The article by DKR is good.
It is important to keep in mind that everything one understands must be understood within a context.
This includes essays by teachers such as DKR, it includes the sutras, and it includes how we relate to out root lamas,
which is at all times a very personal and individual thing.
For some people (and this is often within the context of the cultural traditions in which they grew up),
the prescribed "Tibetan" style of seeing the teacher with selfless devotion comes easily,
and for others, (reinforced by the stories of Milarepa and other masters) what they imagine as "devotion" may seem unreasonable.
But that's okay. And if it does, then it should. That's the reality of what you are working with.
The mistake a lot of students make is in thinking that devotion only has one shape, one outward form.
They see their fellow sangha members "bowing and scraping" all the time, rushing to serve cups of tea with heads bowed,
...students who behave like 10 year-olds obsessing over photos of their favorite dreamy boy-bands
all that stuff, these are appearences in the mind. And people experience these appearances, and think, "really That's what I am supposed to do?"
But that's not the point. It may be like that for those people, and of course, since it is, that's what they do, and that's what you see.
What you don't see is when students mull over the teachings hour after hour, like a zen monk pondering a koan.
That's internal. You can't see it. Some of the students serving tea are doing that, contemplating the words of their teachers,
and there are others are just serving tea. The teachings go in one ear and out the other.
But that internal work, that is the real devotion. Your teacher tells you something like, "see your mind as space",
and you think about that and meditate on that. That's seeing your lama as the Buddha. That's not wasting a valuable teaching.
Nearly every sutra starts with someone asking the Buddha a question.
Those who were devoted to him demonstrated their respect for his wisdom by questioning everything.
What lama doesn't enjoy a debate? That is also a sign of respect, of devotion.
We think of handing over all our trust as a foreign concept, an Indian Yogi thing, but it isn't. We do it every day.
We put all of our money in banks. We drive our cars on the freeway. We eat at restaurants.
Every day, we put our lives into the hands of others, and don't even think twice about it.
But, I think, in a way, the real devotion to the teacher is a reflection of how honest we are with ourselves.
If you know you are not Milarepa, then be honest with that, and don't pretend to be Milarepa.
If it is your nature to shake hands, then when you meet your teacher, bow...and extend your hand.
If you high-five, then high-five, and if you want, you can even visualize that as the five buddha families or whatever.
Devotion to the teacher doesn't mean, "I'm going to act like a Tibetan now" (unless you are Tibetan).
It means not lying to yourself, and thus, not lying to your teacher.
It is a rare student who surrenders self-deception and pretentious bullshit.
But that's what "utter devotion" means.
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