“With strong devotion, even a very simple Dharma teaching will cause great spiritual progress. Yet without devotion, even if we’ve received many profound teachings from many masters, we won’t change. That’s why the great master and future Buddha Maitreya said that individuals without devotion won’t develop. He likened lack of devotion to a burnt seed that cannot sprout. For this reason, the great master Patrul Rinpoche said that without devotion, even if you’re surrounded by all the teachings of the Buddha, it’s no different than being surrounded by blank paper. He also said that if you’ve received the most profound pith instruction but lack devotion, that instruction becomes mere breath or vapor, and nothing is going to happen
We all have devotion, but sometimes it’s a little shaky or fragile. We should take care of our devotion—reactivate, restrengthen, and re-glorify it. Guru Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal prayed, “May my devotion never waver, but always remain strong and steady.” We should be like this too. Keeping devotion fresh and vital is the responsibility of every practitioner and is itself great practice.
Devotion united with bodhichitta is very important. Again, when your devotion develops to the point where you’re free from doubt and hesitation, realization comes so easily. Unshakeable devotion brings blessings. This is spoken of very explicitly in Leu Dunma.
The Leu Dunma teaching is the unity of devotion, bodhichitta, and Dzogchen meditation expressed in the form of practice on Guru Padmasambhava. Leu Dunma is a Guru Yoga practice. As the great master Karma Chagme says, the absolute Guru Padmasambhava is the innate nature of mind, and the innate nature of the mind is the innate nature of everything. This means that devotion, bodhichitta, and everything else merge back into our primordial awareness, which is the innate nature of mind without any subject or object. When we reach the absolute state of Guru Padmasambhava, we’re one with Guru Padmasambhava. We will have achieved his level of realization, which is realization of the dharmakaya. Then we relax in that state.
But to achieve this, we need to increase our devotion, joy, and bodhichitta. We visualize and supplicate Guru Padmasambhava with practices like the Seven Line Prayer, then we complete everything by resting in the Dzogchen state. After this we dedicate the merit we have accumulated for our families, friends, and for all living beings. This is the way to achieve the absolute Guru Padmasambhava. It is how we can increase our inner beauty and let it shine to the world.”
Venerable Khenpo Rinpoches
Vajra Sound of Peace: Practicing the Seven Chapter Prayer of Guru Padmasambhava (pgs 30-31)
Photo of HE Terton Namkha Drimed Rinpoche and Ven. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche at Phurba Khang Medicine Buddha Temple at Padma Samye Ling in 2016.
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