Guru Yoga Series
Practices › Guru Yoga
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Courtesy of Himalayan Art Resources
Unless the sun of devotion shines
Upon the snow peak of the master’s four kāyas,
The stream of blessings will never fall.
So strive to arouse devotion in your mind!
A series of Guru Yoga (bla ma'i rnal 'byor) practices:
In this guru yoga for transforming the body into a kāya of rainbow light one visualizes oneself as Avalokiteśvara and the guru as Amitābha within one's heart.
- Bestower of Supreme Blessings: Guru Yoga of the Great Incomparable Lord Atiśa by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Jamyang Khyentse wrote this guru yoga in 1959, towards the end of his life, inspired by his own faith and devotion for the great Indian master and the Kadampa tradition that he inspired.
A simple guru yoga based on the form of Avalokiteśvara known as Resting in the Nature of Mind (Semnyi Ngalso).
A simple guru yoga based on Buddha Śākyamuni, which Jamyang Khyentse composed at the sacred site of Bodhgaya in December 1957.
- The Merry Sea of Blessings: A Guru Yoga of the Lord of Sages, Peerless Teacher of All, Including the Devas by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Jamyang Khyentse wrote this guru yoga focusing on Buddha Śākyamuni (including his sambhogakāya form as Vajradhara and dharmakāya as Samantabhadra) in January 1958 at Rajgir (ancient Rājgṛha) following a visionary experience several days earlier at Bodhgayā.
A short yet profound guru yoga composed at the insistence of close students and which is still recited daily by many disciples. The practice incorporates a unique mantra based on Rinpoche's name and employs imagery associated with the Great Perfection.
Dorje Tötreng Tsal
In this guru yoga, a mind terma of Tertön Sogyal, the lama is visualized in the form of Dorje Tötreng Tsal. The text was revealed in association with the Nechung Oracle and it remains a daily practice of Nechung Monastery to this day.
A simple, unelaborate practice based on the principle that "naked ordinary awareness... is the wisdom mind of the glorious guru."
This short, unelaborate guru yoga is written from an absolute perspective, according to which clear, empty awareness is the very nature of the guru, and the practice is simply to remain in such a state.
A short guru yoga in which the guru is the embodiment of all lineage masters, especially Samantabhadra, Guru Padmasambhava, Dorje Drolö, Düddul Lingpa, Dudjom Lingpa, Dodrupchen Jigme Tenpe Nyima and Lerab Lingpa himself. The text remained for many years in the possession of Tulku Dorje Dradül (1891–1959), Dudjom Lingpa's youngest son, and was copied by Kyala Khenpo (1893–1957).
This guru yoga features the Fifteenth Karmapa, Khakhyab Dorje (1871–1922), as the main figure, around whom are three other masters: Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye (1813–1899), Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (1820–1892) and Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa (1829–1870).
Gampopa Sonam Rinchen
This simple guru yoga for Gampopa Sonam Rinchen (1079–1153) is part of a series of three guru yoga practices focussing on foundational figures of the Kagyü school: Marpa, Milarepa and Gampopa.
Jamyang Khyentse composed this brief guru sādhana, which focuses on the first human Dzogchen master Garab Dorje, in 1953 following what he describes as a dream experience.
A simple guru yoga to invoke the nirmāṇakāya Garab Dorje and receive the blessings of his wisdom mind.
Gatön Ngawang Lekpa
- Great Treasury of Blessings: A Guru Yoga of Gatön Lekpa Rinpoche, Dharma Lord and Vajradhara by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Jamyang Khyentse says that he composed this guru yoga based on his teacher Gatön Ngawang Lekpa (1864–1941) following "a minor delusory apparition"—in other words, a vision. The practice features Ngawang Lekpa in the form of the bodhisattva Padmarāja in the pureland of Sukhāvatī.
- The Swift Infusion of Blessings: A Guru Yoga of the Great Embodiment of Unchanging Awareness Wisdom by Mipham Rinpoche
This practice of guru yoga, which Mipham wrote in 1887, is said to be an especially swift means of receiving Gesar's blessings and signs of accomplishment.
Guru Dewa Chenpo
This guru yoga, which focuses on Guru Dewa Chenpo, was composed in early 1948 at the request of a young Khandro Tsering Chödrön (1929–2011).
Composed in 1954 on the basis of a visionary experience, this guru yoga features the great Indian paṇḍita Haribhadra with the Mother Prajñāpāramitā at his heart.
Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
This short guru yoga features Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö, Dudjom Rinpoche, Khandro Tsering Chödrön, Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche himself.
A letter to a fellow disciple of Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö offering essential advice on how to practise the celebrated Nyingtik Saldrön guru yoga, which focuses on Jamyang Khyentse in heruka form.
- Bestowing the Glory of Wisdom: A Gaṇacakra Feast for Nyingtik Saldrön by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
This gaṇacakra feast liturgy for the Nyingtik Saldrön guru yoga practice of Jamyang Khyentse in heruka form was composed at the request of Princess Yudrön and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.
A simple guru yoga focusing on Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö inseparable from Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, composed at the behest of Khenpo Tsultrim Nyima of Katok Monastery.
A simple guru yoga in which Jamyang Khyentse appears in the form of Guru Padmasambhava, written for a disciple called Jigme Trinlé.
A short and simple practice of guru yoga focusing on Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö himself.
A profound guru yoga practice in which the emphasis is on the ultimate nature of the guru as one's own awareness.
- The Bright Lamp of Wisdom: A Guide to the Practice of Guru Yoga (Yeshe Saldrön) by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Extensive notes on the Bright Lamp of the Heart Essence (Nyingtik Saldrön) practice preceded by a general discussion of guru yoga and the importance of following a teacher.
- The Bright Lamp of the Heart Essence (Nyingtik Saldrön): A Guru Yoga by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
This guru yoga, which features Jamyang Khyentse in heruka form, was composed at the request of Princess Tsering Yudrön of Derge and Nangchen and became especially popular among his disciples.
A simple guru yoga focusing on Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö himself, composed in Mindrolling at the request of Minling Khenchen Ngawang Khyentse Norbu (1904–1968).
Jamyang Loter Wangpo
A simple practice of guru yoga focusing on the celebrated Sakya teacher Jamyang Loter Wangpo, composed by the master himself.
This guru yoga, composed by the master himself, includes invocation and prayer, the seven-branch offering, mantra recitation and receiving of the four empowerments.
Khenchen Jigme Phuntsok
This guru yoga, written in 1995, is one of the late Khenchen Jigme Phuntsok's most famous compositions. He later wrote a heart-advice as a supporting instruction for it.
Khyen Kong Chok Sum
- Wellspring of Bounty for the Fortunate: A Guru Yoga of the Three Family Lords by Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye
A guru yoga featuring the three great nonsectarian masters Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa, Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, and Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thayé as embodiments of the Lords of the Three Families—Avalokiteśvara, Mañjuśrī and Vajrapāṇi.
Mipham composed this simple practice of guru yoga focussed upon the red magnetizing goddess Kurukullā (rig byed ma) in 1891.
Lochen Chönyi Zangmo
A guru yoga featuring the great adept and teacher Lochen Chönyi Zangmo, who is here identified with Yeshe Tsogyal and Vajrayoginī.
- Giver of the Light of Wisdom: A Guru Yoga of the Omniscient Longchenpa by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
This short guru yoga, which features Longchenpa and Mañjuśrī, was composed at the request of a monk named Kunga Rabgye.
A very simple practice of guru devotion focused on Longchen Rabjam (1308–1364), referred to here as Kunkhyen Chenpo, the Great Omniscient One.
This brief guru yoga incorporates elements of the common and uncommon preliminaries; it concludes with the four empowerments, the fourth of which represents the ultimate form of practice.
Marpa Chökyi Lodrö
Jamyang Khyentse composed this guru yoga practice focusing on Marpa Lotsāwa during a visit to the great translator's former residence at Sekhar in Lhodrak.
This guru yoga for Lord Marpa Chökyi Lodrö (c.1012–1097), together with his four main disciples (Tsurtön Wanggi Dorje, Ngok Chöku Dorje, Metön Tsönpo and Milarepa), is part of a series of three guru yoga practices focussing on Marpa, Milarepa and Gampopa.
Marpa, Milarepa & Gampopa
- Vajra Net: The Ancillary Preliminary and Concluding Practices for the Three Drops, the Guru Yogas for Venerable Marpa, Mila, and Gampopa by Jokyab Pema Trinlé Nyingpo
Additional liturgies to accompany the same author's three guru yoga practices dedicated to Marpa Lotsāwa, Milarepa and Gampopa—A Drop of Sunshine, A Drop of Moonlight, and A Drop of Jewels.
A simple practice of guru yoga focussing on three central figures of the Kagyü tradition: Marpa Lotsāwa, Milarepa and Gampopa.
A short guru yoga of Milarepa composed in 1955 or 1956 at at Tsurphu, the grand monastery of the Karmapas, at the request of Sogyal Tulku (1947–2019).
This guru yoga for Jetsün Milarepa (1040–1123), Tibet's most celebrated yogin and poet, is part of a series of three guru yoga practices focussing on Marpa, Milarepa and Gampopa.
An elaborate practice of supplication or prayer to the great poet-yogi Milarepa, preceded by practices for taking refuge and generating bodhicitta.
A simple guru yoga practice focusing on the great poet-yogi Milarepa; it includes the standard elements of visualisation, invocation, mantra recitation, dissolution and dedication.
- Increasing the Light of Wisdom: A Guru Yoga of the All-Seeing Mahāpaṇḍita Mipham Mañjughoṣa by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
This short guru yoga focusing on the great Nyingma scholar Jamgön Mipham Namgyal Gyatso (1846–1912) is intended as a means of increasing knowledge and intelligence.
- Swift Infusion of Blessings: A Guru Yoga based on Jamgön Mipham Gyatso by Shechen Gyaltsab Gyurme Pema Namgyal
The shorter of two guru yoga texts focusing on Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche that Shechen Gyaltsab, one of the master's foremost disciples, composed.
Ngawang Samten Lodrö
- The Radiant Treasure of Blessings: A Guru Yoga of the Great Vajradhara Ngawang Samten Lodrö by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Jamyang Khyentse seems to have written this brief guru yoga of his teacher Khenchen Samten Lodrö (1868–1931) while the master was still alive.
A simple guru yoga focusing on Sera Khandro as an emanation of Yeshe Tsogyal and invoking her inspiration and blessings to realize the meaning of Dzogchen, the Great Perfection.
This concise guru yoga centres around the famous prayer to Guru Padmasambhava known as The Prayer in Six Vajra Lines, or Dü Sum Sangye, Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa's own terma revelation. To this is added a simple visualization and a prayer to reach the Copper-coloured Mountain of Glory.
- The Quintessence of the Profound Path: A Concise Guide to the Stages of Visualization for the Guru Yoga of the Seven-Line Supplication, A Shower of Blessings by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
A detailed guide to practising Mipham Rinpoche's famous guru yoga based on the Seven-Line Prayer to Guru Rinpoche, The Shower of Blessings.
- The Staircase That Leads to Lotus Light: Essential Instructions on Guru Yoga by Dodrupchen Jigme Tenpe Nyima
In twelve points, Jigme Tenpé Nyima offers detailed instructions and clarifications on The Wish-Fulfilling Jewel, the outer guru yoga practice from the Longchen Nyingtik cycle. He describes the realm of Lotus Light and its Copper-Coloured Mountain, highlights Guru Rinpoche's qualities, and stresses the importance of concentration, devotion and inspiration.
A simple practice of guru yoga, in which one's root guru is visualized in the form of Padmasambhava, the Lake-Born Vajra (Tsokyé Dorje).
This short guru yoga, composed in Lhodrak Kharchu in 1956, features Guru Rinpoche Nangsi Zilnön (Prevailing Over All That Appears and Exists) with Mañjughoṣa in his heart.
This practice unites the recitation of the famous Dü Sum Sangyé Prayer with a corresponding visualisation of the four main forms of Guru Padmasambhava according to the Chokling Tersar’s Four Cycles of Guru Yoga (bla sgrub skor bzhi), namely Barché Kunsel, Sampa Lhundrup, Tsokyé Nyingtik and Guru Draktsal. It was composed at the request of a minister to the king of Lingkar.
This simple guru yoga focussing on Guru Drakpo with the master Longsal Dorje at his heart is intended as a means to pacify the harm caused by spirits and to cure sickness of the heart; it was composed in 1957.
- The Swift Infusion of Blessings: A Prayer and Aspiration for the Stages of the Path Combined with Guru Yoga by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
A simple practice of guru yoga, which features Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö indivisible from Guru Padmasambhava in the form of Orgyen Dorje Chang, the Vajradhara of Oḍḍiyāna, and which includes an aspiration for the stages of the path according to the Great Perfection, or Dzogchen.
This practice unites the recitation of the famous Dü Sum Sangyé Prayer with a corresponding visualisation of the four main forms of Guru Padmasambhava according to the Chokling Tersar’s Four Cycles of Guru Yoga (bla sgrub skor bzhi), namely Barché Kunsel, Sampa Lhundrup, Tsokyé Nyingtik and Guru Draktsal.
- The Wish-Fulfilling Jewel: The Outer Practice of Guru Yoga from the Heart-Essence of the Vast Expanse revealed by Jigme Lingpa
The outer guru yoga of the Longchen Nyingtik cycle, most of which was later incorporated into the preliminary, or ngöndro, practice.
This popular guru yoga is based on the famous Seven-Line Prayer (tshig bdun gsol 'debs) to Guru Padmasambhava, which was first revealed in the thirteenth century by Chökyi Wangchuk (1212–1270).
- A Shower of Blessings: A Guru Yoga Practice to Accompany the Seven-Line Prayer (Addendum) by Shakya Shri
This arrangement of Mipham Rinpoche's famous Shower of Blessings Guru Yoga practice adds opening verses of refuge and bodhicitta, a torma offering to the obstructing forces, visualization of the protective sphere and the descent of blessings, as well as concluding verses for the remainder offering, aspiration and dedication.
This guru yoga practice, which features Pema Lingpa with Guru Dewachenpo at his crown and Avalokiteśvara in his heart, was composed in 1956 at the sacred lake known as Pema Ling at the request of Yakzé Lama Gyurdrak (d. 1975).
Rongzom Chökyi Zangpo
A simple guru yoga focusing on the celebrated Nyingma scholar Rongzom Chökyi Zangpo, who is here identified with Mañjuśrī, the embodiment of wisdom.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche composed separate outer, inner and secret guru yoga practices with the great scholar, Sakya Paṇḍita as their object. Here is the outer practice, complete with visualization, prayer and mantra recitation, in which the focus is on the master as inseparable from Mañjuśrī.
While on pilgrimage through India in 1956, Jamyang Khyentse meditated at the Indian master Śavari's meditation cave in the Śītavana (‘Cool Grove’) charnel ground near Bodhgayā, resulting in a vision of the mahāsiddha. Soon afterwards he composed this guru yoga.
This guru yoga, which Sera Khandro describes as a visionary experience put it into words, is a supplement to the Dharmatā Ḍākinīs' Secret Treasury (Chönyi Khandrö Sangdzö) cycle. It includes many of the standard elements of a preliminary practice (ngöndro) and is structured around the 'Four Dharmas of Gampopa', i.e., turning the mind towards the Dharma, making progress along the path, clarifying confusion, and allowing confusion to dawn as wisdom.
Mipham composed this very short guru yoga focusing on the 11th-century paṇḍita Smṛtijñānakīrti for the practice of a disciple named Karma Wangyal.
Jamyang Khyentse composed this guru sādhana focused upon King Songtsen Gampo following a visionary experience he had at the sacred Moon Cave at Drak Yerpa.
Three Deities of Long Life
- A Shortcut to the Siddhi of Immortality: Guru Yoga of Union with the Three Deities of Long Life by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo
This guru yoga of the three deities of longevity—White Tārā 'Wish-fulfilling Wheel', Amitāyus and Uṣṇīṣavijayā—is considered an auxiliary to the Chimé Pakmé Nyingtik practice.
- Rain of Wisdom, Love and Spiritual Power: A Guru Yoga of the Three Mañjughoṣas of the Land of Snow by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
A guru yoga focusing on the so-called Three Mañjuśrīs of Tibet, i.e., Longchen Rabjam (1308–1364), Sakya Paṇḍita (1182–1251) and Tsongkhapa Lobzang Drakpa (1357–1419). Here, Jamyang Khyentse further identifies Longchen Rabjam with the bodhisattva Vajrapāṇi and Tsongkhapa with the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara.
Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche composed this simple guru yoga, which focuses upon himself, at the request of Khachö Tsering Palmo while he was bestowing the Nyingma Kama transmissions at Shechen Monastery in Nepal.
Tsongkhapa Lobzang Drakpa
Composed in 1958, this simple guru yoga practice of Tsongkhapa Lobzang Drakpa (1357–1419) incorporates the famous Miktsema prayer to the master.
Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
- A Concise Guru Sādhana of My Sublime Father, Karma Urgyen Tsewang Chokdrup Pelbar by Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche
A concise guru yoga focusing on Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and composed by his son, the Fourth Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche.
Part of the Longchen Nyingtik cycle, this Vajrasattva guru yoga is entitled 'Cultivating the Pure Realm of Abhirati (or Manifest Joy)' but is often known simply as 'Dorsem Ngön-ga' (Abhirati Vajrasattva). It includes all the standard elements of visualization, offering, mantra recitation and receiving empowerment.
Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal
- The Iron Tree of Immortality: A Guru Yoga Focusing on the Glorious Drukpa Ngawang Namgyal by Gendün Rinchen
Serkong Ngawang Tsultrim Dönden (1856–1918) composed this guru yoga of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, founder of the Bhutanese state, as the embodiment of Amitāyus and Padmasambhava based on a series of visionary experiences at Kurje, Bumthang. It was later edited, supplemented and published by Jé Khenpo Gendün Rinchen.