Gendun Rinpoche Heart Advice from a Mahamudra Master.What are the characteristics of an authentic teacher? In their outward behaviour, they should be moderate and disciplined. They should never entice their students into harmful behaviour or endanger their future development. Through their words and deeds, they should inspire others to more and more extensive ethical behaviour, doing wholesome deeds and avoiding unwholesome deeds. They should have walked the path of Dharma to its completion and through untiring practice have attained all realisations. Their mind should be free of self-interest and filled with boundless loving-kindness and compassion for all beings. Another mark of an authentic master is a complete absence of pride. They have no self-centred or worldly interests, but only desire to bring all beings to spiritual maturity and enable them to free themselves from their conditioning and the resulting suffering.
Who is a suitable student? A suitable student should have much loving-kindness and compassion and practice the Dharma with the intention of realising buddhahood for the benefit of all beings. Their ego-centred tendencies should gradually decrease because they are practice a selfless attitude of mind. Trust in and devotion to the Three Jewels and, in particular, should grow in them and their pride and self-will should abate. The student should have a balanced mind, should not be thrown by either praise or blame and should maintain equanimity under all circumstances, not allowing changing events to disturb their equilibrium.
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE
Karma Lodro Senge wrote:I have met countless teachers and Rinpoches. From HH Dalai Lama and HH 17th Karmapa to you name it. But I NEVER experienced what I felt like the time I first met and sat in front of Thrangu Rinpoche (my root guru). Even before either of us said a single word, I knew right then that he would be my root guru. He is also the one that ordained me.
What a wonderful GURU DEVOTION ... You had earned good merits in the past and earning now as well.....
Why is it So Important to Have a Spiritual Teacher?
Is it necessary to practice the spiritual practice only under proper guidance by a teacher, or can we start on our own if we have faith in what we do?
If the beginning of all knowledge is to know yourself and we have all the answers within ourselves, why is it so important to have a spiritual teacher?
We all have innate, unborn qualities. That is not to say that, in a Buddhist sense, we are already enlightened, but the seed of the potential is already planted inside each and every one of us. It is inherently present.
To really sit down and tell ourselves things, such as, ‘I am inherently pure and decent,’ can be difficult – although we can relate to these truths during unemotional moments. But If we have a hard time accepting these truths, when we are in crisis and have doubt in ourselves, then this is a clear sign that we do need someone to guide us; someone to show us; someone to explain and teach us what it is, and that it is like that.
In terms of the question of whether we need a teacher or not, it is not that we have to go to the end of the world to really find the answer. I believe it is right here, right now, we can just ask ourselves individually ‘do we really have the potential or not?’, ‘do we really understand the truth?’ Or, we can change the terms by saying ‘do I know the nature of mind?’, ‘do I know the universe and phenomena?’ and so on.
For this, we may need proper guidance. And then of course, there comes many questions such as ‘how to find an authentic guide?’ and ‘how do we know that that is the right path?’, and so on. But for that I think it is important to focus on the basic qualities of the teachers or guides, and also use our own basic qualities to assess with a good degree of clarity, i.e. without emotion. So, whether Theravada teacher or Mahayana teacher, there are certain standards or certain basic qualities that he or she should require in order to guide.
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE
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