The Heart of the Path
For the past seven years, our senior editor Ven. Ailsa Cameron has been editing Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teachings on Guru Devotion. She has drawn on nearly fifty different teachings that Rinpoche has given over the past three decades and the result is this book, The Heart of the Path: Seeing the Guru as Buddha. This is a fantastic teaching on Guru Devotion and is a great and very important book.
Excerpts from Heart of the Path:
"Guru yoga is the key to all happiness."
"Without guru devotion, nothing happens—no realizations, no liberation, no enlightenment—just as without the root of a tree there can be no trunk, branches, leaves or fruit. Everything, up to enlightenment, depends on guru devotion."
"First of all, we should remember the ultimate meaning of guru, which is the absolute guru. We have to realize that the guru that we see and hear is the absolute guru, the dharmakaya, the transcendental wisdom of nondual bliss and voidness, the eternal primordial mind that has no beginning and no end. Since this absolute guru is the holy mind of all the buddhas, all the buddhas are the guru. We can understand from this that the guru is all the buddhas and all the buddhas are the guru."
"In relation to your own gurus you have to think, 'My gurus are buddhas.' There’s no discussion on that—for you, that is the practice. And not just the practice but the fundamental practice. It is the foundation of all the other practices of lam-rim. In terms of my relationships with my gurus, it is like that. No matter how others might want to debate that my gurus are not buddhas, from my side there is no questioning of that."
"The main point is that for you to succeed in liberating the numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bringing them to enlightenment, you need to practice guru devotion. You have to understand this point."
"Teaching guru devotion is the responsibility of the teacher and practicing guru devotion is the responsibility of the disciple. If guru devotion is not explained, it is the fault of the teacher; if it is not practiced after having been explained, it is the fault of the disciple."
- The Heart of the Path: Table of Contents
- Foreword by His Holiness Sakya Trinzin
- Editor's Preface by Ailsa Cameron
- Chapter 1: Why Do We Need a Guru?
- Chapter 7: The Benefits of Correct Devotion to a Guru (excerpt)
- Chapter 11: Why We Are Able to See the Guru as a Buddha (excerpt)
- Chapter 12: How to See the Guru as a Buddha (excerpt)
The Heart of the Path: Table of Contents
|1. Why Do We Need a Guru?||1|
|The root of the path||1|
|Why do we need a guru?||5|
|Manjushri’s advice to Lama Tsongkhapa||11|
|The four general benefits of guru devotion||14|
|2. The Power of the Guru||19|
|3. Checking the Guru||25|
|4. The Qualities of a Guru
Revealing the complete path to enlightenment
Qualities of a Mahayana guru
Qualities of a vajra master
The essential qualities
The fundamental quality
An additional qualification
|5. The Qualities of a Disciple||47|
|6. Who to Regard as Guru
Do we need to formally request someone to be our guru?
Should we regard our alphabet teacher as our guru?
The importance of visualizing every guru
How many gurus should we have?
Who is the root guru?
|7. The Benefits of Correct Devotion to a Guru
The benefits of correctly devoting to a guru
|8. The Disadvantages of Incorrect Devotion to a Guru
The shortcomings of not devoting to a guru or of devoting incorrectly
|9. The Importance of Devotion
How to devote to a guru with thought
|10. Why We Should Look at the Guru as a Buddha||175|
|11. Why We Are Able to See the Guru as a Buddha
The mind can be trained
Focusing on the good qualities of the guru
Using the guru’s faults to develop our devotion
|12. How to See the Guru as a Buddha
There is nothing to trust in our own view
Even nowadays all the buddhas and bodhisattvas are still working for sentient beings
The guru is the doer of all the buddhas’ actions
Vajradhara asserted that the guru is a buddha
|13. Debating with the Superstitious Mind||245|
|14. The Kindness of the Guru
Developing respect by remembering the guru’s kindness
|The kindness of the guru in Guru Puja||279|
|15. Devoting to the Guru with Action
How to devote to a guru with action
|16. Is Absolute Obedience Required?||295|
|17. How the Past Kagyü Lamas Practiced||303|
|18. Exceptional Gurus, Exceptional Disciples
Tilopa and Naropa
Marpa and Milarepa
|19. What is Guru Yoga?
The real meaning of guru
|20. Guru Devotion in Six-Session Guru Yoga||343|
|21. Guru Devotion in Calling the Lama from Afar||351|
|22. Teaching and Studying Guru Devotion
Teaching guru devotion
Studying guru devotion
|23. The Realization of Guru Devotion||375|
Suggested Further Reading