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Guru Yoga: Merging with the wisdom mind of the master
-- Sogyal Rinpoche

All the buddhas, bodhisattvas, and enlightened beings are present at all moments to help us, and it is through the presence of the master that all of their blessings are focused directly at us. Those who know Padmasambhava know the living truth of the promise he made over a thousand years ago “ I am never far from those with faith, or even from those without it, though they do not see me. My children will always, always, be protected by my compassion.”

All we need to do to receive direct help is to ask. Didn’t Christ also say: Ask, and it shall be given to you. Everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh fineth?” And yet asking is what we find hardest. Many of us, I feel, hardly know how to ask. Sometimes it is because we are arrogant, sometimes because we are unwilling to seek help, sometimes because we are lazy, sometimes our minds are so busy with questions, distractions, and confusion that the simplicity of asking does not occur to us. The turning point in any healing of alcoholics or drug addicts is when they admit their illness and ask for aid. In one way or another, we are all addicts of samsara; the moment when help can come for us is when we admit our addiction and simply ask.

What most of us need, almost more than anything, is the courage and humility really to ask for help, from the depths of our hearts: to ask for the compassion of the enlightened beings, to ask for purification and healing, to ask for the power to understand the meaning of our suffering and transform it; at a relative level to ask for the growth in our lives of clarity, of peace, of discernment, and to ask for the realization of the absolute nature of mind that comes from merging with the deathless wisdom mind of the master.

There is no swifter, more moving, or more powerful practice for invoking the help of the enlightened beings, for arousing devotion and realizing the nature of mind, then the practice of Guru Yoga. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche wrote: The words Guru Yoga mean ‘union with the nature of the guru’, and in this practice we are given methods by which we can blend our own minds with the enlightened mind of the master. Remember the master – the guru – embodies the crystallization of the blessing of all buddhas, masters, and enlightened beings. So to invoke him or her is to invoke them all; and to merge your mind and heart with your master’s wisdom mind is to merge your mind with the truth and very embodiment of enlightenment.

The outer teacher introduces you directly to the truth of your inner teacher. The more it is revealed through his or her teaching and inspiration, the more you begin to realize that outer and inner teacher are indivisible. As your gradually discover the truth of this for yourself, by invoking it again and again in the practice of Guru Yoga, and deepening confidence, gratitude, joy and devotion are born in you, through which your mind and the wisdom mind of the master do actually become indivisible. In a Guru Yoga practice he composed at my request, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche wrote:

Than which accomplishes the great purity of perception
Is devotion, which is the radiance of Rigpa…
Recognizing and remembering that my own rigpa is the master –
Though this, may your mind and mind merge as one

(RIGPA is a Tibetan word which in general means 'intelligence' or 'awareness'. In Dzogchen, however, the highest teachings in the Buddhist tradition of Tibet, rigpa has a deeper connotation, 'the innermost nature of the mind.' The whole of the teaching of Buddha is directed towards realizing this, our ultimate nature, the state of omniscience or enlightenment -- a truth so universal, so primordial that it goes beyond all limits, and beyond even religion itself.)

This is why all the wisdom traditions of Tibet have placed so much importance on the practice of Guru Yoga, and all the foremost Tibetan masters have treasured it as their innermost heart practice.


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