Seeing The Teacher As The Buddha …
…is a cultural hot potato!
It depends our aptitude: Bhakti yoga, Karma yoga or Jnana yoga?
Bhakti yoga is the path of devotion – adore the guru.
Karma yoga is the path of action – adore the ritual.
Jnana Yoga is the path of wisdom – adore pure consciousness.
Each path has a combination of all three, but one will be dominant.
The Buddha told his followers:“After I am gone, do not think you will have no teacher; the Dharma will be your teacher.”
Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist teachings could be said to be leaning towards Guru Yoga/Bhakti yoga, where the teacher/lama is seen as the Buddha. If the lama says jump off the roof, you jump. However, we do need to keep our common sense, and be aware of so-called ‘crazy wisdom’ stories. Crazy wisdom stories are meant to bring clarity rather than speculation. The Dalai Lama said, “It is the student who gives the teacher the authority.”
The Four Reliances
(and there are many variations of this)
Rely not on the person; rely on the teaching.
Rely not on the words; rely on the meaning.
Rely not on what’s cryptic: rely on what’s proven.
Rely not on consciousness; rely on pure consciousness.
In reflecting the emptiness of phenomena and consciousness, all phenomena is our teacher: all phenomena is therefore the Buddha. And that very recognition is the Buddha. That is the emptiness of both phenomena and self.
When we think a person knows something that we do not,
we have to stand under that person.
If that person passes on the light,
we then have the light
and we understand.