Indications of excellent and poor gurus ~ Longchenpa

Six things are taught to be indications of excellent gurus:

If those who rely on gurus are inspired and turn toward the dharma, this is an indication that, through spiritual accomplishment, these gurus have amassed clouds of blessings.

If gurus encourage students to practice and their students in turn display many positive qualities, this is an indication that these are gurus who transmit the great instructions of the profound oral lineages.

If gurus are not jealous of others to whom they might lose their retinues or possessions, this is an indication that mundane attitudes of ownership and personal ambition have fallen away from them.

If gurus know how to involve anyone at any level of understanding on the spiritual path, this is an indication that they have innate compassion and skill in benefiting beings.

If gurus are able to greatly benefit those who suffer, this is an indication that they have trained in compassion and developed immeasurable bodhichitta.

If gurus have spacious and contented minds and are free of ordinary concerns, this is an indication that they have indwelling confidence that comes from realizing the way things actually are. Seek out and rely on such qualified gurus.

There are six ways in which students are contaminated by the faults of poor teachers:

Students who rely on poor mentors are tainted by fixation on the extremes of naive affirmation and nihilistic denial because of their teachers’ dubious belief systems.

They are led to commit harmful, negative actions because of their teachers’ improper conduct.

They become increasingly quarrelsome and mean-spirited because of their teachers’ signs of inferior spiritual attainment.

They indulge in their confused perceptions and habit patterns because of the poor meditation they are taught.

They are obsessed with mundane affairs because of the questionable spiritual methods in which they train.

They fall into lower realms of samsara because of the inferior goals they are taught to seek.

Therefore, for those who have faith and seek the path to liberation, a poor teacher is the greatest obstacle caused by maras. So identify such teachers and avoid them at all costs.


from the book The Precious Treasury of Pith Instructions

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