An aspiring monk wanted to find a Guru. He went to an monastery and his preceptor told him: "You can stay here but we have one important rule - all students observe the vow of silence. You will be allowed to speak to me once every 12 years".
After practicing silence and meditation for 12 long years, finally the student could say his one thing, and : "The bed is too hard."
After another 12 years of hard silent meditation, he had the opportunity to speak again. He said: "The food is not good."
Twelve more years of hard work passed. His words after 36 years of practice: "I quit."
His Guru quickly answered: "Good, all you have been doing anyway is complaining."
"To find a Buddha, all you have to do is see your nature. Your nature is the Buddha. And the Buddha is the person who's free: free of plans, free of cares. If you don't see your nature and run around all day looking somewhere else, you'll never find a Buddha. The truth is, there's nothing to find. But to reach such an understanding you need a teacher and you need to struggle to make yourself understand..."
It is important that we familiarize ourselves with the characteristics [of a spiritual teacher] discussed by Kongtrul Rinpoche. Second, we must maintain awareness of our own motivation during the process of finding a teacher. Am I seeking a teacher in order to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings, or am I seeking to fulfill my need to acquire the prestige associated with a famous teacher, or am I merely attracted to a lama's beautiful retreat land or the social scene of a hip Sangha, and so on.
These motivations need to be acknowledged if we are to recognize an authentic wisdom teacher, because the teacher you find is related to your karma, and your karma is intimately connected to your motivation.
Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye from “The Teacher-Student Relationship”
QUALIFICATIONS FOR A SPIRITUAL TEACHER OF BASIC PHILOSOPHY
1. Proper ethical behaviour - a guru should not harm others but try to help
2. Single pointed concentration
3. No self-grasping or egoistic thoughts
4. Having love and compassion as main motivations to teach
5. Realised emptiness, at least have a proper intellectual understanding
6. Perseverance in teaching
7. Wealth of scriptural knowledge
8. More learned and realized than student
9. Skilled speaker
10. Given up disappointment in the performance of the students
If possible, try to find a guru who possesses all these qualities, but at least the first 5. This may be difficult enough...
QUALIFICATIONS FOR A SPIRITUAL DISCIPLE
Just like a teacher requires certain qualifications, so should a proper disciple fulfill some criteria.
A disciple should consider him/herself as a patient, the teacher as a doctor, the Dharma as medicine and should take the medicine by practicing. Like His Holiness the Dalai Lama says: "There is no substitute for hard work"
A proper disciple should avoid the so-called 3 faulty attitudes:
- being like an upside down vessel: refusing to learn and scepticism
- being like a leaking vessel: forgetting everything and showing no interest
- being like a polluted vessel: being very prejudiced and believing to know everything better than the teacher
A proper disciple should fulfill the 3 requisites:
- lack of prejudice, being open-minded
- intelligence and a critical mind: not blindly following orders
- aspiration: wanting to practice and experience results (not just scholarly study)
From The Tibetian Buddhism Guide to the student teacher relationship
To see through all things you must depend on yourself, no one else can do it for you, however a good teacher can choose the most appropriate time to call out a students potential.
Tsai Chih Chung
We spend the first twelve months of our children's lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next twelve telling them to sit down and shut up.
With my complements to Rudy