That is, you would never study under for example Tsongkhapa, who had several teachers, but eventually established his own version of Buddhism for what he couldn't provide any predecessors? And any teacher who have received only visionary-mental transmissions or claimed reincarnation of a once famous person are all out of question (e.g. Asanga, Tilopa, Jigme Lingpa)? Not that there were no other orthodox teachers of the time within established communities, still, many outstanding masters were special because they came up with a new way of teaching and did not follow the existing methods.
Tsongkhapa had several teachers from recognised lineages, who confirmed his qualification. That is enough. Same goes for Jigme Lingpa. I most definitely accept terma teachings, but I wouldn't accept such claims from just anyone. It's a person's qualification/degree of realization that need verifying, not the exact content of their teaching.
teacher that received (or, to be more correct, claimed to receive) exclusively visionary-mental transmissions would be approached by me with extreme caution, if approached at all.
Karma Dorje wrote:
What strikes me about this conversation with regards to power structures is that we are not stopping to consider whether democratic ideals themselves are simply a competing myth.
I am frankly not very impressed with democracy-- I am much more comfortable with monarchy. I don't believe that any fool without education should make decisions for the whole. I am much more comfortable with educated people, or in this case realized people, deciding for the community who best exemplifies the lineage.
Democracy can work pretty well in secular politics, but I doubt it can work in religion, because, frankly, democratically elected leaders tend to be horrible people. The more ruthless, two-faced and populist a person is, the more empty promises he makes, the more likely is he to get elected. In politics this is pretty much expected, and a system of checks and counterweights is in place to limit the abuses of power and force the elected leaders to take community interests into consideration. In spiritual matters, this is hardly sufficient.