Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life:  Offering ourself as a servant

(2.8) Eternally I will offer all my bodies
To the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
Out of respect, I will become your servant;
Please accept me, O Supreme Heroes.

(2.9) Being completely under your care,
I will benefit living beings with no fear of samsara.
I will purify my previous evils
And in future I will commit no more.

Offering ourself to the Spiritual Guide as his servant is our supreme practice.  What are the benefits of this practice?  When we offer ourself to the Spiritual Guide, all our actions function to create non-contaminated karma.  There are three types of karma, positive, negative and pure.  Pure karma and non-contaminated karma are synonymous.  Positive karma ripens in the form of pleasant experiences and an upper rebirth, negative karma ripens in the form of unpleasant experiences and lower rebirth.  Pure karma ripens in the form of blissful experiences and a pure rebirth outside of samsara, in the pure land, as a liberated being or even as a fully enlightened being.  Because the spiritual guide’s final goal is the enlightenment of all living beings, by working towards the fulfillment of his goals everything we do accumulates non-contaminated karma.  This is true even if we are cleaning the toilet or taking out the trash.

When we offer ourself in this way, we purify massive amounts of negativity, specifically with respect to the Spiritual Guide.  When we offer ourselves as a servant to the Spritual Guide, our delusions will fight back with a vengence.  As we work through these delusions we plow through all the obstructions that prevent us from uniting inseparably with him.  With the Spiritual Guide’s blessings, we can accomplish everything.  What prevents us from being able to receive the help of the Buddhas is the negative karma we have with the Spiritual Guide.  It is not unlike having interference which prevents us from picking up a wifi or mobile phone network signal.  But once this negative karma is cleared, the blessings flow endlessly.

When we offer ourselves as a servant to the Spiritual Guide, we feel ourselves to be an extension of his body.  It feels as if we are like a limb of his body – our body, speech and mind are his.  St. Francis said, “Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.”  The Spiritual Guide enters into us and acts through us to help all those around us.  All our actions naturally become his actions working through us.  So it is as if he does all the work and we get all the merit.  It is as if we ourselves are directly engaging in the actions of an enlightened being. This is an essential basis for a qualified feeling of divine pride in our Tantric practice.  For an imputation to be valid, the name, aspect, nature and function must all be in alignment.  It is not hard to generate an image of ourself as the deity nor to remember that this appearance arises from bliss and emptiness, but we will only “feel” like we are the deity when we feel like we are accomplishing the function of the deity, namely feeling like we are ripening and liberating all living beings.  Offering ourself as a servant to the Spiritual Guide is the supreme method for generating this feeling.

We need to put ourselves in total alignment with him.  When we do, all of his power naturally flows through us.  We receive perfect inner guidance and always know what to do, and all our actions have infinite power behind them.  It is like we connect into a spiritual nuclear reactor and we can do anything.  We generate infinite self-confidence, because our Spiritual Guide can do anything and we are now an extension of him, so we too can do anything.

When we offer ourself in this way, we come under the protection of the Spiritual Guide now and in all our future lives, so we can guarantee the continuum of our Dharma practice between now and our eventual enlightenment.  Dharma practitioners don’t fear death, they fear losing the path.  If we die and lose the path, we will wander aimlessly in samsara for incalculably long periods of time.  If we can maintain the continuum of our Dharma practice, it is just a question of time (and effort) before we escape.  If a mother’s children were lost, she would never stop until they are refound and rejoined with her.  In the same way, when we offer ourself to the Spiritual Guide we become like their child, and they will always find us wherever we may be in our future lives and they bring us back to our Spiritual home.

Offering ourself to the Spiritual Guide completely destroys our self-cherishing and our self-grasping.  It destroys our self-cherishing because we no longer can use ourselves for ourselves, but need to use ourselves in the accomplishment of the goals of the Spiritual Guide.  If we give something to somebody, and then take it back and use it for our own purposes, it is a form of stealing.  In the same way, when we have offered ourself to the Spiritual Guide and then we subsequently restake a claim over ourselves and use ourselves for our own selfish purposes, it is as if we are stealing from all the Buddhas and ultimately from all living beings.  Our self-cherishing will naturally rebel against this, feeling like we are depriving ourselves of our freedom.  But our wisdom knows better and realizes that offering ourself to the Spiritual Guide is the very path to freedom.  A bloody battle between our self-cherishing and our wisdom will ensue.  We then do the work of again and again realizing how our self-cherishing is deceiving us, and that the best thing we can possibly do with our life is offer it up to the Spiritual Guide.  Eventually, the strength of our wisdom begins to surpass the strength of our self-cherishing, and we begin to know real freedom.

Offering ourself to the Spiritual Guide destroys our self-grasping because we see ourselves to be a reflection of the mind of the Spiritual Guide and have no independent self-existence.  We become and feel ourselves to be part of a larger whole.  Self-grasping is quite simply thinking we are our ordinary body and mind.  When we offer ourself to our Spiritual Guide, we are no longer our ordinary body and mind.  They are now extensions or emanations of the body and mind of the Spiritual Guide.  They are like waves on the ocean of his body and mind.

At a very practical level, when we offer ourself to the Spritual Guide, we naturally become just like him.  We become like him, his wishes become our wishes, his choices becomes our choices, his behavior becomes our behavior.  The more from our own side we try bring our own behavior into alignment with his, the more we feel him enter into us and work through us.  Christians sometimes wear wrist bands that say, “What would Jesus do?” and they use that as their guide for how they should behave themselves.  Mormons believe that it is by working to become like God that we are reunited with him.  It is exactly the same with the practice of offering ourself to the Spiritual Guide.

 

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