Guru Yoga
Teachings by Lama Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
September 1998, Vancouver, BC, Canada

The fourth benefit of having guru is the defilements, delusions and unwholesome actions of the body, speech and mind naturally more or less automatically, or naturally, subside, naturally decrease. Because due to the influence of the teacher and kindness of the teacher, guru, and one develops wisdom of skillful means. You know how to avoid unwholesome karma, unwholesome speech, unwholesome mind, unwholesome thoughts, and so on and so forth.

And one also learns skillful means and one learns how to collect virtues and cultivate virtues through our body, speech and mind, exactly and precisely and properly. And also due to the good influence of the guru and teacher, one learns how to practice patience, inexhaustible patience and perseverance. For example, if you look at certain lamas, their patience, perseverance, it's unthinkable.

I heard once, Lama Zopa had interviews, one weekend he had interviews with fifty-five people in Australia in one weekend. Fifty-five people in one weekend! Some people, when you have an interview it takes a long time, maybe an hour. You know, because some people have so much to talk about, they have so many problems. So you can't say, "Go away now, that's enough. Go away." You can't say, "Buzz off!" [Laughs.] "O.k., go on. Tell me more. Then what happened?" You have to listen.

So some people when they talk about their stuff, like their Dharma practice, their problems with Dharma or problems with their life, and so on and so forth -- so complicated. Very complicated people, extremely complicated. Sometimes it's hard to understand what he's trying to say. What he's asking. Is he asking questions or telling me his life stories? What is he trying to say? Go around in a circle, don't get into the point. So finally, after forty-five minutes you get into the point of the question. Some people are so complicated. And some people I found, they don't know how to ask questions, and you try to figure out the question. "Do you mean this way?" And then we try to make question. "Do you mean this way? I think so. If you mean this way, then I think this might be the answer. If this is maybe your question, let me think about what is the best answer." So it takes so long, takes so much energy. It's quite exhausting.

So you can imagine like having interview with fifty-four people in a weekend? So think about the patience of lama like Lama Zopa, the perseverance and devotion to the Dharmais unthinkable. He's doing this for the sake of sentient beings. I heard people say to him, "Are you tired? Lama, are you tired?" And he says, "For the benefit of all sentient beings, I am not tired. I never get tired." And you don't consider this work. This is part of life, this is a part of my life, part of my life. And I'm so glad -- it's my pleasure to serve the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and people, and help. Of course, you are born to the world for this purpose, see. So the kindness is unthinkable.

So when you think about he kindness of the guru, they you naturally feel, "I have to be kind, I have to be patient, I should have perseverance." So you learn. And this is the kindness of the guru, this is having a guru.

It also says that when you're around with the guru, being around with guru, sitting with guru, talking with guru, and due to the influence of the guru it naturally decreases your bad habits. I know myself. I studied my teachers for so many years, I know. And because of the kindness of our teachers, and our habits and unwholesome thinking actions naturally decrease. And one of the sutras called "..." if you are protected by the guru, your practice or your meditation on bodhicitta will increase like the moon, like the new moon. Unwholesome karmas, unwholesome mind, delusions, ego, defilements cannot come, cannot slip into your mindstream. There is so much benefit having teacher, having guru.

And also, according to oral transmission of Kadampa tradition, and Gelugpa tradition, it says one learns actually the real Dharma, practical Dharma practice one learns from teacher, being around teacher, spending time with teacher, working with teacher, travelling with teacher, serving the guru, and one can learn the real practical Dharma. One can learn more than listening formal teachings and discourse from gurus. Because formal teachings are very formal. We are not always formal. When we receiving formal teachings, lot of time we don't know how to integrate these formal teachings into our everyday life. But if you have a good connection or close relationship with a guru or gurus, then guru is an example so that you learn so much from observing, through your observation. And the way the guru deals with people, talking, teaching, helping, guiding through skillful means, sometimes becomes very wrathful, sometimes peaceful and so on and so forth. And one can learn real, practical Dharma teachings, the practice, the path. This is the benefit of having guru.

Onward Onward to Guru Yoga, p.5

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