugden practice because now, it negatively affects your rebirth. According to the Tibetan leadership, they are banning the practice because they do not want people to go to the three lower realms and take rebirth as spirits or worse. And this reasoning is further used by the Tibetan leadership to create a false sense of compassion, because it compels Tibetans to encourage one another to give up the practice. Why? Because you would not want your loved ones going to the three lower realms, would you?

    If Dorje Shugden practice sends you to the three lower realms, how come the Tibetan leadership keeps recognizing the reincarnations of lamas who engaged in the practice? Shouldn’t they be spirits or reborn in the hell realms, according to the Tibetan leadership? Some of these lamas passed away before the ban on Dorje Shugden began, which means they practiced Dorje Shugden until their last breath in their previous incarnations. They did not have the ‘chance’ to give up the practice. So shouldn’t these lamas have taken rebirth in the three lower realms? And if they took rebirths as animals, spirits or hell beings, who are the individuals being recognized as their reincarnations?

    How come the Tibetan leadership has their own candidate for Domo Geshe Rinpoche’s reincarnation? The previous Domo Geshe Rinpoche was a huge and prominent Dorje Shugden practitioner and he passed away still practicing Dorje Shugden. Since he never gave up this practice of so-called ‘spirit worship’ and supposedly ‘broke’ his vows right until the end of his life, how come he did not take rebirth in the three lower realms as the Tibetan leadership said he would? Even more ironically, why did they recognize a candidate for his reincarnation instead?

    Another major example is His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Dorjechang, the Junior Tutor of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Kyabje Trijang Dorjechang practiced Dorje Shugden, again till the end of his life, and never gave up the practice. According to the Tibetan leadership, this means that the Dalai Lama’s own tutor died a spirit worshipper and therefore, according their basis for banning the practice, Trijang Rinpoche should have taken rebirth in the three lower realms. So why then is the Dalai Lama himself recognizing the reincarnation of his teacher, Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche?

    Check out the truth of Dorje Shugden People Do Not Go to the Three Lower Realms at http://bit.ly/2OVIIVo
  • nicholas
    Saturday, Dec 7. 2019 06:03 PM
    The divine and enlightened beings can manifest in whatever form suits the needs of the people of that time and place in order to help them. They are truly compassionate in that way, and show their immense spiritual ability to be able to do so. The emanation of Lord Manjushri, the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden is no different. It is with that in mind that I envisioned commissioning different forms of Dorje Shugden painted and drawn in different cultural styles to better suit the temperaments of practitioners the world over.

    The usual style that Dorje Shugden is depicted is very Tibetan, but even within his holy entourage there are differences of culture and variation across different countries. For example, the 10 Youthful and Wrathful Attendants, warrior emanations of Dorje Shugden who help avert both inner and outer obstacles, appear in different forms. They take on the physical appearance of Tibetan, Mongolian, Chinese, Kashmiri, Indian and Nepali warriors. This clearly shows that as an enlightened being, Dorje Shugden is above and beyond cultural differences, or location-based variations, etc. He transcends all of that but will emanate in forms that appeal the most to the practitioner. The more styles there are, the more wider the appeal will be. My hope is that many will be blessed by Dorje Shugden and enter his practice and be protected.

    H.E. The 25th Tsem Rinpoche recently commissioned very special images of Dorje Shugden in Indian style, Fauvistic style, Byzantine style, Malaysian style, Chinese style, New Age style and Japanese anime style. And there are many more to come. Do check back here every few weeks as there are more different styles of Dorje Shugden art and will add here in time.

    Check out http://bit.ly/2PyTqCb
  • nicholas
    Saturday, Dec 7. 2019 05:14 PM
    Although Manjushri currently appears as a bodhisattva, in actuality he has traversed the bodhisattva path. In a time long gone, he became a fully enlightened Buddha who was known as the Tathagatha Lamp of the Nagas. Due to the strong karmic connection with the sentient beings of our time, he manifested as a bodhisattva disciple of the Buddha, called Manjushri, who is famed for his great wisdom.

    Manjushri is also indeed very unique and special as he is practised in all lineages and traditions present today. As the main yidam of Lama Tsongkhapa, Manjushri constantly appears to Lama Tsongkhapa and was able to clarify the subtlest aspects of the teachings and transmit many teachings and transmissions. Hence, it is said that lineage and practices of Lama Tsongkhapa are especially blessed by Manjushri for practitioners to gain quicker attainments.

    Sharing with you a meditation upon Orange or Arapachana Manjushri composed by none other than the Great Fifth Dalai Lama who unified Tibet after many damaging civil wars, established diplomatic relations with China and other countries, and wrote a massive 24 volumes’ worth of scholarly and religious works on a wide range of subjects including a prayer to Dorje Shugden.

    Orange Manjushri is the main form of Manjushri, appearing as a Bodhisattva prince sitting in full lotus posture while holding a flaming wisdom sword with his right hand. With his left hand at his heart, he grasps the stem of a utpala blossom upon which the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra rests. The propitiation of this form of Manjushri develops wisdom within us, clarity of mind, better memory, critical thinking and artistic talents, purifies negative speech karma and finally, creates the causes for us to develop powerful, beneficial and influential speech.

    Learn more about Orange Manjushri: A Meditation by the 5th Dalai Lama at http://bit.ly/2DTN3lz
  • Yee Yin
    Saturday, Dec 7. 2019 03:01 PM
    This is a very beautiful temple in a very serene environment. The temple is on a small hill, overlooking the villages. The tall outdoor Buddha in the temple gives people a sense of peace. It will be nice to go there to pay homage to the Buddha and do the meditation.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/beautiful-standing-buddha-of-thaton-thailand
  • S.Prathap
    Friday, Dec 6. 2019 04:39 PM
    A Pilgrimage to Lumbini, will be wonderful as that where the Buddha’s birthplace and get connected and make a good aspiration.There are many impressive beautiful structures and beautiful Sacred temples to see.
    Visiting Lumbini, the Buddha’s birth place creates the karma to have control of our own rebirth and the causes to be born in pleasant places where we will have the right conditions and opportunities to practice Dharma.Thank you for the wonderful article.

    Read more : https://bit.ly/2DT88gd
  • sarassitham
    Friday, Dec 6. 2019 03:57 PM
    Thank you for the sharing, this article best describe the powerful health benefits, nutritional value of consuming tomatoes in daily diet. This article has given good picture on varieties of tomatoes widely available in many forms and colour.

    Actually I do not like tomatoes much but this article have given me enough info on beneficial of tomatoes for overall health. Discovered that tomatoes are rich in varieties of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants which helps to prevent and to protect from diseases naturally.

    It’s time for me to add in tomatoes in my daily meal and to ensure that to get an array of nutrients which will help in better functioning of my body.
  • nicholas
    Thursday, Dec 5. 2019 06:45 PM
    The Buddha Shakyamuni and Bodhisattva Manjushri worked closely to expound the Dharma, although Manjushri himself had achieved enlightenment many lifetimes ago. According to the Avatamsaka Sutra, Manjushri is actually the Buddha Nageshvaraja who achieved enlightenment many eons ago in a different world system. In Shakyamuni’s time however, he took the form of Manjushri, a student of Lord Buddha himself. Indeed, many teachings arose just because Manjushri asked a question to Buddha Shakyamuni.

    Manjushri is the embodiment of wisdom and knowledge, and this Namasanghiti text that recalls his names and qualities represents the pinnacle of all Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings. Scholars classify it as a tantra of the non-dual (advaya) class, along with the Kalachakra Tantra.

    The Namasanghiti was expounded by Shakyamuni Buddha for his disciple Vajrapani and his wrathful retinue in order to lead them to Buddhahood. The essence of the Namasanghiti text is that Manjushri Bodhisattva is the embodiment of all knowledge. The Namasanghiti is a short text, consisting only of around 160 verses and a prose section, which is a fraction of the vast Sutras such as Avatamsaka Sutra and Prajnaparamita Sutras, or the endless ocean of tantras such as Manjushri-Mula-Kalpa.

    Read more about A Concert of Names of Manjushri at http://bit.ly/2Yj3d1n
  • sarassitham
    Thursday, Dec 5. 2019 05:54 PM
    Mekong River is incredibly important for millions of people in China. It flows through many countries: China, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and finally Vietnam. But weird and it is shocking to know the dogs cruelty, smuggling and trading just for the meat across Asia, through the famous river, What a cruel business. Need to be aware of visiting all this countries.
  • S.Prathap
    Thursday, Dec 5. 2019 04:32 PM
    Wat Phra Dhammakaya is worlds largest meditation Center,beautifully built, well landscaped and well maintained.The temple’s success is a collective achievement of every monk, novice and devotee who faithfully gave their time and energy day in and day out, against all odds to build the massive temple to serve all sentient beings.

    Their faith, determination and patience paid off when their dream of a sanctuary of peace to spread the Buddha’s teachings became a reality.Thank you very much for the interesting article.

    Read more : https://bit.ly/2RkjkKI
  • nicholas
    Thursday, Dec 5. 2019 04:21 PM
    The veneration of relics is an ancient custom that plays an important role in major world religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Shamanism. For example, sites that house holy relics in Christianity are major pilgrimage destinations because it is believed that these relics are a benediction to the living and the deceased.

    In Buddhism, holy relics generally refer to the physical remains or personal effects of Buddha Shakyamuni. Incredibly, some of Buddha Shakyamuni’s bodily remains have survived for two and a half millennia, including the much-revered sacred tooth of the Buddha in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

    Most Buddhist temples have stupas, and these stupas are often created specifically to house precious relics. Such reliquary stupas often become the initial structure around which the whole temple is later based. Today, stupas may also hold the ashes or ringsel (relics in Tibetan) of prominent or respected Buddhist masters.

    Read more about The Significance of the Buddha’s Relics and the wonderful Kandy at http://bit.ly/3624n43
  • nicholas
    Thursday, Dec 5. 2019 04:10 PM
    Towering imposingly and majestically in the sky, mountains are believed to possess supernatural properties because they are closer to heaven than any other earthly feature. Interestingly, many mountains are linked to spirituality and enlightened beings, such as the Buddha and Jesus.

    From the earliest times, many peoples from the Greeks and Native Americans to the Indians and Polynesians have placed mountains central to their beliefs. The power of such sacred places is believed to enhance the mortal experience and sometimes, it is even forbidden to climb them out of respect.

    The mountain calls to us with its calm and serene environment and is often chosen as the site for religious retreats. Pilgrimages to holy mountains are also a way to connect to the sacred and they allow us to purify our sins through the rigour of an arduous climb. In some religions, adherents are urged to make such a pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime.

    Here is a selection of sacred mountains scattered across the globe. They are revered by people separated by vast spaces but united in their awe and regard for these magnificent giants of nature.

    Read more about Sacred Mountains Around the World at http://bit.ly/2rg4sCu

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

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  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.
Third picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
5 months ago
Third picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
Second picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
5 months ago
Second picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
First picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
5 months ago
First picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
The first title published by Kechara Comics is Karuna Finds A Way. It tells the tale of high-school sweethearts Karuna and Adam who had what some would call the dream life. Everything was going great for them until one day when reality came knocking on their door. Caught in a surprise swindle, this loving family who never harmed anyone found themselves out of luck and down on their fortune. Determined to save her family, Karuna goes all out to find a solution. See what she does- https://bit.ly/2LSKuWo
5 months ago
The first title published by Kechara Comics is Karuna Finds A Way. It tells the tale of high-school sweethearts Karuna and Adam who had what some would call the dream life. Everything was going great for them until one day when reality came knocking on their door. Caught in a surprise swindle, this loving family who never harmed anyone found themselves out of luck and down on their fortune. Determined to save her family, Karuna goes all out to find a solution. See what she does- https://bit.ly/2LSKuWo
Very powerful story! Tibetan Resistance group Chushi Gangdruk reveals how Dalai Lama escaped in 1959- https://bit.ly/2S9VMGX
5 months ago
Very powerful story! Tibetan Resistance group Chushi Gangdruk reveals how Dalai Lama escaped in 1959- https://bit.ly/2S9VMGX
At Kechara Forest Retreat land we have nice fresh spinach growing free of chemicals and pesticides. Yes!
5 months ago
At Kechara Forest Retreat land we have nice fresh spinach growing free of chemicals and pesticides. Yes!
See beautiful pictures of Manjushri Guest House here- https://bit.ly/2WGo0ti
6 months ago
See beautiful pictures of Manjushri Guest House here- https://bit.ly/2WGo0ti
Beginner’s Introduction to Dorje Shugden~Very good overview https://bit.ly/2QQNfYv
6 months ago
Beginner’s Introduction to Dorje Shugden~Very good overview https://bit.ly/2QQNfYv
Fresh eggplants grown on Kechara Forest Retreat\'s land here in Malaysia
6 months ago
Fresh eggplants grown on Kechara Forest Retreat's land here in Malaysia
Most Venerable Uppalavanna – The Chief Female Disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni - She exhibited many supernatural abilities gained from meditation and proved to the world females and males are equal in spirituality- https://bit.ly/31d9Rat
6 months ago
Most Venerable Uppalavanna – The Chief Female Disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni - She exhibited many supernatural abilities gained from meditation and proved to the world females and males are equal in spirituality- https://bit.ly/31d9Rat
Thailand’s ‘Renegade’ Yet Powerful Buddhist Nuns~ https://bit.ly/2Z1C02m
6 months ago
Thailand’s ‘Renegade’ Yet Powerful Buddhist Nuns~ https://bit.ly/2Z1C02m
Mahapajapati Gotami – the first Buddhist nun ordained by Lord Buddha- https://bit.ly/2IjD8ru
6 months ago
Mahapajapati Gotami – the first Buddhist nun ordained by Lord Buddha- https://bit.ly/2IjD8ru
The Largest Buddha Shakyamuni in Russia | 俄罗斯最大的释迦牟尼佛画像- https://bit.ly/2Wpclni
6 months ago
The Largest Buddha Shakyamuni in Russia | 俄罗斯最大的释迦牟尼佛画像- https://bit.ly/2Wpclni
Sacred Vajra Yogini
6 months ago
Sacred Vajra Yogini
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
6 months ago
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
6 months ago
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha. She was his step-mother and aunt. Buddha\'s mother had passed away at his birth so he was raised by Gotami.
6 months ago
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha. She was his step-mother and aunt. Buddha's mother had passed away at his birth so he was raised by Gotami.
Another nun disciple of Lord Buddha\'s. She had achieved great spiritual abilities and high attainments. She would be a proper object of refuge. This image of the eminent bhikkhuni (nun) disciple of the Buddha, Uppalavanna Theri.
6 months ago
Another nun disciple of Lord Buddha's. She had achieved great spiritual abilities and high attainments. She would be a proper object of refuge. This image of the eminent bhikkhuni (nun) disciple of the Buddha, Uppalavanna Theri.
Wandering Ascetic Painting by Nirdesha Munasinghe
6 months ago
Wandering Ascetic Painting by Nirdesha Munasinghe
High Sri Lankan monks visit Kechara to bless our land, temple, Buddha and Dorje Shugden images. They were very kind-see pictures- https://bit.ly/2HQie2M
6 months ago
High Sri Lankan monks visit Kechara to bless our land, temple, Buddha and Dorje Shugden images. They were very kind-see pictures- https://bit.ly/2HQie2M
This is pretty amazing!

First Sri Lankan Buddhist temple opened in Dubai!!!
6 months ago
This is pretty amazing! First Sri Lankan Buddhist temple opened in Dubai!!!
My Dharma boy (left) and Oser girl loves to laze around on the veranda in the mornings. They enjoy all the trees, grass and relaxing under the hot sun. Sunbathing is a favorite daily activity. I care about these two doggies of mine very much and I enjoy seeing them happy. They are with me always. Tsem Rinpoche

Always be kind to animals and eat vegetarian- https://bit.ly/2Psp8h2
7 months ago
My Dharma boy (left) and Oser girl loves to laze around on the veranda in the mornings. They enjoy all the trees, grass and relaxing under the hot sun. Sunbathing is a favorite daily activity. I care about these two doggies of mine very much and I enjoy seeing them happy. They are with me always. Tsem Rinpoche Always be kind to animals and eat vegetarian- https://bit.ly/2Psp8h2
After you left me Mumu, I was alone. I have no family or kin. You were my family. I can\'t stop thinking of you and I can\'t forget you. My bond and connection with you is so strong. I wish you were by my side. Tsem Rinpoche
7 months ago
After you left me Mumu, I was alone. I have no family or kin. You were my family. I can't stop thinking of you and I can't forget you. My bond and connection with you is so strong. I wish you were by my side. Tsem Rinpoche
This story is a life-changer. Learn about the incredible Forest Man of India | 印度“森林之子”- https://bit.ly/2Eh4vRS
7 months ago
This story is a life-changer. Learn about the incredible Forest Man of India | 印度“森林之子”- https://bit.ly/2Eh4vRS
Part 2-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
7 months ago
Part 2-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
Part 1-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
7 months ago
Part 1-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
The great Protector Manjushri Dorje Shugden depicted in the beautiful Mongolian style. To download a high resolution file: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
7 months ago
The great Protector Manjushri Dorje Shugden depicted in the beautiful Mongolian style. To download a high resolution file: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
The Mystical land of Shambhala is finally ready for everyone to feast their eyes and be blessed. A beautiful post with information, art work, history, spirituality and a beautiful book composed by His Holiness the 6th Panchen Rinpoche. ~ https://bit.ly/309MHBi
7 months ago
The Mystical land of Shambhala is finally ready for everyone to feast their eyes and be blessed. A beautiful post with information, art work, history, spirituality and a beautiful book composed by His Holiness the 6th Panchen Rinpoche. ~ https://bit.ly/309MHBi
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
7 months ago
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
7 months ago
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
7 months ago
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
DON\'T MISS THIS!~How brave Bonnie survived by living with a herd of deer~ https://bit.ly/2Lre2eY
7 months ago
DON'T MISS THIS!~How brave Bonnie survived by living with a herd of deer~ https://bit.ly/2Lre2eY
Global Superpower China Will Cut Meat Consumption by 50%! Very interesting, find out more- https://bit.ly/2V1sJFh
7 months ago
Global Superpower China Will Cut Meat Consumption by 50%! Very interesting, find out more- https://bit.ly/2V1sJFh
You can download this beautiful Egyptian style Dorje Shugden Free- https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
7 months ago
You can download this beautiful Egyptian style Dorje Shugden Free- https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
Beautiful high file for print of Lord Manjushri. May you be blessed- https://bit.ly/2V8mwZe
7 months ago
Beautiful high file for print of Lord Manjushri. May you be blessed- https://bit.ly/2V8mwZe
Mongolian (Oymiakon) Shaman in Siberia, Russia. That is his real outfit he wears. Very unique. TR
7 months ago
Mongolian (Oymiakon) Shaman in Siberia, Russia. That is his real outfit he wears. Very unique. TR
Find one of the most beautiful temples in the world in Nara, Japan. It is the 1,267 year old Todai-ji temple that houses a 15 meter Buddha Vairocana statue who is a cosmic and timeless Buddha. Emperor Shomu who sponsored this beautiful temple eventually abdicated and ordained as a Buddhist monk. Very interesting history and story. One of the places everyone should visit- https://bit.ly/2VgsHhK
7 months ago
Find one of the most beautiful temples in the world in Nara, Japan. It is the 1,267 year old Todai-ji temple that houses a 15 meter Buddha Vairocana statue who is a cosmic and timeless Buddha. Emperor Shomu who sponsored this beautiful temple eventually abdicated and ordained as a Buddhist monk. Very interesting history and story. One of the places everyone should visit- https://bit.ly/2VgsHhK
Manjusri Kumara (bodhisattva of wisdom), India, Pala dynesty, 9th century, stone, Honolulu Academy of Arts
7 months ago
Manjusri Kumara (bodhisattva of wisdom), India, Pala dynesty, 9th century, stone, Honolulu Academy of Arts
Silver Manjusri figure from Ngemplak Semongan (Indonesia). Apparently during the Shailendra Dynasty, Mahayana Buddhism was very strong in Indonesia. This Dynasty promoted Mahayana Buddhism and Manjushri was a principal Buddha of worship.
7 months ago
Silver Manjusri figure from Ngemplak Semongan (Indonesia). Apparently during the Shailendra Dynasty, Mahayana Buddhism was very strong in Indonesia. This Dynasty promoted Mahayana Buddhism and Manjushri was a principal Buddha of worship.
In Buddhism: The Importance of Having a Clean Room- https://bit.ly/2ZgrbKS
7 months ago
In Buddhism: The Importance of Having a Clean Room- https://bit.ly/2ZgrbKS
There is an area near Lumbini, Nepal, they have sightings of Yeti for hundreds of years. So they have signages in the area with Yeti artwork to highlight this. Interesting. TR
7 months ago
There is an area near Lumbini, Nepal, they have sightings of Yeti for hundreds of years. So they have signages in the area with Yeti artwork to highlight this. Interesting. TR
Photos of footprints (Yeti) are from a high altitude pass (Darwa Pass) connecting Gangotri valley to Yamunotri valley through old pilgrim route.
7 months ago
Photos of footprints (Yeti) are from a high altitude pass (Darwa Pass) connecting Gangotri valley to Yamunotri valley through old pilgrim route.
Beautiful picture. Rare. Three holy beings.
7 months ago
Beautiful picture. Rare. Three holy beings.
May 1, 2019-I really enjoy this picture of these visitors visiting Dorje Shugden\'s grotto in Kechara Forest Retreat today. They look happy, light and blessed after doing their prayers to Dorje Shugden. I wanted to share this picture.- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
7 months ago
May 1, 2019-I really enjoy this picture of these visitors visiting Dorje Shugden's grotto in Kechara Forest Retreat today. They look happy, light and blessed after doing their prayers to Dorje Shugden. I wanted to share this picture.- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
A postcard of my great grand aunt Princess Nirgidma of Torghut-Tsem Rinpoche
7 months ago
A postcard of my great grand aunt Princess Nirgidma of Torghut-Tsem Rinpoche
Rei Kawakubo – Grand Dame of ‘Hiroshima Chic’- https://bit.ly/2Vz4N06
7 months ago
Rei Kawakubo – Grand Dame of ‘Hiroshima Chic’- https://bit.ly/2Vz4N06
Just now, this beautiful grape and orange infused water drink with a blue glass was brought in for me. I was amazed at the colors. Tsem Rinpoche
7 months ago
Just now, this beautiful grape and orange infused water drink with a blue glass was brought in for me. I was amazed at the colors. Tsem Rinpoche
We have to look in and change from within to find the way out of all that makes us unhappy.~Tsem Rinpoche 

www.tsemrinpoche.com
7 months ago
We have to look in and change from within to find the way out of all that makes us unhappy.~Tsem Rinpoche http://www.tsemrinpoche.com
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Videos On The Go

Please click on the images to watch video
  • Always be kind to animals-They deserve to live just like us.
    5 months ago
    Always be kind to animals-They deserve to live just like us.
    Whales and dolphins playing with each other in the Pacific sea. Nature is truly incredible!
  • Bodha stupa July 2019-
    5 months ago
    Bodha stupa July 2019-
    Rainy period
  • Cute Tara girl having a snack. She is one of Kechara Forest Retreat’s resident doggies.
    5 months ago
    Cute Tara girl having a snack. She is one of Kechara Forest Retreat’s resident doggies.
  • Your Next Meal!
    6 months ago
    Your Next Meal!
    Yummy? Tasty? Behind the scenes of the meat on your plates. Meat is a killing industry.
  • This is Daw
    6 months ago
    This is Daw
    This is what they do to get meat on tables, and to produce belts and jackets. Think twice before your next purchase.
  • Don’t Take My Mummy Away!
    6 months ago
    Don’t Take My Mummy Away!
    Look at the poor baby chasing after the mother. Why do we do that to them? It's time to seriously think about our choices in life and how they affect others. Be kind. Don't break up families.
  • They do this every day!
    6 months ago
    They do this every day!
    This is how they are being treated every day of their lives. Please do something to stop the brutality. Listen to their cries for help!
  • What happened at Fair Oaks Farm?
    6 months ago
    What happened at Fair Oaks Farm?
    The largest undercover dairy investigation of all time. See what they found out at Fair Oaks Farm.
  • She’s going to spend her whole life here without being able to move correctly. Like a machine. They are the slaves of the people and are viewed as a product. It’s immoral. Billions of terrestrial animals die annually. Billions. You can’t even imagine it. And all that because people don’t want to give up meat, even though there are so many alternatives. ~ Gabriel Azimov
    6 months ago
    She’s going to spend her whole life here without being able to move correctly. Like a machine. They are the slaves of the people and are viewed as a product. It’s immoral. Billions of terrestrial animals die annually. Billions. You can’t even imagine it. And all that because people don’t want to give up meat, even though there are so many alternatives. ~ Gabriel Azimov
  • Our Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir speaks so well, logically and regarding our country’s collaboration with China for growth. It is refreshing to listen to Dr. Mahathir’s thoughts. He said our country can look to China for many more things such as technology and so on. Tsem Rinpoche
    7 months ago
    Our Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir speaks so well, logically and regarding our country’s collaboration with China for growth. It is refreshing to listen to Dr. Mahathir’s thoughts. He said our country can look to China for many more things such as technology and so on. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This is the first time His Holiness Dalai Lama mentions he had some very serious illness. Very worrying. This video is captured April 2019.
    7 months ago
    This is the first time His Holiness Dalai Lama mentions he had some very serious illness. Very worrying. This video is captured April 2019.
  • Beautiful Monastery in Hong Kong
    8 months ago
    Beautiful Monastery in Hong Kong
  • This dog thanks his hero in such a touching way. Tsem Rinpoche
    8 months ago
    This dog thanks his hero in such a touching way. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Join Tsem Rinpoche in prayer for H.H. Dalai Lama’s long life~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYy7JcveikU&feature=youtu.be
    8 months ago
    Join Tsem Rinpoche in prayer for H.H. Dalai Lama’s long life~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYy7JcveikU&feature=youtu.be
  • These people going on pilgrimage to a holy mountain and prostrating out of devotion and for pilgrimage in Tibet. Such determination for spiritual practice. Tsem Rinpoche
    8 months ago
    These people going on pilgrimage to a holy mountain and prostrating out of devotion and for pilgrimage in Tibet. Such determination for spiritual practice. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Beautiful new casing in Kechara for Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
    8 months ago
    Beautiful new casing in Kechara for Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Get ready to laugh real hard. This is Kechara’s version of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane!” We have some real talents in this video clip.
    8 months ago
    Get ready to laugh real hard. This is Kechara’s version of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane!” We have some real talents in this video clip.
  • Recitation of Dorje Dermo‘s mantra or the Dharani of Glorious Vajra Claws. This powerful mantra is meant to destroy all obstacles that come in our way. Beneficial to play this mantra in our environments.
    8 months ago
    Recitation of Dorje Dermo‘s mantra or the Dharani of Glorious Vajra Claws. This powerful mantra is meant to destroy all obstacles that come in our way. Beneficial to play this mantra in our environments.
  • Beautiful
    9 months ago
    Beautiful
    Beautiful sacred Severed Head Vajra Yogini from Tsem Rinpoche's personal shrine.
  • My little monster cute babies Dharma and Oser. Take a look and get a cute attack for the day! Tsem Rinpoche
    9 months ago
    My little monster cute babies Dharma and Oser. Take a look and get a cute attack for the day! Tsem Rinpoche
  • Plse watch this short video and see how all sentient beings are capable of tenderness and love. We should never hurt animals nor should we eat them. Tsem Rinpoche
    9 months ago
    Plse watch this short video and see how all sentient beings are capable of tenderness and love. We should never hurt animals nor should we eat them. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Cruelty of some people have no limits and it’s heartbreaking. Being kind cost nothing. Tsem Rinpoche
    10 months ago
    Cruelty of some people have no limits and it’s heartbreaking. Being kind cost nothing. Tsem Rinpoche
  • SUPER ADORABLE and must see
    11 months ago
    SUPER ADORABLE and must see
    Tsem Rinpoche's dog Oser girl enjoying her snack in her play pen.
  • Cute!
    11 months ago
    Cute!
    Oser girl loves the balcony so much. - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTcoWpKJm2c
  • Uncle Wong
    11 months ago
    Uncle Wong
    We were told by Uncle Wong he is very faithful toward Dorje Shugden. Dorje Shugden has extended help to him on several occasions and now Uncle Wong comes daily to make incense offerings to Dorje Shugden. He is grateful towards the help he was given.
  • Tsem Rinpoche’s Schnauzer Dharma boy fights Robot sphere from Arkonide!
    11 months ago
    Tsem Rinpoche’s Schnauzer Dharma boy fights Robot sphere from Arkonide!
  • Cute baby owl found and rescued
    11 months ago
    Cute baby owl found and rescued
    We rescued a lost baby owl in Kechara Forest Retreat.
  • Nice cups from Kechara!!
    12 months ago
    Nice cups from Kechara!!
    Dorje Shugden people's lives matter!
  • Enjoy a peaceful morning at Kechara Forest Retreat
    12 months ago
    Enjoy a peaceful morning at Kechara Forest Retreat
    Chirping birds and other forest animals create a joyful melody at the Vajrayogini stupa in Kechara Forest Retreat (Bentong, Malaysia).
  • His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche makes offering of khata to Dorje Shugden.
    12 months ago
    His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche makes offering of khata to Dorje Shugden.
    Trijang Rinpoche never gave up his devotion to Dorje Shugden no matter how much Tibetan government in exile pressured him to give up. He stayed loyal inspiring so many of us.
  • This topic is so hot in many circles right now.
    2 yearss ago
    This topic is so hot in many circles right now.
    This video is thought-provoking and very interesting. Watch! Thanks so much to our friends at LIVEKINDLY.
  • Chiropractic CHANGES LIFE for teenager with acute PAIN & DEAD LEG.
    2 yearss ago
    Chiropractic CHANGES LIFE for teenager with acute PAIN & DEAD LEG.
  • BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN NEW YORK STATE-AMAZING.
    2 yearss ago
    BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN NEW YORK STATE-AMAZING.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the meat Industry with real action.
    2 yearss ago
    Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the meat Industry with real action.
  • Do psychic mediums have messages from beyond?
    2 yearss ago
    Do psychic mediums have messages from beyond?
  • Lovely gift for my 52nd Birthday. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 yearss ago
    Lovely gift for my 52nd Birthday. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This 59-year-old chimpanzee was refusing food and ready to die until...
    2 yearss ago
    This 59-year-old chimpanzee was refusing food and ready to die until...
    she received “one last visit from an old friend” 💔💔
  • Bigfoot sighted again and made it to the news.
    2 yearss ago
    Bigfoot sighted again and made it to the news.
  • Casper is such a cute and adorable. I like him.
    2 yearss ago
    Casper is such a cute and adorable. I like him.
  • Dorje Shugden Monastery Amarbayasgalant  Mongolia's Ancient Hidden Gem
    2 yearss ago
    Dorje Shugden Monastery Amarbayasgalant Mongolia's Ancient Hidden Gem
  • Don't you love Hamburgers? See how 'delicious' it is here!
    2 yearss ago
    Don't you love Hamburgers? See how 'delicious' it is here!
  • Such a beautiful and powerful message from a person who knows the meaning of life. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 yearss ago
    Such a beautiful and powerful message from a person who knows the meaning of life. Tsem Rinpoche
  • What the meat industry figured out is that you don't need healthy animals to make a profit.
    2 yearss ago
    What the meat industry figured out is that you don't need healthy animals to make a profit.
    Sick animals are more profitable... farms calculate how close to death they can keep animals without killing them. That's the business model. How quickly they can be made to grow, how tightly they can be packed, how much or how little can they eat, how sick they can get without dying... We live in a world in which it's conventional to treat an animal like a block of wood. ~ Jonathan Safran Foer
  • This video went viral and it's a must watch!!
    2 yearss ago
    This video went viral and it's a must watch!!
  • SEE HOW THIS ANIMAL SERIAL KILLER HAS NO ISSUE BLUDGEONING THIS DEFENSELESS BEING.
    2 yearss ago
    SEE HOW THIS ANIMAL SERIAL KILLER HAS NO ISSUE BLUDGEONING THIS DEFENSELESS BEING.
    This happens daily in slaughterhouse so you can get your pork and Bak ku teh. Stop eating meat.

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CHAT PICTURES

Kids camp 2019 - Dinner time. Lin Mun KSDS
16 hours ago
Kids camp 2019 - Dinner time. Lin Mun KSDS
Kids camp 2019 - Coaches and participants are all very excited. Lin Mun KSDS
17 hours ago
Kids camp 2019 - Coaches and participants are all very excited. Lin Mun KSDS
Kids camp 2019 - Handmade vegetarian meatball. Yummy. Lin Mun KSDS
18 hours ago
Kids camp 2019 - Handmade vegetarian meatball. Yummy. Lin Mun KSDS
Kids camp 2019 - Stack up game
18 hours ago
Kids camp 2019 - Stack up game
Kids camp 2019 - Stack up game
18 hours ago
Kids camp 2019 - Stack up game
KISG has carried out monthly animals liberation activity at DR Park, Ipoh on Sunday. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
3 weeks ago
KISG has carried out monthly animals liberation activity at DR Park, Ipoh on Sunday. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Kechara Earth Project- 10/11/19
3 weeks ago
Kechara Earth Project- 10/11/19
Blowing Mantras onto the birds so that they will be have Dharma imprints and good rebirth. We dedicated today's event for Rinpoche’s swift return. ~Jacinta, KPSG
3 weeks ago
Blowing Mantras onto the birds so that they will be have Dharma imprints and good rebirth. We dedicated today's event for Rinpoche’s swift return. ~Jacinta, KPSG
The last bird taking his flight of freedom. Be compassionate always. Be kind to animals ~Jacinta, Kechara Penang Study Group
3 weeks ago
The last bird taking his flight of freedom. Be compassionate always. Be kind to animals ~Jacinta, Kechara Penang Study Group
3 weeks ago
Attended Dorje Shugden puja after our monthly Bird Liberation ~ Jacinta, Kechara Penang Study Group
3 weeks ago
Attended Dorje Shugden puja after our monthly Bird Liberation ~ Jacinta, Kechara Penang Study Group
Owen Liew offered incense to Lama Tsongkhapa, Dorje Shugden and all Buddhas on behalf of KISG. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
4 weeks ago
Owen Liew offered incense to Lama Tsongkhapa, Dorje Shugden and all Buddhas on behalf of KISG. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Steve from Ipoh offered lights to Lama Tsongkhapa, Dorje Shugden and all Buddhas prior to our weekly Dorje Shugden puja. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
4 weeks ago
Steve from Ipoh offered lights to Lama Tsongkhapa, Dorje Shugden and all Buddhas prior to our weekly Dorje Shugden puja. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
KISG has completed our weekly Dorje Shugden puja in Ipoh today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
4 weeks ago
KISG has completed our weekly Dorje Shugden puja in Ipoh today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Throwback - Parent and children stayed together to do breathing meditation ~ 2018 Pilgrimage cum Camp, Kechara Forest Retreat. Alice, KSDS
4 weeks ago
Throwback - Parent and children stayed together to do breathing meditation ~ 2018 Pilgrimage cum Camp, Kechara Forest Retreat. Alice, KSDS
Throwback - KSDS parent and student visited Kechara Forest Retreat ~ Wesak Day for virtuous deeds and have fun together. Alice, KSDS
4 weeks ago
Throwback - KSDS parent and student visited Kechara Forest Retreat ~ Wesak Day for virtuous deeds and have fun together. Alice, KSDS
Wonderful to see these 2 siblings learn dharma together and pray to Manjushri before the class start. Alice, KSDS
4 weeks ago
Wonderful to see these 2 siblings learn dharma together and pray to Manjushri before the class start. Alice, KSDS
The youngest in the class of only 3 years ago learned how to do full lotus pose for breathing meditation session. Alice, KSDS
4 weeks ago
The youngest in the class of only 3 years ago learned how to do full lotus pose for breathing meditation session. Alice, KSDS
The youngest group of KSDS are very helpful in arranging the seats before the class. Alice, KSDS
4 weeks ago
The youngest group of KSDS are very helpful in arranging the seats before the class. Alice, KSDS
Kechara Ipoh Study Group carried out Mother Tara's prayer recitations on Sunday morning. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
1 month ago
Kechara Ipoh Study Group carried out Mother Tara's prayer recitations on Sunday morning. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Throwback- Group work activities during camp. Lin Mun KSDS
1 month ago
Throwback- Group work activities during camp. Lin Mun KSDS
Throwback- Ice breaking session. Lin Mun KSDS
1 month ago
Throwback- Ice breaking session. Lin Mun KSDS
Throwback - Decorating Kechara Oasis, artwork dedication from Sunday class kids. Lin Mun KSDS
1 month ago
Throwback - Decorating Kechara Oasis, artwork dedication from Sunday class kids. Lin Mun KSDS
Throwback- Chinese New Year activity during dharma class. Lin Mun KSDS
1 month ago
Throwback- Chinese New Year activity during dharma class. Lin Mun KSDS
Throwback- WOAH Camp 2017 , Lin Mun KSDS
1 month ago
Throwback- WOAH Camp 2017 , Lin Mun KSDS
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