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Guru Yoga | Lama Tsongkhapa

Introduction

Guru Yoga means the “yoga that finds our Guru” and is the practice where we merge our mind with the wisdom mind of our root Guru and Yidam who we see as one Being. The Guru Yoga of Lama Tsongkhapa is focused on the Guru – an outer Guru and our Yidam who is Lama Tsongkhapa, and through his practice, we find our inner Guru. The Guru Yoga of Lama Tsongkhapa is also known as the Gaden Lhagyama (Tibetan), which is translated into English as The Hundreds of Deities of the Joyful Land.

The Guru Yoga of Lama Tsongkhapa is such a short, profound and concise practice but is very deep and has vast, innumerable benefits. These are a few of the great benefits that we can achieve from this great practice of Lama Tsongkhapa.

There are many types of Guru Yoga but this is the best Guru Yoga we can do because Lama Tsongkhapa appears to us in the form of a Lama. When you visualize Lama Tsongkhapa as inseparable from your Guru and you recite his mantra, in actuality, you are reciting the mantra of your Guru. So therefore the benefits of reciting the Guru Yoga practice is very, very powerful excellent.

The Guru Yogais a very complete practice. The five preliminary practices that practitioners should do before engaging in higher teachings and practices include a minimal 100,000 each of Vajrasattva mantras, prostrations, mandala offerings, water bowl offerings and recitation of the Guru Yoga. Doing Lama Tsongkhapa’s Guru Yoga fulfils one of the five preliminary practices.

Guru Yoga

 

Gaden Lhagyama Je Tsongkhapa’s Guru Yoga

Je Tsongkhapa embodies the Bodhisattvas of Compassion (Avalokiteshvara or Kuan Yin), Wisdom (Manjushri) and Power (Vajrapani). Connecting with Je Tsongkhapa by thinking of him with faith, reciting his holy mantra, meditating on his omnipresence and practising his Guru Yoga blesses us with a deep sense of peace and clarity of mind we never thought possible. It is simple, complete and effective for today’s modern individual.


 

Invocation

“GA-DEN HLA-JI NGON-JYI THUG-KA NEY
RAP-KAR SHO-SAR PUNG-DEE CHU-DZIN TSER
CHO-KYI GYEL-PO KUN-CHEN LOZANG DRAG
SEY-DANG CHE-PA NE-DIR SHEG SU SOL”

From the heart of the Lord of the Gaden devas (Maitreya Buddha)
emerges a brilliant white cloud, like a great mass of fresh yoghurt.
Atop sits Tsongkhapa all knowing, King of Dharma;
we request your coming to this place along with your great disciples.


 

Requesting to stay

“DUN-JYI NAM-KHAR SING-TI PEE-DEE TENG
JE-TSUN LA-MA JYEH-PI DZUM-KAR CHYEN
DAG-LO DE-PE SO-NAM SHING-CHOG TU
TAN-PA JYEH-SHIR KAL-DJAR JUG-SU SOL”

My Lord Guru is seated before me upon a lion-throne, lotus and moon cushion.
His body is white and he smiles blissfully.
Please remain many eons and serve as the great merit field for the growth of my mind’s faith,
and for the increase of Lord Buddha’s teachings.


 

Prostration and praise

“SHE-JYEH CHON-KUN JAL-WEY LO-DO THUG
KAL-ZANG NA-WEY JYIN-JUR LIK-SHEY SUNG
DRAG-PI PEL-JYI HLAM-MER DZEY-PI KU
THONG-THO DRAN PI DON DHAN LA-CHAG TSAL”

His omniscient wisdom-mind encompasses all that is existent.
His voice is a profound teaching, which ornaments the ear of the fortunate pupil.
His body’s beautiful radiance evokes wondrous admiration.
To Lama Tsongkhapa whom merely viewing, hearing or contemplating earns one great merit, I make prostration.


 

Offering

“YIH-WONG TCHO-YON NA-TSOG ME-TOG DANG
DRI-JEM DUG-PO NANG-SAL DRID-CHAB SOG
NGO-SHAM YIH TUL TCHO-TIN GYA-TSO DI
SO-NAM SHING-CHOG CHE-LA CHO-PA BUL”

I present to you, great field of merit, Tsongkhapa,
beautiful offerings, water, a display of flowers, fragrant incense,
butter-lamps, perfumes and more both physical and mental offerings,
vast as the clouds and wide as the ocean.


 

Confession

“DAG-GI TO-MEY DU-NEH SAG-PA YI
LU-NGAG YIH-KYI DIG-PA CHI-JYI DANG
CHEY-PA DOM-PA SUM-JI MI-TUN SHO
NYING-NEH JO-PA TRAH-PO SO-SOR SHAG”

The unwholesome actions of body, speech and mind,
which I have accumulated over a measureless period,
especially actions contrary to the three vows (Vinaya, Bodhisattva, Vajrayana),
I regret extremely from the depths of my heart, and I reveal each and every such action.


 

Rejoicing

“NIK-MI DU-DIR MANG-THO DRUP-LA TSON
CHO-JYED PANG-PI DAL-JOR DON-YO SHYE
NGON-PO CHEY-KYI LAP-CHEN DZE-PA LA
DAG-CHAG SAM-PA TAG-PEH YI RANG NGO”

We totally rejoice in your magnificent achievements, my Lord,
who received numerous teachings and performed the practices with utmost diligence,
who abandoned the eight worldly objectives
and made the most meaningful use of the eighteen opportune conditions during these degenerate times.


 

Request to turn the wheel of dharma

“JE-TSUN LA-MA DAM-PA CHEY-NAM KYI
CHO-KU KA-LA CHEN-TI TIN-TIK NEY
JI-TAR TSAM-PI DUL-SHIH DZIN-MA LA
ZAB-JI CHO-KYI CHAR-PA WHAP-TU SOL”

All you holy Gurus, unerring in conduct,
may you precipitate a rain of realisation of Bodhicitta and Shunyata
from the clouds of all-knowing compassion which fills the Dharmakaya sky, providing for the field of disciples precisely what is needed.


 

Requesting to remain

“NAM-DAG WO-SAL YING-LEY JING-PA YI
ZUNG-JUG KU-LA CHAR-NUB MI-NGA YANG
THA-MAL HNANG-NGOR ZUG-KU RAG-PA NYI
SEE-THEE BAR-DU MI-NUB TAN-PA SHUG”

May the Vajra body of Tsongkhapa created from the purity of clear light,
free of the rising and setting of cyclic existence
but visible to the ordinary viewer only in its unsubtle, physical form,
stay on unchanging, without waning, until Samsara ends.

Note: For auspicious reasons, we request the Guru to remain a second time, until the end of samsara, which is unlike most 7 limb prayers.


 

Dedication

“DAG-SOG JIN-NYEH SAG-PA GE-WA DEE
TAN-DANG DRO-WA KUN-LA GANG-PHAN DANG
CHE-PA JE-TSUN LO-ZANG DRAG-PA YI
TAN-PI NYING-PO RING-DU SAL-SHEH SHOG”

May this merit accumulated by myself and others,
beneficially serve all sentient beings and the Buddhadharma
and especially may the essential teachings of the unerring master Tsongkhapa, become clear and enduring.


 

Migtsema (Mantra of Je Tsongkhapa)

“MIG-MEY TZE-WEY TER-CHEN CHENREZIG
DRI-MEY KHYEN-PI WANG-PO JAMPAL YANG
DU-PUNG MA-LU JOM-DZEY SANG-WEY DAG
GANG-CHEN KE-PEY TSUG-GYEN TSONGKAPA
LO-SANG TRAG-PEY SHAB-LA SOL-WA DEB”

Je Tsongkhapa, crown jewel of the holy Masters of the land of snows,
You are Avalokiteshvara, great goldmine of Compassion untainted by ego’s delusion.
You are Manjushri, great Master of stainless wisdom.
You are Vajrapani, great subduer of all the gatherings of demons.
At your feet, famed Lobsang Drakpa,
I humbly bow and earnestly request that all sentient beings achieve Enlightenment.

(Recite 21x or more, depending on time)
This can be recited anytime, anywhere, as many times as possible. It has the benefits of receiving the blessings of Avalokiteshvara Manjushri and Vajrapani.


 

Dissolving Je Rinpoche into ourselves

“PAL-DAN TSA-WEY LA-MA RINPOCHE
DAG-SOG CHI-WOR PE-ME DAN-JUG LA
KA-DRIN CHEN-PO GO-NEY JE-ZUNG TE
KU-SUNG THUG-KYI NGO-DRUP TSAL-DU SOL”

Dear worthy root Guru, please ascend the lotus seat
atop the head of myself and the other beings,
and in your great kindness please remain with us.
Bestow upon us the blessings of your body, speech and mind.

“PAL-DAN TSA-WEY LA-MA RINPOCHE
DAG-SOG NYING-KHAR PE-ME DAN-JUG LA
KA-DRIN CHEN-PO GO-NEY JE-ZUNG TE
CHO-DANG THUN-MONG NGO-DRUP TSAL-DU SOL”

Precious, noble, root Guru, please occupy the lotus seat
within our hearts and in your great kindness remain with us.
Please grant us your blessings for our temporal success
and for the supreme attainment.

“PAL-DAN TSA-WEY LA-MA RINPOCHE
DAG-SOG NYING-KHAR PE-ME DAN-JUG LA
KA-DRIN CHEN-PO GO-NEY JE-ZUNG TE
JANG-CHUB NYING-PO BAR-DU TAN-PAR SHUG”

Beloved, noble, root Guru, please occupy the lotus seat
within our hearts and in your great kindness remain with us.
Please stay on until we achieve the great goal of Enlightenment.

 

Lama Tsongkhapa’s Migtsema

Mantras are the Buddha’s body, speech and mind qualities manifesting in the form of sound. Hence they can affect us deeply and bless our minds. Mantra combined with visualisation and meditation can unlock our subconscious mind to higher states of thinking such as altruism, care, etc. There are many types of mantras, open and secret. But a general all-rounder mantra that encompasses so many qualities that we need is Migtsema.

migtsema

Tsongkhapa’s Migtsema mantra is a wonderful, peaceful, all-encompassing mantra that is suitable for anyone at any stage of practice. Tsongkhapa’s holy image encompasses the complete 84,000 teachings of Buddha in iconography form. His body is a ‘roadmap’ to Nirvana. Seeing, hearing, contemplating and meditating on the Gentle Tsongkhapa brings incredible blessings for today’s individuals without much time. With so many distractions that we call technology, a short concise practice such as Tsongkhapa’s Gaden Lhagyama is very much applicable.

 

Commentary

Mantras are the enlightened energies of Buddha’s body, speech, mind in the form of sound and can deeply bless and affect our minds. When we recite mantras, it is important to maintain a good visualisation and meditation. This taps into the unconscious or subtle mind and can transform the negative delusions of our mind to higher states and qualities of thinking such as compassion, generosity, patience, care etc.

This mantra contains he energies of the three Buddhas as follows:

Objectless compassion, Chenrezig,
(This line is equivalent to reciting Om Mani Peme Hung)
 
Lord of stainless wisdom, Manjushri,
(This line is equivalent to reciting Om Ah Ra Ba Tsa Na Dhi)
 
Conquering mara’s horders, Vajrapani,
(This line is equivalent to reciting Om Vajrapani Hung)
 
Crown jewel of the Sages of the Land of Snows, Tsongkhapa,
Losang Drakpa, at your feet, I pray.
(This line identifies Tsongkhapa as the embodiment of all Masters)

The origin of the Migtsema mantra, which has been described in the autobiography of Lama Tsongkhapa, is a very wonderful story that illustrates Lama Tsongkhapa’s Guru Devotion and the wonderful relationship he had with his teacher, Tsongkhapa extracted a verse from Manjushri’s text and adapted it as an offering to Jetsun Rendawa, the great Sakya Master who was one of Lama Tsongkhapa’s esteemed Gurus.

Je Tsongkhapa offered the verse to his Guru, Jetsun Rendawa, but Rendawa returned the verse to him, saying, “No, this verse is not appropriate for me. You are Avalokiteshvara, you are Manjushri, you are Vajrapani, and this verse is more appropriate for you.” So his own Guru changed the words from “Jetsun Rendawa” to “Tsongkhapa” in the fourth line and gave the prayer back to him.

The actual words first came from Manjushri’s mouth; Lama Tsongkhapa put in his Guru’s name and offered the verse up to his Guru; and finally, his Guru altered the verse to include Tsongkhapa’s name and returned it to him. It was not something Lama Tsongkhapa made up. It was something given to him by his Guru which was extracted from Manjushri’s text. This is now called the Migtsema prayer and it is very holy, powerful and excellent.

 

Reciting Migtsema

 
State Of Mind
 
The number of Migtsema mantras that you wish to recite is up to you. You should do at least 21 mantras every day. It will only take two minutes! You should recite this mantra every single day, especially now that you know the benefits. Simultaneously, you should try to get a statues or a picture of Lama Tsongkhapa and make offerings. It is a beautiful and wonderful practice.

Visualize your Guru here (or all your Gurus if you have more than one) and all the holy Beings of the Gelug lineage tree, containing all the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Yidams, self-realisers, foe-destroyers, dakas, dakinis, arhats and Dharma protectors.

Visualize all this in the light and dissolving into Lama Tsongkhapa. And he is there in front of you. Why visualize 500 deities when you do not even know where they are, what they are or what they look like. They cannot even fit into the room! Instead, visualize one nice image of Lama Tsongkhapa, small, simple, clean with his two disciples. It is very simple yet bestows all the same blessings as if we propitiated the entire Gelug lineage tree.

When we recite the Migtsema, do not think about mundane matters; things like “How many sales did I make in my store today” Did I turn off the kettle?” Do not think about these things. The attainment of Enlightenment is in the mind. By just reciting the prayers, you will collect some good merit, but you will not become enlightened. It is not possible. You must do the meditations also.

 

Mala

 
IMG_20130719_202449
 
While you are reciting the mantra, hold your mala (your string of prayer beads) and sit straight, in a meditation posture if possible. Hold your mala up in your hand – practically, the left hand is better for Tantra (as this activates certain energy and wind channels within your body) but using the right hand is also fine. As you finish reciting the complete mantra once, you pull one bead towards you.

The total number of beads in a mala should be 108. The best beads are made of bodhi seeds or lotus seeds. Crystal is also very good and is excellent for gaining compassion. It would be best if you could use a mala with bodhi seeds; if not lotus seed, crystal, wood, sandalwood or any other material of your choice is also permissible.  Use what you feel most comfortable with at this stage and find a size that suits you best.

Bodhi seed mala.

Bodhi seed mala.

A mala that is blessed by your teacher is excellent. If not, you can bless it yourself. Recite Migtsema three times and bless the mala by blowing directly onto it. The mala should not be taken into the toilet; if it is, you should bless it again. It should not be kept on the floor, stepped under, or used in ways such as for decoration or as ornaments. Your mala should be kept very clean as befitting for a holy object. If you keep it wrapped around your hand or if you wear it around your neck, keep it as clean and beautiful as possible.

The mala should be used. If you are using it well for your mantras, the colour of your mala will reflect that. If your mala is very light and clean, it will reflect that you have not used it very much! A mala is not beautiful because it has ornaments, gold and silver. It is beautiful when it has turned dark and shiny from being used; malas like these will become very powerful.

While you recite the mantra, make sure that the mala is always clean and nice. Do not give your mala to other people to use. It is yours. If some people have negative energy, the energy will go onto the mala; then when you take it back, that negative energy comes to you. It is better to keep your mala to yourself. This is very important.

It would be good if you have two malas – one mala can be used for Lama Tsongkhapa’s practice, at home and another can be used for general, for going out or travelling. Or you can just keep one mala – that would also be fine.

When the great meditators of the past die, people will then for the first time find their malas in boxes or hidden away inside their meditation caves. They would have never shown their malas during their lifetime. These high meditators, who have very high attainments, keep everything covered. Tantric practice is very secret. The mala is not something ordinary; it is very secret and very powerful. If you do your practices well, it can become an object of great protection to give to people.

Do not think that you do not have power because you are not a Lama. No, believe that the mantra itself has power and Lama Tsongkhapa has power. If you recite Migstema and blow the mantra on the mala, it will become powerful.

 

Appropriate behavior when reciting Migtsema

When people recite the Migstema, you should not burp, fart, talk, laugh, sneeze, cough or fidget and move around. If you do, you must recite the mantra seven times extra to correct this disrespect.

However, if you are doing a long retreat, you can pause to take a drink. You can get up, put your mala down and go to the bathroom if you need to. After you finish, rinse your mouth, wash your hands, return to your meditational seat and start again. But do not talk or do anything unnecessary. Do not stop by the kitchen on the way back and get a cheese sandwich! Then, if you did 100 malas of mantras already, you can start the 101st round. You would not have broken the session.

If you stop or break the session, you will have to start all over from the beginning. For example, if you did 1000 mantras, you cannot count the 1000; you must start from 1 again! If you accidentally fall asleep, the mantras that you have done up until that point do not count! If on a particular day you have intended to recite 6000 mantras and you fall asleep at the 5999th mantra, it is too bad! You will have to start all over again at 1 for that day. All the mantra counts from the previous days are still counted and not erased; it is only the amount for that particular day that you fell asleep that is erased. Of course, when you are doing a retreat, it is much better if you do not fall asleep at all!

When you recite the mantra, there should not be music or talking. Sit straight with a good posture. It is very important. Then, you will gain the benefit in doing the visualization together with the mantra.

While you are reciting Migtsema, there are many ways to do visualizations of Lama Tsongkhapa. You can do the visualization in many, many ways to purify your karma.


Extracted from the blog of His Eminence Tsem Tulku Rinpoche and the Tsongkhapa Boxset.

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