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Buddhadharma : Summer 2011
winter 2005| 54 |buddhadharma expect from them. On the other hand, certainly in the Vajrayana, teachers will provoke our disap- pointment in order to shake up our usual dualistic concepts about having and not having. noRman fischeR: There is an essential paradox, which presents itself as a problem from the dual- istic perspective: How can the teacher be worthy of the faith and confidence we would apply toward a buddha and at the same time be a human being who might be conditioned in various ways? From the dualistic perspective, this dichotomy is really hard to take. We might ask, if the teacher is wor- thy of our confidence, and the teacher is a buddha, how come he or she says this or does that? But the problem there is a misunderstanding, as Rinpoche has just said. Our expectations for perfection and superhumanness on the part of the teacher are always idealizations. They are a neu- rotic expectation that a teacher is supposed to be otherworldly. When we can learn to accept and appreciate the teacher for his or her humanness, we see that humanness as an expression of his or her highest understanding. At that point, we are beginning to achieve some genuine understanding. But we have to go through those horrible periods of disappointment, and if we can stay with the dharma and not leave the teacher or start over again looking for another perfect being, then we can reach that kind of very basic understanding. There’s something magical, as I said, alchemi- cal, about what happens when student and teacher meet face-to-face. Why should this be so? Why would we need another person to transform our- selves or understand the dharma? You would think we would be able to do it on our own if we’re smart and if we work hard enough. Without a teacher, you can certainly master teachings and learn a lot about meditation and have deep concentration states. But for true real- ization, the magical element of a human relation- ship with a teacher is what is needed. It may be confusing, irrational, and emotional, but that is very much the point. It is a face-to-face encounter of two people seeing each other’s humanness and each other’s buddhaness. shaRon salzbeRg: What seems to be happening is a kind of mirroring. In different encounters with the same teacher, we seem to see so many differ- ent facets. Even in the same encounter with one teacher, different students will have a completely different perception of what happened. They will recount the actual words differently, not to men- tion the teacher’s mood. Someone will recall how stern they were, while another will remember them as being very funny. What we see and hear is partly based on what we’re able to see and hear and partly based on our a song For the guru This devotional song by Chökyi Wangchuk (1584 – c . 1635) describes his vision of the great teacher and scholar Mikyö Dorje (1507–1554), the eighth Karmapa. namo guraVe in my sixteenth year, on the eighteenth night of the second ninth month, at the time when the stars were gathered, i looked from east to east and experienced sacred outlook. i saw jetsün mikyö dorje whose splendorous body seemed to fill the eastern sky. his right hand was in a dance gesture joining om and hum. from a vase of immortality, a stream of amrita descended and entered my body. then, after a little while, the vision began to fade, and at that moment i made this supplication: i prostrate at the feet of lord mikyö. generally, there is no certainty to phenomena, yet the father guru appeared; how wondrous! therefore, this is my supplication of powerful yearning. in the space of the dharmadhatu of my mind are spread myriads of stars of various experiences. the lord guru dwells in the essence of my mind as the essence of buddha. if you develop faith, develop faith in him. if you supplicate, supplicate him. in the realm of the inanimate world appear the stars of animate beings. although there are many flickers in the mind, they arise as the play of wisdom of the lord guru. if you develop faith, develop faith in him. if you supplicate, supplicate him. o kind lord karmapa, for one who has fallen into the pit of arrogance, a stubborn person like myself, without protector, do not let the power of your kindness be small; please grant me the experience of your blessings. as for the purpose of my studying the sutras and tantras, accept me kindly so that it may be completed soon. the arrival of the lord guru is a sign that this wish of mine will undoubtedly be fulfilled. please grant to me the blessings of siddhis. i write this at panam as supplication. sarVa mangalam from The Rain of Wisdom, translated by the nalanda translation committee, under the direction of chögyam trungpa. copyright © 1999 by chögyam trungpa. published by shambhala publications. michaelnewhall