February 18, 2016

The Antidote to a Confused Mind.


The Guru as an Antidote to Our Confused Minds

Why do we need a guru? Because in order to cure our diseased minds, we need the help of someone who knows how to do it.

Since it is extremely difficult to understand how the mind works, we need the guidance of an expert in this area.

Furthermore, gaining liberation, or inner freedom, is not an easy thing. Everything we have ever said or done on this trip we call life has had its origin in the mind, and in the same way, the entire path to liberation and enlightenment depends on the mind.

However, if we think of all our life’s experiences, how convinced are we that they have all come from the mind?

In order to really understand how this is true, we need someone with the right kind of knowledge to explain it to us. In other words, we need a guru.

If we just think about this in a superficial way, we’ll probably say to ourselves, “I know what I want; I know what my life’s about.” We might think we know, but we really don’t. For example, we think environmental pollution comes from industry, but where does industry come from? It’s a creation of the human mind.

In the same way, all the world’s confusion, from that of societies to that of the individual, is mind-created. If people could simply imbue their minds with peaceful tranquility and loving kindness, none of the world problems we see around us would arise.

In order to develop peaceful tranquility of mind, we have to employ a method that brings that result. Since we don’t know what such methods are or how to put them into practice, we need an experienced teacher to show us that reality.

We can say that there are two types of guru—relative and absolute. The absolute guru is the all-knowing wisdom that is one with bliss; that wisdom is the absolute guru. In order to realize this wisdom within ourselves, we need a relative guru to show us how.

Therefore, guru doesn’t necessarily mean something physical, but beginners, who don’t possess much inner knowledge, definitely need a physical guru. After some time, when we have enough confidence and self-knowledge to travel the path to enlightenment alone, we don’t need to always be in the presence of our relative guru, but until that time, we’re like yo-yos. When we’re around our guru, our mind is subdued, but as soon as we’re a mile or two away, our mind goes completely berserk. That shows how we are.

Putting it another way, the guru is the antidote to the confused mind—as long as he’s the right guru. A guru who’s a bad influence and leads us to more confusion and restlessness is a false guru; not a guru at all.



This is an excerpt from a teaching by Lama Yeshe at Instituto Lama Tzong Khapa, Pomaia, Italy, September 1977. Edited by Nicholas Ribush.

Read more of Lama Yeshe’s teachings at Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive.

Images: (1) Carol Royce-Wilder,  (2) Carol Royce-Wilder





Author: Lama Yeshe

Editor: Renée Picard

Images: courtesy of the author


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Lama Yeshe

Lama Thubten Yeshe was born in Tibet in 1935. At the age of six, he entered the great Sera Monastic University, Lhasa, where he studied until 1959, when the Chinese invasion of Tibet forced him into exile in India. Lama Yeshe continued to study and meditate in India until 1967, when, with his chief disciple, Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, he went to Nepal. Two years later he established Kopan Monastery, near Kathmandu, in order to teach Buddhism to Westerners. In 1974, the Lamas began making annual teaching tours to the West, and as a result of these travels a worldwide network of Buddhist teaching and meditation centers—the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT)—began to develop. In 1984, after an intense decade of imparting a wide variety of incredible teachings and establishing one FPMT activity after another, at the age of forty-nine, Lama Yeshe passed away. You can read more of Lama Yeshe’s teachings here and read excerpts from Adele Hulse’s forthcoming biography of Lama, Big Love.