Beloved wish-fulfilling jewel and emanation body
Supreme of lamps that take the darkness of ignorance away
Oh precious chakravartin king, the one behind the wheel
At your feet, Oh Marpa the Translator, I bow in trusting homage!
A guru truly reliable, belonging to a lineage
This is the guide on the path of dispelling the darkness of ignorance
Is there anyone here who is able to keep to this path and follow it through
The one who relies on a guru who is buddha in person is happy
The mind’s own recognition of itself is emaho!
Two verses from The Eight Wonderful Forms of Happiness, a song of Milarepa, translated with the guidance of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, translated and arranged by Jim Scott, Huba, Poland, June 1995, Tibetan page 149. Translation copyright 2012, Jim Scott
In this tumultuous time, there’s a lot to consider as a contemplative and educator – how to most benefit the world, the world is crying the world is calling – and to be able to genuinely hear those cries. This morning I sang this song Milarepa – and was reminded deeply of my connection to practice, and the gratefulness I have towards my teacher.
How to follow through with the mandate, practicing and embodying “the teachings”? The mind’s own recognition of itself – is emaho – is the teacher. All the teachings arise from one’s mind. All understandings are within one’s mind. Is it just what we choose to see?
These days students may wonder about the role of the teacher “the guru.” How do I find a guru? Or – I don’t like the idea of someone telling me what to do. Or there’s a lot of Tibetans (or Japanese or any ethnicity) out there who we are told to elevate as gurus, teachers, but I just read about them online doing something I can’t condone …
I was brought back to think of my first meeting with Chogyam Trungpa, someone I consider my root guru, or teacher. I was in my early twenties, and was not really looking for a guru, or a spiritual path. But, one of my friends suggested that I have an interview – and I was like “ok whatever.” I clearly recall ascending the stairs of an old Vermont farmhouse, and entering the interview room. Then – there was this immense space – in the room, and in my mind. It wasn’t the physical space of the room, no, it was a large, peaceful, rather untethered to anything space, neutral in a way. I found it familiar as well – yet not requiring any words or thoughts for me to reside there.
Rinpoche spoke “you’re rather tall for a Chinese person” bringing me down earth. Yes at that moment I decided I wanted to find out more, to study with him, so I travelled to Colorado, where he was just starting a meditation center in Boulder. And yes, I regard that moment as when I became a student and identified him as my root guru. It was an inner recognition of mind rather than titles assigned to him or me.
It’s taken me a long time to understand that the essence of mind that I experienced was not HIM giving something to ME – but rather that we shared that mind-space. And, when I consider my path now, that he’s been gone for over 30 years – there remains something to practice with, to stabilize. It’s that quality of mind that was shown to me and shared with me at our first meeting.
“Is there anyone here who is able to keep to this path and follow it through”
The words resound with me as I go through my day. How does one keep that spark alive in a day to day practice -as we encounter different phenomena – the me-too movement, the pandemic, as well as our own growing old, and dying. How do we keep to the path and follow it through?
May 6, 2020