Posted by Andreas Isaksson (126.96.36.199) on September 22, 2000 at 19:03:06:
In Reply to: spiritual teacher posted by b on September 22, 2000 at 10:45:01:
I am corresponding with a senior monk of the Tibetan Gelug Tradition. He is the head of the educational department and I once asked him the same question about how to find a teacher. His response is below. Hope it helps!
The question about how to find a teacher is often asked and is not easy to answer.
It is often said that when the student is ready the teacher appears- so in a profound way that is very true, but as the Buddha taught, nothing exists
from its own side, everything is a dependent arising. So we just can't wait and pray for the teacher to appear, we have to do something about it. And one obvious thing is to attend different teachings by qualified teachers.
Sooner or later you meet a teacher whom you feel strongly connected to. Apart from this, we need to have a strong wish to practice Dharma, to
follow the Mahayana Path. If this is strongly developed within us, then we will meet a qualified Mahayana Master. It is important to demonstrate this wish in a practical way in one's life by trying to practice as much as possible, by reading, trying to meditate and practising a good heart in one's relations with others.It is importan to make prayers to the Buddha and also Lama Tsong Khapa to meet a qualified Teacher. Of course an
important factor in meeting the teacher is the karma we have created in past lives.
It is not necesary for one's teacher to be a geshe or "lama', but usually such people are the most qualified. "lama' means a qualified teacher- but
unfortunately in these degenerate time some people who use this title are not really qualified to do so. If you wish to follow the Gelug tradition of
Lama Tsong Khapa, it is important to bear in mind HH Dalai Lama's advice that it is best to have a fully ordained monk as one's teacher.
At first one can develop understanding and inspiration through meeting many ordinary 'teacher', such as ordinary monks who have studied and meditated for some years and are encouraged by their teachers to teach. So slowly you build up experience and then it is possible that after meeting some great masters of the Gelugpa tradition, you will have the experience to decide who is suited to guide you. It is important not to rush into such as decision. don't decide someone is your teacher just because it is the first one you meet, or becaause they are famous,etc.
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