The next several posts we will talk about how to align ourselves completely with and ultimately totally surrender to the spiritual guide. First we will talk about how to align our wishes, then our thoughts, then our actions and finally ourselves.
We align our wishes with our Spiritual Guide by asking ourselves when we look at or think of somebody, “what is your [the Spiritual Guide] plan for this person?” His ultimate plan for everybody is to deliver them to the Dharmakaya, where they will be completely free. His temporary plan is to gradually lead them along the path to enlightenment. Our job is to align our wishes with his – where his wishes are our wishes and our wishes are his wishes. We want to get to the point where our wishes are in total alignment, we work for what we want (which is what he wants). When our wishes are not in total alignment, we work on changing our wishes so that they are in alignment with his by considering the benefits of his wishes versus our own. We need to examine whose wishes are better, and when we see his are, we change our wishes to be his, we adopt his wishes as our own.
We ask what does he wish for us? What does he wish for others. He wants to get us and everyone else out because he understands the danger we are in. We want to stay. The principal method for aligning our wishes with those of our Spiritual Guide is our regular practice of Lamrim. Lamrim functions to make our aspirations pure – it changes our desires and makes them spiritual. At this point we might object, “but I don’t naturally desire spiritual things, I want worldly things. So adopting his wishes is artificial. Gen-la Losang explains what is natural is simply what is familiar. Worldly wishes are natural for us because we are more familiar with them. Through training our mind in new wishes, they will become more familiar and eventually even more natural.
The best way we can align our intention with the Spiritual Guide’s is by making a vajra commitment to others. A vajra commitment is a commitment to take personal responsibility for the eventual enlightenment of somebody else. We promise somebody that we will do everything we can to help them attain enlightenment as quickly as possible. We promise that we will continue working for their behalf for as long as it takes, even if that means countless lifetimes. We will never abandon them. We don’t have to directly do this with them, but internally we make such a commitment. One powerful shortcut for being able to do this with everyone is try view others as your future disciples and organize all of your relationships around this idea. Right now, they are just our colleagues, friends or family. But one day they will be our spiritual students and it will be our responsibility to be their Spiritual Guide. Knowing this is where our relationship is going with the person, we then naturally know what direction to take things. We will naturally feel we are responsible for them right now.
Why do we make a vajra commitment to others? Because doing so puts ourselves in perfect alignment with the Buddhas. Their power then flows through us, and we naturally and easily have self-confidence. We can accomplish anything. Doing this is the best possible thing for our practice. It changes everything in our life, like somebody having a child. But it is much more than being a parent, because this is their spiritual welfare and it is for all their future lives. Vajra commitments make our bodhichitta real, not abstract. Bodhichitta is the wish to become a Buddha for the sake of others. When we have others who we are personally responsible for, we easily feel the need to get serious about gaining realizations to be able to help them.