Author Topic: Recalling the qualities of your spiritual teacher  (Read 13197 times)

DSFriend

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Recalling the qualities of your spiritual teacher
« on: August 08, 2011, 04:16:15 PM »
In the vajrayana path, it is important to find a qualified Guru. It is taught in the Lamrim that a Guru is the root of all attainments. We have available to us, excellent texts such as :

- Practicing Guru Devotion with the Nine Attitudes (http://www.tonglen.oceandrop.org/9_Attitudes_Guru_Devotion.htm),

- Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion
, (http://viewonbuddhism.org/resources/50_verses_guru_devotion.html)

Question:
What are the three main qualities which stand out in your mind of the spiritual teacher in your life.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2011, 04:20:21 PM by DSFriend »

vajrastorm

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Re: Recalling the qualities of your spiritual teacher
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2011, 09:36:15 AM »
The three qualities that stand out in my Spiritual Guide are his infinite love and compassion, his unwavering moral discipline and his wisdom and skillful ways.

Of his infinite love and compassion, I can say that he has shown this over and over again to every one of his student, not just to myself. My own experience has been that at the most crucial moments of my life, I have been overwhelmed and warmly embraced by his great love. It was as if he knew and was able to answer to my needs of those moments in ways that no one else could have done. Selfless as he is, like a 1000-armed Chenrezig, he bestows blessing, brings the Dharma and aid to all everywhere all the time. He is continually absorbing the sufferings of others and giving to all only happiness, benefits and blessings 

There is no greater example of how to practice Moral Discipline than a walking and living embodiment of it. That is what my Spiritual guide is. 

In terms of his wisdom and skillful means, he has been able to reach out to his students effectively  through understanding their individual capacities, inclinations and needs. He employs both peaceful and wrathful methods, knows how to 'press our buttons' if I may quote the words of a book I recently read. "Gurus For Hire, Enlightenment For Sale".

kurava

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Re: Recalling the qualities of your spiritual teacher
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2011, 05:41:31 AM »
Dear Vajrastorm,

What a coincidence , the 3 qualities that stand out in my Guru are the same as yours ! I suppose all qualified gurus will have these 3 qualities as most outstanding  ;D

My Guru is so full of love and compassion that it extends to beings of other realms. He has started a shelter home for abandoned pets and is also sponsoring animal sanctuaries run by others. I had the good fortune to be present once he chanted some prayers to bless beings of the lower realms. The compassion that came through his prayer moved many of us to tears.

My Guru is a strict upholder of Moral Discipline. As a result, his students strive to follow his unstained example.

Out of his compassion and patience for his students , my Guru has skilfully steered us to create the right causes and abandon the wrong causes.

Take for example -
Some of the students are very attached to eating meat. My Guru showed us videos on how animals are killed for food production which due to the present day's highly specialised food industries, we don't connect the hygienically packed food with the sufferings that the animals go through.
Many of us gladly switched to vegetarian diet after watching the videos.


Big Uncle

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Re: Recalling the qualities of your spiritual teacher
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2011, 04:22:47 AM »
Guru devotion is something that doesn't come easily for me. My Guru is my friend, my confidant and also my spiritual guide. Unfortunately, I possess a whole QWERTY keyboard of buttons for him to press so I overcome my hangups and habituations. It helps during these times to recall the amazing qualities of my Guru and here but a few to name...

1. Generosity.
Perhaps I am materialistic but I know that my Guru is always giving away gifts, money and any form of material assistance to others. He is a veritable Santa Claus but with a much bigger heart and purpose. He does so to bring people to the Dharma, open Dharma seeds and encourage his students to do more, commit more and give more to the Dharma and others. I have never met a person that would match his level of generosity and I think this is something that serves as an inspiration to all including myself.

2. Skillfulness
I have never met with a person who puts so much thought into helping others. Not matter how silly his jokes and games are, it is also meant towards gauging and finding ways to benefit them. He would always say the right things and at the right time. We say he is clairvoyant and i do think this is true too but I think most of the time, he is just hyper aware of what the other person needs and he expresses what needs to be said to help that person. It will take me awhile to even get close to that level of awareness but i do try adopt smaller habits of watching people facial expressions when talking and what they doing  and doing our utmost best to be of service.

3. Knowledge
Although he never admits the amazing storehouse of knowledge that he possess but I am always in awe with what he knows of the Dharma and of worldly affair. Another thing is that unlike most people I know, he makes good use of the knowledge he possess in helping others. He told me once that the knowledge whether Dharma or not, should be put to use especially in bringing benefit to others. We should keep acquiring knowledge for the sake of knowledge alone than it would be just a meaningless attachment. I found this to be pure wisdom.

There are more but these are the few that stands out.

Positive Change

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Re: Recalling the qualities of your spiritual teacher
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2011, 09:27:35 AM »
I love what Big Uncle as shared above as it really just puts "pen to paper", how I feel about my own spiritual teacher/Guru. I would also like to add that he is:

1. Witty and with an incredible sense of humour. Using these qualities to help ease, access and perhaps even purify us in a profound way which I can even begin to fathom.

2. Sense of urgency and swift manner of helping/caring which is beyond anything or anyone I have come across. And it is done in such subtle and humble manner one just feels at ease receiving the help as it is done with the purest of motivations.

3. Approachability which makes you feel like you have known him all your life and often giving you the sense of security mixed with awe that makes you so at ease that you feel at peace when you are around him.

DSFriend

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Re: Recalling the qualities of your spiritual teacher
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2011, 07:25:45 AM »
Appreciates the sharing in here. It brightens my day just reading there are good, beneficial, extraordinary beings living today in our world.

Effort
No matter what challenges my guru faces, he seem to not be dishearten and just keep at it by looking and trying out different methods. perhaps, that's how a person becomes skillful and develops wisdom

Consistent
Not as in predictable..cos my guru can be consistent in being predictable and also unpredictable! I suppose if we are not consistently working at a particular task, we cannot reach our goals as to get to anywhere, we must take the necessary steps..however many steps that's required

Able to connect
I'm not sure what would be the right word to describe this quality…but my Guru seems to have the quality to be able to connect with just about anyone very quickly, perhaps skillful means? Because he could connect with people at all levels, my Guru is able to influence their thoughts and actions for virtuous deeds.


KhedrubGyatso

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Re: Recalling the qualities of your spiritual teacher
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2011, 03:21:55 AM »
I can  vouch my Guru has all the qualities mentioned here. I am sure we have read about  bodhisattva like actions and deeds. But to gain conviction that we have found a real Guru, we have to actually see him performing it , to be an integral part of his vision and mission  over a period of time. We will realize that there is a big difference between us doing the same things. Granted, we may all have qualities of generosity, knowledge and skilfulness in helping others . However, my  Guru's actions are vastly more encompassing , effortless, unwavering, precise and sincere. We may be giving to a charity or helping a needy but when we compare to a Guru's example, our action is very limited -generally lacking in scope, wholesomeness and correct purpose.The 'adjectives'  is what defines us as an ordinary personor a superior being.
If we have basic good qualities, one of the most important reason for  having a Guru is to see how we can improve upon them by relying and learning from his pure examples and following his guidance . I am very fortunate that my good karma had brought me to a real Guru who has perfect motivation, vast skills and superior knowledge. That's the mother of all blessings one can receive in this life !

pgdharma

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Re: Recalling the qualities of your spiritual teacher
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2011, 03:23:13 PM »
Out of his compassion and unconditional love, he will use skilful and different methods to bring dharma to his students.
His motivation to teach and spread the dharma is pure and sincere.
He has great wisdom and good memory and he will use his knowledge to help and benefit others.

It is my good karma that I have met my Spiritual Guide who has patiently guided me on my spiritual path by imparting his knowledge through skilful methods and that's the most priceless gift that I have the great fortune to receive.

May my Guru have a long and stable life to turn the wheel of dharma for the benefit of others.

Roberto

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Re: Recalling the qualities of your spiritual teacher
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2011, 11:55:19 PM »
@pgdharma, definitely it is not karma that you have met your spiritual guide (can i say again..) in this lifetime. As the cause resembles the result.

What is the result? You have come across a Spiritual Guide who can help to mould you even further. By karma alone, I don't think so. By merits, most assuredly! What kind of merit? It has to be related to Sangha, Dharma, Monastery, as why else would you cross paths with Dharma so directly.

I am happy for you.

dorjedakini

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Re: Recalling the qualities of your spiritual teacher
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2011, 10:03:53 AM »
I think most of our spiritual teacher share the same qualities. Among all the qualities, what I like most of my Lama is that my Lama is very skillful and always tailor a practice to suit different people with different mind set, background and age.

The qualities that our Lama show us not necessary always to be good, sometimes can be quite negative just to show us how UGLY we are when we behave in that way. It is very compassionate of the Lamas to show flaw to teach us especially during degenerate time. If we cannot view beyond that, then we are still stuck with the outer appearance of events. If we belief the Lama is a Buddha, and reincarnation or emanation of Buddha, what ever situation, we should not lost faith in him.

We are like a child, it is too "young" for us to understand certain things as we cannot view beyond that, it is better to trust and follow our Lama who holds a unbroken lineage.

pgdharma

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Re: Recalling the qualities of your spiritual teacher
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2012, 04:53:11 PM »
Most of our spiritual teachers have the same outstanding qualities as they are extraordinary beings who are here to help and guide us to enlightenment.

Thus when we recalled the qualities of our spiritual teacher, then we will understand “why our Guru can do no wrong” as discussed in one of the topics in this forum.
 
To quote dorjedakini: “We are like a child, it is too "young" for us to understand certain things as we cannot view beyond that, it is better to trust and follow our Lama who holds a unbroken lineage.”

When we understand how compassionate our Gurus are, we will not have any negative thoughts of him but to have faith and guru devotion and follow his instructions wisely.

hope rainbow

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Re: Recalling the qualities of your spiritual teacher
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2012, 05:27:47 AM »
I love every quality listed here, and I must say it loud, my Guru has all of them.
I would add one more here: RESILIENCE!

I can easily develop and justify hatred for the clumpy officer in charge of finding my lost luggage at the airport.
But my Guru cannot loose love and compassion for even the students that "stab" Him in the back. He would care and do whatever is possible to find ways and methods to help them. This is not just half an hour at the lost luggage office at the airport, this goes on lifetime after lifetime. This resilience is simply extra-ordinary.

Gypsy

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Re: Recalling the qualities of your spiritual teacher
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2012, 05:41:47 PM »
Yes i think all the gurus share the same qualities stated here, otherwise they won't be a guru teach and guide us untiringly. Skillfulness, knowledgable and compassion are the 3 qualities in my Guru that i want to learn from. With skillful means, i can speak to different characters and convince them and bring them to dharma, of course, i need knowledge to back up when i speak. Compassion is for me to forgive and forget. I'm a negative person who is always indulged in negative emotions like anger and hatred that caused by attachments. I wish to develop all these 3 good qualities and benefit many more people around me.

Midakpa

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Re: Recalling the qualities of your spiritual teacher
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2012, 03:58:18 AM »
In the Lamrim, it is stated that a fully qualified Mahayana Spiritual Guide must possess ten special qualities. According to "Ornament for Mahayana Sutras", these are:

1. A mind that is controlled by the practice of moral discipline
2. A mind that has become peaceful and undistracted through the practice of concentration
3. Reduced self-grasping through the practice of wisdom
4. Greater knowledge than the disciple
5. Delight in teaching Dharma
6. A wealth of scriptural knowledge
7. A deep and stable realisation of emptiness
8. Great skill in explaining Dharma
9. Compassion and love for his disciples
10. Enthusiasm for teaching Dharma, being free from discouragement or laziness

For me, the three qualities I most admire are: compassion and love, moral discipline, and great skill in explaining Dharma. The guru is a living example of what we aspire to achieve. That's why we always pray for his inspiration, his blessings and that we may acquire his qualities.

Midakpa

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Re: Recalling the qualities of your spiritual teacher
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2012, 01:30:27 AM »
I'd like to add one more quality that a spiritual guide should have in this world that is becoming more global, and that is the ability to communicate effectively with the students. The teacher must be able to speak the students' language or dialect. What good is it to have a lot of knowledge but your students do not understand you? The new teacher should check whether he or she knows the language of the country he or she is going to.  If it is for the long term, it is better to learn the language first unless a good translator is always available. 

In "Path to Buddhahood", Ringu Tulku tells the story of a Tibetan khenpo from Kham who was invited to teach at a monastery in Gangtok where the monks were mostly Bhutanese. For two years, he taught every morning and evening. Towards the end of the second year, he discovered that his students spoke a different dialect and had not understood anything he said. Disappointed, he left and returned to Tibet. He was an excellent teacher but he could not communicate with his students due to the language barrier.

Therefore, to be an effective teacher, the master must know the language of the students or at least the language of communication used in the country or place he or she is required to teach.