From the heart of the Protector of the hundreds of deities of the Joyful Land, To the peak of a cloud which is like a cluster of fresh, white curd, All-knowing Losang Dragpa, King of the Dharma, Please come to this place together with your two chief disciples. In the space before me on a lion throne, lotus, and moon, The Venerable Gurus smile with delight. Supreme Field of Merit for my mind of faith, Please remain for a hundred aeons to spread the teaching. (The Hundreds Of Deities Of The Joyful Land [Gaden Lha Gyai Ma], Tibetan Buddhist Prayer)
Je Tsongkhapa lived in Tibet from 1357 to 1419. When he was born, special signs showed he was Buddha Manjushri appearing in the world again. Later, people understood that he held in his heart the wisdom, compassion and spiritual power of all the Buddhas. Guru Tsongkhapa had miracle powers, but he never used them in public or acted high or special. He was always seen to be humble, showing a perfect example of a Buddhist monk, and giving pure and clear Dharma teachings to help everyone. Through Je Tsongkhapa’s kindness we have Buddha, Dharma and Sangha in our life today. There is no one kinder than our Guru, Je Tsongkhapa!
Je Tsongkhapa, whose ordained name was Losang Dragpa, was a great 14th century Tibetan Buddhist Master who promoted and developed the Kadampa Buddhism that Atisha had introduced three centuries earlier.
His appearance in Tibet had been predicted by Buddha himself.
Je Tsongkhapa patiently taught the Tibetans everything they needed for their spiritual development, from the initial step of entering into a spiritual practice through to the ultimate attainment of Buddhahood.
This was a golden age in Tibet, and thousands of Tibetans were inspired by Je Tsongkhapa’s immaculate example of pure moral discipline, compassionate way of life, and profound, liberating wisdom.
His followers became known as the ‘New Kadampas’, and to this day Kadampa Buddhists worldwide study his teachings and strive to emulate his pure example.
Reliance upon a Spiritual Guide is called the ‘root of the path’ because all other spiritual realizations of Sutra and Tantra depend upon it. The many branches and fruits of our Dharma practice are sustained and nourished by the root of reliance upon our Spiritual Guide. Just as in our ordinary education we need to rely upon the help of well-qualified teachers to guide us from the level of nursery school t othe completion of college or university training, so in the spiritual training that leads to full enlightenment we need to rely upon a well-qualified Spiritual Guide.
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso - “Joyful Path of Good Fortune”
The term ‘Guru’ is a Sanskrit word that means ‘Spiritual Guide’. A Spiritual Guide can be eastern, western, male, female, ordained or lay. Our Spiritual Guide is any Spiritual Teacher who leads us into correct paths to liberation and enlightenment by giving teachings and showing a good example. Guru yoga is a special training in relying upon our Spiritual Guide; in this context, ‘yoga’ means training in spiritual paths, not physical training