Mr. G wrote:
Mr. G wrote:
All good advice here.
I can't agree with you more. I stand very much corrected.
Your questions were never wrong to begin with. This topic is something every good student should think on.
For me it was a consequence of my pre-Buddhist studies. Before I became Buddhist I studied new religious movements, in particular dangerous new religious movements(previously known as "cults"). One of the misunderstandings that people have about dangerous new religious movements is that the people who get involved with them are stupid or previously self destructive. This, actually, isn't true.
When you look at the statistics of who gets involved with new religious movements the primary function is their life phase. People who are in the middle of some form of transition(in between relationships, careers, recently moved to a new area, etc.) tend to be the ones who join NRM. That and open mindedness are the two big indicators.
The reason this goes into how we relate to our Teachers is that it shows pretty conclusively that we are no "smarter" and no more "skillful" than the people at Jonestown or Waco. My personal way to cope with this is to be careful and to always be willing to seriously entertain the possibility that I could be wrong.
An example. I think that my Teacher is a well trained individual who, at the very least, has a strong understanding of the Dudjom Tersar teachings and is happy as long as people practice hard, conduct themselves well, and do their part to keep our center up. However, I could be wrong. I could be seeing what I want to see or need to see and not what is actually there. Because of this I have to pay attention to everything my teacher says and judge it not in regards to "comfort" or "ease" as much as alignment to the very basic sutras*. I asked myself two questions. First, if I do what the teacher asks am I willing to stand before everyone in the lineage and proudly state what I have done? Second, does it seriously contradict the following quote, "Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them."
Recently I read a book named "Dangerous Friend: The Teacher-Student Relationship in Vajrayana Buddhism" where my method of analysis came into question. In this book it was stated pretty clearly that if one enters into a Vajra relationship with a teacher that they could not say no to a teacher without incurring dire penalties on your part. The way to make sure you don't accidentally get involved with someone who is, for lack of a better term, "evil" is to take a lot of time and look very closely at the teacher.
The problem is that it doesn't matter how long we take to examine the teacher or how smart we are. We can still be fooled if we relax our vigilance.
*Also, please note. When I talk about questioning what the teacher requests I'm not referring to "my Teacher wants me to practice 2 hours a day and I'd really rather do 1 hour" or "my Teacher wants me to do Ngondro again and I want to do Yamantaka". I'm talking about, "my Teacher wants me to rob a bank".