Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Deepthy Chandrashekhar, FPMT’s India national coordinator, Bangalore, India, December 2016. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

The Buddha guides us, Lama Zopa Rinpoche says, through the guru, and the guru is like a magnifying glass through which we receive the Buddha’s blessings. In the video below, Lama Zopa Rinpoche talks about the importance of the guru. 

And how should we serve the guru? Lama Zopa Rinpoche discussed the question in his book The Heart of the Path.

First comes “devot[ing] ourselves correctly to the virtuous friend with thought,” said Rinpoche, “and we then naturally devote ourselves correctly with action … Correct devotion to the guru with action comes easily as a result of correct devotion with thought.” That means, he explained, “seeing the guru as Buddha.”

Referring to serving the guru directly and working in Dharma centers, he commented, “Doing any work that our guru has advised us to do has great benefit, making our life highly meaningful.”

Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s attendants Ven. Tendar, Ven. Sangpo, and Ven. Sherab in the kitchen at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, November 2016. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

He added, “Even if we’re not doing the actual work of teaching Dharma, by working in a Dharma center we are providing the conditions for many other people to practice the holy teachings and follow the infallible path to enlightenment. If we frequently think about this in our everyday life, our mind will be very happy.”

Board of FPMT Taiwan meeting with Lama Zopa Rinpoche, May 2016. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

And referring to other activities, Rinpoche said, “We should constantly remember our guru in our heart and do our work for him. This itself is guru yoga practice. All the work we do from morning until night then becomes Dharma practice. It is also enjoyable and each day we are happy!”

With young helpers, Ven. Holly Ansett livestreams Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teachings at Idgaa Choizinling Monastery, Mongolia, May 2017. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

The short video below is an excerpt from Rinpoche’s teachings at the 2016 Light of the Path retreat.

Watch the video of Lama Zopa Rinpoche discussing the importance of the guru on YouTube:

Read the full teaching on serving the guru in chapter 15 of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s book The Heart of the Path, available at the Foundation Store:
Hard copy:–Hard-Copy_p_814.html

The complete teachings from the 2016 Light of the Path retreat can be found here:

Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a Tibetan Buddhist organization dedicated to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation, and community service