using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Summer 2013
SUMMER 2 0 1 3 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 45 transmissions, and the instructions referred to as upadesha, meaning “instructions revealing profound method.” There are two styles of upadesha teaching: those that originate with the words of Buddha Shakyamuni (kama teachings) and those that were hidden by realized masters as treasures and later rediscovered by treasure revealers (terma teachings). If you are a student of the Secret Mantrayana Vajrayana tradition, you will want to examine whether the spiritual guide has received these lineage teachings. No matter what school of Buddhism we fol- low, the spiritual guide should be adept at lis- tening, contemplating, and meditating. Listening means that they have received many teachings in the tradition to which they belong. It makes sense that the person we choose as a guide must have a profound understanding of the teachings he or she is transmitting. Without this quality of vast listening, it isn’t possible for the guide to bring us to the level of intellectual certainty. Second is the quality of contemplation, which yields practical experience. When an authentic practitioner contemplates the teachings, they go beyond any doubt or skepticism, bringing insight into the words of those teachings. The third quality is meditation, which illumi- nates the mind with glimpses of realization. Our own certainty can arise based upon the spiritual guide’s practices of listening, contemplating, and meditating. The next three qualities a spiritual guide should possess are being learned, disciplined, and good-hearted. Being learned means having a profound store of knowledge. Being disciplined means the teacher practices what they teach and keeps formal commitments; for example, all their vows. Being good-hearted means the teacher genuinely cares for sentient beings and has the wish to benefit every being they meet. They are willing to undertake hardship and work for the benefit of others. The final three qualities are having the abili- ties to expound the teachings, to debate, and to compose texts. First, the spiritual guide has the ability and confidence to teach whatever is nec- essary. They are also skillful at debate, having used logic to cut through all of their own doubt and skepticism. Finally, they are able to compose texts and teachings to benefit others. We may think to ourselves, “It is too difficult to look for all of these qualities,” but there are simple methods for examining a spiritual teacher. For example, the sign of vast listening is a sub- dued and disciplined demeanor, completely free of arrogance, prejudice, and self-attachment. This demeanor emits bodhichitta. The sign of vast meditation is a mind free of afflictive emo- tions. Checking for these qualities will show if a spiritual guide is reliable. If we don’t examine a potential spiritual guide before making a commitment, our con- nection with that teacher, and our connection to the dharma, could be troubled by skepticism and doubt. We can acknowledge that we live in a deeply skeptical culture, and that it takes effort to overcome the habit of overanalyzing and second-guessing. If we work at developing a personal and deep connection with a spiritual guide—about whom we have not even a hair of doubt—it is impossible not to gain threefold cer- tainty in our dharma practice. Certainty Gives Rise to Results The dharma itself is a logical and practical sys- tem. The scriptures say, “The things that come earlier are the support for the things that come later.” We should do our best to start properly, taking the time to examine the spiritual guide, our own mind, and our goals in practice. When we do these things in the beginning, everything else falls into place: our practice gains momen- tum, we become confident about the true mean- ing of our practice, and our experience begins to resemble the instructions given by the spiritual guide. We look into our internal mirror to see how our practice is going, and we are inspired by what we see. Our energy for practice increases because we see how much it benefits us and everyone we know. When all these elements gradually come together, real change—and ulti- mately realization—dawns in the mind. The spiritual guide is not just an instructor. He or she is a personal example of realization who shows what it means to actualize the dharma in one’s own life.