Denver Center Study Group Outline for 10-30-2011
Quote of the Week: Chagdud Tulku’s mother who was a delog journeyed into the Bardo and came back with the following message: “ You in the world of the living, although you have gathered clothing for a hundred years, you will go forth naked on the morning of your death; better, then, to wear shabby clothes while practicing what is virtuous. Although you have amassed food for a long time, you will go hungry on the morning of your death; better, then, to make a gift even of your leftovers. Although you have amassed possessions throughout your life, you will go forth empty-handed on the morning of your death; better, then, to make provisions for your journey in future lifetimes. One the morning when the dark noose of the lord of death closes about you, and it is time for you to go, helplessly, your father and mother won’t be there to protect you, your loving relatives and friends won’t be there to shelter you. You will see that they are mere objects of your memories of happiness and job, that they have no true essence. Cast off these bonds of appearances and perceptions based on confusion, for it is surely time to practice the divine Buddha-dharma, which will truly benefit you in the future. Do not let the remainder of your human life slip away.
Last Week: Last week we had a teaching on the third Ngondro which is mandala practice.
This Week: We will cover page 40-41 of Vivid Awareness which covers the fourth Ngondro practice of guru yoga.
Guru yoga is a practice for us to develop devotion to the Dharma. As our understanding of the Dharma increases, we begin to see that it is actually particular way of looking at any situation. Whether we are raising a child, trying to do well and keep our job, get along with our parents or spouse, deal with a mental or physical illness, or trying to overcome certain negative personality traits; we begin to realize that the most direct and complete way of doing these things is to do it in a dharmic way.
But how do we know what is the proper Dharmic way? Can the Buddha tell us, No. We must rely on our guru and hence we develop a deep faith in our spiritual teacher or teachers by doing Guru Yoga. Once we begin to develop faith in the lineage and spiritual teachers and teachings, be begin to receive blessings (Tib. chin lap) which is the energy of all the activities and tremendous practice of all the bodhisattvas of our lineage. Blessings in Buddhism are not like blessings in the Christian or Hindu religions where there is the implication of “I have been a really good boy or girl, so please use you supernatural powers to help me with my troubles and problems.” Rather, the receiving of blessing in Buddhism is often described in terms of the following metaphor: If you have a bowl and it is turned upside down and you try to pour water in it, the water will simply run out. But if the bowl is right side up, the water will go in and fill up the bowl. In the situation of blessings, all the buddhas and bodhisattvas would like to help us, but if we have no faith in what they have done, then we are like the upside down bowl and will receive no benefit from them. If we have faith and work in our practice and try to develop bodhichitta, then we will be like an upright bowl and be able to receive their help.
Every time we do Chenrezig practice, we are actually playing out what I have described in the above paragraph. If we do Chenrezig (or any other practice) because our friends are doing it or we like the tune and to sing, we will get very little benefit from it. If we do the practice because we genuinely want to help other beings who are suffering, then we will get a great deal out of the practice. And when we visualize all beings having Chenrezig over their heads and saying the 6-syllable mantra, we cannot expect the whole world to have changed when we finish our practice because most of those persons are “upside down bowls.”
I will now describe the Guru Yoga practice for you who don’t know what it is like. I will, as I have been doing for all the Ngondro practices use the new shortened Karmapa practice.
We begin by sitting in Shamatha position. We visualize ourselves as our yidam which is a meditational deity. Now, in the traditional Guru Yoga one always visualizes oneself as Vajrayogini. Many practitioners do not have a personal yidam so when I asked Khenpo Jigme about this, he said if you don’t have a personal yidam, then you can choose one such as Chenrezig, Vajrayogini or the like.
Then in the short version you recite: “Above the crown of my head, on a lotus, sun, and moon seat,
Is my root guru the mighty Vajradhara
Sky-blue, holding vajra and bell in his crossed arms,
Beautified by precious ornaments, blazing with major and minor marks,
The vivid embodiment of all then directions and three times’ victorious ones.”
So we visualize ourself as a yidam and Vajradhara is visualized by himself above our head just as he appears in the lineage tree. We then say the seven branch prayer and a supplications of the four kayas, and a supplications to the precious guru who is Vajradhara and also to our lineage and our own spiritual teachers.
Traditionally, in Guru Yoga we recite the following six lines 100,000 times. I give these six lines because they are so packed with meaning.
- Precious Guru, I supplicate you
- Grant me the blessings to abandon ego-clinging.
- Grant me the blessings to realize the futility of samsara
- Grant me the blessings so that non-dharmic thoughts may cease
- Grant me the blessings to realize my mind as unborn
- Grant me the blessings that my illusions naturally subside
- Grant me the blessings to realize all phenomena as dharmakaya
In the short version of Guru Yoga, in the mantra section we recite Karmapa chenno which means “Karmapa, think of me” many times. Since this phrase is so short, it is easy to say it 1 million times. This seems like a lot, but it goes very fast.
Picture of the Week: Our newest member of the Sangha who has had perfect attendance. For color picture see the blog: www.Buddhist-Meditation.tumblr.com. Remember to put the dash between Buddhist and Meditation.