Tag Archive | Guru Yoga

Lama and Deity

Some advice from His Holiness Penor Rinpoche:

When the student’s attitude toward his or her lama is one of such faith and devotion that the student really sees the teacher as an actual Buddha, or as the very emodiment of the dharmakaya Vajradhara, or as the very embodiment of the student’s yidam – when the student has that kind of complete trust and faith, without any doubt, without hesitation – then the blessings and qualities of the enlightened form, speech and mind of all buddhas and bodhisattvas are transmitted through the lama to the student.


When it is a certainty in your mind that this is truly the Buddha, this is truly the dharmakaya Vajradhara, or that this is truly Guru Rinpoche that you are encountering and relying upon in your lama, and when you pray with that certainty in your mind, then you definitely receive the blessings from that connection. But this also implies that you, as a student, guard your own attitudes towards the teacher and ensure that you are always respectful and receptive to what the teacher is saying. Do not give in to your own ordinary habits of pride or self-aggrandizement or in any way undermine the relationship with the teacher by contradicting what the teacher says or by attempt to thwart the teacher’s efforts. Any and all of these attitudes are to be avoided since they do not support the trusting and open relationship that is necessary for the blessings to flow from the teacher to the student.

In the tantras it is stated again and again the importance of relying upon the lama as the source of blessings in one’s practice. Regardless of the particular prayer that the student offers to the lama, regardless of how small or seemingly insignificant it may be, if it is based upon the student’s complete trust and faith in the lama, then the blessings of the lama are always accessible to the student. In theTantra of the Ocean of Timeless Awareness, it states that it is far better to recite one small prayer to one’s lama out of pure faith and devotion than it is to perform hundreds of millions of recitations of deity mantras. The effect of prayer is far more powerful when it is truly an expression of one’s own faith and devotion in one’s lama.

When one has established a connection with one’s lama based upon trust, faith and devotion, there are different ways of relying upon that relationship through which various kinds of accomplishment can come about. If a student intends to attain the most sublime accomplishment of enlightenment itself, the student identifies the lama with Vajradhara – the dharmakaya buddha. If the student is particularly motivated to develop deeper wisdom, the student identifies the lama with Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom. In order to encourage his or her own love and compassion, the student meditates upon the lama as inseparable from Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. To gain greater spiritual power the student focuses upon the lama as inseparable from Vajrapani, the bodhisattva of spiritual power. To overcome various kinds of fear and anxiety one relies upon the lama as the very embodiment of the venerable Tara. To promote one’s own longevity one meditates upon the lama inseparable from Amitayus. To overcome illness and disease one meditates upon the lama as the Medicine Buddha. To promote one’s own wealth and prosperity one meditates upon the lama as inseparable from Vaishravana, Jambhala, or any of the wealth deities. To purify the effects of harmful actions and to purify obscurations of one’s body, speech and mind, one meditates upon the lama as inseparable from the deity Vajrasattva. To increase one’s own personal glory, wealth and opportunity, one meditates upon the lama as inseparable from the Buddha Ratnasambhava, the buddha of the jewel family. To increase one’s power – one’s ability to exercise a powerful and beneficial influence over the world – one meditates upon the lama as inseparable from Amitabha or a deity such as Kurukulla. If one wishes to enact wrathful activity, one meditates upon the lama as inseparable from Vajrabhairava or any of the more wrathful yidams. If one wishes to adopt the approach that combines all of these qualities in a single form, one meditates upon one’s lama as inseparable from Guru Rinpoche. In each of these cases, one’s attitude is that of one’s own root lama being the very embodiment of one or another of these aspects of enlightened being.


When it comes to deity practice, we may find judgments arising in our mind saying, for example, that this deity is better that this deity, or this deity is more powerful than another deity, or this blessing comes more quickly with this deity. These types of ordinary thoughts are not really appropriate when we are dealing with something of this nature. The only qualifying factor is the devoted interest and faith in the student’s mind. It may be that under certain circumstances, your faith is stronger in a given deity and therefore that deity practice is more effective for you. But that does not mean that at a more ultimate level there is any distinction to made between these various aspects of enlightened being. They all arise from the single vast expanse of timeless awareness as equally authentic manifestations of blessing and power. There is no hierarchy, so to speak, among the deities. It is not the case that some are more powerful than others, or some more blessed than others, or some more productive of benefits than others. It is rather a question of the degree to which you as a practitioner are motivated in a given direction.

If you are concerned about the degree to which you are receiving blessings from your deity or from your practice, it would be far more useful to examine the degree to which you yourself are developing faith and devotion toward that yidam and toward your practice. The more our minds entertain doubt and anything other than a truly firm and lucid faith in our practice, that much are we confusing ourselves. We obscure our own minds with that doubt, vacillation and lack of certainty and trust. It is on that level that we can say there is no blessing in the practice. Not because the deity has no blessing. Not because the lama has no blessing. But because the student is closed to that blessing by his or her doubt and confusion.


The most important qualities to ensure the success of the (Guru Yoga) practice in the students’ mind are faith, devotion, trust and pure view. If a student is truly bent upon benefiting from his or her practice and his or her association with the dharma, those qualities are indispensable.


6 Stanzas of Mahamudra Guru Yoga

by Gyalwa Gotsangpa

Please listen to the nun singing these 6 verses here.  I think this melody and prayer touches me very deeply.

(translation below is rough guide…)

Embodiment of all Buddhas, Root Guru

I pray to you with great devotion in body, speech and mind

Please grant your blessings to recognize our original nature

and integrate life with practice

Precious Guru Buddha, I pray to you

Dharma Lord, precious Buddha, I pray to you

Always Praying to Guru

Ah Song Tulku is the successor of Achuk Lama Rinpoche in Yachen Monastery in Tibet.  He is the emanation of one of the 25 disciples of Guru Rinpoche, Namkhai Nyingpo.  At a young age in this very life, he has attained very high realisation and manifested rainbow body.

Photo taken by his attendant, Rinpoche’s body was transparent and manifested Buddhas and Bodhisattvas mandalas. When asked about it, Rinpoche just said, “I don’t know, just look (at the photo).”

Ah Song Tulku

A teaching by Ah Song Tulku on Guru Yoga

Root Lama of Great Kindness, Achuk Lama Rinpoche

Students who don’t have time to do the preliminaries should regard practising Guru Yoga as very important!  It is really very important!  Guru Yoga must definitely be practised!  If you wish to attain accomplishments, you need to rely on the Guru.  If you do not practise the Guru, even by practising other numerous methods, there is fundamentally no accomplishment.  If you practise the Guru Yoga, even if you do not practise many methods, you can gain accomplishment.

I will tell you of a layperson who relied on supplicating the Guru to attain accomplishment just a few days ago.  He came from the Changdu region Gongjue district in Tibet.  His name is Pomu.

This old layman came to to Yachen Monastery 2 months ago.  In Lama Rinpoche’s yard, he met Lama Rinpoche for the first and only time in his life.  He listened to Lama Rinpoche’s teachings and after that, due to his sickness, he went to a hospital for treatment about a month ago.  A few days before he passed away, I went to visit him and asked him what kind of practice he was doing.  He said, “When I saw Lama Rinpoche for the first time, I felt an incredibly strong faith, before my eyes Lama Rinpoche was constantly appearing.  During the day and night, I constantly practised Lama Rinpoche (he did not know how to say “Guru Yoga”), constantly prayed to Lama Rinpoche, reciting Guru Rinpoche’s mantra.  Now, before me, at all times and all places, there is no appearance that does not manifest as Lama Rinpoche.   Besides this, there is no other practice.”  I said to him, “When you are in pain, do you remember the Guru or not?”  He replied, “Never forgetting the Guru, before my eyes, all that manifests is the appearance of Lama Rinpoche.”   I said, “Since that is so, do not forget the Guru at all times, since all that appears before your eyes is Lama Rinpoche, that is very good.  Even if you have not done many practices, you will definitely attain accomplishment!  Whether it is now or in the bardo, always pray to the Guru.  Never forget the Guru at all times! When you are dying, Lama Rinpoche will definitely bless you and bring you to liberation.  You will definitely attain accomplishment.  Rest fully assured!  Pray to the Guru well, do not forget the Guru.”

On the second day, this layman was on the verge of dying.  He said, “I am always thinking of Lama Rinpoche, Guru Rinpoche’s pure-realm has manifested in front of me.  I am now going to Guru Rinpoche’s pure-realm.  I am completely unafraid of death, I am very happy! Very comfortable!”  So saying, he passed away.   I went to see him again, and his corpse was looking as if he were still alive, his face was ruddy and soft, just as before when he was alive and young.  I said there and then that this kind of appearance definitely was a sign of accomplishment, and that we will see if that is so in three days time.

Before this, I have never met any layperson who manifested accomplishment in this life without receiving the Dzogchen pith instructions and having done a lot of practices.  Therefore three days later, I went to see him again.  According to the understanding in Dzogchen, if his heart region three days later remained warm, then it was a clear sign of accomplishment.  I invited a monk to touch his arm and heart to check if there was any difference in temperature. After the monk touched the places, he reported that the heart region was still warm while the other parts of the body were already icy cold and stiff.  This is therefore a sign of accomplishment!

I think his accomplishment is completely due to relying on his faith in Guru.  This is not something I heard from rumours, but something I personally witnessed.  Therefore all of you should practise Guru Yoga diligently and increase your faith.  To what degree should you practice to attain accomplishment?  When would you be liberated from birth and death?  Just like this accomplished layman who passed away, when the Guru appears before you at all times, you would have obtained the complete blessings of Guru, this then is accomplishment.  Just as Lama Rinpoche had wrote in the ‘Guru Yoga that confers swift realisation’: “If one has pure view and devotion, every phenomenon is never anything but the Guru, all depends on oneself.”

If you have not done so, then you should diligently practice Guru Yoga.  The reason for not having received perfect blessings from the practice is due to a lack of diligent practice.  The second reason is that you have not prayed well to the Guru with faith.  Therefore, when you practice Guru Yoga, it is very important to supplicate the Guru for blessings with faith.  If there is faith, during the day and night, Guru will manifest.  If it is merely reciting the mantra and text (perfunctorily), there will be no blessings or accomplishment.

The most important point about practice is use your mind.  Look at your mind well.  Ask yourself: Is my mind like that of a dharma practitioner?  Is there truly faith in my mind?  Is there meditation in my mind?  Is there true practice of Guru Yoga in my mind?

In short, pray to the Guru deeply all the time!  Observe your own mind.  This way of practice is very good, isn’t it?

(Note: Another post on Achuk Lama Rinpoche here: