Recalling the Teacher
Tibetan Buddhism is about Guru Yoga – connecting to the lineage of realised masters, which supports our endeavours. Even though this blog is more inclined towards the inner teacher and symbolic teacher of all phenomena, the outer teachers are also of extreme importance, for without them, nothing would be known about ultimate reality. So, in fact, they are more important than the Buddha!
For ‘modern’ people, this may be a difficult subject, especially when not properly and reasonably explained. This is because of a misunderstanding of the different natures in different cultures: we, as modern people, need everything explained, as we are not brought up in the Tibetan system from birth.
We can practise in just being, inside or outside. However, when we have an image or text in front of us that is meaningful, there is a more disciplined connection to the teachings. “Guru Yoga” isn’t for everyone, but we all have a natural appreciation for something that is being explained … and that’s it! That appreciation – that deep appreciation – is not worship. It is a re-cognition. And it’s something to be sincerely grateful for. Of course, our pride may say something else…
Recalling the teacher is an extremely useful tool. If we do not know the teachings thoroughly or don’t have good meditation experiences, devotional practice is very productive. Supplicating the teachers’ kindness can bring tears to the eyes, bypassing all theories. That’s the fulfilment of longing. That’s blessings. That’s ecstasy for you, and it’s not a drug.
At death, if emptiness is not clear, then recalling the teacher is very important as the remembrance goes beyond words. There is just the feeling of connection.
There is the scholarly-understanding way.
There is the resting in pure awareness way.
There is the Guru Yoga way.
There is the way of combining all three.
NB Our understanding of Guru Yoga has to go beyond both the social aspect of the teacher and the political shenanigans that surround them: it is the teachings, and the genuine wish of the teacher to convey those teachings, that are important.