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How to find a Guru

From Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Buddhist conferences often engender discussion on some challenging questions. Is there such a thing as a soul? Is it my fault that I got cancer? Explain karma!

For our new feature, “Inquiry,” let’s start with a question that crops up frequently.

“Could you tell me what your idea of a guru is? What do you mean by guru? How do I find someone I can rely on to follow a spiritual path and develop my practice?”

This is how Thubten Yeshe responded:

Instead of guru, let’s use the term “teacher” because it has a broader connotation. There are many types of teachers you might encounter on your spiritual journey. Some come in very interesting guises. They may not be in red and yellow robes, they may not sit on high teaching seats in temples; a teacher might be someone you meet at lunch or at work or in any ordinary situation. Your next teacher might be another student or someone like me who doesn’t really know very much at all but finds himself or herself in the position of having to impart something of Buddhism to you. There’s an incredible variety of people who can assist you on the path to enlightenment; if you are open to meet these unlikely teachers and to learn from them you can meet your teacher every day. You can always find them somewhere. Sometimes they are the most difficult people we meet; it is said in the teachings that these difficult ones are our finest gurus. The ones that cause us the most distress show us something about ourselves that we need to know, that we need to work on at that very moment. They can be our most precious teachers.

On a more conventional level, in the early stages of the journey you may also meet teachers of Buddhism in university courses, at Dharma centers, or in weekend workshops in public venues. If these encounters lead you to engage in serious practice, you may travel along the path to the point of taking advanced teachings and tantric empowerments (initiations). Eventually, you may meet someone you consider to be your heart teacher (root guru), the person who really puts your mind, as Lama Yeshe said, straight on the path. This teacher hooks your mind, so that you see very clearly that you have no choice but to practice Dharma. This teacher may be difficult to find, but if you continue your search, take teachings, and engage in serious practice, you will eventually find the teacher who opens your heart and you will simply know that this is the teacher for you…

Source

mandala.fpmt.org