The Spiritual Mentor: From “A Spacious Path to Freedom”

RagaAsay

The following is respectfully quoted from “A Spacious Path to Freedom” by Karma Chagmed with commentary by Gyaltrul Rinpoche

The Twenty Precepts states:

Accept a spiritual mentor who abides by his precepts,
Who is knowledgeable and capable.

–In Tibet, occasionally people took novice of full monastic precepts without even knowing what they were, and some of them never did learn. Whatever precepts you take, whether lay vows, novice vows, or full ordination, it is important to know what they are, so that you truly arrive at their essence. Similarly, the cultivation of the spirit of aspiring for awakening leads to the spirit of venturing towards awakening. Moreover, tantric practice becomes meaningful only if you learn about the generation and completion stages. Engaging in such practices or taking precepts without understanding makes it difficult to penetrate their real significance–

The Ornament of Sutras states:

A teacher of supreme beings
Is one who is gentle, free of arrogance and depression,
Whose knowledge and understanding are lucid and broad-ranging,
Who goes everywhere without material compensation,
Who is endowed with the Spirit of Awakening and great learning,
Who sees the truth, is skillful in speaking, and is merciful.
Know the greatness of this sublime being,
Who is not despondent.
Expansive, having cast off doubts,
And revealing the two realities, he is worthy to be accepted.
This one is called a superb teacher of Bodhisattvas.
Devote yourself to a spiritual friend who is peaceful, subdued, and utterly calm,
With superior qualities, zeal, and a wealth of scriptural knowledge,
With realization of thatness and with skill in speaking,
a merciful being who has cast off depression.

The Basis of Pride

Centre_of_wheel_of_life

The following is respectfully quoted from “Naked Awareness” by Karma Chagme with commentary by Gyaltrul Rinpoche:

If you are a genuine practitioner, you are in the process of transmuting your five poisons into the five types of primordial wisdom. Once that transformation is complete, you’ve become a buddha. Upon attaining this, is there anything to be proud of? Having transmuted even the mental affliction of pride into primordial wisdom, there is absolutely no ground for the quality of pride or conceit. If you are not yet a buddha, there is no basis either, and if you are in between, there is no ground for pride. So really there is no ground for arrogance or conceit at any stage where you are a sentient being or a buddha. 

Examining Our Aspirations

arrogance

The following is respectfully quoted from “Naked Awareness” by Karma Chagme with commentary by Gyaltrul Rinpoche:

Even if you have been born as a cakravartin, you still remain in samsára, so you have not been liberated from the cycle of existence. Whether you are a king or queen of the world, whether you are rick or have immense power, you are still within the domain of suffering; you still are not liberated. So why would you aspire to such a state when it’s simply just more of the same–suffering? Moreover, we tend to be proud of our various qualities–wealth, power, intelligence and good looks. What really is the basis for this pride, when conceited and arrogant people remain in the midst of suffering? If these mundane qualities were truly beneficial, we would expect people who have them to become  buddhas by now. Instead these people are just coming closer to death.

The Power of Karma

indra

The following is respectfully quoted from “Naked Awareness: Practical Instructions on the Union of Mahamudra and Dzogchen” by Karma Chagmé with commentary by Gyaltrul Rinpoche

You can’t give someone else either good karma or bad karma, any more than you can give them virtue or non virtue. These are things that we accumulate and commit for ourselves. Whether we die in the womb, have a short life or a long life, these are the result of our karma.

Even great gods, such as Indra and Brahmā, with their extraordinary powers, are powerless when the karma that propelled them into their present existence is exhausted. The reason for the precept not to take refuge in mundane gods such as these is that they, like ourselves, are still entrapped in this cycle of existence. Since they have not liberated themselves, it would be difficult for them to liberate anyone else, so they are not suitable objects of ultimate refuge. Moreover, if you take refuge in, or absolutely entrust yourself to, other beings who are subject to the five poisons, you really have a problem, because they can’t release you from something they are not free of themselves. So this precept is truly for your own sake.

Some mundane gods may actually be great bodhisattvas, or even emanations of the buddhas appearing in the form of Indra, Brahma, and so forth. Nevertheless, it is generally good counsel not to take ultimate refuge in any of them, for it is difficult to discern which ones are actually bodhisattvas or emanations of buddhas. In a way, we don’t really need to worry about this. We don’t have much, if any, direct contact with such gods anyway.

Cycle of Existence of Birth and Death States

wheel7_500

The following is respectfully quoted from “Naked Awareness: Practical Instructions on the Union of Mahamudra and Dzogchen” by Karma Chagmé with commentary by Gyaltrul Rinpoche

The Chapter on the Cycle of Existence of Birth and Death States [583]

Wherever one is born in the three realms,
That birth is dominated by karma.
Death as well is dominated by karma.
When the time comes for birth and death,
The gods gradually fall from the heavens.
Despite their great miraculous powers, they are powerless to remain.

 

Actions and Their Consequences: From “Naked Awareness” by Karma Chagme

The following is respectfully quoted from “Naked Awareness” by Karma Chagme with commentary by Gyaltrul Rinpoche:

Homage to Avalokitesvara!

A rough explanation of actions and their consequences has been presented in the preliminaries to the instructions on the profound practical teachings of Avalokitesvara, but it is difficult to gain from that more than a practical understanding. Precise comprehension of actions and their consequences is not achieved until one has accomplished great single-pointedness. Until there arises the realization of the “one taste appearing in numerous ways,” the subtlety of actions and their consequences is not discerned. Thus, the Kagyu masters of the past prayed, “Bless me that I may discern the subtlety of actions and their consequences.” For us, all felicity and adversity and all joys and sorrows of birth and death and so forth are dominated by our karma.

–“Great single pointedness” is the state of samadhi that arises due to investigating the nature of awareness, rigpa. The “one taste appearing in numerous ways” is a specific realization which is also called the “realization of the sole bindhu.” What is this one taste that appears in numerous ways? It is the single nature of all samsara and nirvana. It is seeing all phenomena simultaneously as being of one taste and one nature.

Spiritual success and mundane success all really stem from the merit you have accumulated in the past due to virtuous activity. Without merit, even if you give tens of millions of dollars towards a particular end, you won’t have the success you are aiming for. It really comes down to your own previous actions. So it’s important not to blame our lack of success on someone else when we experience failure or disappointment. Rather we must recognize that if we want to have success, we need to plant the seeds of virtue. If we want to avoid misfortune, then we need to avoid the source, which is nonvirtue. In the meantime, instead of blaming others for our failures, we must identify our own limitations and shortcomings and dispel them.–

The Chapter on the Cycle of Existence of Birth and Death states:

Wherever one is born in the three realms,
That birth is dominated by karma.
Karma, too, is something committed in the past.
Death as well is dominated by karma.
When the time comes for birth and death,
The gods gradually fall from the heavens.
Despite their great miraculous powers, they are powerless to remain.

–You can’t give someone else either good karma or bad karma, any more than you can give them virtue or nonvirtue. These are things that we accumulate and commit for ourselves. Whether we die in the womb, have a short life or a long life, these are the result of our karma.

Even great gods, such as Indra and Brahma, with their extraordinary powers, are powerless when the karma that propelled them into their present existence is exhausted. The reason for the precept not take refuge in mundane gods such as these is that they, like ourselves, are still entrapped in this cycle of existence. Since they have not liberated themselves, it would be difficult for them to liberate anyone else, so they are not suitable objects of ultimate refuge. Moreover, if you take refuge in, or absolutely entrust yourself to, other beings who are subject to the five poisons, you really have a problem, because they can’t release you from something they are not free of themselves. So this precept is truly for your own sake.

Some mundane gods may actually be great bodhisattvas, or even emanations of the buddhas appearing in the form of Indra, Brahma, and so forth. Nevertheless, it is generally good counsel not to take ultimate refuge in any of them, for it is difficult to discern which ones are actually bodhisattvas or emanations of Buddhas. In a way, we don’t really need to worry about this. we don’t have much, if any, direct contact with such gods anyway.–

Importance of Precepts

prostration

The following is respectfully quoted from “A Spacious Path to Freedom” by Karma Chagme with commentary by Gyaltrul Rinpoche

The Five Stages also states:

Upon seeing their spiritual mentor in public, they ignore him
Then they make prostrations to him in private.
Even if he is your own son, such an inferior, bad-natured disciple
Is to be rejected like anyone else.
Even if he is born of the royal class, noble class, or priestly class,
He should never be accepted in one’s midst.

–In the Tibetan region of Kham there was one Lama who was the disciple of another Lama. The senior teacher was, in fact, an extremely fine practitioner, spending all of his time in retreat and living like a beggar. One time when the student was teaching a large group of his own disciples, including many monks, his Lama came out of retreat and sat among the students. The other students, recognizing their Lama’s Lama, immediately prostrated, while the younger Lama pretended that he did not see him and began teaching. After the teachings, all of the other disciples dispersed, but the senior Lama stayed. Only when everyone had left, while feigning great surprise at seeing him, did the disciple come over and prostrate himself. “Oh, you did not see me?” asked the senior Lama. “No, I didn’t see you,” replied the student. As soon as the words were spoken, both of his eyes fell out. Immediately, recognizing the error of his ways, he began to do prostrations with great reverence. Then he confessed, “I did see you, but I was embarrassed because you look like a beggar. Please forgive me. I was completely at fault.” Instantly, his eyes jumped back into his head.

You should not even allow an inferior disciple in your midst let alone teach such a person. Beyond that, it is said in certain Tibetan texts that if you live downstream from a person with broken vows, you shouldn’t even drink the water that flows from the stream.–

The Guru Disciple Relationship

Gampopa

The following is respectfully quoted from “A Spacious Path to Freedom” by Karma Chagme with commentary by Gyaltrul Rinpoche

Lord Gampopa says of the tradition of the practice lineage:

If a spiritual mentor lacks realization, it does not help even if his disciples act with reverence and devotion. As an analogy, although the clay may be good, if its mold has no indentations, it will not form into a statue. If the disciples have no reverence or devotion, it does not help even if the spiritual mentor has realization. This is like a cow having milk, but its calf having no palate.

Terton Migyur Dorje: The Origin of Nam Chö by HH Penor Rinpoche

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The following is an excerpt from a teaching offering by Kyabje His Holiness Pema Norbu Rinpoche at Palyul Ling in New York:

First examine your mind and try to get rid of any afflictive emotions or negative thoughts. Try to give rise to devotion, faith, inclination, and in that way, carry through the Guru Yoga prayers with a very sincere mind. From the core of one’s heart do the supplication prayers.

All the practices that we are doing during the retreat were revealed by Treasure Revealer, Tulku Migyur Dorje. The history or story of Tulku Migyur Dorje starts before the time of Shakyamuni Buddha. There was a king called Akara. When he was the son of the king, he went to collect some jewels from the ocean and wandered. As he was wandering he carried with him a cloth net called Zarapa, which is why he is also referred to as Arapa. For a while he had been looking for the guru named Apara. Apara was a great mahasidda who wandered, so Akara had not been able to find him. One day the guru master, Apara, knew that the King’s son was coming, so he waited in a certain place. When the King’s son, Arapa met the master Apara, he didn’t know who he was, and asked, “Do you know where Apara is?”

Instantly Apara flew in the air and landed on a rock where he left a footprint, and stayed there. Instantly Zarapa developed tremendous devotion. He went there and started receiving teachings. He received all the teachings and based on his practice, he had accomplishment. Then Zarapa also had many disciples.

He was reborn as three masters who had great miraculous activities. And then he was reborn several times in India. He was reborn as Kungol during the time when Shakyamuni Buddha was just attaining enlightenment in India. Kungol attended all the Buddha’s teachings and maintained the Buddha’s teachings.

During the time when Guru Padmasambhava came to Tibet, he was born as a great yogi known as Shupu Palge Senge. He helped Guru Padmasambhava’s activity by translating all the teachings from Sanskrit to Tibetan and then also by bringing tantric texts and teachings to Tibet.

Tulku Migyur Dorje had about 500 different lives. For a long time he had been manifesting in the six realms and benefiting all sentient beings, especially beings in hell. Lots of hell beings were liberated. When he was in the hell realm, of course, he didn’t experience the suffering of hell because of his power and realization. He just benefited and liberated all those hell beings. He emptied many areas of hell.  Sometimes the karma of some hell beings was so strong that he couldn’t help them, so he drew mantras on the sand and then threw them in the fire, which extinguished the fire, and benefited those beings.

Also he manifested in the animal realm just as very tiny animals like insects, and then huge animals, and birds and so forth. And then according to their own family, they started giving teachings and that way lots and lots of animal beings were benefited and liberated.

Later in Tibet he was born in a place called Ngam. When he was just three years old, he started giving teachings. His parents wouldn’t allow him saying, “What kind of ghost language you are speaking?”  When he was 11 years old, his master, Chagmed Rinpoche, knew he was a special being and invited him to his place. Chagmed Rinpoche had a relative who was a very negative guy. The relative saw that Migyur Dorje was staying there for awhile and somehow obscured his mind a bit. So Chagmed Rinpoche gave Migyur Dorje lots of purification nectar, and with that the obscurations were purified. Later he had clear visions of many deities. That is how all the Namchö teachings were revealed.

Then Chagmed Rinpoche started teaching Migyur Dorje all the scripts. And Migyur Dorje told him, “I know all those scripts.”  Then he asked Chagmed Rinpoche about the scripts from many different countries, and said, “Do you know these?”  And Chagmed Rinpoche said, “I don’t know them.”

In the beginning Chagmed Rinpoche was Tulku Migyur Dorje’s master. Then later when Tulku Migyur Dorje started revealing the Namchö cycle of teachings, Chagmed Rinpoche took Tulku Migyur Dorje as his master.  The whole complete revelation of the Namchö cycle of teachings were revealed in that way.

This Namchö is the exact Dharma teaching appropriate for this time. It is very condensed and profound, and has a great deal of blessings. In that way Tulku Migyur Dorje brought a lot of benefit. Then somewhere in another Buddhafield, a  Buddha was going to pass into Nirvana, and so Migyur Dorje needed to go there then as a kind of representative and to attain enlightenment. He lived only about 19 years on this earth.

The complete revelation of this Namchö passed from Chagmed Rinpoche to Rigdzin Kunzang Sherab until our present day lineage holders.  Many countless beings have become great mahasiddhas. It has been explained that there would be like 100 million masters who are honored with that banner. All the lamas who have the rank of Vajra Acharya, have great signs when they pass away. You are also following this tradition and practice. If you think properly and do the practice, then the same blessings are also there for you.

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