by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche
« The relationship with a guru can never be simple. We human beings have a habit of hope and fear, and we each come saddled with our different cultures and characters. As long as we are bound by these distinctions, we are deluded, and as long as we are deluded, our relationships are complicated.
Through the veil of your everyday deluded perceptions, the outer guru may seem like an ordinary person. He shares your taste for pizza with anchovies but also drinks strong coffee, which you don’t like at all. He appears to get cranky when you don’t get it right. He’s a human being. But he wasn’t born in your neighborhood, so he’s exotic and interesting. The more exotic the better, especially if you’re a naive and gullible disciple easily impressed by colours, shapes, and races. The best is when his skin is a completely different shade. Then again, if it’s too exotic it doesn’t work.
While many err on the side of expecting too much of a guru — like constant worldly emotional support and advice — others reject a human guru altogether. It’s as if they are afraid to relate to a living being. They say things like “I am my own guru,” using the convenient and educated-sounding excuse that everything, including the guru, is the nature of mind. But after some questioning, it becomes clear that they don’t have even a faint understanding of what “nature of mind” means. »
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