My very dear Jimmy,
Thank you very much your kind letter. I appreciate you following His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s wishes. That helps Tibet, and also helps your growth—not physical growth, but spiritual growth. You made a wise decision. That is very important: thinking big for the future of the teachings of Buddha and for sentient beings.
If those other lamas are your gurus—that means, if you have received initiations or teachings from them, with the recognition that you had a guru-disciple relationship and that person is the guru and you are the disciple—then if you get angry or generate heretical thoughts toward that person, it is not good.
In Lama Tsongkhapa’s Lam-rim Chen-mo [The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment], it says, “Even simply generating non-devotional thought, to think of the guru as an ordinary person, is an obstacle.” So, you can imagine what it is like if you generate heresy and anger toward your gurus and criticize them with a negative mind. This is creating the heaviest obstacle to realizations on the path to enlightenment, and the heaviest obstacle even to this life’s happiness, as well as to future lives’ happiness. There is no need to mention liberation or enlightenment.
The other thing is that in this life, by generating heretical thoughts or anger toward the guru, one experiences heavy sufferings, especially sickness, and many catastrophes, one after the other. Also, when you die, it is in such a terrible way. It is very terrifying, not peaceful, and there is the most unbearable suffering in the hell realms. Not only that, but it lasts for such a length of time, for eons.
Please read the section on guru devotion in Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo’s Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand. Also, read the section on guru devotion in Lama Tsongkhapa’s Lam-rim Chen-mo. Please study other Dharma books, at least these two texts and the sections that I have mentioned.
In the teaching Commentary on the Difficult Points of the "Black Enemy of Yama," [Tib: Dra-nag-ka-drel] [see Steps on the Path to Enlightenment, Volume 1, page 157] it is said that after having made a Dharma connection, receiving teachings (even four words), with a recognition of a guru-disciple relationship (the other person is your guru and you are his or her disciple), if you forget to devote yourself to that person as a guru, or if you don’t regard them as your guru, you will be born as a dog for one hundred lifetimes, and then you will be born into a lower rank. His Holiness Zong Rinpoche says one is born as a scorpion instead of in a lower rank.
If you did create negative karma with your teachers, please confess whatever heresy, anger, or criticism you have committed against them. Confess as quickly as possible.
If death comes before your confession, your future lives will be so difficult. Not only will you be unable to meet the guru, but you will also be unable to meet the Dharma. Not only that, but you will experience unimaginable suffering for an incredible amount of time.
The Fifth Dalai Lama advised how to practice guru devotion in this kind of situation. When you have difficulty with gurus, seeing mistakes in their actions, then think that this is the view of your own hallucinated mind. All these appearances are your own mistakes manifested as the guru’s holy actions. Recognize it as your own mistake and abandon it, like a poison.
What is to be abandoned is one’s own thoughts of seeing mistakes in the gurus, which are ordinary concepts. You can abandon this by thinking in the way His Holiness the Fifth Dalai Lama explained.
Gyalwa Ensapa said,
In short, whatever great or small realization one generates is due to having meditated with little or great devotion. To the qualified valid gurus, may I be able to complete the commitment without obstacles, and look at the gurus’ qualities with no mistakes.
The other way is to think that bodhisattvas work for sentient beings. Their only concern is other sentient beings, without exception, no matter how evil they are. The more evil they are, then the more the bodhisattvas cherish them, and the more concern the bodhisattvas have for them. Their attitude is like this, and their action is only to work for sentient beings. That includes you. Even a very new bodhisattva who became a bodhisattva today thinks like this. Therefore, there is no question about Buddha, who completed the path, with both method and wisdom, who has omniscience, perfect power, and complete compassion for all sentient beings, including you. The Buddha will not work for himself, even for one second, but only for all sentient beings, continuously, according to the level of their minds. Buddha works by manifesting in various forms and revealing different methods, not only by giving teachings, initiations, vows, and so forth, but also guiding beings in many different ways, giving advice and leading you in so many ways from happiness to happiness, up until enlightenment.
Now, there is not just one Buddha. There are numerous buddhas guiding you and other sentient beings. Who else are those buddhas than your gurus? Who gives you teachings, vows, initiations, oral transmissions, and advice? Who definitely brings you to enlightenment with these methods? There is no question. If they are not manifestations of the buddhas, or Buddha doesn’t manifest through them and guide you, then that means there is no Buddha guiding you. That means either you don’t accept that there are countless buddhas, or you don’t accept that there is even one Buddha, or you think that there is a Buddha, but he is not omniscient. Or you think that Buddha doesn’t have compassion toward you, or Buddha doesn’t have perfect power to guide you or to reveal methods to you.
If you think like this, it means there is no Buddha and nobody can become a buddha. All these mistakes arise, and many Buddhist teachings become falsified.
Because you trust in His Holiness the Dalai Lama, you have no doubt that His Holiness has limitless compassion. You have no doubt that His Holiness and particularly what he teaches is Chenrezig manifested. He is not telling lies. So, you have no doubt that Shakyamuni Buddha does exist, and that his path has no mistakes, and there is no doubt that there are countless buddhas. Then, think that the conclusion is: for all those from whom you have received teachings with a recognition of a guru-disciple relationship, from your side, you must have a new mind, a different mind, 24 hours every day, and think differently. Think of them as Buddha. Each and every one of them is Buddha guiding you. This is the most important thing. This devotional thought is the most precious one in your life, more precious than billions of dollars, gold, diamonds, or wish-fulfilling jewels. From this thought, you can achieve all happiness up until enlightenment, and you can bring about complete happiness for all sentient beings. You can fulfill all the wishes of all sentient beings.
Thank you very much. Sorry, you have written many times, but I wasn’t able to reply quickly. Please keep my reply. It might be helpful to read it from time to time. You can also show it to others who have similar problems.
With much love and prayers...