Having A Problem With Guru-ness?
Don’t bottle it up; investigate!
We have all, at some time, wondered, “What on earth have I got myself into?!” especially when we see others acting in strange ways, blindly adoring the Guru/Lama. This can be very off putting, and because of this, Gurus and spiritual people can get a bad press. To be honest, some Gurus/Lamas like being worshipped and having a large number of disciples…ask any good Guru/Lama!
Still, we have questionsn – spiritual questions – to which we need answers. Like any subject we wish to learn, we need to go to someone who knows, and whom we can get along with and trust. In this endeavour, we need to understand our own karma (that which drives us) and our own intelligence.
One thing to remember is that a good teacher relating to a good student will be irritating; it’s someone who will “kindly cut the crap” to help us understand, either instantaneously or at a later time.
To be honest, talking to disciples or the Guru/Lama about these feelings doesn’t help much. The Guru/Lama will merely smile, and the disciples will become standoffish and angry. You see, we are LL still full of fears and hopes, and haven’t grown up yet. Expecting others to grow up first is not the issue; it’s all about our own spiritual development, and sense of compassion.
It is we who have to take a good look at the organisation to assess whether it is beneficial, or whether the dynamics don’t suit us. That’s ok – maybe our karma there has run its course, even if it’s only been for a short while. Now it’s time to move on, or go away and practise! However, we have to be honest with ourselves; we need discipline and we need to know what we are doing. But that will depend on our karma and intelligence!
We all need help with clarity.
Meditation and prayer will do this, but there are subtle points of instruction that can always be refined, so we do need inspiration from somewhere – and that comes from an authentic lineage. It is we who have to test the teacher, to see if there is any mind to mind transmission. We also need to bear in mind that we may be to hear something several times before we understand and those synapses connect!
There are times when we get involved, and times when we can stand at the edge. Getting too close and we are bound to get hot under the collar. Stand too far away and we tend to wander off.
Buddha’s always right:
not too tight and not too loose!
The teacher will have a certain temperament (they are not all one!) and the students that teacher’s karma attracts will also have a certain temperament. We either go along with the dynamics while focusing on the teachings, or maybe we should be in another tradition that emphasises another aspect of the teaching which is missing in our understanding. I found that out; for me, it was Dzogchen! The students I was with regarded Dzogchen as the golden roof, whereas I saw it as the foundations: that’s how different we can be.
It is all down to us. We can’t keep blaming others. We do have intelligence and we do know…I found that out also 😉 !
The Dalai Lama, speaking of the importance of the guru, said: “Rely on the teachings to evaluate a guru: Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism … The operative word is lama which means ‘guru’. A guru is someone who is not necessarily a Buddha, but is heavy with knowledge.”
It is only when we get to the Vajrayana level that the disciple shows great appreciation and devotion to the yidam, the guru and teachings. However we do not have to go the Tantric way, if we follow Dzogchen.
There are four kinds of Guru/Lama/spiritual teacher in Tibetan Buddhism:
The individual teacher .who is the holder of the lineage
The teacher, who is the word of the buddhas
(Through these first two we discover the third.)
The absolute teacher, which is rigpa, the true nature of mind
The symbolic teacher of all appearances