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Seeing the guru as Buddha

22 The Foundation of Buddhist Practice

Part of a series of teachings given during a retreat based on the book The Foundation of Buddhist Practice given at Sravasti Abbey.

  • Cultivating trust in the spiritual mentor
  • Cultivating appreciation and respect by seeing their kindness
  • Seeing spiritual mentors as buddhas

The Foundation of Buddhist Practice 22: Seeing the guru as Buddha (download)

Contemplation points

  1. Consider the unique role that spiritual mentors play in your life. Who else in your life is an example of this very different way of seeing the world? Among all those whom you hold dear and who love you, do any of them have the ability to guide you on the path to full awakening? Consider the things and people in which you have taken refuge in the past? By contrast, where did that lead you?
  2. Why is it so important to see our teachers in a positive light? What are the benefits to us, as students? What are the dangers of not doing so? Why is living near our teacher a precious opportunity and of greater benefit to our practice?
  3. Had you not met your spiritual mentors, what might your life be like now? What would you be doing? What might the state of your mind be?
  4. What do the Dharma teachings mean to you? How valuable are they? Allow yourself to feel gratitude and respect for those who have taught you.
  5. How is seeing our teachers as a buddha beneficial to our mind, in the context of tantra. Why is this not appropriate for beginners in the Dharma? Tsongkhapa shared that it is important to remember that we are not to see all our mentor’s actions as perfect or to see their faults as good qualities, but merely to focus on their good qualities as a means of growing our faith. Why is this? Take some time to consider this in relation to your own spiritual mentors.
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.