All of the lineages of Buddhism practice the gradual path. Lam Rim, the Path and Fruition, The Words of My Perfect Teacher, and Jewel Ornament of Liberation depends on what lineage one belongs to. Each of these teaches the same, it begins with:
- Contemplating the four thoughts that turn the mind,
- Yidam Deity
- Guru Yoga
- Ultimate Truth, Mahamudra
That is called the “five fold path”. We have all heard that all Buddish practices have bodhichitta as their root. Without bodhichitta there is no dharma practices, all practices must grounded in bodhichitta. In the beginning, we must cultivate “relative bodhichitta” and practice the creation stage of Yidam meditation.
The Drikung Kagyu is called the “blessing lineage”, faith and devotion to the guru is considered to be the most important. Following the virtuous path requires faith. Without faith, virtue cannot develop in one’s being. What is faith? The Jewel Liberation listed three types of faiths: trusting, longing, and clear.
Thus, the Ten Dharmas Sutra says:
Virtuous qualities cannot grow
In a person without faith,
As a green sprout
Does not shoot from a burnt seed.
Also, the Garland of Buddhas Sutra says:
A worldly person with little faith
Cannot understand the Buddha’s enlightenment.
Therefore, one should develop faith.
The Noble Profound Representation Sutra says:
Ananda! Fuse your mind with faith. This is the request of the
I. Trusting Faith. Understand that this faith depends on the topic “cause and result”—the Truth of Suffering which comes from the Truth of Causation. Furthermore, it comes from trusting that happiness in the desire world is the fruit of virtuous causes. Trust that the suffering of the desire world is the result of nonvirtuous action. Trust that the happiness of the two higher realms is the result of unshakable causes.
Trust that by engaging in the nonvirtuous actions of body, speech, and afflicting emotions, which are called the Truth of Causation, one obtains the five afflicted skandas, which are called the Truth of Suffering.
III. Clear Faith. Clear faith arises in one’s mind by depending on the Three Jewels. Develop devotion for and interest in the Buddha as the teacher who shows the path, the Dharma which becomes the path, and the Sangha which guides one in order to accomplish the path.
The Abhidharma says:
What is faith? It is trust, longing, and clarity regarding cause and result, truths, and the Three Jewels.
What is devotion? The literal meaning of “devotion” in Tibetian is “mogu”, “mo” means to aspire — aspire to gain liberation from the suffering of samsara for ourself and for others. “gu” means to show respect to the holy dharma teaching.
“If we have no doubt within our mind-stream then the realization can be transmitted from mind-stream to mind-stream through the compassion of the guru and the devotion of the disciple. That is the meaning of devotion — realization is transmitted from mind-scream to mind-stream.”
Our teacher, Garchen Rinpoche said: “We relied on the guru who has gained realization in the view, and if we listen carefully to the instructions of the guru we can begin to realize the meaning of the two truths”
So what do we do? We aspire to gain liberation, we listen to the instruction, we put the instruction to practice. We study the dharma, we practice the instructions that is given to us by our teacher. That is called “faith and devotion”.