Viewing the Guru

An excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo on October 18, 1995

We are talking about the Lama as being our own precious nature.  Someday when we die and all the elements fall away, what will arise naturally is the natural state, free of contrivance.  And they say for the practitioner there is realization, simply because, the practitioner that has meditated properly will recognize that natural uncontrived state as the very primordial mother from which they have sprung.  And like a child who has been separated from his mother for a while runs to the mother with happiness and joy, and practically rips open his heart, and sits on the mother’s lap and doesn’t wish to separate from the mother at all —  like that, if we are meditators, we will run to that nature.  We will recognize with fervent regard, but so much more than that.  I don’t even have the words.

Here in our lives, due to the force of our fortunate meritorious karma that we have accumulated in the past, when here in this life, that same uncontrived nature, that same pristine quality appears in samsara to speak to us, to see us with its eyes, to hold our hand, to teach us how to practice, and how to recognize in our practice, we’re drunk, light in the head, stupid.  We can’t care, we can’t get it together.  Our minds are just weak that way.  And yet, even with all of that, even with all of our terrible practice, we are still hoping that when we die and those elements that make up our samsaric existence begin to disintegrate and fall away that somehow, magically, we will recognize the primordial wisdom nature.  Boy, are you thinking like Peter Pan!  That’s what I call magical thinking.  The only way it is going to happen is if we can begin to recognize that nature now.  And the only proper way to recognize the nature of the Guru is to simultaneously recognize our own nature as well, and to know that they are indistinguishable.

It is not possible for us to look at the Guru and find fault, because that would mean that we are acting with samsaric intention, with samsaric mind, and the result is samsara.  There is no practice there.  That is nothing.  You do that all the time.  You do that every moment.  That’s not practice.  But if we think and practice in the way that I’ve just discussed with you, then instead, when we see the Guru we see literally the face of salvation.  We see literally:  “I am that.  That I am.”  Even though, of course you can’t say “I.”  “I” separates us, but in the beginning, we have the intention of understanding: that is the nature that is my nature also.

And so inside — instead of judgment, hatred, greed, ignorance, jealousy, pride — there is a soundless chant that says, “Holy holy holy.” and that is the practice.

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

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