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#2576 - Wednesday, September 6, 2006 - Editor: Jerry Katz
In this issue an extract from Jody's popular blog, Guruphiliac.
If you cannot see or access the links below, catch them at http://guruphiliac.blogspot.com/
File under: Real True Gurus
Last month we received a complimentary message from a nice person asking if we'd exchange links between our blogs. It was such a sincere request that we had to warn them linking to this blog would definitely be at the risk of what was once their good name. So we made it optional to link here and were quite happy to link back to Arunachala Grace, a really nice little blog by the prolific Meenakshi Mammi, a resident of Tiruvannamalai, India, in the shadow of the great Shaivite pilgrimage destination, the holy Arunachala hill, aka Ramana Maharshi's guru.
We've enjoyed paying our respects to Arunachala these last few weeks via Meenakshi's blog. When we decided to visit yesterday, we found this brilliant quote from an unknown person that basically encapsulates everything this blog stands for:
Those who perpetuate the belief that ego transformation is enlightenment do spiritual culture a disservice. Additionally, the reverence and respect accorded enlightened beings is also undeserved because enlightenment is nothing other than a re-discovery of something that was already known.
When I wake up I don't become somebody else, I simply trade the idea of myself as a dreamer for the idea of myself as a waker. In fact, the waker and the dreamer are the same person, but seem to be separate entities because of their association with the state of consciousness in which they find themselves at the moment.
It is fashionable these days for society to congratulate formerly fat people who returned to their normal size. But rather than offer them respect, shouldn't they be castigated for getting fat in the first place? Touting one's Enlightenment only calls attention to a lengthy and embarrassing stay in ignorance.
Kudos to Meenakshi for recognizing the greatness of these statements. We've got a message out to him/her requesting the identity of this fantastic author. It's straight-up spot-on nondual truth and the antidote to everything that is wrong in global gurudom today. We'll update this entry once Meenakshi gets back to us with the info.
File under: The Art of Guruing
When we first came across this short article by John Kain about picking a guru, we were ready to pick it apart. It starts out a bit thin and twee, if you asked us. But then we got to the meat of it and were happily surprised:
Alexander Berzin, in his book about Tibetan practice, Relating to a Spiritual Teacher: Building a Healthy Relationship, describes six different attributes of the student-teacher relationship: (1) Almost all spiritual seekers progress through stages along the spiritual path. (2) Most practitioners study with several teachers during their lifetimes and build up different relationships with each. (3) Not every spiritual teacher has reached the same level of accomplishment. (4) The type of relationship appropriate between a specific seeker and a specific teacher depends upon the spiritual level of each. (5) People usually relate to their teachers in progressively deeper manners as they advance along the spiritual path. (6) Because the same teacher may play different roles in the spiritual life of each seeker, the most appropriate relationship each seeker has with that teacher may be different.
This list is filled with sober insights and common sense; its a good reference point. Yet for some mysterious reason students often check their common sense at the door, like an overcoat at a fancy restaurant, when entering spiritual practice. The best thing teachers can do for their students is to convince them that such notions are fantasy. If a teacher is sleeping with a student, nine times out of ten its a bad idea. If a teacher is an alcoholic, that teacher is an alcoholic. Some things are exactly as they appear. In the book How to Meditate: A Guide to Self-Discovery, an early work on spiritual practice (published in 1974), the author, Lawrence LeShan, gave some practical and sage advice about choosing a spiritual teacherWatch how they treat their spouse. At the same time teachers do make mistakes, all of them, and if we think otherwise were on the wrong track.
Great stuff, especially the part about how
students often "check their common sense at the door."
The wrong kind of guru zeros in on this tendency like a vulture
smelling carrion from 20 miles away. It is responsible for every
big-time guru's satscam going today.
But there's nothing mysterious about it. People drop all logic and reason at a guru's feet because they want their space mommies and daddies to make everything ok for them. Peoples' infantilism is at the root of their wanting a guru and their expecting their gurus to magically solve all their life's problems for them.
It sounds like John Kain is someone worth listening to. He's got a book: A Rare and Precious Thing: The Possibilities and Pitfalls of Working with a Spiritual Teacher. Based on what he says in this short promo piece, it could be worth reading. If we ever get to reading it ourselves, we'll let you know what we think.
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