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Buddhadharma : Spring 2015
spring 2 0 1 5 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 21 just one more thing to acquire. But a teacher isn’t someone you can own or possess. If you do find one to be of help to you, you may feel equally challenged and comforted by him or her. If you have only doubt in those who have been on this path longer than you, it’s hard to continue, let alone begin the practice. Being open to learning from a teacher you trust is the beginning of learning to deeply trust yourself. A teacher can help you find your way back to who you really are. tenzin Wangyal rinpoche: If you are looking for a teacher, you need to find someone whom you can trust. This quality is essential in the relationship between student and teacher. You also want a teacher who possesses both knowledge and experience of the teachings. Most important, you need to find a teacher who is willing to teach and help others, par- ticularly you. If you find these qualities in a teacher, then it is up to you to open your heart and trust, serve, and learn from this person, and then gain realization and experience through practicing what you have been taught. In looking for a teacher, and then in developing that rela- tionship, you must be willing to look at yourself. Perhaps you are not trusting. Perhaps your heart is not open. You may be carrying lots of doubts and projecting them onto those from whom you are seeking to learn. If you are looking through eyes of doubt, not only will you not be able to find a teacher but you will also have difficulty keeping friends or finding a partner. You will even find it difficult to enjoy a cup of tea with another person without judging them. Once someone asked my teacher, Yongdzin Tenzin Nam- dak Rinpoche, “How can I find an authentic teacher?” He told them: first, you search. Then, when you find someone, open your heart and intuitively feel if a connection is there. Intellectually, you can analyze if this person knows enough, has enough experience, and is someone you can learn from. If you feel satisfied in these ways, then it is up to you to fully trust and accept this person as your teacher. Once you find someone who intellectually satisfies your mind and touches your open heart, it is up to you to make a commitment to this person. It is up to the student to make the relationship work. In my experience in the West, students bring many unex- amined expectations and judgments to the relationship with the teacher. They project these onto the teacher and at the same time develop a dependency upon the teacher that is not healthy. So, as deeply as possible, continuously examine any hopes and fears and expectations that you bring to the relationship with a teacher. As you release them, bring your open heart and clear mind. Many blessings and inconceiv- able benefits occur in the encounter between the student and teacher, a relationship essential to your development on the spiritual path. I wish you success in your search. Do you have a question about Buddhist teachings or practice? we want to hear from you. Send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org E-Vam Institute NYC Tranquility in the middle of the city Now in Long Island City, Queens, E-Vam provides easy access to teachings and courses by esteemed teachers from many different Buddhist traditions, including the Kagyu and Nyingma schools of Tibetan Buddhism, Zen and Theravadin tradtions. • Meditation, Yoga and Teachings • Online Classes and Study Groups • Space available for rent E-Vam Institute 38-28 32nd Street, Long Island City email@example.com (718) 472 2980 www.evam.org to 39th Ave one block walk to 32nd Street The US seat of Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche www.tralegrinpoche.org