Some disciples treat their gurus like movie stars. They go around wearing necklaces with the guru’s photo, or they hang the guru’s picture on their wall. Some kind of fall in love with the guru, but it’s more like an infatuation, the way others fall for their therapists. It becomes very personal and can easily be mishandled.
Many Tibetan lamas — also Thai, Burmese, all kinds of Buddhist teachers — allow a kind of merchandising of their image. It’s very confusing. The extent of promotion often correlates with their level of insecurity. They have a feeling of having to sell themselves. At public events in Taiwan some Mahayana monks emerge from a lotus onstage, and thousands of fans have this kind of ecstatic experience.
It’s as if these spiritual characters are worried they will lose their relevance. Like, “If you don’t do this, someone else will take over” — as if the Dharma is a brand like Apple that needs to keep up with the market, otherwise Samsung will take over.
Printing business cards, bags, announcement banners, fliers, buttons with the lama’s face, billboards proclaiming the greatness of the teacher … aren’t there other ways to reach sentient beings who need the Buddhadharma?
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
from the book The Guru Drinks Bourbon?
Read a random quote or see all quotes by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche.
Further quotes from the book The Guru Drinks Bourbon?:
- Check how the guru handles criticism
- Cultivating trust in simplicity
- Gurus Don’t Fish for Devotion
- The authentic guru lineage is indispensable
- A proper guru-student communication
- Going beyond Rational and Irrational Devotion
- Humble Gurus
- Peeling of our patches of samsara
- Modern Buddhadharma
- Never opt for the easy way out
- Hearing the Dharma
- Examining the Guru
- Controlled by circumstances
- The path is practical
- Dharma without devotion
- No one can please everyone
- You and only you will decide
- Look beyond titles and hats