Guru drinks Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse bourbon

- through Francois Leclercq

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This is an unusual book on master-disciple relationships in Tantric Buddhism. One only has to quote the dedication that adorns the book to imagine the tone in which these unspeakably serious things will be presented: “All charlatans – without you, the spiritual journey would be far too boring. As usual, Dzongsar Khyentse laughs at him. This marvel of marvels, our intimate Buddhahood, there is no better artist than the spiritual master, the "guru" to whom we entrust our deepest life, to show it to us until we understand it, and even "realize it". , that everything, without exception, is an expression of our Buddha nature.

“The good guru's checklist: he has realized the ultimate view, he is open-minded, he is unwilling to teach, he is tolerant, he is learned, he is disciplined, he is of a lineage, etc. »

This gift that the master done to the disciple is priceless, and the author says it, repeats it and sings it in every key. It is there, of course, that must also be said the most difficult thing to say, as well as to accept (especially this): once committed to a master and duly accepted by him (or her), he cannot there is nothing worse than turning your back on him and denying him, whatever the (good) reason for doing so. Even if his master were a skilled charlatan, to deny him is to disregard the sacred bond that binds an apprentice Buddha to an intimate friend of Buddhahood, whether or not he or she is actually a Buddha, because , thinking about it, all this happens in the mind of the disciple, and it is oneself, one's own truth, one's own dignity, that one denies by denying the one in whom one had placed one's mystical confidence, one's faith and all one's hopes of becoming lighter, more useful, tirelessly useful to others...

Naropa-the-university-rector or Milarepa-the-repentant-sorcerer,
the "strong heads"

As I write these last lines, these words of Jesus “vomiting up the lukewarm” come to mind, which led to him being accused of being an intransigent extremist. I don't think so, but to return to the tantras where nothing, absolutely nothing is ordinary, the relationship between the master and the disciple is extreme as soon as it proves to be effective: if we remember, for example, the tortures inflicted on Naropa by Tilopa or on Milarepa by Marpa. Naropa and Marpa are not compulsive sadists; their goal is not to inflict pain and still less to expiate, but only to share enlightenment. It is sometimes necessary, with certain "strong heads" like Naropa-the-university-rector or Milarepa-the-repentant-sorcerer, to make use of a perfectly channeled form of violence which can seem frightening to the timorous beings that it does not concern. Because one must be perfect to teach perfection, and consciously awakened to transmit enlightenment.

Dzongsar Khyentse explains very well the paradoxical nature of most Buddhist postulates, and particularly those of Tantric Buddhism which Buddhists call “Diamond Vehicle” (in Sanskrit Vajrayāna); and he plays it brilliantly when he talks about "liberation through imprisonment", when he offers us a "good guru's checklist - he has achieved the ultimate view, he is open-minded, he is unwilling to teach, he is tolerant, he is learned, he is disciplined, he belongs to a lineage, etc. as well as a “bad guru checklist – [he] lacks knowledge, has no devotion to Dharma, his own guru or sangha, has no living tradition…, is picky over food, material possessions and hotel rooms…has an egocentric agenda, is annoyed by your disciplined Dharma practice. »

Master himself while being, of course, a disciple of great men like Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Dudjom Rinpoche, Dzongsar Khyentse really manages to make us laugh on the most serious subjects for reasons peculiar to Great Vehicle Buddhism, essentially the ideas that everything is perception within consciousness, that everything is empty and that the "absolute truth of the real" is inconceivable and unspeakable, while relative truth is only a limited and changing point of view on reality. This does not prevent accomplished beings like the authentic masters, endowed with what is called “pure vision”, from perceiving the marvelous identity of the two truths.

The Outer Guru, The Inner Guru, and The Secret Guru

About the two truths, it is interesting to note that for the most pointed Western thinkers like the American philosopher CS Peirce (1839-1914), there is only one true truth, and this is not than mere “opinion”: “The opinion which is destined to be ultimately accepted by all scholars is what we mean by truth, and the object represented in that opinion is the real. This is how I would explain the real”. In Buddhism, all "right" opinions are relative truth, because the absolute truth, the absolute truth of things and thought, is emptiness (in Sanskrit shunyata), and emptiness is the total interdependence of the elements of reality. The emptiness that we said therefore inexpressible and inconceivable is none other, then, than what is agreed to be called the “secret guru”.

“In the Vajrayana, explains Dzongsar Khyentse (p. 47), the guru has three aspects: the outer guru, the inner guru and the secret guru. It is important to be clear on this before entering a path that uses the guru as a method of awakening... The external guru is the physical person whom you can see and with whom you can communicate, from whom you can receive verbal and symbolic teachings and instructions. The outer guru is "as Buddha as possible". The inner guru is the nature of your mind – in other words, not a thinking mind, but simply knowing and undeniably present. And the secret guru is the emptiness of all phenomena. »

I think that this book is addressed as much to the already well-established disciples as to the aspiring disciples. The former will be able to draw inspiration from it to take stock of their relationship with their master; and the second, those whom the Diamond Vehicle attracts, but who are intrigued by the idea of ​​a guru, those who are not frightened by a lot of frankness and a little exoticism, those will find answers to their questions there. Anyone who aspires to become as quickly as possible an indefatigable defender of beings against all suffering and the causes of suffering will find in this work the most lively encouragement to embark on the path and to persevere in the enthusiastic effort which liberates

photo of author

Francois Leclercq

François Leclercq is the founder of Buddhist News, a website which aims to disseminate information and practical advice on Buddhism and spirituality. François Leclercq was born and raised in Paris. He studied Buddhism at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, where he graduated in social sciences and psychology. After graduating, he devoted himself to his passion for Buddhism and traveled the world to study and learn about different practices. He notably visited Tibet, Nepal, Thailand, Japan and China.

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