Solving the Puzzle

Yutang Lin

How should one choose a Guru in Tantric Buddhism?
How should one practice before one has such a Guru?
How to continue after one had taken refuge in a Guru?
Key to puzzles on the path of awakening is Bodhicitta.


A Buddhist asked the following in an email to me: Many Buddhists are puzzled as to how to choose a Tantric Guru to follow; when they encountered a Guru that they would like to follow, often they lacked meritorious conditions to maintain close contact with the Guru; after they had taken refuge in a Guru, many encountered hindrances and oppositions that caused them to regress; could you please remark on these to enlighten us?

The central theme on the path to enlightenment is the great mind of Bodhicitta. When observed in the light of Bodhicitta, it would be easier for one to discern if a Guru is genuine or not. Before one encountered a Guru, one should base on Bodhicitta to engage in basic practices such as chanting of Buddha's epithets, repetition of mantras, accumulation of prostrations, etc. In case one's Bodhi aspiration is solid, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas could grant guidance through inspirational dreams or opportune events on whom to follow as one's Guru. After one had been received as a disciple by a Guru, if one lacked the opportunity to remain in constant and close contact with the Guru, then one should engage in Dharma practices and services according to the Guru's instructions, and make offerings according to one's capacities.

After one had abided near the Guru, in order to be free from oppositions and hindrances and able to sustain a lasting relationship with the Guru, it also depends on one's having actually adopted Bodhicitta as the central theme of one's life.

Written in Chinese and translated on July 27, 2006
El Cerrito, California

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