A very senior teacher once told me the highest practice is offering ourself to the Spiritual Guide so that he can do with us whatever he wishes. We surrender ourselves completely to him, give him the keys, let him take over, we become an extension of him. We should view ourselves as a reflection of the guru’s mind. Normally we say that everything is a reflection of our own mind, but when we say this we still have enormous self-grasping. But when we see ourselves as reflections of the guru’s mind, then we lose any sense of independent self-existence. We are part of him and there is no longer any us. Then all of our actions will be his because only he is present. We get our ordinary selves completely out of the way and let him act through us. We surrender to him in all our actions where everything we do is actually him acting through us.
What are the benefits of this practice? If we can do this, all our actions function to create non-contaminated karma. 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. By doing this, we purify massive amounts of negativity, specifically with respect to the Spiritual Guide.
When we offer ourselves as a servant to the Spiritual Guide, our delusions will fight back with a vengeance. As we work through these delusions we plow through all the obstructions that prevent us from uniting inseparably with him. We naturally become just like him. We become like him, his wishes become our wishes, his choices become our choices, his behavior becomes our behavior. We put ourselves in total alignment with him, so 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 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. 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.
This practice 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. It 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. 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. 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, and we feel ourselves to be directly engaging in the actions of an enlightened being. This experience is an essential basis for a qualified divine pride in Highest Yoga Tantra.
How do we overcome the objections that come up? For example, we might object what if he wants to do something with me that I don’t want? But we need not fear. What he wants to do is forge us into a Buddha, which is what we want for ourself. It will mean us having to go against the grain and advice of our delusions, but this is a good thing because our delusions will take us only lower. It doesn’t matter whether we succeed at doing this, we train in this direction. Another objection is it sounds sect-like to surrender ourselves completely to the Spiritual Guide. In general we would say that a tradition is a sect if it tries to take control of you, and a pure lineage will try to give you control of yourself. Now I am saying that we need to surrender control completely to the Spiritual Guide. This sure sounds sect-like. But it is not. In order to surrender control, we first need to gain control. Once we gain control, we then need to decide what we do with our freedom and we need to choose to use it in the best way. So we examine all the different things we can do with ourselves, and we realize that offering ourself to the Spiritual Guide is the best possible use of our freedom for all of the reasons explained before. With our hard won freedom and control we offer ourselves. Paradoxically, offering ourselves to the Spiritual Guide is the easiest way to gain control over ourselves, because the reason why we don’t have control over ourselves is our delusions, and offering ourself to our Spiritual Guide enables us to easily overcome all of our delusions because that is his function. When we offer ourselves to our Spiritual Guide we are actually offering ourself to our true selves because the Spiritual Guide is our own future enlightenment. He is our pure potential fully realized. So in reality we are offering ourself to our true self.
Through this series of posts, I have attempted to explain how to activate our inner Spiritual Guide. For me, there is no higher practice. If we can master this, everything else becomes easy. By focusing most of our efforts on this one practice, we open the door for our Spiritual Guide to do the work of all of the other practices for us. We will soon enter the time when Venerable Geshe-la is no longer around with us physically. What will we do then? If we are to carry the lineage forward, we need to learn how to maintain a daily relationship with him even after his passing. We need to do more than this. We need to keep him alive in this world forever. We do this by handing ourselves over and becoming an extension of him. We take our place in the mandala. We become part of the Great Wave of Je Tsongkhapa’s deeds. We become the body, speech and mind of the enlightened guru forever working in this world. May we all attain this.