It Will Take Time
This perspective is invaluable to all who want to help others not be hijacked by suffering. As a Dharma teacher, I'm often approached for advice but Dharma advice is often not on the table. I love that Rinpoche sheds some light on the plight of the Dharma teacher. —Lama Dechen Yeshe Wangmo, Editor
It will take time for Westerners to understand properly the guru disciple relationship
Because the guru-disciple relationship is so new for Westerners, it will take time before it`s understood with any consistency. It is understandable that some Westerners expect the guru to function in ways similar to other authority figures in their society, such as parents, bosses, generals, police officers, or psychiatrists. All of these projections can be worked with – if the student is willing to bring the issues into the realm of dharma.
Sometimes people tell me about their childhoods, what their mother did to them, what their father said, and about this one sibling, until the story includes the entire family history. Meanwhile I am wondering „Where is the dharma question? Where is the opening? Where is the opportunity for practice?“
A teacher does not have to be a therapist to see the fixations, the grasping, the anger, or the jealousy. But sometimes when I introduce practices that can help alleviate these problems, I meet resistance. Then I might wonder, "Gee, maybe this person wants a therapist, not a dharma friend."
When students ask about psychological issues, martial problems, family dramas, and so forth, my own general response is to try to turn the conversation to dharma so that I can suggest activities, practices, or prayers that I hope can help. Generally, with non-dharma questions, I try to turn people`s minds toward their own wisdom, their own inclinations and knowledge. With a little encouragement, people can usually arrive at the answer to their own worldly questions.
If the person is willing to use dharma teachings to help themselves, then I have a role to play.
Many people come to dharma because they are in some emotional crisis or experience chronic mental suffering. That makes sense. But they may want their guru to solve all their psychological issues. Somehow they have the mistaken idea that solving their problems is the guru`s job, rather than taking their problems to the path of meditation and study.
Nowadays many students spend more time following the gurus than they do practicing. The greatest masters of Tibet went to their gurus to receive teachings or to clarify their instructions, and then they left to practice. The point is not how or here we practice, but rather not to confuse practice with being around a teacher. We need to nurture our inner guru.
Mingyur Rinpoche, "Turning Confusion Into Clarity"
Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche possesses a rare ability to present the ancient wisdom of Tibet in a fresh, engaging manner. In early June, 2011, Mingyur Rinpoche walked out of his monastery in Bodhgaya, India and began a “wandering retreat” through the Himalayas and the plains of India that lasted four and a half years. In addition to extensive training in the meditative and philosophical traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, Mingyur Rinpoche has also had a lifelong interest in Western science and psychology. https://tergar.org/about/mingyur-rinpoche/