The Essence of the Guru

The Essence of the Guru

Date of Advice:
July 2018
Date Posted:
August 2020

A student had received teachings and a Vajrasattva initiation from Rinpoche but had subsequently stopped practicing Vajrayana and guru yoga. Later, while in retreat, the student said they felt a direct connection to Padmasambhava and received a powerful teaching on samaya (tantric commitments). Rinpoche gave this advice, which includes an explanation of tsog offering. 

My most dear, most kind, most precious, wish-fulfilling one,

Thank you very much for your kind letter expressing yourself and for confessing that your samaya degenerated. Of course, as you said, enlightenment comes from keeping samaya. How quickly we achieve realizations, enlightenment, is based on samaya. That is most important.

If you have taken any great initiation of Highest Yoga Tantra you can do tsog offering, whether you do tsog offering to Padmasambhava or Lama Chöpa or Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga, that is OK. You can do the longer version of the tsog once or three times, then for the rest, do the short verse. You need to do the short tsog offering 3,000 times.

I don’t know how much you understand regarding tsog. If you have received a Highest Yoga Tantra initiation then you can do tsog completely. It is the same whether offered to Lama Tsongkhapa or Padmasambhava. Padmasambhava manifests as Lama Tsongkhapa, so it’s the same. You perform bala and madana (meat and wine), just very small, very small for blessing, then make some offerings, then recite the prayers and tsog offering prayers.

Generate as the deity, which you have received in the Highest Yoga Tantra initiation, then generate the tsog into nectar, as it is mentioned in the prayer. The nectar is transformed as the wisdom of great bliss nondual with emptiness, like oceans of great bliss. Then recite OM AH HUM and each time you offer, generate infinite bliss nondual with emptiness in the holy mind of the merit field.

Whatever name you mention there, it is all the essence of the guru, no matter what, the root guru all embodied into one and one embodied into many. The way of visualizing the essence of the root guru is as it says in Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo Rinpoche’s Calling The Guru from Afar, the long one, the first verse, that explains what the guru is, how you are supposed to think. Realize that the guru is the dharmakaya, the transcendental wisdom of great bliss of all the buddhas. This is the way to understand and realize the root guru. So it is a most important practice.

In your letter do you mean you have received teachings from Padmasambhava? Is that correct?

Generally, in some cases, it is possible for maras to manifest as a buddha, then sentient beings believe that is a real buddha and they receive harm. They could be wrong teachings that cause harm. At that time if you invoke numberless buddhas absorbing to that being who shows the aspect of a buddha, and if that being then disappears, it means that being was negative. If it is positive then that being becomes even better, more glorious. In that way, sometimes, for some people, maras manifest as a buddha.

But if it’s very helpful to your mind, then good.

With much love and prayers ...