Finding Your Guru

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pemachophel
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Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by pemachophel » Tue May 07, 2019 4:04 pm

Just find "your" Teacher. Then just do what that Teacher tells you to do. That's what a Guru is for. So be sure to find the right one.
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

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Drenpa
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Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by Drenpa » Sun May 12, 2019 10:53 pm

There's nothing to decide when it comes to "root guru" in Vajrayana. Your root guru, or plural is some cases maybe, is the one(s)who's instructions bring you to real knowledge of your own nature. To total confidence in this. Full stop. If you decide something based on outer appearances, like "Hey this person looks great, they're my root teacher" you can very easily un-decide it one day when faced with contrary appearances. If you make a connection based on the actual instructions and your experience over time, then you won't be easily deceived.

If you're fortunate and live in a big city like the TO, and are interested in Vajrayana, you can receive teachings, many even, from lama's who have a good reputation and who are (at the time of investigation) beyond reproach. If you find out later that there's something seriously wrong, you can simply stop going to see that particular lama, you don't need to criticize or cause problems. Not saying you shouldn't do that either - if you experience or see clear abuse, then you're free to speak out about it. But there is no need to continue with a teacher if they turn out to be bad news. You can stop associating with them and maintain samaya. It's much more difficult if you've already spent a LOT of time and invested a lot in that teacher though - which is why the caution for teacher and student to examine each other carefully exists.

But the idea that you should wait 10 years in this day and age before even taking some empowerment or teaching is wrong. While an abundance of caution is warranted, there are places (like DW) or any place where a lot of practitioners congregate, where one can pretty quickly establish a Lama's bonna fides or lack thereof, in a general sense. If there's even a hint of weirdness that can't be attributed to simple issues of language barrier etc., then why bother kissing a toad in the first place? As they say, life's too short.

In general the answers you received here are excellent advice - and point out things to look for - For example someone claiming a certain lineage and yet you don't see the lineage head represented, or many other things that may not be apparent to a new comer - So you've done fine in asking and being open to the answers. Some people won't even do this much - they just decide on something and go with it - so thus far your search is well undertaken and you're to be commended for sure.

Good luck out there on the east coast - I'm sure you'll find a great connection when the time is right!!!

Hello from the WC of C-eh N-eh D-eh :)

NeonPhoenixNeko
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Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by NeonPhoenixNeko » Tue May 21, 2019 11:14 am

Drenpa wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 10:53 pm
There's nothing to decide when it comes to "root guru" in Vajrayana. Your root guru, or plural is some cases maybe, is the one(s)who's instructions bring you to real knowledge of your own nature. To total confidence in this. Full stop. If you decide something based on outer appearances, like "Hey this person looks great, they're my root teacher" you can very easily un-decide it one day when faced with contrary appearances. If you make a connection based on the actual instructions and your experience over time, then you won't be easily deceived.

If you're fortunate and live in a big city like the TO, and are interested in Vajrayana, you can receive teachings, many even, from lama's who have a good reputation and who are (at the time of investigation) beyond reproach. If you find out later that there's something seriously wrong, you can simply stop going to see that particular lama, you don't need to criticize or cause problems. Not saying you shouldn't do that either - if you experience or see clear abuse, then you're free to speak out about it. But there is no need to continue with a teacher if they turn out to be bad news. You can stop associating with them and maintain samaya. It's much more difficult if you've already spent a LOT of time and invested a lot in that teacher though - which is why the caution for teacher and student to examine each other carefully exists.

But the idea that you should wait 10 years in this day and age before even taking some empowerment or teaching is wrong. While an abundance of caution is warranted, there are places (like DW) or any place where a lot of practitioners congregate, where one can pretty quickly establish a Lama's bonna fides or lack thereof, in a general sense. If there's even a hint of weirdness that can't be attributed to simple issues of language barrier etc., then why bother kissing a toad in the first place? As they say, life's too short.

In general the answers you received here are excellent advice - and point out things to look for - For example someone claiming a certain lineage and yet you don't see the lineage head represented, or many other things that may not be apparent to a new comer - So you've done fine in asking and being open to the answers. Some people won't even do this much - they just decide on something and go with it - so thus far your search is well undertaken and you're to be commended for sure.

Good luck out there on the east coast - I'm sure you'll find a great connection when the time is right!!!

Hello from the WC of C-eh N-eh D-eh :)
Thank you! This is a great reply. Indeed I thought samaya was like adultery in that regrard, great to know I can do exploration as it feels right.

I try my best to not be discriminatory - but that does not mean I cannot judge good and bad. Therefore I will make judgements on various guru's, but with an open mind!

Also, why the urgency to enter the Vajrayana path? I thought learning and doing solo practice would be best to start, so that once I get into advanced tantra, I can do so with built up Sutra knowledge and meditation experience. Please share your opinion.

I assume you are in Vancouver? ^-^

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Drenpa
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Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by Drenpa » Tue May 21, 2019 9:47 pm

Thank you! This is a great reply. Indeed I thought samaya was like adultery in that regrard, great to know I can do exploration as it feels right.

I try my best to not be discriminatory - but that does not mean I cannot judge good and bad. Therefore I will make judgement on various guru's, but with an open mind!

Also, why the urgency to enter the Vajrayana path? I thought learning and doing solo practice would be best to start, so that once I get into advanced tantra, I can do so with built up Sutra knowledge and meditation experience. Please share your opinion.

I assume you are in Vancouver?
Depends on the person. Some people are like the proverbial "hair on fire" type who come to the teachings and dive in directly, never look back. Some work their way into it as you suggest, practicing on their own. You can always practice & read Sutra on your own, or with a teacher - there's no problem. Doing this kind of practice & study and making many aspirations can bring amazing benefit. If/when you're drawn to Vajrayana, then a teacher is indispensable after that point.

It's not as though there is a clear-cut progression for everyone though. It's not like starting grade one and going step by step to grade 12, necessarily. Be aware of that. Some (maybe most) Dzogchen teachers teach within the 9 yana framework and if they accept you as their student, will make damn sure you have a good foundation (or at least access to it) and understand the essence of Hinayana, Mahayana & Vajrayana. ChNNR taught this way, for example. Other teachers will follow an even more graduated system and teach many foundational teaching before even giving instructions on the preliminaries - it all depends on the teacher and your connection to them.

Don't confuse the admonitions re: going beyond hope & fear, ideas about "beyond karma" etc. as discussed in the scriptures discussing the state of Rigpa, with the need to discriminate as we navigate our lives. Of course we must constantly accept and reject, and make judgments to the best of our intelligence & capacity. We must work & cooperate with our mind as much as possible unless/until we have concrete realization.

Knowledge & study of the Buddha's teachings are never a waste of time. But if you have the good fortune to meet and receive teachings from the genuine article, then why not take it? Wishing you good fortune!!

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TharpaChodron
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Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by TharpaChodron » Wed May 22, 2019 4:34 am

Here's my question on this subject: When one finds a teacher they feel a connection to and have gone through the whole examining the teacher process and have confidence, how does one ask them to be your teacher?

Maybe it's not necessary to ask them in a formal way to be your teacher, but is it helpful to do so? I think there may be a formal procedure to ask, including making an offering (and what are then guidelines about proper offerings to a guru)? Has anyone here done such a thing? Did you ask about samaya and/or request a samaya commitment with them?

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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Wed May 22, 2019 6:00 am

TharpaChodron wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 4:34 am
Here's my question on this subject: When one finds a teacher they feel a connection to and have gone through the whole examining the teacher process and have confidence, how does one ask them to be your teacher?

Maybe it's not necessary to ask them in a formal way to be your teacher, but is it helpful to do so? I think there may be a formal procedure to ask, including making an offering (and what are then guidelines about proper offerings to a guru)? Has anyone here done such a thing? Did you ask about samaya and/or request a samaya commitment with them?
if he/she is realized then already knows. Imo, one can just start asking teachings and doing key point questions that you have recollected about your journey, like what to do with what makes you more trouble.

beg if necesary. i had to beg to please please tell me how to deal with stubborn siblings: "all tensions must dissolve in dharmadatu". so that i tryed and i think i succeded, i have no much tension now. That's my experience.

if one asks and the teacher answers directly to the substance in question it means one is considered suitable. the one become observed haha.

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heart
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Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by heart » Wed May 22, 2019 8:56 am

TharpaChodron wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 4:34 am
Here's my question on this subject: When one finds a teacher they feel a connection to and have gone through the whole examining the teacher process and have confidence, how does one ask them to be your teacher?

Maybe it's not necessary to ask them in a formal way to be your teacher, but is it helpful to do so? I think there may be a formal procedure to ask, including making an offering (and what are then guidelines about proper offerings to a guru)? Has anyone here done such a thing? Did you ask about samaya and/or request a samaya commitment with them?
If you can stay and receive a lot of teachings from the teacher then maybe it isn't so necessary since it becomes obvious. But if you don't see him/her very often then it might be a good idea.

/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)

yagmort
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Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by yagmort » Wed May 22, 2019 3:28 pm

TharpaChodron wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 4:34 am
...Maybe it's not necessary to ask them in a formal way to be your teacher...
in my really very humble opinion it is better to show your firm intent for a study and practice. then just put his/her instructions into practice and go with the flow. after certain amount of time your connection will deepen and it's gonna be obvious that you have guru-disciple relationship.

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Thomas Amundsen
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Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Wed May 22, 2019 5:07 pm

TharpaChodron wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 4:34 am
Here's my question on this subject: When one finds a teacher they feel a connection to and have gone through the whole examining the teacher process and have confidence, how does one ask them to be your teacher?

Maybe it's not necessary to ask them in a formal way to be your teacher, but is it helpful to do so? I think there may be a formal procedure to ask, including making an offering (and what are then guidelines about proper offerings to a guru)? Has anyone here done such a thing? Did you ask about samaya and/or request a samaya commitment with them?
I've never done it before. But I had a conversation recently with one of Thinley Norbu Rinpoche's students, who now goes by the title of lama. This lama did make an offering and directly asked Thinley Norbu Rinpoche to be his teacher, and he said yes, provided him with food and a place to stay, and gave profound teachings. Now Thinley Norbu Rinpoche meets him in dreams frequently. Just thought I'd share since I had this question for a long time and finally heard this anecdote first-hand.

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Drenpa
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Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by Drenpa » Wed May 22, 2019 7:19 pm

TharpaChodron wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 4:34 am
Here's my question on this subject: When one finds a teacher they feel a connection to and have gone through the whole examining the teacher process and have confidence, how does one ask them to be your teacher?

Maybe it's not necessary to ask them in a formal way to be your teacher, but is it helpful to do so? I think there may be a formal procedure to ask, including making an offering (and what are then guidelines about proper offerings to a guru)? Has anyone here done such a thing? Did you ask about samaya and/or request a samaya commitment with them?
Sometimes people just ask directly "Rinpoche will you accept me as your student?" or something like that if you have a chance to talk to the teacher. It's okay to ask, for sure, but I don't think it's always necessary. I was at a retreat with ChNNR and a new student living in Japan brought a beautiful hand made Mandala with him to teaching. He offered it to Rinpoche and said those exact words (as he recounted afterwards). Rinpoche beamed, put the Mandala on the teaching podium for the rest of the teaching so everyone could see it and enjoy, and said simply "of course!".

I personally never asked this in the beginning b/c I didn't have a clue when I met the teachings about any protocols, or anything of the sort. I just assumed like a dip-shit that if I showed up that was good enough. But it worked out as many subsequent interactions made it obvious it was okay. If the teacher responds to your questions and gives you direction after you show strong interest, then IMO that's perfect.

FYI I know of other people who have asked this question by e-mail, and the teacher responded and said "okay" or something like that. So there's definitely no problem asking directly if you feel moved to do so, but if the relationship is obvious and there, maybe just applying the teachings is fine, as someone suggested.

pemachophel
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Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by pemachophel » Wed May 22, 2019 7:26 pm

The appropriate offering is: body, speech, and mind as well as all one is and has.

There can be a formal ceremony.
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

Sennin
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Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by Sennin » Wed May 22, 2019 8:20 pm

TharpaChodron wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 4:34 am
Here's my question on this subject: When one finds a teacher they feel a connection to and have gone through the whole examining the teacher process and have confidence, how does one ask them to be your teacher?

Maybe it's not necessary to ask them in a formal way to be your teacher, but is it helpful to do so? I think there may be a formal procedure to ask, including making an offering (and what are then guidelines about proper offerings to a guru)? Has anyone here done such a thing? Did you ask about samaya and/or request a samaya commitment with them?
It took nearly a year of me asking one teacher I have complete confidence in to formally accept me as his student, and he as my guru; and bestow on me the wang, lung and tri.

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TharpaChodron
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Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by TharpaChodron » Thu May 23, 2019 2:25 am

Thanks to those of you who responded to my question. I have the good fortune to have pretty regular contact with said teacher. However, upon further reflection, I don't think I will soon be making a display of myself and "officially" request to be a student. I'll just continue developing myself as a practitioner and try to follow the teachings as best I can.

Thomas, thanks for sharing that story, it's very inspiring for sure. All this kind of brings to mind something Thinley Norbu Rinpoche wrote in "White Sail" that I like a lot:

"In this degenerate age, the great Buddhist teachings are often misinterpreted through nihilistic habit...If precious teachers are met, instead of respecting them and receiving their wisdom blessings through our devotion in order to awaken Buddha nature, there is only a wish to become their intimate friends in an ordinary way, to look important and gain status."

It's important to contemplate our motives for wanting a teacher and hopefully it's not for some idea of nihilistic personal gain. Even if it is for the right motivation, still we should maybe not grasp at appearances and try to solidify things too much.

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DechenDave
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Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by DechenDave » Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:39 pm

Sennin wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 8:20 pm


It took nearly a year of me asking one teacher I have complete confidence in to formally accept me as his student, and he as my guru; and bestow on me the wang, lung and tri.
Fascinating.
May I ask what this process looked like?
How often did you approach them? Did they actually say “no” for the first year - in person? Or did they do something like give you basic practices to do first? Simply ask you to wait until they gave an open empowerment? Or just no face-time/no answer?

Sennin
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Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by Sennin » Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:13 pm

DechenDave wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:39 pm
Sennin wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 8:20 pm


It took nearly a year of me asking one teacher I have complete confidence in to formally accept me as his student, and he as my guru; and bestow on me the wang, lung and tri.
Fascinating.
May I ask what this process looked like?
How often did you approach them? Did they actually say “no” for the first year - in person? Or did they do something like give you basic practices to do first? Simply ask you to wait until they gave an open empowerment? Or just no face-time/no answer?
Yes, I was given practices(ngondro, lung for a guru sadhana, a chod practice etc.) before I requested the empowerment. I was told to focus on those, even so, there was a specific wang I really wanted to receive so I asked him, and he said yes; but I had to wait for the right time. No doubt he was evaluating me. When the time was right I received the empowerment. I'm being purposefully vague, but I think you get my point. 8-)

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DechenDave
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Re: Finding Your Guru

Post by DechenDave » Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:47 pm

Sennin wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:13 pm
DechenDave wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:39 pm
Sennin wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 8:20 pm


It took nearly a year of me asking one teacher I have complete confidence in to formally accept me as his student, and he as my guru; and bestow on me the wang, lung and tri.
Fascinating.
May I ask what this process looked like?
How often did you approach them? Did they actually say “no” for the first year - in person? Or did they do something like give you basic practices to do first? Simply ask you to wait until they gave an open empowerment? Or just no face-time/no answer?
Yes, I was given practices(ngondro, lung for a guru sadhana, a chod practice etc.) before I requested the empowerment. I was told to focus on those, even so, there was a specific wang I really wanted to receive so I asked him, and he said yes; but I had to wait for the right time. No doubt he was evaluating me. When the time was right I received the empowerment. I'm being purposefully vague, but I think you get my point. 8-)
Gotcha. Thanks for answering.

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