The concept of the teacher’s “blessings”

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makewhisper
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The concept of the teacher’s “blessings”

Post by makewhisper » Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:31 pm

From “A Mirror Revealing the Crucial Points:
Advice on the Ultimate Meaning” by Longchen Rabjam: “Without genuinely receiving blessings, the tender shoots of experience and realization will not grow.”

What are the guru’s blessings? What is the mechanism that connects a teacher’s blessings to the student’s experience and realization?
ༀ་ཨཱཿ་ཧཱུྃ
Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ
Om Ah Hung

"Whilst lacking pure renunciation there is no way to pacify
The continual thirst for pleasure in the ocean of saṃsāra,
And since all living beings are bound by their craving for existence,
You must begin by finding the determination to be free."

[from Je Tsongkhapa's Three Principal Aspects of the Path]

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: The concept of the teacher’s “blessings”

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Tue Oct 31, 2017 3:03 pm

Here is an explanation I found helpful. The same idea also applies to how nirmanakaya work generally.

passel
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Re: The concept of the teacher’s “blessings”

Post by passel » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:00 pm

Devotion is the hook.
Devotion arises as the perfume of practice and draws the blessings.
Blessings enrich the practice, it’s a feedback loop.
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious

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Re: The concept of the teacher’s “blessings”

Post by Josef » Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:34 pm

Blessings are the energy of the lineage transmission entering into the students direct, personal experience.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.

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Re: The concept of the teacher’s “blessings”

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:59 pm

passel wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:00 pm
Devotion is the hook.
Devotion arises as the perfume of practice and draws the blessings.
Blessings enrich the practice, it’s a feedback loop.
I think it's usually said that the student's faith and devotion are the "ring" and the guru's compassion and blessings are the "hook". :)

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smcj
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Re: The concept of the teacher’s “blessings”

Post by smcj » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:21 pm

Josef wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:34 pm
Blessings are the energy of the lineage transmission entering into the students direct, personal experience.
That’s my impression too, but I don’t have a scriptural citation to support it. Do you?
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
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Re: The concept of the teacher’s “blessings”

Post by passel » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:30 pm

T.A.- plus I mixed my metaphors in the next line. Bush league
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious

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Re: The concept of the teacher’s “blessings”

Post by Josef » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:34 pm

smcj wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:21 pm
Josef wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:34 pm
Blessings are the energy of the lineage transmission entering into the students direct, personal experience.
That’s my impression too, but I don’t have a scriptural citation to support it. Do you?
Just mengak.
I received a pithy teaching on this from my guru recently.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.

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smcj
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Re: The concept of the teacher’s “blessings”

Post by smcj » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:37 pm

passel wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:30 pm
T.A.- plus I mixed my metaphors in the next line. Bush league
Yeah but...
Blessings enrich the practice, it’s a feedback loop.
I’m into the feedback loop thing.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
*****
Once in a while you can get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
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Re: The concept of the teacher’s “blessings”

Post by Astus » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:49 pm

"So when you supplicate them, even though, like your root guru, they cannot hand you attainment. or fruition; yet, like your root guru, they can influence and help you. It is not panicularly that by supplicating them they are pleased and therefore decide to share their spiritual wealth with you. It is rather that the devotion you generate in your supplication causes this blessing simply to occur."
...
"Supplication produces blessing, and although the blessing is understood as something given to you, something that somehow engulfs you from outside, in fact blessing really isn't given to you at all. When you supplicate, you generate faith and devotion. That faith and devotion cause the appearance of what we call blessing."
...
"To say that the blessing of Dharma enters into you does not mean that through receiving an empowerment you can immediately fly in the sky, or that you become intoxicated with some kind of mysterious spiritual drunkenness. It means simply that having received the empowerment, something changes. There will be at least a little increase in your faith and devotion, at least a little increase in your diligence. These changes in you are the principal blessing or benefit of the empowerment process. For example, many people have told me that they were previo·usly unable to understand or settle on the validity of Buddhism, but then, for one reason or another, they received the Kalachakra empowerment from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and thereafter have been intensely involved in practice. That is an instance of the blessing of empowerment. It is not necessarily that they are practicing Kalachakra, but that, because of that empowerment, they are practicing Dharma."
(Khenchen Thrangu: Creation and Completion, p 114, 117, 151)

"The Tibetan is jin gyi lab pa and means to be transformed through a certain environment and influence. This is the meaning of “blessing” from the Buddhist point of view. It denotes a total transformation from the core of our being, which is induced by different things happening around us. Empowerment, in its actual sense, should lead us to receive this blessing and to undergo a genuine and complete transformation."
(Ringu Tulku: Daring Steps Toward Fearlessness, p 133)

"Such an infusion of blessing can take place without any difficulty. It comes through invocation originating from one’s faith and veneration. A devotee with deep faith receives a powerful blessing. One with medium faith receives a medium blessing.One with lesser faith receives the lesser blessing. It is the nature of things that one cannot receive spiritual blessing without faith. For those practitioners who have failed to gain deep understanding, there is no other way except that of worshiping the guru with faith, and through meditation invoking his blessings. Even those who have gained understanding should continue to have faith in their guru as a means of strengthening and perfecting their inner development."
(Gampopa quoted in Mahamudra the Moonlight, p 136-137)

"Our capacity to receive the compassion and blessings of the teacher and the Three Jewels, therefore, depends entirely on devotion and faith.
Once, a disciple called out to the master Jowo Atisa, "Jowo, give me your blessing!"
"Lax disciple," Atisa replied, "give me your devotion ... "
So absolute unwavering trust, arising from extraordinary faith and devotion, is indispensable. It opens the door to taking refuge."
(Patrul rinpoche: Words of My Perfect Teacher, p 176)

"The guru's blessings are always present, day and night. The buddhas and bodhisattvas, all the masters of the lineage, and your personal root guru are always full of blessings, continuously, throughout the three times. But how do these blessings saturate our own mind-stream to bring us to maturation? This happens when the concepts of me and mine have melted away in the state of devotion. It is this ego that prevents blessings from ripening our stream-of-being. The concept of self melts away in the atmosphere of devotion. This is when the warmth of blessings permeates you completely."
(Tsoknyi rinpoche, in Dzogchen Essentials, p 13)

"Devotion is the root of blessings, the basis for receiving blessings. Blessings definitely do exist, so we should know what they are and what the role of devotion is in receiving blessings. Otherwise, there is not much point in devotion.
Blessings are contagious, so to speak, and are transmitted in a fashion that is rather like catching a cold. If somebody has a cold and you are too close, you catch a cold too. Likewise, if you get close to a master who has blessings, they can be transmitted to you. Blessings here mean the sense of some power of realization or power of samadhi, some kind of atmosphere of realization that is naturally present, You move close to him, in the sense of opening yourself up through devotion and making sincere, heartfelt supplications. In other words, you lower your defenses, whatever doubts and suspicions that prevent you from being "infected" with the blessings. The moment you do that, you catch a cold as well. Devotion is a very deeply felt and sincere emotion, which comes from the bottom of one's heart. It is partly a sense of really rejoicing, rejoicing in the qualities that are embodied in the teacher. At the same time, there is a sense of gratitude for the teacher's incredible kindness. This combination of rejoicing and gratitude is what opens us up, what generates devotion.
Devotion can be toward the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha, in terms of truly rejoicing in and appreciating their amazing qualities, of knowledge and compassion, and so forth. To be open toward that and rejoice in those qualities is one aspect of devotion. At the same time, when we understand how it benefits ourselves to train in the recognition of our basic nature, we feel gratitude, an appreciation of the kindness.
Otherwise, there could be many kinds of devotion. There is the devotion that is simply love, love generated by the thought, "He was nice to me, so I like him." There is devotion that is an admiration, in that you feel in awe of a person or thing. Then there is devotion inspired by some kind of longing to emulate someone-you want to be like that as well. However, in the beginning, devotion is some kind of fabrication. We are trying to feel in a certain way, trying to open up. It is artificial, but it makes us grow closer to understanding the view, in the sense that devotion opens us up to realize emptiness, makes it easier. When some authentic experience of emptiness strengthens devotion even further, at that point it is no longer artificial or contrived. We may begin by trying to feel devotion, and then, later on, actual experience allows it to become totally uncontrived. Uncontrived devotion springs out of the experience of the view. Because when there is some seeing in actuality of what is called rigpa or ordinary mind, the natural mind that really solves or liberates disturbing emotions-when the conceptual frame of mind is opened up. by this recognition-then we have a personal taste of the value and the worth of the practice. It is that real appreciation that is uncontrived devotion. In this way, devotion and the view of emptiness mutually strengthen one another."
(Tsoknyi rinpoche, in Dzogchen Primer, p 163-164)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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smcj
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Re: The concept of the teacher’s “blessings”

Post by smcj » Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:03 pm

That’s not like one of your usual posts Altus. Ya gettin’ all devotional on us all of a sudden?

Welcome to the club.
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Re: The concept of the teacher’s “blessings”

Post by passel » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:52 am

Especially those quotes from Tsoknyi Rinpoche seem to point out that devotion is the blessing.
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious

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Re: The concept of the teacher’s “blessings”

Post by krodha » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:58 am

Malcolm wrote before:

  • Byin rlabs [blessing] means quite literally "conferral [rlabs] of power [byin]."

    Byin is defined in Tibetan as "the ability or power to transform the minds and vision/appearances of another."

    The word Byin rlabs is defined in Tibetan as "the power to remain in any subject of the Dharma of the Noble Path."

Loppön La elaborates further:

  • "Blessing" here just means the power of one person to inspire another to follow the path in some way. That's all. There is no Dharma called "blessing", no magical force called "blessing". If there was, the Buddha, being compassionate, would have blessed us all into nirvana long ago.

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Re: The concept of the teacher’s “blessings”

Post by krodha » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:54 am

smcj wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:30 am
Astus wrote:"Our capacity to receive the compassion and blessings of the teacher and the Three Jewels, therefore, depends entirely on devotion and faith.
Once, a disciple called out to the master Jowo Atisa, "Jowo, give me your blessing!"
"Lax disciple," Atisa replied, "give me your devotion ... "
So absolute unwavering trust, arising from extraordinary faith and devotion, is indispensable. It opens the door to taking refuge."
(Patrul rinpoche: Words of My Perfect Teacher, p 176)
The question is whether "devotion" and "faith" in this context mean what you think they mean. You are projecting Christian-like characteristics onto these descriptions when I personally think "faith" and "devotion" simply mean genuine trust, interest, commitment, etc.

Essentially that if the buddhadharma and the teaching transmitted (along with the relationship with the teacher) are to have any actual potential one must be serious and have integrity. You won't have success unless you are devoted and have faith in the teacher and the teachings.

But this doesn't mean some sort of bhākti like blessing-devotion and religious faith, like faith in a higher power etc., are involved.

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Re: The concept of the teacher’s “blessings”

Post by smcj » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:19 am

The question is whether "devotion" and "faith" in this context mean what you think they mean. You are projecting Christian-like characteristics onto these descriptions when I personally think "faith" and "devotion" simply mean genuine trust, interest, commitment, etc.

Essentially that if the buddhadharma and the teaching transmitted (along with the relationship with the teacher) are to have any actual potential one must be serious and have integrity. You won't have success unless you are devoted and have faith in the teacher and the teachings.

But this doesn't mean some sort of bhākti like blessing-devotion and religious faith, like faith in a higher power etc., are involved.
I disagree. Besides the quotes Astus just provided I'd like to quote Kalu R. from "Foundations of Tibetan Buddhism". Unfortunately I gave away my copy so I cannot give an exact quote. Perhaps someone else has a copy handy and can give correct my post. (It's from the first paragraph in the chapter devoted to Guru Yoga.) But basically he says that your general Mahayana teacher should be thought of and related to as you say, but in the Vajryana the guru is seen differently and you actually pray to him for blessings.

I do not think I am inappropriately importing this from Christianity. I think Malcolm and you are inappropriately excluding it because of your antipathy towards Christianity.

I am expressing my opinion/understanding based on my relationships with my teachers and what I've read. People are free to disagree with me. Anyone that has questions about this I encourage them to seek out and ask an ethnically Tibetan lama about it. The anti-Christian prejudice that has been imported into Dharma by Westerners will just about guarantee that a western lama will give a different answer than someone raised in a culturally Tibetan environment. It's not racist statement. It's a cultural statement.
Astus wrote:"Such an infusion of blessing can take place without any difficulty. It comes through invocation originating from one’s faith and veneration. A devotee with deep faith receives a powerful blessing. One with medium faith receives a medium blessing.One with lesser faith receives the lesser blessing. It is the nature of things that one cannot receive spiritual blessing without faith. For those practitioners who have failed to gain deep understanding, there is no other way except that of worshiping the guru with faith, and through meditation invoking his blessings. Even those who have gained understanding should continue to have faith in their guru as a means of strengthening and perfecting their inner development."

(Gampopa quoted in Mahamudra the Moonlight, p 136-137)
(formatting mine)

Just sayin'
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
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Re: The concept of the teacher’s “blessings”

Post by krodha » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:45 am

smcj wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:19 am
I disagree. Besides the quotes Astus just provided I'd like to quote Kalu R. from "Foundations of Tibetan Buddhism". Unfortunately I gave away my copy so I cannot give an exact quote. Perhaps someone else has a copy handy and can give correct my post. (It's from the first paragraph in the chapter devoted to Guru Yoga.) But basically he says that your general Mahayana teacher should be thought of and related to as you say, but in the Vajryana the guru is seen differently
The guru is "seen differently" because in Vajrayāna you are to view the guru as a Buddha, specifically a dharmakāya Buddha as Khenpo Ngachung states:

  • Seeing one’s teacher as an ordinary pandit, a sublime Arhat, a sublime Bodhisattva, a nirmanakaya Buddha, or even a sambhogakaya Buddha will not do: you have to see him as the dharmakaya Buddha.

Although the prajñāpāramitā also says a Buddha should be seen as dharmakāya. But does not say the teacher should be treated as a Buddha, to my knowledge.

Nevertheless, this does not carry the implications you are attempting to insinuate.
smcj wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:19 am
and you actually pray to him for blessings.
You supplicate, sure.
smcj wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:19 am
I do not think I am inappropriately importing this from Christianity. I think Malcolm and you are inappropriately excluding it because of your antipathy towards Christianity.
I do harbor a healthy disdain for Abrahamic monotheism, but that is not influencing my opinion in this regard.
smcj wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:19 am
I am expressing my opinion/understanding based on my relationships with my teachers and what I've read. People are free to disagree with me. Anyone that has questions about this I encourage them to seek out and ask an ethnically Tibetan lama about it. The anti-Christian prejudice that has been imported into Dharma by Westerners will just about guarantee that a western lama will give a different answer than someone raised in a culturally Tibetan environment. It's not racist statement. It's a cultural statement.
The added disclaimer at the end is a bit telling.

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Re: The concept of the teacher’s “blessings”

Post by smcj » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:54 am

I do harbor a healthy disdain for Abrahamic monotheism, but that is not influencing my opinion in this regard
How do you know?
Last edited by smcj on Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
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Re: The concept of the teacher’s “blessings”

Post by krodha » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:54 am

smcj wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:54 am
Kroda wrote:In Vajrayāna you are to view the guru as a Buddha, specifically a dharmakāya Buddha as Khenpo Ngachung states:

Seeing one’s teacher as an ordinary pandit, a sublime Arhat, a sublime Bodhisattva, a nirmanakaya Buddha, or even a sambhogakaya Buddha will not do: you have to see him as the dharmakaya Buddha.
Um, you do realize that is a very radical quotation that supports my position, right?
And why is that, smcj?

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Re: The concept of the teacher’s “blessings”

Post by smcj » Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:24 am

krodha wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:54 am
smcj wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:54 am
Kroda wrote:In Vajrayāna you are to view the guru as a Buddha, specifically a dharmakāya Buddha as Khenpo Ngachung states:

Seeing one’s teacher as an ordinary pandit, a sublime Arhat, a sublime Bodhisattva, a nirmanakaya Buddha, or even a sambhogakaya Buddha will not do: you have to see him as the dharmakaya Buddha.
Um, you do realize that is a very radical quotation that supports my position, right?
And why is that, smcj?
That quote is saying that one should see ones personal teacher, that guy sitting there watching YouTube videos on his iPhone, as being on par with Guru Rinpoche, Milarepa, or even Sakyamuni.

You don’t find that radical? Have you checked out the DJKR thread?
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
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Re: The concept of the teacher’s “blessings”

Post by krodha » Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:40 am

smcj wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:24 am
That quote is saying that one should see ones personal teacher, that guy sitting there playing with his iPhone, as being on par with Guru Rinpoche, Milarepa, or even Sakyamuni.

You don’t find that radical? Have you checked out the DJKR thread?
The prajñāpāramitā warns not to view the tathāgata as rūpakāya, but rather understand the tathāgata is dharmakāya. Vajrayāna is saying view your guru as a tathāgata, also do not view your guru as rūpakāya, view them as dharmakāya.

Same idea, and not that radical.

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