Significance and Principle Behind The Practice of Guru Yoga

SigniPurpose_GN“Yoga” in Chinese means “Attune”. Thus the Guru Yoga is to attune to the Guru. This practice, though easy to carry out, has a very profound meaning. Our lineage master, Khenpo Ngakchung Rinpoche said, “Guru Yoga is a very deep practice, if one visualises and recites the name of the Guru, blessings will definitely be received, and if one calls the Guru with faith that brings tears to one’s eyes, then blessings will descend like a heavy downpour.” The saying goes, “If one is able to vividly and clearly visualise the root Guru, though only for one instant, the benefit far exceeds by a hundred thousand times that of visualising other deities.” If we can focus on practising this, an extremely high realisation will naturally arise.

The nature of the inner mind of sentient beings is the ultimate Guru, but because we are confused and have lost that (recognition), we are now suffering in the six realms of samsara. As we are not able to recognise mind’s nature by ourselves, therefore there is a need to receive the help of an external Guru to induce or guide us to recognise it.

When practising the Guru Yoga, the external Guru is not just the appearance of the Guru, but includes all appearances and display. We sincerely rely and trust in this external Guru, visualising him intentionally, praying to him incessantly and receiving his four empowerments… these are all the external Guru Yoga.

When we rest in the state of visualising the Guru’s appearance inseparable from one’s own mind, we realise the meaning that this state, free from discriminative thoughts or attachments and possessing clarity, is just our ordinary mind merging with the Guru’s wisdom mind. As our view deepens, we finally recognise the definitive ultimate meaning of emptiness which is the inner self-nature Guru. Continuing to rest in the pure basic nature of one’s mind is the inner Guru Yoga.

When we maintain resting in the state where the Guru’s form, as a representation of all appearances, is inseparable from one’s mind, then this is the meaning of nonduality of mind and object (or mind and phenomenon), and this is also the union of our ordinary mind with the Guru’s wisdom mind into one, which is the meaning of “attuning to the Guru”. This is the process by which the external Guru is attuned to the inner Guru.

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