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

Q: If you have a good relationship with guru, he'll be able to purify karma for lower rebirth. So how does guru then purify, at the time of death, the negative mind, and lower rebirths?

Rinpoche: Like it says, the guru's kindness, power of guru, one can liberate from the lower migration, and rebirth of lower realms, and also liberate one's own mind, state of mind that is like being in the lower realms, right? So we can have these kinds of minds, comes and goes. Sometimes we have minds like a hungry ghost and like sometimes we have a mind like an animal. We wake up in the morning and we don't want to meditate, go back to sleep, and hungry, eat, eat, go back to sleep, forget about practice. We have animal mind, like pig-mind, dog-mind, horse-mind, eating all the time, or we have a monkey-mind, always running around all over the place. We have tiger-mind, grizzly bear-mind -- arrgh! -- always very mad. We have a snake-like mind, cobra-mind.

See the good influence of the guru, and kindness, and the skillful means -- the influence of the skillful means of the guru and we learn how to deal with our negative emotions, we know how to apply the remedies. So we can eliminate our passion, aggression, ignorance, and so forth. So we can liberate ourselves from that. Also, when we say the guru mantra -- when we do Guru Yoga we say the guru mantra -- then, all of a sudden you can feel the guru's energy, and you can even hear words of the guru, the teachings. The wholesome energy comes into our mindstream. So then, more or less automatically the defilements subside or decrease.

So that's why at the time of death it is crucial and it is important -- we have a prayer called "Calling the Lama from Long Distance." [Laughs] Actually it's called "Calling the Lama from Far Away," but you could say "long distance." It's a prayer, so if you're dying, if your lama is far away, most likely he is far away on a physical level, physical presence. So if you recite these verses, the Tibetan word is Lama [??]. ?? means "calling." You recite that verses, or guru mantras, invoke the guru and visualize, then suddenly all the energy, blessing comes to you. And it comes in your dreams so your mind is filled with peace and joy.

Let's say even the guru passed away. You can still have contact this guru in your dreams. Like I see my guru in my dreams. My guru passed away. I have seen many times in my dream, still sitting on throne giving teachings, receiving initiations. Sometimes I feel so much joy and suddenly I wake up! I can't go back to sleep -- I feel so happy, and then I sit there and meditate, and saying mantras and do my meditation, and so much energy, like charged, like I can't go back to sleep. I feel like how can I go back to sleep? My guru appeared in my dream, he gave me these teachings. It's a great opportunity. I should continue to practice. And sometimes when you wake up, you feel so joyful. Sometimes you have questions, thoughts, and then guru is answering questions in your dream, even if the guru maybe passed away a long time ago.

Q: What part of your guru is answering your questions? If he's passed away and having rebirth?

Rinpoche: Whatever important questions that you have in your mind, if you have a special connection with the guru, the guru can appear in your dream and he can actually tell what you have to contemplate on. I had a dream like my teachers Ling Rinpoche and Trijang Rinpoche, a long time after they passed away, from time to time dreams. I see them sitting somewhere, or walking towards me, talking and giving teachings, answering questions. Always there's some teaching happening.

Onward Onward to Guru Yoga, p.9

Back Back to Rinpoche's Teachings