The Heart of Experience is the Guru

An excerpt from the Mindfulness workshop given by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo in 1999

For many of you, I know that when we first started this temple it was family style, and you thought of yourselves as children, and I thought of myself as your mother in many ways, and there was a spiritual family dynamic.  We started small, and we got big.  So for many of the people who have always been around, who have been practicing with me for about 15 years now, (or 15 aeons it seems like), for many of you, my going away, my physical movement, if you will, from Poolesville, Maryland, to Sedona, Arizona, has been an extremely painful thing.  It’s not that I don’t have compassion for you, but if that is the case, I’m telling you, you are not practicing correctly.

There is nothing on this earth, including me, that can take your guru away from you.  There is nothing that can take that Recognition away from you, that relationship. There is nothing that can take Guru Rinpoche’s blessing away from you, that marvelous connection. Nothing has that power.  If you think that your teacher is absent, then you are absent.  It’s like the sun and the earth.

When we were younger as a species, we thought that when nighttime came, the sun disappeared; it fell off the edge, and it wasn’t there anymore.  Then later on it came back, and we liked it better when the sun was there because we could see better and it felt warm on our skin and it was safer.  But really what was happening, we later found out, is that the sun is staying right where it is constantly shining.  It’s the earth that cyclically turns away.   It’s the same way with the relationship with our teachers.  To the degree that we keep mindfulness, that we practice Recognition, that we are willing to see the guru in all things, in every opportunity, and utilize that opportunity, to that degree we experience oneness, non-duality, with our teachers.  We also experience some kind of awakening to our own primordial wisdom nature to the degree that we practice that Recognition.

If you think that your teacher is not with you most of the time, then you are not with your practice most of the time.  We have to get past making our egos and the appearances that go with the phenomena of ego-clinging the center of the mandala of our activity.  We have to stop doing that, and move past appearances into a deeper Recognition through constant mindfulness. To practice that as an extension to our sit-down practice, is the way, and to the degree that we awaken our capacity to Recognize, we are held inseparable from the heart of Guru Rinpoche.

Don’t waste your time as a practitioner thinking, “Oh, now my teacher moved away, so now I am lonely.  Now she’s there and I’m here, or he’s there and I’m here.” You’re accumulating the mantra of samsara if you do that.  You are accumulating appearances.  You are just thickening the delusion. Instead practice the recognition of one’s own nature being totally inseparable from the guru.  Practice the recognition of that to such an extent that you feel, in every moment, the king of that moment is Guru Rinpoche; in every breath, the queen of that breath is Guru Rinpoche – yes, the queen – everything.   Whatever ideas that we have, think that every movement, every experience, through our practice, through our determination to practice Recognition, the essence of that experience is the guru.  The more we practice like this, more and more we become awake.

It is possible to practice in that way with such fervent regard that in every future lifetime that presence will not be denied you.  In this and every future lifetime that presence will never be denied you.  There is no way that, as we accomplish Recognition, the primordial wisdom nature can be kept from you.  Again and again it will be Recognized as the seed and the fruit of every moment, every bit of experience.  But it only works if you work it.  So this tendency that we have to keep our minds satisfied with simply fulfilling the form and then going out to be lazy and slothful, reacting to appearances, simply accepting things at the most superficial, apparent level — this is a mistake.

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

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2 thoughts on “The Heart of Experience is the Guru

  1. It is easy to abuse the privilege of actually having a living,breathing teacher especially one like Jetsumna,that doesn’t lend her being to superficial pedestal pushing, seducing her students. But rather,the humanity she shares can be confused with affixing to the physical,as one would a friend he or she becomes co-dependant on.This is placing unrealistic and selfish demands on oneself,diverting from the purpose the messenger has of delivering the teachings in a loving and human way. The teacher is’nt a dancing bear to be watched with entertainment in mind,even though the the personality can indeed bring out the best in our personalities ourselves. It is not about personalities,but rather learning and sharing what that teacher brings out in our being. Not by attachment,which is the opposite,bringing out a longing of what we percieve and want to consume. Whew! Not a job for the faint of heart. But then again shes not.Let what the teacher gives be brought out in us. And watch for similar virtue in others,and most of all pay attention.Listen.Thank you endlessly.

  2. So nice of “YOUR WISDOM !! ” to Awaken us to the fact that “Whatever ideas we have, think that every movement, every experience, through our practice, through our determination to practice Recognition, the essence of that experience is the guru. “

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