jeeprs wrote:It would be great if newcomers could benefit from your insights.
Harold wrote:What I would look for at first is a Lama who will openly answer any background questions I have.
I was a 3rd degree black belt in Shotokan Karate.
I would show potential students my certificate and tell them what organization granted it to me and how they could verify it.
It's like any employment interview.
Like martial arts that has hundreds of styles like Chinese, Japanese, Thai, French etc etc. The student should seek out the style ( Vajrayana, Mahayana or Hinayana) that best suits them.
My teacher is a master in the Chod practice and that suits my background in the military and law enforcement.
The demons I faced were not in charnel grounds but real human beings with knives and guns that wanted to hurt innocent people.
Does that help.
Karma Dorje wrote:
"The origin of all demons is in mind itself.
When awareness holds on and embraces any outer object,
It is in the hold of a demon.
Likewise, mind is stained when a [mental image]
Is wrongly taken to be a real object."
Yudron wrote:Nice post Untxi!
Furthermore, it's a personal matter. For example, a lama have sex with his students for drinking a lot of alcohol doesn't bother me, but it may bother you. We each have images of what enlightenment looks like, such as an asexual teetotaler, or Yoda, or Spock, or Glenda the Good Witch... but I would argue that an enlightened lama can arise in any form. We connect with a form that is acceptable for us.untxi wrote:There are an infinite number of sentient beings, and thus an infinite number of teachers that manifest to them to bring them to liberation--- and there are an infinite number of false teachers who manifest to serve their own purposes. That's samsara in the Kali Yuga.
Over the years I've seen people ringing the bell to warm others of false teachers. In the end, it usually ends up as some form of monomania as the same culprits get indicted again and again. So much so that forums like DharmaWheel have to ban discussion of certain topics. They're black holes. Chum the waters and the only recourse is to drain the whole ocean.
It's obviously useful to steer people away from false teachers, but it's more important to share with people how to examine a teacher, and to give them the information they need to make their own choices. If we just give people as list of "false teachers" the assumption is that everyone else is a "true teacher". Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Examining a teacher isn't a trivial topic. We need to share this with others.
I say that because the boards over the years have been rich in topics about different teachers associated with different extreme forms of dharma politics, and about lineages of questionable origin. Probably more dangerous are those lamas who come from unquestionable lineages, who have studied traditionally-- but who are false refuges. They have problems with alcohol or drugs. They have sex with their students. And so on. No roster of "false gurus" is going to cover this stuff.
Actually Venerable Khedrup I believe it would be a very good idea to post the relevant section to this thread (or at least a link).JKhedrup wrote:For me personally I evaluate teachers according to the guidelines mentioned in the Lam Rim.
I didn't post those here because I realize that some people might feel they are too rooted in Sutra, and that true tantric gurus might manifest differently.
untxi wrote:on the vajrayana path, the responsibility really rests on the individual practitioner. because of cultural problems with authority, esteem, identity, and whatever, we tend to project transfer responsibility to the lama and away from the self. culturally that's to be expected, but it needs to be recognized and appropriately dealt with. i'm not suggesting the lama has no responsibilities and ethical requirements in the student teacher relationship. i'm also not suggesting that it's not helpful to make it known when there are frauds and fakes about. but most of the terrain is very grey and subtle and it's up to us as individuals to shed light on what works and doesn't work in a student teacher relationship based on our circumstances and personal proclivities. one extreme is blind faith in either a true (or false) teacher-- which goes nowhere. the other extreme is constant doubt, anxiety and uncertainty-- of which false-lama-monomania is one manifestation.
jkhedrub posted some excellent things on this. it's really helpful for all of us to know and share the teachings on how to examine and follow a teacher. that's the only way to empower people to move away from the extremes of blind faith and doubt to a real working relationship with a teacher. the lam rim is excellent for this. the ngondro commentaries are also excellent for this.
My very dear Simon,
Thank you very much for your kind letter, sorry for the long delay in replying.
Regarding your question about the ten qualities of a guru—there are ten outer qualities according to lower tantra and ten inner qualities according to highest tantra. You can find these in the Guru Puja and in lam-rim commentaries (Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, Lam-rim Chen-mo, etc.). It is very good if you read these and study this well. Also, you can find it in the commentary on 50 Verses of Guru Devotion.
There are qualities that the guru should have and qualities that the disciple should have. The minimum qualities the guru should have are having the lineage of the initiation (that he is giving) and living according to samaya vows and tantric vows, and that the deities have not prohibited him from offering the initiation by giving signs, for example.
You can read and study the section in the Guru Puja that covers the qualities of the guru (before the section which begins “you are my Guru, you are my Yidam …..”
First it mentions the ten qualities of a Mahayana Guru:
1. Discipline as a result of his mastery of the training in the higher discipline of moral self-control;
2. Mental quiescence from his training in higher concentration;
3. Pacification of all delusions and obstacles from his training in higher wisdom;
4. More knowledge than his disciple in the subject to be taught;
5. Enthusiastic perseverance and joy in teaching;
6. A treasury of scriptural knowledge;
7. Insight into and understanding of emptiness;
8. Skill in presenting the teachings;
9. Great compassion; and
10. No reluctance to teach and work for his disciples regardless of their level of intelligence.
Even if one doesn’t have all the ten qualities but has five, six, or seven qualities, the main quality is having more knowledge than the disciple and having great compassion.
A tantric master must have even more good qualities. Most important is that he be an extremely stable person, with his body, speech, and mind totally under control. He should be someone in whose presence everyone feels calm, peaceful, and relaxed and even the mere sight of him brings great pleasure to the mind. And his compassion must be unsurpassable.
There are two sets of ten fields in which the vajra guru must be a complete master. The ten inner ones are essential for teaching the yoga and maha-anuttara yoga classes of tantra, which stress the importance of purifying mainly internal mental activities. These are expertise in:
1. Visualizing wheels of protection and eliminating obstacles;
2. Preparing and consecrating protection knots and amulets to be worn around the neck;
3. Conferring the vase and secret initiations, planting the seeds for attaining a buddha’s form bodies;
4. Conferring the wisdom and word initiations, planting the seeds for attaining a buddha’s wisdom bodies;
5. Separating the enemies of Dharma from their own protectors;
6. Making the offerings, such as of sculptured tormas;
7. Reciting mantras, both verbally and mentally, that is, visualizing them revolving around his heart;
8. Performing wrathful ritual procedures for forcefully catching the attention of the meditational deities and protectors;
9. Consecrating images and statues; and
10. Making mandala offerings, performing the meditational practices (sadhana) and taking self initiations.
The ten external qualities are required for teaching the kriya and charya classes of tantra, which stress the importance of purifying mainly external activities in connection with internal mental processes. These are expertise in:
1. Drawing, constructing and visualizing the mandala abodes of the meditational deities;
2. Maintaining the different states of single-minded concentration;
3. Executing the hand gestures (mudras);
4. Performing the ritual dances;
5. Sitting in the full meditation position;
6. Reciting what is appropriate to these two classes of tantra;
7. Making fire offerings;
8. Making the various other offerings;
9. Performing the rituals of
a) Pacification of disputes, famine, and disease,
b) Increase of life span, knowledge, and wealth,
c) Power to influence others and
d) Wrathful elimination of demonic forces and interferences; and
10. Invoking meditational deities and dissolving them back into their appropriate places.
Lama Tsongkhapa explained that in degenerated times it is difficult to find lamas having all these qualities mentioned above, so if the lama does not have all those qualities then having two, five, or even eight is sufficient.
muni wrote:jeeprs wrote:It would be great if newcomers could benefit from your insights.
That should be very kind to do so!
Since new comers are not standard, therefore H H Dalai Lama says something like this (I think it is for lay people): "study first as much as possible for your own, then find a teacher/center or monastery". Since then there is already a road paved by some understanding, ready to listen to the teachings and we can easier recognize what need investigation.
"Rely on the teachings to evaluate a guru:
Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism."
H H The Dalai Lama.
lama tsewang wrote:please please, this list from khedrup is not wrong, AND AND it does not contradict some suppopsed list of Vajrayana qualities.
A TEacher will never never teach their students to contradict conventional morality.
THey will always teach their students about cause and effect.
If a teacher does actions against precepts they will face consequences, karmic consequences . ALWAYS. What the results will be are dependent on their motives , and all the other factors as we all know.
Now, if they give their students the idea that they should follow or copy their activities, thats wrong.
if a teacher does activities that are against conventional morality , because of their own three poisons, then thats their own problem,
if they then try to not admit to themselves or others that this due to their mistakes.
then this can become a problem.
lama tsewang wrote:hmmm, I hold alineage of teachings from Thangtong Gyalpo, the Shangpa lineage . Hmm, what to say to such a statement. Yes I am familiar with the DOm Sum, and I know that the one that is contained in the book , Perfect Conduct says that the best vAjrayana practitioner, in general , is one who is a bhikshu, with the Bodhisattva precepts, its on page 12.
What are you referring to in the books of Jamgon Kongtrul , can you say specifically?
there is a good discussion of tulshug in ken mcleods book wake up to your life. its on page 432 . he calls it Deliberate Behaviour.
I remember reading the biography of Thangtong Gyalpo , at one time he was tied up and left to die in a wild area . After being tied up, his tormentors, peed on him and pooped on him. Later on, when he was freed he was vey grateful for their actions because he had gained the power of long life.
So, I am not able to eat poop or put up with any thing like I mentioned
That is why I am a monk.
PLease Yudron, be careful what you say. You have finished a three year retreat, people will listen to you.
lama tsewang wrote:My dear Yudron , Kalu Rinpoche never tells people to take drugs or drink , so what is the point of anything you have said , please tell me.
Furthermore, it is one of the most unconventional things there is to be a MONK!!!!!! We live on faith entirely . With out any concern for worldly success or failure!!
All the Buddhist teachers I have met are unconventional ,if they werent, they would be doing something different.