The Way to Follow a Guru
Hard enough to know how to choose a Guru,
Not to mention
being turned off by a sour one.
Be truthful to Bodhicitta and practice solidly,
gradually with eyes open, and dedicate oneself to the Dharma!
afar a Buddhist came to visit. He asked me to write about how to choose a Guru
because many are puzzled as to how to do it, and many had been turned off by sour
ones that they remain skeptical to spiritual quests and Gurus. Progress on the
Buddhist path is mainly based on Bodhicitta, the aspiration to enable all sentient
beings to attain ultimate enlightenment. Following a Guru who is an experienced
and realized practitioner one would gain protection and guidance on the path.
Therefore, a practitioner should, first of all, reflect on Bodhicitta to ensure
that it is genuine. As long as one's Bodhicitta is genuine, any situation would
become an opportunity to help grow and mature, and even in case one had been misled
or cheated by evil teachers, there is no fault on the practitioner's conscience.
Furthermore, a practitioner should diligently practice basic training such as
chanting the name of a Buddha or Bodhisattva, repeating mantras, making prostration
to Buddhas, the foundational practices of Vajrayâna, etc., instead of being
anxious to obtain high or wondrous teachings, or hustling to visit centers and
initiation gatherings. When the foundational practices are solidly developed,
the opportune time would come for the practitioner to have inspirations indicating
whom to follow as one's Guru. When one approaches a potential teacher, no need
to rush into deep relationship. One should let the relationship develop naturally
over time, then there will be opportunity to observe and reflect on whether this
relationship is really beneficial for growth and progress on the Dharma path.
As to how to take genuine refuge in a Guru it requires a disciple to have renounced
worldly engagements and devoted fully to Dharma practices and services to comprehend
the suitable way. No one can teach this through words. The usual so-called "taking
refuge in a Guru" is no more than associating with a senior Dharma friend.