140 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYING ordinary mind. And the path beyond the ordinary mind, all the great wisdom traditions have told us, is through the heart. This path of the heart is devotion. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche wrote: There is only one way of attaining liberation andof obtaining the omniscience of enlightenment: following an authentic spiritual master. He is the guide that will help you to cross the ocean of samsara. The sun and the moon are reflected in clear, still water instantly. Similarly, the blessings of all the buddhas are always present for those who have complete confidence in them. The sun's rays fall everywhere uniformly, but only where they are focused through a magnifying glass can they set dry grass on fire. When the all-pervading rays of the Buddha's compassion are focused through the magnifying glass of your faith and devotion, the flame of blessings blazes up in your being. So then, it is essential to know what real devotion is. It is not mindless adoration; it is not abdication of your responsibility to yourself, nor undiscriminating following of another's personality or whim. Real devotion is an unbroken receptivity to the truth. Real devotion is rooted in an awed and reverent gratitude, but one that is lucid, grounded, and intelligent. When the master is able to open your innermost heart andoffers you an undeniably powerful glimpse of the nature of your mind, a wave of joyful gratitude surges up in you toward the one who helped you to see, and the truth that you now realize the master embodies in his or her being, teachings, and wisdom mind. That uncontrived, genuine feeling is always rooted in repeated, undeniable, inner experience—a repeated clarity of direct recognition—and this, and this only, is what we call devotion, mö gü in Tibetan. Mö gü means "longing and respect": respect for the master, which grows deeper and deeper as you understand more and more who he or she really is, and longing for what he or she can introduce in you, because you have come to know the master is your heart link with the absolute truth and the embodiment of the true nature of your mind. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche tells us, At first this devotion may not be natural or spontaneous, so we must employ a variety of techniques to help us to achieve this.
THE SPIRITUAL PATH 141 Chiefly we must always remember the excellent qualities of the teacher, especially his kindness to us. By repeatedly generating confidence, appreciation to the guru, and devotion toward him, a time will come when the mere mention of his name or the thought of him will stop all our ordinary perceptions, and we will see him as the Buddha himself 2 To see the master not as a human being, but as the Buddha himself, is the source of the highest blessing. As Padmasambhava says: "Complete devotion brings complete blessing; absence of doubts brings complete success." TheTibetans know that if you relate to your teacher as a buddha, you will receive the blessing of a buddha, but if you relate to your master as a human being, you will only get the blessing of a human being. So to receive the full transformative power of the blessing of his or her teaching, the complete unfolding of its glory, you must try and unfold in yourself the richest possible kind of devotion. Only if you come to see your master as a buddha can a buddha-like teaching come through to you from your master's wisdom mind. If you cannot recognize your master as a buddha, but see him or her as a human being, the full blessing can never be there, and even the greatest teaching will leave you somewhere unreceptive. The more I come to reflect on devotion and its place and role in the overall vision of the teachings, the more deeply I realize that it is essentially a skillful and powerful means of making us more receptive to the truth of the master's teaching. Masters themselves do not need our adoration, but seeing them as living buddhas will enable us to listen to and hear their message and to follow their instructions with the greatest possible fidelity. Devotion, then, is in one sense the most practical way of ensuring a total respect for, and therefore openness to, the teachings, as embodied by the master and transmitted through him or her. The more devoted you are, the more open you are to the teachings; the more open you are to the teachings, the more chance there is for them to penetrate your heart and mind, and so bring about a complete spiritual transformation. So it is only by seeing your master as a living buddha that the process of transformation of yourself into a living buddha can be truly begun and truly accomplished. When your mind and heart are fully open in joy and wonder and recognition and gratitude to the mystery of the living presence of enlightenment in the master, then slowly, over many years,