The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

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The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

THE SPIRITUAL PATH 137With mind far off, not thinking of death's coming,Performing these meaningless activities,Returning empty-handed now would be complete confusion;The need is recognition, the spiritual teachings,So why not practice the path of wisdom at this very moment?From the mouths of the saints come these words:If you do not keep your master's teaching in your heartWill you not become your own deceiver?THE MASTERThe Buddha says in one of the Tantras: 1 "Of all the buddhaswho have ever attained enlightenment, not a single oneaccomplished this without relying upon a master, and of allthe thousand buddhas that will appear in this eon, none ofthem will attain enlightenment without relying on a master."In 1987, after my beloved master Dudjom Rinpoche passedaway in France, I was sitting in a train, returning to Paris fromthe south of France, where he had lived. Images of his thousandsof acts of generosity, tenderness, and compassion passedthrough my mind; I found myself in tears, saying to myselfover and over again: "Had it not been for you, how could Ipossibly have understood?"I realized, with an intimacy and poignancy that I had neverexperienced before, just why such a sacred emphasis is placedin our tradition on the relationship between master and disciple,and just how essential this relationship is to the livingtransmission of the truth, from mind to mind, from heart toheart. Without my masters, I would have had no possibility atall of realizing the truth of the teachings: I cannot imagineeven having been able to reach the humble level of understandingthat I have.Many people in the West are suspicious of masters—often,unfortunately, for good reasons. I do not have to cataloguehere the many dreadful and disappointing cases of folly, greed,and charlatanry that have occurred in the modern world sincethe opening to Eastern wisdom in the 1950s and 1960s. However,all the great wisdom traditions, whether Christian, Sufi,Buddhist, or Hindu, rely for their force on the master-disciplerelationship. And so what the world needs urgently now is asclear as possible an understanding of what a real master is,what a real student or disciple is, and what the true nature ofthe transformation is that takes place through devotion to themaster, what you might call "the alchemy of discipleship."

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