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Michael John Smith

Finding A Teacher

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Among my on-line friends I am encountering a number who are looking for genuine teachrs of Dharma. Some of them have no easy access to the Dharma outside of reading material. On making enquiries about this very subject I was kindly provided with this link:

 

www.tibetanlama.org

 

Here's a relative newcomer to the West and although I haven't asked him, I'm pretty sure he's willing to take on a few more students. Anyway his site is really something well worth taking a look at and perhaps you'll find it useful to share.

 

PS don't forget to click the Dharma friends button and list through. Very inspirational!

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I looked up lama in the dictionary and found: lama

Noun

a Buddhist priest or monk in Mongolia or Tibet [Tibetan blama]

 

In other words a monk is a lama

 

He does not gve himself the title of Rinpoche. Does that mean he is unqualified to teach?

I see nothing wrong with the guy.

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I looked up lama in the dictionary and found: lama

Noun

a Buddhist priest or monk in Mongolia or Tibet [Tibetan blama]

 

In other words a monk is a lama

 

He does not gve himself the title of Rinpoche. Does that mean he is unqualified to teach?

I see nothing wrong with the guy.

 

I have some doubt about your dictionary. in the first year ofthe uni I had to learn that it is not definitely true that comes out in a printed form, or appeares with printed letters. it is good to check the source and rely only on authoritative sources as much as possible.

there is a tibetan-english dictionary on internet, which i find quite good. if you look up the meaning of "bla-ma" (lama) you will find this (and much more):

http://www.nitartha.org/dictionary_search04.html

 

bla ma

1 guru [master even kinder than 1's parents] two highest 1 [master, teacher, lama] [iW]

 

bla ma - guru, master, lama, spiritual preceptor, life-mother, mentor, higher one, upper one, (one who knows buddha experience; ma is potency, bla is highest significance), priest, 1 of gnas pa dgu, spiritual master, guru, masters, teacher [JV]

 

bla ma - the teacher [ry]

 

bla ma - master. In the Lamrim Yeshe Nyingpo, Padmasambhava says: "The vajra master, the root of the path, is someone who has the pure conduct of samaya and vows. He is fully adorned with learning, has discerned it through reflection, and through meditation he possesses the qualities and signs of experience and realization. With his compassionate action he accepts disciples." In short, someone with the correct view and genuine compassion [ry]

 

bla ma - guru/ spiritual teacher [RB]

 

bla ma - lama; guru, spiritual teacher; Guru, master; supreme spiritual teacher of weight or substance. teacher, priest, highest one, spiritual master, preceptor [ry]

 

this man - being trained in a monastery, being a tibetan - should know exactly what bla-ma means, and I dont think it is good to use this title just because western people mistranslate and misunderstand it, and piously and reverently take every marron-wrapped Tibetan a Lama.. Bla-ma is obviously not a simple monk, the ignorance of many western people should not give a basis to distorting and blurring buddhist terms.

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this man - being trained in a monastery, being a tibetan - should know exactly what bla-ma means, and I dont think it is good to use this title just because western people mistranslate and misunderstand it, and piously and reverently take every marron-wrapped Tibetan a Lama.. Bla-ma is obviously not a simple monk, the ignorance of many western people should not give a basis to distorting and blurring buddhist terms.

Indeed! In Sera, and most monasteries, Lama is same as Rinpoche or Tulku. It's an honorific title on basis of past or/and Wisdom. It's a mistake to call all monks 'Lama'. Mistakes of Westerners that is used by Tibetan monks to over-value themselves, which is against the Path of humility they are supposed to follow.

Same regarding those who say or write: "he was disciple of such-or-such Rinpoche", "in the close surrounding of His Holiness", etc. It means nothing. It doesn't pre-define anything... else than it shows the short-sight and wish to manipulate the others to gain respect, as usually there is nothing else on which they could get this attention.

 

I see nothing wrong with the guy.

And your capacities to recognize the value of someone are....?? What are you looking at to based your judgment?

1. How did you investigate that person to say he is a Lama at all? How did you investigated his knowledge? His capacities to integrate this knowledge into his own life? His capacities to adapt this knowledge to the individual path of the others?

2. You see nothing? Which eyes are you using? Which wisdom are you using? Can you see through illusion? Through mistaken appearence?

 

Just a title, nice look, nice word, don't justify the position of Lama... As a teacher/Lama, in Tibetan Buddhism, isn't just someone who "teach" but more importantly someome who "guides". Words are easy, you find them in books, in computer, on internet, etc.; guidance requieres Wisdom, and this you can't buy it, or self-claim to have this wisdom.

 

Nothing in the above related to this monk. I also don't know him. It's a general statement, warning, for those who tend to follow blindly, because they 'see', they 'sense', they 'believe'... You need more than that to create the basis for a correct guidance into the Path to Enlightenment.

Would you place your life in the hand of any doctor or any surgeon? Wouldn't you want to know the exact qualification of that person before he starts to open your chest for heart operation for example? Would you just have full trust because you see a picture or because he would tell ou he is a very good surgeon? So, come on! Keep also a good sense when it comes to spirituality.

If you decide to climb a difficult mountain, you need a good guide. Not just a kid passing by who would claim, for money or any other interest, to be a good guide! You would check his qualifcation, right?

 

To place yourself into the hands of a spiritual guide is very delicate and very important. You need to take the time to investigate thoroughly. Do so for anyone who claims or is said to be a good Lama prior to engage further with him. It can take time; do not go too quick. Don't check onlythe facade, but also the "back-stage", how this person apply Dharma in his everyday life, in his family, with friends, etc...

 

All the best

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This discussion on teachers has led me to thinking about my great grandparents on my mother’s side. They both took their parish priest so seriously they, along with most of the congregation, switched from being Church of England to Roman Catholic when the priest converted.

 

Of course on reflection one could see my ancestors could have been as much influenced by fellow members of the congregation as loyalty to their priest. They may have even come closer to their God through becoming Catholics - or not. There may indeed have been many other factors or causes at work here. Further reflection brings to mind the convenience of it all. To find a teacher and congregation so close at hand, the effort required finding a suitable teacher or even a suitable religion, etc., etc. Yes, perhaps there are many karmic forces at work here.

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