What are the characteristics of an authentic teacher? In their outward behaviour, they should be moderate and disciplined. They should never entice their students into harmful behaviour or endanger their future development. Through their words and deeds, they should inspire others to more and more extensive ethical behaviour, doing wholesome deeds and avoiding unwholesome deeds. They should have walked the path of Dharma to its completion and through untiring practice have attained all realisations. Their mind should be free of self-interest and filled with boundless loving-kindness and compassion for all beings. Another mark of an authentic master is a complete absence of pride. They have no self-centred or worldly interests, but only desire to bring all beings to spiritual maturity and enable them to free themselves from their conditioning and the resulting suffering.
Who is a suitable student? A suitable student should have much loving-kindness and compassion and practice the Dharma with the intention of realising buddhahood for the benefit of all beings. Their ego-centred tendencies should gradually decrease because they are practice a selfless attitude of mind. Trust in and devotion to the Three Jewels and, in particular, should grow in them and their pride and self-will should abate. The student should have a balanced mind, should not be thrown by either praise or blame and should maintain equanimity under all circumstances, not allowing changing events to disturb their equilibrium.
Gendun Rinpoche Heart Advice from a Mahamudra Master