Continuing the series from my earlier post, this is another tale I heard from the local (Charlottesville) yogi friend of mine. See the previous post for more info.
This story also comes from Wisconsin – Deer Park to be exact. It also involves Geshe Donyo. In a deity yoga retreat, usually the goal is to accumulate a certain amount of mantras. These retreats are not for anyone – one must have received authentic teachings, transmissions and instructions from an authentic teacher (typically a Tibetan Lama in this case).
So in one retreat, where the goal was to accumulate a million mantras as a group, one woman was brave enough to ask what was truly bugging her. She asked Geshe la, “Rinpoche, I love this particular practice, but my days are so busy. I have to care for my family and then go to work. I don’t normally have this kind of time, can I cut some of the practice off?”
Geshe la responded, “Sure you can cut some of it off. What part do you want to take out?”
She continued, “Oh marvelous… let’s see here… what if I don’t do the blessing mantras and the Vajrasattvas to begin with?”
Geshe la: “Well, if you cut out those mantras, then you will not completely purify your gross or subtle karmas.”
Questioner: “Oh… then how about cutting out the long lineage prayer? There is the short version of that.”
Geshe la: “Sure, if you don’t want the blessings of the lineage masters, you can cut that out.”
Questioner: “Uhhh… The torma takes some time to make. Do we have to do that practice?”
Geshe la: “Well the torma offering is apart of how we accumulate the siddhis. So if you don’t want, then you can cut that out.” [Siddhis are supernatural abilities which authentic practitioners eventually begin to gain access to as they progress on the path. But they are not the goal of the practice.]
By this point, the lady felt a little ashamed and stopped asking what else she could shorten the practices with. My yogi friend said, and I happen to agree on this point, that the practices have been passed down from truly magnificent spiritual masters, and they weeded out any unnecessary or trivial sections, leaving us with the juicy bits we need to gain authentic progress. So when doing practice – do the practice. 🙂
[Not that I am a good example of this. The lazy practitioner who authored this post is busy typing away on this blog instead of sitting on his cushion.]