What Devotion Really Is

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SonamTashi
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What Devotion Really Is

Post by SonamTashi » Sun Aug 04, 2019 12:15 pm

This is a 3-part series of articles written by Erric Solomon on Samye Institute's website. I thought it was very helpful, so I thought I would share it.

The first one is called Devotion Beyond Concepts:

Kyabjé Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche used to explain that devotion and love were both the rising of uncontrived love. When the object of that love is beings who are less fortunate (i.e. lost in samsara), then we call it compassion. When the object of uncontrived love is beings who are more fortunate than we are (i.e. the buddhas, bodhisattvas and great teachers), we call it devotion. It is through the transformative power of intense uncontrived love, that the naked empty essence of our mind will be directly revealed.
The second is Cultivating Devotion and Sometimes Saying No:
The practice of cultivating devotion is challenging and the process can be messy. We need to be gentle with ourselves. The point isn’t to have a set of rules about when to say yes or no, but to figure out how to be as authentic, vulnerable, and responsive as we are capable of being in any given moment. We don’t have to make ourselves go where we aren’t ready to go. It’s just like although Buddha fed himself to a lioness in a previous life it doesn’t mean that we should. We don’t have to force ourselves to live up to someone else’s ideals about devotion; devotion is about not being deceitful or hiding, and flexibly trusting a process rather than living up to a result we may not have realized personally yet.
And the third one is called Infallibly Inseparable:
Our dharmakaya nature is stainless, faultless or infallible. We can even get a glimpse of this in ordinary experience. The awareness that is the basis of mind, the knower of all experience is never harmed. When we are dull and sleepy or when we are sick or when we are elated, the quality of knowing is exactly the same. What is known changes, but the quality of knowing, stays the same. When we are dull, we know it, when we are sick, we know it. The knowing isn’t impeded by what appears in the mind. The knowing is unstained, unharmed by what is known; it is infallible. This example is to give you a sense of infallibility, but it’s just a glimpse.
:bow: :buddha1: :bow: :anjali: :meditate:

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weitsicht
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Re: What Devotion Really Is

Post by weitsicht » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:30 am

I also found the chapter on devotion helpful in this article "This Very Mind, Empty and Luminous" by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

https://www.lionsroar.com/this-very-min ... -luminous/
Ho! All the possible appearances and existences of samsara and nirvana have the same source, yet two paths and two results arise as the magical display of awareness and unawareness.
HO NANG SRI KHOR DAE THAMCHE KUN ZHI CHIG LAM NYI DRAE BU NYI RIG DANG MA RIG CHOM THRUL TE

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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: What Devotion Really Is

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:45 pm

may i ask what devotion is not?

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Sonam Wangchug
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Re: What Devotion Really Is

Post by Sonam Wangchug » Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:25 am

javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:45 pm
may i ask what devotion is not?
Doubt, arrogance, and judgement
"To have confidence in the teacher is the ultimate refuge." -Rigzin Jigme Lingpa

muni
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Re: What Devotion Really Is

Post by muni » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:43 am

javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:45 pm
may i ask what devotion is not?
When devotion and compassion are a separation, then it is attachment.
May I be a guard for those without one,
A guide for all who journey on the road,
May I become a boat, a raft or bridge,
For all who wish to cross the water.

Which human beings are “fortunate and connected?” They are the ones who generate love, compassion, and devotion, as well as the commitment to remain steadfast on the path until all beings are liberated. Venerable Khenpo Rinpoches.

Simon E.
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Re: What Devotion Really Is

Post by Simon E. » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:15 am

muni wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:43 am
javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:45 pm
may i ask what devotion is not?
When devotion and compassion are a separation, then it is attachment.
This flies in the face of all legitimate teaching on for example Creation and Completion. You are taking on a teaching role without the necessary underpinning knowledge, specifically you are conflating the absolute position and the skilful means needed to realise that position.
The process under the guidance of a qualified teacher involves taking a provisional position which sees subject and Yidam as separate. This not ‘attachment’ whatever that means in this context. There is a very real sense in which ‘attachment’ properly understood is essential to the eventual outcome of Deity Yoga.
It is a vital part of the process, not something to be willed away. Compassion is our natural state to be uncovered. It does not arise by wilful adhering to a stance or form of words or by avoidance.
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

muni
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Re: What Devotion Really Is

Post by muni » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:52 am

This flies in the face of all legitimate teaching on for example Creation and Completion. You are taking on a teaching role without the necessary underpinning knowledge, specifically you are conflating the absolute position and the skilful means needed to realise that position.
The process under the guidance of a qualified teacher involves taking a provisional position which sees subject and Yidam as separate. This not ‘attachment’ whatever that means in this context. There is a very real sense in which ‘attachment’ properly understood is essential to the eventual outcome of Deity Yoga.
It is a vital part of the process, not something to be willed away. Compassion is our natural state to be uncovered. It does not arise by wilful adhering to a stance or form of words or by avoidance.
Thank you. One thing what you are teaching me here is the very need of *trust-faith* in the Master, since without there is no student and so no master possible. Then the cultivation of devotion is not to reject at all.

Compassion is our natural state you say. Wonderful.

However I cannot see how Devotion could ever be separate from Compassion. But Faith in the Master-Teacher is crucial to get the blessings.
May I be a guard for those without one,
A guide for all who journey on the road,
May I become a boat, a raft or bridge,
For all who wish to cross the water.

Which human beings are “fortunate and connected?” They are the ones who generate love, compassion, and devotion, as well as the commitment to remain steadfast on the path until all beings are liberated. Venerable Khenpo Rinpoches.

Simon E.
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Re: What Devotion Really Is

Post by Simon E. » Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:23 am

Compassion might be our natural state, but much of the time we don’t feel it.
Most of us require a process. A teacher who can hand us back what is already ours at a pace with which we can cope.
The vast majority cannot simply leap to the absolute position by adopting a form of words no matter how accurately they express the eventual outcome.
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

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Grigoris
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Re: What Devotion Really Is

Post by Grigoris » Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:24 am

"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

Simon E.
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Re: What Devotion Really Is

Post by Simon E. » Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:38 am

What an extraordinary treasure she is... :namaste:
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

smcj
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Re: What Devotion Really Is

Post by smcj » Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:09 am

The vast majority cannot simply leap to the absolute position by adopting a form of words no matter how accurately they express the eventual outcome.
:good:
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that, through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: What Devotion Really Is

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:52 pm

I think that for many western students, unless one has the conditions for a deep teacher-student relationship, to sort of fall naturally into that.
I know this is the case for me.
One of the reasons is that dharma is intangible in a way. If you are learning how to, say, play a musical instrument, or operate a sailboat,
it isn't that difficult, because we see accomplished musicians all the time. We see sailboating as a reasonably attainable goal, with immediate results. You get out on the water, you pull the ropes to make the sail catch the wind. If your boating teacher says, "do this, do that" we just go with it, without a lot of speculation or doubt.
But dharma practice involves a reality that is purely conceptual, and even at times, non-conceptual.
The other reason, I think, is that we have a lot of baggage associated with words such as, "devotion", often thinking of it only in terms of outward manifestations, and this is complicated by how we see others express it. We might see images of tibetans offering white scarves with tears streaming down their cheeks, and we may think, "I just don't feel that."
But for each person, devotion manifests differently. It has to, because we all have different individual circumstances (karma) behind our present experience. Someone might argue that with devotion there is no doubt. But, for a person who has a predisposition to raise doubts, to remove all doubts, doubt itself is, in effect, what is offered.
Doubt is a kind of devotion, if it is motivated not by wanting to dismiss the teachings as false, but by a desire to firmly experience them as valid.

One thing to keep in mind, I think, is that if we do not see our teachers, and by "see", I mean, establish a firm conviction,
really believe that your teacher is "enlightened",
how can you truly believe that you yourself can become "enlightened"?
In that sense, I think, devotion is an expression of conviction in the actual possibility of liberation itself.
Devotion to one's teacher is, among other things, a validation of the teachings, and of one's faith in the teachings.
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