The guru is the most important person in your spiritual life. Only a qualified guru can lead you to your ‘inner guru’ and help you develop the qualities of wisdom and compassion.
That’s why your guru’s birthday is the most important day of the year. This is the day your guru chose to take rebirth to connect with you. It is the day that your paths begin to cross. It is the day that your destiny changes.
Having a guru all comes down to affinity. If you are fortunate enough to have a guru in this life, it means you have a connection with the guru from a previous life. So, the guru’s birthday marks the continuation of this sacred connection. And the result of this connection is that you are able to learn the Dharma, which transforms your life, changes your death and future rebirth, changes the dynamics in your relationships and leads to real transformation.
So, the best way to celebrate your guru’s birthday is by making spirituality the focus of the day.
- Minimise secular activities
- Spend the day on spiritual activities
- Take vows or repair your vows (Refuge vows, Bodhisattva vows, etc)
- Take the Eight Precepts
- Make lots of offerings, all kinds, outer and inner
- Do more practices, prostrations, circumambulations
- Make strong aspirational prayers for health, transformation and realisations
If our samaya is clean, the most important day of the year is our Guru’s birthday. Why? That is the person that gives us the Dharma. So, when that person gives us the Dharma, it is worth more than all the statues and all the living Buddhas in the world because they didn’t give us Dharma.
Why is that so important? Because when we receive the Dharma, it changes our life. It changes our death. It changes our future birth. And it changes the dynamics of our relationships with other people. So, this all comes about from the Dharma. This all comes about from someone who took the time to compassionately speak the Dharma. Who compassionately raised funds to create a Dharma institution, a Dharma centre, Dharma people, Dharma facilities for all of us to get Dharma. This arises from our teacher, from our Guru.
In the monasteries, our Guru’s birthdays are a big event. Very big event. Even for me, people like me who hates parties, I show up. Because it’s not a party. So, that day we take vows. If we can take it with our Guru, it’s even better. We take Refuge, wonderful! Or we repair our Refuge Vows. Or we make wishes for health, long life, realisations. Or sometimes, if you are very lucky, if you have the merits, your Guru will give initiation on his birthday. Oh, very profound. Or give Bodhisattva Vows.
On that day, you should create statues or tsa tsas. On that day you should do more prostrations. On that day, all secular activity, you should stop. You should spend one 24-hours on spiritual activities. Your Guru’s birthday, Tsongkhapa’s day, Shakyamuni’s day. All secular activity should stop or become more minimal. If your Guru’s birthday or Tsongkhapa’s day falls on Sunday, very easy right? If it’s on a Wednesday, well, you’ve got to make do. You’ve got to work 8, 9 hours and then go do your spiritual thing. It’s the best you can do. That’s the most important.
Why? That is the day that they chose to benefit you. So, why wouldn’t you celebrate? For example, Tsongkhapa’s day is coming up very soon. It’s a very big event in Gaden. Do you know, in Gaden, the high lamas, even the old lamas with walking sticks, will come out and go to the temple to make prayers and light butterlamps. Even the old ones, like 81 years old, they come. When you see them walk to the temple, tears flow down your face. Do you know why? They spent their whole lives benefitting others. Usually, they don’t even come out because they are too old. And they don’t travel much. But they will come out.
So, it’s very, very precious. Tsongkhapa Day is a very special event. Every year Kechara House plans it wonderfully, and does it wonderfully. That’s beautiful. That’s beautiful. I’m not interested in my birthday, because there is Tsongkhapa’s day. Why should I call a bunch of people to celebrate my birthday? Is my ego that inflated? What is there to celebrate? I showed up, big fat me, what’s the big deal? Why should I have a whole bunch of people come and sing happy birthday to celebrate my birthday? I should celebrate everybody else’s life. Not make people focus on me. That’s called spiritualism.
So, therefore Tsongkhapa’s day is a very powerful day to take vows, purify karma, and heal. Very powerful. Very, very powerful. Then on that day, the day before, you should clean up your altars very well, prepare beautiful offerings. When you wake up, make beautiful offerings to Tsongkhapa. Go to the centre, do activities. If you are really far away, you cannot help it. Then you do it wherever you are. Very important. Alright?
- Devoting yourself to a guru who has passed on by Pastor David Lai