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six-session_guru_yoga_commentary_geshe_tashi_tsering_of_chenrezig_institute_4 [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]], [[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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 +----
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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-4
 +
 +----
 +SIX-SESSION GURU YOGA
 +Geshe Tashi Tsering
 +Interpreted by: Ven Losang Zopa
 +Chenrezig Institute
 +Transcribed and lightly edited by Annis Dickson
 +(This text has not been checked by Ven. Losang Zopa so any mistakes are entirely the fault of the transcriber)
 +
 +Tape 4
 +
 +Side A
 +
 +Last week Geshe-la was explaining the visualization associated with the basis for accumulation. ​ He mentioned how we imagine in front of ourselves the throne supported by lions. On top of this throne is a multi-coloured lotus, a sun disc and a moon disc.  Ordinarily the symbolism of these three would be described as renunciation,​ the mind of enlightenment and the correct view.   ​However if we were to apply a unique mantra interpretation to it then we would say that the three represent or symbolize – illusory body, clear light and union. ​ If we are mindful of this while doing the visualization it will leave special imprints.
 +
 +The actual order of this uncommon mantra symbolism is clear light, illusory body and union. ​ The uncommon cause of union is the illusory body and the uncommon cause of the illusory body is the clear light. ​ For those of you who are familiar with theses stages of the grounds and paths of mantra you will remember that first one gives rise to what is know as the metaphoric clear light. ​ The metaphoric clear light then leads to the attainment of the impure illusory body.  Having attained the impure illusory body one gives rise to the actual or meaning clear light of the fourth stage. ​ The meaning clear light of the fourth stage in turn gives rise to the pure illusory body at which point one develops what is known as the union of abandonments. ​ Should the actual meaning clear light arise once again after that point, one goes on to attain the final union. ​ The inclusion of these three – clear light, illusory body and union – should be accompanied by the thought that they exist within the continuum of the very kind root lama in this case Lama Thubwang Dorje Chang (Guru Vajradhara) who is visualized as sitting on the lion throne in front of oneself.
 +
 +If we want to integrate this practice with the proper reliance through thought on the guru, then we should think that in order to lead us, all buddhas are taking the form assuming the aspect of the lama.  If we adopt the attitude that all buddhas are taking the aspect of the lama so that they can help us to progress then we are really fulfilling the essential and crucial points.
 +
 +The practice of guru yoga refers to the practice of union associated with the lama.  The inclusion of the conjoining aspect of the word ‘yoga’ involves the meditation of the indivisibility with ones lama and the Buddha. ​ If we can meditate in this way then we should be thinking that the lama possesses all the qualities of the Buddha, that all those qualities associated with buddhas are in fact possessed by the lama.  ​
 +
 +So to meditate on the essential indivisibility of the buddhas and the lama is a crucial point of the practice and if we are able to do this then three things may result. ​ Firstly, the lama Buddha acts as a basis for the accumulation of very vast merit. ​ Secondly it helps us to receive the blessings from the Buddha and lastly it makes it possible in the future for us to actually encounter the lama Buddha.
 +
 +The commentary also mentions that we can think that the lama that guides us in this lifetime is the same one that has guided us in the past.  We have come in contact with many root lamas in the past and for the sake of guiding us they have once again taken the form of a lama in this lifetime acting as our guide.
 +
 +The last moment of the learner paths according to the sutra tradition is known as the vajra-like meditative stabilization or in other words the vajra-like concentration. ​ According to mantra this last moment is known as the actual clear light at the end of learning. ​ Whatever the case may be when a person enters this state of meditative equipoise it is impossible for them ever to arise from it for they pass directly from that vajra-like concentration - the actual clear light at the end of learning - into the state of a Buddha. ​
 + 
 +In fact one of the qualities of a Buddha is that they never arise from this final meditative equipoise and from within that state merely by inhaling and exhaling they can send forth countless emanations to work on behalf of sentient beings – numberless emanations beyond the number of pores in the skin.   This is another one of the Buddha’s qualities.
 +
 +If we are able to call to mind the qualities of the Buddha and associate them with the lama then it helps us to establish these particular types of imprints as well as facilitating our training in faith.
 +
 +The lama of definitive meaning is the primordial wisdom of non-dual bliss and emptiness that exists within the continuum of the lama visualized as Guru Vajradhara.
 +
 +At its most condensed the Buddha families are included within the single family but we can expand this division to embrace the heads of the five Buddha families sometimes known as the five Sugatas. ​ In fact this can be expanded even further giving many different divisions including that of the one hundred families. ​ But at its most concentrated all of the buddhas are included within the one single entity and this is associated with the lama in the course of this practice.
 +
 +We speak about the five places and in the five places we can arrange the heads of the five Buddha families. ​  Ok - the five families are arranged at the five places, that’s fairly straight-forward. ​ Now what do we do with this large number of a hundred? ​ Perhaps you are familiar with the twenty-five coarse constituents. ​ When we remove the five primordial wisdoms from the twenty-five coarse constituents we are left with the twenty coarse constituents. ​ The twenty coarse constituents include things such as form and consciousness as well as the different types of aggregates as well as the six sources etc.  ​
 +
 +The enumeration of each of these twenty is not so much the point but rather the fact that there are twenty and each of the heads of the five Buddha families have each of these twenty coarse constituents. ​ Thus twenty times five makes a hundred and with each of the five buddhas at each of the five places there are the twenty corresponding coarse constituents thereby making up the symbolism for the hundred Buddha families – this is what it means.
 +
 +Another division that of the three families is associated with the syllables ‘om, ah, hum’ that we recite on a regular basis. ​ In turn these are associated with the body, speech and mind.
 +
 +The single family of the great secret refers to the family of Vajradhara.  ​
 +
 +The different divisions including the hundred families, the five families, the three families and the single family of the great secret are all described in detail in Guyasamaja.
 +
 +For added efficacy during this practice we are supposed to think that all of these various divisions are complete within the single lama who is the focus of the practice. ​ In this case that is Guru Vajradhara who is blue in colour and is pictured embracing a consort that resembles him in colour.
 +
 +Vajrayogini is visualized as being red in colour and is associated with the practice of tumo -  the fierce female - which is associated with the nature of fire and hence the colour red.  Being connected with the female in this regard it’s permissible to imagine Vajradhara’s consort as red in colour as well instead of blue.
 +
 +If you look at the root verse that mentions the consort, all it says is – holding vajra and bell and embracing his duplicate consort – the colour of this consort is not explicitly mentioned. ​ Geshe-la would speculate that the reason the colour is not mentioned is because it is permissible to visualize her being red as well.
 +
 +In general if a person was painting a thangka and they painted Vajradhara’s consort red or they painted Vajrasattva with a blue consort, people might think that a mistake had been made because these consorts are known as consorts similar to the males. ​ Vajrasattva and his consort are both generally depicted white and Vajradhara and his consort are generally depicted as blue.
 +
 +The common symbolism of the vajra and bell held by these deities is that the vajra is symbolic of method while the bell is symbolic of wisdom. ​ That is the explanation normally given. ​ However the explanation given in the commentary gives puts a unique mantra slant on it, by saying that the vajra of definitive meaning is the wisdom of great bliss while the bell of definitive meaning is the wisdom realizing emptiness.
 +
 +The central deity is known as Vajradhara or in Tibetan Dorje Chang – the holder of the vajra. ​ We are to imagine that the holder of the vajra abides in the state of equipoise in full possession of both the primordial wisdom of great bliss and the wisdom realizing emptiness. ​ This is what is known as indivisible bliss emptiness. ​
 +
 +Is everyone clear about the connection between the name of the deity and the symbolism we just dealt with - possessing the vajra, holding the vajra and the definitive meaning?
 +
 +Moving on – according to mantra there is a difference between indivisible bliss emptiness and the indivisibility of the two truths. ​ The explanation given in connection to this section - that is the symbolism of the vajra and bell - is linked to the indivisible bliss emptiness. ​ The sutra tradition will commonly refer to the integration of method and wisdom. ​ In this sutra context the method refers to the mind of enlightenment whereas wisdom refers to the wisdom realizing emptiness. ​ The more common term according to sutra is the integration of method and wisdom.
 +
 +While the sutra tradition only speaks of a wisdom realizing emptiness the mantra tradition speaks about a great bliss that is primordial wisdom realizing emptiness.
 +
 +The unique mantra understanding of the indivisibility of the two truths refers to the indivisibility of body and mind.  Here body refers to the pure illusory body and the mind refers to the ‘pure’ meaning clear light. ​ When one attains buddhahood and even before that when one attains the learners union body and mind become a single indivisible entity. ​ The single indivisible entity of illusory body and clear light is the indivisibility of the two truths - the ultimate truth corresponding to the clear light and the relative truth corresponding to the illusory body.
 +
 +Last week Geshe-la went over this whole section A7 in accord with the root verse. ​ This week he has decided to delve more deeply into a commentary on the words that are found within that.  After all the commentary that he is using as a basis does go into these things in detail.
 +
 +When the text reads – He shines resplendent with all the marks of a Buddha and is adorned with the many dazzling jewel ornaments – it is referring to these major and minor marks characteristic of a Buddha and also to the various types of jewelry – the ornaments such as the crown ornament and the necklaces and so forth associated with this particular form.
 +
 +The line – Draped with fine garments and enchanting, heavenly scarves – is self explanatory,​ it’s simply a reference to these garments that are said to be attractive and priceless. ​ They are no ordinary clothes.  ​
 +
 +The meaning behind the clothes is the dispelling of suffering. ​ In other words it’s a symbol for the path that dispels suffering. ​ That’s why the next line reads – Even the mere remembrance of him dispels all my torment – dispels suffering.  ​
 +
 +With the nature encompassing every supreme wisdom, he sits cross-legged in the vajra position. ​ The vajra position is said to be the position one is in when attaining the state of manifest buddhahood. ​ The vajra position that most of us use is really only the half-vajra and not the full vajra. ​ Imagining the figure seated in the vajra position is symbolic of the position one is seated in when attaining the state of manifest buddhahood.
 +
 +The three spots of his body marked with the three letters – this was explained last week.  It refers to the syllable ‘om’ at the crown, the syllable ‘ah’ and the throat and the syllable ‘hum’ at the heart that are in turn the syllables associated with the deities Vairochana, Amitabah and Akshobiya. ​ These three in turn are associated with the three vajras all three of which are only possessed by buddhas.
 +
 +We invoke guru Vajradhara from his natural abode. ​ This reference last week to the actual or natural abode is an indication that this is an invitation of the wisdom beings. ​ One invokes the wisdom beings in the form of Vajradhara who descend, later to dissolve. ​  What one should be thinking at this time is that light rays emanate from the syllable ‘om’ at the crown, ‘ah’ at the throat and ‘hum’ at the heart of guru Vajradhara to call forth the wisdom beings who then descend.
 +
 +There is a statement that the form bodies are arrayed from the sphere of the dharma body - that is the rupakaya is constructed from the sphere of the dharmakaya. ​ The dharmakaya has the aspect that is mind – the primordial wisdom dharmakaya and this mind aspect pervades all objects of knowledge – it pervades all things. ​ If the wind that is inseparable from this mind were to act as the substantial cause it would be creating or constructing the form bodies from the sphere of the dharmakaya.
 +
 +Invokes guru Vajradhara from his natural abode – they say that guru Vajradhara is arrayed from the natural abode of the dharmakaya. ​ Guru Vajradhara of course being associated with the rupakaya or the form body and thus Vajradhara is created or constructed from the natural abode of the dharmakaya. ​ So you don’t have to think that these wisdom beings are coming from far off places because this sphere of the dharmakaya the natural abode of the rupakaya pervades everywhere.
 +
 +We have imagined the guru Vajradhara as the sole image for the basis of accumulation. ​ Now remember from last week that that we decided it’s not a field of accumulation because that implies more than one – it’s a basis of accumulation. ​ The sole figure in this particular visualization is guru Vajradhara and initially this is just the commitment being - the samaysattva. ​ Just as all places are pervaded by the primordial wisdom of the Buddha so is this commitment being.  ​
 +
 +If the extremely subtle wind that is co-emergent and inseparable from that primordial wisdom acts as a substantial cause we could have the construction or the creation of the rupakaya in that very form itself. ​ The primordial wisdom of the Buddha that pervades the samayasattva acts as the cooperative condition whereas the extremely subtle winds upon which it rides acts as the substantial cause thereby creating an actual Buddha in the very place where we have visualized the commitment being.  ​
 +
 +You don’t have to think that this is just some construction of your meditation or a creation of you visualization. ​ Is it not true that the primordial wisdom is pervading everywhere and wherever it pervades there is the extremely subtle wind which when acting as a cause can establish the presence of a Buddha right there?
 +
 +When you think in this way about the pervasiveness of Buddha’s primordial wisdom and that it together with the extremely subtle wind can act as the cause for the arraying of the form body of the Buddha, do you get some special feeling about this visualization that it is no longer just a commitment being some meditation construction but an actual Buddha?
 +
 +Let’s be honest, we think that we are visualizing the Buddha but it’s not really there. ​ That’s what we think, isn’t it?
 +
 +But think about it.  Think about how the rupakaya pervades every place that the dharmakaya pervades and if you think about the equal pervasion of the form body and dharma bodies of a Buddha then there’s also a logical support for the meditation.
 +
 +This can arrest the notion or preconception of ours that what we visualize is merely something we meditate on and doesn’t reflect what is really present and we can overcome that preconception.
 +
 +The rupakaya arises from the natural abode of the dharamkaya. ​ When the text mentions invoking guru Vajradhara from his actual abode, this is what it is referring to.  It is the dawning of the form body from the natural abode of the dharma body – the body of reality - the body of form arising from the body of reality.
 +
 +As the body of form pervades the body of reality and in fact arises from the body of reality, then we can see that if we can create the necessary conditions from our own side then we can come into direct contact with the Buddha we visualize.
 +
 +When we reach the greater level of the path……..
 +
 +Side B
 +
 +…we attain what is know as the meditative stabilization of encountering dharma. ​ The absorption of encountering dharma is associated with the ability or capacity to directly encounter Buddha.
 +
 +Those people who have attained the absorption of encountering the dharma can directly encounter Buddha even in the presence of a statue or image.
 +
 +When we directly encounter the Buddha in our visualization it’s the same as another person directly encountering the Buddha in an image or representation. ​ It comes down to the same basic logic - the same reasons are present.
 +
 +If it’s not like that and there is no Buddha from the side of the image of representation of Buddha, what is it about this absorption of encountering dharma that leads to such an experience? ​ It’s not that Geshe-la is speaking about encountering something that isn’t actually there. ​ This is not the case.  It’s not that Buddha isn’t actually present, it’s just that we haven’t completed the conditions from our own side for being able to directly encounter that.  There is something to this.
 +
 +Perhaps you have heard of accomplishing Manjushri – accomplishing a deity. ​ This is clearly what’s being spoken about when we say that someone accomplishes a deity.  ​
 +
 +Think about the precious lord Lama Tsong Khapa who is said to have accomplished Manjushri and in doing so then directly encountered him.  When you accomplish a deity it’s not that you encounter something that wasn’t there before. ​ When Lama Tsong Khapa accomplished Manjushri it wasn’t as if Manjushri had to fly in like a big vulture to make sure that he was present at the right moment.
 +
 +It’s not that one is encountering something that wasn’t there before the accomplishment. ​ It’s merely that the accomplishment marks the completion of the conditions required from ones own side for such a direct encounter.
 +
 +You can’t say that Manjushri is present if he is accomplished and not present if he is not accomplished. ​ You can’t really say that, can you?
 +
 +It’s like this for all the deities including Tara and Chenrezig. ​ It never occurs to us that these deities are actually in our presence but it’s very natural for us to think that they are not in our presence. ​ Isn’t that the way it is?
 +
 +Geshe-la wants to encourage us to think about this – how we are affected by the instinctual misapprehension of the self that creates the vale and the various appearances that do occur to us. At the time of death the more coarse levels of mind stop and the extremely subtle wind and mind begin to function by establishing the intermediate state. ​ At this point in the transition period one can directly encounter different things.  ​
 +
 +We shouldn’t think of this stuff as being only related to religious issues or to some Dharma custom but rather think about how our innate vales – the misapprehension of the self and so forth in many ways determine our appearance and alter our perception of what is actually present.
 +
 +The commentary mentions that those people who have not found certainty in these issues can adopt a different attitude. ​ If one has not found certainty in the relationship between the rupakaya and the dharmakaya and you are somehow uncomfortable with thinking about things in this way then you can imagine that you are inviting the nirmanakaya form from the sambogakaya field. ​ That is also permissible.
 +
 +We have the four syllables – Dza hum bam ho.  The first syllable ‘dza’ denotes the approach or the descent of the deity. ​ The second syllable ‘hum’ is associated with the entering or the dissolution of the wisdom beings into the commitment being. The syllable ‘bam’ is associated with the binding and the mixing of the wisdom being and the commitment being. ​ Whereas the final syllable ‘ho’ is associated with the wisdom beings and the commitment beings becoming inseparable. ​
 +Alternative explanations are given in which the ‘dza’ is associated with the approach, the ‘hum’ is associated with the dissolution and the ‘bam’ is associated with the mixing. ​ The ‘ho’ can be associated with the integration becoming stable. ​ There are different ways to explain the ‘ho’ in particular but here the explanation is that it’s becoming inseparable. ​
 +
 +The different aspects of the practice fulfill the different samayas of mantra. ​ There are four samayas associated with Akshobya and these are the vajra, bell, the mudra and the acharya or master samayas. ​ The first three of vajra, bell and mudra are fulfilled later in the practice when we meditate on ourselves as Vajrasattva. ​ This part of the practice that is found at the end of section A7 fulfills that fourth and final samaya of Akshobya which requests that the acharyas or masters look after us or literally ‘hold us.’
 +
 +The request for the master to look after or hold us is a reference to the root lama who gave the empowerment to us.  It’s possible that you take different empowerments from different masters. ​ Maybe you take a Vajrayogini empowerment from one master, a Yamantaka empowerment from another master and a Kalachakra empowerment from yet another master, in which case you reflect mainly upon the master who bestowed the empowerment. ​ The master one meditates upon is the master associated with the practice one is doing.
 +
 +It’s possible also that you received the very same empowerment from a number of different masters in which case you can focus on the one that you feel closest to – the one that you find easiest to meditate on.  This section of the practice fulfills the aspect of requesting the master to look after us.
 +
 +The request for the lama to look after us should be fulfilled six times daily – hence the name six-session guru yoga.
 +
 +Verse A8 is a verse of homage or prostration – it reads
 +
 +I bow at your lotus feet, 
 +Oh my jewel-like Guru Vajradhara
 +Your kindness is an instantaneous dawn of great bliss
 +
 +A quick explanation is that ‘your kindness’ is clearly a reference to the lama.  The ‘instantaneous dawn of great bliss’ is a reference to the fact that through their kindness one can attain the primordial wisdom of great bliss that is symbolic of buddhahood in a very short time.  As Geshe-la was saying last week – instantaneous can be understood as a reference to the short life-time of a human in this degenerate age, as mentioned in the guru puja practice. ​ We can attain this primordial wisdom of great bliss that is symbolic of buddhahood in the short human life-span of the degenerate age and hence your kindness heralds an instantaneous dawn of great bliss.
 +
 +There’s meaning to be drawn from this isn’t there?
 +
 +Taking a highest yoga tantra empowerment is like opening the door to the attainment of buddhahood in this short human lifetime of the degenerate age.  Who is opening the door for us?  Of course it’s the lama who bestows the empowerment. ​ The lama who bestows the empowerment upon us is opening the gateway to the attainment of buddhahood in a very short time.
 +
 +Your kindness heralds the dawn of instantaneous great bliss – notice is doesn’t say that your kindness gives us instantaneous dawn of great bliss, because it would be very difficult for the lama to just give us this ultimate and final state of primordial wisdom – buddhahood. ​ The kindness of the lama is not so much in giving us or bestowing this state upon us as much as it is recognition of his kindness in opening the door.  He’s a very kind gatekeeper.
 +
 +Verse A8 is a general verse of homage. ​
 +
 +The verses that follow in A9 consist of these two eight line stanzas and are very precious and specific verses of homage.
 +
 +The verses of praise found in verse A9 are specifically directed towards mother tantra deities and these include Cittamani Tara, Kalachakra, Vajrayogini and Chakrasamvara. ​ Those of you who have received any of the mother tantra empowerments can recite these very precious lines of praise.
 +
 +The commentary says that those people who have attained mother tantra empowerment at this point have to adopt the supreme attitude with relation to Vajradhara as well as Chakrasamvara etc. by saying these eight line praises. ​  In fact this must be done if you have a mother tantra empowerment. ​ This obviously comes down an issue of samaya.
 +
 +Of these sixteen lines – eight correspond to the male aspect and eight to the female aspect.  ​
 +
 +The commentary doesn’t give an explicit explanation of these sixteen lines of praise. ​ They are in fact expressions of the qualities of the deities and a mention of their names. ​ Just to give you a feeling for what the commentary to these sixteen lines would read like - 
 +OM I prostrate to the Bhagawan Lord of the Brave Ones.  The syllable ‘om’ is generally understood to be the condensation of ‘ah uh ma’ which are said to represent to the body speech and mind of all buddhas. ​ Just as the syllables ‘ah uh ma’ come together to form the syllable ‘om’ then the body, speech and mind come together in the essence of all buddhas. ​
 +
 +The word Bhagawan ​ in Tibetan is ‘chom den dey’. ​ The first syllable ‘chom’ refers to the destruction of all disturbing emotions without exception. ​ Alternatively we could say – the destruction of all negativities – the destruction of negative things. ​ ‘Den’ is the syllable that means to possess – in possession of what? – in possession of  the unique qualities of a Buddha. There are many ways to describe the unique qualities. ​ Sometimes they are explained in the six-fold manner but there are other ways as well.   So - destroy, possess and finally ‘dey’ which means to pass beyond or going beyond the extremes of conditioned existence or peace. ​ This is a reference to the arhats’ nirvana so ‘chom den day’ or Bhagawan can be explained as being the destruction of disturbing emotions the possession of all qualities and the passing beyond the extremes of samsara and nirvana.  ​
 +
 +This is just the explanation of two of the words that can be found in a single line and the rest of the sixteen lines would follow a similar pattern. ​ Etc. for the other sixteen.
 +
 +We move on the verse A10 –
 +All the things I possess and what is not mine,
 +What is actually placed here and what I mentally create
 +I present you with an ocean-like cloud of these various offering
 +Outer, inner and secret
 +
 +In a slightly condensed way - you are making outer, inner and suchness offerings. ​ The commentary says that at this point you should imagine offering goddesses emanating from ones own heart making offerings to the lama as a result of which the primordial wisdom of bliss emptiness – this uncontaminated bliss - arises from the lama’s continuum. ​ This corresponds to the three-fold offering that we make on a regular basis. ​ The three-fold offering refers to – essence, aspect and function. ​ In essence the offerings are to be seen as primordial wisdom. ​ In aspect they have the form suitable to their context. ​ Perhaps they assume the aspect of the outer offering or the inner offering or the secret offering or suchness offering – the aspect can vary.  However the function of all offerings is the same – they are to be seen as having the capacity to induce this uncontaminated bliss.
 +
 +The text mentions explicitly that we should visualize ourselves as a yidam – the meditation deity – before sending forth the offering goddesses. ​ At this point in the text you should perform an instantaneous generation and this can be done using whichever deity you have the greatest familiarity with.  Once you see yourself as the deity then you send forth the offering goddesses that give rise to uncontaminated great bliss.
 +
 +The outer offerings are fairly straightforward. ​ They are the offerings that are symbolised by the Sanskrit words - argham, padyam and so forth. ​ The inner offering refers to the five meats and five nectars. ​ The secret offering refers to the secret of ones yidam in union with consort. And finally the suchness offering refers to the emptiness meditation that one performs in which one imagines that great bliss itself ascertains emptiness. ​ Therefore the emptiness meditation is a form of the integration or indivisibility of bliss and emptiness. ​ These are the four types of offerings – outer, inner, secret and suchness.
 +
 +There is the tradition of pouring a little bit of alcohol into small cups for the inner offering and we are all familiar with the role that alcohol plays in these ceremonies. ​ However there is a certain danger to this for it might be misunderstood. ​ In the Potola – His Holiness’s residence in Lhasa – in one of the shrine rooms there was a human skull that was used as the cup for alcohol. ​ A westerner went along and described in detail the contents of several of the rooms and one of them was the shrine room that contained the human skull. ​ In theses incredibly elaborate and detailed descriptions he included the fact that the Dalai Lama had in his shrine room a human skull filled with alcohol that gives the impression that the Dalai Lama sits around drinking alcohol from human skulls!
 +
 +Oh yes – those nuns at Chenrezig, they sit around and pour a bit of alcohol into a cup and have a bit of a drink in those very tiny glasses – I’ve seen them!  (laughter)
 +
 +It’s no big deal for those of you who drink alcohol but for us monks and nuns it’s a little bit more dangerous.
 +
 +Some of these secret practices are extremely powerful – really amazing - if practiced purely but when not practiced purely there are certain risks.
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 +The main practice of Nyngma’s in former times wasn’t introduced until people had proved themselves and worked with the preliminary practices for a long time.  These days the actual practice is taught in the very early stages but in former times the Nyngma lamas would make students finish all the preliminaries and then make them go through very extensive preparations before they introduced them to the actual practice.  ​
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 +This of course was very difficult. Many people couldn’t make it through the preliminaries and because they were ordinary beings they weren’t able to complete the preparatory training yet walked around as if they were masters of the practice, which is very unfortunate. ​ In fact this is also true today.  ​
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 +You should understand that in former times there was a lot of strictness associated with passing through the proper preliminaries and only then being introduced to the actual practice. ​ That approach is very efficacious because somebody who has actually gone through the proper preparation distinguishes themselves as one who is in a position to practice the main bit properly.
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 +Now one of the hallmarks of the Gelug style pioneered by Lama Tsong Khapa is this emphasis on approaching things only when ready. ​ He emphasised the observance of ethics at least on a basic level by getting his students to take the vows of approaching virtue - the lay-persons vows – and guarding those. ​ Before introducing them to the main body of the practice which had certain risks associated with it, he would teach the students the parts of the practice that were without danger. ​ Then slowly as they mastered these practices, allowing them to progress to the more risky aspects of the main body.
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 +In fact the Gelug and the Nyngma are the same.  What they are teaching and conveying is in fact the same in meaning. ​ There is merely a difference in the approach and the techniques that are offered to access that meaning. ​ This is the hope that still Gelug’s and Nyngma’s come down to the same points, just with different emphasis and styles.
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 +It’s OK to study in both traditions. ​ You can take teachings from Gelug teachers or Nyngma teachers. ​ There is nothing wrong with this.  But be honest about your own situation and where you stand regarding your capacity. ​ Think about it and try to determine how you can engage in the practice without endangering yourself – without risk.
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 +As Geshe-la has already said both these traditions are teaching the very same meaning but you might get a variety of results due to the techniques that are taught. ​ Even though the different practices have the same meaning, the way the technique is applied may be dangerous in one case and not dangerous in another. ​ So just a word of warning – be cautious!
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six-session_guru_yoga_commentary_geshe_tashi_tsering_of_chenrezig_institute_4.txt · Last modified: 2018/02/26 18:13 (external edit)