The spiritual master is like the earth, never giving way beneath our feet. The spiritual master leads us to enlightenment without disappointing us. Borne by the air, a plane can take us quickly to where we could never go on foot. Borne by our devotion, the blessings of the teacher bring us swiftly to realization.
One of the meanings of the word dharma is “that which holds.” It holds and guides those who give themselves to it with confidence. A person being swept away by the swift current of a river can be gripped by a firm hand and hauled on to the bank. In the same way, the teacher’s hook can pull us out of the round of deaths and rebirths, as long as we can hold out to him the ring of our faith.
No student at any level of teaching in Buddhism, from the Fundamental Vehicle up to the Great Perfection, can do without the guidance of an authentic spiritual master. To place our trust in such a teacher is the best way to progress and to avert all the potential hindrances and wrong turnings that we could encounter. So, on our journey toward enlightenment, devotion is the fare — it is what we have to contribute ourselves in order to reach our destination.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
from the book The Hundred Verses of Advice: Tibetan Buddhist Teachings on What Matters Most
translated by Padmakara Translation Group
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Further quotes from the book The Hundred Verses of Advice:
- The faults within
- Happiness and suffering
- Overcoming obstacles
- You will have to go
- Abandon negative friendships
- Practice with joy and enthusiasm
- Precious human life
- Contemplating the defects of samsara
- Use riches in a constructive way
- You won’t live forever
- Rather than being trapped by your perceptions
- The freedom to practice the Dharma
- Don’t go on following the past
- Putting down the heavy burden once and for all
- Being near a spiritual teacher
- The union of clarity and emptiness
- How illness can teach us compassion
- Three essential points
- The choice is clear
- The mind is free of any true reality