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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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 +[[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]]
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 +======= 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-2
 +----
 +
 +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 2 - 21.01.2003
 +
 +Side A
 +
 +Last week Geshe-la began his teachings on the practice known as six-session guru yoga.  He began by speaking about the purpose for doing the practice. ​ That is to say why we need to do the practice. ​ When actually engaging in the practice of six-session guru yoga we begin by going for refuge and generating the mind of enlightenment. ​ In doing so one can either visualize the objects of refuge or merely go for refuge by reflecting on and becoming mindful of the qualities and kindness’s of the three jewels.  ​
 +
 +The main point is not whether visualization is taking place but rather it is the mindfulness of the qualities and kindness of the three jewels that is important.  ​
 +
 +Following going for refuge and the generation of the mind of enlightenment is the cultivation of the four immeasurables and this is where we left off last week.
 +
 +The quality of ones practice of going for refuge depends upon the quality of the causes for such.  The causes for going for refuge are two-fold and the more pure these two causes are the more forceful the ensuing practice of going for refuge will become.  ​
 +
 +The first of the causes is a strong fear or maybe even trepidation of the causes for suffering. ​ Alternatively we could say that we have to develop a fear or apprehension of cyclic existence and its causes. ​ In short one wants to generate a very strong wish to become free from these causes of suffering in cyclic existence. ​ The second cause to ensure a pure practice of going for refuge involves understanding the qualities of the three jewels and having a firm confidence that they can protect us from such causes of suffering in cyclic existence. ​ These are the two causes required for a pure practice of going for refuge.
 +
 +The second of the causes to ensure the pure practice of going for refuge, involves the conviction that the three jewels have the ability to protect us from the sources of fear and trepidation.
 +
 +The uncommon Mahayana method of going for refuge involves not only feeling fear and trepidation about the causes of suffering in cyclic existence for oneself but extending that type of attitude to include others as well.  In reflecting upon these points you develop the state of mind in which you cannot bear the fact that others suffer from such fear and trepidation and you develop a firm conviction that the three jewels have the ability to protect oneself as well as others from these things.
 +
 +Moving on we look at verse A2.
 +
 +May all sentient beings be parted from aversion and clinging, feeling close to some and distant from others,
 +May they win 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.
 +
 +The first of the four immeasurables is immeasurable equanimity and this involves developing the wish that we be free from any kind of closeness or distance, attachment or aversion towards all sentient beings.
 +
 +What is it we are trying to become free from in developing immeasurable equanimity? ​ It is in part this sense of closeness towards some and distance from others that we are subject to.  Where do these distinctions come from?  Well if we trace them back to the root we find that attachment and aversion are responsible. ​ Due to the attachment and aversion that we feel, we hold some to be close and hold others far away from us.  Thus we need to counteract this process by thinking that I should by various means seek to develop immeasurable equanimity in which I do not hold some close and some far but rather feel equally close to all beings.
 +
 +It says in some of the shorter commentaries on six-session guru yoga that if we are able to cultivate this sense of immeasurable equanimity, we will be fulfilling one of the samayas associated with Ratnasambhava. ​ There are nineteen samayas associated with the heads of the five Buddha families within mantra and some of these are associated with Ratnasambhava. ​ In particular the samaya that we fulfil when cultivating immeasurable equanimity is that of giving freedom from fear.
 +
 +Immeasurable equanimity as Geshe-la describes it, does not have this focus upon oneself as came through just now in Lozang Zopa’s translation so apologies for being misleading. ​
 +
 +In cultivating immeasurable equanimity one is not just praying that I can overcome this closeness and distance, attachment and aversion to all sentient beings but that all sentient beings be able overcome this closeness and distance that exists between them as well as between us.  The immeasurable equanimity that we are hoping for is the one including all sentient beings and not merely having oneself as the focus.
 +
 +The prayer is essentially that sentient beings become free from attachment and aversion. ​  And in becoming free from attachment and aversion they become free of the closeness and distance that they hold to.
 +
 +As Geshe-la explained last week the text know as Jorcho explains the prayers associated with immeasurable equanimity in a four-fold manner.  ​
 +
 +First one thinks that it is only suitable for sentient beings to become free from closeness and distance, attachment and aversion. ​ Then – may all sentient beings become free from closeness and distance, attachment and aversion. ​ Thirdly, there is the wish that – may I free sentient beings from closeness and distance, attachment and aversion. ​ This involves what is known as the highest intention. ​ And finally – appealing to the guru deity – lama please bless me so that I may be able to free all sentient beings from closeness and distance, attachment and aversion. ​  Thus there is a four-fold hope or prayer expressed in connection with immeasurable equanimity as explained in the Jorcho practice.
 +
 +In the English it is divided clearly into four lines and as you can see these four lines correspond to the four immeasurables. ​ The first line refers to immeasurable equanimity whereas the second line – May they win the bliss that is specially sublime - refers to immeasurable loving kindness. ​ Essentially this is expressing the wish that all sentient beings achieve happiness.
 +
 +Another one of Ratnasambhava’s samayas is that of giving loving kindness. ​ This will be explained later but generosity can also be referred to in a four-fold manner. There are four types of generosity – material generosity, the generosity of giving Dharma, the generosity of giving refuge or protection from fear and the generosity of loving kindness. ​ The cultivation of immeasurable loving kindness fulfils another of Ratnasambhava’s samayas related to the giving of loving kindness – the fourth generosity.
 +
 +The third line reads – My they find release from the ocean of unbearable sorrow. ​ In effect one is praying that all sentient beings be free from suffering and this corresponds to the cultivation of immeasurable compassion. ​ And May they never be parted from freedoms true joy corresponds to immeasurable joy.
 +
 +Mainly this is the practice of loving kindness and compassion.
 +
 +Here we are talking about meditation or cultivation that occurs on a mental level. ​ After all we are talking about working with and improving the mind, aren’t we?
 +
 +Given that the cultivation of equanimity, loving kindness and compassion is so foundational,​ is so important and given that the same is true of the practice of giving and taking, why is it that we so often have such a bland or neutral attitude towards them, as if these are things that neither help us nor harm us?  Do you ever get this feeling, that our approach to the cultivation of these states of mind is pretty blasé? ​  ​‘May all sentient beings have happiness – yeh, yeh’. ​ Maybe this is taking rather a dark look at the issue. ​ Maybe it’s not quite as bad as that.  But aren’t you ever left with the feeling that we are quite blasé about these things? ​ What do you think? ​ Do you really believe that cultivating these states of mind is a source of happiness?  ​
 +
 +A worst you might think that cultivating loving kindness and compassion doesn’t help anybody. ​ Slightly better than that is the thought that cultivating loving kindness and compassion might help you a little bit but it doesn’t help others.
 +It’s very important that we be able to conclude that these things are going to be beneficial or conclude that they are not.  Are you in a position to come to a decision about this?  Yes it is or no it’s not beneficial for others if we cultivate these things?  ​
 +
 +Do you have any questions about it?  I will repeat the question again. ​
 +
 +Are you in a position to decide whether or not the cultivation of giving and taking, loving kindness and compassion, equanimity and the four immeasurables can help others?
 +
 +How can it benefit others?
 +
 +Student1:
 +We are working with the mind in so far as we are replacing self-centred thoughts with altruistic thoughts to the point where it’s not just limited to the words we say but actually some kind of mental transformation takes place.
 +
 +Geshe-la:
 +We exchange the selfish thoughts for altruistic ones and then what happens?  ​
 +
 +Student1:
 +Then we become more mindful of the way we speak and act due to the force of the love and concern that we have for others whom we have equalized with ourselves.
 +
 +Gesh-la:
 +Any other opinions?
 +
 +Student2:
 +If we were all able to do that then there wouldn’t be any wars or at least that’s how the theory goes.
 +
 +Gesh-la:
 +(Speaking in English) This not possible? (laughter) ​ This not possible, I think.
 +
 +Student3:
 +We are developing the supports for bodhicitta so that we can be of most benefit to others.
 +
 +Geshe-la continues with the teaching
 +
 +These are the kinds of things we say in our nice cosy little circle here.  It’s all very impressive to say these things – ‘Oh yes it’s true to cultivate this, this is how we can help others.’ ​ Also – ‘you cannot attain buddhahood unless you cultivate these things.’ ​ These are all the things that we say in this little clique of ours. 
 +
 +Geshe-la would suggest that we approach this question in terms of looking at the purpose served from ones own perspective and from the perspective of others. Remember the basic question in hand is - how is it beneficial, what purpose is served by cultivating loving kindness, compassion, equanimity and the four immeasurables or giving and taking? ​ Remember this last one is very important. ​ Many of you will talk about cultivating giving and taking in other environments. ​ And when you do this people are going to ask you what good does it do to meditate on giving and taking? ​ And it would be nice if you could explain the purpose served. ​ It would be nice if you could say that doing so completes a two-fold purpose. ​ The purposes can be explained in relation to oneself and in relation to others.  ​
 +
 +Let’s take the purpose served in relation to oneself. ​ We have once again, two different aspects. ​ Think about how many times in the past we have injured or harmed others, acting negatively, due to the arising of ill will.  There are countless times in the past when ill-will has gotten the better of us and we have done something as bad as taking life, stealing or saying something harsh to another person and as a result accumulated a negativity.
 +
 +By giving rise to loving kindness and compassion which of course induce the mind of enlightenment or by practicing giving and taking we render the seeds of past negative actions unable to produce resultant suffering. ​ The source for this statement can be found within Shantideva’s text the Way of the Bodhisattva. ​ In this text Shantideva explains how the cultivation of these states of mind render the seeds of past negativities ineffective. ​ When you render these seeds ineffective it means you eliminate that seeds capacity to give rise to suffering as results. ​ That’s the first purpose served in relation to oneself. ​
 +
 +The second purpose served in relation to oneself is that if you really engender these states of mind then next time you find yourself in a fearful situation, you won’t dare respond in a harmful way.  You won’t dare give rise to ill will which then leads to a response that amounts to a negativity. ​ If you actually engender loving kindness and compassion or firm up your practice of giving and taking you will not fall under the sway of the ill will which motivates those negative actions.
 +
 +Be clear first of all about the two-fold purpose accomplishing cultivating these states of mind when explained in relation to oneself. ​
 +
 +In short we describe the two-fold benefit in relation to oneself as being the purification of seeds that remain from past negativities and the preventing of such negative acts in the future.
 +
 +Student1:
 +I can’t understand why the second one.
 +
 +Geshe-la:
 +It stands to reason that cultivating these states of mind will prevent the future performance of negativities. ​ Because in engendering these states of mind you are not going to kill, you are not going to steal, you are not going to commit sexual misconduct and you are not going to say harsh things and furthermore you are not going to give rise to ill will towards others for fear of what comes from falling prey to these things. ​ Are we clear about that?
 +
 +If you cultivate a clear sense of loving kindness and compassion, there is no room for these things to come about. ​ There’s no room for the root of these things – ill will - to arise. ​ There’s no ground for ill will.
 +
 +Student 2:
 +If you try to cultivate loving kindness and compassion every day and get into the habit of doing so does that habit itself purify the seed and ensure that one doesn’t perform the negativity in the future?
 +
 +Geshe-la:
 +This is what Geshe-la is getting at when he refers to this blasé attitude. ​ We talk about it and it all sounds so nice and neat – ‘If we were to cultivate loving kindness and compassion every day then would such and such occur? ‘  Think about it!  What if your mind became thoroughly acquainted and habituated with loving kindness and compassion, what kind of change do you think is going to ensue? ​ How do you think your attitude will change? ​ When this becomes a feature of your basic mental attitude, do you think you are going to give rise to ill will? 
 +
 +The way the student spoke about this its as if cultivating loving kindness and compassion is merely a commitment we have to fulfil and once we have fulfilled the commitment we are over and done with it.  It’s similar to the approach that a lot of people take to Vajravaraha – the Yamantaka sadhana. ​ We have this commitment to recite the Yamantaka sadhana once a day.  We think – OK fine, finish the prayers, close the book, now I’ve finished with the Yamantaka sadhana for today. ​ If you finish it in the morning then you have this nice pleasant feeling, this sense of accomplishment. ​ OK you’ve finished your commitments. ​ But is that the purpose for taking the Yamantaka empowerment??? ​ Are you fulfilling the need that drives a person to take the empowerment in the first place, merely by reciting this thing in the morning and never touching it again for the rest of the day?  The more you can acquaint yourself with these practices the better. ​ The more you can meditate on Yamantaka, the more efficacious and the more beneficial it becomes – of course.
 +
 +The student spoke about loving kindness and compassion in a way which made them sound like commitments that we just go through the motions of doing and leave it at that. But clearly this is not why we are doing these things.
 +
 +It’s not just this one particular student of course – it’s all of us.
 +
 +If the mind becomes imbued with loving kindness and compassion to the point where they are features of it then doesn’t that stop the opportunity for ill will to arise?
 +
 +This is the purpose of cultivating loving kindness and compassion. ​ Set aside the discussion of whether or not we are able to do this.  This is the reason why we need to cultivate loving kindness and compassion. ​ In cultivating loving kindness and compassion we lapse of course but we pick it up again until we can maintain these states of mind continuously. ​  ​Whether or not we are able to do it and maintain it continuously is not the point. ​ The emphasis is on recognising that we should make them a feature of our mind and once we do this then we should make them a continuous feature of our mind.
 +
 +Geshe-la feels that this is a good way to explain the purposes that are served in relation to oneself through cultivating loving kindness, compassion, the four immeasurables and so on.  He has already spoken at length at other times of how the cultivation of such attitudes can purify negativities and he quotes Shantideva’s text Way of the Bodhisattva saying that there is nothing superior to the mind of enlightenment in terms of its ability to purify negativities. ​ These attitudes of loving kindness and compassion contribute to and become features of the mind that is known as bodhicitta - the mind of enlightenment. ​ This is the reason for meditating on these things as explained from ones own perspective.
 +
 +Side B
 +If we develop these states of mind to the point where they are features of the mind and we see that there are purposes accomplished that can be explained in relation to others – that is to say that others also benefit as a result. ​ If you can cultivate a sense of loving kindness and compassion and really develop a stable practice of giving and taking then you find a sense of enthusiasm and a sense of courage. ​ You notice the arising of the highest intention.  ​
 +
 +These states of mind lead you to want to work for the welfare of others. ​ You want to benefit others. ​ You want to do things to help them out and furthermore with this enthusiasm you actually begin to do things in a genuine way.  You’re not disingenuous in your approach to accomplishing the benefit of others. ​ In other words you’re not pretending to do things. ​ You are not trying to project an image of yourself as someone who keeps the welfare of others first and foremost in your mind.  Instead you are actively working to accomplish the welfare of others without concern for your image. ​ You willingly take the hardships and sufferings of others upon yourself because you are actively engaged in the practice of tong len – giving and taking. ​ In taking you are taking the sufferings of others upon yourself and wishing them to be free from them.  And in giving you are seeking to give happiness to others bringing those things about for them.
 +
 +Through the enthusiasm and confidence that comes from maintaining a stable practice, you work for the benefit of others and thus there is the focus from the perspective of others as well.
 +
 +The purpose in relation to others is that which explicitly or directly helps others. Such a person works to alleviate the difficulties and hardships that others face. A person who develops these states of mind works to alleviate the sufferings of those with whom they come into contact and thus directly benefits others.
 +
 +Student:
 +Does this mean that if you don’t meet people then you can’t directly benefit them?
 +Geshe-la:
 +That’s right. ​ If you don’t directly encounter somebody, you can’t directly help them.  Maybe if you could send forth emanations….. (laughing)
 +
 +To continue. ​ Initially we must gain comprehension of the purposes accomplished in cultivating these states of mind ourselves. ​ Once we have comprehended the purpose of such meditations then we can explain them to others in such a way that they too understand the efficacy of such a thing. ​ If you were able to explain the benefits of cultivating loving kindness, compassion and so forth for both oneself and others in this way then a person is left with some type of understanding. ​ Gaining that understanding and the means of explanation also acts as a way for improving and developing the two-fold purpose of such a meditation. ​ For those reasons Geshe-la feels that it’s quite important. ​ Keep this in mind and see how it compares and contrasts with this attitude that making sure you meditate on loving kindness and compassion once a day – there’s a difference.
 +
 +In short it is important that we meditate on these things repeatedly and also that we listen to the instructions on how to meditate on these things repeatedly.
 +
 +Today Geshe-la had an interview with an old student who expressed the opinion held by many older students that they already know all about refuge and these simpler subjects. ​ Many people have the attitude that they have heard the teachings and they know all about refuge and the mind of enlightenment.  ​
 +
 +First of all it should be said that merely understanding and knowing about the mind of enlightenment and going for refuge is not enough. ​ You need to develop realizations of these things within our continuum, so understanding is not enough. ​ Furthermore we often times think that we have an understanding of something but it is not a flawless understanding. ​ We need to listen to the instructions repeatedly so that we can cut our doubts about them and develop wisdom. ​ Cutting doubts, developing wisdom and developing a realization of these things in our continuum needs to be done.  Leaving it on the level of understanding or having heard the teaching a few times and then thinking that those teachings are for beginners and not for oneself is not a proper approach. ​ Neither is it a proper approach to think that these teachings are for people who have done much more study than myself. ​ Taking either of these approaches – ‘oh that’s just for beginners, I don’t need that’ or ‘oh that’s for people who are more advanced in their study – I could never do that’ will be an obstacle to your development.
 +
 +It’s very important that in thinking about these issues we come to understand their purpose clearly. ​ We should try to gain a deep understanding of the need for such meditations and why we do them.  ​
 +
 +If you just think about these things yourself, then the purpose and the benefits may not occur to you.  So in addition to thinking about them yourself you should discuss them with others. ​ When you discuss these points with others, you hear what other people have to say on the issue and you get a range of opinions. ​ They may say something that hadn’t occurred to you and thus this adds to your own understanding. ​ Therefore discussion is very important.
 +
 +That should suffice for the section on developing the four immeasurables. ​ The main reason for cultivating the four immeasurables is to increase or develop the mind of enlightenment.
 +
 +There are different terms for instance ​ - awakening mind – this refers to the mind of enlightenment or bodhicitta. ​ It is called the mind of enlightenment because it is a mind that strives for enlightenment. ​ Is that clear? ​ So what about this awakening mind?
 +
 +Student:
 +Is it the mind that strives for awakening? (laughter)
 +
 +To continue. ​ It refers to making the mind more extensive more vast; causing the mind to expand beyond the concerns of only this life to include those of future lives as well as the aim of enlightenment – buddhahood. ​ In a sense awakening mind refers to making the mind more vast and extensive.
 +
 +Verse A3 reads –
 +
 +From this moment on, until I am a buddha,
 +May I never give up, though my life be at stake,
 +The attitude wishing to gain full enlightenment
 +In order to free from the fears of samsara
 +And nirvana’s complacency all sentient beings.
 +
 +This verse is known as the verse in which one takes the aspiring mind of enlightenment as a ritual or in other words one engages in the ritual of developing the aspiring mind of enlightenment. ​ It corresponds to the ritual that we follow in taking the bodhisattva vows.  When we take these vows we make a commitment or promise that from this day until we attain enlightenment,​ we will not forsake sentient beings but rather will continue to work so that they will be established in the state of enlightenment.  ​
 +
 +When we participate in such a ritual there is a samaya that says that we should develop or generate the mind of enlightenment three times during the day and three times at night.- six times a day.
 +
 +The verse may better be described as holding to the apsirational mind of enlightenment as a ritual because it refers to the promise not to forsake sentient beings from this day until they attain enlightenment. ​ You all know that there is this additional samaya that says we should develop the mind of enlightenment six times daily – correct?
 +
 +In fact the exact words used to convey this notion are – ‘develop the mind of enlightenment,​ three times during the day and three times during the night’ so that the mind of enlightenment does not decline in this life.
 +The more often we can develop the mind of enlightenment the better. ​ At the very least we should be developing it six times daily and generating it six times daily. ​ There is no need to worry that you are doing something wrong if you are trying to generate it more than six times a day.  The more often you can do it the better. ​ If one is able at the very least to do it six times a day, then you have fulfilled that samaya that we just mentioned that helps to prevent the degeneration of the mind of enlightenment in this lifetime.
 +
 +Are we all clear about this verse? ​ Do you understand what is meant by the aspiring mind of enlightenment,​ sometimes referred to as – wishing bodhicitta – if you prefer.  ​
 +
 +The mind of enlightenment has these two aspects - aspiring and engaging. ​ The aspiring mind of enlightenment refers to that mind which aspires to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings.
 +
 +Moving on, we go to the verses that correspond to the engaging mind of enlightenment together with its associated vows.
 +
 +Here in verse A4 we have –
 +
 +O buddhas, bodhisattvas and gurus please listen
 +To what I now say from the depths of my heart.
 +Just as all buddhas of the past have developed
 +The thought of enlightenment,​ true bodhicitta,
 +Then practiced its stages of graded development
 +Following the training for all Buddha’s children,
 +So may I too, for the sake of all beings,
 +Develop bodhicitta and follow the training
 +Exactly as all bodhisattvas have done.
 +
 +This is the verse that corresponds to taking the vows of bodhicitta. ​
 +
 +If you want to take the vows of engaging bodhicitta anew then you must to do so in the presence of the conqueror and his children. ​ First you would begin by visualizing the conqueror and his children as you do when visualizing the field of accumulation. ​ The central figure in this visualization is in essence the very kind root guru who has the aspect of Shakyamuni Buddha. ​ He is encircled by the various lamas, yidams, buddhas and bodhisattvas. ​ In visualizing this field you then speak the words as if you were repeating them after Buddha Shakyamuni who is inseperable from your kind root guru.  If you do the visualization and recite this verse as if you were repeating these words after the Buddha, this counts as having taken the vows of engaging bodhicitta.
 +
 +This visualization does not have to resemble the visualization found in Lama Chopa - the Guru Puja.  Rather it’s like the visualization we do of the objects or sources of refuge. ​ You can imagine the central figure who in essence is your kind root guru and in aspect Shakyamuni Buddha amidst clouds or as described here, seated on a very high throne and surrounded by the various yidams, buddhas and bodhisattvas.  ​
 +Most importantly you should imagine that you are repeating these verses after the Buddha. ​ If you go through these verses without doing this then although it helps to prevent the downfalls in your continuum from increasing, but it doesn’t count for taking the vows of bodhicitta anew.  If you want to renew your vows you must imagine that you are repeating after the central figure in the visualization. ​ When reciting this you are most likely going to be alone but you must have the attitude that you are repeating it after the central figure.  ​
 +
 +Student:
 +When you say that you take them anew.  Does it mean that when you break them, you can do this and renew them.
 +
 +Geshe-la:
 +Yes, that’s what it means. ​ We incur a great many downfalls related to the mantra and bodhisattva vows on a daily basis and by reciting the verse in this way we can renew them.
 +
 +There is a story about the precious and glorious lord Atisha, who said, ‘I have not incurred even the slightest infraction of the vows of individual liberation. ​ There have been some faults in relation to the bodhisattva vows but the infraction and faults of the mantra vows have fallen like rain.  If this is the case for the precious lord Atisha then you can imagine what it’s like for ordinary beings like us.  ​
 +
 +When speaking about abiding by the vows and samayas we speak about abiding in the sense of confessing and purifying the infractions as they occur. ​ It does not refer solely to abiding in the sense of never incurring any infractions whatsoever. Is this clear? ​ It’s something that Geshe-la has explained many times.
 +
 +Verse A4 is quite clear. ​ All buddhas, bodhisattvas and gurus please listen… ​ We begin by requesting the attention of these beings. ​ Please listen to what I now say from the depths of my heart, Just as all the buddhas of the past have developed the thought of enlightenment true bodhicitta. ​ The sugatas, those who have gone to bliss, have developed the mind of enlightenment themselves in the past and then practised the stages of great development. ​ Like that we seek to follow the training of the children of the Buddha.
 +
 +This text contains little interpretive notes and it says that having taken the vows of engaging bodhicitta then gather in the objects of refuge. ​ By the way its phrased in the text itself which is the Tibetan version, we can infer that the visualization that we began with can be used as the very same visualization that we use to repeat after to renew the vows of a bodhisattva.  ​
 +
 +After having taken the vows we can imagine that all these objects of refuge dissolve into us.  If we were to think that the initial visualization was not sufficient as a field from which to take the vows, then the sky in front of us would become quite crowded. (Geshe-la laughs). ​ You can maintain the same visualization throughout while generating refuge, developing the mind of enlightenment and developing the four immeasurables until you take the vows of engaging bodhicitta. ​ That’s assuming that you do the visualization in the first place. ​ As Geshe-la has already explained you don’t necessarily have to visualize at the beginning but if you do then the same one will suffice for the taking of the vows as well.
 +
 +If you have not visualized the conqueror and his children, that is in essence your lama in aspect Shakyamuni Buddha that is the objects of refuge, then you need to visualize them at this point if you intend to take the vows.
 +
 +Student:
 +Assuming that you want to take the vows anew.  Do you have to visualize? ​ Merely being aware of their qualities is not enough?
 +
 +Geshe-la:
 +Yes.  You must visualize the conqueror and his children in front of you.  There is no reference to being able to renew these vows merely by recollecting their qualities. ​ The process is different from that of going for refuge. ​ In going for refuge you only need to be mindful of their qualities but here you need to be repeating after them so you do need to visualize them.
 +
 +Student:
 +I get a feeling but I’m not very good at visualizing them yet.  If one does have trouble visualizing – what does one do?
 +
 +Geshe-la:
 +In such a case, even if one is not able to see the Buddha and the other objects of refuge very clearly, you must at the very least have this sense of being in their presence. ​ This is most important. ​ We must be able to conclude that we are in the presence of buddhas.
 +
 +Do you remember the logic that is used to prove that we are in the presence of buddhas?
 +
 +It is said that the body of a buddha pervades everywhere for upon attaining enlightenment the body and mind of a being become inseparable – a single entity. ​ So the body and mind of buddhas are inseparable. ​ Now this is really solid logic but it seems that people don’t really pay much attention to it.  They think – oh yes, they say buddha’s are everywhere. ​ But this is the logic that’s used to prove it.  Buddha’s are omniscient, which means the mind of a buddha knows everything and the body and mind of a buddha is a single entity - indivisible from one another. ​ Where the buddha’s body abides the buddha’s mind also abides, the buddha’s mind abides in all phenomena and therefore the buddha is ubiquitous – every present – all pervasive. ​ So there is no problem thinking that the buddha is in your presence, is there?
 +
 +If you have that thought then you think that you are repeating after these – those who are in your presence or whose presence you are in. 
 +
 +In general it is nice to try and get the visualization as clear as possible but at the same time to be too focused on that has its drawbacks as well.  If you think like that then there may be the tendency to dismiss the act of prayers if you are very busy.  You may think that you don’t have the time to say them properly so you won’t bother. ​ We should not discard the practice merely on these grounds. ​ It’s good to get the visualization as clear as possible but most important is this attitude, this feeling that you are in their presence.
 +
 +Verse A5 reads –
 +At this moment my life has become truly fruitful ​
 +For having attained an endowed human body
 +
 +We think that in having taken rebirth as a human and now taken the vows of engaging bodhicitta, my life has become fruitful.
 +
 +Today I have developed the true Buddha essence –
 +Bodhicitta, and thus have become a child of the Buddha
 +
 +The Tibetan text speaks about having been born into the family of the Buddhas and as a result become a child of the Buddhas.
 +
 +Verse A6 continues –
 +Applying now any skilled means whatsoever
 +May I always accord what I do with this essence
 +(And follow the actions of all Buddha’s children)
 +May I never confuse with this pure faultless essence
 +(Any teachings that lack this enlightening thought).
 +
 +This verse can be translated in a different way that refers to the fact that you don’t want to do anything to sully these pure teachings.  ​
 +
 +The preceding verses are included within the practice of six-session guru yoga but really they are the preliminaries for the actual practice. ​ From next week onwards Geshe-la will begin his explanation of the actual practice of six-session guru yoga.
 +
 +The actual practice begins from verse A7 - In the sky before me …..
 +
 +We come together at Chenrezig on a regular basis repeatedly discussing these points. ​ And as we have this opportunity to talk about these things its important that we clarify our doubts and really develop a clear understanding. ​ It’s important that we take advantage of this excellent opportunity that we enjoy.
 +
 +Geshe-la really encourages us to be wary of this tendency to think that we already know a topic, that we are familiar with it.  In fact this idea that we already know a teaching hinders our development in the same way that it does for many Tibetans who think that whatever is said is correct. ​ Both these views create obstacles.  ​
 +
  
six-session_guru_yoga_commentary_geshe_tashi_tsering_of_chenrezig_institute_2.txt · Last modified: 2018/02/26 18:13 (external edit)