More Guru Yoga-Get Your Vajrayana On

Japhy wants to share with you his life with Khenpo Karthar, begging your indulgence, as an example of Guru Yoga without violence.

“My guru yoga began in earnest after the failure of my first encampment, which could have been the end of me and Rinpoche.”

Japhy had taken refuge, as he had set out to after quitting graduate school, following in the footsteps of his inspiration, Kerouac’s Japhy, the poet Gary Snyder.

“In my first years with Khenpo Karthar, Rinpoche had set me up with, if this wasn’t the Vajrayana, what was a lifetime worth of practice.”

Khenpo Karthar, as if Rinpoche saw the end from the beginning, in addition to hooking Japhy up with Green Tara, dropped the ultimate on him, if you are Karma Kagyu, Mahamudra.

“I had received pointing out from His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, but needed the lung and tri, to take it up as a practice.”

Without naming names, others with far less than what Khenpo Karther entrusted to Japhy, have made a career out of their few years as young men spent with a lineage holder.

“Cough, Cough, Ken McLead. Excuse me, I had something in my throat. I was just clearing my throat.”

Khenpo Karthar, in a nutshell, didn’t visit Chicago for ten of Japhy’s thirty plus years with Rinpoche.

“I suffered like I was Milarepa, slaving away building towers for Marpa, cruelly denied the access to Rinpoche I felt my life depended upon.”

Japhy was a health insurance claims adjuster, with a wife and two babies, educated, but acutely underemployed, and tragically underpaid.

“My cohorts were flush, and had both the time and money to see Rinpoche whenever They needed to, while I had neither, which almost killed me.”

Japhy ended up hospitalized in 1988, for his own protection, driven to despair over his life’s seemingly hopeless prospects for living the life he so desperately wanted for himself.

“This was before Ronald Reagan finished destroying the rights of those in need, before their need for help, ends in their harming themselves, or worse, others, for want of the help they need.”

This the Vajrayana that Japhy is speaking of, Guru Yoga. Simply having a practice to do, is no substitute for the holy grail of Vajrayana, the Vajra Master.

Japhy’s point here, is that one can suffer the suffering of a Milarepa, an integral part of Vajrayana, without being subjected to the physical and psychological violence Milarepa had to endure with Marpa.

“After ten years without Khenpo Karthar, not coincidently, almost to the day I had the good fortune of marrying my second wife, Gigi, Rinpoche returned to Chicago.”

“Our first face to face was like the past ten years had never happened, we hadn’t missed a beat.”

Those ten years apart seemingly ruined Japhy’s life, at one point he was homeless, he is estranged from his son to this day.

“There will always be a part of me that wishes I had pulled a Ken McLeod, for all I had suffered in the name of the Vajrayana, Guru Yoga.

After over thirty years with Khenpo Karthar though, Japhy can face death, he has Congestive heartfailure, prepared to be reborn in Dewachen.

“When the widow maker got me, I’ve been a dead man walking since, I had my guru yoga, tested, tried and true, to see me through the bardo of death.”

Japhy wanted to share this with you, for your consideration. The Vajrayana, Guru Yoga, will ruin your life, if done as Japhy did it with Khenpo Karthar.

“Better to not start. Once started though, not seeing it through, is a far greater tragedy than whatever hardship you may endure along the way.”

Japhy is done embarrassing himself. Please post a link to this on Reddit, which Japhy has been banned from doing so himself. Karmapa Chenno!



Filed under Buddhism

12 responses to “More Guru Yoga-Get Your Vajrayana On

  1. lhamo

    Hey Japh,
    Just out of curiosity, what would you pulling a Ken McLeod look like? I mean he did what he felt was right. Who knows, maybe you are right and he intentionally botched the whole thing. But the question remains, how can anyone know? You seem to keep a natural samaya with Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche and attend to your practice. Why get so worked up about something that may end up just being the play of phenomena? Let him try and sue the world!

  2. lhamo

    Yeah, I get that. But your audience can’t hide behind that device- even though none of us are real. All the themes you bring up, a failed marriage, estranged son, your heart failure -these are all real suffering- the long period of separation from your lama, and lack of gold, similar to Milarepa- and all of us who live, love, form connections with the world, work, become ill, etc. I get that. Nothing special- Gampopa nailed that, as did the masters between he and the Buddha. Yet you seem to cheapen your argument by sucker punching McLeod, or your device does.

    • Is there another I could have used as a contrast to Japhy’s thirty plus years with Khenpo Karthar that my readers know of?

      • lhamo

        Great question! Try us out- we (the readers) might be more dynamic than you think! I’m not so sure that a contrast is required to make the point, there are some inspiring long-time holders of samaya that could be praised as a way of highlighting the Vajrayana ideal, suffering and all. Or even historical examples, like Dusum Khyenpa, who was jilted by his girl and killed his competition with black magic and still came out alright! Then there are all the folks in other encampments, but hey I’m just a member of the audience. Thirty plus years, though, is a long time for Japhy- mahamudra and all- who can compete with that?

        • It is no knock on Ken that his Vajra master died. I’m told he wanted to find a lineage holder.

          Guru yoga requires us to wait, as Japhy did with his eroot guru, His Holiness the 16th Karmapa.

  3. lhamo

    Totally! All Vajra masters die, and that sucks hard. I’m a little unclear though, do you mean to say that Ken wanted to find a mahamudra lineage holder?

    • I have on good authority that Ken wanted to find a teacher to continue his studies with another teacher.

      That isn’t Vajrayana. This doesn’t make it wrong. It simply isn’t how guru yoga works.

      When His Holiness the 16th Karmapa passed, Guru Yoga required that Japhy suck it up, not move on.

      There was a Karmapa Tulku. There was a Kalu Tulku. Guru Yoga, is serving the reincarnation of your late teacher.

  4. lhamo

    Would there have been anything wrong in his continuing with the late Bokar Rinpoche, Kalu Rinpoche’s heart-son? I’ve heard from many a student of the late Kalu Rinpoche that Bokar Rinpoche was as if the very essence of Kalu Rinpoche was poured into him.

  5. lhamo

    That’s what I thought. The hard thing about writing about the dharma is that sometimes the words get in the way and create an imputed meaning that is too rigid. While being careful to not throw the baby out with the bath-water, one could even say that guru yoga can be found in the wind, the rain, our thoughts as they come and go, and in the texts we study if our lama really pointed-out the nature of mind. It doesn’t always have to be so heavy- my Japhy is a well grounded yogi of space- but then again we all are when we don’t get so weighed down by the stories we bring. Keep it up la!

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