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Feb 24, 2010
Exerpt from Lama Zopa's book, The Heart of the Path,
chapter 'Why we should look at the guru as a buddha'.

  We are free to choose. In other words, we have to use our own wisdom to choose whether or not we practice guru devotion.
  If we don't concentrate on guru devotion, we have missed the most important preparation for all our future lives. Our practice of guru devotion is the source of all the progress and all the problems in this life and from life to life. From our practice in this life, we receive all the benefits from life to life, up to enlightenment. This is the source of the greatest loss and the greatest profit. If we don't understand this point well or don't concentrate on it, we experience the greatest loss.
  Each of us has the answer to achieving success in all our future lives. It is not that we don't have freedom; it is not that God created everything and we just have to wait for whatever comes. It's not up to God. We have the solution; we have the freedom to determine whether we are successful in this life and in all our future lives. It is in our hands. We know the root of all our failures from life to life, we know that we have the freedom to stop it, and we know that we can establish the root of all success, up to enlightenment.
"'s a different matter..."
Lama Zopa now examines with negative motivation:

  If we don't want all this profit for ourselves or all this benefit for all sentient beings, it's a different matter. If we have no interest in all this but like to be in samsara and are happy to have a passport to the lower realms, where we have been resident during beginningless lives, it's a different matter.
  In simple terms, if we can't correctly devote ourselves to the virtuous friend as explained by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and Lama Tsongkhapa, it is our own loss. This loss can mean failing to achieve happiness or success in this and future lives and failing to achieve liberation and enlightenment. The greatest loss is failing to achieve enlightenment and thus being unable to liberate all sentient beings from all their suffering and obscurations and lead them to enlightenment.
  Since our guru is the most powerful holy object, we can create the most merit and perform the greatest purification in relation to him. However, if we make mistakes in our practice, we then create the greatest obstacles to our enlightenment. To prevent this and to achieve all success up to enlightenment and then lead all sentient beings to enlightenment, we need to generate the devotion that sees our guru as a buddha.
  As Padampa Sangye mentions,
     You should regard the guru as more exalted than Buddha.
     If you do that, realization will come in this life,
     people of Tingri.
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Posted: Feb 24, 2010 8:09pm
Feb 23, 2010

"The Heart of the Path" by Lama ZopaExerpt from Lama Zopa Rinpoche's book The Heart of the Path, found in the chapter Why We Should Look At The Guru As A Buddha.Lucky Knot- one of 8 auspicious symbols
   It is not so much a question of whether in reality our guru is a buddha. As Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo mentions,
Even if the guru is not a buddha, if the disciple looks at him as a buddha, such a practitioner of guru devotion experiences no loss, but only great profit.
buddha statue  The story of the old woman and the dog's tooth supports this. An old [Tibetan] woman wanted very much to have a relic of the Buddha, so she asked her son, a trader, to bring her one. Her son forgot, but on the way back home [from India] saw a dead dog by the side of the road, pulled out one of its teeth, and when he got back gave it to his mother, telling her it was a Buddha's relic.
  His mother believed it actually was the holy tooth of Buddha and prayed to it with devotion. By praying and making offerings every day, she actually got Buddha's relics from it. Tiny relic pills were born from that dog's tooth. The Buddha's blessings entered the tooth so that actual Buddha's relics came from it. The dog's tooth was merely the condition; the principle cause of the relics was her devotion. The relics were born from her devotion. Through her devotion, the old woman got what she wanted. In a similar way, we can achieve enlightenment through guru yoga practice. Even if the guru from his side is not an enlightened being, if we devote ourselves to him as a buddha, we receive the blessings of a buddha through the guru.
  Relic pills can also come from statues or the holy bodies of great yogis, even before they pass away, as a result of the power of devotion and of attainments. When His Holiness Song Rinpoche went on pilgrimage to Tsari, a Chakrasamvara holy place in Tibet, Rinpoche came to a waterfall that is regarded as Chakrasamvara's bodhicitta seed. When Rinpoche took off his robes and sat under the waterfall to receive blessings, relics appeared from the lower part of Rinpoche's holy body. 
  Lama Zopa mentions his own guru,
Lucky Knot- one of 8 auspicious symbols  Also, my kind root guru His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche would sometimes manifest relics. He would pick white relic pills from his face and give them to his disciples.
  (Note from Jenny: photographs from top to bottom, left to right, The Heart of the Path bookcover; Lucky Knot Auspicious Symbol; a Buddha image; my own beloved teacher, Geshe Thubten Dawe; Lama Yeshe; and Lama Zopa Rinpoche)
        LAMA YESHE, founded FPMT with Lama Zopa  Lama Zopa Rinpoche 

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Posted: Feb 23, 2010 3:24pm
Feb 23, 2010
"The Heart of the Path" by Lama ZopaExerpt from Lama Zopa Rinpoche's book The Heart of the Path, found in the chapter titled The Benefits of Correct Devotion to a Guru. In these paragraphs Lama Zopa describes his own experiences. 
   Some years ago when I was staying at Tushita Retreat Centre in Dharamsala, I offered some beautiful begonias to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Offering the flowers was a little tricky as, although they were incredibly beautiful, they flowered only briefly and would lose all their petals within a day or so. I offered the flowers in painted butter tins, along with a money offering of thirty rupees in an envelope, on which I'd written a short request for the development of my mind. At that time His Holiness was in retreat, so I left the offering at the Private Office.
(Note from Jenny: photographs show The Heart of the Path bookcover, Lama Zopa, and begonia flowers) 
Lama Zopa  I think that His Holiness must have been pleased with the offering of the flowers, because that night I dreamt that His Holiness, seated on a throne in the temple, gave me a little inner offering from the skullcaup on his table, and I drank it.
  The next morning when I woke up, my mind was somehow different. Normally, I'm extremely lazy, but during that time, I think because of the influence of the many lamas there in Dharamsala, who energized me, I had a tiny bit of energy to meditate a little in the mornings. I tried to do a little lam-rim meditation as a motivation for the day and as a result, that next morning my meditation was much more effective than usual. I had a strong wish to be reborn in hell for the sake of others. I wanted to be in the hot hells right that minute. The feeling was unbearable. I couldn't suppress it. This wish was so strong that I cried out loud for half an hour, sobbing like a small child.
  I think His Holiness had prayed for me the previous night; he definitely did something that blessed my mind. My mind was different. The dream and the meditation experience were definite signs of His Holiness's blessing. There might also have been some purification from having offered the flowers. From the three types of kindness of the guru, such an experience is an example of the guru's kindness in blessing the disciple's mind. Of course, the effect completely disappeared after a few hours.
Lama Zopa offered begonias to His Holiness  After that I became very interested in buying flower seeds and planting them. When they grew well, I then offered the flowers to the lamas there in Dharamsala. I discovered that the best offering was a flower offering.
  Also, when we do a Vajrasattva retreat or any other retreat that our guru has advised us to do, we sometimes have strong experiences of impermanence, feeling that our death could happen at any moment, so that we have no other thought except to practice Dharma. Or strong thoughts of loving kindness and compassion arise. All these are signs of the kindness of the guru in having blessed our mind. Even those small, transient experiences prove that if we continue our practice of guru yoga, we will definitely develop realizations. It is proof that realizations can definitely happen and can be increased.
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Posted: Feb 23, 2010 9:29am


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Jenny Dooley
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