Jul 7, 2021

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 8 Comments

A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT THE MIND DHARMA PRACTICE THAT IS CONSIDERED AS “ALL-IN-ONE” ( VÀI CẢM NIỆM VỀ TÂM PHÁP GỌI LÀ “TẤT CẢ TRONG MỘT”)

Dear Guru!

In the lecture named “What are the four criteria to assess the spiritual ability of a Guru/Buddhist teacher?”, Guru has taught us four types of Guru, or Buddhist teacher, which are: the medium Guru (who knows how to give Buddhist lectures), and the good Guru (who is well-equipped with analytical ability), the excellent Guru (who can present himself as a great example of the teaching), the grandiose Guru (who can inspire the disciples). I accordingly combine the first two criteria (the Guru who knows how to give Buddhist lectures and has a good analytical ability) as one type, which represents the type of an “ordinary Guru”. The other two remaining criteria (the Guru who can present himself as a great example and can inspire others) represent the type of a “holy Guru”.

It is important to emphasize that the ability of giving Buddhist lectures and analyzing for a Buddhist teacher as mentioned must be seen through the prism of “the Four basic principles for a thorough understanding Buddhism” (the Four Reliances) that the Buddha had coined, which means all the lectures must be based on the argument or evidence of authority in logic (i.e. that of the sacred books), not on the subjective thoughts of the lecturer. If a Buddhist teacher gives lectures and does not care about the “Four Reliances” and the “argument of authority” and when he has not achieved holy fruition, it will create harm to both that teacher and the disciples. Therefore, it is warned by Buddhist saints that: “If one interprets the Buddhist sutra’s meaning by basing merely on words, the Buddhas of three times will be bothered. If one interprets the Buddhist sutra’s meaning by cutting even one word, that one represents evil force”.

In summary, an “ordinary Guru” should be understood as a Buddhist teacher who can transfer correctly the message from the Buddha and Buddhist saints to the disciples through Buddhist lectures, the one who can make a discussion and analyze the meaning of the Buddha’s teachings following the right track of Dharma. It is absolutely not someone who just uses the subjective and limited “view and knowledge” to address a lecture.

Most Buddhist practitioners aspire to learn Dharma from a “holy Guru”, few of them are willing to seek an “ordinary Guru”. However, in the Degenerate Age of Dharma where “the amount of fake monks is as much as sands of the Ganges” (Lankavatara Sutra), it is very common for Buddhist followers to encounter evil or fake Gurus than authentic Guru, even though s/he is an “ordinary Guru”, let alone the rare possibility to meet a “holy Guru”. In “50 verses of Guru devotion”, Ashvagosha affirmed strongly that “The genuine and worthy Buddhist teacher is not easy to meet” and “..Exert yourself wholeheartedly, never belittle your Guru who will never display his great wisdom and virtues”. That is because all the “holy Guru” normally never display his great wisdom and virtues (the wisdom ones embodies with unpredictable forms – Padmasambhava), therefore, it is difficult for those Dharma seeker to meet authentic Gurus/Buddhist teachers even in front of their eyesight.

In the Degenerate Age of Dharma where “the amount of fake monks is as much as sands of the Ganges” (Lankavatara Sutra),

Even when the disciple learns Dharma from an “ordinary Guru”, if s/he has a sincere devotion to the Guru, s/he will surely reap many spiritual achievements in the path to enlightenment. Guendune Rinpoche once affirmed that: “The scenario in which an ideal Guru meets a perfect disciple encounter is very rare. The combination in which the Guru is good and the disciple is not good does not establish a foundation to gain spiritual achievements. If an ordinary Guru meets a good disciple who displays pure devotion to the Guru as equivalent to the Buddha, the disciple will be blessed by the Buddha. If the disciple cultivates his devotion to Guru as equivalent to the Bodhisattvas, he will be blessed by the Bodhisattvas. If the disciple cultivates his devotion to Guru as equivalent to the holy saints, he will be blessed by the holy saints. In case he considers the Guru as an ordinary person, he will never be blessed.. In summary, the disciple’s devotion to Guru decides everything, the Guru is just a delivery channel” (extracted from Master and Disciple, page 48-49).

If an ordinary Guru meets a good disciple who displays pure devotion to the Guru as equivalent to the Buddha, the disciple will be blessed by the Buddha. If the disciple cultivates his devotion to Guru as equivalent to the Bodhisattvas, he will be blessed by the Bodhisattvas. If the disciple cultivates his devotion to Guru as equivalent to the holy saints, he will be blessed by the holy saints. In case he considers the Guru as an ordinary person, he will never be blessed..

 

In one teaching session, a Buddhist asked Garchen Rinpoche that: “Our Guru is a fake one. But everything that he has been teaching us is the right Dharma and reflecting the truth. Then which attitude should we address to him?”. Then Garchen Rinpoche answered as follows: “You should still follow his teachings. If the teaching is still on the right track of Dharma, you are still the one who benefits from it. You should not be stuck in the Guru’s wrongdoings if there are any, because when you start to nurture the wrong view (which means criticizing and attacking the Guru – the writer), you will end up falling to lower realms. If the Guru engaged in any wrongdoings, he would receive equivalent consequences, which is none of your business. You should only reflect on what you have been taught by the Guru. If there is any light of Dharma teaching, you should still learn from that Guru. Don’t be fooled by the appearance, the most important thing is to recognize what is right and wrong among all the teachings you have learned. There is one true story about a fake Guru, but he has a very good disciple. Eventually, the disciple still gained spiritual achievement, then he came to the hell realm to save his Guru from there” (extracted from “The core of Buddhist practice”, by Garchen Rinpoche).

That is to see, even when a disciple meets an “ordinary Guru”, the disciple can still reap fruitful achievement from pure Guru devotion, let alone the scenario in which that disciple who has pure devotion meets a “holy Guru”, the merits and virtues that the disciple will be benefitted, in that case, is inconceivable.

Speaking about the significance of Guru devotion, Sakya Trizin Ngawang Kunga (served as the 41st Sakya Trizin, the throne holder of the Sakya Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism) once said that:

 

“In every school, Hīnayāna, Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna, the guru is very important. Even in an ordinary sense, without a teacher, you can’t learn things. Every level in each of the schools emphasizes how important the master is. But in the lower vehicles, Hīnayāna and especially in the Mahāyāna, although the teacher is very important, the teacher is not the Buddha. He is as important as Buddha, but not a real Buddha.

But in Vajrayāna, in order to realize the nature of the mind, you need the blessings of the guru and accumulations of the merits. Without these, you cannot realize the nature of the mind, even through studies, logic, reasoning, or examples. You can get an idea about it, but you can’t realize it without the guru’s blessings. For example, the sun is shining every day, all the time. But without specific instruments, you can’t use the energy of the sun. Like that, the Buddha’s blessings are shining all over sentient beings all the time without any interruption. Though the Buddha’s blessings are showering all over the place to all sentient beings without any discrimination, due to our own lack of merits, we can’t see the Buddha. We don’t have the fortune to see the Buddha or to hear the Buddha, and therefore we can’t receive his blessings directly.

The guru, who appears like an ordinary person, acts like the instrument between the sun and the earth so that, through the guru, you can hear the teachings of the Buddha, and you can also receive the blessings of the guru directly. So therefore, in the Vajrayāna, the one who gives you the major empowerments, teachings, tantric teachings and the pith instructions, even though he does not appear like a Buddha, he is to be seen by the disciples as the Buddha. Even though your guru is not perfect, and has faults, if you consider your guru as the real Buddha, you can receive the blessings of the Buddha. Because after all, everything is mind, and every sentient being possesses the Buddha nature. So even if your guru is in the hell realm, but if from the disciples’ point of view you consider him as the guru, you can receive the blessings of the guru. Isn’t it? The level of blessing in the Vajrayāna path is more powerful. That’s why, through the general Mahāyāna path, there is no possibility to attain enlightenment within one lifetime. Even for those who have the best wisdom and best endeavor, it takes three countless eons. But in Vajrayāna, those who are superior persons and have very superior merits can attain enlightenment within this lifetime”

Sakya Trizin Ngawang Kunga, who served as the 41st Sakya Trizin, the throne holder of the Sakya Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.

From all the teachings of mentioned Buddhist achievers, I came to understand that Guru devotion is the decisive factor that determines everything. The more a disciple devote to his Guru, the faster he will progress on the path of attaining Liberation due to the law of cause and effect. Only when a disciple cultivates Guru devotion, he will boost up the holy pride of a genuine Buddhist, and be well-equipped with the bodhyanga of discrimination in order not to fall out of the track of right Dharma. Only when a disciple cultivates Guru devotion, he will be motivated to practice Dharma diligently, etc.

Finally, I understand that among many Buddhist practices that help the practitioners attain full enlightenment, it is for sure that “those who are superior persons and have very superior merits can attain enlightenment within this lifetime” must have experienced the practice that is considered as “all-in-one”, which is “Guru devotion”; which is in line with the teaching of the great Indian Buddhist Master Atisha that said: “Guru devotion is the foundation of enlightenment”!

A turtle on a lotus leaf in Buddha’s Footprint Lake at Tantra house

Dear Guru!

The Buddha already entered Nirvana, all the Buddhist saints are now only presented to us through books and sutras, there is only Guru – the honored Buddhist master stays with us in this life. We are so lucky and blessed to be born into the same country as our Guru, to speak the same language as Guru, and to have had the precious chance to meet Guru and become Guru’s disciple. I am sincerely grateful and would like to pay my ultimate respect to you, holy Guru. May Guru have good health and live long for the benefit of all sentient beings.

May all sentient beings attain the Buddha’s nature happiness.

Om mani padme hum.

Cao Dieu Tinh Giac.

Translated by Cao Dieu Mat Tu.


Vietnamese version: VÀI CẢM NIỆM VỀ TÂM PHÁP GỌI LÀ “TẤT CẢ TRONG MỘT”

  1. Tantra Mashita (Euro) says:

    Dear compassionate Guru,

    Thank you so much for sharing this article with us, I really admired it and I enjoyed reading it as well, actually the excellent Guru is so hard to find, the excellent Gurus don’t born anywhere, and it’s not easy to find them and stick to their teachings, we “your disciples” should be proud that we found an excellent and holy Guru like you, we’re lucky because we are your disciples and you offer the right, fastest, easiest and most fabulous ways and methods to practice dharma even in the most hectic days, thank you so much again dear holy Guru,

    I bow my head down to you
    I devote myself to you
    I express my gratitude to you

    May you have a good health and live long for the benefit of all sentient beings
    May all the sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha’s nature
    May the pandemic caused by corona virus soon end
    Om mani padame hum

  2. Abrar Bhatti says:

    Dear Guru Ji,
    I pay homage to our Guru Ji, who is our teacher and guide. Without our Guru help and guidance we can’t understand Dharma. I read your articles and attend Zoom inorder to enhance my knowledge, views, standpoint and wisdom. I want to be an ordinary Buddhist teacher one day through guidence our holy guru ji.

    Abrar Bhatti
    Philippines

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      Buddha thought: ” I was Buddha and sentient beings will the Buddha” . You will too! But you must read 2000 articles on chanhtuduy.com and must practice 6 methods of Pure Mind Yoga. It requires you to spend too much efforts and it take so much time! I think You are not enough to make it!

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      First, I want you will a true Buddhist who often read and comment on chanhtuduy.com!

  3. paul yawney says:

    Dear holy Guru, thank you for this article. It helps me to understand more the roll of the guru. In the 20 yrs I have been learning about Buddhism I could not find a Guru much Lees a temple close by.
    after meeting Violet she asked if I wished to attend your teachings. I agreed and it was the best thing I could have done. your methods make me want to learn more and to use what I have learned better.
    I have attended the classes and am sharing what I have learn
    ed. I try to keep the teachings in all the things I do.
    Mat Guru live a long and Happy life.
    OM MANI PADME HUM
    Tantra Himataru

    try to keep the teachings in all things that I do and think.

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      Thank you for your comment! I am glad to hear that you enjoyed my teachings and methods, and found them meaningful in making changes in your life. You’re right! That is my ultimate purpose to deliver the message of “Dharma is life, life is Dharma” so that the practitioners can reflect teachings in their daily lives, as what you have been trying. Please read more and keep up the good work!

  4. Cao Diệu Khải Nguyên says:

    Dear holy Guru,
    I have read this interesting article.
    The distinction between an ordinary guru and a holy guru gave me many thoughts. I realize that the older I have become, the more I admire the teachers that had inspired me in some ways. It is often that the knowledge that helps me most in my life often come from many unexpected teachers that I have encountered, they are not necessarily the best ones in terms of textbook knowledge or analytical ability, or even of setting an example, but they inspire me and engrave a mark in my mind that stays with me even after many years, unlike complex knowledge or analytics that tend to fade away in a short time. It is like a seed growing in me and blooms at the exact times when I need the fruits. With this realization, I know that Guru is indeed a grandiose, a holy Guru; because I often apply his methods, teaching, or sometimes just words that he taught me from simple occasions. They help me overcome my obstacle not even in Dharma practice but also in my daily life. Self-deprecating, depression, anxiety, nervousness, superficiality, and many more of the unwanted states, I found that they can all be cured or at least having a motivation to get better, by Guru’s mind dharma practice. I thank you for bringing your teaching into my life, helping me and others.
    I pray for the health and longevity of holy Guru for the sake of all sentient being,
    May all sentient beings be free from suffering,
    Om Mani Padme Hum

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