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The qualities of spiritual mentors and students

The qualities of spiritual mentors and students

Part of a series of teachings on the Gomchen Lamrim by Gomchen Ngawang Drakpa. Visit Gomchen Lamrim Study Guide for a full list of contemplation points for the series.

  • Reading books and listening to teachings is good, but real Dharma practice is transforming the mind
  • How the topic of relying on a spiritual mentor can be misunderstood
    • Relying on the spiritual teacher is not about faith without investigation or worship of the teacher
  • The 10 qualities to look for in a spiritual mentor from the Ornament for Mahayana Sutras by Maitreya
  • The three characteristics of students who rely on a qualified spiritual mentor
  • Cultivating the attitudes needed to benefit from the spiritual mentor
  • Focus on the teacher’s good qualities rather than look for faults

Gomchen Lamrim 03: The qualities of a spiritual mentor and disciples (download)

Contemplation points

  1. Spend some time really thinking about the qualities of a good spiritual mentor as Venerable Chodron described. She also said that the Buddha helps us through our spiritual mentor. So how do these specific qualities in a spiritual mentor help US progress along the path?
  2. Also spend some time thinking about the qualities of a qualified disciple. Why are they important? To what extent do you have these qualities? What specific things can you do to help strengthen and cultivate them?
  3. Why are we instructed to not look for the faults in our spiritual mentor once we have checked them out and chosen them as our teacher?
Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.

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