The Guru Yoga Practice of Tsem Rinpoche
Requesting the Guru's Blessings
The Guru in Buddhism refers to a qualified spiritual guide. ‘Guru’ is a contraction of the Sanskrit term ‘guna ruchi’, which means a collection of good qualities. This reflects the spiritual purpose of a Guru, which is to inspire our own spiritual qualities and practice. ‘Yoga’ literally means ‘to yoke’ or ‘to join with something’.
Hence, Guru Yoga is a meditative practice to merge with the Guru’s mind stream in order to acquire the Guru’s good qualities, to accumulate a tremendous amount of merits, to receive the special blessings of the lineage to be successful in our tantric practice, and ultimately to be able to perceive the Guru as the Buddha himself.
Acting on special intuition, in October 2019, His Eminence Drubwang Gangchen Rinpoche instructed Lama Thubten Phurbu to compose a special Guru Yoga of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche in conjunction with the tantric deity Heruka Chakrasamvara. By incorporating Rinpoche’s main yidam Heruka into this Guru Yoga practice, we are also tapping into the blessings of Rinpoche’s main meditational deity, thus maximising the benefits, merits and affinity with the lama.
This important supplication is a complete seven-limb prayer with special requests for the Guru’s blessings. All spiritual attainments are impossible without the blessings of the Guru, who is more precious than a wish-fulfilling jewel. Thus, we should always petition the Guru continuously. The prayer also recalls the kindness of our Guru and requests for his blessings so that we can be liberated from the cyclic existence of suffering in Samsara.
As it says in the scriptures, one of the most powerful practices is recalling the Guru by reciting the Guru’s mantra. Likewise, in his commentary to this Guru Yoga practice, Lama Thubten Phurbu said,
“Even though we do not know a lot of practices, if we recite our Guru’s mantra whole-heartedly with sincerity and faith, we can obtain the qualities and attainments of Buddha Heruka, Dorje Shugden, and all the enlightened beings.”
Thus, we should recite Rinpoche’s name mantra as much as possible as part of this Guru Yoga practice.
As part of his commentary, Lama Thubten Phurbu described Tsem Rinpoche as being one with Heruka and Dorje Shugden, thus a perfect object of refuge. Lama Thubten Phurbu also recognised Tsem Rinpoche’s immaculate motivation and attainments which are visible through his great deeds in Malaysia. By turning what was once barren into a fertile ground for the Dharma to flourish, Lama Thubten Phurbe recognised Tsem Rinpoche’s enlightened qualities as equal to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions.
The Guru Yoga of Tsem Rinpoche is recommended as a daily practice and can be recited together with our sadhana. When Rinpoche’s disciples and friends engage in this Guru Yoga practice along with recitations of Rinpoche’s name mantra, it will create the necessary causes and merits for the successful search, recognition and enthronement of Rinpoche’s incarnation. If this is done well, the discovery of the new incarnation will not only benefit the disciples and friends but also the lineage and all sentient beings.
A Flute Calling to the Guru: The Guru Yoga Practice of Tsem Rinpoche
Composed by His Eminence Lama Thubten Phurbu Rinpoche at the request of His Eminence Drubwang Gangchen Rinpoche
Before me, in space of bliss-void clear light,
On a throne of jewels raised up by lions,
Is the root Guru, supreme embodiment of all Refuge.
He glows reddish white, with a peaceful, happy expression,
Wearing three saffron robes and golden pandit’s hat,
Legs crossed in indestructible vajra position,
Right hand in mudra of teaching the Dharma.
On his left hand, in mudra of equipoise,
Rests a beautiful vase filled with undefiled nectar.
At his heart is Great Bliss King Heruka,
Color of lapis, embracing his Consort.
With expression of majesty, four faces, twelve arms,
Hand-symbols such as vajra, bell, he wears dry skulls,
A necklace of wet skulls, and tiger skin skirt.
His two feet, extended and bent, trample extremes of samsara and nirvana.
Red Varahi embraces the Father,
Her calves wound around his thighs,
Hair loose, adorned with the five mudra ornaments,
Bliss increasing, holding curved knife and skull.
At his heart, on a sun-cushion, around the letter HUM,
Are the root and lineage Gurus, Yidams, Buddhas, Bodhisattvas,
Pratekyabuddhas, Shravakas, Viras, Dakinis,
And Dharmapala Guardians, an infinite ocean!
The Guru’s three places are marked by three letters.
Light from the HUNG invites from the countless,
Infinite Purelands of the ten directions,
The Wisdom Beings who, in an instant,
Dissolve in: He becomes the nature of all Refuge.
With great devotion I prostrate, with body, speech, and mind.
O Guru, embodiment of all Refuge,
I offer you my body and wealth, and others’ as well,
All pure virtues of the three times,
Clouds of offerings, owned and unowned,
Actually arranged and mentally emanated.
With intense regret I confess bad karma, downfalls and harmful deeds
I have committed with body, speech and mind in beginningless lives!
I rejoice in my own and all other’s virtuous deeds!
Please turn the wheel of the vast, profound Dharma!
Please remain with me inseparably, adorning the lotus in my heart,
From this life onwards up to full enlightenment!
All well-accomplished virtue such as this
I dedicate for the attainment of omniscient, unexcelled
Enlightenment of my parents and all beings of the six realms!
Tens of millions of four continents, Mount Meru, sun and moon,
Perfect wealth of devas, nagas, human beings,
And a mandala of outer, inner and secret nature,
I mentally offer to the Guru supreme!
Well accepting with compassion for the sake of living beings,
Please rain down blessings and siddhis, common and supreme!
With steadfast great courage, you took responsibility
To spread the powerful great deeds
Of the ten directions’ Conquerors in dark remote lands;
To Protector, Sole Father Guru, Dragpa Gyaltsen, I bow!
Tsem Tulku Vajradhara, embodiment of all Gurus
Heruka Chakrasamvara, embodiment of all Yidams
Mighty Dorje Shugden, embodiment of all Dharmapalas,
I pray to You, who are the embodiment of all Refuge!
At all times, in this life, future lifetimes, and bardo,
O Guru, I have no hope for Refuge but You!
Never let go with your hooks of compassion
And grant me common and supreme siddhis!
OM AH GURU KIRTI DATSA SHASANAH DHARA VIRYIA SIDDHI HUM HUM
Because of thus requesting with intense longing,
From the five places of the Venerable Guru’s body
Stream five-colored light-rays and undefiled nectars.
Descending, they dissolve into my body’s five places.
The four obscurations are purified, four empowerments received.
May I soon attain Yuganaddha, the state of four Kayas!
Coming from the Guru’s body, a thumb-sized replica
Enters my crown and mixes with my mind-HUM syllable,
Bestowing blessings and attainments, common and supreme:
Please remain, always, until full enlightenment!
By blessings and power of praying with single-pointed focus
To the benevolent Guru, source of all goodness and happiness,
Relying, in pure thought and action, on the Spiritual Guide who shows the path,
On the basis of this precious human life of freedom and endowments,
Which surpasses a hundred thousand wish-fulfilling jewels,
Which is difficult to find, extremely meaningful, and easily destroyed,
Since suffering of lower realms is impossible to bear,
Keeping the Three Jewels, supreme, unfailing, as my eternal Refuge,
Striving to adopt and abandon in respect to the natural law of karma,
Please bless me to develop genuine renunciation,
Wishing to escape this pitiful, terrifying prison of samsara!
Thinking of how poor beings of the six realms, my parents,
Have been so continuously kind to me, in order to liberate them
From samsara and lesser nirvana’s vast sea of suffering,
Please bless me to develop supreme Bodhicitta!
Thousand-fold sunlight of unobscured vipasyana
Shining on golden Mount Meru of immutable shamata,
Uproots the darkness of beginningless ignorance:
Please bless me to realize the incomparable view!
Thus, in a pure sky of training in the common path,
From gathered clouds of four uncommon empowerments
Falls divine rain of perfectly pure vows and commitments,
Fertilizing the field of Highest Yoga Tantra’s two stages;
May the good fruit of Yuganaddha ripen in this very lifetime!
Thus by meritorious power of this supreme prayer,
And all pure virtues of the past, present, and future,
May the powerful wish-fulfilling jewel of the sole Father Guru’s reincarnation
Swiftly come as Lord Protector for his poor disciples!
Great loving Protector, having left for another realm
Your amassed disciples, bereft of a Refuge to show them the way,
Are left like chicks without wings on a desolate empty plain
Of darkness and unbearable sorrow!
In this life, in future lives, and in the bardo,
At all times, we rest our hopes in none but You.
Kind Guru, do not abandon your compassion!
Grant blessings, O Lord Protector of Beings!
In this life and all our succession of lives
May you happily care for us, O Lord Protector!
May we enjoy the blissful nectar of Your teachings,
And quickly attain the state of Heruka!
May I and others receive nothing but
A body like yours, O Venerable Guru,
Entourage, lifespan, realm of existence,
And excellent, supreme name, just like Yours!
COLOPHON: This Guru Yoga, A Flute Calling to the Guru, was requested when the holy bearer of the definitive teachings whose name is difficult to utter, Tsem Rinpoche Jetsun Tenzin Zöpa Yönten Gyatso, also privately known as Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen, the supreme, whose nature is powerful bodhicitta wishing to bring sun of the stainless Teachings to remote places engulfed in the darkness of Ignorance, dissolved in the sphere of dharmadhatu. The request for a Guru Yoga for him in connection with his Yidam Deity, Heruka Chakrasamvara came from one who has aspired solely to the Aural Lineage Teachings of Protector Manjushri Tsongkhapa, that great illuminator of those Teachings, the Lord of Siddhas Gangchen Rinpoche. As for me, as well, when he passed away and the reliquary cremation stupa was opened, I had no choice but to write it: inside were blessed ‘ringsel’ slightly smaller than mustard seeds, countless in number; In particular, equal to the number of Deities of Chakrasamvara mandala, there was a pattern of sixty-four bindu-drops that naturally emerged; this was not blind faith or a stretch of the imagination! It was actually seen by myself and Khensur Rinpoche of the great monastic seat of Shar Ganden Monastery, its head Lamas, Tulkus, Geshes, and many faithful Indian and Chinese disciples. Thus, with great faith and devotion, the head of Nye-Mo Gyal-Je Monastery, one proud to be in the line of Je Ketsun Yönten Gyatso’s incarnations, Lozang Thubten Trinle Norbu, known as Lama Thubten Phurbu, composed this at Geden Khachö Ling, Rinpoche’s monastic seat in Malaysia. May all be virtuous.
Translation by David Molk, November 15, 2019