PadmaVonSamba wrote:I think what shel might argue is that
in marriage, one partner generally doesn't elevate the other to a 'superior' status,
but that this is often the case in a Buddhist teacher-student relationship,
thus the issue is particularly problematic in Buddhism.
To say "often the case" may be putting it a bit mildly. Don't we really want
to believe that they are somehow special?
Well, it the course of Vajrayana practice, one regards one's teacher (lama) very highly indeed.
But there are good reasons and bad reasons for why anyone regards any teacher this way.
It depends on the criteria.
if you regard a lifetime (from childhood) of practice and study, the fulfillment of mastering various texts and practices, learning from great teachers themselves, passing tests, running monasteries, and being recognized by higher-ups, and who insist that every bit of it must be grounded in ethical conduct, then I do consider my own teachers as very special, and superior in that way. On the other hand, I met one of my teachers in the function of being his
English language teacher, and in this he was my
student, and he served me tea (a sign of respect to one's teacher) at the beginning of our lessons. Teacher-student isn't about fixed roles. And a good teacher always learns from his students.
But if one merely follows a teacher because he is famous or has a lot of other followers or a lot of money behind him, or has some magnetizing, charismatic personality, this is not a good reason.
What I posted before was that what allows violations to occur is the teacher not being honest with the student, the student not being honest with the teacher, and neither of them being honest with themselves.
If a teacher told you to do something and you thought it was wrong, or crazy,
but you did it anyway, you would be lying to yourself and also not being honest with your teacher.
If the student is not being honest with himself or herself, and in denial, makes excuses for what he or she knows is not right,
this opens the door for abuse. I'm not blaming the victim, I am just saying that is how the door gets open.
But it is also that the teacher thinks he can get away with something when he knows he really can't, and he chooses to be an abuser. It's a pretty sad situation all the way around. What the teacher should be giving students is the wisdom to trust their own instincts. And the problem is, as with any con artist, the victim doesn't know he's being victimized.
But, this is the time in history when this issue is coming to light, and I think that's a good sign.