Tuesday, January 15, 2008


In May 2004, in Sydney, Australia, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche gave a talk on the topic of "How to Find A Guru and Be A Student." The transcript of that talk, which is available on the web through Khyentse Rinpoche's organizational web site ( you have to establish an account first), should be required reading by every student of Tibetan Buddhism.

Maybe if it were, we would have less confusion about what is and is not important.

I could carefully craft excerpts from Khyentse Rinpoche's talk into something here, but why bother with a road show when you can visit Broadway? My suggestion is that you seek out the transcript and read it very carefully. Here is just a small sample:

"So how do we find someone who is realized? How do we know whether he is realized or not? As someone who is an ordinary being, it is impossible to know whether he is a realized being or not, using direct cognition. Impossible. There is no way. So the only way to judge whether the person has any sort of realization or not, is through inferential logic. When using all kinds of reference, experience, it becomes very messy again. Because when we use inferential logic, we are applying this very small and limited capacity of so-called rationalism. We may think that we are so skeptical and so intellectual and not easily brain washed but the small skepticism that we have is pathetic. It is really very small. In fact nowadays, among the many modern critics of the spiritual gurus, and of spiritual guru disciple relationship, their critique is so very, very small."

Here is another passage that I find particularly relevant today. I think some of us need to read this very carefully:

"These lamas, those who have understood emptiness, those who are fearless, compassionate: they don’t negotiate. There is no negotiation table. That is sort of the criteria, if you can accept that. If you can go with this mentality, “Okay I am not going to negotiate,” then fine. Then you will get a lot of profit, I guess. But if you go there with a mentality of “I will give you this, can you give me this” it doesn’t work with this kind of person. This is why most of these kinds of lamas are forgotten or lost for us. For them, they want to be forgotten anyway. They want to be left alone. Sometimes they deliberately sort of magnify their kind of edgy, difficult to be with, kind of quality, just so that they will be left alone. But the incredible thing is that they also, of course, as I said earlier, they have disciples. They have students - good students, non-negotiator students who are really interested in enlightenment. My observation, these are all my observations."

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