Guru Devotion: First step towards total freedom

2009年8月13日 星期四 下午4:25 评论关闭

We must remember that the whole purpose of the practice is to destroy arrogance. When we submit to the Guru, it is not to lose our freedom; it is to gain full freedom. Through the practice of Dharma and Enlightenment, we gain full freedom. It is not just about getting money, long life or protection from obstacles. We gain full freedom – we gain control of where we go, what we do, our rebirth and how we benefit. We gain full benefit.

If, in our next rebirth, we want to have money, we will be born into money. We will be born where we want to be born. We gain full control. This is why we submit to the Guru. It is just like submitting to school, to training, to our teachers, to our parents, to our counsellors, to our psychiatrists and doctors. We all submit, we are already always submitting! We submit to our doctors to invade our bodies.

We only have one body – if he messes up, we’re finished! We submit to our beautician. One wrong jab and some of the muscles in our face will never move again! We submit to our teachers, we submit to our wives and husbands, we submit to our children. Some of us even submit to our dogs and cats; our lives are controlled by them! We cannot go anywhere nor do anything because we are completely controlled by our pets. We put ourselves into those situations, whether we do it deliberately or not. We are always submitting to others. It is nothing new to submit. Only now, it is to a person who helps us on the ultimate, highest level.

Devotion to and submission to our Guru is the beginning of us becoming independent – of our ego, of samsara and of our afflictive emotions. It may look like we have imprisoned ourselves, but if he is a real Guru, the minute we submit to him, believe, trust, let go and do as he says, it is the first step towards total freedom. The Guru will push us, give us assignments and design work for us that will help us achieve the six paramitas, Bodhicitta and compassion, which are the necessary prerequisites of higher practices that give us total freedom.

When you sacrifice, submit and do things for the Guru that you ordinarily would not do, you collect merit. Psychologically, you open up because this person will challenge you to become better. If we look at people who are close to the Guru, we will see that no matter how bad they are, they become better or they get some benefit – physical, monetary or emotional – most of the time. We will also see people who are forthright, improving and becoming better and better, year after year when they are around the Guru.

The minute you submit to your Guru, you immediately win your first day of independence. The day you meet a real Guru is the day he starts to separate you from him, to make you independent of him.

Real Gurus do not become clingy with us. They make us more and more independent. Their goal is to make us a Buddha, not to have companions around him. You may think you were working with your Guru last year, doing this and that with him, and question why you are not this year. You think, “Poor me, poor me. I did so much for you but you don’t let me do anything anymore this year. It’s so unfair. It’s so bad.” This shows that the student does not know the purpose of a Guru-disciple relationship.

Do you think the Guru has to be clingy with you? Do you think that the Guru does not like you or that he has rejected you when he switches your job or responsibilities around? Perhaps the initial methods were not working, so he does something else to help you. Perhaps you have already done and mastered a task so he may give you something else to help you develop your mind. Sometimes a Guru will let you be clingy, sometimes the Guru will make you not be clingy – it is your level that the Guru is looking at.

People do not understand Guru devotion. They think it is slavery. They think it is indoctrination or a loss of freedom but it is absolutely the opposite. When I hooked up with my teachers, I gained freedom. Look what I am doing now. Guru devotion was and is my main practice. When I had obstacles and problems, because I had so much faith in my Guru, my Dharma Protector in Gaden told me in an audience with him, “Don’t recite any mantras, recite your Guru’s mantra and you will be fine.” So I did; I recited my Guru’s mantra 100,000 times and my sickness healed. I did not need to do any pujas.

If you think this is slavery or induction, or the forcing of another culture, you are absolutely wrong. I will not be diplomatic about it. I will be diplomatic with everything else and give concessions because I know we are all trying, but not in the case of Guru devotion. There are no concessions. That is the pith of the path. Without an instructor, without a teacher, without someone to guide you, and without your cooperation with this person, what benefit can you derive?

Tsem Tulku

Excerpts from
Gurus for Hire, Enlightenment for Sale
An insider’s guide into the relationship between spiritual teachers, students and centres