Finding Your Guru

Forum for discussion of Tibetan Buddhism. Questions specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
NeonPhoenixNeko
Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:55 pm

Finding Your Guru

Post by NeonPhoenixNeko » Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:23 pm

Hi! Would like to share my current experience and hear your experience with finding a guru!

My first post on here was the question - How To Start Tantra? I am happy to say that I may have met my root guru. He runs a small temple in Toronto but it one of the most radiant and full of energy.

He seems to be legit, and even says he will not take disciples unless he has known them for at least two years. He claims to have done a 4.5 year meditation retreat, and overall does not charge but only encourages donations to the temple for services and even teaches very simple yogas, which he claims to be lineage holder of, named 'Five Wisdom Yoga'. Does anyone know about this?

I am happy he will not blindly accept me. Many cult groups I have learned are eager to accept anyone. I would like to take the next 2 years to study the Hinayana (Theravada) scriptures. I have taken the 3 refuges and 5 precepts with a monk, which I feel very good about. Thereafter I may even need a few more years to study and practice Mahayana scriptures and take bodhisattva vows. In terms of Japanese Mahayana, which I tend to follow, I would probably do this at a Zen temple, they seem to be the only temple which offers them. Jodo & Nichiren are odd in that they offer sect-specific vows, which aren't really my thing, I think Buddhism should not be bound to a school, although I suppose I have to choose one or the other.

Are there any other qualifications one might say are good to investigate? Please tell stories of how you met your guru!

User avatar
Grigoris
Former staff member
Posts: 20137
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by Grigoris » Fri Apr 12, 2019 7:07 pm

NeonPhoenixNeko wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:23 pm
Hi! Would like to share my current experience and hear your experience with finding a guru!

My first post on here was the question - How To Start Tantra? I am happy to say that I may have met my root guru. He runs a small temple in Toronto but it one of the most radiant and full of energy.

He seems to be legit, and even says he will not take disciples unless he has known them for at least two years. He claims to have done a 4.5 year meditation retreat, and overall does not charge but only encourages donations to the temple for services and even teaches very simple yogas, which he claims to be lineage holder of, named 'Five Wisdom Yoga'. Does anyone know about this?

I am happy he will not blindly accept me. Many cult groups I have learned are eager to accept anyone. I would like to take the next 2 years to study the Hinayana (Theravada) scriptures. I have taken the 3 refuges and 5 precepts with a monk, which I feel very good about. Thereafter I may even need a few more years to study and practice Mahayana scriptures and take bodhisattva vows. In terms of Japanese Mahayana, which I tend to follow, I would probably do this at a Zen temple, they seem to be the only temple which offers them. Jodo & Nichiren are odd in that they offer sect-specific vows, which aren't really my thing, I think Buddhism should not be bound to a school, although I suppose I have to choose one or the other.

Are there any other qualifications one might say are good to investigate? Please tell stories of how you met your guru!
This person claims to belong to a Tibetan tradition, does not state what the tradition he practices is (or completed his retreat in), and his website is in Chinese with lots of pictures of some sort of Kung-Fu.

My BS meter is ringing loud and strong right now.

I could be wrong though.

Caveat Emptor.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

NeonPhoenixNeko
Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:55 pm

Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by NeonPhoenixNeko » Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:11 pm

I indeed also was suspicious at first, I avoided this temple for a long while as I was checking out what Toronto had to offer. I have gone 4 times now and each has been a very positive experience, although I admit I am still skeptical, as I suppose I should be.

Out of curiosity, what webpage did you come across, do you have a link to it? His name is Jam-Yang, perhaps you found a different person. I could not find any pictures of Kung Fu on his site, only Vajra Dance and Yoga pictures, if that is what you mistook it for.

Researching the guru is very important (he even told me that!) so I feel like he'd be legit... unless it's a reverse trap to make me trust him! Lol. I will be sure to investigate to which lineage he belongs to, if any other than this 'Five Wisdoms Yoga' practice.

User avatar
Grigoris
Former staff member
Posts: 20137
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by Grigoris » Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:23 pm

NeonPhoenixNeko wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:11 pm
I indeed also was suspicious at first, I avoided this temple for a long while as I was checking out what Toronto had to offer. I have gone 4 times now and each has been a very positive experience, although I admit I am still skeptical, as I suppose I should be.

Out of curiosity, what webpage did you come across, do you have a link to it? His name is Jam-Yang, perhaps you found a different person. I could not find any pictures of Kung Fu on his site, only Vajra Dance and Yoga pictures, if that is what you mistook it for.

Researching the guru is very important (he even told me that!) so I feel like he'd be legit... unless it's a reverse trap to make me trust him! Lol. I will be sure to investigate to which lineage he belongs to, if any other than this 'Five Wisdoms Yoga' practice.
https://fivewisdomtemple.weebly.com/201 ... 38203.html

PS If the "Five Wisdoms Yoga" practices he teaches is the classic one that is mentioned here, well...
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

NeonPhoenixNeko
Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:55 pm

Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by NeonPhoenixNeko » Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:16 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:23 pm
NeonPhoenixNeko wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:11 pm
I indeed also was suspicious at first, I avoided this temple for a long while as I was checking out what Toronto had to offer. I have gone 4 times now and each has been a very positive experience, although I admit I am still skeptical, as I suppose I should be.

Out of curiosity, what webpage did you come across, do you have a link to it? His name is Jam-Yang, perhaps you found a different person. I could not find any pictures of Kung Fu on his site, only Vajra Dance and Yoga pictures, if that is what you mistook it for.

Researching the guru is very important (he even told me that!) so I feel like he'd be legit... unless it's a reverse trap to make me trust him! Lol. I will be sure to investigate to which lineage he belongs to, if any other than this 'Five Wisdoms Yoga' practice.
https://fivewisdomtemple.weebly.com/201 ... 38203.html

PS If the "Five Wisdoms Yoga" practices he teaches is the classic one that is mentioned here, well...
This seems to have nothing to do with Buddhism. I wonder if this what it could be, he does claim it as 'tibetan yoga'. Does the 'well...' imply your skepticism? Looking online, I found within this book 'Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines', a chapter on 'THE PATH OF THE FIVE WISDOMS: THE YOGA OF THE LONG HUM'. Does this sound familiar to you?

Also he does list training at the well-known academy but does not state any certifications or which school he belongs to.

Thanks for taking the time to investigate with me.

User avatar
Dorje Shedrub
Posts: 248
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:23 pm
Location: Indiana, USA

Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by Dorje Shedrub » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:03 pm

When investigating a teacher it is important to know who his teachers are and who authorized him to teach. In addition, it is important for said teacher to be connected to an authentic lineage.

DS
Homage to the Precious Dzogchen Master
🙏🌺🙏 Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
🙏🌺🙏

pemachophel
Posts: 1465
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:19 pm
Location: Lafayette, CO

Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by pemachophel » Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:25 pm

If you're in Toronto, I don't think you could do better than Khenpo Sonam at the Riwoche Temple. There's no question about His bona fides.
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

NeonPhoenixNeko
Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:55 pm

Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by NeonPhoenixNeko » Sat Apr 13, 2019 1:35 am

pemachophel wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:25 pm
If you're in Toronto, I don't think you could do better than Khenpo Sonam at the Riwoche Temple. There's no question about His bona fides.
I have visited Riwoche for the pujas but got a vibe like I was an outsider... which I suppose is true. In general it was a solemn atmosphere, compared with this other temple which I felt had a life-like energy. But I'm also weary as some cult groups I have checked out have a positive vibe on the outside. Have you been to Riwoche, what was your experience? Does this guru speak english? Perhaps I just need to get to know others there, I am a quiet type after all.

User avatar
javier.espinoza.t
Posts: 1331
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:29 am
Location: Chile

Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:03 am

Dorje Shedrub wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:03 pm
When investigating a teacher it is important to know who his teachers are and who authorized him to teach. In addition, it is important for said teacher to be connected to an authentic lineage.

DS
:good:

User avatar
javier.espinoza.t
Posts: 1331
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:29 am
Location: Chile

Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:04 am

pemachophel wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:25 pm
If you're in Toronto, I don't think you could do better than Khenpo Sonam at the Riwoche Temple. There's no question about His bona fides.
there you go :good:

User avatar
javier.espinoza.t
Posts: 1331
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:29 am
Location: Chile

Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:08 am

NeonPhoenixNeko wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 1:35 am
pemachophel wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:25 pm
If you're in Toronto, I don't think you could do better than Khenpo Sonam at the Riwoche Temple. There's no question about His bona fides.
I have visited Riwoche for the pujas but got a vibe like I was an outsider... which I suppose is true. In general it was a solemn atmosphere, compared with this other temple which I felt had a life-like energy. But I'm also weary as some cult groups I have checked out have a positive vibe on the outside. Have you been to Riwoche, what was your experience? Does this guru speak english? Perhaps I just need to get to know others there, I am a quiet type after all.
finding a Guru is a very delicate thing, you are playing with and planning to invest the only things you have.

and rarely things are just as they look... just like words and meaning aren't the same thing.

Terma
Posts: 268
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:07 am

Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by Terma » Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:44 am

Dorje Shedrub wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:03 pm
When investigating a teacher it is important to know who his teachers are and who authorized him to teach. In addition, it is important for said teacher to be connected to an authentic lineage.

DS
:good:

Seconded...these are very important points.

I also might suggest taking your time a bit. Finding a dharma center close to where we live is usually quite easy. But finding one's teacher(s) doesn't always work the same way. It is really based more on karmic connection.

Case in point; I actually live near Toronto myself, and my main teacher is in New York, and I have to travel a little to see him. I just never really connected with any of the centre's here, but there was little doubt when I first came across my own precious Guru.

I suggest not to limit yourself to your own immediate geographical area. Take your time, because it is such an important thing! Make aspirations that you find your Guru. It is also helpful to search for Jamgon Kongtrul's prayer "Calling the Guru from Afar" and recite this with the same aspirations.

Best of luck to you!

jmlee369
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:22 am

Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by jmlee369 » Sat Apr 13, 2019 9:22 am

NeonPhoenixNeko wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:16 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:23 pm
NeonPhoenixNeko wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:11 pm
I indeed also was suspicious at first, I avoided this temple for a long while as I was checking out what Toronto had to offer. I have gone 4 times now and each has been a very positive experience, although I admit I am still skeptical, as I suppose I should be.

Out of curiosity, what webpage did you come across, do you have a link to it? His name is Jam-Yang, perhaps you found a different person. I could not find any pictures of Kung Fu on his site, only Vajra Dance and Yoga pictures, if that is what you mistook it for.

Researching the guru is very important (he even told me that!) so I feel like he'd be legit... unless it's a reverse trap to make me trust him! Lol. I will be sure to investigate to which lineage he belongs to, if any other than this 'Five Wisdoms Yoga' practice.
https://fivewisdomtemple.weebly.com/201 ... 38203.html

PS If the "Five Wisdoms Yoga" practices he teaches is the classic one that is mentioned here, well...
This seems to have nothing to do with Buddhism. I wonder if this what it could be, he does claim it as 'tibetan yoga'. Does the 'well...' imply your skepticism? Looking online, I found within this book 'Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines', a chapter on 'THE PATH OF THE FIVE WISDOMS: THE YOGA OF THE LONG HUM'. Does this sound familiar to you?

Also he does list training at the well-known academy but does not state any certifications or which school he belongs to.

Thanks for taking the time to investigate with me.
At least from the pictures, the ritual practices at this Five Wisdom Temple do not appear to be orthodox Tibetan ones. Further, while he states that he studied at Larung Gar, the guru images on display are of Sakya lamas, none of Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok to be found..
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:23 pm
PS If the "Five Wisdoms Yoga" practices he teaches is the classic one that is mentioned here, well...

For what it's worth, I know of at least one legitimate lama who teaches Five Tibetan Yogas which are almost but not exactly the same as the Five Tibetan Rites. However, it is presented more as a modern hybrid exercise than a purely traditional lineage of practice.

User avatar
Lingpupa
Posts: 325
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:13 am

Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by Lingpupa » Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:06 am

NeonPhoenixNeko wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:23 pm
I am happy to say that I may have met my root guru.
With all due respect, I wonder if you are jumping the gun to feel you have found your root guru so fast and so easily. Do think about it long and hard, please. There is no shame in being impressed at first and having second thoughts later as your experience matures.
All the best
Alex Wilding
Stupa in the Snow blog at http://chagchen.org/

NeonPhoenixNeko
Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:55 pm

Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by NeonPhoenixNeko » Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:32 pm

Indeed, I will keep an open mind and keep exploring. Like I said before I may not even choose a guru for 5+ years, I feel I have a lot of personal work / study to do before involving myself deeply.

In the meantime I will try to get to know more gurus around the city, I suppose just frequently visiting the temples would help me understand my connection or lack of.

I can tell there's lots of warning here, I appreciate it and will certainly keep in mind not to jump the gun!

NeonPhoenixNeko
Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:55 pm

Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by NeonPhoenixNeko » Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:34 pm

Also for financial reasons I'm more or less home bound to Toronto unfortunately, this could change later in life but as it stands I am a poor soul. :toilet:

pemachophel
Posts: 1465
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:19 pm
Location: Lafayette, CO

Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by pemachophel » Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:42 pm

Neon,

I have not met Khenpo Sonam, but He is the Teacher of one of my Teachers and, within Nyingma circles, He is highly regarded. There is no question about His lineage or training. I have never heard anything negative about him.

In terms of finding your "Root Guru," please don't rush. It typically takes time, like as in years, to develop the kind of relationship Root Guru implies. You can have many Gurus before you finally "find" your Root Guru. (Of course, you can also find your Root Guru walking down the street one day, but that's not so common.)

Good luck & best wishes.
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

merilingpa
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:10 pm

Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by merilingpa » Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:17 pm

Have you tried here ? Very nice lama. Teaches three year retreats in the Kagyu lineage.
https://sites.google.com/site/torontoktzl/

PeterC
Posts: 1047
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:38 pm

Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by PeterC » Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:24 pm

IMHO it’s not always very useful trying to figure out who is your root guru. In the course of your life you will probably meet several teachers and eventually one will emerge as the most important. That might not be the one who you see the most or who knows you the best.

What is extremely important is that whoever you do receive teachings from is qualified. There are libraries of advice written on how to determine that, and many recommendations of accessible teachers of unimpeachable reputation, so there’s no need to repeat that here. But I would say that one’s intuition is generally a pretty bad guide to assessing teachers. Accepting or rejecting teachers based on the ‘vibe’ you get from them is not a great idea.

I would also suggest Khenpo Sonam. He’s extremely experienced and very well respected.

User avatar
Dorje Shedrub
Posts: 248
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:23 pm
Location: Indiana, USA

Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by Dorje Shedrub » Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:51 pm

Aspiration developed and expressed by prayers such as Calling the Guru from Afar are quite helpful. Once you have found a possible guru, examine him or her, as well as yourself. Patrul Rinpoche gives the qualifications of guru and disciple in Words of My Perfect Teacher.

Many of us have gurus far from our home. The Internet can bring your guru to you, so you are not limited to teachers near your locale. Many teachers offer free teachings online. That is a good place to start looking for a guru. Facebook has a Online Buddhist Teachings group that publishes various upcoming webcasts.

DS
Homage to the Precious Dzogchen Master
🙏🌺🙏 Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
🙏🌺🙏

Post Reply

Return to “Tibetan Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: heart, Kilaya., lelopa, Majestic-12 [Bot] and 112 guests