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The four phases of guru yoga practice

The process of the nine breaths is the basic cleansing. The most important practice of Guru Yoga is described in terms of the four following phases:

 

1. the visualization of the guru's presence in heaven before us and the recitation of invocation,

2. receiving purification from the guru using wisdom nectars,

3. receiving the blessings of the guru by means of the empowerments of the Three Lights and

4. the recitations of prayers and mantras.

 

 

Phase One: The visualization of the guru

In voicing the seed syllable A, the practitioner visualizes the Guru Tapihritsa in the space above in the room in front of him.

 

In this case, Tapihritsa is transparent or translucent; his body is as clear and empty as a rainbow because it represents the inseparability of clarity and emptiness. It is pure white like a quartz crystal because it has been thoroughly cleansed of all obscurations and defilements. He is completely naked and unadorned, because he is completely free of all the discursive thoughts and operations of the mind in relation to the thought process. And he is visualized sitting in peaceful contemplation in the midst of a rainbow sphere of light floating in the sky, because he has already reached the light body of the Great Transition. This indicates that his nature is wisdom, primordial awareness or gnosis. But one should not visualize it as a flat and two-dimensional aspect like a painting on the wall, but as three-dimensional, translucent and immaterial like a rainbow appearing in the sky. One should feel that he is still alive and actually present, sitting in the room in front of the practitioner and looking at him with compassion and loving kindness. Therefore, this is a very personal encounter.

 

In addition, one should think that this luminous figure of Tapihritsa embodies the union of all gurus, masters and all the lines for the transmission of the Dzogchen that has been received in this life and in all previous lives. One fervently prays with heartfelt devotion to this Master as though he actually exists, bringing him offerings, including a Ganachakra Puja, whether these offerings actually exist or are only visualized in the imagination. Finally, one asks for the blessings of the empowerments of the guru's body, speech and mind.

 

After clearly visualizing the guru in this way and directing his mind towards him, one recites often or at least three times the following invocation:

 

CHI TSUK DE WA CHEN PO PHO DRANG DU,
DRIN CHAN TSA WE LA MA LA SOL WA DEB,
SANG GYE SEM SU TÖN PA RIN PO CHE,
RANG NGO RANG GI SHE PAR DSCHIN GYI LOB.

 

In the palace of great bliss on the crown of my head,
Is my benevolent root guru to whom I pray;
The Buddha is my own mind: Oh precious teacher,
Please grant the blessing that I recognize my own nature!

 

In addition, there are other invocation prayers that can be used for this purpose.

 

EMAHO!
KU SUM DON DAN LA MA KA DRIN CHAN,
KHYED KYI THUG-JE JYIN LAB CHI TA-WA,
DAG GI GYUD LA NYUR DU TSAL DU SOL!

 

CHYI NANG SANG WE BAR CHAD KUN ZHI NE,
RANG SEM KUN ZANG NYUR DU DRUB GYUR CHIK!
LA ME JYIN LAB SEM LA JUG PAR SHOK!
LA ME JYIN LAB SEM LA JUG PAR SHOK!
LA ME JYIN LAB SEM LA JUG PAR SHOK!

 

Emaho! (How wonderful!)
Oh, my kind Master, who owns the nature of the Trikaya,
May your compassion and blessing be present,
Please give this fast for my mind stream!

 

And after all outer, inner and secret obstacles are pacified,
May I quickly realize my own mind as Kuntu Zangpo!
May the blessing of the Master enter into my mind!
May the blessing of the Master enter into my mind!
May the blessing of the Master enter into my mind!

 

And the second prayer is as follows:

 

EMAHO!
DU SUM SANG GYE MA LU JYUNG WE NE,
BYIN LAB TÖN PA KUN TU ZANG PO ZHE,
TSA-WE LA ME ZHAB LA SOL WA DEB,
RANG RIG YE SHE CHAR WAR GYIN GYI LOB.

 

Emaho! (How wonderful!)
The blessings of the one known as the teacher Kuntu Zangpo
Are the ultimate source of all Buddhas of the three times.
I pray at the feet of my root guru to give me the blessing,
Which can arise in me through the primordial perception of self-awareness.

 

 

Phase Two: Purification with Wisdom Nectars

In response to our attitude of passionate abandonment and unreserved opening to him, we visualize that rays of bright white light emanate from the heart center of Guru Tapihritsa, who spontaneously transform into streams of the bright white nectar of wisdom. This flows through the opening at the top of our own head and descends through the central channel until it fills the entire body. This bright white nectar represents the wisdom of the Guru and washes and purifies all our sins and obscurations, including all emotional defilements and karmic traces inherited from the ancient past. As a result, our body is completely purified and cleansed, transforming our whole being into a suitable vessel, pure as a crystal vase filled with light, ready to receive the blessings and initiations given by the Master.

 

 

Phase Three: The receipt of the empowerments

At the end of this process of purification, the practitioner is now well suited to receive the initiations and transmissions of the Dzogchen rules. We intone the syllables AH, OM and HUNG, which mean the dimensions of the body, mind and speech of the individual. Also, in response to our cultivation of intense faith and devotion, these syllables, in the form of luminous Tibetan letters, then appear spontaneously at the three secret places or the three secret gates on the surface of the guru's body, that is, on his forehead, at his neck and at his heart.

 

Then rays of light in their respective colors emanate from these syllables and touch the three corresponding locations on the surface of out own body, where these lights and their energy are absorbed. In this way one receives and unites oneself with the knowledge and wisdom of the body, the speech and the guru's mind.

 

Especially from the white syllable A on the guru's forehead comes a radiant white ray of light, which reaches our own forehead center. Thus all the sins and obscurations of our body are purified and one receives the empowerment and the spiritual achievements (or Siddhis) of the Guru's body. One is now empowered to do the Kyerim or the visualization, the practice of transformation, and this eventually leads to the realization of Nirmanakaya or the physical manifestation of enlightenment.

 

From the red syllable OM at the guru's throat comes a bright red ray of light that enters our own throat center. Thus, all sins and obscurations of the speech are purified, and one receives the empowerment and the spiritual achievements of the Guru's speech. One is now empowered to do the Tsa Lung or the recitations and the breathing exercises (Pranayama) and this will eventually lead to the realization of the Sambhogakaya or the energetic aspect of enlightenment.

 

From the blue syllable HUNG in the heart of the guru comes a bright blue ray of light that enters our own heart center. Thus, all sins and obscurations of the mind are purified, and one receives the empowerment and the spiritual achievements of the guru's mind. One is now empowered to do the Dzogrim or internal yoga exercises for the recognition of the inseparability of bliss and voidness, and this ultimately leads to the realization of the Dharmakaya or the ultimate aspect of the mind of enlightenment.

 

Each of these lights dissolves and is absorbed by the sites or centers of our own being, such as the pouring of water into water, so that the guru's body, speech and mind merge with the body, speech and mind of us. In this way, the practitioner is both purified and empowered to absorb in himself the access, energies, and capacities of the guru's body, speech, and mind. This initiation and empowerment culminates in the process of guru visualization. This unites the practitioner with all the masters in the lines of Dzogchen teachings, and if this guru yoga practice is repeated, it helps to maintain that connection or spiritual connection.

 

 

Phase Four: Reciting prayers

At this point, after receiving the initiations and blessings of the Guru, one can make «The Invocation of Tapihritsa», which is translated in the next section. You can recite them once or as often as you like while taking on an attitude of faith, devotion, and yearning for liberation and enlightenment.

 

As we have said, in the Master's presence, the practitioner develops a personal relationship with him and consciously cultivates intense feelings of faith, trust, and ardent devotion. One gives oneself unconditionally to this perfect master, and opens himself completely, as a little child opens himself before his loving parents. One prays with intense faith and intense devotion to the guru's form, which is essentially identical to one's root guru at the same time, and asks him to receive the blessings, empowerments, and transmissions so that one can practice and can come to gain a true understanding of the true meaning of Dzogchen. In fact, guru-yoga is the most effective means of preserving and improving the transmissions you have received before. So, guru-yoga is not something that is done just once in the beginning as an initiation ritual, but a meditation practice that is performed repeatedly, at least once a day or even at the beginning of each session of practice.

 

At the end of the recitations, the guru's vision in the sky dissolves into a mass of light. This light comes to the practitioners and goes into them. This moment of union represents true guru yoga, a true unio mystica or mystical union. In addition, this visualization gives a brief summary and repeats the original mystical vision and ecstatic experiences of the Mahasiddha Gyerpungpa in Zhang-zhung of bygone eras Time. In this way one arrives and remains in the line of transmission in the state of sacred crossing of space and time.