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The qualities of a spiritual mentor

19 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.

  • Investigate a spiritual teachers qualities
    • Assessing the teacher’s conduct, knowledge, and students
  • Qualities of a spiritual mentor
    • Qualities of a suitable Fundamental Vehicle teacher
    • Qualities of a fully qualified Perfection Vehicle teacher
    • Qualities of a suitable tantric master
  • Questions and answers

The Foundation of Buddhist Practice 19: The qualities of a spiritual mentor (download)

Contemplation points

  1. Why is it important to take the time to assess the qualities of someone before we take them as a spiritual mentor? Why is being clear about choosing our spiritual mentors more important than figuring out who we will marry or what career path we will take?
  2. What are the different ways we can go about assessing a teacher’s qualities?
  3. One by one, contemplate qualities for a Fundamental Vehicle, Perfection Vehicle, and Vajrayana spiritual mentor. Reflect on the purpose of the three sets of qualities and how each applies to the respective stage of development of the disciple. Make a determination to examine the qualities of prospective spiritual mentors and to choose wisely.
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.