Do we need a Guru to be enlightened?

2009年7月30日 星期四 下午4:29 评论关闭

Guru comes from the combination of two Sanskrit words: Guna, meaning “good qualities,” and Ruchi, meaning “a collection”. So, Guna and Ruci is “a collection of good qualities”. Temporarily, for now, we need a Guru on the outside but the outer Guru leads us to the inner Guru. Without the outer Guru there is no guideline for our practice; it is impossible.

In worldly life, we need teachers, we need help. Everything we have in life has been acquired from a teacher or someone who has taught us – a parent, at school, a relative, etc. Whenever we want to achieve anything in ordinary, worldly situations, we must have someone to guide us and lead the way. We respect that person, and we speak nicely and politely to them. If we fight back, show no respect, do not listen and do the opposite of what the teacher tells us to do, then we will not be able to learn or perceive as quickly.

This is just for our ordinary lives, which is only for about 60 to 80 years. For our spiritual lives, when we want Enlightenment – where the roads and direction are much more complicated, difficult, longer and even dangerous at times – how can we achieve this without a teacher? There is no way we can achieve this without a teacher.

Not everything can be learnt from books. I was just reading a commentary about spiritual teachers which said very clearly that if we only read books to study, we can only reach a very low point. Many questions cannot be answered. We need a teacher with experience to explain these things to us.

If books were enough, then the Buddha would have emanated as books and he would never have spoken a single word of teaching. If teachers were not necessary, Buddha would have never manifested as a universal teacher.

No one has ever become enlightened without a teacher. It is impossible without a teacher – not in this world, in this age, at this juncture. There may be other world systems where Buddhas have manifested, turned the Wheel of Dharma and given other sets of teachings where those beings could run on their own for a while. According to what I have studied, it is not like that in this place.

Tsem Tulku

- Excerpt from Gurus for Hire, Enlightenment for Sale book and DVD