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

The seventh benefit of having teacher is, it says that if you have a teacher, one will not experience sufferings of lower migrations and lower rebirth, or suffering like being in the lower realms, being reborn in the lower realms. And because of the power and kindness of guru, will purify those karmas. Because if one finds a good teacher, enlightened teacher, because of the skillful means of this guru's conduct, and whatever the guru is doing to you becomes a teaching, becomes an enlightening experience.

There was a great Kargyupa lama called Dongun Sanpa Gyargye, great Kargyupa lama, great yogi, saint. He was a very famous poet, like Milarepa. He said when the guru is beating you, hitting you, you feel like you're receiving great initiation. And you feel you're blessed, totally blessed. When my guru is scolding at me, I feel like I'm receiving new mantra, and I'm receiving lung of transmission of new mantra, therefore all my obstacles on the path to enlightenment will immediately disappear.

So, I'm not sure you'll find a guru who will beat you, and who will scold you. I'm not sure we will find one like this, that kind of guru these days. It will be a difficult one. It is also difficult for the guru. And in today's North America society, if guru is beating disciple, or scolding, then guru could be charged for abuse and mental cruelty and physical abuse. Guru could end up in jail. [Laughter] I don't think there are many gurus who dare to do that. Even if he wish to do that, thinks it's good to do this, I think one has to be actually kind of enlightened disciple, one has to be enlightened guru, both, if you're willing to take that kind of chance or challenge. Or you have to be back in Tibet, go back to Tibet, and live in the mountains somewhere and you have to have a real blind faith and say, "Please hit me, Lama! Teach me, Lama! I can't meditate. I want you to hit me four times. Yesterday you hit me, and my meditation was so good. Please hit me more! I like having lumps on my head. [more laughter] I feel so good after you scold me. I feel so good. All my defilements went and I feel uplifted, I feel almost I was going to levitate."

So, it's part of our culture, maybe a little bit of blind faith mixed up, whatever. See the thing is, it doesn't matter if it's blind faith or whatever. If you do really have devotion, you have that kind of mind, faith, I mean trust. If you have a good teacher who is teaching you from pure heart, totally selfless, guru who has unconditioned love, compassion for you. If he thinks it's important to hit you, then that kind of hitting, it is like an initiation, it is like blessing.

When I was young, I was small, I was teenaged, my guru beat me. Sometimes hard when teacher hitting, and then sometimes I see the difference next day, my meditation is better. I can memorize text really fast! So I feel, I wish he will come and beat me again, and sometimes I feel, "I should create conditions and maybe I should make him mad, and then he will come and hit me. But then if I make him mad, then it's bad karma making guru being mad, that's not good. So what kind of attitude is this?" [Laughter] It's a guru-disciple game.

They say when the guru and disciple become very close to each other, and build up so much faith, so much trust, so then some teachers have a lot of confidence in certain students. So the teacher knows this student has so much confidence and faith, so therefore if he scold, if he hit, it doesn't matter. This disciple has so much faith. So, and it is fine, and therefore it is ok to do that, then they do it. Sometimes the teacher who is very happy with certain student, the more he is happy the teacher is more scolding the student. You see this kind of thing in our tradition, in Tibet. And still happens in India, in the monasteries and meditation places, retreats. It happens like this.

The last benefit of teacher, it says that one can achieve all the temporary goals and ultimate goals. Temporary goals of Dharma practice, or aims of Dharma practice, and ultimate in goals of Dharma practice. And one can achieve the realizations, the siddhis of temporary and ultimate. There's a quotation in this book from "The Prayers of the Stages of the Path" by Lama Tsongkhapa, "The path begins with strong reliance on my kind teacher, source of all good. Oh, bless me with this understanding to follow him with great devotion."

Onward Onward to Guru Yoga, p.7

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