A highlight from Mangala Sutra - Part Six
This episode is called the mangala sutra, part 6. In part 6 of the mangala sutra, we look at the importance of having a teacher guide or spiritual friend. We're obviously going to face obstacles and hindrances on the path. So having someone with experience to support us is essential. You may be a secular Buddhist and not wish to join any group club or organization. Because you don't want to be tied to any belief system. Or you may be someone who doesn't like groups or would soon study from books. There is no problem with either of these. However, I strongly believe you still need a teacher or mental to help you along your spiritual path. But this teachings aren't about blindly believing a set of principles, or being given a practice and told to get on with it. It's about working on your own mind and experiences. Sorting through your own problems and difficulties and challenges. Sometimes we're going to come across obstacles that will need help navigating. This is where teachers come in handy. They can guide us through our difficult times, and encourage us to persevere. Even though Buddha encouraged us to be a refuge to ourselves, and not look for external refuge, he wasn't talking about going in alone. He meant that we should not be looking outside of ourselves for God's or higher beings to take responsibility for our lives. That responsibility is ours, and ours alone. So, a teacher is a guide mentor and spiritual friend, not a God or higher being. Their job is to help us along the way. It states this in the Dharma padre verse two 7 6. You yourselves must strive. The masters only point the way. Those who meditate and practice apart are free from the bonds of destructive emotions. There have been many reports of abuse by teachers recently, especially of a sexual nature, so it's clear we must choose our teachers very carefully. I would suggest a good teacher is someone who doesn't profess to have all the answers, because that's not possible. Good teachers are themselves simply working on their own practice, and willing to share their experiences with others.