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six-session_guru_yoga_commentary_geshe_tashi_tsering_of_chenrezig_institute_1 [2018/02/26 18:13] (current)
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 +** [[Ayurveda Healing Arts Institute]] of [[Medicine Buddha Healing Center]] **
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 +Part of the List of [[Dharma Terms]] and [[Fair Use]] [[Hyperlinked Shastra commentary]] ([[Non-Profit Educational Purposes for Distance Learning]]) from the [[Buddhist Ayurveda]] Course ([[SUT560]] [[Introduction to Tantra]] and [[SKT220]]) on [[Sanskrit Terms]] of [[Ayurveda]],​ [[Tibetan Medicine]] and [[Dharma]] and [[CLN301|Consultations]]
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 +[[Buddhism Distance Learning]] | [[Ayurveda Distance Learning]]
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 +[[Recent Changes]] | [[Ayurveda Terms]] ([[Ayurvedic Chinese Western Medicine Terms from Marma Points of Ayurveda]] | [[Dharma Terms]] | [[Dharma Teachers]], See also [[Six Session Guru Yoga]], [[Extremely Abbreviated Six Session Guru Yoga]], [[Samaya]], [[Tantric Vows]], [[Puja]], [[Sadhana]]
 +
 +----
 +
 +======= Six-Session Guru Yoga Commentary by Geshe Tashi Tsering of Chenrezig Institute ======
 +
 +
 +For a formatted downloadable version, please see: 
 +
 +http://​www.ayurveda-california.com/​distance_learning/​index.php/​buddhist-masters-program/​six-session-guru-yoga/​6-session-guru-yoga-commentary-tashi-tsering-01
 +----
 +
 +
 +SIX-SESSION GURU YOGA
 +Geshe Tashi Tsering
 +Interpreted by: Ven Losang Zopa
 +Chenrezig Institute
 +Transcribed and lightly edited by Annis Dickson
 +(Any mistakes in this text are entirely the fault of the transcriber)
 +
 +Tape 1 - 14.01.2003
 +
 +Side A
 +
 +We receive vows and samayas and we participate in ceremonies where for instance we receive the vows of a bodhisattva or ordination vows during a monastic ceremony. ​ Because we hold these different sets of vows it’s important to practice six-session guru yoga.  So from the very outset it’s important for us to understand the purpose of reciting the six-session guru yoga. 
 +
 +The tradition of six-session guru yoga appears to have been started by Tibetan monks. ​ The reason for starting such a tradition seems to be linked to the fact that many of our vows be they vows of going for refuge, bodhisattva vows or mantra vows involve commitments to do certain things in six sessions in a single day. 
 +
 +When we take many sets of vows such as the bodhisattva,​ refuge or vows of mantra it involves making promises. ​ Many of us, if asked what we must do six times a day in relation to these vows, would not be able to explain our commitments much less the vows of mantra and so forth.
 +
 +In the text of the six-session guru yoga, all the commitments that you are expected to perform six times a day are arranged and included there. ​ Essentially by reciting the guru yoga it becomes very easy for us to practice the vows and samayas that we have committed ourselves to when taking different empowerments and participating in rituals.
 +
 +If we practice the six-session guru yoga the dividends will be great. ​ If we fail to do this practice the faults and losses are great.
 +
 +For a practitioner of highest yoga tantra it is of utmost and central importance for them to try and maintain a practice of six-session guru yoga every day.
 +
 +Geshe-la speaking in English - This is very important.
 +
 +We are all practitioners of highest yoga tantra and we all therefore have vows and samayas to uphold in relation to that.  Since reciting the six-session guru yoga is one way to uphold those vows and samayas, this practice is very important. ​
 +
 +In addition the text also includes confession and purification and Geshe-la dwells repeatedly on the importance of confessing and purifying every single day.  Therefore if it’s so important to do this and the requirement is fulfilled within the practice of six-session guru yoga then we have a second reason for doing this practice.
 +
 +The text enumerates the eighteen root downfalls and forty-six secondary transgressions of the bodhisattva vows in addition to the fourteen root downfalls and the eight heavy or literally thick major transgressions of the mantra vows.  One of the ways or methods we can employ to properly guard our vows is to understand what is not in harmony with them.  For instance by knowing the name and the way in which each vow and downfall or transgression is phrased we can gain an understanding of what acts do not accord with the vows and this is the first step towards guarding them.   
 +
 +These vows and root downfalls are outlined very clearly in the text.
 +
 +Even if you can’t recite a great number of prayers, try and recite the more extensive six-session guru yoga called the Full Six-Session Guru Yoga.  Doing so helps us to guard our vows and samayas. ​ There are different lengths of six-session and the most brief is a single verse. ​ The single verse itself says that when reciting it you are not actually fulfilling your commitment. ​ It is especially intended for people who are very ill or who are not able to recite one of the more extensive versions.
 +
 +Then there is the middle length version which in English is about two pages in length. ​ The question then arises does reciting the middle length version fulfil the commitment? ​ Let’s think about why reciting the six-session guru yoga is important. ​ It’s important because of the way it goes into all of the vows and samayas and the middle length version doesn’t do this.  It doesn’t mention the bodhisattva root downfalls and it doesn’t mention the tantric vows at all.  Because of what it misses out it doesn’t fulfil the purpose of the six-session guru yoga.  ​
 +
 +Geshe-la received the empowerment of the Vajravarahi when he was fifteen or sixteen back in Kham and he would recite the two-page version of six-session guru yoga on a daily basis. ​ Eventually he went to central Tibet to study at Sera monastery. ​ Once he arrived there he started thinking about how reciting the middle length version fulfilled his commitment to observe all these vows and samayas of mantra and bodhisattva vows, but he couldn’t come up with a good answer. ​ He didn’t see how reciting the middle length version, which omits the enumeration of the vows, is going to count for a whole lot.  Therefore you can see that the middle length version is just not going to cut it therefore we must recite the full-length six-session guru yoga on a daily basis.
 +
 +It should be clear that it is best to recite the full version.  ​
 +
 +We speak about observing or abiding by the vows and samayas and this means to try and act in accord with them and should you transgress them you should confess and purify that transgression. ​ We take the vows and samayas and commitments and hope that we are able to observe them and guard them.  If we have this hope to guard and observe them then its in our best interest to employ the best means to facilitate this.  It’s in our interest to the best of our ability to do what it takes to fulfil our commitments and for that reason it’s important to recite the full six-session guru yoga.
 +
 +If you can recite the full six-session guru yoga in a mindful way, thinking about what you are doing, this gives rise to the thought of wanting to guard these vows to the best of your ability. ​ In this way, doing this practice can actually inspire one to guard them fully.
 +
 +If you have the practice memorized then it’s not all that difficult, is it?  When you have time you can sit comfortably at home and meditate on trying to recite the prayer well.  At the times when you are busy, if you have memorized it, you can just recite it as you drive to and forth.
 +
 +When Geshe-la left Kham to go to Lhasa to study at Sera monastery he went on foot.  He walked all day and they were very long days.  As they say - lots of walking, empty mouth. ​ He was doing nothing with his mouth so he decided he may as well recite prayers. ​ He had the middle length six-session version memorized and although the commitment is to recite it only six times a day, Geshe-la was reciting it twenty or thirty times daily. ​ Sometimes he would just be walking and reciting, reciting, reciting. ​ If you have memorized this practice as well as other prayers then it is easy to keep up with the commitment. ​ Whereas if you don’t have these things committed to memory then you have to pull out your paper and it’s not always easy to recite the prayers with a piece of paper in front of you.  So there’s a benefit to memorizing prayers.
 +
 +As to the prayers that you can recite before eating a meal, there is one particular verse that you recite on a regular basis in Tibetan. ​ Actually this is a food offering but people around here seem to refer to it as blessing the food but it’s not actually the blessing of the food. The verse that you recite is in fact a food offering. ​ However one refers to this verse, it’s good to have it memorized. ​ In the past, Geshe-la arranged to have a very short verse written out so that people could recite it before they ate.  Tsering came up with the idea of putting it into the computer and printing it out in very small font on small cards so that people could keep it in their pockets and whip it out at meal times. ​ When you went down to lunch you could see everyone pulling out this little card and reciting the prayer. ​ Later, Nalanda monastery sent this other long prayer which we had laminated, but it caused difficulty because no one had memorized it and so you had to put your food down, pick up the big laminated card, push your food to one side and a lot of people were rubbing elbows and it was very difficult. ​ If you’ve got this big card and you don’t have it memorized its more difficult than if you had a verse you could recite in your mind.
 +
 +It’s only the monks and nuns that seem to recite this prayer. You don’t see lay people reciting this, do you?  ​
 +
 +Geshe-la speaking in English – Why?  (laughter) ​ Everybody needs to offer, isn’t it?  Especially lay people – more need.  (laughter)
 +
 +The few verses that Geshe-la prepared and were later put on the card were very similar to the sheet that Nalanda monastery gave us.  It’s not as long but in effect it calls to mind the same things. ​ Before eating we should recollect the three jewels and in recollecting the three jewels we should go for refuge to them.  Then having gone for refuge to the three jewels we do the actual offering of the food.  This is the general structure of the laminated prayer as well as the one Geshe-la handed out.  If you want to go into specifics, the recitation of OM AH HUM is considered a blessing and those people who have received highest yoga tantra empowerment can recite OM AH HUM three times and thereby bless the food.  However if you are going to consider that phrase as the blessing, what would happen if you applied logic.  ​
 +
 +Does this constitute a blessing for the food?  Not really because in order for this to be a fully qualified instance of blessing food first you would have to have an instantaneous generation meditating on yourself as the yidam and in the form of a yidam you have rendered yourself suitable to bestow a blessing.  ​
 +
 +It’s not very easy is it?  There’s this whole step you have left out, saying ‘OM AH HUM, OM AH HUM, OM AH HUM’, there you go!  Properly speaking, that’s not enough. Anyway forget about that!  Let’s just assume that only saying OM AH HUM  three times is enough, still there’s the importance of recollecting the three jewels and offering to them.  It’s important to make the distinction between food offerings and food blessings, really what we are doing is offering.
 +
 +When we were at Chandrakirti centre in New Zealand recently, the people who attended the course would be together and the cook would bring all the food out, put it on the table and everyone would stand around and prayers would be recited, mainly by the nuns.  A lot of the students who came to the course weren’t proper Buddhists, they were interested a little bit but had not had a lot of contact with this tradition. ​ One woman asked Tsering what was happening and Tsering explained that they were blessing the food before we eat it.  It didn’t go down well with this woman as Geshe-la just demonstrated by his facial expressions,​ she said –Blessing! What blessing!! ​ Where does this blessing come from!  She couldn’t work out how the two were connected.  ​
 +
 +Geshe-la speaking in English – Yes, this is true!
 +
 +There’s some truth in what she says.  If you are making a blessing then you expect some kind of transformation in the food.  If you are saying that you are blessing it and somehow changing this food then you need to be able to say how this transformation occurs and what the transformation is.  Tsering didn’t really have an explanation. ​ It’s difficult isn’t it?  It’s really not a blessing is it?  ​
 +
 +We use these terms, blessing, blessing, blessing, all over the place and then when people ask us to explain how this is a blessing, we have no explanation to offer.
 +
 +In fact many of the times when we use the word ‘blessing’ we are not using it correctly and this is why we don’t have an explanation to put forward. ​ What we are really doing is offering and if we call it offering then when someone comes along and asks what we are offering then we can explain how we are making offerings as a way of accumulating merit and there’s an explanation which is easily given.  ​
 +
 +Or we can just say we are making prayers because if you think about it, the things we eat, the things we drink, the things we wear all these come about in dependence upon others; in dependence upon the kindness of others. ​ In order to put the food on our table, put the drink in our glass and put the clothes on our back, many sentient beings have to give their lives or at least a part of their bodies to provide us with these things. ​ We can say prayers thinking about the hardships that others underwent in order to provide us with the things that we require so it’s appropriate to say a prayer when partaking of any of these things. ​ What we do can be considered such a prayer so it’s appropriate and accurate to make prayers before eating and so on.  Maybe the best way to explain the recitations is to refer to them as prayers.
 +
 +We should be using these words properly. ​ We should watch our language and the way we use these things. ​ We are using Buddhist ideas and terminology and we should use it accurately so that when others ask us, we have an accurate explanation to give.
 +
 +Similarly there is some basis to this notion of white foods. ​ In Tibetan it’s called kar.chog which means the white side. Because on days when you take Mahayana precepts or more particularly when you practice Nyung Nae one of the action tantras, you are supposed to make use of white foods such as yoghurt, milk and so forth and you have the white side of food. 
 +
 +Traditionally the white side of food is set up against what is literally translated as poultry products - products that come from chickens and so forth. ​ When doing a Nyung Nae, great emphasis is placed on the maintenance of ritual purity since it is part of the action tantra. ​ As part of these acts of ritual purity one partakes of the white side of food and is not permitted to partake of poultry products. ​ Now westerners being quite clever and having heard about the white side of foods have labelled the other type of foods black foods. ​ On the basis of the opposite of white being black, this makes sense.  ​
 +
 +The traditional contrast to white side foods is poultry products - things such as eggs.  Now poultry products is a general term and it’s not to say that everything is necessarily going to be a poultry product – it’s a name given to this category.  ​
 +
 +If you label a set of foods ‘black foods’ a non-Buddhist may hear you use this term and want an explanation for why such and such is called a black food.  Since you called it by this name you are going to have to explain why it’s termed black.
 +
 +Take for instance garlic – it is black because?????​ ( laughter)
 +
 +Geshe-la speaking in English – Maybe smell? ​ Garlic smell good or bad – not sure.  Many people garlic very much like. 
 +
 +The prohibitions on food are related mainly to the notion of ritual purity as taught for instance in action tantra. ​ The foods that are forbidden to be eaten while doing the self- generation in action tantra include things like meat, eggs and garlic. ​ They are forbidden because they are considered to be dirty. ​ This whole notion of dirtiness is tied in with ritual purity so you can see perhaps where this is coming from.
 +
 +If you think about it you can see why meat and eggs would be considered dirty and perhaps the reason garlic is included in the list of prohibited foods has to do with the fact that it gives off a bad smell once a person eats it.  You emit a foul odour.
 +
 +We can perhaps refine those statements a bit further by asking if it’s the garlic that smells or is it the by products that smell after the garlic has been eaten. ​ Garlic itself is not that smelly. ​ It only starts to smell once the person has eaten it.  A moment after eating it, they turn to you and talk and …… (Geshe-la wrinkles his nose) (laughter)
 +
 +It would be nice if we could offer and make prayers before we partake of things such as food and drink and clothing. ​ In doing so you will be able to explain the purpose of what you are doing and why you do it in a way that people can understand or at least find more agreeable. ​ It will also be an act that is in accord with the Dharma because in making offerings and praying you are being mindful of the kindness of mother sentient beings and how they have contributed to fulfilling our needs.
 +
 +Included within the advice of going for refuge is the injunction to offer ones things to the Buddha, offering ones food and drink. ​ Do you remember the advice or training precepts of going for refuge - the first of which is to offer food and drink to the Buddha.
 +
 +These things such as making offerings to the three jewels are all included within the practice of the full six-session guru yoga.  Thereby underscoring once again the importance of this practice.
 +
 +We have taken a lot of vows, bodhisattva vows, mantra vows and so forth. ​ Don’t think that you were mistaken in having done so, you weren’t. ​ But now that we have taken them we need to guard them to the best of our ability. ​ There is the danger from time to time that we will come close to transgressing them or acting in a way that is not in harmony with them   ​Practising the six-session guru yoga on a daily basis is one way that we can lessen the likelihood of acting in a discordant way.
 +
 +We have a commentary on the six-session guru yoga and it is mentioned that once one has understood that in receiving an empowerment of mantra there is a commitment to observe the many pledges that we have taken, six times during the day and night.  ​
 +
 +Once we have correctly observed the vows that we are able to observe and during the six sessions of repetition if one cultivates the mind of resolve and the intention to observe the samayas that we were unable to observe, then the door to the daily faults of the six sessions will be shut.
 +
 +Side B
 +
 +It’s excellent that we have taken the vows and samayas of a bodhisattva and a mantra practitioner – that’s great, that’s fine.  In addition to that it would be excellent if we could develop further the mind of enlightenment and give rise to the realizations of mantra. ​ Even if we are unable to cause bodhicitta to flourish and develop such realizations through these experiences,​ we should work to guard our vows properly and do what we can to prevent transgressions. If we do transgress then we should try to confess and purify them as soon as possible. ​ If we are able to act in this way even without the development of bodhicitta and the realizations of mantra, one can progress so that one attains Buddhahood in sixteen lifetimes.
 +
 +In fact it says that even if one is unable to practice many recitations then one must definitely recite these six sessions. ​ This is a very important point.
 +
 +The author quotes a text that says ‘Even if one does not meditate, if one is without a downfall then Buddhahood will be attained in sixteen lifetimes. This is the scriptural source for the comments that Geshe-la has just made.  Is that not a good thing?
 +
 +It should be clear from this quotation that we should act in such a way that avoids accruing downfalls and reciting six-session guru yoga closes the door to a great number of downfalls. ​ This should be a clear indication of the importance of reciting this text.  If we continue with the commentary, it says that if while observing ones samayas a person practices correctly then the best individuals will attain Buddhahood in this very life.  Middling individuals will attain it in the intermediate state and lesser individuals will attain it at the end of sixteen rebirths.  ​
 +
 +If a person does not miss any of the six daily recitations then that person will abide by the trainings of refuge. ​ Even within the advice given in going for refuge there are many things that they should do on a daily basis and reciting the six-session guru yoga helps us to fulfil those trainings.
 +
 +Lets move on now and consider the source of the six-session guru yoga.  It seems that the lineage of the six-session guru yoga begins with Panchen Lozang Chogyam but the text doesn’t say this very clearly. ​ Geshe-la is making a logical supposition based on the information that we have.  ​
 +
 +What the text does say very clearly is that the origins of the six-session guru yoga practice can be traced back to Lama Tsong Khapa’s text Explanation of the Root Downfalls in which he explains the bodhisattva and tantric vows and also his text The Greater Stages of Mantra. ​ In addition other texts such as Khedrup Rinpoche’s Festival of Yogic Play contain related points. ​ If we were to go through these texts with a fine comb then one would find the origins of the six-session practice. ​ From this explanation it seems that there was no practice of six-session guru yoga during the time of Lama Tsong Khapa but it was gathered together from his sources by masters such as Panchen Lozang Chogyam. ​ So it seems that Panchen Lozang Chogyam was the originator of this practice.
 +
 +We’ve discussed a little bit why the recitation of six-session guru yoga is important for observing the vows of refuge and bodhicitta but it’s particularly important for someone who has taken the vows of mantra. ​ The text continues by saying that a person who has taken the tantric vows in either of the two higher classes of tantra needs to perform six sessions. ​ In taking the vows one commits to nineteen samayas of the five families.  ​
 +
 +The samaya of the action family involves holding all Dharmas of sutra and tantra thus this is quite extensive. All nineteen samayas of the five families are reviewed in the six-session practice and thus in covering them, they can be fulfilled.  ​
 +
 +The text continues by saying that for every session that is missed one accumulates a transgression. ​ If one misses all six sessions in a single day then one accumulates six transgressions. ​ These different samayas will be covered in greater depth later.
 +
 +The six-session guru yoga practice begins with the verse of going for refuge and developing the mind of enlightenment. ​ It reads:
 +
 +I go for refuge until I am enlightened to the Buddha, the Dharma and the Highest Assembly,
 +From the virtuous merit that I collect by practicing giving and the other perfections
 +May I attain the state of a Buddha in order to benefit all sentient beings.
 +
 +You have probably all heard and recited this verse many times – you must be very familiar with this verse being the first one in the six-session guru yoga practice.
 +
 +The first two lines are the lines going for refuge and although they are very brief they are very important. ​ If you have the time it would be good to sit down and meditate together with the visualizations while reciting them.  In sitting down you visualize Shakyamuni Buddha who is in essence your very kind root lama.  To use the traditional terms we say ‘in essence the kind root lama, in aspect Shakymuni Buddha.’  ​
 +
 +Are you clear about what that means? ​ This is the wording we find in the practice of Jorcho. ​ In addition to the visualization of your kind root lama in the aspect of Shakyamuni Buddha, you imagine all the yidams in fact all the Buddhas encircling him.  In doing so you think that until I achieve enlightenment may I go for refuge to you the teacher. ​ In addition I go for refuge to the actual refuge the Dharma and to the Sangha who assist me in practicing refuge. ​ While doing so in a sense you are giving yourself over to the objects of refuge. ​ You are placing your confidence and conviction in these objects thinking that until I reach enlightenment,​ I seek refuge.
 +
 +In the Guru Puja you also begin the practice by visualizing the objects of refuge. ​ The commentaries to Lama Chopa describe the central figure in the visualization as being Lama Losang Thubwang Dorje Chang. ​ This differs slightly from the main figure in the visualization of going for refuge in the Lam Rim, where it says you go for refuge to your kind root lama who is in essence Shakymuni Buddha. ​ Though there are slight differences in the form and so forth in effect the object of refuge is still the same.
 +
 +A very typical visualization of the objects of refuge would have your very kind root lama in essence as the central figure but of course he assumes the form or aspect of Shakyamuni. ​ Then below him you have the lamas of the lineage, the lamas you have come in contact with and the actual lineage. ​ Then you have the yidams, the meditational deities and underneath them you have other Buddhas and then you have bodhisattvas,​ hearers, solitary realisers and Dharma protectors and guardians of the doctrine.  ​
 +
 +When you go for refuge, you go for refuge to the Buddha, the Dharma and the Highest Assembly. ​ When you go for refuge to the Buddha then you are going for refuge primarily to your Lama who has the aspect of Shakyamuni. ​ You are also going for refuge to the other lamas of the lineage and the yidams and other Buddhas as well.  ​
 +
 +In going for refuge to the Dharma you are going for refuge to the realizations and the experiences that exist in the continuum of those beings as well as those realizations and so forth in the continuum of bodhisattvas,​ hearers, solitary realizers etc.  Of course Truth Paths and True Cessations are the main objects of going for refuge in the Dharma jewel. ​   In effect these qualities exist in the continuum of many of these beings so you go for refuge to all of these qualities.  ​
 +
 +In going for refuge to the Sangha you could say that you go for refuge to all the beings, not just arya bodhisattvas,​ not just the guardians of the Dharma but also your own lama and yidams and so on.  Geshe-la laughs and says that when you go for refuge the Buddha you are just going for refuge to the upper half.  When you go for refuge to the Dharma you are going for refuge to all those qualities, realizations and experiences contained in all of them and when you go for refuge to the Sangha, you are going for refuge to the entire spectrum of beings whom you visualize.
 +
 +Included among the objects of refuge there are those that have achieved enlightenment and those that have not.  When you go for refuge to Buddhas you are obviously not going to go for refuge to all of them.  You are not going to go for refuge to those who have not attained buddhahood.
 +
 +It’s not strictly necessary that we visualize the objects of refuge when going for refuge. ​ As taught in texts such as the Uttara Tantra and the Sublime Continuum by Maitreya we can go for refuge by recollecting the qualities of the objects of refuge. ​ The Sublime Continuum isn’t the only text that describes the qualities of a buddha. ​ There are many sources where we can find such information. ​ In going for refuge you can call to mind the many qualities of the three jewels and that is an acceptable way of going for refuge. ​ It’s not strictly necessary to visualize them.
 +
 +Whether or not ones practice of going for refuge is pure and correct or not depends on having the two causes for going for refuge. ​ The two causes for going for refuge are having a sense of fear or apprehension of cyclic existence and the sufferings found therein and secondly having the confidence that the objects of refuge can protect us from those things. ​ In going for refuge we place our confidence and trust in the objects of refuge with the thought that they can help to protect us and afford a shelter from our fears and their causes.
 +
 +These are the two causes for going for refuge and if we go for refuge with these two in mind then our practice of going for refuge will be pure.  ​
 +
 +Are you clear on these two causes? ​ They have been mentioned on more than one occasion. ​
 +
 +In brief the two are to have a fierce fear of the suffering of cyclic existence together with its causes and to have a sense of confidence that the three jewels can provide us with shelter or refuge from these things. ​ It’s important of course that this conviction is based on understanding.
 +
 +The text continues by saying:
 +
 +From the virtuous merit that I collect by practicing giving and other perfections
 +May I attain a state of a buddha in order to benefit all sentient beings
 +
 +Now the wording here can differ according to the version of the text one has.  In place of virtuous merit sometimes they have the ‘accumulations of the collections’. ​ In wording it in such a way it includes the accumulations of wisdom in addition to those of merit. ​ Either way whether you speak about virtuous merit or the virtuous accumulations of merit and wisdom, one is making the prayer that the virtue that comes from such things helps us to attain the state of a buddha in order to benefit all beings. ​ Thus this is giving rise to enlightenment.
 +
 +The awakening mind is made of two aspirations and it’s important that in developing the mind of enlightenment we have both aspirations. ​ Just as the pure practice of going for refuge draws upon two causes, a pure awakening mind draws upon two aspirations.
 +
 +We speak about acting for the benefit of all sentient beings without partiality, without exception. ​ Our actions are supposed to act as causes for the attainment of complete enlightenment.
 +
 +Aspiring to attain complete enlightenment is something that you need to attain. ​ You might even say that it is an attainment that is for your own wellbeing. ​ Freeing all sentient beings from suffering is something that you do for the well being of others. ​ If we think about the purposes accomplished in both these aspirations it lends some power to ones thoughts.
 +
 +Because the practice has to be recited six times a day, one only has to recite the first verse once each time.  Reciting the first verse only once is sufficient because the later recitations which you must do will help to complete the extra recitations left over.  If you can only manage one at a time then make the effort to recite it once, but try and do so very well.
 +
 +The original Tibetan text after having given verse A1 it states that you should go for refuge three times in the day and three times in the evening. ​ It doesn’t make any mention of reciting verse A1 three times. ​ Therefore according to the Tibetan text it only needs to be recited once.  There’s nothing wrong with reciting it three times, you can recite it a hundred times without fault but at the very least you must recite it once.
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 +If you are reciting it in six separate session then you might go from A1 all the way down to verse C3 in which case you only need to recite the first verse once.  If you are reciting it all together – three session in one, then you will end up reciting it three times. ​ If you are reciting it individually then it becomes three times. ​ If you are reciting it all together then you need to ensure that it becomes three times.
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 +You should just know that when reciting it individually its not strictly necessary to recite it three times.
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 +It’s important for all of us to understand this but particularly the monks and nuns.  Someone might come along and ask ‘what do you mean – recite it three times?’ and if we have nothing to say then it becomes a problem.
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 +Of course it’s important to practice but before practicing it’s important to understand the practice. ​ As Geshe-la often says - we should follow in the wake of wisdom.
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 +The first verse contains both refuge and bodhicitta.
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 +By reciting the first verse including refuge and then going on by saying –
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 +By the virtuous merit that I create by practicing giving and the other perfections
 +May I attain the state of a buddha to be able to benefit all sentient beings
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 +Reciting that verse counts as developing the aspiring mind of enlightenment. ​ The mind of enlightenment is divided into the aspiring and engaging mind.  If we stand in front of an image or a statue and recite that verse it counts as generating aspiring bodhicitta.
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 +There is some discussion as to where this verse originated. ​ One tradition says that Atisha translated it into Tibetan. ​ Another tradition says that Atisha himself composed it.  This text holds that the latter is true, that Atisha composed this verse and therefore it is quite precious.
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 +What separates a Buddhist from a non-Buddhist is whether or not they go for refuge to the three jewels. ​ The person that goes sincerely for refuge in the three jewels can be considered a Buddhist. ​ The awakening mind of bodhicitta acts as the dividing line between Mahayana and Hinayana Dharma. ​ If one is motivated and maintains the practice of the mind of enlightenment then the Dharma ones practices can be considered Mahayana Dharma. ​ Both of these are quite important.
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 +The second verse reads:
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 +May all sentient beings be parted from aversion and clinging,
 +Feeling close to some and distant from others.
 +May they mind the bliss that is specially sublime,
 +May they find release from the ocean of unbearable sorrow
 +And may they never be parted from freedom’s true joy.
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 +This second verse teaches the four immeasurables - immeasurable equanimity, immeasurable joy, immeasurable compassion and immeasurable kindness and fulfils two things related to Ratnasambhava’s samayas. ​ It fulfils the samaya of giving protection from fear and giving loving kindness.
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 +When you go into the actual way to cultivate the four immeasurables you find that the method of meditation can be quite extensive. ​ If we look at immeasurable equanimity and how to cultivate it one should give rise to the thought – may all sentient beings be free from aversion and clinging – this sense of partiality, prejudice and favouritism. ​ May all sentient beings abide in a state of equanimity and may I cause all sentient beings to abide in this state and may I receive the blessings of the lama deity or higher deity.  ​
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 +You can see then how the practice of giving loving kindness might be fulfilled. ​ Also how the practice of giving freedom from fear might also be included. ​ Having wished for all sentient beings to be free from aversion and clinging, one then makes the wish that they become free from all sufferings as well. Then one assumes the highest intention thinking that now may that act as a cause for the attainment of such and may I receive the blessings of the guru deity.
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 +There is a verse similar to this in the Jorcho practice. ​ The actual verse goes something like – Bless me guru deity so that I may gain the ability to create the cause to establish such a state.
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 +When you have time and you want to cultivate the four immeasurables,​ you should be following a process such as that which is outlined in this verse in the Jorcho. ​ If you are too busy then its blah, blah, blah.
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 +Geshe-la has taught on this text many times but this time we have the opportunity to go through it in a more relaxed way.  The more relaxed we are and the more often we cover it then the clearer the practice becomes.
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 +It’s important for us to think about the purpose of doing the practice of six-session guru yoga.  Thinking about it will inspire us to do it.  ​
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six-session_guru_yoga_commentary_geshe_tashi_tsering_of_chenrezig_institute_1.txt · Last modified: 2018/02/26 18:13 (external edit)