Recognising a teacher/guru with integrity

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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Re: Recognising a teacher/guru with integrity

Post by Alfredo » Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:14 pm

You can't judge by lineage or anything like that. Many scandal-ridden lamas come with very respected lineages. So much politics and cronyism is involved in recognitions, that it becomes pointless to distinguish "real" credentials from "fake" ones. My personal advice would be to keep well clear of both Tsem and Sogyal, even if theirs are the only Tibetan Buddhist groups nearby. Try attending a Theravada temple or Zen center, if that is possible.

I happen to know of one well--known Tibetan lama and filmmaker (if that does not give it away) who asks prospective students to read a book about cults and gurus, presumably as a form of due diligence before making a commitment to him. If memory serves, the book is Geoffrey Falk's Stripping the Gurus. ... 0973620315

Read it online here: ... 1_djvu.txt
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Re: Recognising a teacher/guru with integrity

Post by Punya » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:04 pm

This really is such a vexed issue. Pema Choepel has given the advice on another thread that it's better to go for a lesser known teacher you can have more regular contact with ie local. However, in my part of the world things have gone wrong with three (tibetan) teachers, two of whom I know quite well and both would have considered me their students. This makes me quite glad that my main teacher is the well-known Tibetan lama and filmmaker, even though it's highly unlikely I will ever have the same kind of access to him (in this lifetime at least).

When I think about it, one of the qualities these teachers lack is the incredible patience of the true master. It reminds me of the comment about Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, which says that whatever people said to him good or bad, he would just say 'I see, I see'. I also agree with smcj's friend's point about the eight worldly dharmas.

What I find curious is that students of these teachers sometimes turn away from the dharma altogether. I guess it's because once you really commit to a teacher you put so much trust in them. This is a case where trust the teachings not the teacher applies.
Just as the trunk of an ordinary tree
Lying in the forests of the Malaya mountains
Absorbs the perfume of sandal from the moist leaves and branches
So you come to resemble who whomever you follow.

~Words of My Perfect Teacher

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Re: Recognising a teacher/guru with integrity

Post by Alfredo » Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:07 pm

Correction: The book was actually Anthony Storr, Feet of Clay: A Study of Gurus (Simon and Schuster, 1996): ... edir_esc=y

Storr attempts a psychological analysis of the guru type as exemplified by Jim Jones, David Koresh, G.I. Gurdjieff, Rudolf Steiner, Sigmund Freud, C.G. Jung, Ignatius Loyala, and Jesus.

The other book which I confused it with, Stripping the Gurus, criticizes at least two figures whom our filmmaker friend admires.
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