(editor’s note: This was part of a teaching Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche gave at TMC Frederick the weekend of October 1-2, 2011. This Lord Jigten Sumgön Guru Yoga was covered and practiced the morning of the first day before Rinpoche taught on his text “Prescriptions and Prohibitions: Their mode of abiding.” I plan to get those notes up in the near future. Khenchen Rinpoche had previously taught more extensively on A Guru Yoga that Brings the Dharmakaya onto the Path at TMC in the Summer of 2009. I will attempt to link to those teachings as appropriate. – JTR/LWWD)
…nowadays, more than ever before, we need that wisdom we can apply in our daily life. There are many levels of practice. If you want to go on retreat, you can go on retreat. If you want to go for years, you can do like Milarepa. You can read his life story. He utilized the optimal power of the human capacity in that very lifetime because of that he achieved the ultimate benefit. That why the precious human life has so much ability, opportunity it is there, if you choose.
If you can’t go on retreat, you can practice in daily life, like while walking. In a democratic system, they say ‘individual rights and responsibility.’ In the same way, we have individual responsibility to practice dharma. Mindfulness. Understand methods of study and practice and, understanding that, utilize and practice. It is mindfulness, it is not magic. We want to think enlightenment is instant. But if we don’t take responsibility and tackle the problems, we may not get the result we expected. Sometimes, taking little responsibility but having high expectations can bring disappointment.
You come from limitless lifetimes, this life is very short. It’s like space. Where is space started? There is no record where space started, and none that says where it will end. Likewise, with lifetimes, we don’t remember where it started, don’t know where it ends. Some say “don’t say there is previous life, I don’t remember.” But you don’t remember this lifetime. Sometimes we forget what we did yesterday! (Laughs) “I don’t believe in yesterday, or tomorrow, since I don’t remember them.” We work so hard today, not just for today, but for tomorrow, next year. Expand out wisdom. Not just for the life, but next life. Other lives.
You may have gone to college, learned so much, but forgot most of it! Do you not believe in it if you can’t remember it?
Look at my life today, what I like, don’t like. So, based on that, create the best thing for tomorrow and the best thing for next year. I am trying to get rid of suffering for tomorrow.
Does this make sense? So, my next life is totally dependent on this life.
Guru Yoga introduction comments
Now, before we go too far, we will do short guru yoga. The Vajrayana system is famous. We all want this high empowerment, that high empowerment. (Laughs) I have this picture [Rinpoche points to picture of Lord Jigten Sumgön for the visualization for this practice]. A member from New Jersey made a donation.
This Guru yoga is very profound, has vast meaning, and you can do in 10, 15 minutes. If you have no time to do other practice, just get up in morning, do 10-15 minutes, do this short practice, dedicate. You will get great benefit.
Vajradhara Lama, embodiment of the Three Jewels,
I take refuge in you, and will until I attain enlightenment;
Vajradhara lama is the ultimate Buddhahood. It’s not just a picture; it’s the mind of enlightenment. It’s the mind that is the combination of wisdom and compassion, the perfection of wisdom and compassion. The lama is teacher. In Sanskrit, it’s “guru.” In Tibetan, it’s “lama.” Buddha is the highest lama. The Three Jewels are Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Vajradhara’s body is the sangha, the highly accomplished sangha. Great bodhisattvas. For that point of view, Vajradhara’s body is sangha. His speech is dharma, the mind of Buddhas. I take refuge in you until I attain enlightenment, until Buddhahood. First, we take refuge outside there, then, slowly, you experience some sense of enlightenment and progress. That is taking refuge. Rely on your wisdom.
I generate the mindset for enlightenment in order to
establish you all in the non-abiding state.
Next, generate the mindset for enlightenment and cultivate bodhichitta. Do this for all sentient beings, including those with consciousness, humans, non-humans, sea mammals. All who have mind that are victims of the confusion. We all suffer because of our confusion, our delusion. We are so deluded in samsara. Then we chase delusions to bring peace and happiness. Just look at it with your own eyes. From ignorance, attachment, pride, jealousy, greed so forth, see how much we suffer. We are victims of confusion. From there, develop such strong compassion at how they suffer, and understand their awareness. That is wisdom. Based on that wisdom, develop strong compassion. This compassion based on reason becomes a principal method to purify cause of suffering. Confusion is a projection of suffering.
The Non-abiding state is complete Buddhahood. Look at the mind, see how important it is. Generate… in that, and then practice. This is what Buddhism is about. In society, some individuals have more openness and compassion, and feel so light, spacious (to be around). Those with narrow minds are very easy to irritate. They are closed up, like a snail walking: touch it, it shrugs in.
So, we need mind strength, a courageous mind. We suffer so much from our confusions. The Basic reason is that mind brings suffering. No matter how much you make laws in order to protect from all suffering, you can’t eliminate suffering that way, it is very clear. We need dharma teachings to see the reality nature of suffering. This is most important. This is the Buddha’s teaching. Just by wishing “I hope they are free of suffering,” just saying prayers, it is good stuff, but is not going to make dissolution [happen]. We need to make effort to practice to be free of delusions. If you don’t make effort, you may be very successful in business, politics, but at end of day, nothing is accomplished. Is this very clear?
But if you practice, look at Milarepa. His life story looks awful, no food, no clothing. But he had such joy. What his life did, his joy can’t compare to any joy in samsara. That’s what he could sustain; it brought so many benefits, and still does now. That’s how we generate bodhichitta. That is how we make it stronger. “I have the bodhichitta, so I need to practice, purify.” This is the most precious mind, the source of all courage, peace, happiness.
There is a movie of Milarepa’s life story only in Tibetan. (Laughs) He had nothing, just an old white cotton cloth. One day he was lying on the ground, and 3 beautiful ladies with ornaments came up, and saw him. “Oh what a pity, we should say prayers to not be born like this!” (Laughs) He was skinny, ugly, and greenish in color. He heard them, stood up, and said, “You don’t need to say that prayer!” (Laughs) “Your compassion is wrong compassion.”(Laughs) There are songs from that, what he said, and their response. Later, they said “we were so arrogant, we apologize. We didn’t know you were Milarepa.” He had such confidence, such bodhichitta. That’s what we need. Cultivate that mind, through the practice methods.
Since this practice is short, no detailed descriptions (are included).Visualization:
Lord Vajradhara, Jigten Sumgön, you
Sit on a seat of the ten strengths, four fearlessnesses, and
eighteen unmixed dharmas; your
Major and minor marks of love, compassion, and bodhicitta
radiate rays of light; and your
Non-conceptual enlightened activities reach all migrators equally.
Lord Jigten Sumgön – See him as in the painting, up in the space in front (of you).
The 10 strengths, 4 fearlessness, and 18 unmixed dharmas (or qualities) – These 32 are special qualities of Buddha. We can’t go through them all now, due to time, (so will talk about a few).
- “Strength of knowing places and non-places.” This is knowing right from wrong. Go to school, get degree. Right place, wrong place. This is not like “this is TMC, that is downtown.” Knowing what the right and wrong place is. Like if you saw a seed of rice, what is the right place for rice? The right place is the place rice will grow, not the place wheat will grow. If we plant poison, poison will grow. If we plant Medicine, medicine will grow. Buddhas’ wisdom will show what will happen, without mistakes of judgment.
- “Strength of knowing karmic maturation.” This is knowing how karma will ripen. There is a story that in the time of Buddha, there was a rich merchant. Buddha said “his house will burn in a week, and the people will perish. “ So, they built a house in the ocean made of glass. “Nothing can burn here. We are free from all fire.” What happened? The wife of the family had a magnifying glass on her head as ornament, but didn’t know it. The sunlight caught it, and burned the house down. When karma comes, there is no escape. We need to face it. With dharma, we can face it, purify it, and develop greater compassion, and bodhichitta. No dharma creates more suffering.
- No fear of proclaiming, “All that is to be discarded has been discarded, all that is to be purified, has been purified.” Buddha said, “I became a Buddha, I purified all obscurations. Nobody could say you have obscurations left, no mistakes. So, no fear.
- No fear of proclaiming, “I know everything. Nobody can say, you don’t know this. Don’t have wisdom like Buddha has.”
- No fear of proclaiming for others, “If you practice bodhichitta, it is the source of peace and happiness. Nobody can say it isn’t.” no one can say compassion is wrong path, delusion is right path.
- No fear of proclaiming, “These are the afflictions to get rid of, these are the 10 non-virtues, to be discarded, purified. No one can say they are right thing.” Is universal. Is Buddhas qualities.
Even bodhisattvas on the 10th bhumi can’t compare to Buddha’s great qualities. Buddhas have no confusion remaining. Fully purified. I’ll just mention a few.
2. Nosiness – idle talk, idle chatter.
3. Forgetfulness – Buddha doesn’t forget as we do. (Laughs) you’ve read sutras, “Limitless eons ago, you were born in such place. Limitless eons in future, in this place, you will get enlightenment. “If you want to get rid of Alzheimer’s, practice bodhichitta.” Relax, do some meditation. Practice compassion and loving-kindness. Purify negative thoughts. This is the best medicine.
6. Non-analytical equanimity – Buddha doesn’t need to analyze. Mindful, knowing anything. Doesn’t need to investigate or judge. When Buddha’s comes in front of you, he doesn’t need to ask “who are you?” He knows exactly who you are, and what your needs are.
Lord Jigten Sumgön was of that nature. In Calling to the Lama from Afar, I put together many of his life stories. I also translated some of the stories in Great Kagyu Masters and in Prayer Flags. I translated these so people could understand who Lord Jigten Sumgön was.
These stories were written by highly accomplished masters, some by his own disciples. Not just praise, but complete nature of Lord Jigten Sumgön. One day, a disciple asked, “After you die, what Buddafield will you go to?” “I don’t have one I will go to. My mind is with all sentient beings.” His bodhichitta just totally dominated his whole being. That’s why we do this practice.
Next, the major and minor marks oflove, compassion, and bodhicitta are a metaphor.
The activities that reach all migrators equally mean all sentient beings. We migrate from place to place, life after life. His compassion goes to all sentient beings, reaches to all sentient beings.
Lord Jigten Sumgön is visualized in front of you. This is not a substantial body, but a body of wisdom, inseparable appearance and emptiness. Next, we chant mantra, and light goes to all sentient beings, and purifies their suffering. This is a way for you to extend your bodhichitta thoughts.
Ratna Shri – This is Lord Jigten Sumgön’s name. Buddha prophesized this name. Not just given name.
“Glorious jewel, Ratna Shri, all the attainments including Mahamudra, may I achieve.”
After the mantra recitation is a very brief supplication.
You are the Buddhas Nagakulapradipa and Dipankara of the past,
Maitreya of the future, and Shakyamuni of the present; the
Reincarnation of Nagarjuna; the peerless Ratna Shri –
Lord Jigten Sumgön, I supplicate you.
Nagakulapradipa – This Buddha was mentioned in Calling to the Lama from Afar.
Dipankara – In Meaningful to Behold [a short teaching published within ‘Calling to the Lama from Afar’], Lord Jigten Sumgön said, “I was born as this Buddha countless eons ago.”
Maitreya – the future Buddha.
Shakyamuni – the present Buddha.
Nagarjuna – Most of you have heard of him. He was known as the second Buddha. Nagarjuna revitalized Buddhism. All Mahayana schools venerate and respect Nagarjuna.
Reflect on those manifestations, how they benefit sentient beings, life after life. We are so fortunate. Read Meaningful to Behold, see how they are manifested.
Light rays emanate from the lama’s body, speech, and mind and
Dissolve into my four places, thereby purifying the four obscurations,
Bestowing the four empowerments, and planting the seeds of the four kayas; the
Lama then dissolves into myself; my mind is now natural luminosity-emptiness.
There are 3 benefits of this: purifying the four obscurations, Bestowing the four empowerments, and planting the seeds of the four kayas.
First relax, be here. Then:
- From Lord Jigten Sumgön’s forehead radiates white light, which is the embodiment of all Buddha’s physical wisdom. This is the Vase empowerment, the nirmanakaya. This permeates your whole body, which becomes inseparable appearance and emptiness. If you have a deity, become that.
- From Lord Jigten Sumgön’s throat comes radiant red light that purifies all negative karma related to speech. This is the secret empowerment, the samboghakaya.
- From Lord Jigten Sumgön’s heart level comes a blue light, which is the wisdom empowerment, the Dharmakaya. The nature of Buddhas’ mind pervades your mind. All mental afflictions – agony, suffering, and negative karma – are fully purified. Your mind is dissolved into Buddhas’ mind, with no boundary.
- From Lord Jigten Sumgön’s navel level comes a golden light. All Buddha’s excellent qualities pervade body, speech and mind equally, the svakabakaya. This is the Fourth empowerment, which purifies all the subtle obscurations.
After the Fourth empowerment, Lord Jigten Sumgon becomes white light, which melts into your forehead, and pervades your whole being. That is the Lama then dissolves into myself. You transform into Buddha’s state. Meditate that your mind is in uncontrived, spacious nature. All manifestations mentally are just a reflection. Just mediate there. This is the most profound teaching you can get, most profound way you can practice. I’m sure you received lots of Mahamudra, Dzogchen, ultimate teachings. There are none higher than this. Meditate, relax all ego attachment and resentment, and dissolve into that state. In that space, there is no space for delusions. If you have time, relax here as long as you like.
This is how you unite your mind and Buddhas mind, how to merge…. That is what is called “receiving blessings.” Total transformation. There is nothing left to do, if you can practice this.
As I mentioned, do it in the morning. Then, just before bed, do this practice, so you can go to bed with a relaxed mind. Relax; lose all tension physically, mentally. You can get better sleep. When I was teaching in Taiwan, and I taught this guru yoga, I said, “It will help you sleep. Just unite your mind and Buddha’s mind.” After 1-2 years, a group of Taiwanese students came to India. One person said, “You were right. I did this practice and got better sleep.” (Laughs) So, there is not just absolute benefit. Though as I mentioned, we need to focus to purify mental delusions, it is very purpose of practice. Utilize your mind as best as possible. If you can’t benefit, at least don’t harm. This is the purpose of dharma practice.
Then, after some time, say dedication verse of practice at the end three times.
Through both the innate virtue and the virtue accumulated in the
three times by all in samsara and nirvana,
May I and all sentient beings filling space, none left out,
Realize the co-emergent ultimate reality and
Attain the final state of non-abidance in existence or peace.
All sentient beings in samsara. Arhat, etc. By this, of course all meditators need to be very mindful. Don’t mix thoughts with negative thoughts, especially when doing dedications. Mind needs to be in bodhichitta with full mind. This is the Ultimate nature of mind, realized.
All our thoughts and mental activities, when you don’t realize, are samsaric thought. When you do realize, it is Buddha’s wisdom. This is co-emergent wisdom. All thoughts are co-emergent in Mahamudra state. Inseparable confusion and emptiness. Think “May I realize – within my own mind – the final state, free from samsara and partial nirvana.” Then relax the mind, say the dedication prayer, feel joy, and feel fortunate. Look at the samsara, and develop compassion.
It is a very short practice. 10 minutes. You can do it in English, or chant in Tibetan, if you like. But it is important to have full understanding. Without understanding, it is just a ritual. If you visualize, and chant a lot, but don’t know what you chant, (That is wrong information).
If you can do this at time of death, recite mantras in mind, receive initiations, and just stay there. If you could die with this kind of meditation, definitely your rebirth will be better. No doubt. Lord Jigten Sumgön has no reason to deceive. (Laughs)